Search Engine Optimization – Google Speaks on Natural Search

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a topic that Google discusses often publicly, so the release of Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide – was met with great enthusiasm.  While the guide doesn’t give away any super secrets on how to increase natural search rankings the reader will come away with a deeper understanding of SEO, site design and even a plan of action for creating a new website or increasing the natural visibility of a current site.

Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. You’re likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide, because they’re essential ingredients for any webpage, but you may not be making the most out of them.”

A selection from the SEO Starter Guide that I found very informative was all about “description” meta tags.  Description meta tags differ from page titles and page title tags, but are no less important. “A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. Whereas a page’s title may be a few words or a phrase, a page’s description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph…Google Webmaster Tools provides a handy content analysis section that’ll tell you about any description meta tags that are either too short, long, or duplicated too many times (the same information is also shown for <title> tags). Like the <title> tag, the description meta tag is placed within the <head> tag of your HTML document.”

“Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say “might” because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user’s query. Alternatively, Google might use your site’s description in the Open Directory Project.”

Most of the information above was taken from Googles’ SEO Starter Guide – so this is about as simple (yet detailed) body of knowledge that Google will probably release for quite some time about SEO.  For more in-depth or simple to follow directions – I would suggest you find yourself a great Search Engine Marketing company that offers SEO along with white hat optimization and flexible contract terms.

Make Cart Abandoners a Source of Revenue this Holiday Season & Beyond

A great way to pick up additional shoppers this holiday season is to understand why shoppers are abandoning their carts before completing a purchase.  Of course, in order to understand why people abandon their carts – you must first contact them.  Depending on what your cart abandonment rate is – even picking up a small percentage of these abandoned carts could do wonders for your bottom line.

The 7th Annual Merchant Survey released by the E-tailing group recently addressed this ever-growing concern of cart abandonment among E-tailers.  Commentary on the E-tailing Groups survey stated that in order “to save the sale, communicate with customers once abandonment has occurred.”  Sounds simple enough, but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at this statistic), only 14% of websites studied sent an email to follow up with those shoppers who abandoned their carts.  The numbers dwindled even further to only 7% for those retailers that called the cart abandoner.  In order for your business to follow up with shoppers that abandon their shopping cart you will need to have a shopping cart that actually saves the information needed for following up.  This information is normally collected when consumers add items to their shopping carts and create a username/password.

Here at Leverage Marketing, we consider updating your website with the most up to date options that customers’ desire pretty high. (It’s also worth noting that customers rate the existence of perpetual shopping carts highly in terms of importance of shopping online for gifts this holiday season.)  We don’t offer shopping cart services, but we’ve worked with quite a few and look forward to being a trusted resource when your business is looking to update your websites’ shopping cart.

I think it’s fair to say that abandoned shopping carts are a goldmine when it comes to lead generation efforts – this is a person that went to your site and made a majority of the steps necessary to make a purchase.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to ensure your shopping cart can keep track of shopping cart abandonment data so your business can get a sales/customer service person involved with following-up to find out why the sale wasn’t completed?

What is Your Return Policy?

Do you take a Nordstrom’s approach to your return policies? If you haven’t heard the legendary tale of a customer who successfully returned a tire to Nordstrom’s – you should read about it here.  As the tale goes – Nordstrom’s doesn’t sell tires, but keeping with the businesses customer is always right policy – the retailer returned the tire with no questions asked.  While I think it’s safe to assume that most online shoppers aren’t looking for your business to offer such a lenient return policy – consumers are increasingly expecting retailers to offer a return policy that is fair and in most cases free for them to return items.

Recently reported by Twice a study by Forrester Consulting found that “Returns policies are a bigger factor in consumers’ online buying decisions than most retailers realize. Businesses [that] make it easier and less expensive for customers to return their products derive an advantage over competitors — and are likely to, in the long term, see increases in sales, customer loyalty and incremental revenue.”

Consumers overwhelming expressed appreciation for online stores with more liberal return policies. 81% of those surveyed said they are more likely to buy from a retailer, if the online retailer makes it easier for them to return a product.  Today is a great day to look at your return policy and find ways to make it more appealing for Online Holiday Gift Shoppers.

  • Can your business offer free return shipping on returned items?
  • Can your business increase the time frame you give to shoppers to return items during the Holiday Season?

This Holiday Shopping Season will be unlike any other shopping season seen recently.  With many looming economic questions – comparison shopping will be put to good use by many bargain hunting shoppers. It is now a good time to review your returns policy and see what changes can be easily implemented to give your business a bump in sales.  Give your team at Leverage Marketing a call when you make changes to your businesses return policy – the change in policy could provide a great boost to your website’s online sales.