Category Archives: Blog

Introduction to Artificial intelligence: Using AI in your eCommerce Business

With the popularity of ChatGPT skyrocketing recently, it’s hard not to think about Artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications on our workflows. Many companies have already incorporated a variety of AI software into their business process. How can we start using AI to further our eCommerce goals?

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the process of teaching machines to mimic human intelligence. AI software, such as ChatGPT, are trained through large collections of data to provide educated, human-like results to the tasks we implement them in.

Using ChatGPT to learn about eCommerce.

In the case of ChatGPT, the AI software is a language model that answers questions and scenarios given by users through its training in human conversation and knowledge. Other AI software has targeted a variety of tasks, such as content creation and editing, analytics, security, and customer care. While this may sound like a means of replacing human workers, AI in its current state is a more of a tool rather than a replacement.

What are the Pros & Cons of AI?

Benefits of AI

In terms of using AI in our business processes, there are multiple benefits, as well as a collection of limitations we should keep in mind as well use these tools. To start, some benefits we can gain from AI software are:

  • Reduced time to complete routine tasks – One of the most useful ways we can utilize AI for is cutting down the amount of time we need to complete simple, routine tasks. For example, for marketing tasks, we can utilize AI software to do preliminary research, create outlines or drafts, and even come up with ideas for us when we are stuck.
  • Access to real-time analytics on your business – With the help of AI and machine learning, we can analyze how our business is doing in real time, as well as obtain courses of action and recommendations. From security risks to customer product suggestions, AI can help us quickly react to anomalies or patterns that humans may not be able to quickly identify.
  • Ability to Research new topics quickly – Since AI software consume large amounts of data in order to learn, we can use tools such as ChatGPT to get quick overviews of research topics.
  • Improved customer experience – Due to its analytics capabilities, AI software can help us identify trends in customer behavior quickly, as well as create personalized experiences for them. From personalized offerings to automated customer service, AI can tailor the user experience per user.
  • Innovation through predictive analytics – By analyzing huge amounts of data, AI can help us identify new opportunities. For example, AI can help us note patterns that we can use to either establish correlations, or even identify gaps that we can fill as businesses.

Limitations of AI

As stated before, AI at the time of writing this article is better used as a tool rather than a full-on replacement for human work. This is due to the following limitations of AI software:

  • Lack of creativity – Since AI is taught on data sets, creating new ideas is difficult for AI to do. AI software only knows as much as you give it access to, and while it can create written content or art, all of its creations are based on previously explored ideas rather than new ones. It’s up to us to identify those opportunities still with the help of AI.
  • Cost of implementation – Fully incorporating AI into your business can be expensive, especially when it comes to complete solutions of customizing AI software to suite your existing infrastructure.
  • Questionable accuracy – While AI can identify patterns and share its analysis with users, its knowledge base and understanding of human concepts can be limited. Due to this, you can’t take everything it says as the truth. For one, AI is trained on data sets that can contain inadvertent biases. Secondly, AI shares patterns that may contain inaccurate information. For example, while using ChatGPT, facts such as time, place, or people may be merged together, creating false narratives.
  • Concerns about privacy implications – When using AI software, it’s hard to know where the data it was trained on came from. How do you cite AI content? Furthermore, if we put our customer data into AI software, what happens to the data? How are we making sure our customers’ privacy is upheld? Making sure to have answers to these questions is important when considering using AI software.
  • The risk of dependency – While AI offers us enhanced, powerful tools, it is important to remember that it is not a full solution. Human hands and outside sources of knowledge are still needed to effectively run your business. Growing dependent on AI can lead to vulnerabilities for your business.  

How can I use AI in my business?

Getting started with AI can be daunting, so it is best to start with small steps. To start, we can utilize AI software to do some of the preliminary work of our most common tasks. Marketing, for example, can be a good place to get started. To dive into a few, AI can help us in our efficiency and optimization goals in our market research, content creation, and SEO strategies.

Market Research

As another reference, we can use AI software to help us quickly get a bigger picture of our market, competitors, customers, and so forth. Using AI software such as ChatGPT, we can use AI to identify patterns in our market. With those patterns in mind, we can start finding gaps in our industries that we can use to stand out amongst the competition. On top of identifying business opportunities, we can use AI to quickly research best practices in our markets as well as tools and resources.

Content Creation

When creating content for our users, we can us AI software to speed up the process. From social media posts and blogs to product descriptions and our email campaigns, AI can help us get through the preliminary creation steps. Ever get writers block? AI can help! Ideas, keywords, outlines, and drafts can be made quickly with the help of AI, cutting the process time and keeping tasks moving. Advanced marketing, such as personalized product recommendations and emails, can even be optimized with AI by identifying buying patterns and user preferences for you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In our SEO strategies, AI software can help us identify new areas of opportunity.  From finding related keywords to quickly analyzing our current SEO work, AI can help us enhance our SEO strategies with data-backed recommendations. AI software can also help weigh the impact of our changes by predicting the future performance of our new content. Overall, new, viable paths can emerge from using AI to aid our SEO process.

Want to read more on AI?

AI is evolving fast, and new use cases are being explored. If you are interested in reading more about AI, contact us! Tell us what you want to learn about, and we can help you through it.

