5 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Accountability

5 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Accountability

Improve Your Marketing Accountability

This year, is improving your marketing accountability and growing your business at the top of your goal list? If your eCommerce business has been struggling to make the most of your marketing dollars, then try this on for size this year: make your marketing efforts more accountable!

You don’t need more arbitrary marketing that you simply hope will bring in the customers your business needs. Instead, find ways to make your marketing count and discover how well it’s working for you. Data from Forbes suggests that using data-driven marketing strategies can help increase your marketing success by 5% or more.

Five Ways to Make Your Marketing Efforts More Accountable

1. Create Specific, Attainable Goals

It’s easy to fall into the trap of setting intangible goals. You want to increase your marketing success, bring in more sales, and add more people to your mailing list. Creating marketing accountability, however, means taking it beyond vague goals and creating specific numbers that you consider to be a measure of success. For example, would you like to raise sales by 10% over the next quarter? Increase mailing list signups by 25%?

Setting goals that you can measure won’t just give you a way to evaluate success. It will also provide your marketing team with a benchmark to help them see how well they’re performing.

2. Watch the Right Metrics

Many merchants and business owners fall into the trap of watching vanity metrics. Vanity metrics look great on paper but don’t really contribute to the success of your business. For example, a thriving blog may draw in plenty of visitors on a daily basis, but if they aren’t making purchases or turning to your business with their purchases, these aren’t effective visits.

Another example. Social media likes and follows are great, but are they genuinely contributing to your business’s overall success and ROI? Make sure that you’re watching the right metrics. How many customers are you moving through the sales funnel? How are your sales working? Are you constantly struggling to bring in new customers, or is it easy for your business to attract repeat customers? Define the metrics that are right for you to watch your marketing efforts thrive.

3. Use the Right Tools

Talk with your marketing department to make sure that they have the right tools on hand to meet their marketing goals. Do they have a scalable website site that can support a massive traffic spike during sales and promotions? Is there solid analytics software in place to help measure traffic, check your site’s pages, and evaluate the search terms that are bringing visitors to your site?

With the right tools, your marketing team is able to accomplish more while reporting a better picture of what they’re accomplishing.

4. Know How to Target Specific Customers

Do you know how your customers’ past purchases relate to their current and future needs?  How can bring them back for another purchase? How can customer interaction teach your team more? Make sure your marketing team is taking advantage of that opportunity to learn more about customers’ needs and create targeted marketing for future efforts. Making a consistent effort to analyze your customers is a great way to increase customer lifetime value with a comparatively minimal expense.

5. Keep Measuring

Once you’ve set your goals and taken the steps necessary to attain them, make sure you’re keeping track of the marketing team’s successes! By evaluating those goals and checking in on their progress on a regular basis, you’ll find that you’re better positioned to maintain accountability and make the most of your marketing dollars. With an accountable marketing strategy, merchants have the agility to make changes quickly when numbers start to drop during slow seasons. The right data and numbers are invaluable to an agile marketing team.

This year, marketing accountability should be your primary focus for your business. If you need help with marketing accountability, contact us today to discover how we can help make that critical difference for your eCommerce business.

Four steps you should take to revitalize your digital marketing efforts

Four steps you should take to revitalize your digital marketing efforts

When Digital Marketing Efforts Aren’t Working

For eCommerce, digital marketing is absolutely crucial.

Regardless of the products you sell, you have to make sure that your audience learns about them and moves toward conversion on your website in some way. You probably already know as much. But what do you do when your digital marketing efforts aren’t working? When, regardless of your monthly spend on social media, paid search, and other avenues, you don’t get the conversions and transactions you need to meet your sales goals and grow your business?

In that case, not all is lost. Instead, a lack of digital success sends a signal to re-evaluate your current efforts and find opportunities for improvement.

From analyzing your customer journey to improving your eMail efforts, here are four steps you should take to revitalize your digital marketing efforts.

1. Reassess Your Audience

Even the best digital marketing message and strategy will not work if you simply target the wrong people. Consider the hypothetical example of a fitness and nutrition merchant whose marketing efforts reach audiences with little to no interest in fitness. The message, visuals, and value proposition might be spot on, but if it doesn’t reach the right individuals interested in fitness, that message will not resonate.

In examples like the one above, the targeting mistake is obvious. But often, more subtle miscues can lead to the same lack of results. Too many merchants make one of two mistakes in determining the audience for their digital marketing efforts. They either choose their desired audience based on a hunch or target their messages too broadly based on the traditional shotgun approach.

Merchants can earn a lot of information by examining their current customers. To get started, limit your targeting just to them at first. Go a step further and break down your current customers. Who are your highest-converting customers? Which portion of your customer base offers the greatest lifetime value? By examining these two groups, they will begin to display common characteristics. With this data, you can build and adjust your digital marketing strategy to a wider group with a greater chance of success.

In other words, one key to digital marketing success is to move away from the traditional shotgun approach. Seek out the most relevant and profitable segment of your target audience, and develop a strategy specifically designed to reach and convince them.

2. Analyze Your Customer Journey

Optimizing your target audience, of course, is only one step on the way to digital marketing success. In addition, you also have to make sure that your individual tactics and messages fall in line with audience expectations and pain points.

Depending on your industry, your audience may experience a very different journey on their way to becoming customers. If you sell convenience products, purchasing decisions are made in the moment, with little research. More complex alternatives prompt research, comparisons with your competitors, and other steps that lengthen the buyer’s journey.

