Retail Search Optimization for E-Commerce | Krohn Media

Off the top of your head, where do you think most people go to find a brand or product: Google, or Amazon?

If you said Google, congratulations!

You’re wrong.

Google may be the king of search engines in general but more shoppers are looking elsewhere for their buying needs. In fact, 51% of online shoppers start their search at Amazon compared to just 16% at Google.

This is being referred to as retail search, and you need to get on it.

Retail Search Optimization

E-commerce platforms like Amazon, Target, Walmart — you name it — are becoming the go-to place for online shoppers looking for products to purchase..

It makes sense. Online shopping is so prevalent that most people now have an e-commerce platform they trust and feel comfortable using. These platforms are usually the top results on Google when looking for what you want, so why not just cut out the middle man?

Retail Search Optimization is based on the same principals and best practices as SEO — a mix of organic and paid content to create awareness, drive traffic and convert leads.

Organic RSO

How do you drive organic retail search results?

The same way you do with organic Google results: keywords.

When users search for an item or product category on an e-commerce site, the site trawls all of its entries to find the most relevant content to share.

Accurate product descriptions laden with relevant keywords that people search for on an e-commerce site will help to drive organic retail search results.

Take note of the word “accurate” — if you write misleading keywords (say, listing a stuffed toy as a puzzle), your product is going to quickly find itself right at the bottom of the list.

Much like with Google, algorithms are in play. These are a bit less vague or temperamental than Google’s; Best Seller Ranking and customer Search Behavior are the biggest driving forces.

Benefits of RSO

Retail Search Optimization can convert buyers to a sale much faster than traditional SEO. Consider that the user is already on an e-commerce site, most likely looking to buy.

Even if they’re not in a buying mood, the more often a person sees your product, the more likely they will buy it when they are ready. The conventional wisdom is a person sees your product seven times before they buy — and with RSO, they’ll get their seven quickly.

This will also convert into offline sales. People regularly use e-commerce platforms to research an item yet still buy in-store. The more people research your product online, the more likely they will buy it when they visit shops.

Should I Focus on RSO or SEO?

This one is easy.

Both.

SEO and RSO function similarly but in different contexts and with different benefits.

SEO can introduce your product or brand to someone long before they’re a potential buyer. Raising awareness, attracting leads, education, relationship building, trust building — these are all crucial aspects of SEO that RSO can’t really provide.

That said, RSO can be crucial for capturing those people in an immediate buying mood. They’re already researching the product or product category you offer. RSO can introduce your product or brand to shoppers who never heard of you. It most certainly can be that final act of exposure that gets them over the line.

Tips for your RSO Strategy

  • Combine Paid and Organic Results: Like your Google SEO strategy, a mixture of paid and organic work is best for finding the widest variety of prospective buyers. Start strong with the paid results and ease off as you build momentum.
  • Perform Competitor Analyses: Like with any marketing activity you undertake, you want to know who your competition is, how well they’re doing and what they’re doing to get there.
  • Capture Brand and Generic Keywords: A popular tactic on e-commerce platforms — and en effective one — is to work with brand keywords that people associate with your product. For example, if you sell toothbrushes and you know Braun is a popular brand, you can use RSO to capture people searching specifically for Braun toothbrushes.

Need help with your E-Commerce platform?

Give us a call at Krohn Media: 888-443-2112

The Rise of Vertical Search Engines |Krohn Media

Vertical Search Engines

The recent antitrust case against Google opens the door for vertical search engines that serve businesses and niche industries.

On October 20, 2020, the Justice Department sued Google, an Alphabet subsidiary, claiming the company’s internet search platform is an illegal monopoly that is harmful to both competition and consumers. The case aims to prove that Google’s position as a dominant search provider limits consumer choice and partnerships with companies like Apple suppresses competition.

Taking on Big Tech has been a mainstay in the national conversation ever since the 2016 Presidential election, but this is the first antitrust action taken against Google. While we might not reach the end of this story for years, the DOJ’s suit signals a larger shift in the search industry, which hasn’t been disrupted in over 20 years.

The unintended consequence of Google’s conquest to broaden search is limited depth for some. Businesses tend to be affected more than consumers because of how results are ranked. Therefore, in the wake of Google’s antitrust suit, a new market for specialized information has emerged.

Despite its size and tremendous growth, web search dynamics have begun to shift. Google has taken a super-aggregator and partnership approach to many growing verticals. Google Maps, for example, aggregate Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Yelp.

Google Shopping and Google Finance are aggregators for e-commerce and financial information, respectively. Vertical search has always been at odds with aggregators, wanting to be found but also wanting direct traffic.

Vertical search engines have built their own mobile apps to lure users away from the Google search bar.

