Interview with Petworld founder, Denice Hagen

Denice Hagen, Petworld.no founder

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For most 15 year old Norwegian girls, life is spent in the great outdoors and socializing with friends. But not Denice Hagen, founder of www.petworld.no, an online pet store who at 15 years of age entered the Norwegian eCommerce market.

Now 19 years old, Denice is not only focusing on the growth of Petworld.no, but is also launching two new projects in the next 12 months.

This is a story of how passion, determination and an implement like hell attitude helped Denice create a 12+ million NOK per year online business.

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The Small Business Owners SEO Bible

Small business SEO bible

During the last 18 months, I’ve completed more than 20 SEO audits for small businesses and global brands. I enjoy analyzing the data in Google Analytics and identifying areas for improvement to help businesses grow their organic search traffic. We’ve helped a lot of businesses grow during this period. It’s been fun.

Whether you sell products online or you want to generate leads via your website, our research has found that by not optimizing your site for search engines, e-commerce stores are losing up to $100,000 per year. That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?

So you have now launched your website and you want to increase organic traffic. Where do you start?

This post has been created to act as a bookmark for people like you who have just launched a new website and want to immediately fix your SEO issues. You can revisit this post time and time again, and the issues outlined can be fixed by yourself, without the need to invest in hiring agencies/ consultants.

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2014 Online Marketing Tips From The Experts

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s helpful for online marketers to start to look ahead as to what 2014 will offer.

At the end of 2012, we asked 7 online marketing experts to share their best advice for 2013. In this post, we’ve gone one step further and gathered 12  experts to share their best tip for 2014 when it comes to online marketing.

In 2012, the expert tips were to focus on mobile, conversion optimization and content creation. And they were right, as these trends exploded. What’s interesting is that similar tips are shared for 2014.

If you missed out on last years tips, you won’t want to miss out on this years advice. We have authors, keynote speakers, founders and CEO’s and all of them are instantly recognizable.

12 online experts share best marketing tip for 2014

rand-fishkin-1

Rand Fishkin | Moz | @randfish

Surveys, interviews, usability tests, phone calls, and emails can all help, but there is no substitute for experiencing your audience’s pain yourself. If at all possible, I love to make myself and my team into real users of our product, trying to solve actual issues with our tools (or find information targeted by our content). That builds a personal experience from which you can project yourself into many other audience mindsets. The only caveat – be careful about over-extrapolating a single experience out to a wide market.

Bryan-Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg | Best Selling Author | @thegrok

The single biggest reason why people fail to convert on a website is that they could not get their buying questions answered. Most often this happens because they land in the wrong place and navigation (or internal search) makes it difficult or impossible for them to push their confidence levels high enough to purchase (or become a lead) and not feel any buyers remorse. This year it would be great if you started thinking about your business the way Jeff Bezos thinks about Amazon.com; they are not in the business of selling books but in the business of helping customers buy books. This is true customer centricity. A Bain survey recently shared that 80 percent of company executives believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. But when Bain asked the executive’s same customers about their own perceptions, only 8 percent of customers felt those companies were really delivering. Which camp will you fall into in 2014?

Neil-Patel

Neil Patel | Quicksprout | @neilpatel

My best marketing tip for 2014 is to create really detailed content. I do so on Quick Sprout through advanced guides that are 30,000 to 40,000 words and it is causing me to get hundreds of thousands of visitors.

It takes a lot of time and energy to create these guides, but the traffic is worth it.

Ben-Jesson-Karl-Blanks

Ben Jesson & Dr Karl Blanks | Conversion Rate Experts

Again and again, we observe that our most successful clients have great products (or services). A great product trumps everything.

  • So our tip for this year is: Do whatever you can to create a great product.
  • Once you have a great product, you’ll find it easy to create a great conversion funnel.
  • And once you have a great conversion funnel, you’ll find it easy to afford traffic.
  • A great product is like a firework. The marketer just needs to light the touchpaper.
  • A poor product is like a wet firework. It takes a lot of skill to light it, and you might wish that you hadn’t.
 Chris Goward

Chris Goward | Wider Funnel@chrisgoward

Stop worrying about your bounce rate!

