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SEO Agencies Archives

Why Your Ecommerce Seo Optimization is Missing the Mark (And How You Can Fix It)

By Digital Agency, Digital Marketing, digital marketing tips for online store, ecommerce seo, seo tips

Optimizing your eCommerce store for Search Engines is no longer optional. It does not matter if your store is a bootstrapped startup or a Fortune 500 company, SEO matters to you regardless. Don’t take my word for it, log into your analytics tools and check the channels driving the most profit for your store. The organic channel is the best driver of traffic and growth.

Google has been embedded in our day to day life of customers, and for the majority of the eCommerce businesses, it drives now the majority of the sales. So if the same trend is not apparent for your company, chances are that your SEO is missing the mark. 

Ecommerce SEO is critical for your customers to find your store. It is the most cost-effective way to grow your business bottom line, and the effects last longer than any other marketing channel. 

Also, there are subtle differences between eCommerce SEO and other traditional forms of  SEO – Local or B2B. Site owners must understand these differences and nuances.

Missing Canonical Tags

A canonical tag is an HTML attribute that tells Search Engines the original URL, e.g. if you have multiple versions of the same URL being crawled and indexed, these can potentially cause duplicate content issues.

A canonical tag is a nice way to tell search engines to consider only the cannibal URL in the tag as the original version and discard the others for indexing. This is especially important for eCommerce stores as the layered navigation end up generating thousands of instances of the same category. 

Having the canonical tag will help in conserving the crawl bandwidth and circumventing any potential duplicate content issues.

Using Manufacturer’s  Product Descriptions

Many of the eCommerce stores are happy to use the manufacturer’s product descriptions on their product pages. While this saves the money to hire a copywriter and come up with unique content, the duplicate product description will end up causing long term SEO issues. 

First of all, it’s harder to rank higher for duplicate content, and the pages would end up facing the same duplicate content issues as not having canonical tags. Because of this, it’s always better to have unique product descriptions rather than coping the manufacturer ones.

Lack of Content Flux on the site

Your website might have the most optimised meta tags, but it’s worthless if not supplemented by quality content on the site. Some of the key pages to add content are what I term as the money pages – category and product pages. 

Initially, Google will crawl the pre-rendered HTML, and all the javascript is crawled later. To ensure the Google understands what the page is about, add a paragraph or two of content on all the money pages.

You need to ensure that there is sufficient amount of content that effectively describes the category. Having user-friendly content will help in not improving the ranking potential of your targeted keywords but also help in targeting semantically similar keywords.

Handle Discontinued / Out of Stock Products

Discontinued products handling is an important part of ongoing SEO plan. Lots of Ecommerce struggles to manage their discontinued products inventory and end up disabling/deleting these products which are not an SEO-friendly approach. 

Online stores can follow a process to manage discontinued products in an efficient SEO manner. 

Here’s a checklist to follow. 

  • Your Dev team is notified that the product is discontinued.
  • The product is set “discontinued” to “Yes” in CMS. This way users would know that the product they are being discontinued.
  • The “Short Description” is changed to “This product has been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer available for sale.” Again helpful to update product status to the user.
  • Add the keyword “Discontinued” in the title tag of the product page. Besides the user, having this in the title tag will help your analytics team to check the traffic trend on these pages.
  • The product is removed from all the categories (display option). This will help users to navigate the page through internal links.
  • The visibility of the product is changed to Status – Enabled, Visibility – Search
  • Remove the product from Amazon/eBay/PLA or any other feeds being used for Advertisements.
  • The SEO team will periodically review Organic Rank and Backlinks to discontinued products.
  • If the page is still sending positive signals to Google/providing a positive SEO benefit, the page is left alone and re-evaluated in 2 months.
  • If the page is no longer sending organic traffic etc. We will 301 redirect this to an appropriate page.
  • Prepare a list for teams to process the 301s.

Lack of Active Blogging

Blogging generates the most traffic. Google will always reward websites that consistently add unique and resourceful articles. Blogging helps you to target less competitive long-tailed keywords.

