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In the world of e-commerce, attention spans are small. You have very little opportunity to grab a customer’s attention, so when they do decide to read up about your brand or service, you have to make it count.

The quality of your product description copywriting will have a huge bearing on its success. Write great product descriptions and people will be drawn to your products, wanting to find out more. Write bad ones, and they’ll look elsewhere, and be left with a negative impression of your brand – a potentially disastrous move.

When you’re writing your product descriptions, you need to give your customers all the essential info they need, covering all the key features and benefits to allow them to make an informed decision.

But you need to go further than that. You need to write your product descriptions in such a way that they make an emotional connection between the product and the customer. Making that connection will go a long way to convincing an individual that they want – even need – a particular product.

Remember, don’t just describe your products. There’s nothing less engaging than a tech-spec list or boring list of information. No, you need to give your products purpose and context, and explain to people how it fits into their lifestyle, giving it a real purpose.

Here are some excellent examples of product descriptions that nail the art of writing a great product description. And if your website copy could do with a little sparkle and freshening up, take advantage of our product description writing service.

Dollar Shave Club

Male Shave

The male grooming market has never been so strong, and Dollar Shave Club has made its mark in this incredibly crowded area. Not just that, but it has taken the bold step of encouraging customers to sign up for regular deliveries, so it has the doubly difficult task of convincing people to buy their products, but also to persuade them to sign up for repeat purchases. Here’s a sample product description:

Designed for the shaver who longs for an easier glide, Dr. Carver's Shave Butter is a transparent shaving cream alternative that softens whiskers and enables precise navigation.

The Whisky Exchange

Interest in new, innovative drinks has never been higher. Take the gin market, for instance – barely a week goes by without a new gin with weird and wonderful botanicals being launched. The Whisky Exchange is one of the leaders in online spirits retailing, and one reason why is the way it talks about its products. It knows that rattling off technical information is a turn-off, so instead it talks about drinking occasions and suggested serves – which is much more appealing. Here is the enticing description of a luxurious ginger liqueur:

A stunning French liqueur made with top-quality VSOP and XO Cognacs and flavoured with Vietnamese ginger alongside ginseng and vanilla. Domaine de Canton brings a deliciously intense gingery edge to all manner of cocktails and fusion cuisine.

ASOS

Fashion

ASOS was originally launched so that trendsetters could buy all the favourite outfits that their idols from TV and film wore (the brand stands for ‘As Seen On Screen’). ASOS has moved beyond that initial premise, but it’s still the go-to brand for the under-35 market, and it has serious style and attitude. Its product descriptions have all the essential info, but also how to keep their clothes looking in fantastic condition.

Innocent

Innocent has long been praised for its quirky, funky marketing and branding for one simple reason: it works. Its products (‘things we make’) are described in a very enticing way, with a really human feel: ‘No added sugar. No concentrates. No funny business.’ Not only that, but there’s a confidence there that is very reassuring, but it never tips over into arrogance. The result is a brand that draws people in, and one with a very clear identity. Here’s a sample description:

Mangoes and passion fruits is one of our top three selling recipes ever. You'd probably think it was OK, and that we should leave it alone. But the good stuff needs improving too, or else it'll end up being a bit ordinary. So we've made this recipe better by adding a little bit of peach to the recipe too. We hope you enjoy the renovations.

Minirig

Minirig is a truly British success story. Based in Bristol, the company began making professional sound equipment, and then moved into the consumer market with a range of portable speakers that have proved incredibly popular. And while most people love listening to music, they don’t necessarily want a load of technical stuff, so Minirig wisely decided to keep things simple when talking about the products it makes. Short-and-sweet descriptions work when you have confidence in your product and understand your target market. Here’s an example:

The only speaker you will ever need with an unbelievable 100hrs of battery life! Using the latest technology and high quality design we bring to you the all-new Minirig 3 Bluetooth rechargeable speaker. Minirig 3 Bluetooth speakers come with an audio cable, charger cable, case, and a whole lot of bass. All delivered in recycled and recyclable packaging!

The companies and brands above have all perfected the art of writing great product descriptions, and in crowded markets, too. Remember, it’s not just about describing the product – it’s about telling people why they should buy it, and that’s a key difference. If you need help with your product description content, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

E-commerce has become a necessary tool in the fight for market share and profitability, but not enough companies understand how this burgeoning shopping trend can boost physical sales. That’s all about to change, however – and here are 20 key E-commerce statistics you need to know.

1.18% of all purchases made in the UK in 2019 are expected to be via E.commerce.

Put into understandable terms, that means that almost a quarter of all sales will be made online, instead of in a physical store. It begs the question, will shops become obsolete?

2. The percentage of purchases made online is expected to rise to 95% by 2040.

Experts are predicting that in just 21 years, shopping in any way other than online will be all but a thing of the past. It’s true that we are a convenience-driven society, but that’s a huge shift in purchasing behaviour.

3. 67% of online shoppers acquaint themselves with returns policies before clicking ‘buy’.

If you think your Ts and Cs page isn’t important, think again. Shoppers like to know how easy it is to return an unsuitable purchase before taking the plunge.

4. 38% of people won’t buy from an ‘ugly’ website.

Design counts, so do your research and try to understand the aesthetics that your key demographics are drawn to. Investing in expert web design is an investment that you can expect to make a return on.