Bounce Rate & Engaged Sessions in Google Analytics 4

With Google’s Universal Analytics soon to be deprecated and replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4), many website owners are beginning the adapt their workflows to GA4. Since GA4 is structurally different than its predecessor, its reports, measurements, and visualized metrics vary from Universal Analytics, making a one-to-one transition impossible. However, due to popular demand, one metric from Universal Analytics has returned: Bounce Rate.

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is a metric that businesses can use to visualize how their pages (and site as a whole) are doing. Bounce rate is the total number of single page sessions over the total number of entrances on the page. Simply put, bounce rate is the number of times users come to your page and leave without taking any important action. In this case, we want users to click on our links, buttons, or navigation bars to explore our content. Not clicking on anything results as a bounce. This metric is a popular way to identify what pages are not engaging enough for users and need improved.

Why did Google get rid of Bounce Rate?

While bounce rate is a useful tool, it doesn’t paint a completely accurate picture of our websites. By assuming that a user who does not click on anything after they arrive to our site as a bounce, we are saying that those users were not engaged with our content. Bounce rate does not take into account the amount of time a user spends on our landing page before leaving. For sites that have long, content filled landing pages, a user could have been exploring the landing page for 5 minutes before leaving. Spending 5 minutes on our page clearly shows that the user was interested by our content, but bounce rate does not consider that scenario.

To overcome this limitation, Google’s GA4 replaced bounce rate with a new metric: Engaged session. Engage session allows us to track when a user was engaged with more granularity but taking into account both time and actions. An engaged session is a session that results in an action (a click) OR lasts more than 10 seconds.  By taking time into consideration, engaged sessions more accurately identify the amount of users who are attracted to our content.

However, changing to new metrics mean that businesses have to change their analytics strategy. While changes to the way we use Google analytics is inevitable, it was too sudden for some users, resulting in dissatisfaction. In July of 2022, due to popular demand, Google added bounce rate to GA4 as an optional metric.

How do I add Bounce Rate & Engaged Sessions to my reports?

Both bounce rate and engaged sessions are metrics that will need to be manually selected in order to be viewed. Here is how you can get start tracking these metrics in your GA4 account:

First, go to the Engagement tab of your Reports section, followed by the Pages and Screens tab.

Pages and Screens Tab in GA4.

Next, click the pencil icon in the right-hand corner. If you do not see the pencil icon, you may not have permission to edit your GA4 reports.

The “pencil icon” in GA4.

Click on the Metrics tab.

Editing metrics in the Pages and Screens tab in GA4.

To add our desired metrics, click Add Metric.

Adding metrics to the Pages and Screens tab in GA4.

To add Engaged Session to our report, simply begin to type out “engaged session” and you will see the metric appear. Click on it to add it to the list.

Adding Engaged Session metric to the Pages & Screens tab in GA4.

To add Bounce Rate to our report, we type out “bounce rate” and you will see the metric pop up. Click on it to add it to the list.

Adding Bounce Rate metric to the Pages & Screens tab in GA4.

Once you have added your desired metrics, click Apply in the bottom righthand corner.

Applying changes to the Pages and Screens tab in GA4.

Upon applying, you will see your new metrics included in your report. If you are content with them, click Save and then Save changes to current report. Confirm your decision.

Saving changes to the Pages and Screens tab in GA4.

Congrats! Once saved, you have successfully added bounce rate and engaged sessions to your reports!

Want to Learn More about GA4?

Whether we like it or not, Google Analytics 4 is here to stay. Check out our blog to learn more about GA4! Want to get started on setting up your GA4 property but don’t know where to start? Check out our free GA4 Crash Course to jump start your GA4 journey!

Google’s Auto-Migration for GA4: What you Need to Know

Starting July 1st, 2023, Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) will stop collecting data. To continue collecting data, users will have to transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Google’s improved analytics system. To make sure that users will transition accordingly, Google will begin auto-migrating users to Google Analytics 4 starting March 2023. However, what does that mean?

Who does Google’s Auto-migration effect?

Before we dive into what Google’s auto-migration includes, it is important to note who this migration effects. There are two categories of users that this migration can impact:

  • Users who have a Universal Analytics account and haven’t begun transitioning – If you have been holding off on transition your UA account, Google will automatically create a Google property based on it.
  • Users who have created an incomplete GA4 property based on their existing Universal Analytics account – if you began transition your UA account to GA4, but haven’t finished, Google will automatically attempt to finish it.

At first glance, auto-migration may sound great! However, Google themselves strongly encourage user’s to manually migrate their UA properties to GA4 to ensure the quality of their data. The auto-migration is a means of pushing users to begin using GA4 before UA is deprecated rather than a full migration. Google’s auto-migration is not a one size fits all solution.

What is Google’s Auto-migration?

Google’s auto-migration will help you begin your transition to GA4. The following events will occur during the transition process:

  • A GA4 property will be created.
  • UA property-level users will be copied over to your GA4 property.
  • Site tags will be copied and be reused when possible.
  • UA events will be reproduced in the GA4 model.
  • UA events & destination goals will be reproduced as GA4 conversions.
  • Audiences will be migrated.
  • Google Ads links will be migrated.
  • UA conversions used in Google Ads will be swapped with GA4 equivalents.
  • UA audiences used in Google Ads will be paired with GA4 equivalents.

