By Rob James
A few years ago, it was common practice for businesses and Search Engine Optimisation marketers to use automated link building to increase links to their sites, with the aim of boosting a websiteâ€™s PageRank in Google. However, with Google clamping down on â€˜black hatâ€™ SEO strategies in their Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, automated link building isnâ€™t going to do your business many favours; instead, itâ€™s better to focus on â€˜white hatâ€™ and organic SEO to get the most out of search.
Primarily, automated link building is all about quantity, whereby you run software and join directories to multiply the number of backlinks to your page – blog comments, and filling blogs with low quality repeated content could also enable a single website to generate large numbers of links. However, while this might be an effective method for building up a pageâ€™s ranking, automated link building is less invested in getting good quality links from relevant sites, and has been increasingly punished by Google.
The main problem that Google has with automated link building is that it can effectively represent a form of spam – multiple links from low quality sites, or spamming comments boards with links, and posting content with awkwardly placed content distorts the actual relevancy of a page for users. In this context, your business may have a high search ranking, but not one thatâ€™s necessarily made up of the right kinds of associations.
Googleâ€™s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates were consequently designed to prevent PageRank, the main Google algorithm, from being manipulated. Panda has received 24 updates since February 2011, and crawls pages for low quality features and links to duplicate content – the emphasis with Panda is on duplicated and â€˜thinâ€™ content, where the use of links isnâ€™t contextually motivated, and closer to spam.
By comparison, Google Penguin, introduced in April 2012, comes down even harder on automated link building through directories – if you have a portfolio of links that are mostly from link farms and other low quality sites, then Penguin will ignore or rank these links as less relevant. Itâ€™s not perfect, but it means that Penguin is going to punish your ranking if you have too many links from low quality pages.
So, what kind of actions can you take to improve your SEO without automated link building? The most straightforward method is to focus on creating original content, and on getting high quality guest posts on blogs and pages that arenâ€™t going to get singled out by Penguin – while there are ongoing questions about how effective Google can be at identifying the right pages to disregard, itâ€™s clear that businesses will have to spend more time on creating great content.
Itâ€™s also important to optimise existing content and pages, and to ensure that your HTML and CSS on pages is clearly set up to ensure that they can be picked up by search engines; moreover, businesses can do their SEO a big favour by investing in social media content, which can be easily shared and recommended via social toolbars and buttons. The more organic links that you get from high ranking, trusted sites, the higher the chance will be that Google will increase the value of your own website.
By Brian Taylor
Optimizing the SEO on your e-commerce website is vital to selling more product. It will help your pages rank better on the search engines and keep prospective buyers on your pages longer, increasing conversions and sales. With that in mind we have put together a list of steps that you can use to optimize your e-commerce site’s SEO.
Read them, use them and watch them help increase your revenues greatly.
Concentrate more on each product page
Every single product that you have should have its own product page where as many questions can be answered as possible. It will need a great description, a unique title tag and unique description tags as well. Not only that but it should have relevant internal and external links and have all the social media sharing buttons as well so that it can be â€˜sharedâ€™ online. Think of every product page as its own website and make sure that:
- As many questions are answered about the product as possible so that a customer doesnâ€™t have to â€˜leaveâ€™ the page to finds an answer.
- All technical specs about the product are included on the page.
- The product title, the manufacturer of the product and the SKU are text, not images.
Take advantage of category and brand pages
These pages are very important. The average person is not going to be very specific when they first start searching for something online. For example, they wonâ€™t search for a â€˜Honda Civic DL Sedanâ€™ they will search for a â€˜mid-sized carâ€™ and then refine their search as they go. If you have a well done category page with all the possibilities listed someone whoâ€™s searching will be taken to the category page first and then be able to refine their search right on your website without leaving. These so-called â€˜umbrella pagesâ€™ need to:
- Have all the basic info for each product.
- Have a descriptive category title on page and META.
- Include at least a paragraph of content describing them to help prospective customers know whatâ€™s being shown as specifically as possible.