Part of the reason your digital marketing efforts are failing may be a lack of consideration regarding the path to purchase. Put simply, you need to understand not just your audience, but also the ways in which they act and interact online. For products like yours, what research do they conduct to convince them it’s the right choice? Where do they conduct that research, and who do they trust most in making that decision?

In the same vein, you also want to consider just how your audience views your digital marketing efforts in context. Potential customers don’t read eMails, Facebook ads, and product pages on your website in isolation. The content, tone, and value proposition of each has to be integrated to provide a consistent picture, avoiding fragmentation and cognitive dissonance.

3. Dig Deep into Analytics

Another crucial step to take when your digital marketing efforts do not result in conversions is to take a close look at your analytics. If at all possible, try to identify the exact points of failure by looking at data points most relevant to your conversion and business growth goals. Some metrics to pay special attention to include:

  • Web conversion rates, separated by variables like referral channel and tactic.
  • Exit points, or the pages and tactics that are most likely to lose your audience before conversion.
  • Micro conversions, such as visits to your pricing pages and long stays on your website that do not lead to immediate purchases.
  • Bounce rate, or the percentage of web visitors who leave after only viewing a single page.
  • Lead to close ratio, particularly in relation to your individual marketing channels.

A deep dive into your analytics will also allow you to determine which part of your digital marketing strategy does work. You might find, for instance, that your paid search ads actually result in clicks and lead conversions, but your eMail follow-ups are not sufficient to provide consistent customer yield. That, in turn, can drive improvements in your eMail marketing that better leverages your existing successes.

Finally, even in digital marketing, it makes sense to go beyond quantitative analytics. When possible, gauge your audience’s opinion about your digital marketing and online presence in general by talking to them directly. For example, point-of-sales surveys help you determine how your customers heard about you, which messages resonated most, and more.

4. Improve Your eMail Efforts

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to take a closer look at your eMail marketing efforts. Even the most successful digital ads matter little if the leads they generate do not end up resulting in purchases. And even when they do, a better eMail marketing strategy can help you improve your customer retention rate and lifetime value.

Done right, eMail remains the single most effective digital tool available for any merchant. One study found that eMail marketing can boast a 4300 percent ROI, while another showed significant improvement in engagement, conversions, and customer value as a result of personalized eMails before and after the transaction. You might get attention to your products through paid ads and other digital tactics, but eMail is the key to helping you leverage that attention into actual revenue.

With the right eMail marketing platform, you can improve the way in which you nurture your existing prospects. You can re-engage cold prospects, and keep new customers involved and engaged with new products and sales. You can build a personal relationship with each customer through better messaging that ultimately results in higher transaction rates and revenue.

Refocus your digital marketing efforts and get back on track

Your digital marketing efforts might be failing in a number of ways. But ultimately, the point of conversion tends to be the biggest pain points for eCommerce merchants across industries. If you have a great product and message, you will get the attention of your audience. But you also have to make sure that this attention actually results in revenue for your business.

eMail marketing can be the boost you need to help in that regard – if you get it right. That means not just sending the occasional message, but building a comprehensive eMail strategy that leverages the timing of your send, your audience’s behaviors, and their individual pain points into a more effective conversion journey.

And of course, you need to have the right eCommerce platform to get to that point. InteractOne offers development solutions specifically designed for eCommerce merchants, while helping to refresh any failing marketing efforts and improving your strategy as a whole.

Contact us to start the conversation, and to grow your business through the process of more effective digital marketing.

11 SEO Trends To Increase eCommerce Sales

11 SEO Trends To Increase eCommerce Sales

11 SEO Trends To Increase eCommerce Sales

SEO trends to increase eCommerce sales

SEO Can Help Increase Sales in eCommerce

For something that has barely been around for two decades, eCommerce has taken the world by storm. Most people are perfectly happy to order almost everything they need online instead of braving stores, wielding shopping carts, and hauling bags around. People have many reasons to do all their holiday and household shopping through eCommerce platforms with the packages delivered straight to their door.

The big question is how can your eCommerce store get a bigger slice of the thriving online market?

One of the best ways to build your online sales is through SEO which, if used correctly, can efficiently bring customers to you who are ready to buy and want exactly what you have to sell. In addition to ensuring your site is set up properly from a structural perspective (meta tags, title tags, etc.) all you need is a list of keywords and a few clever strategies to find SEO success.

1. Do Your Keyword Research

The first place to start with any SEO project is your basic collection of keywords. These are terms that your customers might type into a search box when they want to buy your products. If, for instance, you sell decorative glass sculptures, your keywords would naturally include “glass”, “sculpture”, “interior decorating” and perhaps a few more unusual terms that fit the same bill like “paperweight” and “fishbowl”. Of course, for every keyword, there are dozens of possible variations, synonyms, and long tail (those three and four keyword phrases which are very specific to whatever you are selling) combinations that could apply. Remember when putting together your initial list of keywords that your goal is to predict the search terms of people who need your product but may not know it yet.

2. Use a Keyword Tool for Ideas

If you run out of steam brainstorming search words, turn your attention to the variety of online tools which can help you both explore possible search term variations and identify which terms are currently trending. There is a careful balance in SEO between what is popular and what is useful and your strategy should include both categories. Google has a variety of keyword research and suggestion tools and there are also several third party tools which will brainstorm keywords with you.

3.  Think Like a Customer

One of the biggest challenges for eCommerce SEO is lining up your efforts to suit the selection of product you offer. If you just sold pillows, for example, all your keywords could have to do with sleeping, pillows, or neck pain but if you sell many different kinds of items, expect to have a longer list of keywords. The key is to think like a customer who wants what you have to sell. Customers who know what they want will ask for category, product, and brand names and even specifications like size or material. Customers who aren’t sure yet will ask by typing in features like colors, texture, or function.

