The Google Site Diversity Update and Your SEO Campaign

Google’s latest update aims to change how their algorithm arranges its search engine results. When people search Google for a term like “women’s shirts,” you would naturally expect them to be met with a slew of results from eCommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart. With the expansive scope of products that these companies offer, it comes as no surprise that users will be directed to at least a few pages from each of these major brands.

This is because Google’s algorithm deals with structured data. Their algorithm is incredibly skilled when it comes to finding the best results for search queries based on the data it has gleaned. Despite this, the algorithm does not always consider the idea of user experience.

When users turn to a search engine to find a product, they aren’t looking for the major brands they already know. Users want variety, and Google has listened. To increase the number of options presented to its users, Google has updated its algorithm to increase diversity in its results.

The biggest impact this update will have is that now, unless they are extremely relevant to the particular search, Google will limit websites to only having two links in their top results. This means that now there is going to be more real estate available on Google’s coveted first page for smaller businesses.

This update is still new and will require further refinement. You may still see the same website occupying multiple positions and Google is working hard to determine when this is appropriate. For example, Amazon deserves more than two links on the first page if the user is searching for information about the company itself, but will only be given two links in relation to a query about a general product.

So how will this affect your business?

More room on the board means it will be easier for smaller brands to achieve these top result rankings. This means that your SEO campaign just became that much more valuable. In light of this news, it’s time to revisit your SEO strategy to make sure your site is a strong contender for these new openings.

This update could also mean that your business will start appearing on the front page, especially if you have been climbing the rankings recently. The vacuum this update has produced means that competing companies will be gunning for these spots as well, so be sure to continue building links and focusing on your keywords if you want to keep your new rankings and the resulting increase in traffic to your website.

Though Google has yet to announce exactly what criteria can result in a business being featured more than twice in the top results, more information on this point might affect future SEO strategies.

 

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Google Algorithm Update: Ranking Shifts from Core Update

On March 12, Google launched an algorithm update that was called to March 2019 Core Update.

An algorithm update is nothing substantial for Google. They make daily updates to their algorithm, sometimes multiple times per day. The results of this algorithm update have been different for users.

The average ranking of a number of websites has shifted during the update. Many users saw either a dramatic increase or decrease in average search ranking for pages at the time of this update.

Google confirmed the update on March 12 and noted that updates to the algorithm are normal and daily, mainly for minor improvements. Broad updates to the core algorithm, like the one on March 12, can lead to more dramatic shifts in ranking for pages. There is no “fix” for this, Google says, and content owners should not make drastic changes in an attempt to fix things that may not be an issue at all.

Through it all, Google puts the focus on rewarding quality content and emphasized that in a thread on Twitter. The algorithms reward good content, so even if the update had an adverse effect on rankings, it does not mean that the content was the reason and that the key focus on content marketing and SEO should remain to produce content that draws an audience and resonates with search engines.

Google also offered guidelines on how their search algorithm works and ways users can experience good results, even with the update. Here are a few of the key areas that matter to Google.

The User

Changes made to Google’s algorithm are not for the websites being listed but for the user. After all, the user is the one who is looking for something using a search engine. The goal for Google is to provide useful results that are relevant to the user searching. Therefore, all search updates and algorithm updates are run through search testing thoroughly before launching.

Engineers at Google do search experiments constantly to see what ideas can be rolled out into a live atmosphere so that Google is providing the most accurate and relevant results. Tests are even run in a live setting at times to confirm that they are ready for launch.

Site Owners

Getting listed on Google is all about being found. That’s what they do, after all. They help publishers and businesses get discovered online. This is why Google also offers tools and advice on how to rank on search engines. There are a number of support documents and videos that can help educate you on Google’s algorithms and ranking. Expert advice is available from both employees and experts outside of Google for assistance.

There are also tools that can indicate troubleshooting or performance and on-site errors for your website with advice on how to fix them so you can build a search-friendly website that performs well and ranks well. It also helps make sure that your website is safe since Google wants to promote websites that are safe and useful to its users.

