Six Common Ecommerce SEO Mistakes

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Search PlayerIncorporating a strong SEO strategy into the design of an ecommerce website can greatly improve its chances of success. For an online shop to succeed, customers must be able to easily find it using a search engine. Whether you’re using an expensive SEO consultant or simply relying on a subscription ecommerce platform, you’ll want to take heed of the following common mistakes made by ecommerce websites.

1. Not Including Product Descriptions
High quality photos are essential for ecommerce websites, but if there is no accompanying description the product stands a low chance of being picked up by search engines. Be sure to add descriptions to each product in order to help give each product page an SEO boost. In addition to the description itself, the navigation, text, sidebar, and footer all count towards the final word count. With unique, descriptive content you can help market your wares while becoming more visible by the search engines.

2. Duplicating Product Descriptions
One common mistake that ecommerce sites make is copying the manufacturer’s product description word-for-word, usually in an attempt to avoid making mistake #1. While this will give you an accurate product description, it can work against you in the end. If your site uses the same manufacturer description, there’s a high chance that other rivals are doing the same. This creates the problem of duplicate content. Either rewrite the description, or add your own editorial underneath it. The same rule goes for listing your products on 3rd party sites such as Amazon or eBay. If you use the same content that appears on your website, you’ll run into the problem of duplicate content.

3. Lack of Related Content
Product descriptions are a mainstay of any ecommerce website, but they are not the only facet of ecommerce SEO to pay attention to. Many buyers are interested in finding out more about your products and company. Include information about your business’s history, along with shipping and return policies. Keeping a business blog is an easy way to rejuvenate your site with fresh content, as is opening up the site to customer reviews.

4. Using Non-Targeted URLs
You may have beautifully written unique content on your ecommerce site, but what about your URLs? If these are a jumble of letters and numbers it can not only be confusing for visitors, but it misses out on a chance to incorporate keywords into a clean, descriptive URL.

5. Not Targeting Content to Keywords
As you work on revising your content, it’s helpful to keep the keywords that your customers are typing into search engines in mind. These can be easily followed using analytics tools and are important for promoting the right terms for your audience. Keywords and search terms can also be incorporated into your off page SEO strategy. When you create content that links back to your main website, if it includes these same keywords it will draw in the type of readers who would be interested in your shop.

6. Not Using Robots.txt
Using the robots.txt file gives ecommerce website owners a way to give instructions to search engine spiders. This helps you make sure that you have control over which pages you wish to be indexed and which you don’t. For example, you can use robots.txt to block areas of the website with duplicate content, such as tags or archives. Not using this can hinder your SEO presence.

By avoiding these six common mistakes, you can improve your ecommerce website’s chances of standing out from the crowd online.

ABM Study: The impact of B2B media on purchase decisions

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It is one of these questions many B2B marketers would love to get an answer: How many of the B2B business professionals that can be reached by B2B media and live events are involved in purchasing decisions or supplier selections?

Well, a recent study by American Business Media’s “Value of B-to-B” report, which was based on 6,682 responses from business professionals, 74 marketers and 111 business publishers and released Wednesday, gives an answer: Of those purchase business decision makers responding to the survey 74% can be reached by B2B media and live events.

The web plays a critical role here. The study states that 87% of those use industry-related websites on their customer journey and research in the decision making process. What they predominantly use is print magazines (65%), industry conferences and trade shows (58%) and e-newsletters (55%).

ABM B2B Resource Usage 2013

However, we all think the world is completely digital these days, the study makes clear that 74% use both digital and traditional media to get latest best practices and get the right information for their business. The industry-related focus of the print publications is relevant for (68%) as they spend more time with those publications than with mainstream business or consumer publications.

PS: There are good signs for the media industry, too. Almost half of the responding marketers (45%) expected an increase in B2B advertising budgets for the next 12 months.