4. Customer-Centric Website Design

As an eCommerce business, it’s important to remember that your website is your shop. Everything about it needs to guide visitors toward becoming customers, especially the navigation. Use a very clear arrangement of navigation bars, tabs, and categories to help your customers get around and find what they’re looking for. Narrow down product searches by category and specifications for them and offer helpful tips on how to get exactly the right size or package.

5. Use Helpful Internal Links

If there’s one thing that both SEO and browsing customers appreciate, it’s a well-placed internal link. The ideal use for links is as breadcrumbs and a way to make helpful suggestions. Many eCommerce shoppers enjoy a list of similar items to help them narrow down their own search. You can also use internal links to reference things like policy, service, shipping, or sizing pages.

6.  Internal Search and SEO

When you’re a relatively large site, optimizing for searches isn’t just about Google and inbound marketing. You also want your own internal search function to come up with useful results. This means you’ll want to optimize every product page and blog to ensure that users looking for content on your website from the internal search function find what they need. Fortunately, because the search bar is on your website, you can also tweak the feature to have more helpful responses to search terms that relate to your products.

7. Add Breadcrumbs to Navigation

Customers moving around the site for the first time have a reasonable chance of getting lost or overwhelmed. Others may simply want to back-track to a page they were looking at before without searching for it all over again. This is where breadcrumbs come in handy, another feature that is greatly appreciated by search engine crawlers and is, therefore, good SEO.

Breadcrumbs are a list of links relating back to where you’ve been. In some cases, they are presented as your position in the site architecture, like “Clothes”, “Women”, “Tops” for example. Or they can be arranged based on exactly where you’ve been for the last few jumps which would look more like “Black Cardigan”, “Blue Cardigan”, “Blue Hat”. Both of these functions can help your customers get around and will improve their shopping experience.

8. Check for Technical Errors

No essay is written typo-free and no web page is written without errors, especially when you’re concerned with SEO, a topic that is more complex than it seems. While there are several options, one particular program by the surprising name of Screaming Frog is fantastic for letting you know where the errors are in your web page architecture like broken links and missing header tags. It can also be used to do a little cleanup while other errors will be yours to handle.

9. Manicure Dead Pages

Once you know where dead pages are from running a quick technical audit, it’s time to decide what to do with them. The last thing you want is a visitor browsing around thinking about buying only to hit a dead page with no convenient way back to their shopping cart. Manicuring dead pages and what your 404 page looks like can make a huge difference. Make sure to keep the browsing experience smooth and to give your customers a quick and easy way to return to the page just before they hit missing content or a closed item.

10. Write Unique Content for Every Product

Repeat text is a big no-no in SEO, but this means that if you sell many very similar items that the old copy-paste description trick simply isn’t going to fly. If you want to make it more likely that customers will be SEO-transported directly to the correct product pages, it’s best to write unique description content for each one. This doesn’t have to be difficult and it’s alright if the descriptions all look similar as long as you mix up the phrases and facts a little bit. If you do need to repeat the same details for many products, consider making a chart instead.

11. Encourage Internal Comments and Reviews

Finally, nothing kicks up website activity and improves the density of your best keywords like comments and reviews. Take a page from Amazon’s highly successful book and encourage customers to review your products right there on the page or in their delivery confirmation emails. Have places on the site for discussions, question-and-answering, and public customer service. This will increase your relevance via traffic and engage your audience to really think about and discuss what they thought of your products. The more reviews and comments, the better.

When your storefront is online, everything becomes at least tangentially related to SEO and building sales are no exception. Naturally, you need SEO to generate more search engine ‘foot traffic’ and accurately targeted SEO to ensure that your leads find exactly what they came for.

For more great tips and tricks for boosting your eCommerce business or assistance mastering the strategies described in this article, contact us today.

Five 2018 Digital Marketing Trends to Try

Five 2018 Digital Marketing Trends to Try

2018 Digital Marketing Trends

Digital marketing takes a giant leap forward with each passing year to help businesses of all kinds generate new customers and increase revenue. Below are some of the top trends digital marketers will be using in 2018.

Five 2018 Digital Marketing trends to try in the new year.

1. Create a content series

If there’s one thing businesses have learned with respect to digital marketing, it’s that creating good content is really, really hard. You need an aim, a purpose, motivation, and good creative skills.

A great way to give your content marketing campaign direction and bring users back is to create a content series. Practical Ecommerce article explains how this strategy can keep your audience engaged:

“While it may be beyond your business’s means to create a streaming video service, you can produce original content, publish it on a regular schedule, and use it to keep your audience of potential customers engaged. In 2018, create a series of podcasts, videos, or even books. Publish them on a predictable schedule, and create a following for your content and your business.”

A content series gives consumers something to look forward to. You’re able to go more in-depth with each episode, and consumers can always catch up by starting at the beginning of the series.

2. Go mobile-friendly

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website by now, then you’ve likely already driven thousands of leads away from your business. Mobile users have no patience for slow, clunky sites that were clearly designed for desktops.

We always knew that at some point, the average business would have to prioritize mobile over desktop when it comes to website design. We think that point will come in 2018. Especially if your target audience is young, consider designing your site for smartphones and tablets first and worrying about desktops later.

3. Invest in Instagram

Facebook has been the go-to social media site for marketers for years. That might finally change in 2018.

