Month: December 2018

3dcart SEO Best Practices: 7 Traffic Boosting Tips That Work

Ecommerce

3dcart is one of the best ecommerce platforms when it comes to search engine optimization.

But just because a hosting  solution provides great features doesn’t guarantee you results.

Simply going through the motions won’t bring in qualified organic visitors ready to buy from your brand for years to come.

That requires some work.

Why should you use 3dcart over bigger names like Shopify? Is it a good ecommerce platform for SEOs?

In this post, we’ll answer those exact questions and show you how to implement traffic boosting tips on the platform.

Here are the best practices for SEO on 3dcart and five ways you can boost your traffic fast.

Why Should You Use 3dcart For An Online Store?

3dcart is an online store platform with a focus on connectivity to third party applications (like email software and social media), and search engine optimization.

It’s called 3dcart because of their three-pronged approach to ecommerce where they focus the platform and toolkit options on three distinct areas:

  1. Store owners
  2. Search engines
  3. Shoppers

Breaking down the subsets, they provide specific tools to satisfy each portion of what it takes to run a successful, profitable ecommerce store.

It’s clear from the onset of using 3dcart that you are getting an online store built by people with expertise in attracting (and pleasing) traffic.

With a four step funnel plan and tools to match each step, 3dcart does an impeccable job at guiding you through the process.

Meaning that if you have no experience in SEO or funnel stages, you don’t need to worry.

3dcart has guides for each stage from “Reach” to “Nurture” to help you succeed.

When it comes to pricing, 3dcart tends to be slightly cheaper than Shopify with a few more added features that cheaper Shopify plans don’t cover, like no transaction fees.

So, why else would you choose 3dcart over other providers?

3dcart has some of the most extensive SEO features on the market when it comes to an ecommerce platform.

Sure, other platforms are going to give you the basics to get you started.

But 3dcart is more than just meta descriptions and titles. It has powerful mobile optimization for speed and even direct Google AMP connectivity.

Let’s dive into the features that 3dcart offers for SEO.

Is 3dcart a Good Ecommerce Platform for SEO?

3dcart is a great platform for ecommerce SEO.

Beyond the basics like meta description fields and alt tags for images, 3dcart has great connections to build an SEO friendly store.

For instance, direct connectivity with Google AMP to create fast, seamless mobile pages.

(Image Source)

On top of that, 3dcart has their own mobile pagespeed tool that helps you continually improve performance on your mobile site.

Some of the top features for SEO on 3dcart are:

  • AMP
  • Content Pages / Blog
  • Pagespeed tool
  • Mobile Optimization suite
  • Custom SEO Friendly URLs
  • Built in support for Schema markup (this is a big win)

3dcart is one of (if not the best) ecommerce platforms for those serious about SEO performance.

Here is how to put your SEO on overdrive with 3dcart.

5 Tips to Improve the Organic Performance

An online store thrives on organic traffic that you can convert to sales.

Unless you want to pay for ads or grind away on social media and reach 2% of your audience due to poor organic reach.

With organic search improvements, you can start to bring in more (and better) traffic that wants to buy your products.

Here is how.

1. Optimize Your Product / Category Pages and Meta Tags

Product and category pages are the meat and potatoes of ecommerce.

They explain your product offering and separate it for the right customer segments.

Being key pages on your store, they need dedication and work to optimize for organic traffic.

Key areas to optimize on these pages are:

  • Prioritize your top pages first
  • Include semantically related keywords
  • Primary focus on the page’s target keyword
  • Don’t add copy unless it enhances the description

One of the best examples of a well optimized category / product page is from Surf Station:

In their short description, they include multiple related terms to their primary keyword of “Wetsuits.”

Breaking down their offering, they touch on common pain points like shipping, a big factor in cart abandonment.

For your meta description and title tags, it’s key to optimize them with your target keyword and a succinct, relevant description of what searchers can expect when clicking on the page.

On 3dcart, the meta tag area is located on your product or blog page dashboard:

Simply locate the meta tags option and craft a compelling description and title.

Don’t forget those keywords!

2. Do Keyword Research, But Not Just For The Bottom of The Funnel

Keyword research is an essential aspect of SEO, especially for ecommerce.

Products and services can bring in traffic, but if you are in competitive markets, dozens if not hundreds of businesses are fighting for that same traffic, selling the same products.

The biggest mistake that most in ecommerce make when implementing keyword research is focusing too heavily on the bottom of the funnel and neglecting the top and middle where customer awareness is built.

For instance, most will target the high volume keywords like “buy 70 inch tv.”

(Image Source)

These lower funnel keywords signal a readiness to purchase, but they are nearly impossible to rank for due to competition overload.

Instead, start looking for keywords higher in the funnel regarding reviews or comparisons. These can help you bring in long-tail keyword traffic and build brand awareness before moving on high volume keywords.

Speaking of which…

3. Create Content That Your Customers Are Interested In

Once you’ve done keyword research for the top and middle of the funnel, it’s time to create content.

Content is the lifeblood of organic traffic.

People don’t purchase on their first search anymore. With review sites, YouTube videos, and comparisons, shopping is a complex process that takes multiple touches.

Meaning you need content at each stage to connect with potential shoppers.

And according to HubSpot, blogging more in B2C (ecommerce) results in more sales and more traffic than companies that don’t blog.

(Image Source)

For instance, Fitbit, a sports tracking wearable company, blogs on topics in their active / healthy lifestyle niche to drive traffic to their site.

Instead of only targeting keywords like “buy a smartwatch” or “fitness trackers,” they focus on building brand awareness as a leader in the activewear space.

Focus your blogging efforts on becoming the Fitbit of your own niche to bring in big traffic.

4. Optimize For Mobile Shoppers

Mobile is trending. It’s hot. And for good reason:

Mobile traffic is more common than desktop traffic now and your store has to adapt. You can’t ignore or avoid mobile optimization anymore.

Not unless you want your SEO results and organic traffic to run for the hills.

Recent data shows that mobile shopping is on the rise, especially around holiday seasons:

“Smartphones were one of the biggest drivers of growth on Cyber Monday, responsible for 44.6% of site visits and nearly 30% of revenue.”

Now is the time to optimize for the mobile user.

Where do you begin? With pagespeed.

According to Google, the average mobile website for any and every industry is far too slow:

(Image Source)

And slow websites are a recipe for high bounce rates and skyrocketing cart abandonment.

(Image Source)

To increase your page speed load times and keep traffic around, use Google’s Test My Site to uncover what potential factors are impacting your speed and direct steps on how to fix each of them.

5. Secure Your Website With HTTPS

HTTPS, otherwise known as a security measure for websites using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), is a critical ranking factor in 2018 and beyond.

Way back in 2014, Google first announced that HTTPS was a ranking signal.

Since then, data sets are showing the same results:

First page ranked content is dominated by HTTPS secured websites.

(Image Source)

Thankfully, adding an SSL certificate to secure your website with 3dcart is incredibly easy.

They have an entire dedicated page of SSL deals on their website that instantly integrate on your site.

Check them out here.

3 Apps Make Your Online Store More SEO Friendly

1. Google AMP

While not a direct app on the app store, 3dcart makes it easy for their ecommerce stores to implement Google AMP.

And they’ve proven that it works.

According to 3dcart, AMP can increase conversion rates by 105%, decrease bounces by 31%, and increase CTR from search by 29%.

(Image Source)

Mobile speed is arguably more important than ever. Even a few seconds can increase bounce rates and ensure that traffic doesn’t result in sales.

