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Captchas – spam blockers or conversion killers?

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Web users are exercised by pop-ups which can be distracting as much as they are annoying. Equally, captchas can be one of the most bothersome things on the web. Even if they drive irritated visitors from your website, which in essence might not offend you, how do you feel about losing conversions?  The overarching concern regarding the negative effects of captchas on your website is loss of earnings and no return on investment. The whole concept and establishment of captchas resulted from the explosive growth in the web at the end of the 1900s and the corresponding  increase in spam. The latter phenomenon was counteracted with a spam prevention or blocking system named captchas whose raison d’etre was to stop spam robots from carrying out their task of recognising spam and penalising accordingly.

Even though captchas were designed to block spamming they proved in reality not to be totally spam proof as they were quickly outwitted by spam robots and their architects. However in spite of their shortcomings they did manage to filter some of the spam, which is the reason why they remain a popular feature on Websites. Their existence, whilst helpful in that respect can also act adversely as a barrier to real human visitors. That causes a dilemma for site owners in their analysis of the pros and cons of captchas. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? As an anti-spam application captchas come at a price in that they hinder search engine crawlers from performing their natural role of scanning webpages and rewarding certain algorithm criteria in the Search Engine Results pages. The problem for search bots is that content could be so far beyond their scope and accessibility that they simply move on to more friendly sites.

When not written and presented properly with due care and strategic planning, captchas can actually cause data loss. Such an extreme scenario might well occur. However, countenance the situation where your captcha is placed near unreadable text or where it has been filled in inaccurately resulting in the erasure of the data and causing the angry user to start over again. How many visitors in that situation would be put off to the extent that they would not be bothered to refill a form just to purchase something from your website? It follows that captchas, if they adversely affect UX and as a consequence degrade or prevent spider indexation of web pages beyond them, will prove a barrier to SEO in this context.

To make some comparisons – spam is less annoying and less expensive than loss of conversions and the resultant loss in revenue. Captchas on diverse locations such as newsletters or shopping sites can be a definite turn-off for site visitors or customers who find them frustrating and a distraction. The more illegible and diffuse the captcha the greater the likelihood of conversion loss with potential customers going elsewhere to make a purchase. Interestingly, the captchas with the highest rejection rates are those connected with sound and video. That is not at all surprising especially with the the growing popularity of on-site media trends. The greatest click away rates are caused by those captchas that for potential customers waste the most time and  register the greatest disapproval. If they are not conversion killers and they are not obviously penalising your rankings in SERPS then use them in the more friendly ways we have mentioned.

Tecchies are continuing to look for more effective alternatives as spam blockers – it is a work in progress. In the meantime there are captcha variations you can deploy to minimise user turn-off

and site rejection. An alternative is to introduce a simple maths problem for the user to solve – much more friendly than the unreadable letters that hack people off. A definite replacement for a captcha is a customised spam blocking solution and there are many to choose from. Currently there are universal spam filters for sale that provide the type of protection sought by professional Websites.

From your perspective, the resolution of the dilemma – to use captchas or not – can only be based on your own personal experience. If you do not get a lot of spam and you find that captchas interfere with conversions then the obvious thing to do is get rid of them. However, adversely, if your site analysis indicates that captchas do not bother your visitors whilst you still receive a lot of spam – then it is probably better to retain the captcha.

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketingadwordsvideo productionsocial mediaSEOMagento or web design questions you may have.

SEO Strategy

Why your SEO Strategy Isn’t Working Out the Way You Planned

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No matter how much we plan, prep and plot, sometimes things just don’t work out the way we thought they would. Building an effective SEO strategy seems like a piece of cake. You’ve done your keyword research and you know exactly how to climb up the rankings. Several months have passed and your site has crept closer to the top BUT it still hasn’t made it onto the first page. Why?

SEO is changing, which means you must adapt your strategy or risk falling behind. However, it can be difficult to see exactly where you are going wrong. Here are a few reasons that might explain why your SEO strategy isn’t quite as “googlised” as it should be:

 

Stuffing Keywords

 

Keyword stuffing goes a little something like this:

Web Design Northern Ireland, Web Design Northern Ireland, Web Design Northern Ireland etc.

