Category Archives: SEO

SEO Essentials: Harnessing the Power of Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords

To enhance your online presence and drive targeted traffic to your online shop, your site needs to effectively utilize keywords. Two important types of keywords to incorporate into your business are short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.

SEO Essentials: Harnessing the Power of Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words that users use when searching for your products and services. Some users will type very few words while others will be much more specific and lengthier with their search criteria. These two different search criteria can be broken down into short-tail and long-tail keywords.

Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are short, generic terms of usually one or two words. If a user were searching for fitness advice, for example, a short-tail keyword they could use could simply be “fitness.” If they wanted to be a bit more specific, they could search for “fitness blogs.” Short-tail keywords are words that have very high search volume since they are inherent to many products. However, short-tail keywords are also highly utilized by your industry, making them highly competitive to use.

The benefits of short-tail keywords

Despite the competition surrounding short-tail keywords, they are an important asset to your SEO strategy. Short-tail keywords are great when building awareness and visibility around your company. General keywords are used by broad audiences, so using short-tail keywords allows your company to be exposed to a large audience. Short-tail keywords are a great way to expose your brand to new potential customers.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-Tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that are usually three words or more long. To use our fitness shopper as an example, a long-tail keyword they may search for could be “exercise routines for beginners” or “workout routines for beginners at home.” Overall, long-tail keywords are much more niche than short-tail keywords. The search volume for long-tail keywords is low, but due to their specificity, they have less competition surrounding them. This results in long-tail keywords attracting higher conversion rates.  

The benefits of long-tail keywords

While short-tail keywords expose your brand to new users, long-tail keywords are a great way to enhance your online visibility and connect with users at different stages of the buyer’s journey. Since long-tail keywords have less competition, you can use them as opportunities to become the go-to store for certain products. You can also use long-tail keywords to meet buyers where they are. Users that use long-tail keywords are often shoppers who are further along in their shopping process. They have an idea of what they want, so becoming more specific in your keywords can help guide those users to the products they are looking for.

Want to learn more?

Want to further explore keyword strategies that can boost your SEO? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast where we discuss how to conduct keyword research as well as what keyword opportunities you should consider using on your site!

Increasing Conversions: Why customers don’t buy

Despite the amount of traffic we may attract to our sites, or even the amount of non-monetary conversations we acquire, we may be left wondering: Why aren’t people buying my products? It’s disheartening to see low sales and site traffic with no obvious reason as to why. In order to identify possible roadblocks for customers on our site, we need to take a step back and explore our website from the perspective of our customers.

It may sound cliché, but putting yourself into the shoes of your potential customers is key to creating a site that converts. From the language you are using to the structure of your site, keeping your target customer in mind aids in making a site that is compelling and easy to use. When concerned about low conversations and sales, take into consideration the following questions:  

Is it easy to find your products & services?

The first step towards conversions is getting users onto your site. If you were to search for terms related to your products and services on Google, what comes up? Making sure that your SEO strategy is successfully bringing users to your site is important to keep track of. Searching for your site on search engines, analyzing traffic data, and focusing on keywords that your customers use to search for the products and services you offer can help bring more traffic to your site.

Beyond users finding your business on Google, you should also consider how easy it is to find your products and services on your site. How intuitive is the structure of your website? Optimizing your navigation bar and call-to-actions for ease of use and understanding is key to successfully guide users to your sales pages. Have a friend explore your site or check out user data concerning the journey users take through your site via the GA4’s Explore options to identify possible missteps in your site’s guidance.

Another potential roadblock to getting users to see what you have to offer is the mechanical performance of your site. How does your site feel? Slow and unresponsive user experiences, page crashes, buggy interfaces, and lack of cross device optimization can make it difficult to traverse your site, pushing potential customers away. Keep a look out for broken pages and links, as well as optimize your site for mobile use and speed.

Is the “why” of your products clear and compelling?

Once a user is on your site, you only have a handful of time to pique their interest, so its important to be straight to the point. Why should they consider your products? Within your landing page, it should be clear what your selling, who your products are for, and why people should by them. Making sure that our above the fold content and sales pitches are compelling and attractive to our target audience is important to getting users to even consider buying from our businesses.