Instagram is showing no signs of slowing down. This Entrepreneur article predicts it to become the most important channel for brands in the new year:

“In 2017, Instagram announced that approximately 800 million people use the platform each month. Their latest tool, Instagram Stories, became more popular than Snapchat just one year after going live. Since brands tend to see better engagement on Instagram than any other social media platform, and because of great advertising controls, Instagram is poised to become the go-to channel for brands interested in social media marketing.

“Instagram has everything: pictures, videos, stories, influencers, ads, and so on. It passed Twitter long ago and is now creeping up on Facebook.

As an added bonus, Instagram lets you send DMs to anyone. It’s perfect for generating leads and getting in touch with influencers.

4. Create more videos

There’s a reason why so many businesses are investing in video marketing. Videos are engaging, immersive, and great content to share on social media.

We expect that trend to continue in 2018. Create some room in your budget to create a video and put it on your homepage. You can also combine this strategy with the content series. By creating short, informative videos with professional editing, you can increase your brand awareness and establish credibility.

5. Get a chatbot

Many marketers are predicting chatbots to become widespread in the upcoming year. You’ve probably already interacted with one before. Typically, they’re set to trigger after a user spends a few seconds on a website. They are then prompted to contact the business.

Chatbots are either powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or real people. Either way, they’re great for getting in touch with leads and prompting them to contact your business.

To talk more about the 2018 digital marketing trends detailed above or anything else, contact us today.

Guide to Configuring Products for Good SEO in Magento 2

Guide to Configuring Products for Good SEO in Magento 2

SEO in Magento 2

The Importance of properly setting up products on Magento 2 for SEO

Content optimization is critical for SEO. This includes properly setting up products on eCommerce websites.  

Properly setting up your products in Magento 2 requires knowledge of your products and the time to think through each aspect. Properly setting up products now, will help to mitigate problems later on or the need to change products. Below we’ve outlined how to set up products for good SEO in Magento.

Magento settings

  • Product Meta Tags
    • Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Product Fields Auto-Generation
      • Currently Magento 2 only supports {{name}}, {{meta description}}, {{meta keywords}} and {{sku}} but SEO extensions can add other attributes to be used in these fields. We do not suggest using {{description}} here because the description field content is often longer than the standard 160 character limit reserved for meta descriptions.
      • IF you use this as a stopgap, we suggest adding the SKU because product names can be duplicated.

  • Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization (scroll to the bottom of the page)
    • Use Categories Path for Product URLs: Set to No

  • Stores > Configuration > Catalog > XML Sitemap

  • Setup Google Analytics and AdWords using the built-in configurations and not embedding the tracking codes directly in the template.
    • Stores > Configuration > Sales > Google API

  • Embed other tracking scripts
    • Content > Configuration > Edit the Website or Store View theme (based on your store settings) > Header for scripts that need to go into the header, and Footer > Miscellaneous HTML for scripts that need to go into the footer.

  • If you have a dev site, be sure Search Engine Robots is set to noindex/nofollow on dev/staging and index/follow on production.
    • Content > Design > Configuration > Edit the Website or Store View theme (based on your store settings) > Search Engine Robots set to NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW on dev/staging and INDEX, FOLLOW on production.

  • Default meta titles:
    • Content > Design > Configuration > Edit the Website or Store View theme based on your store settings > HTML Head

    • Change your meta titles so they’re not set to the default. Meta fields should actually be specifically written for each category and product, so you’re really just updating this setting so that it’s not empty or using the Magento default values.

Magento SEO extensions

Use either Magento 2 SEO extension or Advanced SEO Suite for Magento 2


Plan the Organization

  • Navigation
    • Prioritize popular categories and products first in the sort order.
  • Related / Upsell / Cross Sell Products
    • Set them up or use an extension
  • Attributes
  • Avoid duplicate products. If you have duplicate products, custom options or configurable products may be a better solution for you.

Product names

  • Unique, useful and understandable.

Product Images

  • Images are one of the first things customers see, so use good ones..
  • Include image Names
  • Include Alt Text

Custom Descriptions

  • Focus on the customer need or problem the product helps resolve, or a story of the lifestyle where the product could be used.

Product URL

  • Edit the product > Basic Settings > Search Engine Optimization > URL Key
  • We recommend leaving the Create Permanent Redirect box checked, unless you deliberately want to kill the old URL, or are just setting up the product for the first time and don’t necessarily need the redirect rule.

Meta Descriptions

  • Edit the product > Basic Settings > Search Engine Optimization > Meta Description

Meta Keywords

  • The best use for meta keywords is to make that field searchable when using site search. Include alternate spellings, names, and details for the site search to pick up.
  • Edit the product > Basic Settings > Search Engine Optimization > Meta Keywords

Structured Data

  • Make sure all schema.org microdata is setup properly, including availability and all user generated content fields.
  • There are rich snippets testing tools available to test your product page markup.

User-Generated Content

  • Reviews
  • Comments
  • Customer Photos
  • Customer Video

Test on Mobile

  • You’d be surprised by how many merchants sit at their computer and don’t use their phone to view their own website. View your product pages on mobile to make sure the images and content display properly and completely.
  • Reference the Mobile Usability report in your Google Search Console account (located under the Search Traffic sub-menu) to ensure Google isn’t trying to tell you they’ve detected some issues.

  • Check site speed on mobile (as well as on desktop).

Contact us to learn more about setting up products for good SEO in Magento 2. Checkout some other good articles on SEO: 3 Ways Merchants can Improve SEO for eCommerce and eCommerce SEO Basics Merchants Need to Know.