For more details about these changes, check out this Google Analytics Help article.

Note: Google Analytics 360 properties will not be auto-migrated

360-enabled UA properties are not included in Google’s auto-migration process. For these properties, you will have to manually migrate them to your GA4 property.

What are the downsides of letting Google migrate my property?

Less Control Over your Migration Plan

By letting Google auto-migrate your properties to GA4, your migration plan may become more complex. Google’s auto-migration is intended to help you start your transition to GA4, not complete it, which means some loose ends may remain. Finding those loose ends could be a hassle, or worse, cost the company money if vital reports aren’t working like they are supposed to. For reports and properties that are critical to your business, manual migration is highly suggested.

GA4 is not UA

While Google’s auto-migration will make it easy to move over simple UA properties to GA4, it’s important to keep in mind that GA4 will not work exactly as UA did. GA4 has shifted its model to focus on customer retention rather than customer acquisition alone. This means that existing UA properties may not fully utilize the capabilities and value that GA4 has to offer. Instead, it is important to make sure you approach GA4 as a new system that requires new data collection and monitoring strategies.

Steep Learning Curve

Since GA4 is a new system, some UA metrics do not exist in GA4. During the auto-migration, Google will swap UA properties that do not exist in GA4 with the GA4 equivalent. This means that, when you take a look at your GA4 property, you may not recognize valuable metrics that your company relies on. By not manually transition your site, you will be left having to figure out all of GA4’s changes on your own. Learning about GA4 before the UA is deprecated is important to continuing to obtain valuable data from these analytics tools.

Can Google’s auto-migration be beneficial?

If you consider your UA account to have basic configurations, you may wonder if auto-migration would be fine. However, the more important question to ponder when deciding what to do about Google auto-migration is whether or not the analytics data is imperative to your business flow. If you have not fully incorporated Google analytics into your business strategy, or were just getting started, the auto-migration process probably won’t do much harm.  If you rely heavily on Google analytics, however, manually migrating important aspects of your UA account is highly encouraged.

Can I Opt-out?

At this point in time, the opt-out period has ended. However, there are still some ways that you can avoid Google’s auto-migration process:

Method 1: Delete your Auto-generated GA4 Property

For users who only have a Universal Analytics property and don’t want your auto-migrated GA4 property, you can delete the property.

Go to Admin.

Make sure you are on your desired Universal Analytics property.

Click on GA4 Setup Assistant in the Property Column.

Next to Connect property, click Disconnect.

Confirm your Decision.

Now, you can safely go to your auto-generated GA4 property and delete it. First, go to Admin.

Click on your list of properties to make sure you are on the auto-generated GA4 property.

In the Property Column, click Property Settings.

Click Move to Bin.

Confirm your decision.

Method 2: Save the rest of your GA4 Migration for Later

For users who have an incomplete Google Analytics 4 property and don’t want Google auto-complete the rest based on their connected UA account, we can tell Google to leave certain configurations alone.

Go to Admin.

Make sure you are on your desired GA4 property.

Click Setup Assistant in the Property Column.

Click on the far right arrow of a task you don’t want Google to complete of you. Click Mark as complete.

Repeat this step for any tasks you want to complete on your own time.

Want to start learning about Google Analytics 4?

Whether we like it or not, Google Analytics 4 is here to stay. Check out our blog to learn more about GA4! Want to get started on setting up your GA4 property but don’t know where to start? Check out our free GA4 Crash Course to jump start your GA4 journey!

4 Steps to get Started with Email Marketing

Email marketing is an easy and cost-effective way to engage with customers. By keeping in contact with customers and sharing valuable content with them, emails help us build long lasting relationships with our users. In this article, I want to go over 4 steps on how to get started with email marketing.

Step 1: Grow your Email List

To begin an email marketing campaign, you first need to have an audience to send content to. We can grow our audience in multiple ways:

Have a Subscribe Link on your Site

Placing a link in on your websites to join your email list is an easy way to gain an audience. Your link should be somewhere where users will notice it, such as the header or the footer of your site. You could  even a section devoted to your email link on your homepage. Beyond your site, it doesn’t hurt to put your email link in other common places your users may visit, such as social media or your linktree.

Create and Advertise Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are valuable pieces of content that attract users to join your email list. A lead magnet could be a short guide on a topic you have expertise in, a useful template, a tool, or so forth. To receive a lead magnet, users exchange their email address, so creating it’s important to make your lead magnet attractive. The key to a good lead magnet is knowing what your customer needs. Successful lead magnets provide help to your target audience’s pain points, making your email list enticing to sign up for.

Just like your subscriber link, your lead magnet should be shared in places where traffic is common, such as social media, blog posts, your linktree, and so forth.

Note: Your opt-in message is key

Getting users to see and click your subscriber link or lead magnet is one thing, but getting them to opt-in is another challenge. For both, you will either want to have a dedicated landing page where users share their information, or a popup or embedded form in your site. Alongside your form should be an explanation as to what users gain when they join your email list. This explanation is important to showing your users that your email content or lead magnet is worthwhile.