While these long-tail keywords are not the best at converting a user to customer or lead, these can help spread awareness about our brand. 

Search Engines are also the best place to identify the best topics to write about Use Google Trends to find what are the popular topics in your niche, write an article that covers the information.

Google has also specified a distinctive schema for blog articles. Ensure that all of your blog articles have the BlogPost schema, to make it easier for Google to understand what the page is about. 

Beside schema, you can add internal links to the product pages to make it easier for both Search Engines and user to find them.

Most Important Point:

Ecommerce store owners need to be aware of SEO and how best to leverage it for promotion. We suggest doing a periodic sitewide audit to identify gaps and errors and schedule to fix them, or else hire eCommerce SEO experts or a Digital Agency for a quick audit report.

A site audit will help you to identify and resolve the most pertinent issues as well ensuring the overall health of the site is good

Google Core Algorithm Update June 2019

By Digital Agency, Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing Service, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, SEO News & Updates, seo tips

Updates from the Search Engine Marketing world!

Core Algorithm Update June 2019

In a rare move, Google announced on 3rd June that they would be rolling out a core algorithm update this month. It is unusual for Google to announce updates before they are rolled out.

google core algo update june 2019

They have since announced that the Core Update is now live. To check if your website has been affected by this update, the following needs to be audited: Search Console activity & Google Analytics organic activity.

What is a Core Update? Google has multiple algorithms overlaid on each other so that they are able to tweak various parts of the search engine without affecting others every time they make a minor update. A Core Update is related to the core algorithm, which sits at the base of all these and impacts the main search algorithm itself.

Your website may have been affected by the update, if you’re seeing lower organic activity since 3rd June. The update is still very new and there isn’t enough data available to determine which parts of the core algorithm were tweaked. We’re keeping a close eye on it and will let you know in coming weeks once we have more concrete information! In the meantime, if you’d like us to provide a digital marketing audit for your website, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1300780112.

In other news, here are a few more changes we have noticed in the SERP’s that may be of interest:

Rating Score Snippets in Search

Want more visitors to your site? Once your website is ranked on Page 1, one of the ways you can increase traffic is by standing out from competitors and increasing your click-through rate (CTR).

Here’s a great way we’ve been able to do it for ourselves:

schema star rating in serpsReviews and ratings are an important factor in deciding who gets the most Clicks. By leveraging the reviews we already have, we can get our overall rating score (with the stars) to appear in Google, thus increasing CTR and getting more traffic!

While this feature has existed in the SERP for a while, it went away for quite some time as Google had imposed penalties to a lot of websites for the misuse of schema. But this time around, it seems to be back for good!

Want the 5-star ratings to appear in Google for your rankings? Get in touch and we’ll make it happen!

 

Favicons in Mobile SERP’s

Google has started rolling out some changes for mobile search results, which make the websites’ favicons appear in the search result itself. With this new design, a website’s branding can be front and center, making your website stand out from your competitors’ listings.
mobile serp favicon update

You can see Before & After screenshots above. So make sure your website has a favicon!

Why SEO Takes Time & Is It Worth It?

By Internet Marketing Service, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, seo tips

Many disgruntled website owners turn to SEO to improve their search engine visibility and rankings. But they soon find out that even after months of painstaking SEO, the website’s performance in search engines shows little signs of improvement. At this point, many of these owners will start questioning their SEO consultants and their capabilities.

why search engine optimization takes time to workThis is mostly because marketing through online ads produces swift results, and many website owners get the wrong idea that SEO will do a similar job for them. The truth of the matter is that SEO takes time. But if it takes time, is it worth it in the end? In this post, we’ll be discussing the answers to these important questions.

Why SEO Takes Time to Work

Competitor Analysis is Tricky and Takes Time to Perfect

There’s a great chance that many other online companies are selling products and services very similar to yours. These are your competitors and the ones you want to target are those on top of the search results.