Google Analytics for eCommerce and What You Need to Know

Google Analytics for eCommerce and What You Need to Know

Google Analytics for eCommerce

Why You Need to Utilize Google Analytics for eCommerce

For many eCommerce entrepreneurs, Google Analytics can become overwhelming with its number of technical reports and amount of information. Even though using Google Analytics can help you evaluate marketing efforts and optimize your online store for conversions and sales, most entrepreneurs aren’t trained business analysts that sift through data all day to find these valuable insights.

Why Bother with Google Analytics for eCommerce?

You’re busy enough without stuffing your brain with numbers you don’t understand and trends you never knew existed. So why bother with analytics? Google Analytics helps eCommerce entrepreneurs understand what works and what doesn’t work, gain an advantage over competitors who don’t use analytics, and increase sales and conversions.

Target Audience Identification

Most think of Google Analytics as a tool that tracks the number of visitors that come to your site or individual pages on your site. Google Analytics data, however, provides much more than a number. Google Analytics tells you exactly who’s visiting. Visitor data includes age, gender, geographical region, interests, and more.

Mis-identifying your visitors leads to lost sales. If, for example, you believe your audience consists primarily of middle-aged men, you would naturally include language and other features targeted toward middle-aged men. If Google Analytics, however, shows that you’re getting an equal number of visitors in their 20s and early 30s, you’ll want to adjust the marketing message or the marketing medium.

Because you receive user data based on in-market segmentation, you’ll know how many of your website visitors take a specific interest your store’s specialty. If you market educational software, for example, your demographics report displays the number of visitors who see your site that list education and learning as an interest. Not only does it identify visitors that would naturally be in your target audience, it tells you specifically what part of that target audience they fit in to.

Website Usability

Google Analytics tells you what visitors do once they get to your site. Something as simple as knowing where visitors enter your site and where they drop off helps identify issues that need fixed and what parts of your site are attracting visitors.

The Behavior and Conversions reports within Google Analytics help you understand if your website’s usability satisfies your customers. The behavior reports show which pages receive the most user engagement and those pages that get little interest once visitors arrive. Conversion reports will show you where users drop out, helping you to eliminate weak links in the conversion process. One very useful data point you can find using Google Analytics is cart abandonment and how to measure it.

Audience reports help you optimize user experience by identifying which devices visitors are using to view your page, which browsers they are using, and which search engines they are searching from.

Budget Allocation

Successful businesses don’t just guess how to allocate money in their budget. From the analysis Google Analytics provides, you can determine the best way to invest further budget. There are even reports within Google Analytics that suggest a percentage of budget increase or decrease based on the specific attribution model you choose.

Google Analytics helps identify gaps in your budget. Using the acquisition report, for example, you might identify that a large percentage of visitors that come from Pinterest buy certain products. It would, therefore, behoove you to allocate resources to attracting more Pinterest visitors. Furthermore, using Google Analytics for budgeting means you can measure the ROI of changes in marketing campaigns.

Now What?

As an eCommerce entrepreneur, you might be wondering how you can take all this information and put it to work for your store. That’s what we’re for! We help merchants achieve their eCommerce goals with our in-house team of Magento-certified developers and Magento Marketing experts ready to build a site that will withstand the rigors of eCommerce and heavy traffic.

Picking The Right Keywords For SEO

Picking The Right Keywords For SEO

keywords for seo

Keyword Research: How to Find Keywords for SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to drive traffic to your website, increase conversions and tap into the millions of consumers shopping for products online. However, finding the right keywords or key phrases to target can be a challenge. Here are a few ways to help eCommerce merchants find the right keywords for SEO and some tips for maintaining SEO over time.

Choose keywords and key phrases that best describe your business

Make sure to first research keywords and key phrases that specifically fit your business. The key word here is “specific.” If you are a car window repair shop, choosing the keyword “windows” will get you nowhere fast. If you are a local New Holland tractor dealer, trying to rank with the phrase “New Holland” might put you into unwanted and unprofitable competition with several large cities around the world. If you are a coffee shop, tempting as it might be, you have little chance with the keyword “coffee” alone. Do you see the trend? Make sure your keywords are on-target, ownable, realistic and not easily mistaken for another subject entirely.

While it’s important to go after the keywords and key phrases that best describe your business, it is also important to research your competition. For SEO, it’s possible to gain a lot of valuable information on your competitors. There are several tools available to help with this including SEMrush or Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool. Both are great used separately or together. The goal is learn what your competitor’s strengths and weakness are and where there is an opportunity to gain an edge. Start with the same keywords and key phrases used in your initial research. Does your competitor rank for the same keywords? Are there other keywords they’re ranking for that you’re not? How are they using those keywords? A competitor analysis is a valuable tool in SEO.

How many people are searching the web using those keywords

Once you’ve built a list of relevant keywords, it is important to analyze how often those keywords are being searched for via search engines. Two free tools that do a good job of this are Google’s Keyword Planner and Wordtracker’s GTrends Tool. Follow this rule of thumb: if a keyword generates a lot of searches, it will be harder to rank organically through an SEO effort. If you find that your keywords have too much competition, try adding the town, city or state name. Also, try longer-tailed keywords; for example instead of  “windshield repair” try “windshield repair Cincinnati” or “window repair shop in Cincinnati.”

