Search engine optimization (SEO) can be complicated stuff, but not all of it is hard to understand or even implement as a novice. To give your website the best possible chance to be found in the search engines, you should at least cover the 9 SEO basics I’ve listed below. (more…)
The Journey is Better with Friends.
January 12, 2011
Category Digital, Inspiration
December 7, 2010
Category Digital, Inspiration
So, the biggest shopping season of the year is upon us. You’ve been busy all year and haven’t gotten a lot of the things done that you’ve wanted to—especially those SEO, conversion and PPC optimization efforts that would really put you above the competition this time of year.
Is there anything you can do this late in the holiday game? Here’s a checklist of last minute items you can do to optimize your ecommerce efforts for this holiday season.
Before you get started, remember this in Quarter 1 2010 and plan your online marketing for the year so you are not scrambling at the last minute.
Use the Last Minute Holiday Ecommerce Optimization Tips Scribd document at the end of this post to download a copy to use for your team.
Product and Category Setup
- Take advantage of promoting huge deals and loss leaders on your homepage. Also consider offering additional deals or discount codes if customers sign up for the newsletter or mailing list.
- Ensure your website’s search capabilities are working well. Visitors should be able to, at minimum, search by brand, product name and product number. Make sure your site search works for all three.
- Make sure you have related items for your products; people may have a bigger budget than just for the product that they have found on your site. Make sure you are employing relevant cross-selling and up-selling tactics.
- Have options to sort your products by different variables, but set the default to most expensive to least expensive.
- Make sure your prices are competitive, remember to calculate shipping into this. Checking shopping aggregation sites like Google shopping or Amazon to see what your products are going for.
- Enable shoppers to easily share each product on the major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to complement your overall social media strategy.
- Make shipping easy to calculate and understand. Include shipping schedules to show them when shoppers can expect to receive their purchases. People are going to be worried that their gifts get to them on time and this is one thing that they will want to know before purchasing. If shoppers must order by a certain date to receive shipping prior to December 24, make that clear throughout your site.
- Optimize your 404 error page – apologize for the issue and then and offer a promotion like a percent discount or free shipping. Also consider including links to top selling products and categories and links to your social media accounts.
- Offer low flat rate or free shipping whenever possible. Reduced and free shipping is a huge conversion point.
- Make sure your site loads well on smart phones like the iPhone and Droid. People are doing more shopping and research on their phones than ever before.
- Make sure your SSL Certificate badge is clearly visible on the site.
- Update or create a more informative About Us page. If you are not a well known site, this will help build trust in your site for someone deciding whether or not they will purchase from you.
- Send customers a link after checkout to fill out a review of your site on sites like BizRate and Price Grabber. These reviews will help you in the long run.
- Make sure your return policy is easy to find and understand. Also consider making it a selling point if you have a no hassle return policy.
- Simplify the check out process. If your cart can provide a checkout process with less steps, then use it. Also, don’t require customers to create an account before they checkout, allow them to checkout as a guest if your cart allows for it.
- Make sure you provide several contact methods and your contact information is easy to find from every page.
- Optimize your products’ images. This could help drastically with the load times on the site.
- Comment on shopping blogs. Be sure to comment on posts as soon as they are released and mention hot products or include links to your site – without being too salesy or pushy. People are doing a lot of last minute shopping and reading for ideas. Having links and comments on popular posts could be helpful both for referral traffic and link building.
- Check your webmaster tools for any errors that can be corrected. Also check to see if there are some opportunities to decrease the server load time and increase the page speed. http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/
- Upload and submit a newly updated XML sitemap.
- If you are still using the descriptions that the manufacturer provided for your products, start updating them, unique content will set you apart and may help a little before the holiday shopping season is over.
- Create a Product feeds and submit it to content aggregators, and shopping sites like Google Merchant Center/Google Base. http://www.google.com/base/
- If you have any content that appears over and over, place that content in an iframe, it will help with duplicate content issues.
- Use email marketing. Just do it.
- Bid on your product model or part numbers and make sure the landing pages are setup to go to the exact products.
- Review your negative keywords, WordStream offers a good tool for this: http://www.wordstream.com/negative-keywords/
- Increase your budget, you need to spend more now!
- Update your landing pages to be holiday oriented and to promote holiday offers.
- Ad groups should have at least two ads. Pause your under performing ads and include a new holiday ad mentioning Free Shipping if you offer it.
Some other great last-minute ecommerce optimization reference lists:
About the Author
Aaron Stevens is an Internet Marketing Strategist at The Loud Few, a St. Louis online marketing agency, who specializes in search engine marketing strategy, social media optimization and more. You can learn more about him here or follow him on twitter at twitter.com/MarmadukeBrew.
November 17, 2010
Category Digital, Insights, Inspiration
You’ve heard the term “drinking from the firehose” before, right? Well, without a plan of attack, that’s what social media marketing can feel like. Make your online marketing life easier by using a calendar that takes your social media strategy and gives it an action plan with dates and deadlines. If you are looking for efficiency, this is where you find it. (more…)
October 20, 2010
Category Digital, Insights, Inspiration
Good online marketing strategies begin with competitor analysis. Who are your competitors? What will it take to dominate them in your online space? In my Smackdown Series, I show you how to research your competitors so that you can clearly develop a marketing strategy based on your findings. (more…)