Migrating your eCommerce site to a new platform or design can come with a host of benefits – from increased functionality, better security, improved user experience and other advantages that could help your online revenue grow.
However, every experienced digital marketer knows that without proper preparation migrating an eCommerce site can come with a lot of pitfalls that, if ignored, can spell disaster for SEO performance.
To help with this process, we have put together the ultimate SEO guide to eCommerce migration. If you follow this checklist, you will be less likely to see in a drop in your organic rankings and traffic and
It should be noted that each migration is different and comes with its own host of challenges. This guide is meant to outline the main general issues that migrations face, but this mileage may vary depending on factors such as domain name changes, change from HTTP to HTTPs, payment gateway changes and more.
Preparing to Move
These steps should be the first thing you do and can be done before work has even started on the new version of the site.
Crawl Your Current Site
Screaming Frog is a widely used tool that crawls all URLs on your site and lets you analyse all technical and on page SEO data. Other tools are available to do this but Screaming Frog is free up to 500 URLs and is relatively simple to use and understand.
It’s important you crawl your current site to obtain a list of all your current URls as well as SEO data about those URLs that can be used for comparison and benchmarks later on.
Important SEO data can include Metadata, Canonical Tags, H1 & H2 Tags and no-ndex pages .
Benchmark SEO Performance
Using Google Analytics, Google Search Console and the software you use to track your search engine rankings, take a snapshot of performance to benchmark how your site performs in search engines.
Look at how many users land on the site through search engines, how long they stay on the site, the percentage that bounce, how many pages they view per session, what devices they view your site from and your top ranking keywords with the highest monthly search volume. All of this data can then compared once the migration goes live.
Benchmark eCommerce Data
As well as benchmarking your SEO performance, you should export as much details as you can about your sales performance.
Look at revenue, transactions, conversion rate, what channels users are most likely to convert from, what devices users are most likely to convert from, what pages are viewed and assisted conversion. This data will give you a good idea of the impact the migration has on your site’s profitability.
Benchmark Backlink Profile
It is also important to export a full list of all your backlinks. Ahrefs is a useful tool that allows you to look in-depth at all of the domains that link to your site. Keeping a record of this is important to ensure that no important inbound links are lost during migration.
Compare Live Site & Stage Site
With your current URL list from the crawl, create a full 301 redirect map to ensure that all old website URLs redirect properly to the new URLs. Normally, a map will be a spreadsheet with a column with your current/old URLs with another column that lists the new URL counterparts.
Once implemented on the staging site, you will want to crawl the old URLs to ensure that no redirects are broken. This should be repeated again post-launch.
Ensure URL structure is still SEO friendly
If you are migrating to an entirely new eCommerce platform, it is more than likely that the URL structure will change for products and product categories. Review the new URLs on the staging site to ensure they still meet SEO best practices.
- Do URLs still contain target keywords?
- Do URLs follow standard structure like /productcatefory/product/ ?
- Do URLs contain hyphens instead of underscores?
- Do URLs appear spammy/stuffed with keywords?
Compare Internal Links/Site Structure
Before launch, you will need to check to see if the new site has SEO friendly internal links and structure.
- Are all of your main pages, product categories and products linked in your main navigation?
- Are there any orphaned pages?
- Do category pages contain indexable links to the products?
- Are there any broken links on the site?
- Are there any internal links that 301 redirect?
- Are there pages that take more than four clicks from the homepage to get to?
- Do you product categorised in a way that targets keywords?
Review & Copy Metadata
From your initial crawl you should have all of the meta descriptions and titles present on the current site. At this point it may be a good idea to review all metadata to ensure that it effectively targets your keywords.
- Do page titles begin with your main target keyword for that page?
- Does your meta description contain the effective Calls to Action?
- Are all titles and descriptions an appropriate length?
Once the review is completed, copy all Metadata over to you the staging site so that it is ready for when it goes live.
Review & Copy Content
Content is more important than ever for SEO performance so ensure that the new site has unique SEO-friendly content on all pages.
- Does content contain relevant keywords for all pages? Creating a keyword map for each can be helpful to establish what you need to target.
- Is there any duplicate content anywhere on the site?
- Do products contain enough technical information?
- Is it easy to tell what your product is, what it does, why you should buy it from the descriptions?
- Do all product categories have content?
- Is there content on the homepage?
- Check word count on all pages.
