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Browsing "online shopping"

Predicting Search Trends – The Moving Target

Feb 15, 2012   //   by FreshTraffic   //   ecommerce, Google, internet, internet marketing, internet strategy, online shopping, seo  //  Comments Off

Valentine’s day, not really a holiday, but people are still out there shopping for that special someone. Some bought their gifts early, or if you’re the average guy you’re out there this afternoon picking up a few last minute things. But whether you’re shopping today, even if you’ve already finished your shopping, have you taken measures to capitalize onthis spending day?

It’s estimated that this year in the US they’ll be hitting the highest in the past 10 years in terms of spending. That includes everything from cards, candy, and flowers, to jewellery and ‘casual’ attire. The biggest spenders – ladies doting on their men who’ve been shopping since January and comprising more than 150% of the search volume. Men haven’t totally been out of the game however, and have even stepped up their play – jewellery and flower delivery searches have grown 10% and 20% respectively. The big step for this year though has been couples massage with 50% growth.

Now numbers are good to see and everything, but how does that break down as a business owner in the real world? On average Google handles 400 million searches per day, and during a shopping holiday like Valentine’s Day, search volumes are temporarily boosted. So if you’re in the jewellery market for example, you’d want to ramp up your SEO at least a couple of weeks before the big day, just to pump up visibility. The days do seem to fly by while you have your nose to the grindstone, but you need to observe how trends are shifting online. Being able to correctly and accurately predict the shifting trends online can mean the difference between lost income, and capitalizing on a gold mine in search.

Bing Does it Again

Mar 4, 2011   //   by FreshTraffic   //   bing, internet news, online shopping  //  Comments Off

It’s another case of the copycat, not that it should be any surprise online, but Bing Deals has broken into the realm of online deal makers.

I guess it’s kind of a stretch to throw them in with the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial, because what Bing is doing is actually a little different. The way they said it, would probably be the best way to share:

“The value is that we’re aggregating these for you, bringing these all together so that you don’t have to go to all of these other places”

So Bing has taken the time to write the lines to mash all of the deals together in one place for thrifty shoppers out there. No need for an account to use the service, no spammy emails about deals locally, just a big old coupon book for you to browse. To pay, your information would be used on the vendors site. Simple enough really.

And to make things a little spicier and enticing again, Bing partnered up with a company called The Dealmap, which bills itself as the best place online to find local deals with over 200,000 unique offers across the US on your mobile device.

“The Dealmap is a leading source for people to find and share the best local deals, so naturally it made sense for us to team up with them to bring you the best experience.”Andy Chu, director of Product Management for Bing Mobile.

So it’s not quite copycat, but it’s Bing bringing to bear their own take to online shopping and local search incentives. A good idea which will attract a fair share of attention as it grows in offerings and popularity.

J.C. Penney and Google – An example in the making

Since it’s all over the news and has been talked about since word broke, here ‘s just another take on the J.C. Penney search gaff. The NYTimes did a piece titled “The dirty little secrets of search” and in it was outlined how J.C. Penney gamed Google into listing them for all sorts of terms, applicable to their stores, but always listing at the top irregardless of the search.

The chief way this occurred was through the value of backlinks coming into a site. When your search engine optimization expert does their work properly, the value of the backlinks coming into your site will be categorically relative to your site. J.C. Penney however had links for all sorts of things on what seemed like any kind of website. When it comes to broad analysis of buying links to link back to your site, Google frowns heavily on the practice and often the links are devalued, or even negatively valued, and your site can be negatively effected in such cases. Matt Cutts was questioned on the occurrence and admitted that although JCP.com was already dealt with three times previous, the most recent and wide reaching offence hadn’t been noted.