If you’re improving the wrong goals for your web marketing, you could be moving very fast—in the wrong direction. If you’re not sure, start with how to improve the right website optimization goals. Once you’re focused on the right goals, the other decisions become easier.

Then, make a commitment to continuous A/B split testing and optimization in 2014.

 Brian Massey

Brian Massey | Customer Creation Equation | @bmassey

Look at your analytics as a fluffy snugly toy, the kind you take to bed with you every night when you kick off your bunny slippers. Marketers and business owners who can’t grasp some simple graphs and reports are sleeping alone in the cold night of the internet. You don’t have to be “mathy.” But you do have to be friends with data and understand some simple rules about it.

 Peep Laja

Peep Laja | Conversion XL | @peeplaja

Data-driven approach is the future, and if you’re not a master of analytics and testing, you will be left behind. In 2014, invest heavily in becoming really, really good at gathering and interpreting data into actionable steps, and validating your hypotheses through testing. You need to know *exactly* what’s happening on every page of your website. Learn to go from “I don’t know” to “I’ll find out”.

Linda Bustos

Linda Bustos | Get Elastic | @Roxyyo

My best marketing tip for 2014 is to experiment with Twitter Promoted Tweets. It can be tough to build your own audience on Twitter, but this new ad option enables you to reach followers of other users’ accounts and pin your promoted tweet to the top of their feeds for more exposure. It’s inexpensive to run a $100 test campaign to see how it performs, and you can promote individual tweets. So for example, if you are an ecommerce site that sells vintage style clothing, you could target followers of @asos, @nastygal and @modcloth (among others in the niche), and be sure to include images or Vines in your tweet to show off your wares for highest response. It’s a very targeted way to get your message out to new people for customer acquisition.

Stephen-Pavlovich

Stephen Pavlovich | Conversion Factory | @conversionfac

The opportunity in mobile conversion optimization is huge. Having a responsive site is a good start, but testing now will give you a huge advantage over the competition. (And if you don’t have a responsive or mobile site, pick one crucial page on your website and split-test it against a mobile version of just that single page – it’ll quickly show you the opportunity.)

Brad-Geddes-1

Brad Geddes | Certified Knowledge | @bgtheory

In 2012 search marketing started to shift from keywords to audiences and this trend accelerated in 2013. Today, you must understand your target market beyond the keyword. What are your audiences, their demographics, their similarities, their differences, and their online behavior? While we won’t abandon keywords in 2014, if you want to stay on the cutting edge of marketing techniques, you must begin to switch your promotions away from just relying on keyword groupings and towards audience segmented offers.

 Chris Hexton

Chris Hexton | Vero | @chexton

2014 looks like it’s going to be about mobile, at least when it comes to email. There’s a lot of great data out there at the moment about increasing open rates on mobile devices so marketers need to make sure they’re optimizing for this!

Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern | Customer Carewords | @gerrymcgovern

Treat your existing customers as if they were prospects. Get to know them better by observing what they are doing online, not what they say they are doing. Recognize the shift in power and influence towards the customer. Always keep in mind that a current customer is a potential not-a-customer-anymore.

There you have it. 12 great tips from some of the best online marketers in the world, which covers mobile, content creation and data driven marketing. If you want to add to the list of marketing tips, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

What is your best marketing tip for 2014? Do you agree with the experts?

* Update: Gerry McGovern added to the list of experts on 19.12.2013

How Site Speed & A Slow Website Impacts Online Sales

When was the last time you abandoned a website because it took too long to load?

If you’re like me, then there’s not too many things that are more frustrating than a slow website!

In 2006, 40% of online shoppers were abandoning a website if it took more than four seconds to load. In today’s fast paced world, people expect a website to load in two seconds or less. That’s right. 2 seconds.

According to Amazon.com, for every one second delay, conversions will drop by 7%. That’s a $2.5 million loss per year if you sell $100,000 per day.