5. Two-thirds of online shoppers expect a 24-hour response to inquiries.

Actually, most will be disappointed to not receive a reply within the same business day, so either have enough support staff in place to handle demand or include a clear message about response times on your contact page.

6. 77% of adult shoppers have bought something online.

From car insurance to ski boots, there’s seemingly nothing that you can’t buy online – and UK adults are increasingly taking advantage of that fact.

7. 85% of online purchases are started on one device and finished on another.

The most likely scenario is that an advert on social media leads to a clickthrough, but larger pictures are needed, so the purchase is completed on a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile optimisation is crucial.

8. 71% of mobile purchases can be connected to electronic mailouts.

Retailer newsletters have a massive impact on a consumer’s decision to buy, or not. Knowledge is (spending) power.

9. 57% of mobile consumers leave slow-loading sites.

Patience is a virtue but not to mobile shoppers who want to click a couple of buttons and wait for their package to arrive. Slow sites are off-putting.

10. Up to 70% of shopping baskets are abandoned.

Whether shoppers get distracted, dislike shipping rates or simply change their mind, you need to find a way to turn an unsure customer into a repeat one.

 

11. 54% of abandoned baskets are seen through to purchase if a discount is offered.

Companies that email a discount code for the contents of ‘forgotten baskets’ see an impressive rate of sales conversions.

12. 23% of customers will abandon a basket if they have to create an account.

If there is no ‘checkout as guest’ option, almost a quarter of shoppers will go elsewhere for a faster and less invasive experience.

13. Welcome emails can lead to a 40% open rate.

Customers who are sent a personalised welcome email, after opening an account, are far more likely to open future email correspondence.

14. 80% of shoppers find email recommendations helpful.

Demonstrating an understanding of what customers will most likely enjoy helps to build brand trust and loyalty.

15. 20% of online marketing uses behavioural targeting.

This is a staggeringly small percentage, given how responsive shoppers are to a more personal approach. This is a prime opportunity to stand out for good reasons.

 

16. 93% of businesses have witnessed increased sales conversions through personalised marketing.

Something as innocuous as an email newsletter that is addressed to someone specifically could be the difference between a sale and an abandoned basket.

17. 50% of shoppers are more likely to shop with a company again if it sends targeted discounts.

This is particularly true when it comes to grocery shopping, with the increase in plant-based and specialist diets that aren’t usually covered by generic discount vouchers.

18. It costs seven times more to win a new customer than keeping an existing one.

This is worth thinking about when considering introductory offers for new customers only. Consider rewarding loyalty, too.

19. 18% of businesses dedicate time to customer retention.

A simple ‘checking your details’ or ‘we’d value your feedback’ email could go a long way to making a one-time customer a repeat one.

20. Millennials are leading the way by making 54% of their purchases online.

There’s most likely a correlation between social media adverts and online purchases here, giving you an idea of where to spend your marketing money.

There’s no escaping the fact that the E.commerce sector is growing stronger, but will you be enjoying a significant portion of it or ignoring these statistics and getting left behind? Using them as a jumping off point for a dedicated marketing strategy all but guarantees a significant upturn in your E.commerce fortune.

Need some help to take your e-commerce copywriting to the next level? Get in touch with our experts for advice or a personalised quote.

 

Never underestimate the power of high-quality content marketing. In a world where e-commerce shows no sign of slowing down, staying ahead of competitors can prove challenging.

Your brand may have a great story and products to match, but it will all be for nothing if no one knows about them – this is where content comes in.

From being an information hub to building trust, audiences want to know why they should choose you over competing brands.

Ready for an increase in sales and web traffic? We’ve condensed the key content marketing tips that will see your e-commerce brand thrive.

If you’re still after some help, use a copywriting agency which can do the hard work for you and help you keep up with the latest in content marketing.

Create buyer personas 

Using personas has made websites two to five times more effective and easier to use by targeted users.

Identifying your audience is the first step to developing your brand. A buyer persona is the creation of a fictional character based on your target market. An effective marketing strategy, brands can tailor their products and services more specifically.

By having a clear understanding of who you are trying to reach, you can measure whether campaigns are likely to have the desired effect.

User-generated content is your friend

Make your brand personable by using user-generated content. The truth is, people want to see your product or service in use before they make a purchase decision so they know they’ll be getting.

By using content from customers, you’ll save time and money through having content readily available and not having to pay models or shoot charges. In addition to this, audiences are more involved with your brand making them care about its success but also showing that you care about them.

Example: When a student was shamed on a dating app for wearing an ASOS dress, the company decided to make her an ASOS model and use her photos on their website. This led to major press coverage and also thousands of people engaging on social media.

Plan the type of content 

When it comes to getting ahead of competitors, the trick is to present yourself as a hub of knowledge in your sector. Although you’re looking to increase those sales, why not focus on engaging audiences by being seen as informative and useful?

Research and planning is key. From how-to guides to blogs and video, focus your content on what your audience is likely to engage with.

Social media

Never underestimate the power of social media. As an e-commerce brand, social channels are the best way to reach new and existing audiences.

A top tip is to keep up to date with the latest changes and developments.update: Social media giant Instagram has launched a new shopping experience on the app. The new feature means that users will now be able to buy products they see in images without being redirected to another webpage. This means customers not only have a quicker checkout experience but also have more time to see which other products take their interest.

Collaborate

49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations before making a purchase decision.