Mobile & Responsive Design: Hype or Hope? (Infographic)

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It is a dream for many people responsible in the developer field: Creating a mobile app once, without the need to amend it for any screen, any device or any audience. Responsive web design is said to be able to deliver just that – one size design fits all kind of a thing. But is it really true?

In days where more than 20% of all web traffic is generated via leading e-commerce websites coming from mobile devices, responsive web design is becoming an alternative many developers are thinking about. Not surprising, right?! The unique screen resolutions has been growing from 97 in 2010 to 232 in 2013. For those retailers that wanted to rise the number of online shoppers alongside with the growth of screens coming via not desktop resolutions, responsive design became a new and attractive option.

For the marketing and web optimization guys from Monetate, it seems there is only one real alternative if companies don’t believe in their customers to download their mobile app: responsive web design. Still, mobile shopping is not a hype anymore, it has become the real revenue driver in e-commerce. There is an expected $38.8 billion spend on smartphones and tablets according to eMarketer in America in 2013 which is forecasted to grow up to $108.6 billion by 2017.

However, brands might argue that the development is not cheap at all. If you see another alternative or have the proof that responsive design is not the only alternative, let us know…

Responsive-Web-Design-Infographic

Survey: Most CMOs and eCommerce execs lack understanding of the mobile experience

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Harald Wanetschka  / pixelio.de

Harald Wanetschka / pixelio.de

Mobile is dividing the marketers world. While some say, it is critical to their business objectives, two-thirds admit that they don’t have a strong understanding of the mobile-user experience. This is the main finding of a recent IBM Tealeaf study amoung 582 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and e-commerce leaders. For most companies it is clear how customers behave during the initial awareness stages of the sales funnel. Still, they lack understanding around the purchase stages and the reasons behind cart abandonment.

The study “Reducing Customer Struggle 2013″ conducted by Econsultancy shows that marketers now attribute 19% of their total website traffic to mobile devices. Delivering positive customer experience is for 40% of respondents a bigger challenge that on the Web. Herein, bad navigation, small screen sizes and difficulty completing forms were seen as the most serious mobile challenges.

Experiencing a poor custmer experience results for 89% of respondents in working with a competitor. But it seems marketers start understanding the omni-channel customer as they are turning to big data and digital analytics in order to better provide a better mobile experience. And some seem to be real experts in the mobile field: 7% of businesses indicate they have an “excellent” understanding of the overall online customer experience.

The integration of online and offline is still a struggle for most businesses. Most marketers know that information about offline locations, contact details and opening hours on their website is key. But when it comes to establishing a social presence for offline products or services and mobile or local search engine optimization, 93% of the repondents could not get the visibility into individual customer engagement via digital channels.

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Seeing their lack in understanding the modern mobile culture, 73% of companies surveyed plan to increase investment in online channels this year. Not surprisingly as mobile is making its way to generate results even in mobile advertising. 6.9bn USD in mobile subscriptions globally seem to be an argument and make 72% invest more in mobile channels. 53% will increase their invest in social. Interesting though that the value of social listening is for most seen ineffective but still they agree social gives insight into what is working and what is not. The looser seems to be offline. More than two-thirds of marketers indicated they either plan to decrease or maintain the same level of investment in offline channels such as stores, shops and branches.

Mobile Advertising: Performance gets better, and Google takes 50% of revenue

18.06.2013 von  
Kategorie Mobile

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mobile-webThere are different views on why mobile advertising is performing. However, some new studies might spread some light: one form TNS and one from SessionM which did their study in cooperation with Millward Brown. The study SessionM published today shows that consumers react positively twice as often to mobile ads… but only as long as they get some value out of it.

Mobile banners are most used from smartphone owners when they get a gift card, coupon, events tickets or loyalty points. Although this gives some good insight in the ranking of the preferred mobile engagement options, consumers want to know what benefit they get out of the digital experience. It means that marketers need to be clever and having some good approach. The surveyed consumers replied that the way mobile ads are presented was crucial to their feedback.