On top of illustrating why users should consider our products, the language we use to describe our offers can impact whether a user wants to become our customer. Beyond just explaining why our products are good and can help potential customers, we must also ask ourselves: Why should they buy your services now? Creating a sense of urgency pushes customers to consider your offerings more seriously. This urgency doesn’t have to aggressive, such as a time limited offer, but instead can be an attractive vision of what buying our services will be like. Through our content and through customer testimonials, we can illustrate just how well our products resolve our customers’ pain points, making our services tangible and their value clear.

Can users trust your products & services?

Even if your site is visually stunning and easy to use, another aspect of turning visitors into customers I gaining their trust. Why should new customers trust your company? For users who are new to your business, hesitancy may stop them from considering buying from you. To avoid losing hesitant customers, it’s important to make sure that your content clearly shows your credentials and success. You can share your company story or statistics that show how good your company is doing. You can also share customer testimonials and ratings so that potential customers can see that real people have found happiness in your services.

Another aspect of trust to consider is clearly sharing the “small text” of buying your products. Are there any hidden fees or policies that customers may not know? Being transparent with your users about taxes, delivery charges, privacy policies, and so forth creates a sense of professionalism and sets expectations ahead of time. Users want to know what buying your products entails ahead of time rather than being blindsided by surprise details during the buying process. Having features such as estimated taxes alongside easy access to your privacy and shipping policies can help users trust your business.

Is it easy to understand what your products & services are?

Whether you sell physical products or intangible services, selling online can make it hard for users to understand what you are offering. Are your product pages painting a complete picture? Taking a look at your individual product descriptions or service tier lists, consider what information may be missing or even confusing to users. Part of building a successful product description is using language that our customers will understand so that we can make the product tangible despite being online. With services, consider how easy it is to understand how your service works. Taking the user step by step through your service, such as through infographics, can help users get a better picture of what they are buying.

Is it easy to buy your products & services?

Once your potential customer has decided to go ahead and buy your products and services, all that’s left is to go through the checkout process. Is your checkout process easy to go through? When it’s time to buy your products, the experience should be easy and intuitive. Complex forms, excessive required information, mandatory account creation, and so forth can cause a potential customer to back out at the last minute. Keep your checkout process short and offer features such as guest check out and auto fill to make the buying process a pleasant, easy experience.

Want to learn more?

Optimizing our sites for conversions is a continuous process. Customer expectations change and technology evolves, making it important to keep tracking our successes and improving our sites. Check out our blog for more advice on making your website better.  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.

Updating & Removing Outdated Content: Impacts to SEO Retention

As we optimize our sites for better user experience and higher search result queries, we may consider doing some spring cleaning to our site’s content. This includes looking through pages on our site that are not doing so well. Little traffic, out-of-date information, questionable relevancy: letting older pages linger can impact the quality of our site. However, how do we deal with older pages without negatively impacting our SEO scores?

Updating & Removing Outdated Content: Impacts to SEO Retention

What is outdated content?

When cleaning up our sites, we may run into outdated content. Outdated content is pages that are no longer relevant or helpful to your customers and company goals. This includes:

  • Pages with incorrect or old information.
  • Pages for discontinued products or services.
  • Pages that are no longer relevant to your business or customers.
  • Pages that are broken.

Why should I clean up outdated content?

In order to make sure that our site properly represents our business, we need to make sure all our pages are up-to-date and contain quality information. Outdated pages bring down the quality of our site through being unusual, misleading, and minimal traffic. Worse, these pages can result in more “bounce” traffic where customers leave our site after arriving on outdated content. Cleaning up these old pages, such as deleting them, can help us avoid customers leaving our sites while increasing out SEO rank by having more quality content as a whole.

What are the risks of cleaning up outdated content?

One risk to consider when cleaning up outdated content is whether or not the content has value to users or your SEO score as a whole. Is the information on that page important? If so, deleting important page can cause issues for your customers down the line. Another aspect to consider is the link equity of your pages. If your old page is linked to many other pages, it may be valuable in terms of the level if authority it has in the eyes of search engines. Deleting such page could negatively affect your SEO score.

What are my options for dealing with outdated content?

