SEO Series: Content

Our first post in our SEO series focused on keywords, the driving force.  You’ve done your keyword research and know what to do.  But now what?  It’s time to incorporate those keywords into your website content.

Content marketing has two aspects: quantity and quality.  A rookie mistake is writing subpar blog posts with your keywords interspersed.  Of course you want search engines to rank your pages, but you also want the right people to find and link to your pages.  Focus on writing concise, relevant content.  In your blog posts you should thoughtfully incorporate your keywords.  But don’t take this as keywords density (how many times a keyword appears).  Quality content is king.  It will be a process to achieve the quantity, but you’ll improve your SEO as more people link to and search for your content.

You can take your content a step further and optimize it for search engines.  Your pages titles, alt text, and meta descriptions are all important for content optimization.  You can use your keywords in these areas when you’re posting and sharing content.  Practical Ecommerce suggests starting with your title tag because it is the most important.  Why?  Because the title tag is what a user sees in search results.  Make a good first impression!

Just remember the most basic part of this discussion: SEO drives your keywords and keywords drive your SEO.  They go hand in hand.  Use those keywords in your content marketing efforts, which are ongoing.

Think we were done there?  Of course not!  In our next post we’ll discuss the importance of links in SEO.  Missed our first post in the series?  Read it here.

SEO Series: Keywords

SEO is relevant — it’s the game marketers must play.  There are numerous pieces to this game, so we’ll break it out in a series of posts.  Up first: keywords.

Before you can tackle your SEO, you need to define your keywords — the connection between you and the customer.  What is your eCommerce store all about?  What are you selling?  What are your customers putting in the search box?  Put yourself in their shoes.  You might know your business and product in and out but your customers might not be thinking the same thing.  Practical Ecommerce suggests keyword research to fully understand what the customer is searching for.  This can be as simple as typing a few words into Google (what we mean when we say SEO, since Google dominates the search engine market).  Also, think outside the box.  Basic adjectives like ‘good’ and ‘cheap’ can carry weight in search results.

Another great way to compile your keywords is going straight to the source — Google’s Keyword Planner.  Here, you can search for potential keywords.  The planner will give you keywords and related keywords but it will give you a lot of data, so tread carefully.  The Keyword Planner is, however, a helpful tool for idea generation.

So you have your keywords.  Now it’s time to start utilizing them in your content.  More pages with more keywords = good!  Your blog posts, case studies, product sheets, infographics, and any other forms of content you utilize should contain your keywords.  However, be wise.  Don’t write or generate mumbo jumbo and simply throw in your keywords.  Develop useful, relevant content.  A rookie mistake is writing for Google and not writing for people.

One final thing to remember is that keyword research, planning, and execution is a process.  SEO is an ongoing game.  Stay tuned for upcoming posts about content, links, and more for your eCommerce site.

4 Reasons for Cart Abandonment

You probably have a plethora of analytics for your eCommerce site.  What if you’re stuck in the situation of having a high volume of traffic but few conversions (check outs)?  It’s likely due to abandoned carts.  Here are a few reasons why those customers might not be buying and how you can get them to convert.

1. Shipping and handling charges

Do you ever get to the final stage of check out online and notice a $12 shipping charge for merchandise that costs $20?  If the purchases are not a necessity, you’ll probably abandon the cart and go elsewhere.  This is why companies like Zappos excel at the eCommerce experience — shipping is ALWAYS free!  So what can you do to combat or avoid this problem?  Make your shipping/handling charges transparent.  Don’t entice someone to purchase your products just to abandon them because of a shipping charge.  Clearly make your policy known well before check out.

2. Not responsive and/or mobile friendly

Two different concepts but ultimately related to the overall user experience.  If your eCommerce site is not responsive on tablets or mobile devices, you could be in trouble during the checkout.  It’s difficult to complete the transaction if the screen does not cooperate.  Conversely, you might have a responsive site but it’s not mobile friendly.  For example, you might use buttons or call to actions, but they’re small and hard to use on a mobile device.  Abandoned carts are inevitable if this is the case.  So it’s obvious that you should have a responsive site and mobile friendly site.  Perhaps you also invest in developing a mobile app for the ultimate eCommerce experience.