Step 2: Create Valuable Content

Once your have a list of emails, you can start creating content to send to your subscribers. Just like with the content on your site or social media channels, your content should speak to your users. What do your readers want to know? What do they need help with? Sharing content such as advice, updates on your business, promotions, and so forth can help make your emails interesting to read. Afterall, we get so many emails daily, so making sure your content is worth opening is important.

Note: As your lists grow, you can personalize content

With a large list of subscribers, you may have a variety of types of readers with different interests. With the help of email software, you can send content to subscribers depending on factors such as previous purchases, form responses, and other user input. Personalized content helps us accurately share content that speaks to each individual reader.

Step 3: Be Consistent

As with your blog and social media content, successful email marketing requires consistency in the frequency of your content. Create an email schedule and stick to it in order to keep your readers engaged. When determining your email schedule, determine what days and times your target audience tends to be checking their email. A general rule of thumb is to send emails around 11AM on Tuesdays.

Note: Email Software can help automate the process

Email software can help make the scheduling process easier. Through email software, you can create, schedule, and send emails to your subscribers. Email software can also help in identifying trends, conducting split testing, and providing access to templates.

Step 4: Measure & Improve

With the help of email software, you can collect statistics on how well your emails are doing. Metrics such as open rate, bounce rate, and clicks can help you understand what kind of content your readers want to see. Your readers interests may change overtime, so keep track of these metrics if available to keep up with what they want to see.

Where can I start in using Email Marketing for my Business?

Want to get started in email marketing? At BCS Engineering, we use AWeber to keep our customers informed. With the help of email software, you can create and schedule emails, divide customers into email lists, and track how well your emails are doing! Check out AWeber and other email marketing software out there to start your email marketing journey!

Increasing Traffic with Google’s Rich Results

In our previous article, we explored how Google’s featured snippets offer a glow up to our search results, increasing our visibility in a sea of options. However, featured snippets are restricted to a question-and-answer format, appearing when your site provides valuable answers to commonly asked queries. A broader, more attainable Google feature that we can use to make our search results stand out are Google’s “Rich Results.”

What are Rich Results?

Google’s rich results are search results that share additional, visual information that enhance normal search results. Unlike featured snippets, which are limited to by their content, rich results can present multiple types of information with extra visuals that help the query stand out.

What are the Benefits of Rich Results?

Much like featured snippets, rich results help bring more organic traffic to your site through making your result visually appealing.By adding thumbnail images, highlighting relevant information, and changing the display of your information, your search result can get more clicks than a normal search result. More traffic means more conversion opportunities.

Another benefit of rich results is the possibility of your site occupying “position zero,” the location above the first ranked result. Not all rich result types can occupy position zero, but those that do offer a way for your site to be at the top of a search result without having a high rank. Much like featured snippets, rich results can be used to improve your SEO results.

What kinds of Rich Results do we see?

There are 30+ types of rich results we can see in search results. To name a few, we can see rich results of:

Articles – For blog and news content, Google rich results can preview relevant articles in a catalogue. Information such as title, date, and visual assets can be shown within the search query.

Example of an Article rich result on Google.

Carousels – For search queries involving topics such as recipes, courses, restaurants, or movies, Google rich results can share a sliding image gallery.  Depending on the subject, additional information such as title, rating, time, etc. can be shared as well.

Example of a Carousel rich result on Google.

Logo & Knowledge Panel – A logo rich result can help inform Google of what logo to use if your company comes up in a Google knowledge panel, a different type of rich result. In combination, a search query can share information a topic in detail. For companies, we could see things such as what you do, founders, location, and so forth.

Example of a Logo rich result in a knowledge panel on Google.

Products – For items for purchase, a product rich snippet offers additional information to the average search queries such as rating, reviews, price, stock status, and additional details.

Example of a Product rich result on Google.

Events – When searching for events such as concerts or festivals, an event rich result can provide details on upcoming events and details such as titles, dates, and location.  

Example of an Event rich result on Google.

FAQs – Varying from featured snippets, FAQ rich snippets provide a full-on glimpse of a site’s FAQ. Accessible drop-down menus appear under the search result for easy access to information.

Example of a FAQ rich result on Google.

Job Postings – For employment listings, rich results can share job postings related to a search. Details such as the job title, company logo, reviews, job requirements, and so forth are briefly summarized.

Example of a Job rich result on Google.

How do Rich Results Work?

Unlike featured snippets, rich results rely on the structure of your data. As illustrated above, rich results have a variety of content types they can share. While featured snippets require valuable content for question-based queries, it is easier to get a rich result by following specific structures that help Google understand what type of content you have in your site.

To help Google understand the structure of your content, Google relies on us using Schema vocabulary within our structure. Simply put, the Schema language is a language understood by search engines. For search engines, the three most common Schemas are:

  • Microdata
  • RDFa

Currently, JSON-LD is the most popular Schema to use when it comes to communicating with search engines. We can use schema vocabulary and tagging within our pages to help search engines understand what our content is and what rich result can best represent it accordingly.

How do I make my content eligible for Rich Results?

Each type of rich result has a different structure and schema needed for your content to be eligible for it. Explore what types of rich results are available and would work best with your existing content. Once you find rich results that relate to your content, review Google’s suggested structured data for rich results in order to adjust your content to be eligible for the desired type you want.