Access

Google believes in providing open and free information to users and focuses on making that information available. Google’s search results are reflective of the content and opinions that are published on the web, not reflective of their beliefs or opinions.

The goal is to provide information that relates to a search, and sometimes that may include results that match closely with the language used in the search that is biased, has negative practices or may be offensive. These results are not always foolproof either, which is why updates are constantly made to try to get it right and prevent poor results that lack quality or are irrelevant to your search.

While Google made a significant update that resulted in many rankings shifts, it does not mean that you have to change the way you try to rank. Continuing to produce quality content that follows SEO practices is still the way to go.

Optimizing for Online-to-Offline (O2O) Commerce

Online-to-offline commerce has brought online customers to brick and mortar stores. This business strategy uses emails and internet advertisements to entice online customers to come to the physical stores. The strategy is designed to create a seamless shopping experience, bringing the digital store together with the physical location. While online shopping continues to gain popularity, it is estimated that 82.5% of all retail sales will continue to happen as offline sales as late as 2021.

In digital marketing, this means optimization efforts in online marketing campaigns need to address the need for O2O strategies for a lot of eCommerce clients. Omni-channel commerce and multi-channel marketing encompass a broader, retail-specific approach that looks at the way the modern day consumer shops.

81% of shoppers today look at an online store before deciding to make a purchase, even when they choose to go to retail locations. For retailers, this means sales conversions are not so simple. A customer may look at a product on the website and choose not to purchase the item on the website, but it could still have been a sales conversion once the customer gets to the store.

The Basics of O2O

Before creating a complex marketing campaign, it’s important to understand exactly what O2O is and how it differs from traditional cross-platform marketing. A great example of O2O is free shipping on items purchased online to the physical location.

Offering the savings on shipping to customers gets them into the physical store, which could lead to them making a purchase in the store, as well. At the very least, it gets people into the physical location. It also lessens the burden of those looking online but not making the purchase, which can impact the conversion rates of a business. By looking at those transactions as successful conversions, a company can better assess the ROI of their marketing efforts.

Accepting returns at retail locations from purchases made online is another effective way of getting online customers in the door. Essentially, any process or customer experience that can be done either on or offline will increase the presence of customers at both. The easier a company can make the transition for customers, the more often they will make the transition.

When channels are treated as separate entities rather than as facets of the same business, a retailer creates a competitor for themselves. Merging business efforts into one business and customer platform or experience makes it easier on customers and puts more money in the pockets of business owners.

Impact on Major eCommerce

Many customers still enjoy going into a store, touching the merchandise, and often trying products out or on, then walking out with the merchandise in hand. In fact, 70% of millennials still prefer shopping in stores. Major brands in eCommerce noticed this gap and began opening storefronts that addressed the issue.

However, bringing the digital world into the physical locations could be just as important. Nordstrom is one of the largest fashion retailers in the country and has implemented data-driven experiences at retail locations that personalize the shopping experience for customers.

This works by tracking, following, and analyzing online customers. They use the information to decide which products to promote and how to promote them. While that isn’t terribly unique, the way they have brought it into their stores has made for a more personal experience for customers.

There is an opt-in app that pushes the online profile of customers to the salespeople working once they enter the store. This helps real-life workers personalize the shopping experience of in-person customers the way websites push products customers will likely enjoy.

The business model puts the focus on making the most personalized shopping experience for customers, which is one of the most important aspects for most consumers. Whether it is through online channels or at their favorite store, customers want to see the products they most like and have it customized to their unique needs. O2O provides the opportunity for companies to optimize based on this need and encourage returning customers by allowing similar options both on and offline.

shopping online to offline ecommerce

Click and Collect Shopping

In the first half of 2016, it was reported over half of retailers offered click-and-collect shopping services with 72% of customers taking advantage of the option. It seems customers like the ease of looking at products online but still want to have the feeling of walking out of a store with their items. Retail sales through this method have enticed online shoppers that would normally select what they want and check out to look around at what is being offered in-store.