 

Defining a vertical search engine

A vertical search engine is a search engine that focuses on a specific domain, or vertical. Think of LinkedIn for people search, Zillow for housing search, or Kayak for travel search. The benefits of using a vertical search engine are:

  1. More precise information due to narrowed scope
  2. Calibrated systems for providing users with vertical expertise
  3. Purposefully designed to facilitate a specific task or workflow

The third point is particularly noteworthy, especially when comparing vertical search engines to Google. It’s unlikely that you’re searching for car prices and inventory for fun.

The price tells you if you can afford it; location information tells you where the nearest dealership is. Search is part of a workflow. Google, in most cases, acts as a middle man, guiding users from point A to point B.

Like web search, vertical search also supports various workflows. Where they differ is providing users with both the pathway and tools to complete an intended action. Here’s an example: Zillow users start by searching for homes, weighing data on home prices and taxes against other factors like school districts and proximity to work.

The user’s workflow ends with an appointment for an open house with the listing agent. Workflows differ greatly depending on someone’s need, which is why the market for vertical search engines is so vast.

In recent years Google has attempted to compete with certain consumer search workflows. Google Flights, a Kayak competitor, brings users closer to booking travel all within one platform.

Interestingly enough, Google’s purchase of ITA Travel in 2011 (which became Google Flights) was reviewed and cleared with the DOJ. If history is any lesson, Google is surely capable of competing with certain vertical search engines and capturing market share for consumer-based search.

Business to business search, however, is a different ballgame.

Source: The rise of vertical search engines 

Krohn Media Rebrand | What We’re Working On for 2021

Krohn Media has been busy, as you may have noticed with our site currently unavailable.  We’re tearing down our old service portfolio and rebuilding it from the ground up, which involves a lot of code, as well as a lot of coffee.

While we’ve had success targeting the health care industry, there have been many changes in the web-tech world that we believe present a target-rich environment of opportunity, so much so that we’re renovating to our customer-facing site to bring forth a new portfolio of interactive services for business websites.

What are some of these changes in the web-tech space?   Security is more important than ever, as bad actors from all over the world converge onto the United States with the goal of acquiring our proprietary data.

Internet speeds continue to exponentially increase while users’ attention spans shorten.  Search engines’ preferences continue to evolve, forcing website managers to stay on their toes.

The web itself is a completely different place than it was ten years ago, or even five years ago. Case in point: in 2012, the iPhone had only been on the market for about five years.  The mobile-app craze was at its peak, and social media was still getting its legs while forcing wireless internet speeds to become faster.

2012 was not that long ago, but think about how radically different things are now, especially with tech like artificial intelligence (mainly Siri and Alexa) that we take for granted. In 2012, artificial intelligence (as we know it now) was borderline science-fiction. 

Mobile is now an integral part of our lives and accounts for over 50% of web traffic.  We used to think of a website as a desktop version or a mobile version; now they’re the same.

To come full-circle, web technology evolves fast; so fast that it leaves in its wake millions of poorly maintained (or not at all) websites, an ocean of security vulnerabilities, gigawatts of burnt mobile battery life from outdated or poorly written code running in mobile browsers, and a society of web users frustrated with their day-to-day experiences.

Our new service portfolio is dedicated to ridding the world of these problems by focusing on three core elements of any website: security, performance, and search engine optimization.

We’re building a back-end portal that will allow our users to identify problems in these areas, monitor ongoing issues, and view the results from the solutions we provide.

Access to the back-end portal will be free and the entry point to create the portal account will be as simple as entering your site’s URL in a form text field. We pull the URL, fetch the web page, process it, and provide a visual overview of your site’s health.

Security

Let’s touch on our new services.  

First, security.

We’re consistently amazed at the horrible state of security in the web-tech industry.  Through our own experience, we believe that well over 80% of websites have serious vulnerabilities that put users’ information at risk.

For example, it’s far more common than not to discover a site is running jQuery code from 2014.  In almost every case, websites don’t have their HTTP security headers set. Rarely is JavaScript code obfuscated, and I’m always surprised when I find a website that takes advantage of a CDN or edge-caching provider.

This systemic neglect of security is not ideal for sites with requirements for HIPPA compliance or legal obligations to protect users’ data, such as e-Commerce sites that collect personal and financial information.

How do we assess a website’s security situation?

The first step is to identify any “low hanging fruit”.  Envision this as a hypothetical context where you’re looking to hire a firm to provide security services for your home.

What degree of security would you need for your house?  If your door locks are broken and windows won’t completely shut, we’d first target those issues.                                   

Why pay us to install cameras and home alarm if you don’t even have door locks?

These basic checks can be handled in an automated way with our back-end portal, allowing us to provide this basic level of service at no cost.

