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SEO for E-Commerce By Adam Audette

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From the Search Marketing Expo - SMX East Conference in New York City, NY, September 29 - October 1, 2015. SESSION: SEO For Ecommerce: What You Need To Know. PRESENTATION: SEO For E-Commerce - Given by Adam Audette, @audette, President - RKG. #SMX #13A3

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SEO for E-Commerce By Adam Audette

  1. 1. SEO for Ecommerce Adam Audette @audette
  2. 2. 2 A Performance Marketing Agency Data Driven, Tech Enabled Performance Marketing Consulting | Analytics | Technology | Data | Creative | Media CRM | Loyalty | Digital Our heritage in data, technology and analytics gives us unique consumer insights, combined with our strength in performance media, fuels our ability to develop and execute addressable customer experiences that drive marketing performance
  3. 3. 3 Customer Strategy Channel Activation Measurement Orchestration Content •  Creative Development •  Content Development •  User Experience •  Search •  Display •  Paid Social •  Email •  Direct Mail •  Website •  Mobile •  Native App •  Social •  Call Center •  In Store •  Audience Plan •  Experience Plan •  Media Plan •  Test Plan •  Market Sizing •  Segmentation •  Portfolio Strategy •  Journey Mapping •  Change Management •  Measurement Strategy •  Attribution •  Marketing Mix •  Forecasting & Simulation •  Audience Management •  Campaign Management •  Decision Management Audience Planning Media Activation Database ID Management Analytics CMS DMP Campaign Loyalty
  4. 4. 4 Customer Strategy Channel Activation Measurement Orchestration Content •  Creative Development •  Content Development •  User Experience •  Search •  Display •  Paid Social •  Email •  Direct Mail •  Website •  Mobile •  Native App •  Social •  Call Center •  In Store •  Audience Plan •  Experience Plan •  Media Plan •  Test Plan •  Market Sizing •  Segmentation •  Portfolio Strategy •  Journey Mapping •  Change Management •  Measurement Strategy •  Attribution •  Marketing Mix •  Forecasting & Simulation •  Audience Management •  Campaign Management •  Decision Management Audience Planning Media Activation Database ID Management Analytics CMS DMP Campaign Loyalty SEO
  5. 5. Our ClientsSelection of our clients
  6. 6. Key Inputs in the SEO Approach Research •  Competitive Analysis •  Benchmarks, KPIs, Goals •  Opportunity Forecast •  Business Justification Topical Content Relevance •  Topic discovery •  Personas & demographics •  Keyword Research •  Query Mapping •  Content Optimization Technical Site Arch •  Crawl Space •  Duplication •  Internal Linking •  International •  Site Architecture Content Strategy •  Content Inventory •  Workflow & Conversion Path •  Execution of Topics •  External Engagement Results & Measurement •  Reporting •  Analytics
  7. 7. SEO Touches Everything 7   SEOUX / Frontend PR Social Media Creative / Brand Engineering C-suite
  8. 8. Two Pillars of SEO: Technical & Audience 8 Technical Audience
  9. 9. Two Pillars of SEO: Technical & Audience 9 Technical Audience Search Engines Audience Crawl space Search behavior Duplication Workflows Dynamic content Content topics Site migrations KW research Mobile serving Engagement Int’l sites Conversion paths
  10. 10. 10 Today’s Talk •  Technical SEO •  On-page & Content •  Other Stuff AGENDA
  11. 11. 11 Today’s Talk •  Technical SEO •  On-page & Content •  Other Stuff AGENDA
  12. 12. Technical SEO is Dependable Brand creative Technical Higher cost, lower dependability Lower cost, higher dependability
  13. 13. Technical Hits Several Areas Research •  Competitive Analysis •  Benchmarks, KPIs, Goals •  Opportunity Forecast •  Business Justification Topical Content Relevance •  Topic discovery •  Personas & demographics •  Keyword Research •  Query Mapping •  Content Optimization Technical Site Arch •  Crawl Space •  Duplication •  Internal Linking •  International •  Site Architecture Content Strategy •  Content Inventory •  Workflow & Conversion Path •  Execution of Topics •  External Engagement Results & Measurement •  Reporting •  Analytics Tech
  14. 14. *it always depends These are typically* the highest priority areas Technical SEO for Ecommerce •  Duplication •  Faceted Navigation •  Pagination •  Speed •  Site Search •  Mobile
  15. 15. Canonical Crawl Paths – simple power Technical SEO for Ecommerce Home Category Sub-cat Product Navigation & internal links, external backlinks, canonical tags, XML files all point to the same definitive URLs.