Gone are the days where people just look to celebrities to promote their favourite products. Social users are now influenced by their favourite accounts and bloggers online – and so brands are now faced with the challenge of competing for key influencers to reach their audience.

Always think about your customer and who they are most likely to follow. You can then create content to specifically target the interest of the influencer. When getting in touch, make sure you stand out by personalising your approach and why they are great for your brand.

Don’t be afraid to repurpose

Struggling to find the resources to create new content? Sometimes, the old is better than the new.

If you have a piece of content that has worked particularly well, develop it across multiple platforms or if older, revamp it to suit the current times. An effective cost-cutting alternative, brands benefit from engaging old customers and also attracting new ones for less expense.

A company that understands the value of repurposing content is Nike. The sports company ran the Breaking 2 campaign to break the two-hour barrier for a marathon. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran the fastest in history at 2:00:25. Although the barrier wasn’t broken, Nike produced articles, videos and even a documentary surrounding the event. The campaign has now reached 19 million views.

There is nothing more important than clear planning and execution when it comes to content marketing. Always make sure that who you are targeting and why is clearly defined so that strategies can be aligned. It’s also great to plan your short- and long-term goals so that everybody knows the results expected.

If you're looking for help with your content writing or to improve your content marketing strategy, get in touch with WooContent today, to drive sales, maximise traffic and increase brand awareness!

 

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the data-driven process of optimising your website in order to create more conversions, such as sales or leads.

Tools such as Google Analytics make it possible to track the paths that users are taking to reach your site, otherwise known as ‘funnel tracking’. Funnel tracking shows which sections of your site – and which actions – most commonly lead to conversion. It also gives a clear view of where users are typically dropping out. Asking your visitors directly using on-site surveys is another good way of getting insights into what they like and any bugbears they have with your site.

Once you have this information, there are a number of actions you can take in order to improve conversion. For example, you can better optimise your website’s navigation structure, or test which layouts and content elements work best to encourage conversions.

We’ll delve further into the sophisticated world of heatmaps, session tracking and split testing for CRO below, but the importance of CRO stands proud as a means of quantifiably turning your website traffic from just numbers into business.

Setting goals

Setting CRO goals

Before we look at the ins and outs of CRO, it’s important to first understand what your individual conversion goals are. It’s likely that your business will want to generate profit, but the exact goals will be different for every company and may include:

Each of these goals can be achieved in different ways. For example, to boost sales you might want to funnel traffic to high performing or seasonal e-commerce pages; and you could change content and design elements on the page to increase conversions. Or to improve sign-ups, you could test the language and positioning of the sign-up button to increase clicks, as well as the content of the sign-up box/page itself in order to encourage submissions.

Measuring current conversions

Here comes the science bit, as CRO isn’t based on guesswork. You can use a number of tools to find out exactly what visitors are doing on your website, the likes of which will help you to determine which elements work and which could be improved on.

Heatmaps, such as those from Crazyegg and Mouseflow, show you where on a page the most activity occurs in a colour representation, with warm colours being the most active areas. They can highlight areas where users click on a page, or even where the eye is drawn, using eye-tracking technology. Scroll heatmaps are also useful for pages that are heavy on written content as you can see how far down a page users scroll, in order to improve content or adjust its length.

Video Source: Mouseflow

If heatmaps don’t provide you with enough insight, page recordings almost certainly will, as they show real customers’ journeys across a page. You can see where the cursor moves and what they click in what order, as well as text that is tapped where you could add a link.

And for businesses who rely on leads from their online forms, form analysis from the likes of hotjar can uncover the reasons why visitors abandon contact or download forms. Using all these insights in relation with the conversion funnel information from Google Analytics will give you a greater understanding of how visitors currently interact with your website. Now it’s time to make changes to chase those conversions by testing what updates work best.

Using surveys for insights

Surveys for CRO

The above tools help you see what is and isn’t working, but to be sure of what your web visitors want, a good customer survey can provide specific reasons why people aren’t converting. Let’s say your contact form has high traffic, but a large percentage of people are leaving before they submit the form. This shows that some sort of action needs to be taken on the submission page – but how do you know what needs to be tested? Well, you can ask your customers in a short survey and identify their reasons for not submitting.

It’s easy to set up an auto email to anyone who leaves the form without submitting it, asking if there was any reason why. Perhaps they felt like they had to give too much information, meaning you could simplify the form; or perhaps they clicked on the contact button by mistake, meaning you should optimise placement of the button.

The same action can be taken for cart abandonment on an e-commerce site. A prime example of re-marketing that works, you can send an email reminding customers what they still have in their basket. Plus the email can also be used to ask if there was any site-specific reason they changed their mind.

Testing for CRO

The final stage of your CRO process is changing the elements that you’ve found hinder your conversion goals. Split testing, or A/B testing, is a method of trying alternative design and content elements across different urls to see which version works best.

Multivariate testing through VWO. Image source: Crazyegg

Changing one element at a time, you can tweak the wording, placement or colour of a CTA and send half the traffic to the new url, keeping the existing url as a control. Then, keep the highest performing page and continue to methodically update any other elements your surveys, heatmaps or form analysis unearthed.

Make your website work harder

Your website is one of your strongest assets for bringing in business, but in many cases it can work harder for you. CRO allows you to measure exactly what changes bring the greatest return, in order to systematically update pages. It doesn’t have to be a big task as you can focus on your key pages first, and transfer what you learn to other pages over time.

