Thinking

This month we’ve been working with Healthy Back Bag to identify areas of improvement for their website. Built with Drupal Commerce, the current site was launched in 2014 with the client wanting to identify the impact/£ contribution of certain parts of the site, general areas for improvement, pain points in the purchase process and make the case for any changes with supporting evidence.

Starting with a deep-dive through their Google Analytics account we were able to identify under performing areas and areas of opportunity to look into further. With areas of focus to hone in on, we applied visitor heat mapping, screen recordings and qualitative user data to better understand the interactions and customer journeys being taken.

The result was an actionable report, backed up with data, which highlighted the issues and provided recommendations for each section. In some cases there were fresh ideas while other parts gave validation to what had been suspected, giving the company to move forward with confidence with proposed changes.

An e-commerce website is going to struggle to be profitable long-term unless it has solid SEO underpinnings. What SEO trends should you be looking at including in your e-commerce strategy?

SEO Technology

Some platforms benefit from excellent SEO within a few clicks. Take the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress as an example – for free (or a small cost for the premium option) your website will be equipped with the functionality to manage content analysis, canonical links, XML sitemaps, redirects etc. Sure, you need to know what you’re doing to configure it, but the functionality is there for minimal investment, which as custom development would require a fair amount of investment.

If your website is built using a current, established platform it is likely that there is an extension or plugin to quickly enhance the technical search performance of your site.

Long-form Content

At it’s worst e-commerce content is plagued by copy/pasted manufacturer content. A unique rewrite better. Long-form content best!

Providing full detail in long-form content, from an SEO perspective, builds up valuable long-tail keyword variations. The content perhaps becomes more conversational, in a world where voice search is on the increase. From a consumer perspective it’s important to ensure the key buying points are not buried in a wall of copy, and the page is laid out mindfully to reach customers who know what they want and those who do need that extra detail.

Blogs provide the perfect vessel for detailed content, product comparisons and insight that are beyond the scope of a product page.

Sharing

Social media isn’t new but nor is it slowing as the platforms look for more ways for marketers to reach their audiences. If you can coax your users to share any part of your story – be it product news, activity, unboxings etc. you’ll be reaching a further like-minded audience via social channels leading to the possibility of link building and positive social signals. Try and encourage sharing into your purchase process – a post-purchase email could request a review or photos of their proud new purchase.

Video

Engagement with video outperforms all other content. Google is also including video much more readily in the search results pages. From an e-commerce perspective, a specific product search will oftentimes include video among the organic results. It’s no coincidence that the companies ranking organically for their website may be doubling up their visibility with video content – they know it’s important to invest in video as part of a rounded SEO strategy.

Mobile Optimisation

Optimising your site, whether through a separate site or preferably a responsive design has been on the table for 5+ years. So what’s new? Last year Google gave a ranking boost to mobile friendly websites in the mobile search results, rather than churning out the same search results regardless of device. This is a good thing!

Don’t expect Google to be done with satisfying itself with a few mobile checks. Work on delivering the best mobile experience possible and ensure that your return to search metric doesn’t see your site shuffling down because you’re not delivering compared to the competition. Remove what doesn’t need to be seen, scale interface elements to make them finger friendly, ensure desktop functionality translates to mobile.

Voice Search

Siri, Alexa and Google Now are all taking voice inputs and attempting to match web results with your conversed query. If you’ve geared up your SEO strategy around chasing 2-3 word keyword phrases it’s time to go wide and go deep to cover your long-tail query bases, perhaps with more colloquial, conversational tone. You will see a benefit from text based search queries too.

7lb 4oz – OK so there might be a wait until this little one can start wiggling a mouse, drilling into data and providing valuable insights but we’re thrilled to welcome a new member to the team.

If you’re selling physical products, Facebook is proving itself to be a must-have advertising channel. Whether you’re yet to dip a toe in the water or you’re an old-timer, we’re seeing the number of competitors jumping in ramping up. So how do you get the edge?

My work at Nanigans involves studying performance and ad spend data across the hundreds of brands that use our advertising automation software — many of which are among the largest e-commerce advertisers, both domestically and internationally. Recently, both the data and signals from Facebook have pointed to several important trends e-commerce marketers need to take into account as they continue to shape their 2016 advertising strategy.

Facebook Mobile

Another think of all the mobiles post… It’s undeniable – Facebook users clearly love accessing their newsfeed while on the go resulting in CTRs for e-commerce ads are now 200% higher than desktop. It’s obvious to suggest that your site needs to be up to the job to carry out a mobile transaction efficiently too. Check responsiveness, test customer journeys and look at payment methods to get the most from your Facebook mobile traffic.

Dynamic Product Ads

Retarget customers with related products and convert basket abandonment with automatically populated carousels, personalised with your products.

While not appropriate for every e-commerce business, advertisers that have adopted DPA have seen noticeable improvements in performance compared with their ads using website custom audience (WCA) — a legacy means of targeting specific users on Facebook.

Return on ad spend has increased across the board for clients using DPA compared to custom audiences.

Facebook Audience Network Expansion

At the start of 2016 Facebook expanded the reach of their network to include mobile websites, not just apps. This change better places Facebook e-commerce ads in front of more relevant audiences where they are browsing rather than in the middle of using an app to complete a task or eclipsing a high score!

 

Video

Facebook has been pushing video as a content source for engagement and it’s much the same for advertising, as the fastest growing format for e-commerce. Video ads have helped to lift conversion and increase return on ad spend.

 

Brands often struggle when it comes to “brand messaging” and being part conversation. Social marketers will often keep their eyes on emerging news stories, with the Trending hashtag section on Twitter for example, but the challenge is to then work out how your brand fits into the conversation.

Sadly for someone at Homebase this morning, they didn’t quite think it through…

 

Homebase #RIPPRINCE Tweet

Following coverage on the Daily Mail, The Sun, Mashable to name just three outlets, I feel for the person who did make an ill-judged tweet. This example goes to show

  1. Social media is social – people will comment and let you know very publicly when you get it wrong.
  2. Social media training and guidelines can provide a framework as to how your brand avoids these situations, and if it does go awry how to handle it!
  3. Shoehorning marketing into conversations is usually best avoided. There are times when it works, as a guide if it makes people laugh it could work.
  4. Don’t just throw in hashtags to attempt to gain visibility. Be relevant.