Once your website passes basic security checks, we can move forward with enhanced solutions.  Some of the basics we check are your HTTP security headers are correctly configured, and you’re not vulnerable to attacks, such as XSS or SQL injection. 

We also review, patch, and obfuscate your JavaScript code (a practice neglected by most sites) and many other solutions.

We provide several levels of ongoing penetration testing, from probing and enumeration, all the way to gaining access to your network and systems.                            

We can also provide supplemental services, like intrusion detection systems (IDS) with monitoring, and encrypted email file server.  If you have enterprise secrets and house critical data, these are essential.

Performance

Ultimately, security is the foundation of our new service portfolio.  Performance, however, doesn’t take a back seat.

Users have short attention spans satisfied by increasing internet speeds and faster hardware. When a site has performance bottlenecks, users get irritated and bounce, resulting in less qualified leads or customers, less advertising revenue, and other negative effects from poor user engagement.

Mobile users account for almost half of web usage.   This metric in itself is no big deal, but mobile devices happen to be sensitive to poor performance.                                      

If a web page is blocking user input because it’s chugging through excessive DOM reflow, or burning CPU cycles executing too much JavaScript, the user becomes annoyed by the sluggishness and the device burns through precious battery life (which also annoys   the user).

The path an HTTP request takes on its round trip involves server processing, network hops, and browser responses, all of which can contribute to a speed bottleneck, much like traffic encountered while driving your car.

When you go to work, the streets and highways can be empty, your car can be fine- tuned, and it can be a clear day, but if you hit your kid’s bicycle while backing out of your driveway, it slows you down while you deal with it. 

When you’re driving, at any point to your destination, you can hit traffic, engine problems, and many unrelated issues negatively affecting your travel time.

Web traffic works the same way, where unrelated issues can create bottlenecks at   any point along the journey of the HTTP request.                                                                        

We have the expertise to locate and fix these bottlenecks, whether it be in code, server configuration, or network.

Search Engine Optimization

A benefit of better performance, as well as better security, is better rankings by search engines.  When search engines crawl your site, they not only guzzle your site’s URLs to parse content for indexing, they’re also testing the speed and responsiveness of your website.

The more sluggish the website, the lower it ranks it search results.

This brings us to our remaining service offering: search engine optimization (SEO).   There are a million firms that offer SEO services, albeit a few better than most.

With our security and performance services, we have a significant competitive advantage over the field, as we have the technical expertise to offer security and performance services which ultimately improve SEO.

Where we differ from most SEO firms is we don’t guarantee search rankings.  We simply follow the SEO guidelines published by the search engines that outline how they want pages and content to be configured.  To put another way, we do what the search engines tell us to do.

An SEO firm guaranteeing search results is like a weatherman guaranteeing the weather. A search engine’s algorithm is proprietary and nobody outside of the company knows how they work therefore, they can’t make promises.  Anyone promising better search results is lying to you. 

We’d advise you to maintain extreme skepticism.

By properly describing content for search engines (per their own guidelines), combined with our security and performance services, we’re confident our clients’ websites will indeed rise in search results and improve lead generation.

Web Development and other services

Our tech team is comprised of systems administrators, software engineers, database administrators, and networking engineers.  This means we can provide solutions beyond our core services. 

If you need a new custom site, e-Commerce site, social media integration, or anything beyond our core services, we can help with those as well.

Conclusion

How does all this fit into our new website?

When we perform an audit of a client’s website, we have many tools from which to choose, depending on what we’re trying to accomplish.  Some tools we wrote in- house; some tools are open source; other tools are a hodgepodge of both.

While this is fine on a case-by-case basis, it can be time consuming when servicing a volume of clients.

Therefore, we’re writing the code to bring them all together into a single UI dashboard.

Some of our competitors provide an input form for a visitor to enter a site URL to check the status of their site’s SEO; others may check a site’s performance.  Most, however, do not check security, performance, and SEO in a single portal, broken out visually.

The basic service will be at no cost, where we’ll check the site for free on an ongoing monthly basis.  If this automated audit detects an issue, you’ll be alerted, and you’ll be notified on your dashboard.

Why are we providing a free service for an initial audit?

You may not be aware of problems with your website, and you may not be inclined to spend money for an audit. If your site is performing and it looks modern while it looks good in mobile, you may not realize you have an issue.   

Your car may be running fine, but if you brought it to your mechanic and they discovered you have   an oil leak, you’d likely want it fixed.

With a free audit, you’ll get a look a look at your issues and we can decide if it’s worth spending money to fix.  We will continuously value-add our free audit, and keep a principal of “if we can automate it, we’ll keep it free”.

For the paid service, we provide deeper audits, as well as customized reporting for metrics specific for your site.  These will require manual intervention to various degrees, and will unlock more options and features within your portal.