Since outdated content can affect our websites in varying ways, there are multiple options to handle these pages. In terms of the most common actions we can take, we can update the content, redirect it to relevant content, or delete the page entirely.

Update the Page

If the outdated page contains important information and still gets traffic, you may consider updating the content. Afterall, customers are still visiting the page. Whether that be due to the page having link value through its linkage to other pages or due to the value of the information it contains, if a page has potential, it should be updated rather than discarded. Another aspect to consider for pages that still have incoming traffic is if there is another existing page that fulfills the same role. If there isn’t, it becomes more important to update the page so that users are getting accurate information.

Redirect the Page

If the outdated page contains information that exists on another, up-to-date page, you may consider redirecting the outdated page to the new page. You can redirect a page via a 301 redirect or a 302 redirect status code. A 301 redirect tells Google that this redirect is permanent while a 302 redirect is a temporary measure. Keep in mind that while redirects are useful, having too many redirects can slow down your site and impact your SEO rank, so use them sparingly.

Delete the Page

When you have a page that is completely obsolete, that provides no value in terms of traffic, authority, and relevancy, you may consider deleting the page all together. You can delete a page via a 404 status code or a 410 status code. More commonly used, a 404 status code deletes the page, but doesn’t necessarily remove it from Google indexing. A 410 status code tells Google the page is gone forever. While it may sound strange that 404 codes are more popular, they are easier to implement and also allow us an opportunity to connect with customers who are still looking for that page by making our 404 page valuable.

Note: Make Use of your 404 Pages

One way we can use our 404 status pages are to make them valuable. We can edit our 404 page to not only be branded, but also contain easy access to our home page, related links, our search bars, and so forth. By making use of our 404 status pages, we can encourage customers to explore our site despite the page they visited being gone. Having a personalized 404 page can help keep customer bounce rate down, keeping customers on your site longer.

Want to Learn More?

There are many aspects we need to consider when improving our user experience and optimizing our SEO ranks. 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 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:

  • JSON-LD
  • 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.

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

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.

Lists

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.


Making Your Site Mobile Friendly

With the popularity of smartphones, many first-time users of our site will be visiting from their phone screen rather than on a desktop computer. In order to ensure that our site makes a good first impression no matter what device users are coming from, we need to create sites that are mobile friendly. This means our site should adjust appropriately to the device it is being viewed on.

Why are Mobile Friendly Sites important?

Beyond the fact that many eCommerce customers shop via their phones, there are other benefits to making our online shops and websites mobile friendly.

To start, having a quality mobile site can increase your ranking in search engines. Some search engines, such as Google, not only incorporate mobile friendliness into their ranking criteria, but they also have taken to ranking mobile sites first. This means that, even with a quality desktop site, your mobile site may be reviewed for search results instead, impacting your SEO score.

Other than SEO, having a good mobile site directly impacts user experience. With the potential of visitors viewing your site on their phones, we want to make sure that our site shows the best our company can offer. This includes things like fast loading times and complete access to the same features your desktop site offers. By having a quality site no matter the device, we can create an experience that positively impacts our reputation and encourages reoccurring customers.

What Makes a Site Mobile Friendly?

Mobile Responsiveness

When visiting your site on mobile, it may be hard for users to interact with your pages if they are the same size and format of your desktop site. If your site is too difficult to use, a potential customer may leave before giving your products a chance. To avoid this, a responsive design on your website is a must have. A responsive site is a site that is able to reformat itself to the screen size it’s on. This means that, if your site is visited on mobile, the page’s text, buttons, menus, and so forth will be resized for better use on a smaller screen.

Adjusted Navigation

A responsive mobile site will not only adjust the pages themselves, but also the navigation menus and search features as well. On mobile, a full navigation menu could either take up too much space, or be too small to interact with. Instead, the menu should be resized and reformatted. Many sites utilize the “Hamburger Menu” for mobile view. A hamburger menu appears as a button that users can click to open up the menu as well as close it. This allows users to explore your site without the menu being in the way while also keeping the menu properly sized and usable.

Note: Make Your Search Option Obvious

A part of making your site mobile friendly is making it easy to find the content a user is looking for. However, even with adjustments to size and navigation menus, it still may difficult to locate specific pages on such a small screen. Having a search option easily accessible and clearly visible can give mobile users another option to use when exploring your site.