Meanwhile, AMP provides a significant boost in speed and usability on small mobile devices, ensuring a better user experience and a better chance at closing sales.

To get AMP installed on your 3dcart store, follow their guide here.

2. AppNotch: Reach a Bigger Mobile Market

Mobile sites are great at selling for ecommerce.

But there is one glaring problem:

The majority of time on mobile is within applications, not browsers:

(Image Source)

To be specific, 92% of time on mobile devices is consumed via apps, not browsers like Chrome or Safari.

To combat this, you need a mobile app version of your store.

One of the easiest ways to do so is via AppNotch, an app on 3dcart’s app store.

AppNotch converts your ecommerce store into a fully functioning, responsive mobile app to help you sell easier than ever before.

With key push notifications you can reach all of your customers with free messaging rather than spending marketing dollars to get them back to your mobile site.

AppNotch can help you expand your traffic potential and reach customers without spending money on marketing or fighting for inbox space.

3. Quick Cart: Prevent Cart Abandonment

Building an organic traffic following isn’t easy, as you surely know.

And nothing is worse than bringing in tons of organic traffic for them to leave without buying a single product.

Or worse: leaving it abandoned in their cart.

Cart abandonment can be devastating to an ecommerce business. Cart abandonment rates on average hover around 75%.

(Image Source)

Fighting it is your best chance at converting more organic traffic that you worked so hard to get.

With Quick Cart, a free included app with 3dcart, you can circumvent cart abandonment by providing quick cart snapshots, preventing users from being taken away from their shopping experience by clicking on their cart:

Don’t let cart abandonment destroy your selling potential. Implement Quick Cart and deliver a better user experience.

Conclusion

3dcart is a lesser used platform than the likes of Shopify or BigCommerce, but it packs an SEO punch.

With diverse tool sets like AMP and Schema Markup built into the foundation, getting your site ranking high is easy compared to competitors.

Using the 3dcart tool set, optimize your products pages and category pages for shoppers. Create content that your customers want and align it with funnel stage keywords.

Optimize for mobile shoppers using the 3dcart page speed tool and consider securing your site with HTTPs for strong trust signals with Google.

If you feel like using apps, connect AMP, Analytics and AppNotch for a powerhouse of SEO data and optimization.

Put these to use and you’ll be driving more organic traffic than ever before.

Although its a hosted solution not sure it is considered a hosting platform, more like an ecommerce platform

3dcart SEO Best Practices: 7 Traffic Boosting Tips That Work was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

SEO Hacker 2018 Round-up

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SEO Hacker 2018 Round-up

2018 was a big year for us here at SEO Hacker, from growing our team to establishing more business connections that brought in more opportunities for the future. the year also brought in a lot of new tools, updates, and news that have affected the ever-growing SEO industry. this has led to us writing about some of the biggest news, along with bringing in important tips and guides that help fellow SEO professionals and enthusiasts.

These articles have not only helped us gain traffic and establish more partnerships, but this has also shown how far has the SEO industry grown over the years in different parts of the world. With this in mind, let us take a look at some of the most important articles for each month of the year.

January: Daring SEO Strategies You Must Try This 2018

Daring SEO Strategies You Must Try This 2018

We started off 2018 with an article that featured SEO strategies that would provide you with the best results for the rest of the year. From optimizing voice search to building your mobile search presence, these strategies surely helped websites grow this 2018.

February: Google Images Update Removes View Image and Image Search

Google Images Update Removes View Image and Image Search

Google has had numerous updates and big news during 2018, and this is one of the first major changes that they have launched for one of their services. With Google Images being the largest image search engine, removing image search and view image surely caused numerous users to adapt and adjust their method of gathering images from the internet. In SEO terms, this update benefited website traffic, as users now have to go to the source webpage in order to view the image.

March: Exploring the Google Lighthouse Chrome Extension

Exploring the Google Lighthouse Chrome Extension

Google Lighthouse is one of the most reliable and effective free website audit tools around. With the Google Chrome Extension becoming available, users would now be able to set up website audits within a few clicks. We reviewed this amazing free tool, and see how it can help find the best ways to optimize our websites.

April: Best URL Shortening Tools For 2018

Best URL Shortening Tools For 2018

URL Shortening services are one of the most sought after on the internet. With Goo.gl shutting down their services, looking for alternatives is a must. This article provides users with some of the best URL shortening tools that users can make use of.

May: A Look Into the Upcoming Google Maps Update

A Look Into the Upcoming Google Maps Update

Google Maps is one of the most important Google services around, as it helps people around the world navigate through various cities and streets and reach their destination. We looked into some of the upcoming updates and gave our thoughts on how this could impact SEO.

June: Low-key SEO Strategies Worth Trying Out

Low-key SEO Strategies Worth Trying Out

Finding the best SEO strategies are essential in bringing you high amounts of traffic, and have your web pages show up in Google SERPs. However, there are a good amount of underrated and effective SEO strategies that a lot of people might overlook, which have the potential to turn your traffic around.

July: How Hashtags on YouTube Can Improve Searchability

How Hashtags on YouTube Can Improve Searchability

YouTube has become the most popular online video streaming platform, along with also being one of the largest search engines on the internet. With YouTube SEO becoming more important than ever, adding new elements such as hashtags allows videos in the platform become more searchable.

August: WordPress 5.0: What You Need To Know To Get Ready

WordPress 5.0: What You Need To Know To Get Ready

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS software around, allowing users to create a wide variety of websites. WordPress 5.0 is one of the most important releases of the year, as it introduces a new editor that makes content creation a much smoother experience.

September: A Guide to Using Google Dataset Search Beta

A Guide to Using Google Dataset Search Beta

Google is always expanding their search platform to accommodate different kinds of data that users would be able to use. Google Dataset allows users to be able to track various datasets from educational, government, and corporate institutions, and make them more searchable.

October: SEO Strategies and Trends That Will be Big in 2019

Optimizing your Videos for SEO in 2019

2018 is surely a big year for the SEO industry, with new strategies and tools that help make our job much more efficient. With 2019 on the horizon, here are some strategies and trends that might prove to be useful once January rolls around.

November: A Look into the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool Update

A Look into the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool Update

The Google Speed update has helped the search engine push towards a more mobile-friendly experience. This makes monitoring your loading speed more important than ever. Here’s a look into the latest PageSpeed Insights Update, and how it helps you monitor your loading speeds.

December: How to Recover From the Google Medic Update

How to Recover From the Google Medic Update

The Google Medic update is one of the most impactful algorithm updates of the year, affecting websites related to health and commerce. This guide will help you recover from the update and regain traffic.

Key Takeaway

2018 was surely a big year, and this year-end round-up truly encapsulates the most important things that happened. With 2019 on the way, looking back at the rest of the year allows you to find the best steps to take moving forward.

SEO Hacker 2018 Round-up was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Merry Christmas SEO Hackers!

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Merry Christmas SEO Hackers!

2018 has been a year of continued growth that helped us create new ways to innovate and establish new connections. This makes Christmas a very great time to be thankful for the journey we have had during the year. With that in mind, we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

The holidays are a great time to rest, spend time with friends and family, and take a look back on some of the best things that have happened to you over the course of the year. When it comes to looking back, we have put together a reading list featuring our December articles that you could read over the holidays.

Understanding Trust and Citation Flow

Understanding Trust and Citation Flow

Trust and Citation Flow are two key metrics that help users understand the trustworthiness and quality of a website. From link building to content marketing, it is important to assess these metrics in order to find the best websites and links that would help you gain more traffic.

