Category Archives: SEO

Boost Your Website Traffic: 5 Vital Areas to Drive More Visitors

Driving traffic is essential for the success and growth of online businesses. However, what parts of our business strategy do we need to work on to bring more potential clients to our sites? In this blog, we’ll discuss 5 key ways to get more people to visit your website and make your business more profitable.

Boost Your Website Traffic: 5 Vital Areas to Drive More Visitors

Driving traffic to your online shop is crucial for increasing sales and revenue. Here are the 5 most important areas you should optimize to drive traffic to your website:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is essential for driving organic traffic to your website. By optimizing elements such as website content, performance, and other technical aspects of your site, you can enhance your online shop’s visibility in search engine results. This increased visibility ensures that potential customers can easily locate your website when searching for products or services relevant to your business. By prioritizing SEO strategies, you improve the likelihood of attracting interested visitors and ultimately boosting sales.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing drives website traffic by creating content that attracts potential customers. Content such as blogs, videos, infographics, and so forth can be used on your own site to educate, entertain, and connect with your users, keeping them in your network. The key to successful content marketing is value: your content needs to be both quality and useful. To improve your content marketing, you need to understand your audience, create diverse content formats, and publish consistently. By investing in content marketing, your business can increase website traffic, brand visibility, and engagement.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a powerful driver of website traffic. Social media marketing drives website traffic by engaging with your audience on platforms outside of your site, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These social platforms allow you to reach audiences that your site couldn’t on its own and drive that audience to your content and products. Improving your social media marketing strategy involves creating a consistent social presence and also requires you to engage with your followers through comments, messages, and polls.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a potent driver of website traffic, offering your business a direct channel to reach and engage with their audience. By sending targeted and personalized emails, you can promote products, share valuable content, and encourage recipients to visit your website. To boost your email marketing efforts, focus on building and segmenting your email list, crafting compelling subject lines and content, and testing different strategies and content to determine what resonates best with your audience. Using email management software, you can also analyze email performance metrics to refine campaigns and effectively drive more traffic.

5. Website Optimization

Website speed optimization is crucial for driving traffic to your site as it directly impacts user experience and SEO. A faster website provides a better browsing experience, which can lead to higher visitor engagement, lower bounce rates, and increased time spent on your site. Improving your website performance involves multiple aspects of your site. You can boost your site’s speed by compressing images, minifying code, enabling browser caching, and investing in reliable hosting services. One important thing to note is that performance can vary across devices, so optimizing your site for mobile is essential as more users access the internet via smartphones and tablets.

Want to learn more?

 Driving traffic to your site is just one of many steps to turn visitors into customers. Listen our eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie dives into more tips and tricks to boost your online shop!

Navigating Success: Understanding Key Website Indicators for Your Online Business

In our last blog, we talked about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how they help you measure how well your business is doing. From tracking money matters to keeping customers happy and loyal, KPIs are like scorecards for your success. However, there’s another important thing you need to keep an eye on for your online shop to do well: key website indicators.

Navigating Success: Understanding Key Website Indicators for Your Online Business

What are key website indicators?

On top of measuring KPIs, it is important to track and review key website indicators. Key website indicators are metrics used to measure the performance and effectiveness of your website. From how customers engage with your site to the physical speed and responsiveness of your site’s design, these indicators can vary depending on your website’s goals and objectives.

What key website indicators should I track for my business?

Conversion Rate

When a visitor lands on your website, there are specific actions you hope they’ll take. You may want them to sign up for your newsletter, fill out a contact form, or complete a purchase. Conversion rates help us measure the percentage of users who complete those desired actions. By tracking conversion rates, you can better assess the effectiveness of your website in achieving specific goals or objectives. You can also use conversion rates to help you identify areas for improvement!