Readable Text and Buttons

On a small screen, reading content and clicking buttons can be a difficult task for users. Some users may click a button only to accidentally hit another, or even miss it entirely. Zooming in to read small text can quickly become a chore while exploring your site. To avoid discouraging your user from using your site, your site should have bigger text and optimized buttons for mobile use. Text should be readable without zooming in and buttons should be adjusted for touch rather than clicking. Making your site easy to use and readable will help keep users on your site longer.

Optimized Visuals

While our banners and videos may look great on a desktop computer, squeezing those visuals onto a smaller screen can result in diminished quality and usability. Especially with our Above the Fold content, we want to make sure that the presentation of our visuals translates over to mobile view. This means that our site should resize these visuals and re-arrange them according to the device they are on.

Note: Hiding Features can Negatively Impact your Site

When adjusting our site to mobile view, we may be tempted to hide certain features and images that are available on the desktop version of our online shop. However, hiding content from viewers can impact your SEO score. While your users can’t see the missing content, search engines like Google can tell that you have hidden content from the page. Google does not approve of hidden content and will note it when ranking your site. Avoid hiding content and instead reformat the content the best you can for mobile use.

Want to Learn More?

Improving our site for user experience is key to bringing more traffic to our sites, and thus attracting more potential customers to consider our content and products. 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!

Keywords & SEO: Getting Started

Finding the right words to focus on when optimizing your site for searchability is an essential step to increasing your visibility.  However, with the variety of words available to us, it can be hard to get started. Luckily, there are a few steps we can take to begin finding keywords that will define our business and help us begin our SEO strategies.

Defining Keywords

Keywords are the words that your audience use when searching for specific products or services. Depending on what you are offering, who your audience is, and what industry you are in, which words attract people to your business can vary. Finding the words you want to focus on is essential to SEO since these words will be used in your content, titles, URLs and so forth.

Finding Words that Benefit your Company

One thing to note is that we must research which words we should be using thoroughly. While we could try to use any word that seems related to our services, it could detract from more important words as well as bring unwanted traffic to our site. Even using words that are popular in your industry can be pointless since those words are already heavily associated with other companies.

In the end, the keywords you decide to focus on should be a mix well-known words in your industry alongside niche vocabulary that relates to your target audience and specific expertise.

Steps to Get Started

Understand your Business

Before beginning keyword research, it is important to have solidified idea of who your company is. Knowing your products and services is the first step, followed by defining the “why” behind them. Why did you choose to sell these products and services? What is your mission or goal? Realistically, our offerings will have substitutes to compete with, so establishing what our “niche” is, what makes us different from other companies, is a key part of figuring out which words we will want to use to describe ourselves.

Note: Look for the Gaps

We can find our niche by looking for what gap we are filling in our industry. What is your company providing that other companies are not? This gap can be found within our products, target audience, work methods, history, mission, and so forth.

Know your Audience

Knowing our audience is essential to finding good keywords. We need to understand what words and phrases they are searching for in search engines so that we can use them in our content. By matching our content with our audience’s words, we will be more likely to show up in their search results. To do this, we need to first identify who our target audience is. What do they want? What pain points are they trying to solve? By looking at your products through the customer perspective, we can better define what keywords we should use.

Research your Competitors

The last thing we should keep in mind when beginning keyword research is our competitors. Our selection of words will be heavily based on the industries we are in, but we also want to make sure we stand a fighting chance to rank in the keywords we choose. Conducting searches of words you are interested in and seeing which competitors come up can help us figure out if the word is worth investing in. Consider the size and influence of the businesses that come up as well as the type of company they are. Sometimes, we will find that the word is heavily associated with a specific business, or that the companies that show up in certain results are not relevant to your own offerings.

At the same time, continue looking for gaps as you research your competitors. Are there words that your industry is not using that could be relevant? By looking for gaps, we can find opportunities to make strong associations with keywords that other companies have not used.

Want to Learn more about SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is a continuous process, moving beyond just keywords. Explore our SEO blogs to learn more tips and tricks to improve your ranking! 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.