The study makes clear that the mobile strategies need to be clear to the consumer, said Lars Albright, CEO of SessionM: “The questions are, ‘What value am I bringing to the consumer?’ And, ‘How am I doing it?’” It asked 1,000 consumers in a digital survey, as well as a dozen participants in each four hour interviews. 93% of respondents said they had the opportunity to choose a reward in exchange for their smartphone time was “important”. This comes as no surprise after the latest Adobe study telling us that often digital advertising is found “annoying”.

The difference between rewards-based mobile ads and different types of on-the-go promos was that rewards-based mobile ads performed better for purchase consideration (+65), the brand in brand interaction (+14%), branded website traffic (+13%), web searches (+8%), in-store shopping for the brand (+6%), and approaching the brand’s social media pages (+5%). Obviously, the user can be handled and does not always see banners as “annoying and invasive”.

Finally, while a lot of industry players see location-based services as the key to mobile’s future, Joline McGoldrick, research director at Dynamic Logic, Millward Brown’s digital practice, spoke about how interest-level marketing can be a huge help to the space. “Targeting is getting better in mobile,” Joline McGoldrick, Research Director at Dynamic Logicsaid, “but it is still not perfect.”

eMarketer 2013Now, although mobile ad revenue is far from reaching big amounts of ad spendings, many marketers see it as a growth area. Whatever the number that is attached to total mobile ad revenue worldwide is, Google is the leader with over half of surveyed people according to eMarketer. And if you see the numbers it seems that Gogle is still not happy with the budget chunk they do get, reaching out for more it seems. But also Facebook investors will see some light at the end of the tunnel with mobile ads on the rise. However, Google might like the competition but all that market dominance simply making way for some more challenging competition.

It will be interesting to see who will come up as the leader in this cmpetition, who can compete with Google in general, and will Google continue to grow their business? You tell us your views….

Study: Digital advertising found “annoying and invasive”

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Sometimes studies bring some flashback to your mind. This time it was some study results that reminded me of two of my four moderations of the dmexco Night Talks.

In a recent country comparison study by Adobe half of the respondents made clear that digital advertising is distracting, invasive and annoying – in the UK less than in Germany and France though. The study which asked 1,750 marketers and 8,750 consumers across the UK, France and Germany, shows that two out of three users find TV campaigns still more important than online ads (US 66%, UK 70% and Germany 67%). Consumers even responded online ads were “annoying” (US 68%, UK and Germany 62%), “invasive” (US 38%, UK 45% and Germany 17%) and “distracting” (US 51%, UK 44% and Germany 31%).

Mark PhibbsThere is still some negative perception of digital advertising that the repondents described in their feedback. However, web ads came in the top three preferred advertising tactics in the UK. In France print magazines (31%), billboards (24%) and TV ads (23%) were the leading three categories. For Germany, print magazines were also the leader with (28%), billboards (23%) and window displays (21%) came in second and third. In the UK 39% favoured print magazines, 23% TV ads, and 12% websites.

Some weeks ago, I have been interviewing Mark Phibbs, VP Marketing EMEA at Adobe on the dmexco hot chair in Cologne. Nice seeing some statements on the study from him:

“Some digital advertising is failing to hit the mark. While digital provides great promise, often it is not being delivered in an emotionally compelling or targeted way.”

Adobe Banner Ads not wanted

The storytelling boom was again also highlighted in this study. Even in the ad world content plays an important role. 68% of UK users responded that ads should tell a unique story which mentioned John Lewis and Guiness as good examples. One of the main ingredients should be the humour factor of the story. Funny is the driver for happiness, and outplaces “sexy” ads (92% thought so).

“We think online advertising can learn from traditional advertising in three ways. Is it beautiful and eye-catching? Is it integrated? Do consumers have control over it? Creative agencies have had decades to get traditional advertising right. It’s not wholly surprising that online and digital isn’t resonating to the same degree – not only is it still relatively in its infancy as an advertising channel, but the digital landscape and the corresponding opportunities for brands are constantly changing,” said Phibbs.