This is of course an extreme example of stuffing keywords. This tactic is used to try and fool Google in order to rank higher on search results. Instead of noticing this and boosting your position on SERPs, Google will see what you’re doing and punish you by dragging your site to the bottom. You can thank the Penguin update for this!

 

Using Repeated Meta Tags

 

Each page on your website needs its own title tag and meta description. They should be descriptive and relevant to the content on the said page. Focus on specific keywords that are relevant to certain pages.

For example, an online clothing store should include unique meta tags for each page. These are usually divided by the type of clothing available on each page such as blouses, jeans, skirts and coats etc.

Using original meta tags will persuade people to hit the “click” button and improve your SEO.

 

Neglecting Broken Links

 

The links on your page may have been added back in the stone age and have since broken. The only way to find out if your site includes broken links is to double-check each one to make sure it still works.

Replace those that no longer work and update your content if needed. In addition to this, some of the links that were once considered high quality may have lost their original “kick”.

If you find that your site links to poor-performing sites, it may be time to update them!

 

Using Low Quality Content

 

Updating your website with poor content won’t do your SEO performance any favours. Avoid using dodgy content services that produces “optimised” content for low prices. Yes, you will probably receive a batch of content but the poor quality of this content will not get people’s attention – or Googles, for that matter.

If you don’t have the time to produce content yourself, seek out professionals. They will be able to not only write your websites content and articles, but optimise them for Google.

 

Preventing Google from Crawling your Site

 

It’s up to you to make sure Google can find your content. If you don’t do this, Google won’t be able to index OR rank your website. You can leave your site open to Google’s wandering eye by configuring Google Webmaster Tools to your website.

The best way to ensure that your SEO strategy is performing at optimal level is to seek help from a professional SEO agency who specialise in the matter.

Don’t hesitate to give RYCO a call today to discuss how we can help improve your SEO strategy and take your site to the first page of Googles search results.

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketing Belfastadwords PPC Belfastvideo production Belfastsocial media BelfastSEO BelfastMagento or web design questions you may have.

Newry : 028 3026 1861
Belfast : 028 9099 8106

 

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3 Easy Steps for Ecommerce Success

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There are currently 3.2 billion internet users worldwide – that’s almost HALF of the entire population! So what is it about the internet that has all of these people so intrigued? Most are either scrolling through their social media accounts, watching videos on YouTube or shopping online.

The ecommerce industry is booming.

The temptation to shop online is just too great and who can blame them? The allure lies with the simplicity of it all; no need to carry heavy shopping bags around town, the expedient home delivery system (and it’s even better when it’s free), the large range of products and the validating customer reviews and testimonials to help put our indecisive minds to rest. Shopping online is a blast.

In 2015, 7 out of 10 adults in the UK purchased goods or services online. 80% of these consumers (57% of the UK population) carried out the transaction via their smartphones. These figures are expected to rise in 2016, skyrocketing ecommerce profit margins to figures never thought possible.

With so much potential still to come, ecommerce owners have the opportunity to retain even more customers. All it takes is a few easy steps to implement a simple ecommerce strategy that will increase online sales and yield best possible results.

So here they are, the top 3 steps for ecommerce success:

3 Easy Steps for Ecommerce Success

Step 1: Bring it to the Little Screen (Mobile Optimisation)

Four out of five people use their smartphones to shop online. In fact, mobile sales account for over one third of global ecommerce. By adapting your strategy and the usability of your site to accommodate mobile users, you will be able to access this whirlpool of mobile shoppers.

A responsive design will automatically rank higher in search engine result pages, which is an added bonus of going mobile. When we say ‘mobile optimisation’, we aren’t just talking about mobiles. The responsive design must cater to other small screen devices such as tablets and smartphones etc.

A consistent customer experience is essential because over 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a shopping cart if the experience proves to be frustrating, slow or simply not fully optimised. The checkout process must be seamless and simple. Users should be able to purchase from your site just as they would be using a laptop or computer. Alternative payment options will make the experience more pleasing to many users. Some people prefer to shop online with credit cards whilst others prefer to use PayPal. Cater to all possibilities to reach each potential customer.