However, instant gratification isn’t what every customer is looking for. In fact, 70% of online customers are happy with the cheapest form of home delivery and wouldn’t be willing to pay more for instant, same-day, or reliable timed delivery. For digital marketers, this means paying attention to the target audience of every client.

While an opt-in app made a more customizable experience for those looking for the higher end experience of Nordstrom, it’s unlikely a customer shopping for toilet paper at the closest store to their house would want the same experience.

Instead, looking at the purchasing trends of the client and their top competitors to customize how O2O is implemented into each business is key. Since customers are looking for an individual experience more often than not, it makes good business sense to treat a business’s specific customers differently than the average consumer.

At Genius eCommerce, we provide relevant industry news for online merchants and vendors to keep them up to date on trends that affect their sales and web traffic.

The Importance of Meta Descriptions for eCommerce SEO

There are many small elements of SEO that can go a long way to getting better rankings and leading people to click through to your website. One of the factors that can be overlooked or undervalued is the use of meta descriptions.

Meta descriptions are the short descriptive blurb that explains the website’s content and products for potential customers that is usually located right below the link. For many eCommerce merchants, this is a place where you can offer a small description of a product, persuading the customer to click on the link and visit your website to potentially make a purchase.

Why are meta descriptions important to SEO? Today, Genius eCommerce will provide the reasoning behind the importance of using meta descriptions to your advantage and how this can help you achieve results. This is who we are and what we do!

Meta descriptions are important to SEO because they are a direct ranking factor. Much like how a keyword should appear early in your headline, you need to make sure your description is relevant to the content on the page. The snippet has to match the information that is being provided on the other side of the link, or you can experience lower results for a lack of matching.

Placing some extra care into your descriptions directly relates to choosing and pushing your keyword strategy. You know what keywords you want to rank for and you can further integrate these words into your strategy by placing them properly in meta descriptions.

Outside of just inserting the right keywords, there are also rich snippets that you can consider as well. Rich snippets include a picture or thumbnail video next to the text of the snippet and the link on the search page. Visuals tend to attract more visitors because they stand out more from the other listings and results on the page. They also are a sign of authority on Google.

In addition to being more bold and attractive to potential customers, rich snippets also help you propose a clear and unique objective, thus giving you a competitive edge. It’s essentially a way for customers to know why you are superior to your competition and ranking higher than they do. Rich snippets put the value of the product out there right away for your customers. These rich snippets can include a link to reviews, the price, the availability and more. The benefit here is that you get, essentially, more accurate analytics because more people are likely to click through and complete a purchase with so much information out there without having to leave the results page. They are only clicking on a result to make a purchase. It helps to increase your click-through rate and makes those clicks even more qualified to become potential customers.

The use of meta descriptions can take your digital marketing and SEO efforts to another level, especially if you are able to give the most effective information up front and use the right keywords so you can build your rankings.

At Genius eCommerce, we know the ins and outs of SEO and the trends that keep it moving in a positive direction. We want our tips to help keep you informed and ready for the changes that happen in SEO over the years. So keep reading the Genius eCommerce blog and stay up to date on all the latest SEO and digital marketing trends and tips.

Why is Local Search and SEO Important?

For every small or medium-sized business, there is a desire to make a local impact within the community as much as there is to have eCommerce success on a national or global level. Local SEO and local search are two tactics that can help achieve this and are important to connecting with a local audience.

Local SEO is search engine optimization that helps promote products and services on a local level to customers in your area that are actively looking for them. Local search typically shows the results when someone types an inquiry that includes the words “near me,” meaning there is a target on the local area or by location. The search engines understand that the searcher wants results that are local and based on location, so it shows those results first.

How do you achieve good rankings in local SEO? There are three key factors: how close you are to the location of the searcher, how relevant you are to the search query and what other customers are saying about your products or services.