Review On-Page/Technical SEO Elements
- Check H1, H2 usage
- Check IMG ALT attributes
- Verify proper implementation of canonical tags
- Check all pages that you don’t want indexed and marked with ‘no index’ tag.
- Check for canonicals and duplicate URLs
- Check the site will
- Ensure the new site has an SEO plugin installed e.g. Yoast for WordPress.
- Ensure Google Analytics tag is copied over.
Copy Schema Markup
For an eCommerce site, schema markup is particularly important.
In 2011, major search engines created a common set of data markup that search engines use to better understand the meaning of and information on a webpage. This collaborative markup is called Schema.org.
All eCommerce sites should have some schema markup on their page, in particular the product schema markup. Although it doesn’t directly impact rankings, it has been proven to have a direct impact on click through rates due to the enhancements it can give your search engine rankings.
If this is on your current site, ensure this is transferred over and if it is not make sure you create schema markup to be implemented before launch.
Compare Page Speed
Using Google’s Page Speed Insights and their Lighthouse Developer Tools, compare the page speed for the current and new sites. Although this may change after launch, it is important to review now to ensure that if there are any issues severely impacting page speed, they can be resolved well before launch.
Compare User Experience
Once you have reviewed all technical aspects, it is also important to check that your new online store works from a user perspective. While this won’t have a direct impact on organic traffic, if you don’t consider the user, you could see a fall in conversions.
- Is it easy to search products on the site?
- If you have a lot of product variations on your site, can these be easily filtered down to specific requirements?
- Are products categorised in a simple, understandable way?
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Do product pages display enough information to make an informed purchase?
- Is delivery information made clear?
- Is contact information easily accessible?
- Do you have clear Call to Actions?
- Is it clear what elements are clickable?
- Are all product images high quality and relevant?
- Is this site easy to use on all devices?
- How many steps is your checkout process? Is this as simple as possible for the end user?
Once your new site has been launched, it is important to check the below:
- Verify all redirects are working.
- Check that the site is not being blocked from being crawled or indexed.
- Verify all pages that you don’t want accessible in search engines aren’t set to nofollow.
- Check for any 404 or 301 response codes on internal links.
- Ensure that Google Analytics is tracking page view data.
- Verify that Enhanced eCommerce tracking is setup and tracking data correctly.
- Verify that the site has an XML sitemap and this has been submitted to Google Search Console.
- Check that all On-Page and Technical data that has been copied over from the old site is present and indexable.
Site Speed Test
It’s important to check page speed again after launch as if there are any server or hosting changes post-launch you could get different scores.
If you notice a drastic reduction in page speed scores, it is important to rectify this as soon as possible as page speed is a ranking factor for Google.
Ongoing Monitoring of SEO performance
You should set checkpoints to compare the new site’s performance to the old data that we benchmarked earlier. This can be after a week, a month 2 months and then quarterly.
Important things to monitor at each stage are:.
- Have any new pages been indexed?
- How have search engine rankings changed?
- Have the pages that are ranking changed?
- Have you seen a fall/rise in traffic?
- Are users bouncing more? Are users spending less/more time on the site?
- Have you seen a change in transactions/conversion rate?
- Has average transaction value changed?
- Has your top performing products changed?
If you need assistance with migrating your eCommerce site, our SEO team has helped business move their site to a variety of different platforms, ensuring everything is in place to protect their organic traffic.
Contact us now for more information for how we can help you migrate your eCommerce site now.
Google has confirmed that Core Web Vitals are becoming a new ranking signal for search results in May 2021 – but how do they define Core Web Vitals and what impact is this going to have on your site’s rankings?
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Google is adding Core Web Vitals to its recommended ‘Page Experience’ guidelines which currently includes:
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines
Core Web Vitals is categorized into three metrics which are defined as –
Largest Contentful Paint:
The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric reports the render time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport.
In simpler terms, the LCP is the time it takes for the majority of content on a web page to load. This metric is important as it analyses what it is like for a user to open your webpage. For the vast majority of users, a page that takes a long time to display its main portion of content is not ideal. Google has recognised this by including this metric as part of its search algorithm.
Google has suggested that an ideal LCP measurement is 2.5 seconds or faster and has specified these guidelines for poor, needs improvement and good speeds. These guidelines will be vital for SEO performance after May 2021, when Google introduces LCP as a direct signal for how it ranks pages in search results.