Some have said it’s because JCP spends so much money on AdWords, others have said it’s sloppy policing on Googles part. One thing that the NYTimes piece did however, was contact a black hat SEO marketer directly and asked their opinion on the matter, and I believe they hit it on the head the best. Think of search not as a one type tool (search) but as a dual purpose technology; informational and commercial. And while the black hat lauded the strength of Googles informational capabilities, he readily admitted that commercially the results were lack luster, a cess pool was the term used. The Google team has admitted fully that there’s a relevance problem as of late, which has become more pronounced with the advent of both Caffeine and Instant technologies into the Google search algorithm. It also needs to be noted however, that spammers didn’t all of a sudden triple their output, the right set of adjustments just haven’t been found yet to exclude them from the relevant results. Additionally since no one has thought to bring it up, the same (gamed) results would have shown up in Bing or Yahoo as well as they did in Google.

JCP is about to go through some growing pains, and will most likely learn a valuable lesson in search; always make a point to be aware of your hired SEOs track record . You may find yourself on the receiving end of a swat on the nose from the Google team.

In a bit of a change of pace, just a reminder that there are a few key points which need to be considered when working online whether as a new website owner just getting into the search marketing side of business. Or a long trusted brand both on and offline, that’s looking to stake a claim, or reinforce a position online.

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly) – Keep your website simple in appearance, construction and use. That doesn’t mean like a printed sheet of paper, but flashy ads, a video clogged front page or fancy fly away graphical menus don’t help your position in the search world. All of the above technologies, without a lot of back work, can actually hurt your online marketing performance.

Relevant Content – Keep your copy relevant and consistent to what you want to be known for. If you’re a plumber, write about plumbing trends, technologies and concerns. If you’re a tailor, writing about style trends, materials and new patterns is helpful. As a carpenter you wouldn’t want to write about small engine repair or microwave ovens, it’s simply not pertinent to your business or your website.

Budget – Ahh money, the one aspect of the business that always seems to surprise people. The thing about advertising, is that advertising in earnest, with the idea to make contact with your customers or clients to earn a living, will cost you money. In North America, Canada especially, online marketing budgets are significantly below what they need to be to see the real rewards capable from high quality, skilled search optimization. It still makes no business sense how a company can have no problem throwing away thousands of dollars per month on a marketing metric which is untrackable (newspapers/radio), versus a significantly lower cost for a completely trackable one (SEO).

A Call to Action – Often the missed point of a newer website owner, a call to action for your visitors is a required point of your website. A qualified and capable search engine optimization expert can bring you traffic, but if your website doesn’t direct your visitors what to do, they will leave until they find a site that does. If the point of your website is to sell, ensure you have a way to sell to your visitors with a Buy Now button, or a catalogue to order. If your desire is to attract people to sign up for your newsletter, make sure it’s prominently displayed as such.

Time – One of the most important requirements for SEO is time. Time for your website to be crawled and indexed, time for Google, Bing and Yahoo to place you within their index and the time it takes to balance your website versus the millions upon millions of pages also within your sector. It all takes time in the end, and if you try to circumvent the time component and go quick and dirty like J.C. Penney did? You’ll get caught, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you’ll be caught.

Over 30% Shopping via Mobile

Jan 11, 2011   //   by FreshTraffic   //   ecommerce, mobile, mobile advertising, online shopping  //  429 Comments

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones to visit retailer’s websites.

According to research from ForeSee, which found more than 30 per cent of shoppers use this method to make a purchase.

This could encourage companies using SEO services to look at their digital marketing when it comes to the mobile web.

As many as 67 per cent of those who visited a shop’s website did so while they were in the store, while 26% used their gadgets to check out a competitor’s website to compare the two price offerings.

“Any retailer not actively working to develop, measure and refine its mobile experience is leaving money on the table for competitors,” the report’s author Kevin Ertell said.

Some 10,000 e-shoppers were quizzed in the survey, which also discovered 8% of mobile users visiting UK retailer sites made a purchase.

The Mobile Association recently predicted smartphone sales will see more people accessing the web via the devices in 2011.

Online Holiday Spending – Do You Have Your Share

Dec 18, 2010   //   by FreshTraffic   //   online shopping, organic, search engine optimization  //  234 Comments

Just one last short week to go before it happens, before the big windup of Christmas. The weeks leading up to this day, definitely the busiest shopping days of the year, with billions of dollars being spent on everything from toys to clothes to food toe jewellery. And the growing trend? Skipping all of the crowds, the jostling, the pushing and frustration of shopping in the masses, and doing the buying online.