Because of these factors, local SEO is not always easy. It can take a lot of effort to get the results you want, but there are some things you can do to improve your local search rankings and make more of a local impact.

Website Localization – To localize your website means to include your location throughout the website. If you have multiple locations, you may create multiple pages to represent your locations. Include the city or region where you are located constantly in your content and throughout the website and get involved locally within the community with events or post any feature articles on community involvement to your website.

Build Citations – By being included on citation websites and business directories, customers will be able to find your business, and your profile will include the business name, location, phone number, and website. Adding more information about your business to business directories improves your search rankings.

local search

Google My Business Listings – Claiming your business on Google My Business is a big step to landing results with search engines. This confirms your businesses location and displays your business on Google services, local search results, and Google Maps.

Reviews – Reviews are already important because they can promote your quality and customer service, but they also serve another purpose. Reviews send signals to search engines that your website and your services are trusted, which improves your website’s overall quality and improves your local rankings.

Backlinks – Getting backlinks from websites that are also trusted is another way to build local SEO. If your website is promoted by a regarded website or in other content like newspapers, blogs or business associations as trustworthy and prominent, it increases the visibility in search results.

Local search is something that is very often targeted and can draw in a lot of new visitors. It can be a great return on investment for you as you work on your SEO to build a better and more impactful website.

Did you find this information and these tips helpful? Continue to learn more about topics such as local search or the latest trends in eCommerce by following the Genius eCommerce blog. At Genius eCommerce, this is who we are and what we do, helping to keep you up to date on trends that are succeeding and what you can do to improve your results.

What is Drop Shipping and Why is it a Trend

Through the course of a year, you will hear about a lot of new trends that emerge in the eCommerce space. One of the trends that will come up in 2019 is drop shipping, a method that many eCommerce merchants are starting to use.

Today, we will look at what drop shipping is and why it is a growing trend in the eCommerce industry.

Drop shipping is a fulfillment method in the eCommerce retail space. The method of drop shipping is that a customer will complete a purchase through an eCommerce merchant. That merchant does not actually carry the item in stock but rather buys it from a third-party and ships it directly to the customer. Rather than owning inventory and trying to move it, the merchant purchases on an as-needed basis, never actually handling the product.

Why is this a growing trend? It is very easy to start using drop shipping and it can help save money. By using drop shipping, you take out a lot of other tasks that can go with the daily grind of running a business that involves retail, even if it is just an eCommerce business. You don’t have to manage a warehouse, you don’t have to worry about packing or shipping, and you don’t have inventory to track.

You can certainly save a lot of money, especially early on because rather than investing a large amount of capital in inventory from the start, you can start an eCommerce business without having to invest a large sum of money.

By not having to purchase inventory or manage a warehouse, you can also avoid a lot of overhead charges. Expenses will always grow as a business gets larger, but by running so much simply through a laptop in a home office, you can still have much less of overhead than a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

People who use drop shipping are also able to sell a much larger range of goods because they don’t need to pre-purchase them. Drop shipping businesses are also capable of being flexible and run in any location and can be easy to scale.

Of course, there are some disadvantages to drop shipping. Margins on products you sell through third-parties can leave low margins and not much of a profit for you, especially if you are just starting out, and the items you list may not always be in stock. Since you won’t be managing a warehouse or keeping inventory, there is no way to be completely certain that an item is always in stock.

drop shipping

Drop shipping is far from a perfect method, but for people who are just starting out and want to begin developing an eCommerce business, it is a great option for allowing someone to jump in without much of a budget. With the right planning and strategy, you can turn your drop shipping business into a success and start profiting from the results.

Did you find this information about drop shipping, a growing eCommerce trend, valuable and informative? At Genius eCommerce, this is who we are and what we do. We stay up to date and keep you informed on the newest and best eCommerce trends so you are in the know.