Google’s Helpful Content Update: Impact to SEO Rank

In previous blogs, we have discussed many ways we can increase our visibility in Google Search through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, it is important to note that Google also continues to optimize their own system for serving useful content and ranking sites. As Google improves their ranking process, we also must adapt our SEO content to follow Google’s rules and expectations. One recent update we may want to be aware of is the Google’s “Helpful Content Update”.

What is the Google Helpful Content Update?

Starting in early December of 2022, Google began rolling out an update to its algorithm called the helpful content update. This update aims to further refine the process of defining quality content when ranking and serving sites. In this case, Google’s new update achieves this through adjustments to how it detects low quality content, as well as noting more signs that identify content that is made for search engines rather than for users.

Why is this update important?

Google’s updates aim to improve one thing: user experience. The sites that are served at the top of a search engine should provide value to users and answer user questions. There are many businesses that want to be at the top of relevant search results, so many of us work hard to optimize our websites for search engines. We focus on keywords, content, SEO friendly site structure, and other aspects that have been noted to increase search rank. However, this update could cause lower visibility for some companies.

SEO is an important aspect of bringing traffic to our site, but it must be balanced with user experience. Google’s helpful content update is cracking down on content that is made specifically to increase a site’s rank. This means that we need to be cautious as we optimize our websites for searchability.

What can we do if our rank drops?

There are a few things we can do if we are concerned that our SEO rank may fall due this update. The main thing we should focus on is ensuring that our content is valuable to readers. Is the content useful? Is it content that your target audience is interested in? Does it provide depth to a topic that was missing? These kinds of questions can help us understand if our content is focused on our users or on SEO alone.

It is important to note that optimizing your site for searchability is not a bad thing. However, we should not be creating a site that optimizes for visibility at the expense of quality content. Often, good SEO goes hand in hand with good user experience, so creating valuable content that your users want and enjoy should aid in increasing your SEO scores.

Note: If your score drops, it could take time for it to recover

Changes in rank can take time to occur, so if you find that your rank has dropped recently, don’t panic if it doesn’t jump back up right away. By continuing to improve your website and optimize your site’s searchability, your score should rise once more over the course of a couple months. Overall, website optimization should be a continuous process, so looking for places in your site that could use improvement should aid your SEO rank over time.

Want to Learn More about SEO?

There are many ways we can increase our website’s visibility and bring more traffic to our sites. Explore our SEO blogs to learn more tips and tricks to improve your ranking! 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.

SEO & Platform Migration: Protecting your SEO Rank

In previous blogs, we have explored Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in many contexts. From its benefits to the ways we can create SEO friendly websites and content, bringing people to our site via search engines is a broad topic. Another important aspect to consider when optimizing our sites for searchability is maintaining the hard work we have accomplished.

As our businesses grow and our needs and goals change, we may have to change the platform that we are hosting our online shop on. Such a major change can impact our current SEO ranking drastically. However, there are some key factors we can keep in mind while migrating our websites that can help us maintain our current SEO score.

Why is SEO Important to Think About when Re-Platforming a Site?

Major changes to our site can impact our online shop’s functionality and quality, but also our sites visibility. When we re-design a page or add new content or features to our site, search engines such as Google notice these changes and review them. Sometimes, big changes can lead to re-indexing by Google, meaning that Google will re-evaluate your page’s SEO rank.

Many times, our changes are aimed to positively impact our SEO rank, but changes can do the opposite as well. When migrating a site, not only could your SEO score change, but your site could lose its previous SEO score all together. Your SEO history is attached to your domain, and so changing your domain can result in total re-evaluation. Keeping this in mind when migrating your website, which will inevitably involve changes, is very important for us to keep our current traffic.

What should I keep in mind for an SEO friendly migration?

Before Migration, Document Your Current Site

Before migrating your site, benchmarking your website both in terms of functionality and in terms of SEO is an important step to take. Knowing where your site stands now is key to identifying any changes that may occur once you have migrated your site.

Documenting all of your existing content is also important in maintaining your current SEO score. Every URL should be noted, even if they are not your top pages. While doing so, also note any broken pages as they can be fixed during migration.

