Ecommerce

Help Your Customers Find You in Cyberspace

October 1st, 2006

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Originally published in Catalog Success

The clock is ticking. Holiday shopping season is just around the corner. More customers will turn to your Web site than ever before. That means it’s time to tune it up for maximum search engine visibility. Here are nine traffic-building tips that’ll make your site sing “Happy Holidays” long after the season is done.

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SEO Report Card: Yarnware.com

September 1st, 2006

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Originally published in Practical Ecommerce

Meredith Bright of Yarnware writes: â??I used to have much better organic search rankings, but they have been dropping recently. I canâ??t figure out what is wrong.â?? It wasnâ??t hard to see why. The site is running Lotus Notes Domino â??â?? not a platform that is very friendly to search engines because of its long, complex-looking URLs. However, the issues with the site were much more fundamental. The www.yarnware.com site has broken some cardinal rules of SEO.

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Polycase

August 1st, 2006

Polycase screenshotPolycase is a manufacturer of plastic electronic enclosures for OEMs, including handhelds, desktops, and other electronics.

This ecommerce site, powered by our GravityMarket solution, makes it easy for Polycase’s customers to do business with them. In addition to searching by keyword, customers can search by size — length and width — and by series. They can also browse by product type, size range and application. In addition to ample product information and specifications, including engineering drawings, the site also offers a helpful PDF library.

[ database | client admin cms | SEO ]

Visit The Site: Polycase

SEO Report Card: KayakFishingStuff.com

August 1st, 2006

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Originally published in Practical Ecommerce

In many ways this site was a breath of fresh air. From an SEO standpoint, Kayak Fishing Stuff is doing a number of things right, and it shows in their No. 1 rankings in Google for â??kayak fishing,” “fishing kayakâ?? and “fishing kayaks.” Of course, there is still room for improvement, but it is more a case of finessing and fine-tuning than throwing away the whole site and starting again.

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Full Compass

July 27th, 2006

Full Compass screenshotFull Compass is a supplier of audio, video and lighting equipment, and targets musicians, theatrical and staging crews.

This site boasts extensive functionality on the back-end, including some quite sophisticated integration with their own back-end systems. The site has tens of thousands of pages in Google. The revamp that we completed included a total site redesign, new user interface and a completely new website back-end and database.

[ database | client admin cms | SEO ]

Visit The Site: Full Compass

Technology changing the face of retailing

July 25th, 2006

Originally published in New Zealand Herald

This article from the IT section of the Herald highlights five technology trends that are changing the face of retailing. Our own Stephan Spencer weighs in with his thoughts on where things are heading…

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SEO Report Card: Zearth.Blogspot.com

July 1st, 2006

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Originally published in Practical Ecommerce

Zearth.comâ??s staff operates a blog at zearth.blogspot.com, although they are relatively new to the concept. They signed up for a free Blogger.com blog, which wasnâ??t ideal as youâ??ll soon discover. The traffic into the blog is only a trickle, but they have received a couple thousand dollars in sales because of it, so itâ??s a start.

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Online retailers doing wikis?

June 27th, 2006

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In the past I’ve made the case for using wikis for online marketing.

Perusing Amazon.com recently I saw that there were already over 7500 product wikis contributed by Amazon customers. Cool! (Unfortunately not a single one of their wikis is indexed in Google because of the search engine unfriendly way they’ve implemented wikis on their site. Indeed, I couldn’t even find a way to link to their wikis from here, because links like this one expire and stop working after a while.)

It made me wonder how many other e-commerce sites were embracing wikis as a way to augment their product information and encourage customer participation in the site. I??haven’t heard of any other online retailers doing this.

Know of any etailers experimenting with wikis?

There is the ShopWiki website, which is not an online retailer but a site targeted to online retail. ShopWiki was founded by Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman (DoubleClick’s former CEO and former CTO, respectively). There is some good stuff in ShopWiki. For example, if you are looking to buy a compound bow, there is great buying guide as well as an explanation of how a compound bow works, type of material used in its manufacture, etc. (Unfortunately, like with Amazon’s wikis, ShopWiki’s wikis — including their buying guide on the compound bow — aren’t making it into Google. Fewer than 72 wiki pages are indexed).

Not strictly an online retail wiki, yet it overlaps partially with the ShopWiki is wikiHow, a how-to manual launched by the dotcom eHow. I am unclear why eHow started a separate wiki rather than folding it into eHow.com. I think they should have just opened up their eHow site for user contributions.

I think a wiki is especially suited to applications such as buyers guides, encyclopedias, glossaries, manuals, travel guides, etc when you want to elicit user contributions without making visible a lot of back-and-forth discussion. The real value is in the final product, not in the discussion that got to that point. That is where a wiki really shines.

SEO Report Card: As-Seen-on-TV-Store-1.com

June 1st, 2006

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Originally published in Practical Ecommerce

Even though Iâ??ve received dozens of requests for site gradings, this month I’ve decided to pick a site that didnâ??t ask for it. Why? Because this month Iâ??m going to air some poor, unsuspecting black-hat SEO’s dirty laundry in order that you might learn from their mistakes and indiscretions, rather than subject a loyal Practical eCommerce reader to potential intense and unwanted scrutiny by search engine reps reading this article. There are so many sites out there committing search engine sins, it was really hard to settle on one.

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Searching for brick-and-mortar retailers?

May 28th, 2006

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Data now out from Nielsen//NetRatings shows that the top five most popular shopping search terms for April were all brick-and-mortar retailers:

  1. “home depot”
  2. “walmart”
  3. “target”
  4. “sears”
  5. “best buy”

SearchEngineWatch Blog then arrived at the conclusion that:

These are people who likely have done their research and are now looking for physical/local stores to buy what it is they want.

I disagree. I think most Americans already know where their local Home Depot is. Instead, these searchers are looking to buy online. Some will opt for in-store pickup (which both Sears and Best Buy offer). Some may be on the hunt for product information, buyer’s guides, or the current circular with the week’s in-store specials.

I believe brick-and-mortar brands dominate shopping-related searches because those are the brands that are the most pervasive/popular/trusted in the marketplace. Their online shops offer a safe and familiar place to buy online.

A huge number of Internet users are searching for “home depot” when they could be typing in homedepot.com directly into their browser’s Location bar. Why is this? I imagine that for many people, typing in “home depot” into the Google Toolbar or into the search box on their Start Page is just easier or most comfortable. Perhaps some, like myself, even configured their Google Toolbar to display the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, to go straight to the first search result. 😉