Keep reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more tips, news, and trends just like this, or reach out to us and let us know what you want to see to keep you informed!

Make Your PPC Landing Pages Great with These Tips

Many businesses start PPC campaigns looking for a quick way to get effective marketing for their business. But getting improved rankings and having a successful campaign is not as simple as putting more money into building results. For a PPC campaign to be successful, you need to have great landing pages.

At Genius eCommerce, we know the importance of links from your ads and your landing pages. Helping to improve eCommerce websites by providing tips on achieving more success in eCommerce is what we do.

Today, let me give you a few tips on things you can do to make your landing pages great and things you should avoid when creating these pages:

Do’s

  • Align Your Headline, Offer, and CTA – Every PPC landing page is going to have a headline, an offer, and a call to action prompting the customer to click and convert. In order to keep all of this in line and focused on one objective, your copy is everything. Put the focus on the customer instead of the business. People love to make that kind of connection with a business and feel as if the information was meant specifically for them. Emphasize the return the customer will get for taking action and what the outcome will be. Keep it simple, too. You don’t need to get too wordy or go over the top with the words you write to connect with a customer. Simple is always better in this case.

  • Give It a Good Design – Design goes hand in hand with copy, so you want to let the two blend together. Your design and images should go with the copy and support it. You need to include pictures that show exactly what it is you are selling or go with the offer you are featuring. Everything needs to be relevant or people are just going to click away and forget about you in an instant. The design and images of a landing page are where you can make an impact and connect with the customer.

  • Include a Video – Have you ever bought a product like an electronic device or a kitchen appliance and wanted to see what it could do before making your purchase? A lot of people want to see something before they buy it. In eCommerce, you obviously don’t get the tangible quality of being able to hold the product, but you can still see it in action in a video. There are many different types of videos you can create to showcase a product, such as a how-to on setup or usage or just a feature video on a product that is hard to describe.

  • Add Testimonials – When you make a purchase, how likely are you to read a review before you complete it? It seems like common practice to read the reviews on a product or service before making a conversion. The reason for this is because it establishes a trust. You wouldn’t hire a plumber or roofer if you didn’t trust them to make the right repairs to your home, so why would you purchase a product from someone you don’t trust? You don’t need to go overboard with the reviews, but placing one or two positive reviews on a landing page can be enough to sway a potential customer to complete a purchase.

Don’ts

  • Don’t Make the Landing Page Do Multiple Jobs – The goal of having someone click from a PPC ad to a landing page is to get them to convert. Too often, people try to get too much out of a landing page before reaching the conversion. The focus should solely be on getting them to achieve the conversion task, so don’t pile on with more objectives on one landing page like reading your latest blog post or information on how to contact you.

  • Limit Distractions – If you want to achieve the singular task, don’t give the customer the temptation to browse. If there are buttons to other links on the site or other sites to make matters worse, you’re inviting the customer to click away from your website without achieving a conversion. So, don’t even allow them to be tempted and keep distractions in navigation bars, footers, and side bars to an extreme minimum.

Looking for more tips on eCommerce websites, trends, news and more? Let Genius eCommerce be your source! We stay up to date on everything in the eCommerce space because it’s who we are and what we do, all to help you get the most out of your online marketing. Check out the Genius eCommerce blog for more.

eCommerce Tip: Think Like Your Shopper

As technology has evolved over the year, shopping has changed. For many shoppers, making a purchase is as simple as pushing a button. The growing change in the business landscape has forced business owners to shift focus to an online presence in the eCommerce world.

This can be a difficult adjustment, trying to put together the best website for your business and be in the best position to have success in the digital space. One way to put yourself on the path to success as a merchant is to put yourself in the shoes of your buyer, to get a better understanding of what an online shopper wants.

The human element in the shopping process is of great importance. A customer needs to be completely convinced by your products or services and base their decision on many factors.