Optimizing your Videos for SEO in 2019

Optimizing your Videos for SEO in 2019

Video content has become one of the most important forms of digital content in 2018, and with mobile internet and social media marketing becoming more significant than ever, it is important to deliver quality content that stands out amongst the abundance of choices. This guide will help you create great video content, and how to promote it on social media platforms.

Google Allo Shutting Down, Duo and Messages Support on the way

Google Allo Shutting Down, Duo and Messages Support on the way

Google Allo was the platform where people were introduced to Google Assistant for the first time. With the messaging app shutting down in 2019, Google is planning to streamline their messaging and communication platforms to create a more comprehensive system that allows seamless and smooth communication.

WordPress 5.0 Out New Features You Need to Know Before Updating

WordPress 5.0 Out New Features You Need to Know Before Updating

After months of anticipation, the newest version of WordPress has finally been launched. Here are our thoughts about the new Gutenberg editor, and how it makes WordPress more accessible than ever for both new and old users.

A Look Into the Top Search Terms of 2018

A Look Into the Top Search Terms of 2018

2018 has become another big year in the world of search, with numerous updates from some of the largest search engines, along with new tools and services that make it more reliable and accessible. With that in mind, a look into the top search terms of 2018 show how people use online search and how it as affected SEO in general.

How to Recover From the Google Medic Update

How to Recover From the Google Medic Update

The Google Medic Update refers to one of Google’s Algorithm updates that affected numerous websites related to e-commerce and YMYL websites. Here’s a guide that would help you recover your traffic by optimizing your website.

Key Takeaway

The holidays are the best time to rest and relax with your friends and family, and this Christmas reading list would keep you company until the New Year arrives.

If you have questions and inquiries about SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Merry Christmas SEO Hackers! was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to get the most out of PageRank and boost rankings

There are 100s of signals that help Google understand and rank content and one signal in particular, PageRank, is often not fully taken advantage of on large scale websites.

Harnessing PageRank can provide the boost you need to gain traction in search results once you’ve covered some of the SEO basics, such as on-page optimisation.

But first, let’s define what PageRank is and how it works.

What is PageRank?

PageRank is a metric used by Google to determine the authority of a page, based on inbound links.

Unlike other ranking factors, Google used to explicitly give you a PageRank score of a webpage; however, Google decided to retire the public PageRank  metric.

Although the public can no longer see PageRank scores, PageRank itself is a signal still used by Google, but many websites don’t efficiently harness its potential to boost rankings.

How is PageRank calculated?

The methodology to calculate PageRank has evolved since the first introduction of Larry Page’s (a co-founder of Google) PageRank patent.

“Even when I joined the company in 2000, Google was doing more sophisticated link computation than you would observe from the classic PageRank papers”

Matt Cutts

The original PageRank calculation would equally divide the amount of PageRank a page held by the number of outbound links found on a given page. As illustrated in the diagram above, page A has a PageRank of 1 and has two outbound links to page B and page C, which results in both page B and C receiving 0.5 PageRank.

However, we need to add one more aspect to our basic model. The original PageRank patent also cites what is known as the damping factor, which deducts approx. 15% PageRank for every time a link points to another page as illustrated below. The damping factor prevents artificial concentration of rank importance within loops of the web and is still used today for PageRank computation.

PageRank and the reasonable surfer model

The way PageRank is currently worked out is likely far more sophisticated than the original calculation, a notable example of this would be the reasonable surfer model, which may adjust the amount of PageRank that gets allocated to a link based on the probability it will be clicked. For instance, a prominent link placed above the fold is more likely to be clicked on than a link found at the bottom of a page and therefore may receive more PageRank.

PageRank simplified

An easy way to understand how PageRank works is to think that every page has a value and the value is split between all the pages it links to.

So, in theory, a page that has attained quality inbound links and is well linked to internally, has a much better chance of outranking a page that has very little inbound or internal links pointing to it.

How to harness PageRank?

If you don’t want to waste PageRank, don’t link to unimportant pages!

Following on from the previous explanation of PageRank, the first solution to harness PageRank is to simply not link to pages you don’t want to rank, or at the very least reduce the number of internal links that point to unimportant pages. For example, you’ll often see sites that stuff their main navigation with pages that don’t benefit their SEO, or their users.

However, some sites are setup in such a way that make it challenging to harness PageRank and below are some implementations and tips that can help you get the most out of PageRank in these kind of situations.

# fragments

What is a # fragment?

The # fragment is often added at the end of a URL to send users to a specific part of a page (called an anchor) and to control indexing and distribution of PageRank.

How to use # fragments?

When the goal is to prevent a large number of pages from being indexed, direct and preserve PageRank, # fragments should be added after the most important folder in your URL structure, as illustrated in example A.

We have two pages:

Example A

Example B

There is unlikely to be much, if any, specific search demand for a combination of pink and black shirts that warrants a standalone page. Indexing these types of pages will dilute your PageRank and potentially cause indexing bloat, where similar variations of a page compete against each other in search results and reduce the overall quality of your site. So you’ll be better off consolidating and directing PageRank to the main /shirts page.

Google will consider anything that’s placed after a # fragment in a URL to be part of the same document, so http://www.example.com/clothing/shirts#colours=pink,black should return http://www.example.com/clothing/shirts in search results. It’s a form of canonicalisation.

Pros:

  • # fragment URLs should consolidate PageRank to the desired page and prevent pages you don’t want to rank from appearing in search results.
  • Crawl resource should focus on pages you want to rank.

Cons:

  • Adding # fragments can be challenging for most frameworks.

Using # fragments can be a great way to concentrate PageRank to pages you want to rank and prevent pages from being indexed, meaning # fragment implementation is particularly advantageous for faceted navigation.

Canonicalisation

What is canonicalisation?

rel=”canonical”  ‘suggests’ a prefered version of a page and can be added as an HTML tag or as an HTTP header. rel=”canonical” is often used to consolidate PageRank and prevent low-quality pages from being indexed.

How to use canonicalisation?

Going back to our shirt example…

We have two pages:

Example A

Example B

Page B type pages can often come about as a result of faceted navigation, so by making the rel=”canonical” URL on page B, mirror the rel=”canonical” URL on page A, you are signalling to search engines that page A is the prefered version and that any ranking signals, including PageRank, should be transferred to page A.

However, there are disadvantages with a canonicalisation approach as discussed below.

Pros:

  • Can transfer PageRank to pages you want to rank.

Cons:

  • A canonical tag is a suggestive signal to search engines, not a directive, so they can choose to ignore your canonicalisation hints. You can read the following webmaster blog to help Google respect your canonicalisation hints.
  • Google has suggested that canonicals are treated like 301 redirects and in combination with the original PageRank patent, this implies that not all PageRank will pass to the specified canonical URL.
  • Even though canonicalised pages are crawled less frequently than indexed pages, they still get crawled. In certain situations, such as large-scale faceted navigation, the sheer amount of overly dynamic URLs can eat into your websites crawl budget, which can have an indirect impact on your site’s visibility.

Overall, if choosing a canonicalisation approach, be confident that Google will respect your canonicalisation suggestions and that you’ve considered the potential impact to your sites crawl budget if you have a large number of pages you want to canonicalise.

Make sure internal links return a 200 response code

Arguably one of the quickest wins in preserving PageRank is to update all internal links on a website so that they return a 200 response code.

We know from the original PageRank patent that each link has a damping factor of approx. 15%. So in cases where sites have a large number of internal links that return response codes other than 200, such as 3xx, updating them will reclaim PageRank.