Conversion rate by page load speed

A study by Akamai in 2009 surveyed more than 1,000 online shoppers and found that more than 47% of people expect a web page in load in two seconds or less. The research also found that speed impacts customer loyalty with:

  • 52% claim that a quick page load is important to the loyalty of the website
  • 64% who are not happy with the site will shop at a competitor
  • 79% are less likely to return to the website

A slow website not only affects your online sales, but 27% are also less likely to shop at the sites physical store.

In 2010, Gomez interviewed more than 1,500 online shoppers in their “Why Web Performance Matters” report.  One of the biggest findings from the Gomez report was that more than two-thirds told others about a disappointing web experience.

A slow website will lead to you losing business online and offline and customers will shop elsewhere

Site speed improves SEO

Another important aspect to site speed is SEO (search engine optimization). A slow website not only provides a poor user experience, but will also get your website penalized in the search results.

Site speed became a focus to search engine ranking factors in 2009, which came from a usability test that both Google and Bing conducted to determine the impact of a slower search results page.

In their study, Google found that by slowing page speed down from 100 to 400 milliseconds. the number of searches per user decreased over a four to six weeks period.

Bing’s study had a measureable impact on clicks and revenue by delaying the search results by two seconds. Bing found that the two delay decreased revenue by 4.3% per visitor. With more than 48 million monthly visitors, that’s a huge loss.

Websites are getting slower

Eight years ago, Amazon announced that for every 100ms of website speed improvement, they saw a 1% increase in revenue. Yet for the leading eCommerce sites, websites are getting slower.

Top 500 Retailers Average Page Speed

In just over eighteen months, studies* have revealed that of the top 500 retailers:

  • Only 8% use image compression
  • The average page load time is 7.72 seconds
  • Sites are 13.7% slower compared to 2012

* Studies using Google Chrome browser

In order to fix your site speed issues, there are a number of tools you can use. Here are three of the best tools you can use to test your site speed:

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool provides recommendations on what you can do in order to make your site faster. The most common problems experienced are browser caching, un-optimized images and minifying JavaScript/ CSS.

Impact of making your site faster

Prioritizing site speed improvements is challenging.But there are ways to increase site speed, or perceived site speed. One way to get internal buy-in is to run your competitor websites through the WebPageTest tool and using the ‘create video’ function.

SuperOffice compared their site speed with SalesForce, Zoho and Sugar CRM. The test discovered that SuperOffice’s competitor sites were loading in just over two seconds, whereas SuperOffice took 12.8 seconds to load.

By watching the video comparison, SuperOffice could see that the flash was taking a long time to load. As a result, the flash banner was removed from the home page and a new video test was created, comparing SuperOffice websites – One website without flash and three websites with flash.

The second video test found that:

  • Page load speed WITH flash = 11 seconds
  • Page load speed WITHOUT flash – 2.7 seconds

This means that by removing the flash banner, the website speed improved by 10 seconds.

Their website now loads faster, which delivers a greater user experience. But how does this impact conversion rates?

SuperOffice compared the changes five days after the change with the five days prior to the change.

The result was that conversion rate increased by 88%, from 0.36% to 0.67% and goal completions increased by 78%, from 19 to 34.

Impact of Page Speed to Conversion Rates

During the comparison period, overall web traffic decreased by 4% and no other marketing activities were launched. The only change documented was the improvement to site speed.

Make site speed a priority

A slow website will negatively impact your business, and website users expect your site load within two seconds. A fast website is no longer a luxury or a nice-to-have. It’s expected.  And by keeping a slow website, your customers will turn to the competition.

Here are five steps you can take to make sure your website loads faster:

  1. Use the conversion loss calculator to estimate how much revenue you are losing
  2. Use the WebPageTest tool to compare your site speed against your competitors
  3. Send these results to the senior management or CEO to make site speed a priority

Once you have been given the go ahead to improve site speed performance, you can:

  1. Run your most visited 10/25/50 pages through a site speed tool to identify load time issues
  2. Have your IT team fix the problems immediately

Once your page speed issues have been fixed, you can then monitor the improve to your conversion rates.

Looking for More Conversion Rate Optimization Tools?

I’ve created a list of 18 Conversion Rate Optimization tools that every CRO experts needs to boost conversion rates.