If you’re running sites that make money or require more security, this is the plan you’ll likely join.

Security, performance, and SEO are our bread and butter.  As we develop our interactive portal, we’ll publish articles that dive into our services in more depth and we’ll even provide screen-shots of our portal prototype to keep you along the journey.

While we are building our auditing and reporting portal back-end, we are still open for business. 

If you need us to run an initial audit, we’re more than happy to do so.

Just get in touch:

888-443-2112

Importance of direct traffic. Why is direct traffic important? | Krohn Media

Direct Website Traffic

What is Direct Traffic?The direct traffic that you get direct will probably is the most slated traffic that you can obtain. People are following your blog cause they want to detect something distinct. Or see what new posts have been released. With added awareness and direct traffic, you will obtain more replay guests.

Need help with increasing your web traffic?

Call Krohn Media at 888-443-2112 to discuss further.

Source: Krohn Media

How to improve SEO using data science|Krohn Media

SEO Data Science

Data science focuses on eliminating guesswork from SEO. Brands like Airbnb and Netflix are doing it and so can you. Tips to improve SEO using data science.

Gone are the days when a single tweak in the content or the title tag was able to get your site to the top of the search results. 

Google algorithm is now much harder to crack than before. Besides, 75 percent of online users do not scroll past the first page of the search engine results.

As you can imagine, this makes the SEO space highly competitive right now and companies can no longer rely on basic techniques.

However, you can always make sure that the odds are in your favor by using data science.

Source: How to improve SEO using data science

How to optimize images for SEO | Krohn Media

There are many ways to make your articles easier to read on the web – lots of paragraph breaks, short snappy sentences, headings, sub-headings, Gifs of Kanye West’s mood swings – but one of the key ways to make your content seem attractive is with the use of images.

And the best thing about images, is that they can be used to bring in organic traffic via search engine image results.

But in order for this to happen, they need to be optimized accordingly.

Choosing images

It’s important to use images related to the text of the article. This is mainly from a user experience point of you, as you don’t want to baffle people with an obtuse choice of image.

Your images need to be of a good quality, in the correct aspect ration, with good resolution and of a size large enough to be visible across devices.

Another thing to consider is your use of ‘stock-photos’.

We introduced a strict ‘no stock photos allowed’ policy.

They make your website look like a marketing brochure for a characterless business that ‘leverages thought-leadership into hot leads’ or some such rubbish. They’re also over-used and cheesy as hell

You should also be creating your own graphs, charts and visual designs too.

But if you don’t have the time or resources to do that – and frankly who does? – there are plenty of free and easy-to-use resources out there…

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr is an awesome resource for photos, and you can use any that are labelled with a Creative Commons license.

It’s an alternative to full copyright, you just have to make sure you give full credit and link to the Flickr profile of the person who took the photo.

Unsplash

One of my favorites, Unsplash images are all copyright free, you just need to credit and link to the photographer. Occasionally they border on ‘stock photo’ but they are all of a much higher quality than your standard ‘model looking at iPhone and smiling’ images.

Image size

You’ll definitely want to resize your photo so it’s not such a massive file. It’s very easy to overlook the fact that most iPhone photos can be in excess of 3,000 pixels wide (which can be 2,500 pixels bigger than you really need).

Huge image files can drag the page-load time of your site down and directly affect your rankings on search engines, so be sure to resize them before you upload.

File/Title name

Before you upload the image to your site, make sure you give it an accurate file name.

Alt-text

Most important of all is how you describe your image in the Alt section (can be known as Alt-tags or Alt-text). Google can’t ‘see’ your images, but it can ‘read’ them and what it reads is what you write in the alt-attribute.

Need help with your image optimization? Call Krohn Media at 888-443-2112

Source: How to optimize images for SEO

Customer experience optimization (CXO) for online stores| Krohn Media

SEO and customer experience go hand in hand. These three SEO tactics won’t just fetch you higher rankings but also improve your customer experience.

Your modern online store has a lot of moving parts, with hundreds to thousands of different product pages, numerous variations of the same page, and dynamic elements.

And you’re well aware of the importance of having your store rank on the first page of Google — more traffic, brand awareness, trust, and sales.

However, SEO today is not just about including the right keywords and building backlinks to your online store but is closely knit with providing a great user or customer experience (CX).

When you work on your SEO by keeping the customer experience aspect in mind, you’ll build a store that not only garners top rankings and tons of organic traffic but also converts that traffic into customers.

Need help with your Customer Experience Optimization and SEO?

Give Krohn Media a call at: 888-443-2112.  We’d love to help you out.

Source: Customer experience optimization (CXO) for online stores: Three proven SEO tactics