Google recently asked Neilson Group to study the behaviour of people using mobiles to purchase. You can find the full report here but the main points to take away are these.
People are spending more than 15 hours a week researching potential purchases on their phones with their main method of discovering information being search engines, primarily of course, Google. The research showed that being local is the key with users wanting businesses to be within 5 miles. They also want to make their decision and purchase within an hour.
This is a clear sign that local businesses need to concentrate their attention on mobile users. Responsive design that caters to tablets and phone is no longer the purview of large national businesses. The most important driver in getting a user to your site and to make a purchase is making sure their experience is smooth and engaging. If your website can provide that optimum user experience on a mobile phone you will be well on your way to being ahead of the competition.
If you need help getting your website mobile ready call eSterling on 0121 766 8087.
Major retailers have made the transition to support mobile devices and there is a growing necessity for smaller brands and businesses to follow suit. In the last week of December John Lewis saw 75% of the traffic to their online shop being made up of tablets and mobile phones. Shoe retailer Schuh found that nearly 70% of traffic came from mobile devices over the same period.
The facts are simple. If you have a website it has to cater to users accessing the site through a tablet or mobile phone. If you don’t you will be loosing business. A website that doesn’t display correctly, is slow, has a Flash intro, or is inconvenient to navigate will dissuade users. Those users will go to a competitor due to the frustrations of trying to use your website. If you sell online then then you practically speaking have little choice but to upgrade the design of your website or face the inevitable decline in sales.
Your first new year’s resolution should be to get a refresh of your site to make it responsive and work across all devices. Why not give eSterling a call and let us see what we can do to increase the sales through your website.
According to Rap Genius they are no longer have an unnatural links penalty from Google after the search engine helpfully gave them assistance to correct their SEO tactics. During the last ten days after the penalty was applied the website couldn’t be found on the first few pages of search results even when their brand name was part of the query. Now they once again appear at the top of search results for their band name although their traffic has not returned to the levels they once enjoyed.
While it is great for Rap Genius to have their penalty lifted the actions of Google arguably show that there is one rule for big brands and another for smaller companies. A ten day manual penalty is a much shorter period of time than a small business could be expected to wait to see a return to search results.
Rap Genius didn’t find the best present from Santa in their stocking when they received a penalty from Google for using link schemes to boost their search rankings. This has resulted in their website not being found on the first page of results for even their own brand name. Instead news stories reporting this and their social media accounts are displayed. A site that saw over half a million unique visits a day has now been reduced to 10% of that showing the enormous power that Google hold in making an online business successful.
The link scheme they were penalised for was asking bloggers to join and affiliate scheme by adding a link to their website in exchange for a ‘thank you’ tweet from Rap Genius. In Google’s eyes even agreeing to exchange a tweet for a link back to a website is considered ‘paying’ for it and falls under “exchanging goods or services for links” which can result in a penalty. A link in a tweet may not have the same value to Google as a link on a website but social media still has an influence on search rankings. For Google this is about the credibility of the search results they provide and need to have these highly visible targets to penalise so as to not encourage link buying behaviour.
Critics argue that the manual penalties that Google applies are not done in a fair way as there are plenty of sites that buy links yet do not get penalised. The consensus is that Google would not be so vocal and stringent about the buying of back links if it didn’t actually work and wasn’t the easiest method to get a higher ranking.
It can be frustrating that behaviour of competitors is overlooked or even tolerated. When your competition is clearly buying links in order to improve their rankings yet do not receive a penalty and you follow Googles best practices and still get a lower position on search results it can be very tempting to follow suite. This is why gaming their SEO would have been a strategy that was seriously considered.
Most agree that Rap Genius has, in their market, the best content and is perceived to be the least spam driven lyrics site on the web. However others suggest that they couldn’t rely upon this to continue having good rankings. While they may have offered a better user experience they didn’t have the number of lyrics that other sites did. In addition while they may have built up an on-site community this would not be as important to ranking in Google as just providing the basic information people look for.
Will Rap Genius be able to return to the top of rankings by cleaning up their site and disavowing those links and will Google be seen to apply their penalties in a fairer way? We will await that news.