And I’m sharing them with you, for free.

Access the tools below.

Other resources:

The Complete Best Practice Magento SEO Guide

Magento SEO guide

Download Magento SEO Guide (Plus Bonus Tips)

If you have a website, you will want to attract natural and organic traffic.

And as e-commerce platforms go, Magento is one of the best out-of-the-box solutions you will find for how to optimize your website for search engines.

To make the most out of your visibility in search engines, there are a number of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques within the Magento admin you can do to increase the potential of buyers finding your site and making a purchase. During the last five months, I’ve worked with a brand that has five websites in five different languages.

The following Magento SEO guide explains how several improvements lead to an increase in organic traffic from 4,200 visits to 28,800 visits and an increase in organic revenue from $57,000 to $395,000. organic traffic increase

Register your website with Google and Bing Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools provides insight into how Google and Bing see your site and if you have problems with it when they crawl your pages. Register your website in both Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools  – Google will provide you with a ‘Google site verification’ tag and Bing will provide a ‘msvalidate’ tag. Copy and paste the HTML tag into the Magento admin. You can find this under System > Configuration > Design > Miscellaneous Scripts. webmaster tools field

Auto redirect base-URL to canonicalize your domain

It’s important that Google only find and index one version of your home page. If both http://www.example.com and http://example.com  can be accessed, your website will be penalized for site-wide duplicate content. You will need to redirect one to the other in Magento. The default setting in Magento is set at a 302 temporary redirect. A 302 temporary redirect will not pass on any link juice so you need to change this to a 301 permanent redirect. You can change this under System > Configuration > General > Web > URL Options and set “Auto-redirect to Base URL” to “Yes (301 Moved Permanently)”. autobase redirect url

Enable web server rewrites for user-friendly URLs

Having a user-friendly URL structure is important for both search engines and usability.In order to make sure your URL’s are user-friendly, visit System > Configuration > General > Web > Search Engine Optimization and set “Use Web Server Rewrites” to ‘Yes’. web server rewrite The difference in having a user-friendly URL structure compared to session based/ dynamic URLs can be seen below when we turned on the “Use Web Server Rewrites” setting, with the number of impressions in Google increasing immediately. search impressions In 2012, Atoll Paradise updated their URL structure to be more user-friendly and organic traffic increased by 350%. Over the course of twelve months this mean more than 420,000 visitors.

Prevent duplicate content by disabling category URLs

By default, Magento will use the category structure in the product URL. For example, a home furniture store may have a page URL www.mywebsite.com/bedroom/candles. However, you may have products that exist in multiple categories. For example,

The best URL structure here would be www.mywebsite.com/candles.This removes the category in the URL. To change the URL structure visit System > Configuration > General > Catalog > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization. You can then change the setting “Use Categories Path for Product URLs” to “No”. category path If you haven’t done so already, you can edit two further settings under “Search engine optimization”. Make sure that the following fields are set to “Yes”:

    • Create Permanent Redirect for old URLs if Url key changed
    • Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories
    • Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products

Using the rel=canonical tag will stop your website being penalized for duplicate content. rel-canonical

Create and upload robots.txt file

A robots.txt file is a text file that help search engines determine which information on your site to index. As a default, there is no robots.txt file in Magento so you will need to create the robots.txt file yourself. By having a robots.txt file, you can prevent duplicate content issues and hide pages from search engines that you do not want indexed, such as CMS login, reports and files. A robots.txt file is set up for one domain. In order to install it, create a new text file in Notepad and save it as a robots and a “.txt” file. You can then upload the file to the web root of your server (ex, www.mywebsite.com/robots.txt). Here as an example of a standard Magento CMS based robots.txt file: robots txt file Simply copy the above and upload to the web root of your server.