If you need help with carrying out CRO on your website, get in touch with Ad-Rank today.

‘Make a great product, and they will come’ has never been less true than in today’s crowded marketplace. For e-commerce businesses, having a watertight marketing strategy is essential in getting your brand noticed and converting visitors into returning customers.

A marketing strategy is something that evolves over time, incorporating the latest techniques and channels. As such, this guide isn’t just for new e-commerce businesses or products. If you feel like your marketing strategy could be working harder, many of the elements below can easily be moulded to suit your business.

With that in mind, here are the eight most important areas that you should include in your e-commerce marketing strategy, as well as ways to measure and refine your processes.

1. Develop a mission statement

A mission statement defines who you are as a business. It’s the first thing that customers will see on your ‘About Us’ page and will define your brand story. Mission statements are particularly useful for larger organisations, or those who work across different sectors, as they provide focus and consistency across different areas. This post from 60-Second Marketer covers how to create a mission statement.

mission statement

Image source: 60secondmarketer

2. Build buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customer. They help your team to understand and visualise your audience in order to focus marketing efforts towards this demographic.

You can use existing customer data to form personas, as well as interviewing a representative customer group for more in-depth insights. You’ll need information such as demographics, what channels the customer uses and who influences them. Hubspot’s post explains how to create buyer personas in more detail.

3. Engage in competitor analysis

You may know exactly who your competitors are, but take a deeper look at their digital strategies and it can fuel your own marketing initiatives. You can easily find out which competitors rank highest for key search terms. Then there are a number of helpful competitor analysis tools that will give you statistics on web traffic and what channels competitors’ customers are using. Details of their backlink profiles may also give you ideas for your own link building strategy.

4. Set your goals

Now that you have a clearer picture of who your customers are and what your competitors are doing, you should set some measurable goals in your marketing strategy. This part of your plan will be ever-evolving, so it’s important to revisit yours regularly.

You need to set achievable goals which cover all areas of marketing. For example, ask yourself what is an attainable figure for new customer acquisition or engagement on social. You can also audit your current website content and set yourself the target of increasing web traffic by a certain percentage.

5. Produce engaging content

Content works in a number of ways to bolster your e-commerce website, so it’s key to incorporate a content strategy into your overall marketing plan. Firstly, content is a tool for driving traffic to your website through optimised product descriptions and landing pages. Although you may sell products that can be found elsewhere online, it’s important that your content is unique in order to avoid duplication issues.

Another area where content is important is in encouraging conversion through the use of attractive product descriptions and compelling CTAs. A content strategy will cover all channels and content types, integrating them into an overarching plan – from creating a blog of original articles; to driving traffic to your product pages; producing video content for social; or formulating engaging email newsletters.

6. CRO

Content is just one element of your website that will affect conversion. You should make Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) a part of your marketing strategy and regularly set aside time to split test any new pages added to your website. Using heatmaps and funnels like the ones from Mouseflow allows you to see where customers are focusing their attention on your site and what journey they take between pages.

Mouseflow - Session Replay, Heatmaps, Funnels, Forms & User Feedback

You can use this information to improve menu navigation, checkout processes, mobile functionality and more through A/B testing. By changing one element at a time, from wording to imagery and the placement of important information and links, you can quantifiably test what works best.

Another element that has proven CRO results is adding a review function to your website. This user-generated content is trustworthy as well as answering customers’ questions. Plus, to alleviate the common issue of customers leaving things in their cart without checking out you can add a campaign of remarketing, or retargeting, to your strategy. Either email customers to ask if they forgot to checkout or use limited-time display ads reminding people of what they viewed.

7. One-off campaigns

As well as ongoing keyword optimisation to improve your on-page SEO, you’ll also need to plan limited-time campaigns. These often revolve around big events for your company, such as new product launches or upcoming holiday deals.

Sponsored ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are ideal for targeting certain demographics. You pay for a set amount of time, so you can run the campaign from the two weeks leading up to an event or the month before a big holiday.

Another one-off example would be hiring a social influencer to review some of your products and post about them for a short period. Using visual channels like YouTube and Instagram, influencers can demonstrate your product to a well-established following.

8. Retention and analysis

As you add more campaigns to your marketing strategy, remember to rinse all content through your buyer personas (do they fit the target audience?) and your mission statement (does the content align with your beliefs and style?).

You’ll also need to track your efforts and the responses to them – whether through Google Analytics, customer feedback or social media statistics. Analysing engagement and traffic allows you to measure the effectiveness and ROI of each campaign, as well as streamline your efforts for a personalised user experience.


Each e-commerce business is different and will have its own set of strategic goals, which will change over time. Therefore, it’s important for your marketing strategy to be flexible and for you to regularly test different marketing channels and strategies to see which ones are most effective.

Keeping up to date with the latest marketing techniques to use in your strategy can be hard work. For more advice on both tried-and-tested and emerging e-commerce marketing strategies, get in touch with us.

 

An interview with SEO manager of Findmeagift.co.uk

There's no question that ranking higher than your competitors in search results is a must. But how can you ensure that your ecommerce site is the one that rises to the top. We caught up with Will King, SEO Manager at online gift store Findmeagift.co.uk to talk about the SEO challenges that ecommerce businesses face and how they can increase organic visibility and, in turn, sales.

Tell us about Find Me A Gift and your role there

Find Me A Gift is a UK based online gift retailer. We sell about 6,000 gifts targeting as many occasion and recipient based market sectors as possible.