Traffic Sources

Tracking how many users visit your site is important, but another key aspect to consider is where your customers come from. Are they coming from search engines like Google, social media links on your online channels, or from somewhere else? Understanding where website traffic is coming from provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your various marketing channels, campaigns, and SEO efforts. By tracking sources of traffic such as search engines, social media platforms, referral websites, and direct visits, you can better allocate resources to your campaigns and optimize your marketing strategies!

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your website after viewing only one page. As an online business, first impressions are key, so measuring and decreasing your site’s bounce rate is crucial. Afterall, a high bounce rate may indicate issues with website usability, relevance, or content quality, which can negatively impact user experience and conversions. Watching bounce rates can help you pinpoint weak pages, guiding content & navigation tweaks for lower bounce rates.

Average Session Duration

The longer a user engages with our site, the more likely it is that they may consider becoming a customer! With average session duration, you can measure the average amount of time visitors spend on your website during a single session. Longer session times can signal strong engagement and interest, while shorter ones may mean visitors are struggling to find what they need or are facing usability problems. You can use average session duration to assess your website’s content and user experience, allowing you to enhance engagement and retention through adjustments.

Want to learn more?

Measuring key website indicators is one thing, but interpreting and leveraging them is another. Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast where Carrie discusses essential website indicators to track and offers practical tips for using them effectively.

Behind the Lag: What a Slow Website Looks Like and Why It Matters

Do you feel like your website has been running slow? A slow website can be detrimental to your online shop’s success. Today, let’s go over what a slow website can look like and the negative consequences it could bring to your business.

Behind the Lag: What a Slow Website Looks Like and Why It Matters

What does a slow site look like?

A slow website can be easily spotted by its poor performance. Some common signs that users may notice when visiting a slow site are:

  • Long load times – Pages may take a noticeable amount of time to load in, leaving users with an empty screen for a period of time.
  • Delayed or stuttering renders – Some elements of your page may take more time to load than others, resulting in page stutters.
  • Incomplete or partially loaded content – Users may see incomplete or partially loaded content on your page, such as half an image or text appearing gradually as it loads in.
  • Slow response time to user interactions– When a user presses a button, opens a menu, or interacts with a form, the site may appear to be unresponsive as it processes the user input.
  • Browser freezes or crashes – In severe cases, visiting a slow website may cause the user’s web browser to freeze or crash entirely, forcing them to restart the browser or navigate away from the site.

How can a slow site impact my business?

Frustrated customers

A slow site can lead to a negative overall experience. Pages taking too long to load, unresponsive buttons, and sudden shifts in the page when loading in new content can leave users feeling frustrated. Users are more likely to abandon your site if they have to wait too long for content to load, leading to higher bounce rates.

Lower Search Engine Rankings

Search engines like Google consider site speed as a ranking factor. If your site is slow, it can affect a search engine’s ability to crawl and index your site, affecting your overall performance ranking. Slow-loading pages may be penalized in search results, leading to reduced visibility and less organic traffic. This means that people searching for your products and services will be less likely to be served your site.

Reduced User Engagement

If your site’s slow performance makes it difficult to browse, you may end up with less customers interacting with your site. Slow sites tend to have lower user engagement metrics, such as time spent on page and number of pages viewed per session. This can negatively affect your site’s monetization, such as ads, and continue to bring down your site’s SEO ranking.

Negative Brand Reputation

A slow website reflects poorly on your brand. Users may perceive your site’s slow performance as unprofessional, outdated, or unreliable, which can damage your brand’s reputation and credibility. A tarnished brand can dissuade both old and new users from visiting your site.

Decreased Conversions

Slow websites often experience lower conversion rates. Whether the goal is to make a purchase, sign up for a service, or fill out a form, users are less likely to complete these actions if they encounter obstacles during the process. The harder it is for a user to buy your products, the less likely they will complete their purchase!

Want to learn more?

Want to learn how to measure and fix your site’s speed? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie dives into the importance of site speed, how to check it, and what you can do to improve it!

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:

  • 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 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.

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!