First Input Delay:
First Input Delay (FID) is the time it takes for a page to become interactive – for instance, this could be choosing an option for a menu, entering text into a field or clicking a link on the site’s navigation.
This metric is important for Google as it looks at real users interacting with their page by measuring how long it takes for them to actually do something on a page. A slow FID suggests that a page is unresponsive and indicates to Google that this page is less usable than others that have a higher FID time.
Google has outlined that sites should aim for a first input delay of 100ms for a good user experience.
Cumulative Layout Shift:
Cumulative Layout Shift:(CLS) is how stable a page is when it loads – essentially how much it moves around on your screen as the page loads.
If elements such as text, images, forms or anything else moves before the page is fully loaded, then this is indicative of a high CLS.
Below is an example of how this could be particularly frustrating for users and why Google views it as an important metric for deciding the best sites.
Google has defined the below criteria for a good CLS score. Google suggests that “To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.”
You can test your site and see how it performs for these3 metrics using the Google Page Speed Insight tool.
How Will Poor Core Web Vitals Affect My Site?
If your site is falling below Google’s recommended scores for each Core Web Vital metric then this suggests to their algorithm that your site takes a long time to display for users, is slow to become interactive and is visually unstable while loading and is therefore less “useful” to users. In May 2021, if your competitors are still outperforming you on these metrics, this is going to have a direct impact on the rankings of your site.
Fortunately, there is enough time to improve your site’s Core Web Vitals before Google launches its algorithm changes and your rankings begin to drop.
eSterling have an expert team of developers, designers and SEO specialists who can help improve your Core Web Vital metrics and prove to Google that your site is worth putting at the top of their search results.
Contact the team at eSterling now on 01217208420 or email email@example.com to find out how we can improve your core web vitals.
In an ideal world, we would suggest the majority of companies invest in both PPC and SEO to ensure you can effectively outperform competition and dominate search engine results pages for your chosen search terms. However, if you have a smaller marketing budget, you may only have to opt for one.
This guide will define SEO and PPC and give you the pros and cons of each and help give you an idea of which you should use as part of your marketing campaigns.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website and web pages to rank higher in search engines like Google and Bing. Organic rankings refers to the search results of a search engine that cannot be influenced by paid advertising. Organic search results are ranked according to their relevance to the search term.
Pros of SEO
- Cost – SEO is generally a lot more cost effective than other forms of digital marketing -in particular PPC and Google Ads. This means that there are big opportunities for a great ROI in the long term.
- Scalable – Once you have gained first page rankings for high volume keywords, you can easily build off this success and look at other areas to target. Good performance in SEO can easily be built upon provided you have the right strategy.
- Higher Click Through Ratio – Generally, users will be more likely to click on organic results than paid results.
- Branding – Aside from more traffic, high search rankings give your business and brand more visibility online. Your site appearing highly can influence your perceived credibility with an audience looking for your service. Many uses trust organic results more than ads and you can quickly build a reputation as a leading provider of a product or service if you rank highly for a number of keywords.
- Sustainability – Once you have achieved high rankings and have an ongoing SEO strategy in place, your competitors can’t simply outbid you to appear higher. They will need to invest a lot of time in developing a strategy to improve their site to be able to remove you from the top.
Cons of SEO
- Long Term – Results from SEO can sometimes take months to generate results – if you only have a short window to see returns from your marketing, SEO may not be the best option.
- May Not Be Viable for All Businesses – For the majority of businesses, SEO will be an invaluable tool in their marketing arsenal. However, a small number of businesses may not see the same benefit – this could be because their industry is too competitive in search or that their product/services just don’t get enough search volume.
What is PPC?
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model where your ads are displayed with a link to your website and you pay only when a user clicks through to your site. This is typically associated with search engine advertising like Google Ads or Google Shopping.
Pros of PPC
- Quick Results – In comparison to SEO, PPC can generate results much faster. Once you have set up your campaign, you should instantly start seeing traffic to your site. PPC is perfect for businesses that need results in the short term.
- Position on Results Page – Google Ads now take up a large portion of search result pages, generally in the first four positions. Although users tend to click on organic results more, being able to occupy the top of a results page for your chosen keyword can obviously be a massive boost to both traffic and authority.
