Category : Optimisation
5 steps to higher ecommerce search traffic
Search traffic is essential for ecommerce growth, and it takes time to build. In this guest post, SEO expert Bill Widmer highlights 5 easy steps to rise to the top. There are over 1 billion websites on the internet today, with almost 2.4 million websites created every day. Of those sites, only 10 make it to the front page of Google. And the top result gets 30% or more of all the search traffic. Where does that leave you? If you don’t take SEO seriously, there’s no way your ecommerce site will beat the competition. If you want to make tens of thousands of extra sales every year, without spending a dime on marketing, listen up. It’s time to boost your ecommerce search traffic. Step 1: Start a blog and produce high-quality content Don’t think you can get away with slapping together a few paragraphs about your latest collection and calling it a blog article. The content gods are watching! In all seriousness, quality content is crucial to ranking on the first page of Google. It’s one of their top 2 ranking factors to determine what to show (the other is backlinks). But what exactly does quality content entail? Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth: Google's basic principles for high-quality content Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, 'Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?' Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field. In a nutshell, Google wants you to focus on providing value to your readers with every blog article. Producing high-quality, long-form content (at least 1,500 words) is the key to ecommerce content marketing and pleasing the search gods. Pro Tip: Not sure what kind of blog articles to produce? As a general rule of thumb, steer clear from anything that’s too obvious and salesy (eg. 5 Shoes From Our Latest Collection That You’ll Love). Instead of this, try to produce content that’s useful to your customers (eg. How To Maintain Leather Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide). With these less salesy articles, you can still include links and call to actions for readers to shop your products after they’re done reading the article. As an added bonus, these articles can help you rank for keywords which your product and category pages can’t (such as 'how to maintain leather shoes'). Step 2: Fix your on-page SEO On-page SEO refers to elements which you can optimise within your website (off-page SEO, on the other hand, deals with external links and other factors). Image from FlightMedia.co With on-page SEO, the first thing you need to do is select the keywords you want to target. Once you’ve got your keywords in mind, optimize your title, header tags, content, image alt texts, and metadata for each page and post on your website. If this sounds like Greek to you, don’t stress. Here’s a step by step guide which will take you through the entire process. Pro Tip:Only target one keyword per page to increase your chances. However, it’s always a good idea to include LSI keywords! [subscribe] Step 3: Add internal links to your most important pages By adding internal links (links from one page on your site to another page on your site), you’re helping Google to understand the relationship between the different pages and posts on your ecommerce site. The more internal links a specific page or post on your website has, the more 'important' it is deemed by Google. Think of your website as a pyramid, with the most important content - your 'cornerstone' content - at the top. You should be linking from your cornerstone content to other related pages in order to pass on link value to them. At the same time, link to these cornerstone pages from other pages in order to bolster their standing. Want to learn more about internal links? Check out this article. Step 4: Build external links Once your internal links are done, it’s time to move on to building external links. You might need to invest some budget into this, but since Google has confirmed that external links are amongst the top 3 ranking factors, I’d say it’s definitely worth your while. First, look for influencers in your industry and reach out to them to enquire if they’d be willing to link to your website in exchange for a small fee OR for a partnership. You can use platforms such as Mailshake and VoilaNorbert to speed up the communication process. Another way of getting backlinks is to guest-post on other websites. Whilst this typically takes longer to execute, it’s a great way of building your brand and establishing thought leadership whilst getting more backlinks. Step 5: Consider paid traffic Assuming you’ve completed all the above steps (and you reallllly should!), this doesn’t mean you’ll see results overnight. It’ll take some time (a few months, or even a year) for you to experience a boost in your organic traffic. In the meantime, you can consider 'supplementing' with paid traffic. Image from ThinkDigi.org The two most commonly used channels are Facebook Ads and Google Ads - and there are tons of useful resources online that will teach you all the basics (read this guide for Facebook ads or this guide for Adwords). Alternatively, if you don’t want to handle your ads yourself, you can always outsource them to an expert. Once those ads are running, a full-cycle analytics platform like Littledata is essential to help you optimise your ad spend and connect it to revenue. After all, the idea isn't just to get more traffic, but to get the best kind of traffic and sell to your best type of customer - the kind that's more likely to convert. The truth about ecommerce growth A few parting words. A lot of ecommerce store owners think that as they become more established, they’ll automatically have more people visiting their website. The truth is, word of mouth can only get you so far - and if you’re serious about growing your ecommerce store and increasing your profits, you’ll need to boost your search traffic through SEO and the other methods discussed above. And you'll want to optimise that search traffic by paying attention to specific metrics such as bounce rates from mobile Google search. Do you want to see a nice exponential curve in your search traffic analytics, or are you content to have your traffic flatlining? The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be able to snag that highly coveted spot in the first page of Google. I’m rooting for you! Bill Widmer is a content marketing and SEO expert who has worked with many well-known brands like Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, and SEMrush.