Create unique categories to group products
Even though you already have everything listed on your website you should create unique categories to be able to attract even more attention to specific items, like sale items at the end of summer for example. Most e-commerce sites wonâ€™t make a new page for â€˜bikinis on saleâ€™ but instead just make a â€˜noteâ€™ on the existing webpage that theyâ€™re on sale.
Better to create an entirely new category (and page) to display these items so that they wonâ€™t be scattered all over your site but will all be grouped and found in one location.
Heavily incentivize user reviews
This may be the most important step. User reviews are the life-blood of many e-commerce websites. Just like positive reviews about movies will have people lining up at the theater for a new flick, positive user reviews will attract people to your site through SEO. And once they land, they will help persuade them to make a purchase.
The best thing you can do to get reviews is to give your customers an incentive to leave one like an extra discount or something similar. The more reviews the better and, if possible (and it is possible) they should be placed on the product page itself for even more selling power.
If you follow these steps your website will attract, convert and sell more products so donâ€™t hesitate to start using them all ASAP and watch as your sales and revenues start to increase.
By Rebekah Griffiths
â€¨â€¨Itâ€™s clear that the internet is becoming an increasingly important aspect of everyday life. From watching the latest TV shows and films to shopping for food and the latest fashion trends, millions of people all over the world connect on a daily basis. This means that by making the most of a strong online presence, perceptive business owners are able to easily tap into a national or even global market. Statistics in recent years have pointed to the eruption of e-commerce; in the U.S. alone, online sales grew from around $70bn back in 2002 to well over $250bn dollars today.â€¨â€¨
What does it mean for businesses?
â€¨â€¨With such a huge and active audience available, todayâ€™s businesses are advised to bolster their print advertising with online marketing campaigns. Many choose to place an even greater emphasis on modern online methods than they do with other, more traditional marketing means such as flyer distribution, TV commercials, and radio ads.â€¨â€¨
There are a number of options available when it comes to reaching an online audience and a combination of these, including an intelligent web marketing campaign, can be, for many, the difference between success and failure.
Today, millions of people are connected to one another via social media. Sites like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter have millions of active users. What makes it easier for businesses to reach individuals on these platforms is the passive way in which they are approached. Marketing via social media is all about connectivity â€“ making it worthwhile for customers to reach the business, rather than the other way round. Businesses can offer humorous or relevant content to users, who can then follow their activity for the latest industry news and offers.
â€¨â€¨Not only are businesses able to reach a much broader audience through social media; it also allows companies to engage closely with customers, identify trends, and process customer feedback.â€¨â€¨
In a day and age when consumers are increasingly choosing vendors based on the quality and convenience of the experience offered, providing customers with exactly what they are after is a sure-fire way of maintaining the brand image.
â€¨â€¨Just as a store front or print campaign must be both aesthetically pleasing and practical, so too must a companyâ€™s website; it should look professional while at the same time point customers in the right direction. In terms of design, a website can be constructed to bear the same colors, logo, and typefaces as the companyâ€™s existing branding â€“ which will increase brand recognition with online visitors while portraying a consistent, recognisable company image. Pages can be written with clear, concise, and promotional content, and the most tech savvy businesses will be aware of the effectiveness of search engine optimisation (SEO).
â€¨â€¨What is SEO?
â€¨â€¨Search engine optimisation is all about making a website attractive to the most popular search engines today, such as Google and Yahoo. Since the vast majority of internet users will find the sites they need through the offerings of the search engine listings, this is a crucial consideration for businesses looking at online marketing.â€¨â€¨
By implementing content that is relevant to what potential customers are searching for, sites will be ranked higher in the search engine listings and can experience vastly improved site traffic, which in turn can impact hugely on custom.â€¨â€¨
What can it mean for a franchisor?â€¨â€¨
Online marketing enables a franchisor to allow its individual stores to attract customers because, just as online marketing can tap into an international or global audience, so too can it help attract customers on a more local basis â€“ which could, for instance, include the residents of towns and cities near to a store location. Individual stores can each have a presence on social media sites, and SEO can draw in traffic from the locality and drive regional sales.
How are you combining traditional and social media marketing for your business?keep looking »