  16. 16. Ecommerce sites commonly have dupe issues at the product level •  Use forensics to delve into the issue (just a few tools, keep it simple) •  Normally what’s indexed is what matters (if it’s a dupe but isn’t crawled, de- prioritize) •  Always crawl the site yourself •  Keep it actionable! Don’t get caught in the maze Duplication
  17. 17. Duplication Search modifiers are the tl;dr of SEO forensics. My favorite site searches for dupe content: •  site:mydomain.com and variations •  Exclude subdomains with: –site:blog.mydomain.com •  Find duplicate domains with –site:mydomain.com intitle:exact title tag
  18. 18. Duplication Search modifiers are the tl;dr of SEO forensics. My favorite site searches for dupe content: •  site:mydomain.com and variations •  site:mydomain.com with: intitle:”product or category title tag”
  19. 19. Duplication Easy Wins! mm smells like buttery popcorn
  20. 20. Duplication Search modifiers are the tl;dr of SEO forensics. My favorite site searches for dupe content: •  inurl:prodID=121212 •  Use with site:mydomain.com •  Experiment with using category or folders, too, like: site:mydomain.com inurl:/category/ •  Knock off successive folders •  Use with intitle, such as: site:mydomain.com inurl:prodID=121212 intitle:”we’ve got all the stuff here : brand”
  21. 21. Faceted navigations pose crawling challenges. Keep it focused on user behavior. •  What facets represent search queries best? •  What types of content do you want crawled and indexed? Faceted NavigationFaceted Navigation
  22. 22. Faceted Navigation Important facets for SEO
  23. 23. Faceted Navigation NOT important facets for SEO
  24. 24. Be discriminating with what gets crawled. Examples to crawl: •  category, brand, item, type Examples to not crawl: •  size, price, session ID, review rating/count Consider: •  color, size, various attributes (uses, materials, etc) Faceted NavigationFaceted Navigation
  25. 25. Tools to use for crawling controls on facets. Ensure URLs are constructed only one way. •  No creation of different URLs based on selection order Ensure rel canonical signals are on URLs that have tracking parameters appended. Don’t be afraid to use parameters within URLs. •  key=value&pair constructed URLs allow easier crawling and management in GWT •  Never use folders for session IDs or params that don’t change page content Faceted Navigation 1 2 3 Faceted Navigation
  26. 26. “Using non-standard encoding is just asking for trouble.” – Mehmet Aktuna Google Crawling Team
  27. 27. “Using non-standard encoding is just asking for trouble.” – Mehmet Aktuna Google Crawling Team
  28. 28. Non-standard encoding means using characters in URLs like : , [ ] …
  29. 29. Tools to use for crawling controls on facets. Faceted Navigation Use rel=nofollow on non-essential facets. •  Links can still be crawled, but this will decrease discovery Have non-essential facets rel canonical to a superset page: http://www.mydomain.com/cat/shoes?brand=nike&color=green&price=100 <link rel=“canonical” href=“http://www.mydomain.com/cat/shoes?brand=nike&color=green&view=all” /> Faceted Navigation
  30. 30. Tools to use for crawling controls on facets. Faceted Navigation Option: place all unnecessary facets in a unique directory. Robots.txt exclude this directory. http://www.mydomain.com/cat/shoes?brand=nike&color=green&price=100 http://www.mydomain.com/filters/shoes?brand=nike&color=green&price=100 User-agent: * Disallow: /filters/ Faceted Navigation
  31. 31. Tools to use for crawling controls on facets. Faceted Navigation Issues with robots.txt •  It’s a sledgehammer approach •  Nothing will be crawled •  No link equity will flow •  You’ll get ‘suppressed listings’ in the index like this… Faceted Navigation
  32. 32. Links are crawled but URLs are blocked. Faceted Navigation Tools to use for crawling controls on facets.