How to see shopping behaviour for each product you sell (VIDEO)
Product performance can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. In this quick video, we show you how to use Google Analytics to see shopping behaviour related to each product you're selling. All you'll need to see this report is a site connected to Google Analytics with the Enhanced Ecommerce plugin setup. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVGAdHTkw3s[/embed] Using the Shopping Behavior report in Google Analytics Whether your ecommerce site is large or small, the Shopping Behavior report makes it easy to drill deep into user behaviour to understand why some products are converting better than others. If a particular product isn't selling well, the Shopping Behavior report will help you figure out why. It shows how far shoppers engage with your products, from initial list views through to shopping cart activities. [subscribe] Reasons a product might not be selling well It isn't at an optimal place in a product list or display The product details, such as images and description, aren't sending the right message Customers are abandoning their shopping carts completely, or removing that particular product (or group of products, such as multiple pairs of jeans) after adding it Who knows? You haven't audited your Google Analytics setup lately so your customer behaviour data can't be trusted to help you improve Each of those issues requires different actions, sometimes by entirely different departments (ie. marketing, pricing, ux)! That's what makes the Shopping Behavior report so important for improving ecommerce sales and conversions. We hope you enjoyed this latest video in our series of Google Analytics how-to guides. Need help setting up Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics, or ensuring that your data is accurate? Contact a Littledata consultant today.
What to test with Google Optimize
So you’ve got a brand new tool in your web performance kit – Google Optimize – and now you want to put it to good use. What can you test with Optimize and how does it work? Firstly, what are the different options for setting up an experiment? AB Test Using the in-page editor you can create an altered version of the page you wish to test. This could be a change of text copy, different styling, or swapping in a different image. You can also add new scripts or HTML if you’re familiar with coding. The way this works is Optimize adds a script after the page loads to manipulate the page text, images or styles. I recommend not switching header elements or large images using this method as, depending on your website setup, there may be a noticeable flicker– try a redirection test below. You can create many versions with subtly different changes (C, D and E versions if you want) – but remember you’ll need a large volume of traffic to spot significant differences between lots of variations. You can also limit the test to a certain segment of users – maybe only first time visitors, or those on mobile devices. Multivariate Test Similar to an AB test, a multivariate test is used when you have a few different aspects of the page to change (e.g. image and headline text) and you want to see which combination is most engaging. To get a significant result, you'll need a large volume of traffic - even more than testing many options in AB tests. Redirection Test This is where you have two different versions of a page – or a different flow you want to start users on. Optimize will split your visitors, so some see the original page and some are redirected to the B version. A redirection test is best when the page content or functionality is very different – perhaps using a whole different layout. The disadvantage is you’ll need a developer to build the B version of the page, which may limit the speed of cycling tests. Personalisation Personalisation is not officially supported by Optimize right now, but we’ve found it to be a useful tool. You can assign 99.9% of the visitors who match certain criteria to see the alternative version of the page. An example is where you have a special offer or local store in a particular city - see our step-by-step local personalisation example. You can ensure that all the visitors from that city see a different version of the page. Unfortunately on the free version of Google Optimize you are limited to 3 concurrent ‘experiments’ – so it won’t be a good solution if you want to run similar personalisation across lots of cities or groups of users. Next the question is where to start with tests... Start with the landing pages Landing pages get the greater volume of traffic, and are where small visual changes (as opposed to new product features) make the biggest difference to user engagement. This greater volume allows you to get a significant result quicker, meaning you can move on to the next test quicker. And keep on improving! So what exactly could you test using Google Optimize? Here are six ideas to get you going. 1. Could call-to-actions (CTA) be clearer? Changing the colour or contrast of a key button or link on the page (within your brand guidelines) usually results in more visitors clicking it. This might involve changing the style of the CTA itself, or removing elements close by on the page – to give the CTA more space to stand out. [subscribe] 2. Are you giving the user too many choices? In Steve Krug’s classic Don’t Make me Think he explains how any small confusion in the user’s mind can stop them making any choice. Every choice the user has to make is an opportunity for them to give up. Try hiding one of the options and seeing if more users overall choose any of the remaining options. 