As illustrated below, there is a chain of 301 redirects. Each 301 redirect results in a PageRank loss of 15%. Now imagine the amplified loss in PageRank if there were hundreds, or thousands of these redirects across a site.

This is an extremely common issue, but not exclusive, to sites that have undergone a migration. The exception to the rule of losing 15% PageRank through a 301 redirect is when a site migrates from HTTP to HTTPS. Google has been strongly encouraging sites to migrate to HTTPS for a while now and as an extra incentive to encourage more HTTPS migrations, 3xx redirects from HTTP to HTTPS  URLs will not cause PageRank to be lost.

Download Screaming Frog for free and check out their guide for identifying internal links that return a non 200 response code.

Reclaiming PageRank from 404 pages

Gaining inbound links is the foundation for increasing the amount of PageRank that can be dispersed across your site, so it really hurts when pages that have inbound links pointing to them return a 404 error. Pages that return a 404 error no longer exist and therefore can’t pass on PageRank.

Use tools such as Moz’s Link Explorer to identify 404 pages that have accumulated inbound links and 301 redirect them to an equivalent page to reclaim some of the PageRank.

However, unless there is not an appropriate equivalent page to redirect these URLs to, avoid redirecting 404 pages to your homepage. Redirecting pages to your homepage will likely result in little, if any, PageRank being reclaimed, due to the differences in the original content and your homepage.

Things to avoid

rel=”nofollow”

The use of rel=”nofollow” is synonymous with an old-school SEO tactic, whereby SEO’s tried to ‘sculpt’ the flow of PageRank by adding rel=”nofollow” to internal links that were deemed unimportant. The goal was to strategically manage how PageRank gets distributed throughout a website.

The rel=”nofollow” attribute was originally introduced by Google to fight comment link spam, where people would try to boost their backlink profile by inserting links into comment sections on blogs, articles or forum posts.

This tactic has been redundant for many years now, as Google changed how rel=”nofollow” worked. Now, PageRank sent out with every link is divided by the total amount of links on a page, rather than the amount of followed links.

However, specifically adding rel=”nofollow” to a link will mean PageRank that does flow through will not benefit the destination page and thus result in PageRank attrition. Additionally, the attrition of PageRank also applies to URLs you’ve disallowed in your robots.txt file, or pages that have had a noindex tag in place for a while.

Embedded JavaScript links

Content that’s reliant on JavaScript has been shown to negatively impact organic search performance. Essentially, it’s an inefficient process for Google to render, understand and then evaluate client-side rendered content and some in the SEO industry believe it’s possible to sculpt PageRank by making unimportant internal links embedded JavaScript links.

I decided to ask John Mueller whether JavaScript embedded links receive less PageRank than links found in the HTML and he responded unequivocally.

JavaScript SEO is a complex topic, where the dynamic is constantly evolving, and Google is increasingly getting better at understanding and processing JavaScript.

However, if you’re going to use a JavaScript framework, make sure that Google is able to fully render your content.

Conclusion

PageRank is still an influential ranking signal and preserving, directing and ultimately harnessing this signal should be apart of any plan when trying to boost your organic search visibility. Every website’s situation is unique, and a one size fits all approach will not always apply, but hopefully, this blog highlights some potential quick wins and tactics to avoid. Let me know in the comment section if I’ve missed anything out?

How to get the most out of PageRank and boost rankings was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Recover From the Google Medic Update

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How to Recover From the Google Medic Update

As every SEO professional knows, Google will always find ways to optimize their services on a daily basis, and this means adding occasional minor updates and launching major updates that shake things up every now and then.

2018 was no stranger to a host of updates from Google, as we have seen algorithm updates during March, July, August, and October. All of these algorithm updates have bought significant changes to various websites, with some changes not really visible until you look further. The most recent update in August introduced the world to Google Medic, which affected numerous websites related to business.

This update surely caused a good amount of issues for a lot of websites, and this means that you would have to optimize to ensure that you would still be able to retain your search rankings and keep your traffic steady. Before we look into how do we recover from the Google Medic Update, let’s take a look at how the previous updates impacted SEO this 2018.

March: A focus on quality content

The March algorithm update is the first major update released by Google during 2018. The March update is a series of updates that focus on content quality, as evidenced by the rise and drop of rich snippets in SERPs. Content quality affects the overall user experience, which means that this update ensures that elements like ads and evergreen content would be able to drive more traffic into your website.

July: Google Speed Update

The July update is known most for the Google Speed Update, which put focus into mobile page loading speed. Mobile SEO has grown immensely over the year, and with Responsive Design and AMP becoming an integral part of website development, this makes mobile optimization a very crucial process.

We have written guides about mobile SEO and AMP that have surely helped websites in gaining more mobile traffic. Along with the Speed Update, websites have also experienced ranking fluctuations over the course of a few weeks. These series of ranking fluctuations were both temporary and permanent, which led to numerous websites making sure that the user experience on both desktop and mobile are well-optimized and perform great.

August and October: Google Medic and YMYL Websites

After launching the Google Speed update, the month after saw Google launch another major algorithm update and another update by October. This update is similar to the March updates, as it contains a series of broad and minor updates that affect a good number of websites. While the update did not state what kind of websites would be affected by the update, SEO professionals noticed that YMYL websites have been affected the most.

A good chunk of these websites is related to health and e-commerce, which contain a large amount of content that is regularly searched by users. This meant that good E.A.T. content is the top priority, ensuring that people would be getting content that is reliable, accurate, and evergreen. With health and e-commerce websites having a huge impact on lifestyle choices, this means content must be accurate and reliable in order to gain more search traffic and authority.

How to Recover from Google Medic

The Google Medic is one of the most impactful updates in the past few months, and if your website has been affected, it is best to follow a few necessary steps to ensure that you would be able to keep your search rankings and traffic well-paced and steady. Here are some important steps that would help you recover from the update.

Focus on quality content

Quality and evergreen content is what leads to high traffic on almost any kind of website. In fact, our articles have helped us create more connections with various websites and businesses, forming partnerships that have helped us grow. Having quality content opens more doors for you and your audience, as you are able to drive more traffic to your website.

Meta Tags SEO

This means doing more research, citing sources from other quality websites to make your content more trustworthy and authoritative. Just like a quality research paper, choosing the best sources is a good indicator of successful content. Adding images and video also helps, as you are able to provide more details that support your content. Content such as infographics and statistics provide an in-depth analysis of whatever data you want to present.

Quality content means being elaborate and detailed, which means that longer content usually gets more traffic than usual. Articles that have 1000-2000 words will be able to perform much better, as Google would be able to have a better understanding of what your content contains.

Update old content

Along with providing more detailed content, it is also worth looking into past content and giving them a much-needed update. We have been updating some of our older content in the past few months, and this has helped us gain even more traffic to existing content. Updating can be as simple as adding another entry, updating statistics and data, or even changing paragraphs to accommodate current facts. It is important to note that updating content is best limited to the likes of how-to articles and informative articles, as news articles are best left unchanged to ensure journalistic professionalism.

YouTube SEO

Recently, we have updated our Black Hat and YouTube SEO articles to add new information from 2018. With the latter article being one of our most visited, it is important that we add new information that coincides with YouTube’s latest updates, such as adding hashtags. Sometimes it is surely worth looking back to older articles, as they can have the potential to attract more readers, and even expand its traffic to help you rank higher in SERPs.