As SEO manager, I’m primarily responsible for maximising and maintaining our organic visibility across search engines such as Google and Bing. Being a gifts company, it’s essential we have strong organic visibility during seasonal periods such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, so a lot of our day-to-day work revolves around preparation for the upcoming peak.

What are some of the biggest challenges faced by ecommerce retailers when it comes to SEO?

Preventing any negative impact from search engine algorithmic updates is more of a challenge than it used to be. Google make changes to its search algorithm every day and a poorly maintained website can easily experience a reduction in organic visibility. Managing your website's relationship with Googlebot to ensure healthy crawling and indexation is a huge challenge, especially on massive ecommerce websites with thousands of pages.

"With so many ecommerce websites targeting the same customers, and new websites entering the market all the time, maintaining a competitive advantage is an ongoing challenge."

 

The Google search engine results page has evolved way beyond the 10 blue links it used to be. More often than not, Google can answer a searcher's query through the featured snippets on the SERP without them ever having to leave. PPC ads also take up way more of the SERPs than they used to, especially on mobile. This naturally reduces the visibility of the organic listings and reduces the likelihood of a customer seeing and clicking them.

Google Analytics

What are some of the top SEO errors online stores and ecommerce websites often make?

I see a lot of websites with poor Google Analytics set-ups. Every ecommerce website should take the time to configure their analytics to ensure they get clean, accurate data, and are able to get the most value from it. Quick wins include excluding local traffic, macro and micro goal tracking and dedicated views for each source/device combination.

It’s clear Google are placing huge importance on content quality. Ecommerce websites in particular need to pay close attention to this, and make sure the content they make available to Google for indexing is high quality and provides value to users. With products continually being added and discontinued, a process needs to be put in place to ensure legacy pages are dealt with.

Most ecommerce websites allow users to browse through categories and apply ‘sort by’ and ‘category’ filters. A strategy needs to be put in place to ensure this doesn’t cause indexation bloat and that the right page is indexed on Google.

Additionally, managing 301 redirects on a huge ecommerce website can easily go wrong. It’s common to redirect users from page A to page B when it makes sense for the user experience, but too often the redirect is set-up incorrectly. A common error is not redirecting directly to the final destination page, which can result in users hopping from page to page. This can result in a loss of page rank.

How do you measure the effectiveness of an SEO campaign?

It very much depends on the goal of the campaign. For a common content marketing campaign the initial metrics will focus on coverage, link acquisition and brand mentions. We use a range of tools for this, such as Ahrefs.

Longer term, organic traffic growth and online visibility are measured using tools such as Pi Datametrics.

searchmetrics

If you were to prioritise the various SEO metrics, how would you list them in order of importance?

Profit should be the primary SEO metric. It’s no use investing time and resource to bring traffic to your site if it doesn’t convert into profitable business.

Organic traffic is more important to us than keyword rankings. Rankings are influenced by factors such as location and personalisation, so we pay less attention to them. Finally, we monitor our aggregate organic visibility using various tracking tools such as SEMRush, Search Metrics and Pi Datametrics.

 

If you want help optimising your ecommerce site, get in touch. Ad-Rank has years’ of expertise in the field, so we can help you get the sales your business needs.

You will often come across a category page whilst searching for products to buy from an online store. They are usually sections of an E-commerce website that you click through to from a top navigation menu, and typically house a number of individual products.

A good example would be ‘sofas’ on a home furniture website. Once on a sofa category page, you will see many different types and brands of sofa, often with filters to better focus your search.

Category pages typically sit directly below your homepage in your website structure and are important pages for SEO and user experience (UX); here’s why…

Being close to the top of the hierarchy, category pages receive more link equity than other pages on your website that don’t have direct links from your homepage. Links are a significant ranking factor for web pages, so the pages that link from your homepage will typically have a better chance to compete for popular search terms, although there are many more ranking factors.

People are far more likely to search for a generic, category-level term like ‘sofas’ than the specific product name, therefore it’s important to focus on getting category page optimisation right. The good news is that there are a set of best practice steps you can follow to help increase your traffic and convert more browsers into customers.

URLs

Having a simple and flat URL structure that’s adhered to site-wide helps with SEO. As a general rule, URLs should be as short as possible while containing all relevant keywords (more on how to choose keywords below). Google will truncate your URL in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) if it’s longer than 512 pixels, and shorter URLs are also better for readability.

Moz gives the optimal format of a category URL as follows:

http://www.example.com/category-keyword/subcategory-keyword/primary-keyword.html

This highly-optimised URL for fashion retailer Warehouse, includes all of the category level keywords, as well as a product description and even a product code:

http://www.warehouse.co.uk/gb/clothing/dresses/polka-dot-print-crepe-dress/030678.html

Including relevant keywords in URLs increases user trust and therefore clicks, as searchers can explicitly see before they click that the page is what they were searching for. But importantly for SEO, when URLs get copied and pasted – which is surprisingly often – the URL text is used as the anchor text, which counts towards rankings.

This poor example of URL structure shows neither the category nor title of the book, and as it’s 917 pixels long, only half of it displays in the address bar, or would display in the SERP:

https://www.thebookpeople.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/qs_product_tbp?productId=546506&catalogId=10051&catId=182235

Page titles

Page titles appear as the first piece of information in each search engine result and are another crucial place to include keywords. There are a number of keyword research tools that’ll help you to find high ranking keywords and prioritise them. Place specific keywords first in the title, including descriptive product or service terms, then include your brand name, remembering to keep them short as Google will truncate page titles too.