  33. 33. Tools to use for crawling controls on facets. Faceted Navigation Parameter Handling •  Powerful and configurable •  Need key=value&pair structured URLs •  Requires you to truly understand your site Faceted Navigation
  34. 34. Faceted Navigation
  35. 35. Faceted Navigation
  36. 36. Ah meta noindex…yes very interesting
  37. 37. What about meta noindex? Faceted Navigation Meta noindex is strangely absent from Google’s advice. •  I’m less confident in meta noindex, follow really doing what we want it to: keeping content out of the index but still crawled. •  meta noindex, follow + rel canonical are conflicting signals. •  There are signs that Google is choosing to treat meta noindex differently than before. Meta Noindex
  38. 38. Sorts/views shouldn’t be crawled.
  39. 39. Pages should be consolidated.
  40. 40. Sorts shouldn’t be crawled. Sorts & Pages Sorts are different views of the same data set. •  Use rel=nofollow on sort links •  Use rel=canonical on sort URLs to a superset page (normally the view all) Sorts & Pages
  41. 41. Sorts shouldn’t be crawled. Sorts & Pages Sorts are different views of the same data set. •  Have sort links coded as page anchors that don’t create unique URLs (e.g. mydomain.com/cat#sort100) •  Use javascript links that are less likely to be crawled (Googlebot will probably still crawl them, so put them in a disallowed js script) Sorts & Pages
  42. 42. There are two main ways to consolidate pages. Sorts & Pages Use either rel next/prev or rel canonical. •  Rel prev/next creates a series of pages •  Should still use rel canonical on duplicative URLs (such as tracking IDs) Sorts & Pages
  43. 43. There are two main ways to consolidate pages. Sorts & Pages Use either rel next/prev or rel canonical. •  Rel canonical, if used for pagination, should reference the view all page •  The view all page needs to provide a good user experience (fast loading) Sorts & Pages
  44. 44. 45   Google crawls dynamic content
  45. 45. 46   Google crawls dynamic content Dynamically inserted images and content
  46. 46. 47   Google crawls dynamic content JavaScript links and redirects
  47. 47. 48   Google crawls dynamic content Dynamically inserted meta data <head>                  <(tle>NBA  LIVE  15  -­‐  Features  -­‐  EA  SPORTS  -­‐  Official  Site</(tle>                                            <meta  name="descrip(on"  content="NBA  LIVE  features  the  best  visuals  in  franchise  history  and   500+  gameplay  improvements  delivering  a  fluid,  fun  and  authenQc  basketball  experience.">      <link  rel="canonical"  href=“hWps://www.easports.com/nba-­‐live/features"  >  
  48. 48. The Era of Dynamic Sites and SEO 49  
  49. 49. The Era of Dynamic Sites and SEO 50   JS redirects
  50. 50. The Era of Dynamic Sites and SEO 51   JS links
  51. 51. The Era of Dynamic Sites and SEO 52   Dynamic content
  52. 52. Here’s What You Need To Know 53   1. JavaScript can be okay for Google (including redirects)
  53. 53. 54   2. Other search engines are behind (and so are Twitter and Facebook) Here’s What You Need To Know
  54. 54. 55   3. Google reads the DOM (html source = 50% or less of the picture) Here’s What You Need To Know
  55. 55. #MRKGsummit15 @MerkleRKG Ramifications 56  
  56. 56. #MRKGsummit15 @MerkleRKG Ramifications 57  
  57. 57. #MRKGsummit15 @MerkleRKG Ramifications 58  
  58. 58. Let’s talk speed …
  59. 59. Site speed is crucial. Speed •  40% of your visitors will abandon a site if loading takes longer than 3 seconds (Gomez) •  Half of your visitors expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less (Gomez) •  1 second in loading time decreases conversion by 7% (Strange Loop) Site Speed
  60. 60. Site speed is crucial. Speed If an ecommerce site makes $100k in revenue per day, a 1 second load delay equates to $2.5M in lost revenue annually. (Strange Loop) Site Speed
  61. 61. Speed Study up Google’s Guide to Web Performance https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/best-practices/rules_intro
  62. 62. Speed Study up Yahoo!’s Guide to Page Speed http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/
  63. 63. Speed •  Google Page Speed •  Yslow •  Pingdom •  WebpageTest.org •  Load Impact Site Speed
  64. 64. SpeedSite Speed
  65. 65. SpeedSite Speed
  66. 66. “Search results in our search results.”