That is, of course, easier said than done as everyone is constantly trying to get there. And the ones who’re already there make every effort to keep their place.

importance of being patient when doing search engine optimizationDethroning these websites requires that you do a thorough analysis of their SEO strategy. This takes both time and resources and can be a tricky thing to get right. Make no mistake, you will not figure out a strategy that works for you the first time.

There will be a lot of hit-and-miss involved and many times you’ll see other competitors crop up and take the place of SERP leaders.

The Variables Involved in SEO Strategy

SEO is a vast domain, and there are a lot of variables to keep track of just to stay relevant. Let’s take a look at some of these and how they’ll affect your website’s SERP.

  • Age of Your Domain and Website: The older your domain is, the more time Google or any other search engine has had to crawl through it. You will see many people looking for “aged” domains just because search engines know these exist and they’ll have a better chance of being indexed.
  • Website Design: Websites with great user experiences are favoured by Google. A crucial part of your SEO strategy should be to weed out any bad design elements on your website. This requires skill and time to get right.
  • Reaction to Trends and Regular Content: Your website should be constantly updated with fresh content so that it’s on the radar of the search engines. Trends are also something to keep in check as they bring up new keywords and if your website reacts to popular keywords, search engines will take notice.
  • User Activity on Website: If users are spending a lot of time on your website, it means they’re getting what they came looking for. It also sends good signals to a search engine as it shows your website has relevant content.

A combination of the variables discussed above will determine how well you fare in the search rankings. Keep in mind that keeping track of these variables is a time-consuming process.

Not sure where your website is at with search engine optimization? Get an instant online SEO report (link opens in a new window)

For example, you may find that a website design flaw is causing visitors to leave your website. That may take some time to fix and those users may take time to come back. This will have to be repeated until you find the perfect fix that keeps visitors on your website for longer.

This is what it takes to implement a successful SEO strategy for any website. SEO isn’t a single process; it consists of many smaller but equally important processes that need to be executed efficiently and effectively in order for the overall strategy to be successful.

Any SEO expert worth their salt will inform you of these factors and give you a realistic timeline to see progress in your website’s SERP performance. Agencies that promise you swift results are looking to make a quick buck and obviously don’t care about their reputation.

Why SEO is Worth It

Now that we’ve seen the effort that goes into executing a successful SEO strategy, we can appreciate the time it takes for the strategy to show results. But in the end, is such a time-consuming process really worth it? Let’s take a deeper look at why it is.

People Use Search Engines to Get Content

SEO matters, and it’s more important now than ever. Google alone processes 40,000 searches a second, so it’s obvious that a lot of people are using search engines to find what they need. What’s more, search engines have become very sophisticated and they now favour websites that follow SEO rules responsibly.

Without search engine recognition even if your website has a huge amount of useful content, it won’t be able to reach the end user. At A.P. Web Solutions, we focus on drawing attention to the content you produce. Click here to find out more about our SEO services and find out how you can get a complimentary website analysis.
More importantly, all of your competitors are already using SEO, so you’ll have to use it as well if you want to stay relevant.

It Produces Organic Growth

SEO remains the most sure-fire way of getting real, organic growth of traffic for your website. You might be fine using online ads for some time, but they’ll cost you exorbitant amounts of money after a while and the returns will be diminishing.

SEO, on the other hand, benefits you in two important ways: it increases your SERP ranking and gets you, real followers. These followers are more likely to share your content on social networks which can give your website a huge boost in both traffic and rankings.

This is called organic growth and this is the only viable growth strategy if your website is going to be in business for a long time.

Google Assistant Vs Amazon Alexa: What Voice Search Means For Local Businesses

By Internet Marketing Service, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, seo tips, Voice SEO

voice SEO, voice search engine optimization

Voice search is dramatically shaping the future of search engine optimization (SEO). Marketers should embrace the changes and learn more about voice SEO techniques that are associated with the mobile age.

Bing stated that voice search accounts for up to 25 percent of all organic searches on its platform although this technology is still under development. However, this does not mean that marketers should pay less attention to the voice search, which goes back to the early 2000s when Google began exploring how voice recognition software could apply to its suite of services. Google’s voice searches have increased significantly since 2008.