- More Specific Targeting – With PPC ads you can filter who you target based on age, location and demographics. You can make sure you are only paying for the traffic that you want on your website.
- Range of Channels Available – Google Shopping Ads, Display Ads and Text Ads are all forms of PPC advertising. Investing in PPC marketing gives you the option of trying these channels and seeing what works for your business.
Cons of PPC
- Can Be Costly – Depending on your industry, PPC can be expensive. Extremely competitive industries such as Law services or insurance can have very high costs per click. This is something to consider if your marketing budget is on the lower end.
- Start off more Expensive – Although PPC can get results immediately, to optimise your account you need a lot of data on clicks and conversions. This means that initially your initial cost per conversion will be higher than it will be once the campaign has progressed and begun to generate data. You will need to be realistic about how long it takes to optimise a PPC campaign.
Is SEO or PPC right for my business?
This will largely depend on your industry and business and you will need to weigh up the above pros and cons and see how they fit in with your business.
In the simplest terms, SEO can be seen as a lower cost, longer term solution whereas PPC can have higher cost but more impact in the short term. This, along with the other advantages and disadvantages will need to be weighed up against your own business needs.
If you are still unsure about what direction to take your digital marketing campaigns in, eSterling can help.
Our dedicated marketing are experts in both SEO and PPC campaigns and can offer free advice on what is best for your business and guide you to the channels that will get you the best return on your investment.
Contact the eSterling team now and we will be happy to help with any questions you might have.
Google will roll out free listings on their Google Shopping platform in mid-October. This service allows online eCommerce stores to sell their products directly on Google.
Since re-branding to Google Shopping in 2012, the service has been paid-only. With increasing pressures bearing down upon retail markets, the search engine giant has decided to allow businesses to list their products for free to help them better connect with consumers during this period of uncertainty.
While they previously remained tight-lipped about the launch date outside of the US, Google have now confirmed that free listings will become available for all in mid-October.
This is a massive opportunity for any product-based business. Even before the pandemic hit, hundreds of millions of Shopping searches took place every week. It has been estimated that Google Shopping makes up 85% of paid traffic for online retailers.
Over the COVID-19 crisis, eCommerce has become vital for the success of a large number of businesses. Google Shopping and other digital commerce services have also become key places for businesses looking to sell their wares.
If you already use Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of this change; your listings will automatically show up at no cost.
However, if you haven’t used the platform before, now is the perfect time to make sure your website and products are ready for listing on Google Shopping.
How to make your website ready for Google Shopping:
First of all, your website requires full eCommerce functionality to be eligible for Google Shopping. This essentially means that customers can purchase products on your website.
Your site will need at the very least individual product pages, basket & checkout functionality and an integrated payment gateway. If your site doesn’t have these capabilities, you won’t be able to make use of the free Shopping listings.
If you sell products and you haven’t upgraded your site so customers can purchase directly on-site, now is the perfect time. Alongside the huge benefits of free Shopping listings, digital commerce will prove to be a vital revenue stream for many as more and more shoppers move online.
If you are interested in how you can upgrade your site, get in touch with the team at eSterling who can help make the transition to eCommerce. We have been building eCommerce sites for over 20 years and know how to create sites that makes it easy for customers to purchase the products they need.
Set Up A Merchant Account
As free listings will go live in a few weeks, now is a better time than ever to sign up for a Google Merchant account and get acquainted with how the platform works.
This account is where all your product data will live, alongside where you can where you can set shipping and tax rules. Sign up is easy and can be done here – https://www.google.com/retail/solutions/merchant-center/
When you want to start selling products, you will need to verify ownership of your website. This can be done in a few ways including Google Analytics, Tag Manager or a HTML file upload.
If you need assistance with verification process, eSterling can help guide you through the easiest solution possible
Set Up Product Feed
If you have an eCommerce site all ready to go, you’ll need to generate a product feed that can be sent to Google. A shopping feed is essentially what allows you to tell Google what you are selling and how much to sell it for. This is the heart of any good Shopping campaign, so getting this setup and optimised in advance could be key to success.
Setting up and optimising your google shopping feed will ensure you show up for the right searches, earn clicks and maximise sales. eSterling have helped companies across the UK set up their product feeds and succeed in Google shopping. We handle everything from generation to optimisation, so if you want to outperform your competition when the free listings roll out, contact eSterling now.