Estimating costs for ongoing SEO efforts

A cost analysis of the effort and time required to implement your keywords versus the amount of traffic they may generate may also prove beneficial. Your current rank for a keyword or phrase, the amount of competition for the same keyword and the current state of your website are all important factors in estimating ongoing SEO campaign costs. In addition to keywords, merchants can improve SEO through new content, optimizing metadata, updating product descriptions, category pages, optimizing images must be taken into account. It’s important to budget efforts based on what is necessary and what will drive conversions.

Optimizing Keywords for SEO Is an Ongoing Process

Determining the proper keywords for your SEO campaign is an ongoing process. A set it and forget it mentality just isn’t possible with SEO. Tracking changes made to SEO efforts is important. Performing consistent traffic analysis, keyword position reports, and frequent website updates optimally tune your website for SEO. It’s good to document what changes have been made on specific pages and what the targeted key phrase is. A reference document tracking changes with notes can prove to be valuable. Historical data will help you learn what changes had a positive impact and what still needs to be tackled or revisited.

Like most things, experience and first-hand knowledge are paramount. Start your SEO campaign on the right track with the proper keywords and you’ll gain the experience to make your website highly competitive by constantly refining your SEO strategy.

To learn more about finding the right keywords for SEO, or more about SEO for for Magento and our marketing services, contact us today.

Google AdWords Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Google AdWords Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Google AdWords mistakes to avoid

6 Common Google Adwords Mistakes

Google “SEO vs. PPC” and you’ll see over 1.2 million results and a lot of contradictory opinions. The truth is that both search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, if effectively leveraged, will put your business in front of prospective customers. Only you can determine which is better for your business, or whether a combination of the two is your best bet.

Some marketers contend that, especially for smaller businesses which are new to online marketing, PPC is the better choice. Among these is Adam Stetzer, who argues in favor of PPC:

“Agencies should steer inexperienced customers into PPC first because it is most similar to Yellow Page advertising. Furthermore, 72% of marketers that use PPC plan to increase their PPC budgets, which demonstrates it is generally successful. PPC allows customers to secure new business rapidly. Trust will develop over time, and new products [like SEO] can then be proposed.”

The truth is that both SEO and PPC can work for any business, especially if they get the expert help to make their campaigns a success.  That’s because there’s another truth: neither SEO nor PPC is a DIY project.

According to Google, businesses on average make $2 for every $1 they spend on AdWords campaigns.  The operative phrase there is “on average.” Some businesses achieve a much higher ROI with AdWords, and some lose money.  Said differently, being successful with AdWords means fully understanding how pay-per-click works, and how to avoid rookie mistakes which put your investment at risk. Below are six common Google AdWords mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Using the Wrong Keywords

When you choose keywords, you’re predicting what prospective customers will type into Google when looking for businesses like yours or products you sell.  That sounds easy, but it’s easy to go wrong.  For example, let’s say your business sells used home appliances in Tampa, Florida.  If you use keywords like “appliances,” or “appliances Tampa,” your ad will be displayed to a lot of people, but many of them are looking for new appliances or commercial (not home) appliances.  If any of those people click on your ad, you’re losing money.

The most dangerous word when it comes to PPC campaigns is “assume.”  Rather than making assumptions about the best keywords for your business, do your research.  You can get help from tools like Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool or WordStream (both are free).

2. Not Being Specific: Negative Keywords

When you choose your keywords, AdWords will automatically default to “broad match.”  This means your ad will appear when people type variations of your keywords, including using synonyms or typing them in a different order.  You need to specify more precisely what constitutes a match.  One way to do that is by using negative keywords.

Just as keywords tell AdWords what people you want to see your ad, negative keywords specify what people you don’t want to see your ad.  Going back to the example of the used home appliance business, you can more effectively target the right people by using the negative keywords, “new appliances” and “commercial appliances.”

3. Neglecting Mobile

Most internet searches now take place on mobile devices.  You need to accommodate these searches with ads that work on the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets.  First, you need to let AdWords know that you want to use their mobile search feature.  You then need to ensure your ads work on a smaller mobile footprint.  For example, you might want to shorten keyword phrases and truncate your ad copy.  Finally, you can include a click-to-call extension for your mobile ads, which will automatically push a call to your business when someone clicks on your ad.

4. Displaying Ads at the Wrong Times

Do you really want people contacting your business when it’s closed?  After all, if a lot of prospective customers call only to reach voicemail, you could be losing business.  You can tell AdWords when to display your ads (and when not to display them) using Ad Scheduling.  To be most effective, turn off your ads when no one’s there, or during extremely busy times when your business is less able to handle incoming calls.

5. Forgetting to Use Bid Adjustments

One of the benefits of PPC advertising is the ability to limit your spending to a predetermined amount.  You can tell AdWords how much you’re willing to spend, in other words.  AdWords will then limit your ad’s exposure accordingly (for example, your ad might display every 3rd or 4th time your keywords are entered).

Bid adjustments go one step further.  You can tell AdWords the specific circumstances under which you want your ad to be displayed, while still keeping within your budget.  For example, you might give preference to mobile searches, or to searches which take place in certain geographical locations (like those closer to your brick and mortar store), or at certain times of the day or days of the week.

6. Omitting Ad Extensions

Ad extensions in AdWords let you augment your ads with key information, things like business phone number, address, or links to specific web pages.  Take advantage of ad extensions because they provide useful information to prospective customers. In addition, they give your ad more real estate on search pages and generally improve click-through rates for your ad.

Google Adwords Mistakes and Improve Your Marketing Efforts

Doing PPC advertising right is a challenge, but totally doable. Like everything else about your business, success means doing your homework, being persistent, and growing your knowledge base and experience every day.  That’s as true about marketing as it is about designing a website that works for your business. Paid advertising can help boost sales and grow your business, just be sure to avoid silly mistakes.