It’s important that your page title matches the category described on your page and its content as it enhances click-through rates. This will also ensure relevancy when on the page to keep bounce rates low, which is a strong indicator to search engines of a quality web page.

Meta descriptions

While meta descriptions aren’t a direct ranking factor, they act as an important indicator to readers that they should click on your link from a SERP. The more detailed and relevant the description is to a search query, the better your click-through rate (CTR) will be, so you should always customise your meta description.

Google recently changed its rules to allow longer meta descriptions and can dynamically change the description to match the searcher’s intent to the content on your page. However, if you create your meta descriptions like Google does, incorporating Analytics insights like search intent and organic queries, there’s a greater chance Google will use yours.

You may have a large number of similar pages, in which case you can use a meta-template, changing the keywords for the particular product or category. In WordPress, if you don’t specify a meta description, it will default to the first line of the H1 or intro, which can work okay as long as your H1 is optimised (see below). However, other CMS systems can leave it blank, in which case Google will pull in content from your web page as the description, but don’t rely on this.

Using a search for a ‘rotary washing line’ as an example, Argos features highly for both its ‘washing lines and airers’ category page and for its rotary washing lines search page that sends users directly to rotary washing line products. In both search results, the meta descriptions contain the search term to entice clicks.

H1s

Google is constantly rolling out algorithm updates, whether major or minor ones and over time less emphasis has been placed on H1s for page rankings. However, it’s good practice to include keywords in H1s for relevancy and UX, and to structure content for search engines. They’re generally the first heading on any page, usually the page title, but if you have a few pertinent areas on your category page you can make them all H1s.

You add an H1 using <h1>this code</h1>, or many WordPress themes are set-up to automatically choose your title as an H1. To see what other websites use as H1s, go into the page source and do a Ctrl F search.

Content

Beneath your H1, the rest of the content on a category page is important both for UX and SEO. While Google is good at recognising big brands that should be near the top of SERPs as they’ll excel in a number of ranking factors, good copy is a strong tool for lifting less well-known brands through the rankings.

However, it can be a bit tricky to fit much content in a category page when you want the all-important, revenue-generating products to be the focus. A common way around this is to use a concertina drop down with a ‘read more’ button. Or you can put a short piece of text under your H1, then expand with more content after your products. Both options allow you to add more keywords in too. And in much the same way, it’s important to optimise your individual product descriptions with quality SEO copywriting, too.

More content also means more opportunities to embed internal links which, as we’ve seen, are important for spreading link equity between category pages on your website.

Images

Images are of utmost importance in e-commerce to showcase your products, and keeping image style and backgrounds uniform across a site shows professionalism. You should use high quality images for good UX, but compress them so the file size isn’t too large (100kb or less per image as a guide), particularly if you have a lot of images on each page. This is because slow loading pages due to large image files increases shopping cart abandonment, lowering conversion rates and signalling a poor UX to Google.

Give the image a logical filename and alt text and it will gain more clicks from image search. Alt text also serves a purpose for improving UX, as the alt text will be visible to the user should the image itself not display for any reason.

Search filters for usability

Search filters should be as thorough as possible so people can find exactly what they want and don’t leave prematurely, particularly if you stock a large range of items. Include all subcategories, price range and product variations, as well as things like delivery options. You may also wish to test whether showing availability encourages sales, particularly when stock is low, as part of your Conversion-Rate-Optimisation (CRO) tactics.

Technical SEO considerations

On the more technical side of things, there are a couple of SEO factors to think about in e-commerce. For example, if you have multiple product pages in the same category, you need to let search engines know that the main page should rank, so each subsequent page isn’t competing. Google has long argued that users prefer to see this view all category page as a top search result, and have adapted their support guides to indicate how best to deal with pagination on a website.

Duplicate content can occur when different URLs serve the same content, even if by accident, and this is bad news for rankings as search engines have a tougher job deciding which page to choose over another. One way to avoid multiple versions of the same URL is to follow best practice. Remember to keep your URL text in all lower case – even one small difference in character or case type will create a duplicate page. If you do get multiple versions, you can set-up a permanent redirect, but make sure it only goes one way – to the preferred, lower case URL. Google doesn’t like redirect loops, where two pages redirect to each other.

There are many ways you can optimise your e-commerce category pages, and as they’re such an important part of getting your website to rank well in search, doing so can bring big increases in traffic and conversions.

If you would like some advice about your website content, get in touch with us today to find out more. 

Evergreen content remains relevant and interesting for weeks, months and even years after it’s published, creating long-term results for your content strategy.

But in an industry like e-commerce – with changing product trends and time-sensitive industry releases and news – it can be difficult to produce content that doesn’t go stale.

To stand the test of time and secure long-lasting SEO benefits, e-commerce businesses must create high quality, insightful content as a regular part of their content strategies. Below are several ways your e-commerce brand would benefit from an evergreen content strategy, as well as current examples from the industry.

SEO benefit 1: Establish yourself as an authoritative voice

Evergreen content creates an image of authority around your business, helping you become a resource users trust and return to for answers. For example, instead of simply selling succulent plants on your site, in-depth articles about caring for, replanting, and choosing the right one for each room would set you apart as an expert on the subject.