Research studies revealed that the ability to get faster results is one of the most important motivators for using this type of search. This trend demonstrates how voice search changes the way users find the right content online. Intent plays a major role in voice searches than traditional queries.

Over the years, the technology has evolved and it has been adopted by several tech giants, including Apple that introduced Siri, its voice search application. Although Siri is associated with the iOS, Apple’s operating system, it is an independent application developed by a third party developer. Apple eventually acquired the application and integrated it with the iPhone 4s in 2011.

What’s the Difference? Typed Searches vs Voice Searches

Text-based and voice searches deliver relevant results that are closely linked to the users’ intent. Search engines rely on advanced algorithms to determine the context of the spoken or typed keywords. However, text and voice searches provide varying experiences when it comes to results.

Voice queries are becoming more functional and accurate as voice recognition software evolves. According to a report published by Google, the majority of users turn to voice search for quick queries. These include searching for the nearest restaurant and other queries linked to local search engine optimization. Traditional search is used mainly for complex or sensitive subjects, such as healthcare.

Many people also prefer text-based searches for queries involving adults-only intents. On the other hand, it is rare for users to conduct voice searches when it comes to social media. Experts attribute this trend to concerns surrounding the possibility of voice-enabled technology spying on user activities.

Phrasing, tone and word choice are key factors that differentiate between typed and voice searches. This means search engine marketing (SEM) practitioners need to focus on the vocal communication patterns of their customers. Unlike traditional search queries, voice search typically comes in the form of questions. Users express themselves through natural language.

It’s common for the searches to reflect a conversational tone and the queries are aimed at obtaining quick answers. For this reason, marketers should strive to adapt their voice SEO strategies accordingly. Long-tail keywords play an important role when aiming to attract traffic via voice search. The same applies to optimizing site content for direct answers to common questions posed by user’s queries.

For their part, search engine algorithms have become more accurate when detecting user’s intent thanks to artificial intelligence.

Google Home Assistant Vs Amazon Alexa

Google voice searchAmazon Alexa and Google Assistant provide high-quality products for the living room. It comes as no surprise that the two brands have been hogging the limelight in the digital assistant market. The products are compatible with smart speakers, phones and a wide range of smart home devices.

Google Assistant is powered by advanced artificial intelligence software. It allows users to enjoy an interactive experience when using a Google Home speaker and Android phones. It is Google’s version of Siri.

Alexa works with Amazon’s products like Echo smart speaker and the Fire TV remote control. The digital assistant makes it easier to enjoy added convenience at home or on the go. Users can receive a traffic update or dim the lights using a voice command. Google Assistant and Alexa are both compatible with a wide selection of third-party products designed to promote smart living.

Here’s a real-time graph of interest (based on the number of searches worldwide over the last 12 months) comparing Amazon Alexa vs Google Home:

The technology behind the digital assistants is getting smarter by the day thanks to continuous research and development efforts by Amazon and Google. Many people find Assistant impressive because it offers a more natural experience. Google taps into the vast knowledge derived from its internet search platform to provide an intuitive experience.

As a result, Alexa has been playing catch up and it began showing significant improvements in recent years. Assistant has the ability to answer more questions than Alexa. Advanced artificial intelligence displayed by Assistant is impressive. It can answer complex questions like “When are taxes due in Australia?” The technology can even skip to the next song when the user provides an adverse comment about a track that is playing on Spotify.

Meanwhile, Alexa does not support thumbs up and down, thus spoiling the experience. On the upside, the product has its own set of strengths that users will find useful. The digital assistant allows users to take advantage of short words (wake words) to activate a device. In addition, it offers a number of apps designed to expand functionality. With the apps, users can play music on radio stations, perform guided meditations or peruse recipe books. The features are known as ‘skills’ and users have a choice of more than 25,000.

Google’s version of the ‘skills’ is available in the form of ‘actions.’ However, Assistant offers a limited number of options than Alexa. Users can choose from hundreds of actions.