Want to Learn More?

SEO is a continuous process with a variety of strategies to explore. Explore our SEO blogs to learn more tips and tricks to improve your visibility! Want to see more details or guides concerning Google’s rich results? Contact us! We’d love to make more content that you need and enjoy! If you want more hands-on guidance for improving your website,join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into a variety of important factors that aim to optimize your website.

Increasing your SEO Rank with Backlinks

Through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we aim to increase our site’s position in search results and gain more traffic. The higher our rank, the more likely our site is providing a valuable experience and meeting the requirements of our target audience. In a sense, SEO helps us refine our expertise and authority in the eyes of both our users and Google. One SEO strategy we can use that can increase our credibility further is the use of backlinks.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are hyperlinks that lead to another site. Unlike internal links that lead to another page on the same website, backlinks take users to resource that is off-site. For example, a backlink could be used in a blog post to reference helpful resources that, while not apart of the blog’s home site, have been deemed useful to provide to readers.

Why are Backlinks Important?

Since backlinks are inbound or external links from different sites, having a backlink leading to your site suggests a level of credibility and trust. Most of us wouldn’t want to link our websites to just any site, we would want to make sure that we are connecting users to quality resources. To have a backlink is to be considered authoritative by the site linking to you, and Google notices that. Sites with many backlinks to them can thus be ranked higher than other related search entries.

 On top of increasing your SEO Rank, backlinks are a form of “word of mouth” advertising. Having a backlink to your site is like having a referral. People are more likely to check out your content if others vouch for it.  Backlinks also make your site more visible since your content is linked to places. Inbound links to your site give you access to a wider range of customers who are already primed for your content.

Note: We can see Referral Traffic with GA4

If you are curious to identify if there are backlinks bring traffic to your site, you can use GA4 through the “Referral Traffic” stat. By going to Reports, Acquisition, and then User Acquisition, we can see in the list of channel groups how many users we are getting from backlinks. 

The User Acquisition Tab in GA4. In row 7, we can see stats for Referral Traffic.

Are their Different Types of Backlinks?

While backlinks are great credibility boosters, not all backlinks are created equal. There are a variety of types of backlinks that can come with varying degrees of trust and authority:

Follow Links – backlinks that fully consider the link authoritative. In this case, having no additional attributes added to the link makes the link trustworthy to the linker.

Example of a Follow Link.

NoFollow Links – Backlinks that do not consider the link authoritative. If you had to link to a site but didn’t want Google to associate your content with it, you would use a NoFollow Link.

Example of a NoFollow Link.

Sponsored Links – Backlinks that are sponsorships, advertisements, or paid placements. These links involved the exchange of money to obtain.

Example of a Sponsored Link.

User Generated Content (UGC) Links – Backlinks to content created by users. These links help Google understand that posts in, for example, forums or blog comments, are not endorsed by your site.

Example of a User Generated Content (UGC) Link.

Note: There are Google Penalties for suspicious backlinks

Since backlinks can be used in manipulative ways to trick Google into boosting a website’s SEO rank, Google penalties for backlinks exist. Any link that is paid for, for example, should be marked as a paid link to avoid accidentally penalties. Automated linkage or even exchanging links with another site for the sole purpose of increasing your SEO score quickly can also be seen as manipulative. When considering Googles rules, its best to check your SEO strategy against Google’s search essentials.

How do I use External Backlinks?

When it comes to linking your content to a different site, there are a few important factors to keep in mind when choosing what sites you want to backlink to. Overall, we only want to backlink to an external site if the content in that link is valuable to us and our users. Before creating an external link, ponder the following questions:

  • Do you trust this source? – when creating an external link, you want to determine the authority of the source. There are tools that exist that can inform you how many other sites have backlinked to this source, but you also want to consider how valuable and trustworthy the source is to you specifically. 
  • Is this source related to your site? – External links in our sites exist to aid our readers, and thus aid our cause. Making sure the external links on your site are relevant to the topics your site is centered around is important to Google’s understanding of your content.
  • How do you plan to incorporate it into your content? – Where and how you link an external source into your content can determine how useful it is to you. As discussed earlier, there are different ways we can backlink to a site, but we also want to keep in mind the words or phrases we choose to use in our hyperlink. Links, external or internal, should be attached the targeted keywords you want associated with your business. 

How do I get Internal Backlinks?

While backlinking to useful resources off our site aids our users, ideally we want our content to be backlinked on other sites as well. The key to getting other sites to consider linking your content to their page is creating valuable content. When creating content, we want to make sure that we are filling a “gap” for readers. This gap is something that other sites are missing despite being similar to your own. By creating content around gaps, we can provide readers with one of a kind information. Such value can encourage backlinks to your site.

Want to Learn More about SEO?

SEO is a continuous process with a variety of strategies to explore. Explore our SEO blogs to learn more tips and tricks to improve your visibility! If you want more hands-on guidance for improving your website, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into a variety of important factors that aim to optimize your website.