SEO benefit 2: Longevity of your search positions

While certain product releases or company subjects may trend on social media and in the news, evergreen content can last in search results once the fads fade. Target keywords related to your business that routinely pull in high search volumes.

For example, a music festival ticket seller may want to target their content to related keywords like ‘festival clothing’, which pulls in over 11.5k searches per month, rather than short-term keywords like ‘2017 festival lineups’, which will expire in a year.

SEO benefit 3: Support your other website content

An evergreen content strategy is a great base for linking to trendier, time-sensitive information you produce. Good implementation allows the user to be passed between the two types of content seamlessly. Plus, as evergreen content ranks better in search engines, it can also pass its ‘link equity’ to any internal links you’ve placed in the piece.

SEO benefit 4: Attract new audiences over time

The beauty of evergreen content is that it can be shared elsewhere on the web for its entire life – that is, until the content becomes irrelevant or outdated. As the content is spread on social media, through links from other blogs, websites and in the press, it can drive new visitors to your site for months, or even years.

Examples of useful evergreen content for your e-commerce business

While e-commerce products and services may *seem* relatively static, plenty of options exist for fresh, creative evergreen content that will bolster your overall content strategy. Read on for inspiration, as well as examples of how industry leaders are using them now.

How-to guides and tutorials

 

These are an ideal way to enhance your products and show users what using them will look like. They are especially useful if your product has many or complex uses. Maybelline UK uses this type of content on its make-up tips page, which links to various makeup tutorials, which can also be found on its YouTube channel.

Definitions and statistics

 

Perhaps you do business in an area with plenty of jargon and confusing terminology. Customers appreciate having these spelt out in simpler terms, which creates a great opportunity for evergreen content. International financial company, Nationwide, includes a glossary of financial terms to help customers wade through the acronyms and technical language of the financial world.

Likewise, while statistics do become dated over time, people are always looking to back up their writing with hard-and-fast numbers. So while stats may not last more than a few years, they can still build up your link profile and add value to your site.

Curate content and create lists

 

To become a curator, you take the legwork out of research for your customers, rounding up the best resources into one post for them. Online household and garden goods retailer Robert Dyas’s useful gadgets that every gardener needs perfectly executes this idea and uses it as a jumping off platform for consumers to reach their website and buy said gadgets.

Similarly, lists are an easy-to-digest format for consumers, while also being a simple-to-organise piece for your writers. Robert Dyas also uses this tactic with posts like 16 top tips for attracting wildlife to your garden. Even if some of the products linked in these articles go off sale the overall copy remains useful and can still lead to exploration of a site.

E.commerce businesses have a wealth of products and services around which they can create long-lasting evergreen content. If your brand doesn’t have the resources to do it in-house, a copywriting agency like WooContent can implement an effective evergreen content strategy on your behalf.

Get in touch today for more information about our content strategy services.

Social media can make or break a brand.

It’s estimated that 52% of online and offline purchases are influenced by Facebook alone, with nearly a third of shoppers actually purchasing items directly through social media platforms. Social media marketing has rapidly overtaken old-school methods to become one of the most cost-effective and user-friendly marketing techniques there is, as well as the most interactive.

Thanks to real-time capabilities and levels of data-gathering that can’t be matched elsewhere, you can now tailor your social campaigns to the exact needs and demands of your demographic – producing fully targeted, relevant and timely advertising.

Here are five ways that you can leverage social media to increase your following and drive sales in the coming year:

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

overview

The data-capturing capacity of social media is staggering, helping you identify engaged population segments and determine the best focus for your resources. With social media sites like Facebook categorising users by all manner of criteria, why limit yourself to age, sex, and location? By including your biggest competitors as interest targets, you can attempt to convert their fans by placing unobtrusive ads or articles in their news feeds. Targeting the right people can pay off massive dividends.

RAKE IN THOSE REVIEWS

 

Success on social media hinges more on how much your customers talk about you than on how you talk about yourself. Monitor engagement with your brand across all channels and you can pinpoint conversational themes – reviews aren’t just marks out of five stars on Facebook, they’re the comments people make about you in their Tweets, what’s happening in your comments on Instagram and a host of other things. Listen to your social feeds and use the information to find out what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on.

 

UTILISE GIVEAWAYS, COUPONS AND COMPETITIONS

 

competition_marketing

Though giving away things for free may sound counter-intuitive to making a profit, a small outlay can reap big dividends. Facebook and Instagram ‘like and comment to win’ contests are a fast and effective way to encourage new and existing users to interact with your brand, broadcasting you to their own networks in the process of trying to win a freebie.

This kind of campaign is incredibly low-budget, making it a great choice for up-and.coming eCommerce companies. For an extra boost, you could offer runners up a discount code or coupon for your site, to increase the chances of them making a purchase and thus becoming a potential lifetime customer.

 

SOCIAL, SHOPPABLE VIDEO

 

shoppable_video

One-third of all activity online is spent watching videos, which might be why more than 51% of marketing professionals state that video gives them greater ROI than any other type of content. On a website, videos can sometimes feel awkward or disruptive, but on social this just isn’t the case. 82% of Twitter users regularly use it to watch video content, and it’s mostly through Facebook that YouTube videos truly go viral.

A number of brands are now trialling shoppable videos on social, with Snapchat stories offering up click-through functions from short, sweet adverts to product pages. Between the natural acceptance of video as commonplace on social media and the ability to exhibit your wares in a simple, shareable, creative format, this kind of marketing couldn’t be more valuable.

