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Ecommerce optimisation to avoid Google Panda and Penguin penalties and improving on-site conversions
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Ecommerce optimisation to avoid Google Panda and Penguin penalties and improving on-site conversions


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  • 1. @annstanleyCreating an engaging and user friendly website that converts, and is found in search engines by Ann Stanley May 2012
  • 2. @annstanley
  • 3. @annstanleyIntroduction
  • 4. @annstanley How to double your sales?• Multi-channel management: – Sell through other channels eg Amazon, eBay, etc.• Increase traffic to your website: – Buy more traffic eg PPC or ad serving – Improve your search traffic through SEO, Google Merchant Centre, Google Places – Use other marketing techniques eg Affiliate marketing – Make sure your site is mobile friendly to take advantage of 20-30% users using mobile
  • 5. @annstanley How to double your sales• Improve your conversion rate: – Reduce your bounce rate – Give buyers the confidence to buy from you – Provide the information to make the buying decision easy – especially if it is endorsed by other customers or social connections – Personalise the user experience so your site is more relevant – Improve the buying process so you reduce shopping cart abandonment• Increase sales from each customer: – Increase average order value – Encourage customers to buy again or more often (email, loyalty, promotions, social media) – Build a community of advocates (sharing, social and incentives)
  • 6. @annstanleyEcommerce landscape On-site Sales On-site sales Sales from Search from other sources marketing (email, affiliates, display ads, social, mobile, (PPC, SEO, shopping comparison, Merchant Centre) voucher sites) Conversion optimisation OtherShopping platforms off-site sales & market places (Social, Mobile, drop shipping, (Amazon, eBay) daily deals sites) Off-site Sales
  • 7. @annstanley Part 1:Changes to your site toincrease search traffic
  • 8. @annstanley Top UK sites by visits and where consumers start shoppingSource:Hitwise weekending19/05/2012 Website-2011- Consumer- Survey.html?ls=We bsite
  • 9. @annstanley Panda?LSI – Latent semantic indexing
  • 10. @annstanley Google’s Panda update and the need for ‘good quality content’• In February 2011, Google implemented a rolling algorithm update known as ‘Panda’, which ‘penalises’ sites that host poor quality content and/or provide a poor user experience• With every update, Google becomes more sophisticated at judging the quality of content on a site• Many ecommerce websites were badly affected
  • 11. @annstanleyThis was followed by the Penguin update on the 24th April 2012? Designed to penalise search spam! • Keyword stuffing • Link schemes • Cloaking, “sneaky” redirects or “doorway” pages • Purposeful duplicate content
  • 12. @annstanley Optimise for the user – not search engines• Making sure a site is optimised to provide a rich, relevant and rewarding experience for visitors is the best way to avoid penalties, which means: – No duplicate content - use Canonical tag and Webmaster tools (plus other technical ways) to ensure Google only indexes pages once (eg. when products are listed in >1 categories, pagination issues, repeated content in tabs) – All pages should have unique, relevant and useful content (including the 1000s of category, sub-category and product pages on ecommerce sites!)
  • 13. @annstanley Optimise for the user – not search engines– Good levels of interaction on site (low bounce rates, inbound links to ‘deep’ pages, social mentions etc.)– No spam (keyword stuffing)– Avoid link schemes and develop “Natural links” – a higher proportion of links should have anchor text with your brand name or URL (not just your keyphrase)
  • 14. @annstanley Ecommerce optimisation –unique content on category pages
  • 15. @annstanley User-generated content• User-generated content, or UGC, is still a great way to add unique and relevant content to web pages – especially product pages in the ‘post-Panda’ search environment.
  • 16. @annstanleyVideo integrated with product pages
  • 17. @annstanley Ongoing ‘Fresh’ content(blogging with social plug-ins)
  • 18. @annstanleyGoogle’s “Search, Plus Your World”
  • 19. @annstanley• Pinterest is a social platform that allows users to ‘pin’ images and videos they like into pre-determined categories or ‘boards’. Since it’s launch last year Pinterest has become the fastest site ever to reach over 10 million monthly unique visits. Therefore, if Pinterest is not part of your social strategy – it should be!• There are many social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious that are currently enjoying record traffic (Reddit recently announced it has tripled in size over the past year and now serves 1.6 billion pageviews per month). Again, with these kind of figures, if these sites are not part of your social strategy then perhaps they should be!
  • 20. @annstanleyPinterest
  • 21. @annstanleyPart 2: Good design (and other ways) to improve conversion rates
  • 22. @annstanleyThe key to getting the best website Design first impressions counts We need to get a balance between these elements Content Functionality what the site says what the site does to the user and for the user and search engines your business
  • 23. @annstanleyIs your Bounce rate over 30%?2/10 seconds to make the right impression:– Load speed • Also impacts Google rankings • Platform issues • Images/file size • Servers/technical issues (often blamed?)– Do I like what I see (design/layout/images/colours) or do I have the “yuck response”?– Am I on the right page (relevancy)?– Are things in the right place (conventional design) and does this site look trustworthy?– Can I be bothered? Is it worth me spending more time reviewing this page/site?