To learn more about Google Adwords, Magento development and how they both work together, contact us to learn more.

3 Ways Merchants can Improve SEO for eCommerce

3 Ways Merchants can Improve SEO for eCommerce

Improve SEO for eCommerce

SEO is Critical to eCommerce Success

We recently covered 5 Questions eCommerce Merchants Need to Ask Themselves Before Hiring an SEO Partner. The article discusses how to get a better understanding of what merchants need to know about their SEO goals and expectations. For merchants just getting started on SEO fixes, check that out before diving into the how-to of SEO.

Low rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) can make or break any website but is particularly important for eCommerce merchants. eCommerce websites rely heavily on the ability to attract, convert, and retain customers organically. In order to attract new customers and stay competitive, merchants need to utilize search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to stay on page one for major search terms.

In fact, according to Marketing Land, websites that rank on page one of Google achieve an average click-through rate (CTR) of 71%. In addition, research shows that sites ranking on pages two and three of Google experience an average CTR of around 6%. Notably, where businesses rank within the first page matters also. Businesses who rank in the first spot on Google receive more than twice as many clicks as the second spot. Further, the first spot receives about six times more clicks than the fifth spot! These statistics show that if merchants want new customers, they need to outrank their competitors in the organic listings.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific checklist on what the search engines look for in top ranking pages. However, Google has said that in addition to relying on their RankBrain technology, content and links are the other major factors. With this information and what we already know as Magento developers, we’ve put together three ways merchants can improve SEO for eCommerce. They are: content optimization, on-site optimization, and content promotion.

1. Content Optimization

With our experience in eCommerce, there are several areas we’ve optimized for clients and have seen positive results:

Focus on creating a simple design and navigation that requires a minimal amount of clicks to get to product pages. In addition, utilize keywords for the home page based on relevancy, search volume, and ranking difficulty.

Evergreen content: Customers research companies in some industries to a greater degree than others, but it’s important to communicate your basic company information, culture and core values. Don’t overlook the importance of the About Us and Contact pages. They can help forge a connection with your customers.

Product Pages: Page errors, duplicate content, redirects, missing tags, and other issues negatively effect SEO. Use a utility tool to crawl links, images, CSS, script, and apps to detect errors. In addition, utilize product titles that are similar to how customers refer to your products within your industry.

Metadata: Often the first information customers see on Google, title tags and meta descriptions should capture the attention of users, and entice them to visit your site. In addition, meta descriptions should be specific for each page on your site and never the same as another. Well-written title tags and meta descriptions will boost the chances of getting more clicks.

Product descriptions: Cutting and pasting the manufacturer’s description can show up as duplicate content and hurt SEO rankings. Write unique product descriptions that not only entice users but helps them to make a decision to buy. Ensure you are using accurate product data and descriptions to show customers you know the products well, and would serve as a reputable resource for education and support.

Category Pages: Catalog pages are often the most popular landing pages on eCommerce sites, so it’s a great area for potential content. In addition to the general category descriptions, use these pages for recommended products, new products and any input or insights your company can add into an otherwise boring category page.

Blogs: For some merchants, a blog is an ideal way to add content and improve their SEO strategy. There are ways of integrating a blog into the Magento platform. New and old blog articles should also be optimized for SEO.

2. Onsite Optimization

In addition to creating great content, there are a lot of ways to improve search engine rankings by making some onsite updates. We will focus on two such areas here: technical SEO and user experience. Technical SEO is making sure your website is crawlable with no errors or duplicate content. Think of that as the basics to SEO. User experience, or conversion rate optimization, is improving the shopping experience customers have on your site. Is the site navigation easy to use? Does the site load quickly? Are the images loading properly? Does the page display well on mobile devices? Can users get to the information they need without scrolling very far? These questions help determine a quality score and once improved can improve SEO rankings.

Schema Markup: In contrast to metadata, microdata tells search engines what the data actually means, not just what it says. Schema markup defines the different elements that make up a webpage or product on your site, such as product name, price, availability, image and different types of descriptions. Identifying the different elements of a page helps search engines populate SERPs with more relevant information based on the intent of the search.

Resolve Site Crawl Issues: There are plenty of tools available that will crawl websites and find errors. Once the crawl is complete, pay close attention to issues related to broken links, navigation, and server errors. Any issues preventing your site from being crawled or triggering errors can cause frustration for users and search engines alike.

URL Optimization and Redirects: Put your primary keyword in the URL. This is another way that helps customers and SERPs know what’s on the pages. If you’re building a new website, avoid any platform that puts database IDs in front of the search engine friendly piece of the URL.

Image Optimization: Add compelling images and videos, and tag them with relevant metadata so they’ll rank high in image searches. Don’t forget to check that they load properly across all devices.

Page load speed: Slow page loading not only drives away potential customers, it hurts SEO. Optimize page loading times by compressing product images, implementing lazy loading, and cleaning up coding issues. We always recommend utilizing a cache technology, CDN and optimizing JS/CSS files to keep your page load times as low as possible.

Mobile Optimization: Do all pages on your website display properly on mobile? Implementing a responsive or mobile-friendly site design is a must!

3. Content Promotion

As noted by Google, internal and external links can have a major impact on rankings. Notably, the more authoritative the links, the better. Here are some ways merchants can build their link game.

Setup Social Channels: Social media channels are a great way to build and share links because they indicate an authority and relevance to search engines. Make it easy for customers to find and share your content by adding share and follow Call To Action (CTA) buttons such as Buy Now and Add to Cart across your product pages.