3. Is the mobile page too long? As many sites move to responsive designs that switch layout on smaller screens, this has led to mobile pages becoming very long. User may get ‘scroll fatigue’ before then get to critical elements on the page. Try cutting out non-essential sections for mobile users, or editing copy or images to make the page shorter. You could also try switching sections so that the call-to-action is higher up the page on mobile – although this is harder to achieve without a redirection test. 4. Is localisation important to your users? You may have discussed providing local language content for your users, and been unsure if it is worth the costs of translation and maintenance. Why not test the benefits for a single location? As with the personalisation tests, you can show a different local language (or local currency) version of the page to half the users in the single location (e.g. Spanish for visitors from Mexico) and see if they convert better. 5. Does the user need more reassurance before starting to buy? It easier to build experiments which remove elements to the page, but you should also consider adding extra explanation messages. A common problem on ecommerce stores is that visitors are unsure what the shipping charges or timing will be before adding to cart. Could you add a short sentence at the start of the journey (maybe on a product page) to give an outline of your shipping policy? Or maybe some logos of payment methods you accept? 6. Changing header navigation If your site has a complex mix of products that has evolved over time it may be time to try a radical new categorisation – maybe splitting products by gender or price point rather than by type. For this test, you’ll want to target only new visitors – so you don’t confuse regular visitors until you’re sure it’s permanent. You will also need to make the navigation changes on all pages across the site. Good luck! Littledata also offering consulting and AB testing support, so please contact us for any further advice.
How to improve your landing pages using Google Analytics
Landing page optimisation is one part of a broader digital marketing process called conversion optimisation, or conversion rate optimisation (CRO), with the goal of improving the percentage of visitors to a website that becomes sales leads/or customers. Let's see how to improve your landing page performance. There are some things to check when you want to improve the conversion rate of a particular page. In order to get the best data, we use Google Analytics and Hotjar. I will start with Hotjar because it is faster! With Hotjar you will understand what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behaviour. This is shown with nice videos of a user's journey leading to conversion. With Hotjar, you can see what confuses people, what is not clear and if for your customer point-of-view is clear on your landing page. And now the hard and exciting part: Analyse the data collected in Google Analytics. If you think that the home page is a landing page please read this before you go further: Website Homepage vs Landing page - what's the difference? and this: Don’t obsess over your homepage – its importance will decrease over time! When a visitor clicks on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad, they're taken to a landing page — a web page whose sole purpose of existence is to entice people to take an action. If done well, it could be the most effective marketing weapon in your arsenal. The correct analysis of data can save you a lot of money or even your business. If your visitors donʼt know what to do when they land on your landing page, then you are throwing your advertising money out the window. Your call-to-action (CTA) is the primary conversion goal of a visitor to your landing page. Next, I give you some examples of common actions that you might want a customer to do on your landing page: purchasing a product subscribing to a newsletter calling you on the phone downloading an ebook or whitepaper watching a demo requesting information Let's find out, step-by-step if your landing page is a winner using this checklist. Click on them to find out how to analyse and interpret data CTA(s) clear and unambiguous Do what you say and say what you do Don't be like Trump. Leave the Amazing! Awesome! words elsewhere Less is more Keep it where it can be seen Know your clients Twice is better Design matters Choose what matters the most CTA(s) clear and unambiguous Google Analytics report: "Landing pages" with a second dimension added to the report: "Second page" If you are offering an app access go with "Get Started" or "Create account" and don't say “Get your free ebook” or “go” or “submit”. Do what you say and say what you do Google Analytics report: "Landing pages" with a second dimension added to the report: "Second page" analyses the bounce rate on the call-to-action link. Donʼt promise one thing and then deliver something else or even worse nothing at all (a 404 page). To follow the same example, if you have an app and say "30 days free trial" don't let people click 'try for 30 days' and on the next page provide a PayPal form to charge them for a month period. Don't be like Trump. Leave the Amazing! Awesome! words elsewhere Google Analytics report: "Pages" see how many FAQ and Terms pageview you have. Resist the temptation to include bloated adjectives. Such claims are likely to make people think you are overselling and trying too hard. Less is more Google Analytics report: "Top Events" with a second dimension added to the report: "Page" analyses the clicks on your call-to-action versus other clicks in page or scroll actions. Make space for your call-to-action. Let them breathe visually. Using more whitespace will allow your button or statement to stand out on the page. Colour choice is important here also; create a high contrast between the call-to-action and surrounding elements to assert it’s dominance. Keep it where it can be seen Google Analytics report: "Top Events" analyse the scroll tracking. See how far your visitors are scrolling down If you have a long page, donʼt put the call-to-action below the fold. Take into consideration, the different screen sizes and adapt your landing pages for the most common. Most of the users will not scroll far down the page so be sure