Landing pages are another set of important content that could use optimization. It is best to add authoritative links, and even add or update existing information, as landing pages are the first step in the buyer’s journey. Landing pages are meant to provide comprehensive information that helps a potential buyer make a decision that will lead to conversions and polishing them up will only provide better results.

Check Google Analytics to see drastic traffic drops

The impact of the Google Medic Update can be tracked using Google Analytics, as it monitors your traffic in real-time. If you see any drastic traffic drops that happen seemingly overnight, it is best to keep track of this and optimize your content accordingly. To make this process more efficient, it is best to come up with a plan that enables you to create the best steps to solve each issue step by step.

If you follow the processes that we have mentioned above, you would be able to see the positive effects of having optimized content. You can view the data in Analytics and repeat the same process to each of your web pages. The process might not happen as quickly as you would expect, which is why it is best to monitor your traffic daily until you see your traffic on the way to recovery. Content optimization goes a long way in making your traffic grow and seeing it grow day by day makes it something worth doing.

Key Takeaway

The Google Medic Update is one of the most important updates of 2018, as it impacted numerous websites, and placed even more emphasis on creating quality content that is trustworthy and authoritative. With the steps mentioned above, you would be able to regain your traffic, and even have the opportunity to grow your traffic even further.

If you have questions and inquiries about Google algorithm updates or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

How to Recover From the Google Medic Update was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Most Popular MarketingExperiments Articles of 2018

Let’s get right into it. Here are your marketing peers’ favorite articles from 2018 …

Heuristic Cheat Sheet: 10 methods for improving your marketing

Marketing — far more so than other business disciplines — seems to be driven by gut. Or the individual star performer.

Marketing embraces a far less methodological approach than say accounting or manufacturing.

In this article, we provide a quick look at heuristics (aka methodology-based thought tools) created by MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingExperiments) to help marketing teams consistently deliver at a high level.

In this article, you’ll find heuristics to help you increase conversion, create effective email messaging, launch projects in the most effective order and more.

READ THE ARTICLE

 

Conversion Lifts in 10 Words or Less: Real-world experiments where minor copy changes produced major conversion lifts

Sometimes it can seem like a massive lift to really move the needle. A new technology implementation. Investing in a vast campaign to drive more interest.

But marketing, at its core, is communication. Get that right and you can drive a significant difference in your marketing results.

This 13-minute video examines five experiments where small copywriting changes had a large impact

WATCH THE VIDEO

 

Mental Cost: Your customers pay more than just money

The monetary price of a product isn’t the only cost for customers. Understanding (and optimizing for) non-monetary costs can lead to significant conversion gains

What costs are you inadvertently thrusting on your customers? And how can you reduce them?

READ THE ARTICLE

 

Not all of the most impactful articles from 2018 were published this year. Here are some evergreen topics that were especially popular with your peers …

A/B Testing: Example of a good hypothesis

Hypotheses should be an evergreen topic for marketers engaged in A/B testing. If you’re unfamiliar with hypotheses-based testing, this article offers a simple process to start shaping your thinking.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle advises in his blog article 41 Detailed A/B Testing Strategies to Skyrocket Your Testing Skills, “A trick to formulate a good hypothesis is to follow MarketingExperiment’s formula.”

Read this article to learn what a hypothesis is, and a simple method for formulating a good hypothesis.

READ THE ARTICLE

(Editor’s Note: Our hypothesis methodology has advanced further since this article was published in 2013. You can find a more advanced explanation of hypothesis methodology in The Hypothesis and the Modern-Day Marketer as well as a discussion of hypothesis-driven testing in action in Don’t Test Marketing Ideas, Test Customer Hypotheses.)

 

Interpreting Results: Absolute difference versus relative difference

“NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched,” Robert Lee Holtz reported in the Los Angeles Times.

Numbers are crucial for A/B Testing and CRO as well. So make sure you understand the vital distinction between absolute difference and relative difference. Much like English and metric measurements, they measure the same thing but in a different way.

I have interviewed marketers before who bragged about a 3% conversion increase from a test, and I mentioned that while I was happy for them, it didn’t seem huge. Only then did they explain that their company’s conversion rate had been 2% and they increased it to 5%.

While that’s a 3% actual difference, it’s a 150% relative difference. The relative difference communicates the true impact of the test, and every business leader who learns of it will better understand the impact when the 150% number is used instead of the 3% number.

READ THE ARTICLE

 

6 Good (and 2 Bad) B2B and B2C Value Proposition Examples

What does a good value proposition look like? It’s a question we get asked often, and the article that answers that question was popular among marketers.

Check out these B2B and B2C examples. We included some bad examples for balance as well.

READ THE ARTICLE

 

Customer Value: The 4 essential levels of value propositions

Some marketers think that the only value proposition that matters is the overall unique value proposition for the company. This can be disheartening because it is difficult for the average marketer to have a significant impact on that value prop (especially in a very large company).

In this article, we explore different levels of value proposition, including ones that even the more junior marketer impacts on an almost daily basis. At work, and even in life.

READ THE ARTICLE

 

Related Resources

Here is some more content that was popular with the MarketingExperiments audience this year …

Conversion Marketing Methodology

Powerful Value Propositions: How to optimize this critical marketing element – and lift your results

Research Archive

Most Popular MarketingExperiments Articles of 2018 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Reddit For SEO: An Extensive Guide to Drive Traffic Through Reddit

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Reddit is an amazing source of traffic generation.

If you’re an online marketer or running a website/blog, then you must’ve heard of Reddit- even if you haven’t explored it yourself.

 Reddit For SEO An Extensive Guide to Drive Traffic Through Reddit

 

Now you must be wondering how Reddit can be used to increase your website visibility and grow your visitors exceptionally.

Reddit is a social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website. It has more than 51 million unique users and over 1 million communities catering to different industry niche. Reddit has a thriving and dedicated community which is responsible to generate more than 25 million visitors every day. Use the relevant communities to grow your following.

Moreover, 2018 was a big year for Reddit. The company is pushing toward a new area of growth with a new design and features.

The company has increased a 22% YoY increase in gross interactions- comments, posts, and votes. It has gained 14 billion views per month.

Let’s dig into what happened in 2018:

  • 153 million posts to Reddit
  • 2 billion comments (and counting!)
  • 27 billion votes

Simply awesome, isn’t it?

Reddit is an amazing source of traffic generation. You need to educate yourself and start using Reddit to deliver the target audience to your website.

You can submit links from your site as well as from other resources that are relevant to each specific community.

However, users can submit text posts known as self-post. It enables you to submit your original content to drive quality traffic to your website. Redditors can upvote or downvote your submission and the concept is known as karma.

Karma Score

You need to get a high positive karma score for your Reddit credibility.

 

Find a unique community in Reddit

Reddit community is highly diverse and extremely dedicated. You can build a community based on your specific interest, which is known as subreddit.

Each subreddit is identified by the URL structure- https://reddit.com/r/subreddit.

For example, you need to search a specific community related to Digital Marketing. Simply search for a Digital Marketing in the search box on Reddit or you can use the URL as:

https://reddit.com/r/digitalmarketing

Reddit Digital Marketing

You can start participating in the related subreddit discussion.

But, your journey on Reddit must start with participation in other relevant communities, where you can discuss the related topics to build your credibility. If you start posting your content after creating your account, then you might get lots of downvotes.

So, it is advisable to earn some reputation by participating in other and related community’s subreddits or discussion groups. That’s how you can earn some positive karma points to build a reputation.