Optimise Product Pages
Google Shopping requires landing pages from product ads to show the same product, image and price that appeared on the Shopping listing, as well as the ability to intuitively add to cart and purchase.
A landing page that doesn’t meet Google’s requirement could prevent your products from showing up at all. Now is the perfect time to review all of your product pages to ensure they are eligible to appear before free listings are launched this month.
Google also requires product images to meet certain quality standards, for instance, if your image is too low resolution the product may be prevented from appearing in your campaign at all. Now is a great time to review your product images.
eSterling’s web design team have created hundreds of product pages that meet the standards of Google shopping. If you feel your product pages need reviewing, contact us now and we can go through what you need to do to get them ready to sell for free on Google Shopping this year.
Set Up User Tracking
Ensuring you can accurately track how Google Shopping users are interacting with your site will be vital in ensuring your campaign is performing as best as possible when you start making use of the new free listings.
eSterling’s SEO team can set up Google Analytics and other user tracking options on your site in no time, making the process as simple as possible and ensuring your tracking is ready once the new changes start to roll out.
Call us on 0121 766 8087 and we can discuss in more depth how we can help you get your website ready for free Google Shopping Ads.
Facebook is launching Facebook Shops in a bid to gain a stronger foothold in the eCommerce world and compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay.
Shops will allow businesses to set up free storefronts on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has had shopping features previously, but this update will allow companies to completely transform their Facebook pages into more accessible and attractive storefronts.
What is Facebook Shops?
In a recent post, Facebook has stated that:
“Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple.”
“Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand. This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.”
Essentially, Facebook shops will function similar to existing eCommerce platforms but will only be available across Facebook and Instagram applications.
There are also plans to roll out features that allow businesses to handle customer support issues through Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp
Is Facebook Shops Free?
Shops are completely free to create – the only potential charge to businesses if a customer uses Facebook’s checkout option but this option can be turned off and users can instead be directed to the businesses’ own website checkout process.
If a business has a fully functioning eCommerce website then all products can be listed on Facebook Shops for free as then there is no need to use Facebook’s internal checkout process.
Is Facebook Shops Worth It?
Absolutely! As COVID-19 has forced shoppers away from the high streets, online sales have soared. These new Facebook and Instagram shopping features present another opportunity to get your products in front of consumers who are looking to purchase online.
With 1.73 billion daily active users worldwide, Facebook has a massive reach. Shops allow businesses to tap into this audience directly. With billions of users now able to easily browse products without leaving Facebook, this is a great opportunity to boost sales in a time that may be difficult for a lot of companies. With no cost to Facebook and such a big audience for your products, there is no reason not to try it out.
Even if you don’t currently have a huge following on your Facebook, the platform allows you to run paid ads that will put your products and storefront in front of targeted demographics.
When does Facebook Shops Launch in the UK?
Although Facebook Shops has launched in the US, it will be rolled out to the UK and rest of the world in the next few months.
How do I set up a Facebook Shop?
To upload all of your products to a Facebook Shop, you will need to create a product data feed or sync your OpenCart, WooCommerce or Magento website.
The digital marketing team at eSterling are able to guide you through this process and get everything in place ready for you to start selling on Facebook shops.
If you need more information on how we can help you sell on Facebook Shops or any advice on social media marketing, please get in touch now.
The COVID-19 pandemic means that almost all businesses have had to change how they operate to cope with the new social distancing measures in place.
Consumers are currently seeking out as much information as possible regarding services and products that have been affected by the lockdown. For all businesses, getting this information online is vital in ensuring your business can continue to operate as smoothly as possible whilst everything remains in flux.
Although your website might be the primary point of contact for all of your customers, there are other channels that are key to ensuring all updates are as visible as possible.
Here’s some tips on how you can communicate effectively with your online customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Your website can often serve as the main point of contact for customers or clients looking for more information. If your business operation has changed significantly due to COVID-19, it’s definitely worth getting this on your website as soon as possible. It is also worth updating your site to reassure any users if your business activity is unchanged to let them know that any services or deliveries will be uninterrupted during the period of lockdown.
Notices should also cover any impact to customers, how employees are being protected with social distancing, any services or timescales that will be affected, changes to opening hours, any alterations to how customers can contact your business and anything else may be changed due to the restrictions.
Depending on the amount of information you need to communicate, this could take the form of a short message in the header, a paragraph on the homepage and FAQ section or dedicated landing page for all COVID-19 updates.