to put your value proposition and your call-to-action as a first-seen element in the page. Know your clients Google Analytics report: "Demographics - Language" Speak your client's language. Provide different landing pages based on country. Advertise differently based on specific demographics. However good your product or service is, the simple truth is that no one will buy it if they don't want it or believe they don't need it. And you won't persuade anyone that they want or need to buy what you're offering unless you clearly understand what it is your customers really want. Twice is better Google Analytics report: Combine "Top Events" (for scroll tracking) and "All Pages" for the propotion of sessions with FAQ/Terms pageviews Not all customers are ready to engage right away and might need some supporting information to ease their worries or answer their questions. If you are asking someone to buy something, a sensible secondary call-to-action can be to download a product brochure. This keeps them in your realm of inﬂuence (as opposed to leaving to do research elsewhere) and builds conﬁdence. Ensure that the safety net CTA doesnʼt compete in size and visual dominance – often a simple text link is adequate, beneath the main big action button. If you are asking someone to purchase online, offering a phone number for phone orders can make a potential customer more likely to convert if thatʼs their preferred contact method. Design matters Google Analytics report: "Source/medium" shows the bounce rate for each campaign Carry your primary call-to-action throughout the entire acquisition and conversion experience, from audience acquisition ads (PPC, email, banner, social media link) through your landing page and on to the ﬁnal destination page. Choose what represents you the most (maybe some colours or even the call-to-action itself), you should be able to look at the page and have your eye immediately drawn to the action area. Be audience appropriate Google Analytics report: there is no report in Analytics for this. Just remember your experience when reading an email or a Facebook comment Previously, I said to speak the customers' language. Now I'm saying to take care what they can interpret. Reading a statement is different from hearing it. So don't be too pushy, don't use a lot of exclamation signs, don't use a lot of caps lock wording and be a friend when they say what they feel when they see the call-to-action. I recommend reading this blog post from January: How to improve your conversion rate optimisation and this one: Conversion friendly experiences: reducing landing page friction with psychology. These two are related and complementary to the actions you're trying to take. In the next couple of weeks I will go deeper in each section and show you how good and bad engagement looks like for a landing page. Have any questions? Get in touch with our experts! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
Personalising your site for a local event with Google Optimize
Google Optimize versus Optimizely
Tips to optimise your ecommerce landing pages
Are your ecommerce landing pages suffering from poor conversion rate because people aren't engaging? First impressions are everything, and more so online, so your task is to figure out which on-site improvements will help you towards your goals. Once you start optimising, it's a continuous process of reviewing, changing, testing and refining - aiming to find out what is most appealing to your customers, what they like and care about, what makes them trust you, what encourages them to purchase. There is always room for refinements so here are some tips on what you should consider when reviewing your pages. What are you trying to achieve? Before starting testing and implementing the changes on your landing pages, you have to be clear about what you want to accomplish. Whilst the end goal for an online store is to increase sales, at times you might also want to get more sign ups, or improve views of or engagement with product pages. Think about what success will look like as that will help with planning your optimisation tests. How are you going to measure it? If you are clear about what you are trying to achieve, it will be easier to set measurable targets. Are you looking to increase your sales by 10% or pageviews of products by 15%? Or maybe you want your potential customers to browse further and spend more time reading content? Further engagement can also be demonstrated by the site visitor scrolling down the page if you have long product or category pages. In which case you'll want to track how far down the page they get to. I believe in keeping reporting straightforward so when testing focus on tracking important metrics only. Ideally just one if you can, or a few if you have to, but that will help focus on measuring what is most important for your business at the time. Assuming you are using Google Analytics, like most of people looking after digital performance, set up goals to monitor how customers are converting. Our web-based software also makes it easy to keep track of on-site changes are by reporting on changes in trends, goals, pages. Who are you targeting? User-focussed content is more effective at engaging your customers and improving your conversion rates. So you should write up your customer personas to be clear about who you are targeting with landing pages. This also applies to general look and feel of your ecommerce site. Most importantly, include with personas what problems your customers are trying to solve or what they are trying to achieve. Once your team knows who your ideal or typical customers are, then it will be easier to focus on creating more relevant and engaging content on those pages. Do you have a clear value proposition? Value proposition explains why you’re better than or different from your competitors, and what you can deliver that they can’t. When writing it up, focus on benefits not features. It’s not always about the product looking