Enable “Index, follow” to get your website found in search engines

It’s common that when you’re testing your website before launching, you hide the site from search engines so you enable “no index, nofollow”. But it’s also common that when you go live with your new website, you can forget to change it to “index, follow” or any other option that prevents your site being found in search. To ensure that your website is being indexed and links are followed, visit System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default robots “Index, follow”. index follow

Create default Meta data to avoid duplicate content

As a default setting, Magento will leave your “default description” field blank, which means that both the default title tag and Meta description is missing. By leaving them blank, you may end up with hundreds or thousands of duplicate content issues on your site and Google will struggle to index certain pages. In order to set a default title tag and Meta description for pages that have yet to be optimized, you can visit System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default description. default meta content

Using Rel=alternate hreflang for International rankings

For International websites, you will most likely have similar versions of your website in multiple languages. Google has provided a way for webmasters to not be penalized for duplicate content by creating the rel=alternate hreflang=X link attribute. By implementing this snippet into the <head> section of your website for each page that exists in a different language/ website, Google will be able to show the correct language and page in the search results. For example, if you have German websites for both www.mywebsite.de and www.mywebsite.at, you would implement the following snippet in the <head> section on both websites.

In order to get the most out of your International website, this should be implemented at page level site wide. For example, your product page would include a similar snippet:

By implementing these snippets, Google will then be able to show the Austrian page to searchers in Austria and the German page for searchers in Germany. To implement the rel=”alternate” hreflang snippet in Mangento, visit System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Miscellaneous Scripts. href lang At nameOn, we saw that the Norwegian website, which had the highest domain authority, was being ranked first in Google for branded searches. nameon SERP 1 Once we were able to implement rel=”alternate” hreflang on both the German and Norwegian websites, the German website was immediately positioned in the first spot, which has helped organic traffic grow in Germany. nameon SERP 2

Implement Google Analytics tracking code

Although not entirely related to SEO, tracking website visitors and site behavior is crucial to your businesses success. You will able to track which marketing activity generates revenue and from which country. Your Google Analytics profile ID will start with “UA” and be followed by several numbers. For example, UA-3465789-9. Paste your Google Analytics profile ID into the field and tracking will begin immediately. It’s easy to get started with Google Analytics and once you have created an account, you can visit System > Configuration > Sales > Google API > Google Analytics. google analyticsgoogle analytics For International websites, it is recommended that you implement cross-domain tracking so that you can avoid having your websites appear as sources under the referral traffic report. cross domain tracking

Default home page title tag

Another default setting in Magento will be the homepage title tag, which is set to “home”. You will need to edit this into a natural title tag that summarizes what your website is/ or does. To edit the home page title tag, visit CMS > Pages and once you find your home page, edit the “Page Title” field. default title tag In addition, you can edit the Meta Data tab (on the left) and update your home page Meta description. default meta description

Create an XML Sitemap and submit it to Webmaster Tools

Creating an XML sitemap allows Google and other search engines to find products, categories and pages on your website. It’s up to Google to determine whether or not your page belongs in the index but an XML sitemap will speed up the process of being indexed/ crawled. To set up an XML sitemap, visit www.xml-sitemaps.com. Once you have your XML sitemap upload it to the root of your website (for example, www.mysite.com/sitemap.xml), and submit the sitemap under “Catalog > Google sitemap” in Magento. xml sitemap You can also submit your XML sitemap to Google Webmaster tools and best practice is to include the XML sitemap in your robots.txt file too. Here is an example of how we included it at nameOn. xml sitemap robots txt When adding the XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools, we saw an immediate impact in the number of pages crawled by Google. crawl rate

Conclusion

No CMS is fully optimized for search engines and you will always need to further optimize your site to increase its visibility.

SEO is an ongoing process but the SEO tips used above only need to be addressed one time, which means you can instead focus your efforts on building your social media presence, creating content and optimizing conversion rates.

By following the Magento SEO tips above, more people will find your website in search engines and this will lead to an increase in visits and higher organic sales.

Looking for help with Magento? Visit the Magento blog for eCommerce tips and more.

Bonus section

Now that you have these Magento SEO tips set up to dominate the search engine results pages, it’s time to take your search engine optimization knowledge one step further. I’ve created a proven model that will boost your SEO traffic and revenue.

The three tier keyword conversion model helps you identify a wealth of keyword opportunities. I don’t always share my secrets; this is an exception.

Are you interested? (click the link below).