  67. 67. There’s a best practice, and a reality. Site Search & SEO Best Practice •  Site search pages should be fast. •  They should offer a valuable experience. •  They should lead to conversion. •  They should have high engagement. Site Search & SEO
  68. 68. There’s a best practice, and a reality. Site Search & SEO Unfortunate Reality •  Lots of site search pages are really basic •  They can still rank well •  Site search pages convert well Site Search & SEO
  69. 69. Site Speed There’s a best practice, and a reality. Site Search & SEO
  70. 70. Site Search & SEOSite Search & SEO …and there’s this…
  71. 71. Site Search & SEO Fortune 10 ecommerce brand Pages Displayed in Non-Branded SERPs Heavily reliant on site search. Site Search & SEO
  72. 72. Answer these questions before doing anything. 1.  How much organic traffic are search pages responsible for? 2.  How are engagement metrics looking? High or low bounce rate, high or low conversion? Site Search & SEO 1 2 Site Search & SEO
  73. 73. Site Search & SEO Answer these questions before doing anything. 2.  Balanced with above, are these pages causing issues with our crawl space? Are there duplicative issues at play? (For example, can anything become a search?) 3 4 Site Search & SEO
  74. 74. Hmm….
  75. 75. Here’s what we recommend. Mobile Get the sites accessible on mobile devices. All major implementations are supported, and work. •  Responsive (same URL) •  Subdomain or folder (mobile switchboard tags) •  Same URL with dynamic content (Vary: User-agent response header) Mobile SEO
  76. 76. Here’s what we recommend. Mobile Other good things: •  Minimize redirects, each adds 0.6 second delay (source: Google). •  Serve tablet users the desktop site. •  For separate URLs, place alternate tags on desktop pages (to mobile), and canonical tags on mobile (to desktop). Mobile SEO
  77. 77. ~69% of searches show different results MobileMobile SEO
  78. 78. Rendering the full page: for mobile, too MobileMobile SEO
  79. 79. Mobile Search Traffic > Desktop MobileMobile SEO
  80. 80. MobileMobile SEO
  81. 81. Elegance of Responsive MobileMobile SEO
  82. 82. Technical Issues Prevail MobileMobile SEO
  83. 83. Holy Grail of Mobile MobileMobile SEO
  84. 84. Holy Grail of Mobile MobileMobile SEO
  85. 85. Holy Grail of Mobile MobileMobile SEO
  86. 86. 87 •  Technical SEO •  Content Strategy •  Other Stuff AGENDA
  87. 87. For ecommerce, ‘native’ content is limited. Content & On-Page •  Category pages •  Product pages •  Buyer’s guides •  Reviews •  Blog content Content & On-Page
  88. 88. Really about the Shopping Experience Content & On-PageContent & On-Page
  89. 89. Content & On-PageContent & On-Page
  90. 90. Look to Amazon for industry leading experiences. Content & On-Page This is valuable. Content & On-Page
  91. 91. Making it easy for me, thanks Amazon.
  92. 92. Content Strategy Starts at the SERP Content & On-PageContent & On-Page
  93. 93. The SERP display is where it all begins Content & On-Page First Choices Secondary Choices
  94. 94. The SERP display is where it all begins Content & On-Page Ignored
  95. 95. Structured Data Content & On-PageContent & On-Page
  96. 96. Useful Example on Organic CTRWhat happens when video thumbnails appear for product pages? Content & On-Page
  97. 97. Content & On-Page Not actually a video.
  98. 98. Video thumbnails on product pages plummet CTR Content & On-Page Whoops! Product pages are listed in the video sitemap (videos are on the pages).
  99. 99. Content & On-Page But what did this do to CTR?
  100. 100. Queries with Video Thumbnail Queries without Video Thumbnail THIS. AVERAGE QUERY CLICK-THROUGH RATE 2% 17%
  101. 101. Queries with Video Thumbnail Queries without Video Thumbnail THIS. AVERAGE QUERY CLICK-THROUGH RATE 2% 17% Users didn’t want a video, they wanted a product.
  102. 102. Content & On-Page Product Inventory, product flux Try to make this less sucky.
  103. 103. When Permanently Out of Stock, Option 1 Content & On-Page 301 the URL to a newer replacement product (This is rarely how product inventory works)
  104. 104. When Permanently Out of Stock, Option 2 Content & On-Page 404 the URL if no newer product exists (This is hard core)
  105. 105. When Permanently Out of Stock, Option 3 Content & On-Page Continue serving the page with messaging and good recommendations (This is best, but harder to do)
  106. 106. Content & On- Page Don’t do it like this… Tad Chef http://blog.ahrefs.com/ecommerce-out-of-stock-products/
  107. 107. Content & On- Page Don’t do it like this… Doubly sucky.
  108. 108. More helpful
  109. 109. Here’s a good out of stock message. Content & On-Page Tad Chef http://blog.ahrefs.com/ecommerce-out-of-stock-products/
  110. 110. Tad Chef http://blog.ahrefs.com/ecommerce-out-of-stock-products/
  111. 111. Content & On-Page Content & On- Page Great Alternatives Here Tad Chef http://blog.ahrefs.com/ecommerce-out-of-stock-products/
  112. 112. What if products are coming back in? Content & On-Page Continue serving the page with messaging and recommendations (same approach as before)
  113. 113. Category pages are the ‘hubs’ Content & On-Page
  114. 114. Category pages are the ‘hubs’ Content & On-Page category subcat product product subcat product product
  115. 115. Content & On-Page category subcat product product subcat product product Constant, Equity full, Heavily linked
  116. 116. Content & On-Page category subcat product product subcat product product Constant, Equity full, Heavily linked Lot of flux here. Inventory change Less equity flow Less linked
  117. 117. Content & On-Page
  118. 118. Seasonal pages and ‘themes’ Content & On-Page
  119. 119. Resources
  120. 120. Resources
  121. 121. Resources
  122. 122. Your inventory is your content. Content & On-Page •  Tons of content opportunities with inventory •  Buyers guides, reviews are always useful •  Retailers don’t need to be publishers
  123. 123. It’s STILL all about keywords! Content & On-Page
  124. 124. Content & On-Page My Little Pony Topics Average Monthly Search Volume 260,000 185,000 110,000 100,000 80,000 56,000 45,000
  125. 125. Content & On-Page My Little Pony Topics Average Monthly Search Volume 260,000 185,000 110,000 100,000 80,000 56,000 45,000 Each topic category represents many queries
  126. 126. Comparison Calvin Content & On-Page “The pledges need quality embroidered shirts for a golf tournament they’re playing in.” Sample Search Queries What can we provide to help him accomplish his task? What else can we provide of interest? Conversion Goal Why He’ll Do It Success Metrics Task 1: I want to find a resource for Greek apparel and merchandise. [fraternity apparel] Broad selection of quality gear Popular brands Great service Speedy turnaround Newsletter Explore options He needs shirts for the pledges. He needs a reliable resource going forward. Subscribe for 10% off. Sign up for newsletter Purchase shirts Social share/like Task 2: I want to find a resource for Greek apparel and merchandise. [embroidered polo shirts] Wide selection of name brands – high quality Great prices Great Service Speedy turnaround Newsletter Find the best option for shirts Great prices. 10% discount. Minimum order works. Easy to order. Can get a quote and a sample. Purchase Sign up for newsletter Social share/like
  127. 127. Comparison Calvin Content & On-Page “The pledges need quality embroidered shirts for a golf tournament they’re playing in.” Ideal Workflow Search Rank & Display Page Content Conversion & Motivation [embroidered polo shirts] Custom Embroidered Polo & Golf Shirts – Buy Wholesale & Save! | InkHead Top Quality and great prices on golf and polo shirts from your favorite brands, including Nike and Adidas. Images and details of product offerings. Calvin can filter and sort by a range of criteria, including price, brand, color, sub- category and style. Carl sees what he needs and he sees lots of choices. He knows the brands, the prices are reasonable and the ordering process looks simple. Clicks to buy.
  128. 128. Comparison Calvin Content & On-Page “The pledges need quality embroidered shirts for a golf tournament they’re playing in.” Ideal Workflow Search Rank & Display Page Content Conversion & Motivation [embroidered polo shirts] Custom Embroidered Polo & Golf Shirts – Buy Wholesale & Save! | InkHead Top Quality and great prices on golf and polo shirts from your favorite brands, including Nike and Adidas. Images and details of product offerings. Calvin can filter and sort by a range of criteria, including price, brand, color, sub- category and style. Carl sees what he needs and he sees lots of choices. He knows the brands, the prices are reasonable and the ordering process looks simple. Clicks to buy. User exp. begins here Content creates the conversion
  129. 129. 13 •  Technical SEO •  Content Strategy •  Other Stuff AGENDA
  130. 130. Thinking about reporting on SEO It IS about keywords.1 Focus on bottom-line metrics that matter.2 Engagement metrics are important.3 You’ll need more than a single analytics package.4
  131. 131. It’s still all about keywords Analytics & Reporting 134 Organize keywords and contextualize them by topic, page types, by persona, demographic, etc 1
  132. 132. Track bottom line metrics. Analytics & Reporting 135A •  Revenue from organic •  Organic traffic by search engine •  Organic conversion rate 2 •  Use content groupings in GA •  Hit level only •  Useful for ecommerce page types
  133. 133. Engagement metrics Analytics & Reporting 136 3 •  Time on page, avg. pages/visit, time on site •  Very useful to spot poor experiences •  Bounce rate is a useful metric for today’s SEO •  Group high bounce rate pages to analyze •  Segment alongside conversion rate •  Report on these only when they lead to ACTION
  134. 134. You’ll need multiple tools. Analytics & Reporting 137 4 •  Best in class: •  Brightedge •  Linkdex •  SEO Clarity •  Search Metrics •  Conductor •  SEO analytics are essential.
  135. 135. Analytics & Reporting Brightedge keyword groups
  136. 136. Analytics & Reporting SearchMetrics keyword groups
  137. 137. You’ll need multiple tools. Analytics & Reporting 140 4 Inexpensive / free: •  SEMRush •  Google Search Console
  138. 138. GAME CHANGER Analytics & Reporting 141 4 GSC API DATA •  Desktop, Mobile, Tablet •  Landing Page and Query •  Very close to comprehensive
  139. 139. Use top publisher sites Other: Top Publisher Sites 142 4 Feed to teams for •  GDN campaigns •  Partnerships •  Editorials
  140. 140. Evolution of http protocol Other: http2 143 4 Advantages •  Early adopter advantage •  Multiplexing •  Compressed Headers •  Faster
  141. 141. SEO as Bridge Builder Other: Advocacy 144 5
  142. 142. @merklerkg Thanks for your time! merklerkg.com | rkgblog.com Adam Audette aaudette@merkleinc.com Follow me on Twitter: @audette

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