Initially, your goal should be gaining a reputation as an esteemed member.

 

Start with your first submission

Once you have some good karma score, you can start posting your content.

Some people directly jump to sharing their posts and didn’t get any results

Reddit Submission

Submit your link with the relevant description and start driving targeted traffic to your website.

Capitalize your submission properly and use tags wherever it is possible. It helps users easily identify what kind of post they’re looking at and help Reddit to give better user experience.

Some subreddit require tags with posts, so make sure to check the FAQ in the sidebar before posting. Add the relevant tags to drive only related and interested people to your post and website.

 

Reddit and SEO

You can get the huge traffic to your website if you use it properly or otherwise you’ll be wasting your time and efforts for nothing. First, you need to understand what type of content ranks well on Reddit.

If you’re creating valuable content, then there is a greater probability of more people visiting your site and sharing valuable information across the social media channels. And you’re also building high-quality backlinks that will drive you direct traffic for a long time. Get the double benefits for your SEO efforts with Reddit.

The simple mantra to drive traffic lies in creating a linked post for your specific discussion group or subreddit related to your industry niche.

First, create a good and valuable post and publish it on your website. Then create a post on Reddit with the relevant and unique description. Here you can post your original content link to drive direct traffic from Reddit to your website. Ultimately, it will help you increase your chances of getting organic shares/links to your website.

Effective SEO is all about the tools you’re using. Reddit can be an effective tool to attract more and more targeted traffic. Reddit is one of the best channels with a substantial SEO value and it is worth considering your SEO strategy in 2019.

 

Video on Reddit

It’s been more than a year since Reddit started hosting native video and its tremendously changing the way people are consuming multimedia content- videos and GIFs.

It’s a surprise to see that Redditors are already averaging more than 1 billion views of native video per month.

Reddit Video Stats

It’s interesting to see that almost 70% of video consumption on Reddit occurs from the mobile application.

Create rich content to boost conversation within communities in an authentic way.  This is how you can drive more traffic to your website.

 

Conclusion

Reddit is an effective marketing tool. It is a growing platform for content creators. Redditors are passionate, you just need to present the right content to the related communities. Get in the discussion board, build your credibility and start sharing your content.

Reddit community is continuously evolving and growing. Consider it as a part of your marketing strategy and start exploring different subreddit groups to increase your brand’s visibility and hence the traffic.

Provide tons of value with your content and you’ll be all set to generate more conversation, engagement, and traffic to your website. That’s how Reddit can be used to make all the difference in getting your brand in front of engaged eyeballs and visitors.

 

Author Bio        

Nick Patel is the head of marketing at WebbyMonks – An agency specialized in White label SEO Services, helping business across the globe to grow their visibility online. When not writing for technology, he spends his time fishing, clicking awesome pictures and digging into the mankind history. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter & LinkedIn.

Reddit For SEO: An Extensive Guide to Drive Traffic Through Reddit was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How creative content increased traffic to key pages by 70% year on year

As the year draws to a close we are looking back at the year’s greatest achievements. This case study dives into the metrics achieved in one of our most successful link-building campaigns and how they resulted in significant measurable benefits for Client X’s site. Client X has seen a dramatic uplift in links, traffic and domain authority thanks to an SEO strategy that included these campaigns.

Client X’s website improvements:

  • Organic Traffic (not including traffic to customer pages or the creative pieces themselves): +69% year on year
  • Linking Domains: 1K -> 3K
  • Domain Authority: 45 -> 51

Why did Client X want to focus on link generation?

  • Client X exists in a very competitive space.
  • Client X was recovering from having a low-quality backlink profile
  • A link-building campaign is something that can run in tandem with other main site improvements without taking up developer resource.
  • Creative campaigns could gain brand exposure in publications that have not covered the brand previously.

Primary campaign goal:

Generate quality backlinks to Client X’s site to support SEO ranking improvements

What Distilled created:

Distilled has been consulting for Client X for two years. As well as working on technical and SEO strategy, we produced two Creative campaigns in 2017 and started to see results. This led to an even bigger investment over the course of 2018, where we created 7 link-building campaigns for Client X, achieving the following:

  • 245 links (79% followed)
  • 40 links per campaign average
  • 3,500+ social shares
  • 100,620 sessions to Creative pages

This helped achieve improve Domain Authority from 45 to 51 over the course of the year.

Using results from multiple tools

Because no tracking tool has a perfect understanding of the internet, we don’t rely on data from just one source when we are reviewing campaign impact. While different tools might report different actual numbers (for instance the difference between Moz known Linking Domains and SEMRush Referring Domains) we look for signs that all the tools are saying the same thing, whether that’s progress, stagnation, or decline.

Importantly – every data source we checked shows Client X performing well this year, often overtaking competitors.

Links (MOZ):

‘Competitor C’ acquired 2 other relatively large sites during 2018, meaning that they benefited from a big influx of redirected links during this same time period.

Known links: 31.1K -> 186K

Known linking domains: 977 -> 3000

Domain Authority (SEMRush):

Site Visibility (Searchmetrics, Sistrix)

Traffic value (SEMRush)

SEMRush uses rank tracking and PPC data to estimate how much organic traffic a site is getting, and how much it would cost to get the same amount of traffic by paying for it in Google Ads. SEMRush doesn’t account for all of Client X’s traffic (we know the numbers are much higher) but this still shows a marked increase throughout the year and estimates a traffic worth of $97,700.

Actual Traffic

To recap Client X’s website improvements:

  • Organic Traffic (not including customer pages or creative pages): +69% year on year
  • Linking Domains: 1K -> 3K
  • Domain Authority: 45->51

Conclusion:

While links are only one part of a balanced SEO approach, this case study demonstrates that the coverage achieved by these pages is helping our strategy for Client X progress in the right direction. We are looking forward to creating more campaigns in 2019, and building on what we have learnt.

How creative content increased traffic to key pages by 70% year on year was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

A Look Into the Top Search Terms of 2018

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A Look Into the Top Search Terms of 2018

2018 has been another busy year for Google, with new algorithm updates, new tools and services, and more innovative ways that help change the way we search. This year was also the year of some of the biggest news and events, all of which can be searched and found using Google.

As usual, billions of searches have been done through the search engine, which leads to a plethora of search terms that have become viral over the past few months. From some of the biggest sporting events to some of the most asked questions around, Google surely had a field day. Here is a look at some of the top search terms on Google Trends this 2018.

Question-based inquiries

The most popular search terms in Google usually start with a “how to” and “what is”, and this remains the same in 2018. Google has always been one of the first places where users ask the most questions and discover answers with just a few clicks. Based on Google Trends data, the top how to questions are “how to vote” and “how to register to vote”, which ties into another highly searched event, the 2018 elections in the United States.

What is Bitcoin

Other important how to search terms include “how to buy Bitcoin” and “how to turn off automatic updates”, which are mostly tech-based questions that are commonly asked by users around the world. For “what is” search queries, most of the queries were about defining key terms that have become popular over the year, such as “what is nationalism” and “what is Bitcoin”. These search queries show how important and effective Google is when it comes to question-based and exact search terms, and why websites across the world make use of these search terms to improve their traffic and search rankings.

Sports

2018 FIFA World Cup Google

Sporting events have always been viral every single year, but when massive events like the 2018 FIFA World Cup come around, even search engines have to optimize their search to be able to track games, news, and social media feeds in a single place. Google was able to do this for the World Cup, while also providing users a way to track results from events such as basketball, motorsport, American and association football, and much more. Using Google to follow sports events has become one of the most convenient methods of following them, and the upcoming months indicate that more will be done to make the experience even better than before.