If you need to put notifications on your website, but aren’t sure how to action this, the eSterling design team can help provide a solution that will best integrate with your existing website design and ensure anyone who lands on your site is up-to-date with any changes to your business. We also offer copy writing services that can help effectively communicate your message to customers.
Mailers to current clients and customers is the ideal way to directly communicate with the individuals who will be most affected by any changes to service. A mailing list therefore can be a powerful tool for getting a message out during quarantine.
Recipients are most likely going to be most interested in what measures you are taking to reduce risk and how this will impact any services they have with yourselves.
Producing a short, punchy email with a clear subject line can easily distribute this information to everyone who needs it most. By keeping the copy simple and details down to the essentials, emails can be one of the most effective forms of communication over this uncertain period.
If you don’t currently have any mail campaigns set up or need some assistance with your current campaigns, eSterling can help. Our marketing and design teams are able to put together high quality mail campaigns for you, making the process quick and stress free.
Google My Business/Local Listings
For local businesses, Google My Business can often be the first thing users will see in search when looking for your company. Updating this listing is vital in making sure any changes in local business operations are highlighted to customers.
Google themselves have advised on updating store hours and putting as much information about COVID-19 measures via posts and descriptions in their GMB profiles.
Before making any changes, be aware that Google have changed some features and functionality of GMB listings.
It’s also worth updating any key profiles you have such as Bing Places, Yelp, TripAdvisor and any other directories or platforms that offer local business information to users.
If you need assistance updating your Google My Business listing or any other local directory listings, then eSterling will be happy to help.
Social media is one of the quickest ways to get information out to the world, as it’s the easiest way to provide updates to a wide user base in real time. Facebook and LinkedIn have all put out guides on how to keep customers updated on their platforms. This mainly involves making as many posts as possible, ensuring the most important updates are clearly visible and you are promptly responding to any messages you get during this period.
If you need some assistance with your social media strategy during quarantine, eSterling has a dedicated marketing team who can help find the best solution for you businesses as things continue to change.
Structured Data is a useful way to keep customers updated that may be overlooked by a lot of websites.
Structured data is code in a specific format that can be read by search engines to present the information within search results.
For instance, sites can use the itemAvailability structured data to display stock availability directly within search results. Options for this include InStock, OutofStock, Discontinued, has LimitedAvailability, is available InStoreOnly, OnlineOnly and more. This can be extremely useful if your store has moved all of its products to online only availability to reduce contact between employees and the public.
There’s a variety of quarantine related info that can be presented in search results through structured data, including event cancellations and creation of now-virtual events. Google have also added a SpecialAnnouncement data option for any COVID-19 related announcements to be displayed next to your website in search results.
For more advice on how you can implement structured data or amend existing data, please get in touch with our team now.
Page speed, in its simplest terms, can be defined as the time it takes for a website page to load.
Page speed has been a ranking factor for Google since 2010, and increased its importance in how Google ranks sites in 2018. Simply put, a slow website can hurt your search engine rankings and traffic.
What is page speed?
To fully understand why page speed is an important factor in the overall performance of your website, it is best to first understand what page speed is.
Page speed can have a few definitions, but the definition Google uses is made up of two metrics: first contentful paint and DOMcontentLoaded.
First contentful paint is the time it takes for the first bit of any content on a page to be rendered and the DOMcontentloaded is the time it takes for the entirety of the HTML content on the page to be loaded.
Google uses these to generate their page speed score – which can be tested with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
What impact does page speed have?
From an SEO perspective, the first reason you should pay attention to page speed is that it is a direct ranking for Google.
While a faster site won’t always mean you will automatically outrank a slower site or vice versa, it does definitely improve your chances of ranking higher in search engines.
Speed also has an impact on PPC performance, as a slower site can also decrease your Google AdWords Quality Score. A lower quality score makes it more difficult and expensive to bid for the top positions in Google’s paid results.
Page speed is not just important for how Google views your site, but how users interact with it as well.
A slow site is less efficient and more difficult to use, which may actually turn users away that have already landed on your site. A study by Kissmetric suggests that if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to fully load over a quarter of users will click away.
This will increase bounce rate and lower conversion rate considerably, particularly if you are an eCommerce site. If it takes a long time for a user to navigate a site to reach their goal, whether it’s buying a product or finding information, the more likely they are to abandon their journey. For instance, Walmart.com saw that with every second of increased page speed, their conversions increased by two percent.