top notch (unless you’re the industry or company where that matters of course) so it is more about how you can alleviate their problem. Check out how to write your value proposition by following Geoffrey Moore’s model. Does your copy reflect your value proposition? Once you have your customer personas and value proposition, review existing content on the site against how you describe what your clients are looking for. Check if it fits with what they are looking for, explains how you can solve their problems or fulfill their desires. The copy on your site has to reflect how you can improve your potential customers lives through what you offer. A great copy informs, compels, captivates, reflects what people search for and promotes key benefits. Econsultancy have compiled a great set of advice from experts on writing copy for product pages. Also, check out Copyblogger Demian Farnworth’s articles for superb advice on writing copy. Have you found your winning call to action? This is very important – test your call to action until you find the best performing one. Your call to action is like a visual sign that guides the buyer towards a specific action you want them to complete. Different things work for different sites. Start off with trying simple changes like different text, colour, shape, size or placement of the button to figure out what is most effective for your page. If small changes aren’t helping, then try a more drastic change of the button or page. Do your pages load fast? This is pretty self-explanatory. Slow page loading speed might drive your potential customers away from your online shop, so you should regularly check whether they can view your products within 3 seconds (Source: Radware). If you’re using Google Analytics, you can use Site Speed reports to check how you’re performing and get advice on where to improve. If you don’t have Google Analytics, you can use their online tool PageSpeed Insights. Other tool worth checking out is GTMetrix where you can grade your site's speed performance and get a list of recommendations. Do you need to optimise for mobile? It’s a very common fact that more and more people are using mobile devices to browse and buy online. But unless you have unlimited budget for ensuring that your ecommerce site is optimised for mobile, it is best to check in Google Analytics first whether you need to do it now. If you go to Google Analytics > Audience > Mobile > Overview report, you will get a breakdown of device categories that buyers are using to visit your online store. Here you can see that the majority of customers, almost 93% are using desktop so in this case (assuming you have a limited budget) you might want to make sure you have a responsive site at the very minimum, and leave a full optimisation for mobile device for later when there is a sufficient need. Now, if results were different and let’s say you had 60% of people visiting your site via mobile devices, then you would want to ensure that they’re getting the best experience on their device and don’t leave the site to buy from a competitor instead. Are your test results statistically significant? Evaluating your AB test results isn't quite as simple as looking at the highest conversion rate for each test, which would be an incorrect way to interpret the outcome. You want to be confident that results are conclusive and changes you tested will indeed improve your conversion rates (or not, depending on the outcome of testing). That's where statistical significance comes in. It gives you assurance about the results of your tests whilst taking into consideration your sample size and how confident you want to be about the importance of the results. By reaching over 95% statistical confidence in testing results, you can be sure that the winning variation performed better due to actually being an improved version, and not simply due to change. You can easily find a calculator online that tells you if your AB testing results were statistically significant and you should conclude the test or not - for example, try the calculator by Kissmetrics or Peakconversion. There is no one winning formula for how to make your pages more effective, but you have to be pro-active to figure out what they are - so keep testing until you do. Have any questions? Leave a comment below or get in touch with our experts! Image Credit: Stocksnap.io
How to calculate your marketing ROI
Are you running campaigns in AdWords, Facebook or on another advertising platform? Do you know whether your marketing efforts are paying off and which channels you should keep investing in to increase your product sales? As marketers face more and more pressure to demonstrate that their activities are contributing towards the profit, there is a bigger need for you to be able to show your decisions yield positive results. But if a particular channel or campaign is doing the opposite and causing your business losses, then the sooner you figure that out, the quicker you'll be able to adjust your further marketing plans. That’s where calculating and tracking your ROI becomes important. By being able to figure out how much you make from investing into a particular campaign or channel, you can figure out where to focus your budget. Whilst it’s difficult to compare the performance of specific marketing tactics across every single industry and company, there are interesting conclusions that have come out from market research. As reported by Web Strategies Inc., the top 3 channels that generated the best ROI were email marketing, SEO / organic search and content marketing. Email marketing has also been reported elsewhere to give the best ROI (source: Campaign Monitor), but you should focus on figuring out the correct ROI for your marketing activities and, based on that, decide which ones work for you best. Further reading: What is CRO, conversion optimisation, for ecommerce? Image Credit: Image courtesy of Maialisa at Pixabay
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