3. Security concerns

The ubiquity of large data breaches can’t be ignored.  As a result, many shoppers are anxious about shopping online.  Alleviate this with PCI compliance, which essentially means you’re protecting customer data.  Znode employs a fully PCI compliant shopping cart, so you never have to worry about sensitive information getting into the wrong hands.

4. Account creation

It can be incredibly frustrating to create an account in order to check out on a site.  Sometimes you need to quickly place an order but have to go through the laborious process of creating an account.  What prevails?  Abandoned carts.  You’ve given the customer an extra step in the checkout process.  Consider adjusting your strategy if this is the case.  Another added benefit of making the account creation optional is revealing your most interested customers.  Someone who voluntarily gives you your email is likely a meaningful customer.

Don’t fret if you’re experiencing abandoned carts.  It’s a problem that can be solved if you evaluate the cause.


eCommerce Trend: Abandoned Cart Management

Guilty as charged.  I recently abandoned a cart with running shoes for an upcoming marathon.  I was about to complete the transaction when I decided to stick with a pair I recently bought.  Everyone has done this…and we abandon our carts for so many reasons–shipping costs, indecision, credit card security, account creation, etc.  To combat this issue, many eCommerce stores are investing in platforms with abandoned cart recovery.  Here’s why it’s so important to jump on the bandwagon.

If you’re an eCommerce manager, sales are probably a key metric for success.  Abandoned cart management is one way to recover those lost sales.  According to Business 2 Community, abandoned carts account for nearly 70% of lost sales every day!  Whether you’re a small online shop or Amazon, that is a massive portion of revenue.

In addition to recovering some lost sales, an abandoned cart management strategy can give you insight about your eCommerce strategy.  For example, if you utilize reminder emails, you might offer free shipping or other incentives to prompt a purchase.  Maybe your customers are getting bogged down with shipping costs or the requirement of creating an account.  Adjust accordingly to win these customers.

So what are some best practices with this strategy?  Reminder emails are the most popular simply because if the customer has provided an email address, there’s already some interest.  Within those emails, follow these tips:

1. Wait 24 hours before you send the first reminder.  Give them some room.

2. Make sure the customer knows it’s you sending the email.  Clearly identify yourself in a messy inbox!

3. Incentivize.  Offer free shipping or a 10% discount on the order.

It’s crucial to implement abandoned cart management on your eCommerce platform.  Whether you opt for emails, offsite retargeting, onsite retargeting, or something else, you should invest in this feature.  Znode’s Multifront platform has backend shopping cart recovery functionality.

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8 Things You Might now About Multifront 8.0

In 2015 we released Multifront 8.0, with 8.1 following a few months later.  The new upgrades feature a plethora of new features, making the platform more robust than ever.  If you’re curious about upgrading your current eCommerce platform or looking to start fresh, familiarize yourself with a few facts about 8.1.

1. Full MVC framework.  Multifront is now built with MVC 5 and brings a lean, scalable eCommerce platform.  You’ll be able to reuse and maintain the same code, saving your development team a lot of time.

2. Redesigned admin.  Our fresh admin is fully responsive, making the user experience clean and user-friendly.  Work from the admin on any device–mobile, tablet, or computer.

3. Extension framework.  Third party plugins can now be developed by clients, partners, and independent developers.  Take your eCommerce functionality to the next level with this framework and fully reap the benefits of a customizable platform.

4. Single page checkout.  We’ve added the option for your customers to checkout on a single page.  You can still offer step-by-step checkout as well.  All of this is managed by the site administrator.

5. Quick order pad.  We’ve simplified the online shopping experience even further.  Your customers can use the quick order pad to add products directly to the shopping cart for a quick shopping experience.

6. Improved site admin.  In addition to a responsive layout, the back end features category tree browsing and visual reporting.  You’ll gain even more extensive insight about your eCommerce store.

7. New templates.  Our templates are implemented with best practices in mind for search, navigation, and conversion.  Don’t worry about meeting Google’s algorithm requirement.  Everything is fully responsive and mobile ready.

8. Abandoned cart management.  Are you struggling with customers shopping on your site but not completing the transaction?  Manage those abandoned carts with Multifront and see those conversions.

These upgrades will take your eCommerce platform to the next level of functionality.  You may even see a jump in your SEO with the mobile ready templates.  Visit our website to learn more or request a demo.