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The study also made clear that targeted banner ads based on programmatic buying in Social Media like i.e. in Facebook could be “creepy” (76%). Even more, 49% would like a dislike button in Social Media for it. Again this reminded me on my last dmexco Night Talk moderation in Munich when I could ask Scott Woods, Commercial Director Facebook DACH, how it can come that I get banners for social networks 60+ years old people. Facial recognition (do I look so old)? Bad programming? Bad automation or bidding process? Maybe the people behind? The answer was “Well, technology can only do what it is capable of!” Fair enough… It seems we will have to live with that weakness for some time.

dmexco Night Talk Munich 2013

Study: Social networks eat up most time of web usage

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It is a question many marketers ask themselves on a daily basis: “Where do users browse when they are on the Internet?” A recent study by Experian is spot on here. It reveals that people spend most time browsing social media platforms. Entertainment websites (9%) and shopping (5%) as well as business and checking emails are following with each one achieving 3% are coming in the following places.

The research was checking peoples’ browsing habits in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. By distilling the overall Internet browsing time from 2012 into one single hour, the study found out that respondents spend 27% of every hour on social networkings. The U.S. was the leading country with 16 minutes per hour, followed by Australia 14 minutes and United Kingdom with 13 minutes. However, the time spend with social sites is overall a bit decreasing compared to 2012.

However, the figures vary depending on what device respondents were using. When respondents were on mobiles, they tend to spend the most time working on email. Again, the U.S. spent about 23% of every hour being busy on email on mobile devices in the first quarter or 2013, then closely followed by browsing social-networking, entertainment, shopping, and travel sites. Still, when using a personal desktop, people will most likely spend over a quarter of their time browsing social sites,

Experian Email Study 2013

“With smartphones and tablets becoming more powerful, our data clearly indicates the difference between mobile and traditional desktop usage further enabling the ‘always on’ consumer mentality. Marketers need to understand these differences, as well as regionally, to ensure campaigns can be tailored for better and more effective engagement.” Bill Tancer, General Manager Global Research, Experian

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The desktop finds it’s end as we all know, and social media is the driver. Mobile emails get read more than emails seen from desktop, states some new benchmark report data from Informz. For this study in 2012, the company analyzed 1 billion emails from 800 associations. In fact, the study made clear that more links, shorter headlines, focussed lists and flexible send-outs are key to drive awareness to the email newsletters. If we bring these two studies together, we will understand the close connection between mobile and social.

Facebook/IDC study finds, email top activity on smartphones

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Some say, email is a dead media, some know it is not. At least not on smartphones in the U.S… For American adults email is still the most common activity on smartphones. In the second place comes Web browsing, closely followed by using Facebook. This is the result of the “Always Connected” study from IDC. The study is based on feedback from more than 7,400 iPhone and Android users between 18 and 44 years old.

IDC Facebook Email top 2013These are the main findings of the study….
- 78% check email on smartphones
- 73% browse websites
- 70% using Facebook in some way
- 131 minutes per day communicating on their smartphones
- about 33 minutes of the above are spend on Facebook.

Now, it has to be mentioned that the study was sponsored by Facebook. The study supports the fact how important Facebook is for the communication via smartphones. It also makes clear how much time users of social networks spend their daily time when they are out on the streets, at work, at shopping or following sports activities. Obviously, most of the time is spend on Facebook – in eight different activities, people responded that they are almost 4-5 times more likely to be on Facebook than using Twitter or LinkedIn.

IDC Facebook Facebook Twitter LinkedIn comparison 2013

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The value of the study can in some way put into question, although we have seen many studies in the last years that demonstrate the importance of direct one-to-one communication on Facebook and the mobile use of Facebook. Another study by Localeze/15miles/comScore Local Search found that not email but search is the main activity of the mobile users. However, the approach of the study was different. It looked at people not only in the 18-44 years range and it proved the use of smartphones and tablets. there must be a reason why Facebook sponsored this study. I would not be surprised if they will publish some new mobile advertising opportunities soon.