How to improve page speed
Improving page speed comes down to removing unnecessary elements that may be bogging down your page load time – however, it can often be more complicated than this sounds depending on how your site has been built.
Here’s a few examples of how you can improve page speed:
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Minify and combine files
- Enable compression
- Enable browser caching
This is by no means an exhaustive list and it won’t always just be a simple case of following these steps and seeing your page speed rocket upwards. No two websites are the same, so diagnosing speed issues requires the knowledge of a skilled web designer or developer.
The team at eSterling can help you improve your page speed, with our expert designers and developers equipped with the knowledge and skills to quickly identify any issues that are preventing your site
If your site is scoring low on Google Page Speed Insights, give eSterling a call now on 0121 766 8087 and we can offer expert advice on how to improve your site’s performance.
Researching keywords is one of the most important parts of search engine optimisation. Ensuring you are targeting and tracking the right keywords makes sure that your site is bringing in the most relevant traffic possible.
On the surface, selecting the right keywords might seem simple. If your website sells shoes, surely it should be as easy as optimising your website around the keyword “shoes”? Unfortunately, keyword research is much more complicated. You will need to consider not only relevance but also search volume, competitiveness, user intent, keyword types and more.
Here’s a starting guide for choosing the best SEO keywords.
What are SEO keywords?
Keywords (sometimes known as search terms or key phrases) are words and phrases that users enter into a search engine to return a set of results.
SEOs use keywords to define web pages and help target content to the largest and most relevant audience possible.
By understanding the keywords that users are using to find the products and services you offer, you can make sure your website is optimised fully to capture as much relevant search traffic as possible.
Here’s what to consider when carrying out keyword research.
Search volume is the total number of searches for a given keyword. For instance, according to the latest data the keyword “star wars” gets 246,000 searches a month in the UK.
Understanding what people actually search is an important part of finding the ideal keywords for SEO.
Obviously, it is important to target keywords with the highest search volume possible. However, you need to ensure that you aren’t just targeting keywords just for the sake of high search volume as higher search volume keywords can often have ambiguous intent.
For example, if you have an eCommerce site that sells running shoes designed for gym and exercise use, tracking and targeting the keyword “shoes” would not be worthwhile. Although it has a high search volume, this keyword is too general and may draw users who’s search intent doesn’t match the specific content your page provides.
Relevant traffic will come from users that are looking for the exact information or product your website is providing. Although a keyword may have high search volume and low competition, it’s not worth targeting unless it actually matches the content your website is offering as it won’t bring in useful traffic.
Understanding why a user is making a search is vital for SEO – are they looking for a specific product? Do they just need some information on an event? Are they looking for contact details?
There are three types of searches:
The intent is to reach a particular website or brand. Navigational searches could be terms such as “amazon” or “nike running shoes”.
Informational searches are when users are looking for guidance, background information, or specific information about a topic or product without having any concrete intention to purchase or any wish to seek out a specific page
Search requests that indicate a clear intention to purchase are regarded as transactional queries.
Through machine learning, Google attempts to understand the intent of searches and returns results that are the closest match to this intent. This means by looking at what results are returned when making a search you can get an idea of what a user intentions are when searching certain keywords
This is important when choosing keywords – If you are targeting keywords that return mainly informational results and your site is an eCommerce site, it may be worth looking at other keywords that return transactional results.
It’s important to consider what competitors are appearing for the keywords you are targeting. If the first page of Google is dominated by Amazon, eBay or equally as large companies, it may be difficult to outrank these sites. This isn’t to say it’s impossible but, especially in the early days of an SEO campaign, it may be better to focus efforts on less competitive keywords. Researching similar sized competitors and seeing what keywords generate organic traffic for them that you don’t rank for is a great starting point for keyword research.
If you are still having trouble choosing the best SEO keywords, contact eSterling now. As part of our SEO services, we use industry leading tools to uncover exactly what you need to target to bring in the most traffic possible,
Give us a call on 0121 766 8087 to discuss how we can help your website reach more people.
Product pages often serve as one of the most important landing pages on your website. If a user is searching for a specific product, organic and paid search results are more than likely to be filled with product pages.
This means that your product page needs to provide the perfect amount of information for users and for search engines.