Increasing Traffic with User Generated Content

In previous articles, we have discussed many avenues of increasing traffic on our sites. From on-site content for our customer to explore to offline marketing efforts through social media, keeping users engaged through content is key to creating reoccurring customers.  However, revisiting the idea of customer confidence, some of the most engaging and effective content we can have is user generated content.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content is content created by our customers that discuss our company and products. These powerful pieces of content are word-of-mouth advertising for eCommerce businesses and can be extremely effective in encouraging hesitant customers to give your products a shot. We can find user generated content in formats such as:

  • Posts & Comments – written topics and responses brought up by users that related to your company.
  • Testimonials & Reviews – structured ratings or written experiences of customer reactions to your products and services.
  • Q&A & Forms – moderated discussions concerning questions, concerns, or ideas that customers have that relate to your company.
  • Images & Videos – shared visuals of your customers using your products and services.

Benefits of User Generated Content

The main benefits of having user generated content on your site is the increase in traffic it brings as well as its treasure trove of information.

Word of mouth advertising is more effective than us claiming our products and services are valuable. User generated content provides social proof that what we offer is truly worth considering, and that trust between customers can encourage other users to buy from us. Sharing user testimonials and reviews are a good first step in using user generated content to grow the trustworthiness and authority of your company.

Note: Do not use user generated content without consent

When using user generated content for marketing purposes, always ask the permission of the user. Whether it be a review or an image, make sure to get official consent from the creator. Gaining official consent to use user generated content not only prevents legal issues, but also builds a relationship or respect and trust between you and your users.

User generated content offers us insight into what our users want and how they communicate. Keywords, unfulfilled industry opportunities, and feedback can be found in user generated content. This information can help us improve our SEO strategy as well as jump on future business opportunities. Keeping track of common questions in Q&As as well as the pros and cons shared in reviews can help guide us on where our customers want us to go next.

How to get user generated content

Have Avenues for Users to Share their Content

Whether it be an onsite forum or a social media page, the first step to gain user generated content is to have places where users can share content. In our previous article on social media, we explored some of the differences between social media channels. The same idea applies to your website: different page types, such as Q&As, forums, and review forms can invite different user generated content from different kinds of people. Having a variety of places on and off your site where users can talk about your company makes it easier for users to share their content with you.

Note: Some channels require moderation

Much like social media, not all channels of communications are the same. The same applies for different on-site pages that users can interact with. Forums, for example, should have rules that users must follow and are enforced. Without rules, forums can become full of spam and irrelevant content. When choosing what kind of channels you want to offer, research the work you may have to do to maintain it effectively.

Tell users what content you want to see

In order to encourage user generated content, telling users what kind of content you are looking for can help. It’s important to remember that many users may have stories to share, but won’t unless asked. You could ask for users to share their favorite photo concerning your product or service, or to write down how your company has helped them. On social media especially, having user generated content competitions or encouraged themes can lead to more content as well as guide the topic of that content to something valuable.

Want to learn more about bringing traffic to your site?

Optimizing your site for conversions is a full site effort. Check out our blog to find more tips and tricks on how to improve your optimization strategy! If you want more hands-on guidance for improving your website,join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into a variety of important factors aim to help you turn more visitors into customers.

Google’s Featured Snippets: Retaining & Increasing SEO

In previous articles, we have explored many ways that we can implement SEO strategies into our website optimization process. However, once we hit high ranks in searches for the words we are targeting, how do we maintain our success? While it is exciting to see our sites on the front page of searches, we can’t stop thinking about SEO. New businesses and products can enter the industry. Words can change in meaning and usage. Customers naturally expand to new platforms. Constant change in the eCommerce industry requires us to continue updating and implementing SEO strategies.

Establishing expertise with our users, carefully choosing our words, and making sure our site provides quality user experience are essential SEO tactics. However, there are other SEO strategies we can use to retain and improve our SEO score. One strategy we can considered is optimizing our content for Google’s “Featured Snippets.”

Google’s Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets are a unique and profitable opportunity to bring more traffic to your site. These “snippets” are brief, informative glimpses into content that is usually associated with answers to questions. For example, if we ask Google “What is a featured snippet?” we get the following snippet:

A benefit of featured snippets is that they can bring our content to the top of a search page without having a high rank. Featured snippets are placed above the first organically ranked suggestion, making it the first thing users see when browsing the search results. Having our content in “Position 0” of a search result can increase our visibility, bringing more users to our site.

Note: Clicks in Featured Snippets

One of the main concerns about Google’s Featured Snippets is the possibility of users not clicking our content. Featured snippets can come off as counterproductive since users may read the answer to their question and leave. However, featured snippets aid us in taking clicks away from our competitors. By providing succinct answers, users will leave the search results without clicking on a competing company’s site.

Types of Featured Snippet Content

Since featured snippets tend to be answers to questions, our content needs to not only be valuable, but understandable to search engines. As seen in the example, a snippet only pulls part of your content in an attempt to answer a question. To understand what kind of content Google’s presents in a featured snippet, we need to understand the common formats available.

Text Definitions

As illustrated in our first example, text snippets answer questions by providing brief and clear text results. These answers tend to be sentences pulled from your content and presented in the snippet.


Tables are similar to text snippets, but are featured snippets that present a collection of data . These snippets tend to be numerical and only give a glimpse of the table presented in your content.