 

Step 2: Speak to the Individual (User-Focused)

Adopt a user-focused approach. Shoppers aren’t looking for something to suit everyone else. They want something that suits themselves. Speaking to the individual rather than the masses will help to keep your strategies focused and less ‘flimsy’. Connect to your customers on a more personal level and accommodate their shopping experience to reflect their preferences.

According to recent studies, 45% of online shoppers prefer buying from a website that offers them personalised offers. Make your customers feel special and they will reward you for it. So, how is it done effectively without seeming too ‘pushy’?

Tailor content to target the user. This means having dynamic product pages that speaks to the user rather than reading like the back page of an instruction manual. Imagine yourself as the shopper. You’re in need of a brand new handbag but you don’t want just any old handbag, you’re searching for one to take to the beach this summer. So, you come across the perfect product. The images are clear and it all looks perfect until you read over the robotic copy and immediately feel deflated. Personalised product descriptions will generate more interest in the product. Cater to the needs of your customers. If you are selling a beach bag, describe it in a way that will intrigue and entice consumers.

Consider using personalised recommendations to target customers based on location or buying and browsing history. This again is a method of user-focused targeting online and it works exceptionally well. Big ecommerce sites such as Amazon use personalised recommendations throughout the user shopping experience to accumulate even more sales and it works extremely well.

 

Step 3: Bring it Together (Social Customer Experience)

Provide users with a superb customer experience to set your brand apart from your biggest competitors, increase brand loyalty and to encourage customers to return to your site. If you own a small company, customer services should be one of your main priorities. People talk. Stories of disastrous customer service experiences have gone viral in the past. It’s the kind of publicity you definitely DO NOT want to provoke. Treat your customers like they are the most important people in the world and they will be more likely to buy from you.

Social media is an excellent way to establish a consistent brand experience. Many people contact companies via social media channels. It’s a convenient way of communicating with a brand so make sure that you provide fast responses and don’t keep them waiting for too long. Remember that a customer has emotions. You want to solve their problems and do so with courtesy and respect.

Many successful ecommerce sites have embedded a live chat function to allow customers to get in contact whenever they like. The great thing about this is that it provides instant customer service when it is needed most. Communication is important. Listen to your customers and your profit margins will thank you for it!

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketing adwords video production social media SEO Belfast Magento PPC Agency Belfast or web design questions you may have.

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E-Commerce Mistakes that can Damage your SEO Efforts

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If you thought that optimising your eCommerce site would be a piece of cake, you’re sadly mistaken. It is much more difficult to optimise an eCommerce website than it is for a simple blog or a 3-page website. Yet that’s not to say that it is impossible to achieve – you just need a helping hand.

E-Commerce websites with a large number of product listings require more attention to detail. This is because of the constant shifting of these products on and off the website. Constant changes such as this, can prove to be problematic with regards to SEO.

So, how can you improve the SEO of your eCommerce site?

The first step is to fix any present errors. To help with this, we have compiled a list of the most common SEO mistakes to AVOID (you can thank us later).

 

Mistake #1 – Using Manufacturer Product Descriptions

Manufacturers distribute product descriptions to online retailers who sell their products. It can be tempting to use the descriptions provided, but this won’t do your site any favours. Upon scanning your website, Google is alerted to the presence of duplicate content. This ensures that your site is dragged down the rankings. It might even get banned altogether from search engines if Google sees fit.

The solution? Create unique and compelling content. Yes, it may take some time, but in the end it will be worth it. A website containing unique product descriptions ranks higher. It’s as simple as that.

In some cases, there may be some products for which you are unable to write unique content for. Reasons for this include products that will be exiting your inventory soon. For products like this, it is better to take them out of search engines altogether. You can do this by putting a ‘No Index’ meta tag on these product pages. If you write unique content for only half of your products, search engines may flag your site as spam. It is better to keep your website as search engine friendly as possible.