  • 24. @annstanley Komodo –old design vs new design
  • 25. @annstanley Analytics resultsBounce ratesPage views
  • 26. @annstanleyHomepage designs
  • 27. @annstanley Common homepage themesAbove the fold:• Conventional layout and “sandwich” design• Header with additional menu, search, basket• Top mega-menus• Delivery messages• Billboard image with great photography• Rotating sales message• 2-3 offers or calls for action (often on side of main image)• Carousel of brandsBelow the fold• Images of each category• Text?
  • 28. @annstanleyBranding – lifestyle & aspirations
  • 29. @annstanley
  • 30. @annstanleyDifferent homepage styles
  • 31. @annstanleyCategory and search results
  • 32. @annstanleyBurburry uses magazine or catalogue approach
  • 33. @annstanleyNext use a horizontal scroll or carousel approach for product listing
  • 34. @annstanleyJohn Lewis show colour options
  • 35. @annstanleyMy-Wardrobe has 2 versions of each image
  • 36. @annstanley Example of landing page A:B test using Google OptimiserUsing models for the product photos raised purchases by 44% and increased the average order value by 67%.
  • 37. @annstanleyProduct pages
  • 38. @annstanleyasos use drop downs for options and displayrecommended products on the side-panel
  • 39. @annstanleySelecting variants or options Table to select variants (where availability is displayed for each option) Drop down to select variants for simple choices like colour and size (this approach of “parent and child” is also used by Amazon)
  • 40. @annstanley Variant issues• Parent-child relationships have to work for both your website and any marketplaces you want to sell on – Smaller websites may prefer each colour to be treated as a separate product – Amazon and larger websites will treat product/style as parent and colours and sizes as children – If you want to sell on Amazon you may have to aggregate your products/variants into a “pseudo-grandparent”
  • 41. @annstanley Only have a separate variant page if you have unique content– but link back to other variants eg for alternative colours
  • 42. @annstanleyShopping cart optimisation
  • 43. @annstanleyShoppingcartabandonment
  • 44. @annstanley Calls for action – the blur test Contrast may be more important than colour?Ref: Dr Mike
  • 45. @annstanleyShopping Cart Example
  • 46. @annstanley Shopping Cart checklist Strong calls to action and button Isolate the checkout – no navigation bar to encourage them to leave No compulsory registration Single page checkout or “Progress bar” to see the steps Repeat your offer/benefits on the first page Clear form design – simple & easy to use
  • 47. @annstanley Shopping Cart checklist Minimise the information input required Avoid losing information already entered – have a summary always displayed Thumbnail images of products in cart Stock management and delivery – no nasty surprises Checks for errors and validation – eg correct email address Reassurance and Trust (anti-spam, security, guarantees, returns, credit cards taken)
  • 48. @annstanley Mobile and theeffect of different devices
  • 49. @annstanley Activities differ by device (Data from AdMob )Report can be found at
  • 50. @annstanley Designing for mobiles• The growth of SmartPhones now means that around 30% of all internet visits are currently made on a SmartPhone.• The use of mobile devices to access the internet is due to overtake desktops in 2014. So it is essential that your website is optimised for mobile devices.
  • 51. @annstanley Designing for mobiles• Mobile devices such as iPhones and Android phones will display the standard version of your website, by letting you zoom in and out of certain sections of the page, with the different elements of page in miniature (i.e. they will be in the same position as if you were viewing the page on a desktop).• However it is possible for your site to be built with a separate CSS specifically designed to work on different size screens – we call this device responsive design
  • 52. @annstanley Device responsive design• Same url for all devices rather than a separate mobile site or sub-domain• User detection agent (distinguishes device)• Liquid or responsive design suitable for each size device/operating system/browser• Mobile design often has a single column with most important content/features moved to the top and in some cases some content hidden
  • 53. @annstanley responsive design or AppMain site – with adaptive CSS Amazon App
  • 54. @annstanley Key take-aways• There are 4 main ways of increasing sales but increasing organic traffic (from all devices) and improving website conversion rates are the most cost-effective!• Panda and Penguin may have affected your organic traffic: – Deal with duplicate content issues – Add unique content (category and product pages, user-generated content, multi-media content) – Use of blogs and social sharing – Avoid spam (keyword stuffing and dodgy links) – Site interaction and social signals now influence your search rankings
  • 55. @annstanley Key take-aways• Improve on-site conversions with good design: – Reduce bounce rate (load times and first impression) – What’s hot in homepage design? – Product page and variant page design – Calls for action – blur test – Test new ideas/designs using Google Optimiser – Shopping cart optimisation
  • 56. @annstanley Thank You Ann Stanley