The question is, how much business have you seen this holiday season from your website? I can propmise you that if you weren’t in the top 5 of the SERPs, your online bottom line will be abyssmally low. But with the cost to return being so low, why should it be? Ignoring the growing billion dollar consumer base online, all you do by neglecting your website is cost yourself more money. Traditional media can not compare to the ROI that organic search engine optimization boasts. The results are measurable, both in visitors and time spent using your website. Can you say the same about spending thousands of dollars on limited runs on the radio, newspaper or television? Only newspapers offer a remedial metric of measuring the traffic you get from your cost, and that would best be by using a coupon to save money on a visit to the store. Then there’s that other small problem of hours of operation. If consumers interested in your product can’t get to your store before it’s closed, you can count the sale good as gone as they’ll pick their purchases else where. But the internet does not sleep, does not take holidays and does not need to help that nice old lady with her 200 questions about the plates she would like.

If you’ve spent time, money and effort on your website, stop letting it rot online. Open your business eyes to the power of the web, the cost effectiveness of search engine optimization and hitch up your pants for a banner year to come. Because this year is nearly over, a new year is around the bend and it will only become more competitive online. Stop waiting and buy yourself the best Christmas gift ever for your business, qualified, interested traffic wanting to spend money on your wares.

Does your website need an update?

Appearance, usage, accessibility and speed. Four qualities which should be incredibly important to any website owner and doubly so for users. If a site isn’t appealing to the eye, easy to use, have intuitive navigation and is slow to browse, it’s almost certain to be skipped over by users first and search engines later.

The qualitites came to mind over a conversation with a friend, they’d lamented that the coroporate side had changed the website and made it unfriendly to use. Previously their site was css based, very little code written on page, and had a good deal of content to be indexed relevant to their rather competitive niche. The new look and layout for their site, abandoned CSS in favor of Java, Ajax and active scroll over elements on the page.

The new site is visually more appealing than the old one, the effects that were added with all of the new coding however, was unecessary. Dropping indexable, search engine friend CSS for Java and Ajax was a half step backwards though in the search wars. While the coding offers a great deal of flexibility in what your website can look like and do, it’s basically entirely skipped over by search engines. The website in question has been running a brief survey on the new look and feel, and so far the consistent response has been that past consistent users, have begun to use other portals to meet their needs. Their new site, while more appealing to look at, was too slow, difficult to navigate and wasn’t easy to understand at all.

It’s a good example of the addage, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”

Online Spending Increased 25% – Stats Can

Sep 28, 2010   //   by FreshTraffic   //   ecommerce, internet news, marketing, online shopping, social media  //  458 Comments

All of the talk about people moving their purchasing power to the internet, isn’t complete hogwash. According to StatsCans newest numbers, Canadians online expenditures have increased to $15 billion (2009) from $12 billion (2007).

The total was broken down into 95 million transactions, at an average of $1,420. You might be thinking that doesn’t sounds so huge, but if you factor in the population of our country is only around the 34 million mark, it’s a fair amount of money per person. As for some contrast, in 2007 Candians only spent $12 billion on line over 69 million transactions. One of the more interesting figures is the expenditures per person in 2007 was $1,520 as opposed to the $1,420 of 2009.

That difference is coming from the increased consumer base. As the internet and the web become more accessible, and online shopping becomes a more and more trusted means of acquisition, while the average may drop per person, overall spending will continue to increase.

And if you carry inventory in store, there’s no need to worry. StatsCan also reported that over half of Canadians online, would “window shop”, researching their purchases prior to buying them. Ensuring that you have a quality website, backed with service and sales in store is a great way to drive people to your site, and your address.

The chances grow daily that as someone is researching a purchase idea, they’re asking their friends, families and connections on Facebook, twitter or other social media about their thoughts and experiences. The web has become an incredibly powerful marketing tool when used correctly, and the proof is in the numbers.