One way to get this perspective is to look at the analytics for your website. What is the age and gender of the visitors to your site? Can you adjust your content to better attract this audience? How many visitors are repeat customers? What are people searching – is it a specific category or product? How much are customers spending on average?

It may seem like a lot to digest, but this information can help give an understanding as to who is coming to your website and why they are coming to you. Knowing your customers and adhering to their needs or listening to their feedback creates a connection between merchant and customer and therefore a trust in your business and products. Having a strong customer relationship breeds better results.

So how can you apply this to creating the best eCommerce website? By understanding your customer or putting yourself in their shoes, you can have a better sense of what will be attractive to customers in a digital space.

Your website should be clean and easy to navigate so that customers can easily find items. Customers want to see crisp, detailed, high-quality images of products. Provide as much information about your products on product pages to try to answer any and all questions the customer may have.

With the development of the eCommerce space, systems are able to assist in everything from inventory management to indexing. Automated indexing is helping to take optimization to the next level. Not only does this indexing help with placement on search engines, these systems can also sort through customer data and customize pages to each individual customer.

Above all, the goal for any business owner is to sell more. With all of these trends and technologies come a new way to achieve that. The personalization of pages on an eCommerce website tailor shopping to the individual, not the mass audience. The individual focus creates a connection with customers, providing a better experience.

This technology also helps with customers who may not complete a purchase immediately. Through the data, the system can recognize when a customer has spent a notable amount of time viewing a certain product. It takes that information, stores it, and retargets customers so that they are reminded of the product.

As the eCommerce space grows, the need for human interaction becomes lesser. Creating a connection through the digital space for the growing population of online shoppers is becoming more and more important. Simply having an understanding of how a digital shopper thinks and feels and knowing the ways to have your store be able to recognize the data and cater to individual customers will go a long way in your success in eCommerce.

Square to Acquire Weebly

eCommerce flows through every market possible, and that only seems to be snowballing. Square Inc. is a company that performs an oddity within all markets: massive success primarily through brick-and-mortar businesses. That’s quite an impressive feat, but it makes sense! This new form of payment brings the digital world to business and personal transactions in a way that other similar platforms have simply failed to do.

Square announced last week that they had “entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Weebly,” paying “a mix of cash and stock of approximately $365 million.” Square is already an impressively lucrative business, and this is a big move that business owners should pay attention to. Weebly offers a website platform filled with pre-made templates that allow businesses to create a better-made website, and free and premium plans offered, it’s quite popular. In fact, Weebly touts itself as being the “highest rated website building mobile app in the App Store and Google Play.” That’s no joke of a purchase!

Competition in the Market for Cheap eCommerce Platforms

What does this mean for eCommerce? The intention is to allow merchants to create an omnichannel business in which the combined tactics of Square and Weebly will be utilized. Once again, brick and mortar and eCommerce matchup in a huge way; this promises to become a pivotal platform for business owners everywhere. With Square’s customer base expanding through Weebly’s efforts, and Square’s incredible software flowing into Weebly’s typical services, global expansion is on its way.

This isn’t the first time that Square has delved into other markets; the acquisition of Caviar and Zesty come to mind. Weebly has been honing its sights on small businesses and eCommerce while maintaining the intuitive platform for individual use. One of Weebly’s few competent competitors? Ironically, Squarespace. Luckily, Square offers the potential for Weebly that Squarespace may not be able to keep up with.

Is Weebly Right For You?

Although Weebly may come off as a savior for those who are on a low budget, it isn’t a place to remain. Weebly offers a simple interface and intuitive user experience to those who cannot build their own website or small businesses that do not have the funds to start up. Once these funds are acquired, however, it is imperative to a business’s success to move to a better platform.

If you’re thinking about making the switch from your Weebly site, it’s time to consider what BigCommerce, Shopify, Volusion, Magento, and plenty of other better eCommerce platforms could do for you. Need help finding one? Stay tuned to Genius eCommerce for a thorough explanation of the benefits and downsides of each eCommerce platform!