Along with sporting events, sporting brands and athletes also maintain a good share of search, with some of the biggest brands and most popular athletes dominating online discussions on a regular basis. For standard retail and E-commerce websites, this is surely beneficial for business, as it would potential buyers discover these brands within their websites much easier. Social media has also played a huge part in increasing traffic to sports-related topics, as sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been crucial in following sports events, establishing an athlete’s branding, or even expand the fanbase of certain sports teams. Sports is one of the best indicators that show how search has gone truly global, as you can see people from different parts of the world following these events in any form.

Personalities

Personalities have also impacted search in a big way this 2018, with some of the most popular celebrities, politicians, and business figures dominating search. This also means that personal brands and websites are successful in gaining search traffic, which is great in SEO terms. Digital branding has grown to be one of the most important needs of various companies and organizations over the past few years, and thanks to successful SEO strategies, users are able to see the results through search queries.

Key Takeaway

The top search trends of 2018 give a great impression on how people search worldwide and help us see what their immediate needs and preferences are. 2019 will surely be another year of trending search queries worldwide, and with Google bringing out new updates and features in the fray, expect search to spread worldwide. If you have questions and inquiries about Google news and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

 

A Look Into the Top Search Terms of 2018 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

E-commerce SEO: guide on when to create and optimise new categories pages

Without considering a website’s homepage, category pages on e-commerce sites generate most of your organic traffic – are any of you surprised by this statement? If this comes as a shock, I have bad news: you might need to reconsider your information architecture. If you have done your job right then you have nothing to worry about.

Curious about how much organic traffic category pages actually account for, I decided to dig into the Google Search Console of a client of Distilled which has been a very successful e-commerce site for several years. These were my findings over the past 6 months (at the time of writing, November 2018).

Bear in mind this is just an example that shows a fictitious URL structure for an average e-commerce site – the level of category and subcategory pages often differs between sites.

Type of page Proportion of Clicks Example URL
Category pages 5.0% example.co.uk/mens-jeans
1st level subcategory pages 25.0% example.co.uk/mens-jeans/skinny-jeans
2nd level subcategory pages 16.5% example.co.uk/mens-jeans/skinny-jeans/ripped
Homepage 40.0% example.co.uk
Non-transactional pages 5.0% example.co.uk/about-us
Product pages 8.5% example.co.uk/black-ripped-skinny-jeans-1

This simple exercise very much confirms my thesis: category & subcategory pages on e-commerce sites do account for the biggest chunk of organic traffic outside the homepage – in our case, about 50% of the total.

So, we have now shown an example of how important these pages are from an organic standpoint without answering the question of why. Let’s take a step back and look the bigger picture.

Why are category pages so important for SEO?

Put simply, users are more likely to search for generic, category-like keywords with strong intent rather than very specific product names. If I want to buy a new jumper, chances are I will start searching for broad search queries, such as “men’s jumpers”  or “men’s jumpers 2018” with the potential addition of “brand/retailer” to my query, instead of a very precise and long tail search. Who really searches for “Tommy Jeans icon colorblock cable knit jumper in navy multi” anyway unless you are reading from the label, right? For such specific searches, it is your product pages’ job to ‘capture’ that opportunity and get the user as close to a conversion as possible.

Having optimised category and subcategory pages that match users’ searches makes their life much easier and helps search engines better crawl and ‘understand’ your site’s structure.

Image source: Moz

Sitting close to the top of the hierarchy, category pages also benefit from more internal link equity than deeper or isolated pages (more on this later). And let’s not forget about backlink equity: in most instances, category and subcategory pages receive the highest amount of external links pointing to them. As far as we know in 2018, links remain one of the most important off-site ranking factors in the SEO industry, even according to reputable sources like SEMrush.

By now three main elements should be clear: for e-commerce sites, category pages are key from a traffic, information architecture and linking point of view. Pretty important, right? At this stage, the next question is simple: how do we go about creating new pages then?

Creating new category pages: when and why

Before starting with the process, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is my main objective when opening a new page? What am I trying to achieve?

If your intent is to capitalise on new keywords which show an opportunity from a search volume standpoint and/or to improve the hierarchical structure of your site for users to find products in an easier manner, then well-done, move to the next question.

  1. Do I have enough products to support new categories? Are my current category pages thin already or do they contain enough items?

In order for category pages to be relevant and carry enough SEO weight, they should be able to contain ‘some’ products. Having thin or empty category pages makes no sense and Google will see it the same way: both the SEO and UX value associated with them would drag the page’s rankings down. There is no magical minimum number I would recommend, just use your logic and think about the users first here (please at least show more than 2 products per category page though).

  1. When should I think of opening new category pages? Which instances are recommended?

Normally speaking, you should always keep an eye on your categorisation, so it is not a one-time task. It is vital that you regularly monitor your SEO performance and spot new opportunities that can help you progress.

As for specific instances, some of the following situations might be a good time for you to evaluate your category pages. Marketing or branding are pushing for new products? Definitely, a good time to think about new category pages. A new trend/term has gone viral? Think about it. 2019 is approaching and you are launching new collection? Surely a good idea. A site migration is another great chance to re-evaluate your category (and subcategory) pages. Whatever form of migration you are going through (URL restructuring, domain change, platform change etc..) it is vital to have a plan on what to do with your category pages and re-assessing your full list is a good idea.

Always bear in mind to have a purpose when you create a new page, don’t do it for the sake of it or because of some internal pressure that might encourage you to do so: refer to point 1 & 2 and prove the value of SEO when making this decision. You might soon end up with more risks than benefits if you don’t have a clear idea in mind.

How to identify the opportunity to open new categories

After having touched on some key considerations before opening new category pages, let’s now go through the process of how to go about it.

Keyword research, what else..

Everything starts with keyword research, the backbone of any content and SEO strategy.

When you approach this task, try and keep an open mind. Use different tools and methodologies, don’t be afraid to experiment.

Here at Distilled, we love Ahrefs so check out a post on how to use it for keyword research.

Here is my personal list of things I use when I want to expand my keyword research a bit further:

  • Keyword Planner (if you have an AdWords account with decent spending, otherwise data ranges are a downer)
  • Ahrefs: see the post to know why it is so cool
  • SEMrush: particularly interesting for competitive keyword research (more on that later)
  • Keyword Tool: particularly useful to provide additional suggestions, and also provides data for many platforms other than Google
  • Answer The Public: great tool to find long tail keywords, especially among questions (useful for featured snippets), prepositions and comparisons

(Data being obscured unless a pro version is paid for)

If you find valuable terms with significant search volume, then bingo! That is enough to support the logic of opening new category pages. If people are searching for a term, why not have a dedicated page about it?

Look at your current rankings

Whatever method or tool you are using to track your existing organic visibility, dig a bit deeper and try to find the following instances:

  • Are my category pages ranking for any unintentional terms? For example, if my current /mens-jumpers page is somehow ranking (maybe not well) for the keyword “cardigans”, this is clearly an opportunity, don’t you think? Monitor the number of clicks those unintentional keywords are bringing and check their search volume before making a decision.
  • Is my category page ranking for different variations of the same product? Say your /mens-jumpers page is also ranking (maybe not well) for “roll neck jumpers”, this might be an opportunity to create a subcategory page and capitalise on the specific product type is offering.
  • Are my product pages ranking for category-level terms? This is clearly an indication I might need a category page! Not only will I be able to capitalise on the search volume of that particular category-level keyword, but I would be able to provide a better experience for the user who will surely expect to see a proper category page with multiple products.
  • Last but not least: are my category pages being outranked by my competitors’ subcategory pages for certain keywords? For instance, you dig into your GSC or tracking platform of choice and see that, for a set of keywords, your /mens-jeans page is outranked by not the equivalent category pages you have (mens-jeans), but by more refined subcategory pages such as /slim-fit-jeans or /black-jeans. Chances are your competitors have done their research and targeted clear sets of keywords by opening dedicated subcategory pages while you have not – keep reading to learn how to quickly capitalise on competitors’ opportunities.