Study Mobile Search: How it drives activities and conversions online and offline

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We all experience on a daily business how mobile devices are changing our world. Mobiles become more and more our shopping companion, and with it mobile search becomes more and more popular to satisfy our needs. Google and Nielsen cooperated in a recent report to illustrate where and how people use mobile search, and what purchasing behaviour results from it.

Most mobile search activities happen in the afternoon and evening. However, the activities happen at home (68%) and not from “on-the-go” (17%). The driver for the activity is 81% the need for “speed and convenience”. Funnily enough people believe that doing a mobile search at home is easier than opening the computer (83%).

Google mobile search drives on and off

Concerning the types of mobile search, it varies still. People tend to do food and shopping “in-stores” versus finding travel information which is done from their office or while on-the-go. The interesting finding for marketers is that these searches drive users to do additional activities. 73% trigger additional actions after doing their mobile search.

Google mobile search triggers

The study makes clear that mobile searches are pushing fast online and offline activities. More than half of all mobile users do call a business, make a purchase and visit a store in the short time-period of only one hour. Furthermore, mobile searches becomes more and more impactful for businesses. Mobile searches trigger consumers for additional actions and conversions (73%). The respondents of the study also visited a retailer’s website (25%), shared information (18%) and visited a store (17%).

Google follow-up activities mobile search

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Although this study might have some Google touch, the reports offers some good insight into the offline and online world and how it gets driven by mobile search. We should not be surprised to get further new mobile products from Google for users (mobile value-add) as well as for marketers (mobile ad products).

Which products would you like to see from Google for mobile search that don’t exist yet?

Study: Consumers prefer mobile apps to mobile websites

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After yesterdays moderation of the dmexco Night Talks in Hamburg on “Mobile – The new first screen”, a recent study grabbed my attention this morning. It makes clear that users really are more into apps rather than mobile websites. According to the findings of the global study from Compuware Corporation, a technology performance company, 85% of consumers responded that they prefer mobile apps over mobile websites.

Although the latest InMobi study gives insights how people react to mobile advertising and why apps get into the centre of attention of the mobile user, the study from Compuware states that the reason why apps become so popular these days. The respondents said that they are “more convenient, faster and easier to navigate.” Furthermore, it adds some more findings…

“Mobile applications are thought to make life easier by streamlining calendars and grocery lists (…) offering entertainment while in line and making it easy to collaborate with co-workers. Consumers now associate apps with banking, paying bills, shopping, booking hotels and travel, as well as with staying productive and connected with both home and office tasks.”

The 3Rs of the social customer also become apparent in the choice of which apps will be downloaded to their mobiles. 84% of users say app store ratings are important in their decisions to download and install a mobile app. And there are some obvious reasons how apps need to deliver in order to be be benefitial…
- Easy access to product and store information
- Help planning and navigating trips
- The ability to communicate in real time

However, the benefits seem quite clear, there are also some complaints about mobile apps. The mobile users mentioned that they had…
- 62% a crash, freeze or error.
- 47% slow launch times.
- 40% an app which just would not launch.

Still tolerance is high when the app does not work immediately. 79% said, they would retry a mobile app only once or twice if it failed to work the first time. Still, companies and brands should be aware that the competitor is not too far away with their mobile app offering.

Compuware - Consumer reaction to bad apps

“With consumers expecting greater experiences with mobile apps now more than ever, fulfilling those expectations doesn’t just happen — it takes a conscious effort throughout every stage of the design and development process to get it right. Performance is a crucial contributor to providing a dependable mobile app user experience, so performance should be considered a key driver in the design process. Mobile applications need to focus on a core utility, and they need to be fast and reliable in order to be valuable.” Stephen Pierzchala, Technology Strategist, Compuware APM Center of Excellence.

It would be interesting to get your expectation on a good mobile app or website? What is your normal reaction when mobile apps don’t deliver to your expectation?

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