 

Mistake #2 –  Missing Product Descriptions

This is a major error across a wide range of eCommerce sites. Pictures is a must, but it is also important to include an adjoining product description. Keep in mind that Google is blind to images. Search engines need content to read and analyse. Without content, your website will be swept under the rug. A product page without any text will not have a chance of reaching anywhere near the top 10 results of a search query.

Use descriptive text when writing product descriptions to increase customers interest in the product. Never copy content from another website. Do this and search engines will penalise you.

 

Mistake #3 – Failing to Optimise based on Keywords

Be aware of your target audience and your keywords. Use keywords that people are searching for. Make sure to include these in your product descriptions, title pages and headlines. The more specific your keywords are, the better. A few tips to better optimise product pages is to use brand names and model numbers. Many shoppers know exactly what brand and item that they wish to buy. Give them what they want and make their shopping experience as convenient as possible.

It is also a common mistake among eCommerce websites to neglect the image alt tag. Try not to forget this little golden nugget which helps search engines to see your images. Another big error is to overload your pages with repetitive keywords. Keep them to a minimum!

 

Mistake #4 – Absence of Keyword friendly URLs

Lack of keyword friendly URLs, otherwise known as “speaking” URLs, is a huge eCommerce mistake. It basically refers to the name of the product being present in the URL address. This is extremely important for SEO. A unique URL helps your pages to stand out. It’s advised to create unique URLs for each of your products. One advantage is that it makes finding your products easier for the customer because the URL tells users what to expect before landing on the associated page. This sets your website apart from the rest and makes it appear more reliable and relevant at the same time. You can also get lucky with keywords and anchor links because the chances of another website picking up on your URL and re-posting it increases.

 

Mistake #5 – Missing Product Reviews

Product reviews make a website more trustworthy and credible. 70% of online shoppers read product reviews before deciding to make a purchase. A website missing product reviews will be quickly replaced with one containing honest and useful insights. By having reviews enabled on your website, it will be much easier for you to climb to the top of search results. Reviews also help to create unique content for your online business and it keeps the product page ALIVE.

 

Don’t let simple mistakes like these stop your eCommerce business from climbing the search results ladder.

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketing adwords video production social media SEO Belfast Magento PPC Agency Belfast or web design questions you may have.

Get in Touch!

Newry  :  028 3026 1861  |  Belfast  :  028 9099 8106

SEO Strategy

Ecommerce – Planning For A successful Ecommerce Website Design

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Deja vu is a very useful experience to draw from when planning to design your ecommerce website. The pitfalls are many for the uninitiated and for the entrepreneur looking for a quick fix design set up the mistakes made in haste are humbling and very often irredeemable.

The message to anyone thinking of creating a design for their website is to consider the challenge in terms of (a) finding the right designer to create the desired solution and (b) communicating effectively with that designer so they know exactly what you want and can implement the requisite system to deliver your requirements.

Primarily, finding an empathetic, skilled designer with a proven track record is your first challenge and there are a number of ways to secure the best. You can contact successful ecommerce businesses and ask if they could recommend their designer or design team. Very often the best designers are referred from one customer to another, as long as your business is non threatening in the competitive commerce arena. You basically require a designer who can create a customised system to drive your business. At the point of selecting and commissioning your website designer it is necessary to know exactly what you want them to do for you. Most entrepreneurs will want the designer to create the web design and work through a complete process with continual consultation throughout the project. This eliminates anomalies, buts and maybes and enables the designer to deliver exactly what you want. From initial designs to completed project the key concept is engagement. The more consultation the more successful the outcome and the more economical the process will be. Be careful to select your designer on past results and not necessarily price. You can find affordable designers with flair and integrity who will give you what you want as long as the second challenge is fulfilled. Constant communication between the ecommerce entrepreneur and the website designer will negate any disasters that might otherwise arise in the design process. Designers are not mind readers and can only work with the remit they are given – so the more detailed and precise the design concept is in the planning stages, the more successful will be the outcome. With your feedback your designer can review their designs and provide you with a selection of designs for your consideration. Your final choice can then be made so the design sign off stage of your project is accomplished to your total satisfaction. This pre empts the horror stories you hear about other disastrous website designs.