Here’s a checklist to ensure your product pages are performing well in search and reaching the most customers possible.
All good product descriptions should clearly and concisely explain what the product does, use language familiar to your target customers and communicate why someone should choose this product over a competitors.
Product descriptions should be written for customers first of all – with a clear tone of voice, persuasive wording and appropriate length. Descriptions that do this and demonstrate the clear value of your products will be a vital tool for leading your customers through the sales funnel.
However, just as important as selling to potential customers is product copy that targets the most relevant keywords users are going to be searching in Google. Search engine crawlers determine what a product page is trying to sell by scanning and reading the content. If you haven’t included what could potentially be searched by consumers in your copy, you could be missing out on a lot of search traffic. Keywords should be included naturally into the content, and not stuffed in just for the sake of SEO.
Product descriptions should also be unique for every product. Duplicated content can be a significant issue for SEO and should be avoided when possible, especially for large eCommerce websites.
Product Specifications & Information
Online customers are lazy. When viewing a product page, they want all the information they need in front of them and are often put off by having to click through to other pages to find what they need.
This is why all relevant product information should be clearly displayed on product pages. This can include prices, shipping costs, product size, product colours, and technical information.
Including as much relevant information as possible is always useful to the customer as they can understand the product completely by viewing one page. This will encourage them to move them down the conversion funnel in the simplest way possible.
Product imagery is often the first thing a customer will see on a product page. For this reason, you should ensure that your products images look as desirable and as high quality as possible.
9 out of 10 users have said that product images directly affect their purchasing decisions, so it’s vital to get it right.
Every image should be as high quality as possible while still staying under image size guidelines. Images that are stretched or too compressed will instantly send red flags to potential customers.
A range of images that shows your product from different angles is also preferable, especially if your products are dependent on their aesthetics. Having multiple images for each product variation is also a great way to show your customers exactly what they are buying.
Aside from just looking great, your images need to be helpful and answer questions your customer may have about a product. An image needs to give an idea of how it can be used and why they need to buy it.
Videos have also become a useful tool for eCommerce sites. Including videos on your product pages allows sites to give a much deeper insight into a product than a simple image. A video can include voice over and in-depth product demonstrations. This can be a powerful way of showing why a customer should purchase a product.
Social proof is a powerful tool within eCommerce. Seeing what someone else thought of a product can be one of the main things that helps a user decide on making a purchase.
The immediate benefit of reviews is that they can make your future customers feel that much more confident. Having this clearly displayed on a product page increases the chance that they a user will make the decision there and then.
If you need help on creating the best product pages possible, get in touch with eSterling! We are experts in eCommerce web design and digital marketing and have the knowledge and tools to help you create product pages that get users to click that buy button!
As search engine results have evolved over the years, helping Google understand your website has become more important than ever.
One method of providing explicit clues about a page is by including structured data. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying content. This is typically written using Scheme.org vocabulary and can provide information on everything from product prices, stock availability, company contact details, customer reviews, delivery information and more.
Structured data, however, isn’t a direct ranking signal for search engines – so why is it so important to have, especially for eCommerce sites?
One way Google ranks sites is relevancy. For instance, if a user searches “cheap floor tiles”, Google return sites most relevant to that query and the user intent – so in this case it will most likely be eCommerce sites selling floor tiles. So if Google understands your site is an eCommerce store selling floor tiles, it will have more chance of ranking for this keyword.
Structured data make it explicitly clear what your page is about to Google, and while this isn’t a direct ranking signal, it may contribute to a stronger relevancy signal for the keywords you are trying to rank for. Allowing Google to easily see the exact information on products you want to sell is always going to be beneficial.
Another reason for structured data is Google’s ever-growing use of rich snippets. Rich snippets are Google displaying additional data aside from the usual organic listings and Google Ads – for instance, this may be a knowledge graph, showing the direct answer to a question.
Rich snippets extend to much more than just providing answers – here are some of the ways this can be utilised for eCommerce sites:
Displaying as much information as possible next to search listings is a proven way of improving click through ratio (CTR). The more information you provide, the more likely it users will click.
Some sites have seen as much as 30% increase in CTR after implementing structured data – this could be a major boost to both traffic and conversions.
Additionally, users will be entering your site with more information on the product they want to purchase. This can help decrease bounce rate and improve conversions as customers may have already made their purchasing decisions before clicking on the site.