Whether they be numerical, bulleted, or unordered, list snippets are a collection of related content. Much like the other snippets, these snippets only show part of your list in the featured snippet.

Note: Not all featured content is a snippet

When we search on Google, we can get different kinds of content previewed at the top of the search results. However, not all “featured” content are featured snippets. Google’s “Rich Results” look a lot like featured snippets, but are merely enhanced listings.

Getting a Featured Snippet

Getting your content into a featured snippet requires research and attention to format. Before you create content for featured snippets, you need a good understanding of what your target audience is looking for. Knowing what kind of questions our users ask can aid us in knowing what types of answers to provide. One way we can discover featured snippet opportunities is to step into our user’s shoes and search terms and questions related to our expertise. Analyze what current featured snippets exist and determine if you can create a more succinct answer.

As you craft your answer, you need to keep the format of your content in mind. Depending on what kind of featured snippet you are creating, there are some general tips to keep in mind:

Text Feature Snippets

For text formatted content, you will want to make sure that your content is between 40 – 50 words long. Frame your content with the question you are answering to make your content clear to Google. Most importantly, make sure that the answer you are providing is objective. Google is looking for quality definitions rather than opinions when it comes to their featured snippets.

Table Featured Snippets

With table content, the key to successfully gaining a table featured snippet is to format your data as a table. Google does not create tables based on the content on your site. Instead, Google takes your existing tables and features them in the snippet. Since tables have specific uses, the best way to optimize for a table featured snippet is to present data in tables often.

List Features Snippets

When it comes to list featured snippets, format matters. When design a list for a snippet, make sure to use headings in your content. By using H2 and H3 Headings for your list, Google can better understand that you are creating a list. In the case of step oriented lists, we can go a step further and incorporate numbers to identify that this is an ordered list. Overall, keep your format consistent so that the content in your list is understood correctly.

Want to Learn More about SEO?

SEO is a continuous process with a variety of strategies to explore. Explore our SEO blogs to learn more tips and tricks to improve your visibility! If you want more hands-on guidance for improving your website,join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into a variety of important factors that aim to optimize your website.

Improving Your Contact Page

When a potential customer wants to reach out to us about our products and services, we want to make it as easy as possible for them to connect with us. Our contact information can usually be found on our contact page. A contact page is a must have for any business, but creating a quality contact page can take more thought. Let’s go over some best practices and suggestions that can help make your contact page clearer and easy to use.

Make Sure the Page is Easy to Find

The first step to creating a good contact page is properly placing it on your site. Most contact us pages are linked within the main navigation bar of your page, and in the footer as well. These locations are must-haves since most customers will assume that your site is structured similarly to other sites they have visited.

Keep the Title Recognizable

While we may want to use unique page names within our site to stand out as well as adapt our language to that of our customers, contact pages are best left alone. Changing the page title from “Contact Us” to something else, such as “Give Us a Call” or “Connect with Us,” can make your page harder to find. This is because customers may be looking for the words “Contact Us” since many contact pages follow the same naming convention.

Share Multiple Ways to Connect with Your Business

Once a user is on your contact page, we want to share how they can get a hold of our business. For the convenience of the user, offering multiple methods of contacting your business can make a user more likely to reach out. Having the option of calling, messaging through email or Live Chat, or utilizing a contact form allows users to choose their preferred method of contact.

Note: Hours and Departments

When sharing your available contact methods, it is important to note any time sensitive or important details related to those options. For example, if your phone is only manned during certain hours, that should be noted in that contact option. Expected response time for emails or Live Chat can also be important for users when deciding what method they want to use. We can also lead users to the correct people or departments if we properly document our communication options in our contact page.

Create Simple Contact Forms

Contact forms are a great way to connect with users. However, we should make sure we don’t over complicate the contact form process. While we can theoretically ask for as much information as we want, keep the information required to complete a contact form minimal. The must-haves for a contact form only amount to three fields: the user’s name, their email, and a brief description of what they are messaging about.

Optimize for Mobile

Since many users are visiting our sites from their phones, it’s important to test your site for mobile use, including your contact page. Making sure that your contact page is still readable and that your contact forms adjust properly for mobile are a few aspects to keep in mind. Since our contact page holds important information that could determine whether a user becomes a customer, keeping your contact page simple and straightforward can help the optimization process.

Want to Learn More?

Our contact page is just one of many parts of our site that can be key to turning visitors into customers. Explore our other blogs to learn more about what you can do to improve your site! If you are interested in a more hands-on course about how to optimize your website, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into important factors that aim to increase the conversion rates of your site!

Marketing Metrics: Measuring Success

As we optimize our sites and channels, it can be difficult to know what’s working and what’s not. We may understand our goals well: bring traffic to our site, attract more engagement, and turn visitors into customers, but measuring our progress towards those goals can be vague without firm numbers. To gain a better understanding of the success of our efforts and campaigns, we can establish marketing metrics to measure our goals with hard data.

What are Marketing Metrics?

Market metrics are numbers that we can use to measure the progress we are making towards our goals. The metrics themselves can vary depending on our goals, but they are usually defined by interactions with our content and changes in the performance of our site.

Why are they important?