Check your competition

Most of the times your competitors have already spotted these opportunities, so what are you waiting for? Auditing your competition is a necessary step to find categories you are not covering.

Here is my advice when it comes to analysing competitors’ category and subcategory pages:

  1. Start by checking their sites manually. Their top navigation combined with the faceted navigation menu will give you a good idea of their site structure and keyword coverage.

  1. Use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to audit your competitors. If interested in how to use SEMrush for this purpose, check out this post from another Distiller.

  1. Do a crawl of competitor sites to gather information in bulk about their category URLs and meta data: page titles, meta descriptions and headings. Their most important keywords will be stored there, so it is a great place to investigate for new opportunities. My favourite tool in this regard is Screaming Frog.

Content on category pages

Different SEOs have different views on this as it is quite a controversial topic.

Just take a look at an internal Slack conversation on the topic – we surely like to debate SEO at Distilled!

Some say that descriptions on category pages are purely done for SEO purposes and have very little value for the user. As with many other things, it depends on how it is done, in my opinion. Many ecommerce sites out there tend to have a poorly written 150 to 250 character description of the category, often stuffed with keywords, and either placed at the top or the bottom of the page.

Look at the example below from a fashion retailer: the copy is placed at the bottom of a handbags and purses page, so the user would need to scroll all the way down just to see it, but most importantly it does not add any value as it is extremely generic and too keyword-rich.

My preference is the following:

  • short but unique description which can be expanded/collapsed by the user (especially convenient on mobile where space is precious)
  • keyword-informed description in a way that is useful to the user and provides additional information compared to the meta data (yes, makes that extra effort)
  • placement at the top of the page and not at the bottom so it gets noticed by the user and the search engine’s bot

By using the description as a useful addition to our page’s meta data, we are helping Google understand what the page is about – especially for new pages that the search engine is crawling for the first time.

Also, let’s not forget about internal linking opportunities such content may be able to offer, especially for weaker/newer pages we may have on the website (more on this later).

Looking closely at the previous example on Next’s Men’s Knitwear page, we can see how they used the copy on the Men’s Knitwear page for internal linking purposes.

Have you considered your Quality Score?

Also, very important note, a description hugely helps an underrated element of our digital marketing: our PPC’s Quality Score, which is an aggregated estimate of the quality of your ads. Since category pages then to be the main destination for PPC ads, we should do whatever is in our power to improve the quality and efficiency of our work.

Landing page experience is “Google Ads measure of how well your website gives people what they’re looking for when they click your ad accounts” and is one of the most important elements of a keyword’s quality score. By using the category page’s content to cover some of the keywords we are targeting in our ad copies, we are heavily impacting our overall quality score, which directly impacts our CPC, hence the whole efficiency of our account!

What about the risks of creating new pages?

Creating new category page is a delicate decision that should be thought through carefully as it does have its risks.

Be aware of keyword cannibalisation

You are at the stage where you have decided to create a new category page and are about to focus on writing great meta data and description for your new page, off the back of the keyword research and other tips provided above – great! Before rushing into copywriting, take a minute to evaluate the potential risk of keyword cannibalisation. This is an often forgotten task that will save you a lot of time further down the line in case you do happen to come across this issue once the new category pages have been created.  When doing so, it is important to make sure your new page’s meta data does not cannibalise your existing pages.

The risk of cannibalisation is very real: having pages which are too closely related from an SEO standpoint, especially when it comes to on-page elements (title tags, headings in particular) and content on the page, can cause some serious setbacks. As a result, the pages suffering from this problem will not live up to their full organic potential and will compete for the same keywords. Search engines will struggle to identify which page to favour for a certain keyword / group of keywords and you will end up being worse off.

An example of minor keyword cannibalisation can be seen on this website: https://www.mandmdirect.com/

Their Men’s Knitwear page title is the following:

Mens Jumpers, Cardigans & Knitwear, Cheap V-Neck Cable Knit Jumpers, UK Sale | MandM Direct

Not only it is overly optimised and too long, but it clashes with its subcategory pages which are optimised for most of the terms already included in the parent page’s title.

Their Men’s V Neck Jumpers page title is the following:

Cheap Mens V-Neck Jumpers | MandM Direct

When opening their subcategory page, Men’s V-Neck Jumpers for instance, I personally would have tried to rede-optimise the parent page’s title in order to allow the subcategory page to live up to its full potential for its key terms:

De-optimised Men’s Knitwear page title:

Mens Jumpers, Cardigans & Knitwear | UK Sale | MandM Direct

How do you prevent this from happening? Do your research, monitor your keywords and landing pages and make sure to write unique meta data & on-page content. Also, don’t be afraid to re-optimise and experiment with your existing meta data when opening new categories. Sometimes it will take you more than one attempt to get things right.

Crawl budget concerns

Google defines crawl budget as “the number of web pages or URLs Googlebot can or wants to crawl from your website”.

One of the arguments against opening new category pages might be crawl budget consumption. For large e-commerce sites with millions of pages, opening many new category pages might come as a risk in a way that could prevent some parts of your site not to be crawled anymore or not as often.

In my opinion, this is a concern only for (very) large e-commerce sites which are not necessarily well-maintained from an SEO point of view. Gary Illyes from Google seems to be on my side:

Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/gary-illyes-whats-new-in-google-search-pubcon-keynote-recap/274273/?ver=274273X3

In particular, a well-structured and optimised faceted navigation is vital not to run into crawl budget issues, so I recommend reading this MOZ post written by another Distiller.

By following overall SEO guidelines and regularly checking Google Search Console and server logs, it is possible to determine if your site has a crawl budget issue.

If interested, learn more about server logs.

Internal linking equity

This is more of a real problem than crawl budget, in my modest opinion, and here is why: creating additional pages means that the internal linking equity across your site gets re-distributed. If not closely monitored, you might end up diluting it without a clear process in mind or, worse, wasting in across the wrong pages.

My colleague Shannon wrote a great piece on how to optimise website internal linking structure.

When creating new pages, make sure to consider how your internal link equity gets impacted: needless to say that opening 10 pages is very different than opening 1000! Focus on creating more inlinks for important pages by exploring options such as navigation tabs (main and side navigations) and on-page content (remember the paragraph above?).

The rule of thumb here is simple: when approaching new category pages, don’t forget to think about your internal linking strategy.

Conclusion

Category pages are the backbone of e-commerce sites, hence they should be closely monitored by SEOs and webmasters. They are vital from an information architecture and internal (and external) linking point of view, and attract the most amount of traffic (beyond the homepage). By following the above tips, it becomes easier to identify opportunities where new category pages can be ‘opened’ in order to capitalise on additional organic traffic.

I am curious to hear other people’s opinions on the topic, so please get in touch with me or Distilled by using the comments below or my email: samuel.mangialavori@distilled.net.

E-commerce SEO: guide on when to create and optimise new categories pages was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing