How To Generate Free Traffic For e-Commerce Websites

I recently did a video series for Docstoc.com’s small business expert video series. You can check out all of my videos here, but I will be posting each of the ten videos on my blog so you can learn some tips and tricks on online marketing. Below is one on generating free traffic for e-Commerce Websites. Enjoy!

Below are some of the tips I share.

1. Have unique content for all the category pages – without unique content you cannot rank for a site. every retailer is using the same content, there is no uniqueness and good user experience. its important to put unique content

2. Create multiple sitemaps – all the product and inner pages indexed; problem with sitemaps if you have lots of links in a sitemap, its hard for google to index all of them. separate sitemap for products, sitemap for brands and categories, will index in a proper way.

3. Create unique and proper title tags – it’s till considered the most important on page ranking factor.

Advanced SEO: Solving Pagination Issues in Ecommerce Websites

In this post I’m going to reveal an advanced SEO technique for ecommerce websites concerning pagination issues. For the purpose of this post, I will assume you have a working knowledge of SEO and are working on an ecommerce website.

The Setup:
Ecommerce websites usually have hundreds of products in a category, so they display 10-20 products per page, and provide additional pages for viewing (you can click on page 2- page xx) as well as a ‘view all’ page.

The Problem:
Each of these additional pages and the ‘view all’ page is a duplicate of page 1, since it contains the same title tags and short text. This creates a duplicate content and indexation challenge.

Its fascinating how many ecommerce sites (even with good SEO’s working on them) do not have a solution.

The Solution:
There are a few options: rel canonical, robots meta noindex, parameter handling, or making pages unique (URL, title, meta description).

I’ve found using a meta noindex tag in the secondary and ‘View All’ pages is the best solution. Here are the steps:

Create a view all page with all items listed.

Link to the view all from categories, pages and individual items. (This is default on CMS’s like Magento, or there is usually at least an option for it).

Now for the fun part: meta noindex the view all and secondary product pages. Make noindex, follow the default command.

Here is the code you can use if your ecommerce platform is written in PHP:

<?php
if (isset($_SERVER[‘HTTPS’]) && strtolower($_SERVER[‘HTTPS’]) == ‘on’) {
echo ‘<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow” />’. “\n”;
}
else if(isset($_GET[“page”])){
echo ‘<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”/>’ . “\n”;
}
else {
echo ‘<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” />’ . “\n”;
}
?>

In Conclusion:
We’ve disabled the bots from indexing the other pages, but not from crawling them and finding those other products. Noindex does not stop the bot from crawling the page, just from saving it in the index.

So, the bots still crawl inner pages (page 2, 3, etc) as instructed and will index all of the products on those inner pages or view all page.

Amazing E-Commerce Strategies to Steal From Amazon

I originally created a post that was featured on BNET.com. You can view the original article here.

Let your customers help keep your website fresh

One of the most effective methods Amazon uses to drive page views and stay high in search rankings is to let its customers do some of the work. You know those detailed — and brutally honest — customer reviews and comments? If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you know they’re helpful when you need a second opinion before you buy. But that user-generated content has a much bigger, behind-the-scenes benefit: It’s one of the most powerful methods of ensuring your website has a steady flow of fresh, unique, keyword-rich content — the very stuff that search engines love when they crawl your site to determine how highly to rank it. Plus, if you have the occasional product description that’s weak on keywords, customer reviews help bolster the SEO value of the page. And you get them for free.

Tip: Take a cue from Amazon and make sure the process to submit a review on your site is short and dead-simple.

Get more control over your listings in Google

You can’t always control which text the search engines grab from your website and display in search results — Google’s chief concern, after all, isn’t helping you sell your products. But there is a simple way to up the odds that your product listings will show up with the kind of text that converts lookers into buyers. Amazon makes sure that extra snippets of product information — such as pricing, star ratings, number of customer reviews and availability — appear prominently in Google search results.

The trick is to use microformats, which are meta tag snippets — a new, but relatively unknown, set of agreed-upon conventions used to describe content. Microformats can be anything from the price of a product to the location of the business — the idea is to include the main keywords shoppers might use to try to search for the product.

Here’s an example of how Amazon uses microformats in html to describe a Razor A3 Kick Scooter:

Tip: For more details on how to insert microformats into your e-commerce pages, check out this explanation from Google. Most of the e-commerce platforms like Magento, or even WordPress (the de facto content management system these days) support microformats.

Win on long-tail key phrases

Amazon may rank No. 1 on the Web for the keyword “books,” but that’s not how the site converts most of its Web traffic into actual book purchases. Think about it. If a shopper is looking for, say, a hardcover edition of Tony Hsieh’s book “Delivering Happiness,” he doesn’t google “books.” He probably searches for exactly what he wants: “hardcover Tony Hsieh Delivering Happiness.” And Amazon owns that search phrase, hands down.

If you’re a smaller, niche business, optimizing your product pages for these so-called “long-tail” keywords is crucial for several reasons:

  • They bring in targeted traffic to your website, thereby boosting your conversion rates.
  • You can’t compete on broader, “short-tail” keywords.
  • Winning on more specific terms will eventually help your site appear in searches for more general terms as your website gains more traffic and authority.

Tip: Let’s say you sell scooters — all kinds of brands, colors, and prices — and you want to get specific products ranked in search engines. The single most important on-page factor when search engines rank your pages is the title tag, which is the text that shows up in the top part of a Web browser. Here is where you want to use very specific keywords: “green Razor a3 kick scooter” instead of just “Razor scooter.” However, a note of caution: Don’t overdo it and stuff it full of keyword gibberish. You’re writing for people, not search engines.

Make it easy to find things

Keeping a website’s navigation simple can be deceptively complicated — it’s all too easy to introduce clutter that can lead a user astray. But making it easy to find things is the single biggest thing you can do to make sure customers return.

Take a cue from Amazon and pay particular attention to these things:

  • The navigation bar. Amazon’s clean and simple navigation bar (the menu on the left-hand side of the page) covers all of the categories and subcategories you’d need to find just about any product.
  • The search box. The search box is clearly visible at the top of every page on the site. Plus, the dropdown menu next to it helps customers quickly and easily refine their searches.
  • Different page layouts for different products. Amazon understands the buying process well enough to know that the purchase decision varies depending on the product. As such, the site has different page layouts for different categories. Amazon’s laptop category page, for example, is slightly different than its camera category pageif you look at the bottom half of the pages. Amazon organizes the laptops according to brands and prices. But the camera page organizes products according to lenses, point-and-shoots, accessories, etc. — with no price categories. The camera page also has a prominent widget advertising the “most wished for” products to appeal to gift givers.

Personalize the experience

In Amazon’s quest to become the one-stop shop for nearly everything that can be shipped via cardboard box, the site developed several key ways to personalize the buying experience and turn shoppers into loyal, repeat customers. Among some of the best innovations: personalized product suggestions based on previous orders and searches, wish lists and shopping lists to organize potential purchases, and the Gift Organizer tool, which keeps track of birthdays and special occasions.

Of course, Amazon has an army of engineers working on these sophisticated features. But even with fewer resources, there are simple things to you can do to personalize — and maximize — the shopping experience on your site:

  • Give customers the ability to save the items in their shopping carts.
  • Maintain extensive customer profiles, including order history.
  • Use “What’s New”, “What’s Hot,” and “Special Deals” widgets that help you cross-sell related items. On Amazon’s page for point-and-shoot cameras, for example, you’ll also find widgets for related accessories and best-selling camcorders.
  • Let customers link to social networks like Facebook and Twitter so they can “like” the products they have bought or are thinking of purchasing.

Anticipate customers’ questions

Even if you have live customer service support via telephone, customers should be able to easily find the answer to the most common questions on your website. In this respect, Amazon has mastered the customer experience. Here are just a few examples:

  • Order and shipping confirmations. As soon as a shopper makes a purchase, Amazon sends an email to confirm the order and say “thank you.” The company sends another email when the order has been processed and shipped. This may seem common sense and even a bit trivial, but email confirmations are a simple way to instill confidence.
  • A clear and generous return policy. Amazon dedicates an entire page to its return policy and the terms are generous: Customers can return almost anything for a full refund if they aren’t satisfied — and in some cases, even 365 days after the purchase.
  • User-generated customer service. To make sure that customer reviews are helpful — and not just useless rants — Amazon lets the community vote for them. The people who write the most helpful reviews then get the distinction of “top reviewer.” This strategy helps foster a community of knowledgeable customers who help each other decide what to buy and even jump in and answer each others’ product questions.

5 Pointers to Launch a Successful Small Business Campaign (Pt. 3/3)

#4/5. Monitor Traffic and Measure Results Driven from Social Media Sites

Before you launch your campaign, you should already have system to assess your social media efforts. There are certain metrics that deserve special attention. You want to be able to see:

a) How many visitors were redirected to you via social media sites?
b) How many people or converting (clicking through your site and then buying a product or service)?
Essentially, you should be able to determine how many dollars you spent and track the amount of revenue/percentage of revenue generated from your social media campaign.

There are some awesome FREE tools to track where your traffic is coming from. Look into implementing some of these into your data-compiling:

a) Google Analytics and Google E-mail Alerts — it’s free and is easier to install onto your site than getting a cup of coffee from your local Starbucks.
b) Twitter tools like HootSuite & Seesmic can help you track direct messages, @replies, and mentions of your company’s website or products.
c) YouTube/Facebook internal data tracking.

#5/5. Don’t be Afraid to Mix it Up

If you’re not generating the desired leads and sales from your social media campaign after 4-6 months, you might need to take time to reevaluate where else you can be diversifying your efforts.

This can mean finding other places your target audience dwells online or looking into more powerful social media tools.

There isn’t one clear-cut strategy you can employ to positively impact your company’s bottom line. I encourage you to being patient, committed, and, most of all, flexible with your campaign. This is perhaps, the key to making sure it goes off without a hitch so to speak.

5 Pointers to Launch a Successful Small Business Campaign (Pt. 2/3)

#2/5. Crawl Before You Walk & Walk Before You Run

It takes some time to build a sizeable loyal customer following using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. It simply doesn’t happen overnight. You may want to keep this in mind especially if you are a company that needs to start selling your products right away. Of course, as a business owner, you need to decide if you can take small steps or not. Building relationship with the public via social media is all about developing trust, and that requires time.

#3/5. Time Management Matters

I know how it goes…you establish your social media presence and afterward you sit by your computer day and night, checking for new friend Requests and Twitter follower notifications. Warning: you’re setting yourself and your social media campaign for a quick burnout!

My best advice is to use your time wisely by doing other tasks that will help your site get noticed, like generating more content. These tasks will not only help percolate interests in cyberspace but help boost your rank on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines.

Think of it like this:

MORE CONTENT => INCREASE IN SEARCH RANKING ==> MORE ONLINE==>VISIBILITY ==> MORE TRAFFIC==>MORE SALES

My suggestion is to set your automatic notifications for your Smartphone and save yourself from constantly logging onto these social media networks.