Are you, and your website, ready?

Dec 21, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet marketing, online shopping, search marketing  //  404 Comments

2009 is nearly finished, there’s only 10 days left in the year, even less so in a business sense. It’s in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, that leaves you spinning and almost out of control with the speed of trying to keep up to customers needs and demands. We are in the midst of some of the biggest consumer spending for the year, and there are some businesses out there which can make or break their year with the next few days of consumerism.

But what if you could have that kind of customer spending, for more than just a few days a year? If you truly have the best product, for the best price, why aren’t you rich beyond your wildest dreams? Or even comfortable? A quick checklist then, for the new year, and the resolution to proactively move forward and let the world in.

Do you have a website already? If you were to have a friend use your site, is it easy to read? To navigate? Is the customer experience pleasant, engaging, and informative? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you have a good starting point for being noticed online.

It doesn’t matter if you own the goose that lays the golden egg, or if you have the greatest product ever discovered, if you can not be found online. Your brick and mortar store is only open for set amount of hours, you need to rest. But the internet does not rest, there is no sleep on the web. Having a website, and having a positive flow of visitors to your website are two, very different, and very distinct differences. A couple of interesting notes about online spending for consideration:

-On average, 49% of shoppers do their holiday gift buying online
-In 2008, Holiday Season Spending (Nov-Dec) $29,200 (millions)
-Predicted that US e-commerce will reach $156 billion in 2009

Search engine optimization (SEO) is quite possibly, the highest ROI (return on investment) form of advertising available to your business today. 2010 is the beginning of a new decade, it’s time for a Fresh start online, be found and claim your piece of the $156 billion dollar pie.

Search Marketing and Your Business

Dec 16, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet advertising, online shopping, search engine marketing  //  Comments Off

In little more than 10 years, search-engine marketing has grown into a $14.7 billion industry. It’s a big pie, are you getting your slice?

In setting up a new business, you sell the best product, you setup shop with the newest and best furniture and accesories in order to showcase your wares. You hire attractive, intelligent, well trained staff to promote your store and your product, and ensure you have enough cash registers to be able to ring people up and send them through in a quick, friendly, professional manner. It’s at that point, you decide to advertise; newspapers, fliers, billboards, maybe tv and radio ads, but all of these measures are taken only after you’ve setup shop good and proper.

So why would a flippant stance be taken towards your companies website and it’s effectiveness as a selling tool?

Hastily constructed websites, with little to no content, excessive scripting and/or flash based websites; all points which hamper your online presence and placement within Google’s results pages. If your business is in retail, it only helps you to have a shopping cart tied to your website, with a listing of your most popular wares (at the least), and an intuitive way to navigate your website and shopping cart so to assist in sales. An extremely high percentage, think in the 80-90% range, of people research purchases on line prior to actually making that purchase, imagine your income gain with having a proper website constructed with a friendly, and easy to follow website in order to help them make that purchase.

Having your website properly built, tuned, and compliantly stuffed with content, only increases your companies worth, in the long and short term.

Emerging Online Marketing Trends

Mar 11, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet marketing, online marketing, online shopping  //  20 Comments

It’s always been known that America is primarily a consumerist market. But, even now Americans are dedicated consumers. And, the Web makes it easier and faster to track, and then bag, the goods.

Even with living with a devastating economy, we’ll still find ways to happily buy stuff. We won’t stop.

So, flagging emerging consumer trends is the lifeblood of any business. Consumers can pile into a fad quickly, and leave just as fast.

Two must-watch trends rippling through the consumerism this year bear watching: chic frugality and the greening of older goods.

Booming online shopping and research tools speed the frugality process, especially as small, mobile devices make the Web easier to navigate. The result is a giant communication tool for sharing consumer information and low-cost goods.

According to one survey, 80% of consumers say they’re shopping online to save money.

80%!!

What with the 24/7 market of the web, it’s best to be your targets first, and only stop.

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