When Migrating your Site, Save Changes for Later

While we may have ideas to improve out sites during migration, it is best to save those plans for later. In order to ensure that we maintain our current SEO score and can troubleshoot SEO problem later, we must keep changes minimal. During migration, your new site should reflect your old site as much as possible. This includes content and structure. Wait to remove pages you plan to discontinue or new features you want to incorporate in your future site. Document your changes for future use.

Consistency is key to maintain your SEO score, so we must pay close attention to every part of our site. This includes transferring over things like page titles, meta descriptions, robot.txt files, sitemaps, and more. Anything that can be seen by Google’s crawlers is important to keep consistent in your new site.

Note: Migrate in Sections

One method we can use during migration is to migrate our site piece by piece rather than all at once. We can start with less important sections of our site and see what changes occur. Migrating in sections helps us see what we may need to adjust in our migration strategy as well as gives us some practice for when we migrate more critical parts of our online shops.

Redirect Every Page

When migrating your pages to your new platform, make sure that you redirect your old pages to your new pages. This will not only ensure that users trying to use your old URLs will be able to reach your new site, but also will help inform search engines that your pages have moved. This includes changing any existing redirects to lead users to the correct content.

When redirecting pages, it is best to use a one-to-one method. This means that each page is recreated on your new platform and is redirected to it. While it may be tempting to do many-to-one redirects, such as guiding users on older product pages to a page with a collection of products, it can negatively impact your SEO score.

Monitor Duplicate Content & Errors

During migration, you will run into the issue of duplicate content since you are duplicating your website. Duplicate content can negatively impact our SEO scores. However, there are a few things we can do to avoid our score dropping due to page creation:

  • Use ‘noindex’ tags – During migration, we will inevitably run into the issue of having duplicates of every page of our site. To avoid impacts to SEO, make sure to use ‘noindex’ tags on your new pages. This tag will tell Google’s bots to not index this page, which will keep search engines from noticing the duplicates for the moment. Note that these tags must be removed once we want to go live on our new platform.
  • Keep in mind HTTP to HTTPS changes – During migration, you may want to enhance your sites safety and reputation by securing your site with HTTPS as suggested by Google’s Search Essentials. However, keep in mind that HTTP and HTTPS pages are considered two different pages and may result in duplicate content. Make sure to redirect HTTP pages to your HTTPS pages to avoid impacts to SEO.
  • Use canonical URLs – Canonical URLs are a way that we can tell search engines what page we would want them to send users to if there is duplicate content. By using canonical URLs, we can tell Google that we prefer that users be led to our original content while we are working on our new pages.

Keep Mobile in Mind as you Migrate

While we want to keep changes minimal while we migrate our site to a new platform, we should be paying close attention to how our new site runs on mobile. Search engines like Google have taken to indexing mobile sites first, which can impact our SEO score if we are not careful. This means that we need to make sure that our mobile site is optimized. It should feel fast and adjust to smaller screens to be readable and easy to use.

Note: Avoid hidden content

Some developers hide content in mobile view that would be visible on desktop in order to increase readability and speed. However, hidden content is noticeable by crawlers and can negatively impact our SEO scores. When optimizing your site for mobile, avoid hiding content and instead adjust the content to suit mobile use.

Document any Tools or Services that you have currently Incorporated into your Site

Besides migrating pages, we will want to document all the tools we may use on our site as well. These could be analytics tools, crawlers, or plug-ins that we are currently using. Create list of these features and take a look at their documentation if they have guides for migrating the tool itself and the data it has collected. For tools that are not compatible with your new platforms, consider looking for a substitute to incorporate during post-migration.

Create a Post Migration plan for SEO

After migration, you will want to have a plan to analyze and troubleshoot your new site. This includes keeping an eye on your logs and analytics for changes in traffic and rank. With minimal changes to your site, finding the source of these changes should be easier.

Aside from troubleshooting, starting a new platform means we have new opportunities to explore. While during migration we suggest keeping changes to a minimum, after migration we can continue optimizing our site for user experience, quality of service, and SEO. Optimizing searchability is a continuous process, so create an SEO plan for your future online shop to push your site further!

Want to Learn more about SEO?

For your post-migration plan, there are many ways that we can optimize our websites for both SEO and improved user experience. Explore our SEO blogs to learn more tips and tricks to improve your ranking! 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.