Video: If you have the capacity to develop your own videos, create a company YouTube channel and be sure to link to a relevant page on your site from the video description. Another added bonus, video keeps users on a page. Therefore adding to user engagement and time on page which is another positive indicator to search engines.

Business Listing (NAP): Ensure that your business listing including name, address, and phone number (NAP) is accurate. This is particularly relevant for businesses looking to rank high in local listings. Google uses a geo-targeted method when showing local listings so verify that your NAP is correct. Keep your Google MyBusiness information up to date.

PR, Partnerships, Events, Sponsorships: Hosting or partnering to host an industry event, sending products to digital influencers, donating products or time to charitable causes, working with brands you sell online, and PR are all great ways to build authority, recognition and quality links back to your site.

Final Thoughts on How to Improve SEO for eCommerce

Implementing SEO best practices and making sure you have the SEO basics in place will also help you succeed in other marketing initiatives.  If your website is not accessible and your content is not relevant or, if your page doesn’t display well on mobile, you will be penalized. Fortunately, InteractOne is skilled and experienced at SEO implementation for eCommerce. For more details on SEO and how we can help get you going, please contact us today.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring an SEO Partner for eCommerce

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring an SEO Partner for eCommerce

Hiring an SEO Partner for eCommerce

Before leaping into a new SEO partnership, ask yourself these key business questions

At this point, there is no longer much debate if Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools and tactics work for eCommerce. It’s now an issue of how to best implement those SEO tools and tactics. Successful implementation is where an SEO expert and partner can help take your business to the next level. However, before leaping into an SEO partnership to perform and execute a new SEO strategy, it’s important for merchants to have a solid handle on their business goals and needs. SEO can be very beneficial to merchants. But if goals and expectations are not properly communicated in the beginning, the results can be lacking and off-point. This can lead to wasted time for both parties. To avoid disappointment, here are five questions eCommerce merchants need to ask themselves before hiring an SEO partner.

1. Which site actions are currently most valuable?

What features, functions and user actions equate to the most organic growth and revenue on your eCommerce website? In other words, what items or pages are currently resonating and converting well with new customers? Pages that currently rank and perform well organically will play a key part in benchmarking success for other pages being optimized. It’s important that merchants have an idea of what is currently performing well to help their SEO partner with focus and direction.

Most SEO Action Plans will have sections that focus on content optimization and on-site optimization. Both initiatives will analyze the technical aspects of both high performing and low performing pages, content, and meta information. As a merchant, it is beneficial to know which pages are performing better than others. It’s also okay to not always know why  – that’s why you’re hiring an SEO partner after all. But it does help if merchants are proactive about learning what their most valuable content is.

2. Who is your target audience?

What type of people are your customers? Are they new parents, teenagers, Millennials, Baby Boomers or some combo of these groups? A considerable portion of SEO success is dependent upon content and verbiage. Due to the different ways in which groups communicate and interact with eCommerce websites, your SEO partner will rely on your expertise and understanding of these.

No one knows your customers better than you. Therefore, when your SEO partner is working on onsite optimization that could include new blogs, press releases, or informal content for your customers, they will need to know who they are writing for and what your unique customer expectations are.

3. What are your unique selling points?

Why do customers buy from you vs your competitors? Are you known for excellent customer service, best prices, or unique products that can’t be found anywhere else? Merchants who know and market their USPs successfully will be ahead of the competition – particularly for SEO. The primary focus of SEO for eCommerce websites is to drive traffic and sales. Merchants need to showcase their top USPs to new visitors and reinforce them to repeat customers.

Effectively communicating USPs will be an integral part of your SEO strategy.  An SEO partner will work to direct customers to the right place and present your business in the best light. Having an idea of what USPs to promote will help your SEO efforts succeed.

4. Who is your biggest competitor and why?

Who is that other company you and your team always reference in meetings or try to emulate? Merchants who are familiar with their competitors will have an edge. For SEO, it’s possible to gain a lot of valuable information on competitors. For example, their total monthly traffic, the keywords they are ranking for that your site isn’t, and how well they’re doing on mobile.

A complete SEO strategy will include some type of competitor analysis. The more information merchants can give an SEO partner the better. Have an idea of at least 2 or more competitors to include in an SEO plan. A good SEO partner will integrate concepts that are working in your industry, develop original material based on that success, and therefore make your company more competitive.

5. How will you monitor success?

Are you measuring success based on conversion rates, customer growth, or sales revenue? Maybe it is a combination of metrics? How will you monitor success is both a practical and ideological question. There are many data points that can be tracked when analyzing the progress and success of SEO. Merchants need to decide what matters most to their individual needs.

Concise reporting of key metrics is a critical way to see how the efforts of your SEO partner are paying off. An experienced SEO specialist will be familiar with multiple types of reporting tools and will likely have a recommendation. However, if you’re able to share how you measure success and what’s important to you, it will make it easier for your SEO partner to target the appropriate areas of improvement where you’ll see desirable results.  In addition, it’s important for merchants to be engaged in the reporting process and to ask questions to help push efforts in the right direction.

SEO is a Team Effort

Regardless of how talented your SEO partner is, your input and industry insights are invaluable. You are the expert on your eCommerce business and spending time helping your SEO partner to understand your business needs, and goals are essential to success. If you are ready to begin the SEO process, looking for SEO help or want to evaluate your current SEO plan and strategy then contact us. Finding the right SEO partner begins with a conversation and we would like to talk to you.