Yes! We have Game of Thrones returning tonight. You’re probably glued to your screens watching right now…but we were also super excited to spend a full day at brightonSEO last week. Here’s what we learnt…
Mistakes are missed, even in bigger companies
It was surprising to learn at brightonSEO that there are so many blue-chip companies that just do the bare minimum on their e-commerce websites, losing out on billions across the year in lost sales. The most surprisingly common mistakes are as follows:
1. Product Images
It is really shocking that the majority of e-commerce websites out there have 1 image for their product. Ideally, you need at least 3. One for scale (how big the product is), an image in situ (known as a lifestyle image) and the product on its own. John Lewis does this really well, by having multiple images for all of their products, showing the user exactly what they are buying.
2. Personalisation of the Homepage
Personalising the homepage on an e-commerce website is important due to the fact users general only read 20% of what’s on a webpage. Having personalised content on there will grab their attention and will increase their buying potential. The most common ways to personalise an e-commerce homepage are:
- Previous browsing history
- Cart contents
- Purchase history
3. User Reviews
We all know that trust is a major player when influencing converting a user into a buyer, but so many blue-chip companies ignore this. User reviews are one of the most trusted ways of social proofing but need to be implemented properly. Having negative reviews aren’t always a bad thing either if they are responded to in a professional manner, and once the problem is fixed, the buyer then either adjusts replies to their review with the customer service they have received. There are 3 ways to increase users to leave reviews on your website. These are:
- Don’t make it a necessity for the user to login to leave a review
- Don’t make it compulsory to include personal information
- Remind your buyer to leave a review on a follow-up email
In summary, the above are not difficult to implement but can create an instant increase in website conversions, and it’s shocking that these companies have not taken this into effect.
How many companies think that Google Translate is acceptable to use in International SEO
It was also surprising to see how many companies use Google Translate in their International SEO strategies. Google does not pick up on the fact that the same word can have different meanings in different languages. If people do not have the budget to translate all pages manually by a native speaker, they shouldn’t really be carrying out an International SEO campaign, as it is doing more bad than good. Below, I talk about the impact of translation on SEO, and how you can implement it into your strategy.
Nearly 1 billion people on the internet speak Chinese, yet hardly any websites are translatable into Chinese
It’s an easy way to expand your potential audience
You are able to communicate with a much more diverse group of people
You will be able to build trustworthy relationships with your users
It will increase the number of conversions from your website if implemented properly
Helps improve overall SEO performance
What could go wrong?
There are 2 things that could go drastically wrong if not enough research is carried out before using translation for SEO.
1. The Keywords
Certain keywords are said in multiple ways in each country. For example, in Austria, “tomatoes” has two ways of spelling it. Your research will need to determine which use has the most searches, and then how to reach out to the alternative way of spelling it.
The accents above letters in certain countries also play a vital part in deciding keywords when implementing an International SEO strategy. Again, you will need to look at the keyword with and without the accent, and again use the most commonly used spelling and then how to reach out to the alternatives.
2. Language Variations
There is also a difference in terms, right from our home country, the UK. There are variations on the word “dinner”, with people in the UK using words such as “tea” and “supper”.
How to avoid your International SEO campaign going down the pan
- Don’t translate keywords from your initial keyword research. Always do keyword research per individual country.
- Always use dedicated URL’s when translating the website, with the most effective of them using subdirectories per language.
- Never use automated translation tools such as Google Translate. They tend to miss out on key localised content, as well as having an effect on your SEO by creating duplicate content. The only way this should be done is by working alongside native speakers.
Onboarding isn’t an overnight task
The one thing that many agencies still do is jump straight into tactical execution on the back of a new client win. We definitely see this occurring on a regular basis; 90% of the time it’s slowing down to speed up. Immersive workshops are really crucial to both project/campaign success but also key to a long term relationship with positive results.
Spending enough time with the owner, key stakeholders, wider team and even customers to understand the brand, key values, purpose and those they would like to be speaking to. It’s difficult to get the time required; we are talking 1-2 days, but it’s a much more difficult conversation when the campaign hasn’t yielded expectations or the project has fallen below expectations. This is something that both parties are in control of. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Search growth is now stagnating with the number of impressions down
This is creating a more competitive landscape for advertisers, meaning everyone is having to pay more for their ads. However, Facebook ads have the most impactful ads. They allow accurate data targeting and are a lot cheaper than Google Ads. The most effective ad type on Facebook is video. With Facebook video ads, you can create a cheap campaign to find the people who are interested by looking at who interacted, engaged and how long they viewed the video. With this data, you can then retarget them with your planned campaign and an increased budget. Twitter Ads are good if you are placing them in realtime, if not, it is better to stick to Facebook due to the amount of targeting available. With YouTube, people know the video they have clicked on to watch will appear when the ad goes so are more likely to skip to get to their video quicker. There is a two-step journey for people when they see ads. They are more likely to click and engage with the ad at lunchtime, however, they are more likely to convert in the evening when they have gone home.
Keep discontinued products on your site
A lot of companies may decide that when they have a product on their site that has been discontinued, they will delete the page. By doing this, you lose a lot of potential customers who may have arrived on the page via a backlink from a prominent website. If they arrive on a 404 page, they are likely to leave and visit one of your competitors. Some companies may believe they are helping the user by redirecting them to a similar product or back to the homepage. However, if someone expects to head to one product and ends up on another or at the homepage, again they are likely to leave to find the product on one of your competitors. By keeping the discontinued product page on your website, customers who land on the page can see that it is longer available. By adding a link to a similar product or providing a list of similar products that are available, you have given the customer a choice of where to go. However, it is important to ensure that the product is excluded from the internal search on your website