How Businesses Should Adapt to Voice Search SEO

Voice search has dramatic implications on search engine marketing (SEM) and also presents a challenge to SEO experts. Unlike traditional search queries, voice search does not focus on exact keywords. Instead, users are conversational in tone. This means businesses need to respond to the dynamics of voice search by providing quick answers to user’s questions. Long-tail keywords and FAQ-type content reign supreme.

Marketers should not limit the frequently asked questions (FAQs) sections to a static list. It is important to vary the content to provide accurate and relevant answers that meet the user’s expectations. The approach is beneficial for both traditional and voice search.

The content should be optimized for mobile and voice search since a significant number of internet users connect via mobile devices. Good content performs well on mobile and desktop platforms.

SEO Update Jan 2018 – Google’s Page Speed Announcement

By search engine optimization, SEO News & Updates, seo tips, SEO tools

On 17th January 2018, Google announced an upcoming update that will supposedly come into effect in July 2018 and will affect rankings directly. They are calling it…

“The Speed Update”

Now, page loading speed has been a ranking signal for 4-5 years already. You might have read some of our other articles talking about the importance of faster loading speeds. So why is this important? What has changed?

Well, in total there are more than 200 factors in Google’s algorithm that are “ranking signals” which affect your website’s placement in the search engines. But not all ranking signals are created equal and some of these are far more important than others. So while “page speed” has been a ranking signal for some years, it was rather low on the list and has become more and more important over the last year. And now with this announcement, it safe to say that it has made the Top 10 List.

In other words, fixing your page speed will no longer be optional in the near future if you want to rank. It used to be that a specialist could rank a website without maximizing the website’s speed but this is no longer the case. The last thing you want is to build a great looking website, only to find out people are getting frustrated because it takes too long to load!

fix your page speed SEO update 2018

What exactly is considered “fast” page speed?

We finally have a specific answer from Google. Their current benchmark for fast-loading web pages is…

3 seconds or less

So basically if your site does not load in less than 3 seconds, your rankings will likely take a hit. Google has mentioned the rankings will be affected on mobile devices. But remember that Google is well on their way to moving towards a “Mobile-first index” meaning that their Mobile Index will become primary (which has also been estimated to go fully live in 2018)

When does this Update come into effect? The real deal

Google’s official announcement says July 2018 but we know from history how misleading those dates can be. As it was with the Mobilegeddon update of 2015, it is likely that Google has already started rolling out this update. It is much more practical for them to roll it out over a period of months rather than suddenly in one day.

What can you do about it?

The time to take action is NOW to make your website lightning-fast to load, which secures not only your rankings but provides a better experience for your potential customers and website visitors (thus helping with conversions). Google generally reveals very little information on how to get organic traffic so when they make an announcement like this, it is certainly something you should address.

First things first. You need to know what your site’s current score is.

To check this, go to gtmetrix.com and note the following numbers: PageSpeed Score & Fully Loading Time (in seconds), both highlighted below:

While a grade of B+ or B used to be perfectly fine, your website really needs an A to perform well in 2018 and beyond, with a loading speed of 3 seconds or less.

If your scores are less than that, get in touch with us and we guarantee to boost your Site Speed as high as possible and get that Grade A score.

Don’t Take Shortcuts

If your website is built with WordPress, it can be enticing to simply install a plugin that promises to fix all your page speed issues in an instant with one click. You don’t want to do that! Why?

  1. While there are some plugins that can effectively take care of issues that might be contributing to page speed issues (such as suppressing large images), there’s isn’t a single reliable plugin that can fix ALL those issues.
  2. Plugins create conflicts. The more you install, the more you make your site vulnerable, both in terms of functionality and security.

It is best to do the work manually, especially delicate work like minifying JavaScript & HTML. Getting a plugin to do this sort of work is literally asking for a disaster. So it is best to get your SEO expert involved!

A.P. Web Solutions is an SEO Agency based in Melbourne, Australia and working with local businesses all over Australia to help with getting organic traffic and leads. More information here

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