Having numbers to define the progress of our optimization efforts can help us understand where we should be putting our time and money. With metrics to track, we can start to identify if our changes and campaigns are truly making a difference. By measuring customer interactions, for example, we can start to understand what our customers want to see versus content that is uninteresting to them. We can start making more of the content that receives more attention: more likes, reads, shares, etc., while pulling back on the content that isn’t attracting our customers. Overall, with marketing metrics, we can optimize the way we decide our next steps.

What are Common Marketing Metrics?

The metrics we decide to track not only depend heavily on the goals we have for our company, but also depend on the channels we are utilizing to improve our site.


Content marketing is an easy and broad method we can use to attract more users to our site. Writing blogs, creating infographics, and sharing customer reviews are ways we can use content to encourage potential customers to interact with us.

Metrics that can inform us of the success of our content marketing efforts include things like page views, engagement time, and link clicks. For example, a successful blog topic will receive more page views than a topic that is uninteresting to your audience. Beyond the topic itself, the content within the blog can be measured by how long people read it. Were they there for a few minutes or a few seconds? Finally, if your audience enjoys your blog, they may click links within the article to explore your site further.

How to Track: Analytics Tools

In order to collect data on how users interact with our webpages, we need tools that have access to our site and that can collect data on our users. Some hosting platforms come with varying degrees of analytics tools, but to get a full picture of our site, we can use Google Analytics.

Social Media

Social media is a great way to reach your audience beyond your site as well as interact with people who have yet to encounter your products and services. There are a variety of social media platforms we could use, but almost all of them aim to engage directly with our audience.

The metrics we track on our social media channels vary per platform, but are all based on user interaction. Likes, shares, and comments are the most common types of interactions we can encounter. Likes can help guide us on what kind of content our users want to see on our social media accounts while shares can really point us to the content that is truly resonating with our followers. Comments, on the other hand, can suggest both good and bad results. Some comments can be positive and provide great direction on why users like a specific post. Comments can also be critiques of content that we can use to make our posts better in the future.

How to Track: Social Media Management Tools

Most social media platforms keep us up-to-date with new followers and post interactions. However, having multiple social media channels can make it hard to keep track of all of them efficiently. Social media management tools, such as Hootsuite or MeetEdgar, allow us to create, post, and track how our content is doing on all our social media platforms through one tool.


Despite the popularity of social media, email marketing is still an effective way to interact with your audience. With emails, we can keep our users informed about our business, share special deals, and encourage users to check out our products and services.

To track the effectiveness of an email campaign, we can note subscribes, open rates, and forwards. Keeping track of how many users subscribe or unsubscribe can inform us on how effective our subscribe pitch is as well as how interesting our email content is. Open rates, much like page views on a blog, can help us determine if the topics we are discussing are of interest to our users. Tracking forwards is much like tracking shares on social media; it can help us identify content that resonates with our readers.

How to Track: Email Marketing Tools

In order to track how our emails are doing, we can use email management tools. AWeber, for example, can be used to create, send, and track how our subscribers are interacting with our email content. Management tools such as AWeber also allow us to breakdown our audiences into specific groups, enabling us to further optimize our content per customer type.

Site Performance

Beyond tracking content engagement, tracking how our site is performing is important in ensuring quality user experience. Following Google’s Core Web Vitals, our site’s performance can be measured by tracking the speed of our site.

To measure the performance of our site, we need to be looking at how fast our page loads, stabilizes, and responds. When a user first arrives to our site, the time it takes for our page to visually appear would determine how fast our site loads. However, even after our page loads, our page may not load entirely at once. The speed of which our site stabilizes, or rather, adjusts the content to its right location, is important to note when measuring performance. Lastly, with our site ready for use, noting how long our site takes to respond to user input, such as a click of a button, can help us understand the quality of our user experience.

How to Track: Performance Tools

There are a few free tools that we can use to measure the speed of our site. Page Speed Insights, GTmetrics, and Webpagetest are three tools that we can easily use to get an idea of how our site is performing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Even if our site and content are performing well, ensuring that our site is easily findable is key to bringing more traffic to our site. This means that we need to be able to create and measure Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.

To measure how searchable we are, we should track keyword ranking, average position, and overall organic traffic. When optimizing our site for searchability, we want to identify the keywords that we utilize when it comes to user’s searching for our content. Noting those words and how often our site is associated with them is important in identifying if the keywords we are using are successfully bringing traffic to our site. With the handful of keywords we do rank for, we want to note where we show up in search results. Are we in the top 5 results in a Google Search? Or are we a couple pages behind? Our position can say a lot about the whether or not we should keep focusing on certain keywords or phrases. Finally, we should keep track of how much traffic search results are bringing us as an overall baseline for how our SEO strategy is doing.

How to Track: Search Tools

There are a few tools we can use to check our SEO rank and relevant keywords. However, to see the a fuller picture of how our SEO strategies are performing, we can use Google Search Console, an SEO tool that shows us how Google ranks and presents our sites.

Want to Learn More?

By measuring our efforts, we can make clearer strides towards optimizing our website for more traffic and more conversions. Explore our other blogs to learn more about what you can do to improve your site! If you are interested in a more hands-on course about how to optimize your website, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into important factors that aim to increase the conversion rates of your site!