 

RESPOND TO FEEDBACK

 

feedback

 

Engaging with your audience is possibly the best way to build your following and increase sales. One great way to do this is by encouraging comments on Facebook and Twitter – the good and the bad – and then responding to these comments in a friendly and positive manner. The story of Samsung’s illustrated exchange with one avid fan went viral a few years ago and led to the company rewarding the fan with a customised phone – as well as invaluable widespread positive media coverage for Samsung. One study found that customers spend between 20%-40% more with brands who respond to customer service requests over social media – not bad for something so simple and easy to do.

You can even respond to criticism of other companies and “poach” customers. A quick search for key phrases on Twitter or Facebook will allow you to pinpoint disgruntled customers, which you can then directly target and offer solutions to their problems.

74% of marketers plan to grow their social media advertising usage in the next 12 months. So don’t get left behind – leveraging social media in your content marketing can be one of the most effective ways to build brand loyalty.

If you're looking for new, innovative ways to convince and convert your target audience into new customers, then get in touch today.

As an e-commerce retailer your products are the backbone of your business. There’s no denying the importance of great product photography, whether you’re looking to improve sales on your e-commerce product pages or heighten engagement and conversion through social media.

As many as 67% of consumers consider image quality to be ‘very important’ when buying online, so investing in clear, high resolution photography is vital for brands and businesses looking to make their mark in a saturated marketplace.

This article looks at how your product photography can set you apart from your competitors and deliver you those all-important sales leads.

Increase search and social mobility

Making your brand more visible is the first step to generating awareness and sales. Visual content typically does very well online, while consumers are 40x more likely to share content that features an image across their social channels. The more shares your product pages receive, the more likely you are to reach new customers, increase traffic and support SEO through social signals.

This means that your photography should not only be professional but should also be highly distinctive and branded. Creating shareable content starts with researching your target audience, establishing exactly what content your existing customer base is already sharing and where.

Mastering the art of product photography on Instagram is going to differ from taking photographs for Twitter and Facebook, for example. Posts on sites like Twitter are also restricted by character limit, which places more emphasis on stand-out imagery over lots of written content.

Enhance your image

In an attempt to cut through the noise, marketers are constantly employing visual tricks to attract user attention. Cinemagraphs are an excellent example of this as they allow you to add looping video elements to your photography (like an animated gif). Cinemagraphs are an original and artistic way to bring your brand to life – not only do they set your brand apart but they also delight and inspire audiences.

The use of cinemagraphs has increased since social channels such as Facebook and Instagram introduced their auto-play video capabilities. They provide a more native, integrated and visually appealing way to reach new customers, with research suggesting that cinemagraphic content tends to have more virality, with 71% higher organic reach than still photographs.

The moment Mike Jordan became Michael Jordan. #WinLike82 pic.twitter.com/aOR6qV79ZS

— Nike (@Nike) November 8, 2017

Source: twitter @Nike

Strengthen brand identity

Building a strong brand identity is only ever achieved by illustrating the core values of your business, from your logo and tagline right down to your preferred tone of voice. Product photography is one way to strengthen your brand identity and tie together its image across your web presence.

Keeping your photography consistent in style ensures that your brand develops its own digital persona. One brand that uses product photography to strengthen their brand identity is online retailer ASOS, who recently started including swatches of cosmetics within their product photography. It’s a step away from the style of product photography commonly used within the beauty industry and in turn has become instantly recognisable among consumers.

ASOS_product_photography

Source: ASOS

Build trust

Far from being able to touch and engage with products as they would in store, customers shopping online only have the imagery you provide to get an idea of exactly what you have for sale. This emphasises the importance of high resolution photography that clearly demonstrates what the consumer can expect to receive when they make a purchase.

Visual elements are particularly important to brands that exist solely online, as product photography has the potential to make your brand feel more in touch with the real world. 65% of senior marketing executives agree that visual assets are core to a brand story, something that is key to making your business appear more personable and trustworthy.

Increase conversion

Getting your product photography right can be beneficial to your business in many ways, yet its primary purpose is likely to be centred on converting customers and increasing sales.

One of the challenges of shopping online is that consumers can’t pick up the product, so they have to rely on visuals. As they won’t be able to fully experience the product, your images need to do everything they possibly can to capture the physical benefits and convince buyers that your products are high quality and authentic.

DueMaternity.com, an online maternity retailer, found that by investing in rotating 360° product images they were able to increase their conversion rate by 27%. 360° photography adds a new dimension to online shopping as it allows browsers to take a ‘virtual tour’ of your product, simulating an in-store buying experience.

Appeal to mobile audiences

It’s no big secret that more audiences than ever before access the internet through mobile devices, so appealing to potential customers that are on the move is crucial. Mobile audiences want quick and easily digestible information and don’t have time to read great swathes of content, so you need to let your product shots do the talking.

They say a picture paints a thousand words, and nowhere is this truer than on Instagram. The online photo-sharing platform has recently launched shopping tags, enabling brands to seamlessly add a shop-able element to existing ads. This feature is particularly relevant for mobile users who enjoy the convenience of making purchases on the go in one click.

Whatever the size and scope of your business, high quality product photography is essential for those hoping to generate revenue through e-commerce. Product photography is often more cost effective than one might think, especially given its necessity.

To learn how WooContent can help you get the most out of your product photography, contact us today.

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