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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
During these unprecedented and difficult times, there are many business owners who are trying to minimise financial risk for their business by pausing advertising efforts or cutting advertising spend.
This could be seen as a short term and temporary fix but eventually, this will lead to needless lost time and effort later on when it comes to rebuilding your marketing strategy from scratch.
So could this be the time to re-evaluate your existing budget and invest more in Digital Marketing? This blog explains why continuing with your marketing efforts is now more crucial than ever.
Grow your online presence & connect with your clients.
Following the government announcement regarding halting the spread of the virus, people are spending more time online and are using social media to connect with others. So this is the best time to grow your online presence and get more people to engage with your brand.
This could include working on your website to improve rankings and increase your site’s visibility when someone is searching for a particular product or service and being more active on social media. Even if your business is currently closed, you can still use social media to stay in contact with your current clients by showing your empathy and support during the outbreak or posting about small steps you have taken as a business to help people in need.
Make sure that information on your website or social media is up to date and keep your clients posted about any changes in regards to your services.
If you are not familiar or confident using social media, eSterling offer a complete Social Media Management service. We can manage your social activity and provide you with reports to track your online performance and engagement.
Understanding the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process which includes a number of steps and actions that aim to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website via organic Search Engine results. SEO is a long term process and the results are not immediately obvious. So now is the right time to invest in SEO so that your website is fully optimised for when the sanctions are lifted and business returns to normal levels.
eSterling are experts in all things ‘SEO’ and our SEO services provide regular reviews, up to date reporting and on-going support. We make sure the site is fully optimised and that you are targeting the right keywords as well as resolving all technical issues.
That gives you a big advantage over your competitors as many of them may have not looked at their SEO campaigns.
Time to invest in content.
Content is one of the main ranking factors for all Search Engines and Google has made it clear that a great content strategy can increase traffic and in-turn improve rankings. During these days people are spending many hours browsing the internet and reading articles. You should focus on updating your website’s content and optimising pages for desired keywords for your products or services.
Don’t forget to add or update your blog section with interesting and informative content to keep your customers engaged, even if your company is closed or you are not operating usual hours.
Take advantage of our copywriting services and we’ll create well-written, original and engaging content based on your brand and target audience.
Start online advertising by creating profitable Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns.
People are staying at home and searching for products and services online, so you could take advantage of the increased search volume and invest in PPC advertising. With Google Ads you’re in control of the money you spend and are only charged when someone clicks on your ads so most of the clicks will come from customers who are looking for your products or services.
If you have already set up PPC campaigns and your business is still operating then it is worth leaving these campaigns running as your customers may still be looking for your services or products.
Should you have any questions about online advertising and PPC, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here at eSterling we are still fully operational and can help you with online adverting and offer full support throughout this period and beyond.
Focus on your website and improve User Experience.
With daily traffic at an all time high, now could be the right time to think about a new website or a redesign of your old website to improve user experience. You need to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, the page speed is good and navigation is easy with clear structure and defined call to actions on all pages.
If you are not currently selling products, now is a great time to convert your site into an eCommerce site or improve your existing site since most of the transactions are taking place online. With so many people in quarantine and not being able to go to the stores, eCommerce sales are booming!
We have years of experience in designing and building websites and we always endeavour to build sites that exceed your expectations and generate you more business. Give us a call to discuss your project & requirements today!
At some point in the future this pandemic will pass, so you will need to make sure that you’ve got your business ready to go. Investing in your online strategy now, will reap the rewards further down the line.
We are here to help! We can help you promote your business online and develop an effective and measurable Digital Marketing strategy.
Call us on 0121 766 8087 and tell us what you want your website to do for your business.
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.
If you are interested in improving your site with structured data markup, please get in touch with eSterling now. Our expert web design and SEO teams can implement structured data on your site, boosting your rankings, traffic and sales.
Meta descriptions are snippets of code that provides information about a webpage, giving a brief description that is often used as part of Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
Despite seeming relatively simple on the surface, meta descriptions has often caused confusion for anyone trying to optimise their site for search engines. This confusion is centred around how much Google pays attention to this data when deciding how to generate its rankings.
During a recent SEO Mythbusting 101 talk, Martin Splitt, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, gave his opinion on what he thought was the top 3 SEO ranking factors you should focus on.
Interestingly, his second most important factor focused on metadata and meta descriptions.
This is surprising because as far back as 2009 Google has explicitly stated that meta descriptions are not used as part of their ranking algorithm.
Placing an emphasis on descriptions over something like backlinks seemingly goes against previous Google statements. Does this mean that Google has suddenly started including metadata as part of their ranking factors?
John Mueller, the senior trends analyst at Google has since cleared up some of the confusion surrounding this statement.
He clarified the statement by saying “I wouldn’t necessarily say that every website only needs to focus on those factors and then everything will be perfect”
“It’s rather more that these are things that we’ve commonly seen being missed when designing and developing websites.”
This suggests that Martin wasn’t giving an exact list of ranking factors during the talk, but rather that he was speaking to what developers and webmasters usually overlook when optimising a site.
It is most likely that meta descriptions do not directly impact rankings in the way that quality content or backlinks do, but are still vital to success within SEO despite being overlooked.
Meta descriptions are the first impression a user will have of your site when appearing on a SERP. If your meta descriptions are relevant to their search, effectively summarise what the page is about, have a clear Call To Action and are compelling enough to separate your site from the competition, the amount of people clicking through to your site.will increase.
Essentially, meta descriptions won’t directly improve your rankings, but the better they are the better your click through ratio will be. For this reason, it is obvious that meta descriptions are very important in terms of SEO, but still aren’t necessarily used as a ranking factor.
As part of eSterling’s SEO services, we write effective meta descriptions, ensuring your site will get the most traffic possible from search engines.
If your site is struggling to perform in Google, get in contact with eSterling now to find out how our SEO team can help.
So off I popped on the train to Brighton SEO this April, it was my first time attending and I really loved it. It is always nice to mingle with like-minded individuals that work in similar environments and actually share ideas, tips and of course brush up on my networking skills.
So one of the first talks I went to was “8 Ways to Increase your Ecommerce Conversion Rate” I have a long list of clients who our team constantly talk to about ways to improve their conversion rates & thought this would be a useful session.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how amazing our SEO team is or how much traffic our clients website gets… if that traffic doesn’t convert into sales then we and our clients are wasting time and money.
Our team could go through so many ways that you could increase your ecommerce conversion rate, but I wanted to focus on a few from the session that I feel are fundamental to even having a shot at increasing conversions.
Personalise your homepage BUT not too personalised
For example, display products related to a user’s previous purchase history or/and displaying the users “Current Cart Contents”
Promote alternative and compatible products on the product pages = Cross Selling
So for example if a user is looking for a pink dress it is best practice that it is visible on the page alternative pink dresses or dresses of a similar style. If I am being honest the amount of times I shop online and end up buying something from the “You May Also Like” options is countless…
My credit card statements are proof!
Using good quality and multiple product images
If I could sing this from the rooftops I would! It goes without saying a good visual is one of the biggest selling factors.
“56% of users interact with product images before any other element on the page”
Ecommerce sites ideally need an image that shows the product in scale so that users can gauge how big the product is without having to search for its sizing and potentially leaving your site and purchasing off a competitors.
Also an image that showcases the products’ features to help sell, if possible a “lifestyle” image and one of any accessories included.
Display user reviews
“95% of users rely on reviews to evaluate a product, so reviews are clearly an extremely important aspect of the buyer journey.”
The problem here is consumers love reading reviews but if it’s too much hassle to leave a review they won’t even if the service/product is the best thing since sliced bread.
Which means you need to make it as easy as possible for a user to leave a review.
- Don’t make users set up an account in order to leave a review. Use emails to authenticate purchases.
- Don’t make users provide unnecessary personal info, again you only need their email and they should be able to leave a review anonymously.
- Finally, don’t forget to remind users to leave a review, send a follow up email and incentives to encourage users, BUT don’t spam it.
Display shipping costs on product and cart pages
“Users hate paying for delivery and 55% of users will abandon checkout due to high delivery costs.”
If you can’t offer free delivery, then you should be as transparent as possible and display the delivery cost at every stage. There is nothing worse than shopping online, adding everything to the cart…going through adding all your personal information, delivery/billing addresses and then right at the final hurdle…getting a postage fee…your put off and then abandon the checkout.
Always offer a guest checkout & simplify your checkout process as much as possible
Things like, minimise forms & automatically applying the shopping address as the billing address…these quick wins all push the user to hit the “PAY NOW” button that little bit faster.
Promote trust using icons, badges and text
“17% of users will abandon their cart because they don’t trust the website with their credit card details.”
So we all should know now…and our SEO team constantly reminds clients the need for an SSL on websites, number 1 rule!
Some other ideas to promote trust would be adding security icons to your checkout pages, such as a padlock icon and using reassuring copy, such as ‘secure card payment’ or ‘checkout securely’.