08 Oct

10 Tips for Conversion Optimization with a Magento Store

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to turn casual site visitors into loyal customers with one flick of a switch? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, even in the field of e-commerce. Although it’s easy to set up a Magento store, the success of your online business depends on a lot of factors, some of which involve pleasing your store visitors enough to convince them to buy.

Because of the convenience of Magento, sprucing up your e-commerce store takes just a few modifications. If you want to see your profits grow and your customer loyalty go through the roof, here are ten tips for optimizing your Magento store to convert visits to purchases:

1. Showcase your bestselling products

Create a page – or a section on your homepage – that lists your top selling products. These items are bestsellers for a reason, and so you should tell your site visitors about these hot products.

2. Use top search keywords as categories

The most searched keywords are those that people are looking for on your website. Capitalize on that strength by using them as category terms.

3. Highlight your best features

Do you offer free shipping or a money-back guarantee? Make sure that people know this by putting the information on a conspicuous area of your website. You may use site alerts or sidebar banners to let your clients know.

4. Use the best product images

You should put up crisp, high-quality pictures on your product pages so that visitors can evaluate your item through the image. You can even up the ante and use videos to offer a 360-degree view of the product.

5. Infuse customer input into your website

A number of Magento add-ons let you put up a review system for your customers to leave feedback about the items that they bought. Give your clients an opportunity to share their story about your products.

6. Ensure your customers of a safe and secure shopping experience

Nobody wants to shop in a suspicious store, and the same is true with online shops. Remind them that your website is SSL-enabled and their privacy is intact. If you can, try to offer them various payment options to make them feel more secure.

7. Make the checkout process ultra-convenient

Checking out items for purchase should be convenient to the buyer. You can do so many things within this context: ensure that they don’t have to re-enter information when flipping through pages, show a breadcrumb-like outline of the checkout process, and put complete information on the checkout pages.

8. Strengthen shipping and returns policy

Let the item delivery be as hassle-free for the buyer as possible. This involves shortening the delivery time, telling the buyer about the expected arrival, or offering free shipping. It’s also good to draft a comprehensive return policy.

9. Use email to your advantage

Ensure the buyer receives an order confirmation email, and that it arrives properly. The latter involves the use of a good mail service provider. And please, say “thank you” to your customer through email!

10. Advertise your store within the site pages

Put up an “About” page complete with your history, mission and vision, and the people behind the company. Tell your visitors about your social media accounts. Although this may not directly result in purchases, these things can make visitors stick around longer.

These are some of the ways you can optimize your Magento e-commerce store to turn those promising site visitors into lucrative customers.

[Photo courtesy of SEOPlanter on Flickr]

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01 Oct

22 Tips to Boost E-Commerce SEO and Conversion Rates

E-commerce SEO and conversion rate optimization can double your traffic and sales. And, best of all, it’s not even that difficult to do. Follow these 22 tips and watch as your e-commerce numbers climb.

Out of stock items

  • Leave the pages up. Some people like to hide the pages of out of stock items, but if they are going to be restocked later, just leave the pages as is. You may want to put a note saying the product is currently out of stock and will be restocked later, but don’t hide them or redirect people away from the page.
  • Offer alternative items. Offer similar alternatives through widgets on the site. Not only will you be providing your customers a great service they’ll appreciate, but you’ll also help search engines find relevant pages and understand your site structure.
  • Inform users when it will return. Provide the anticipated date when the product will be in stock again so visitors will know when to check again.
  • Offer to backorder the product. Let customers order the product and send it out as soon as you’re restocked.
  • Offer an incentive to come back and buy. Provide some kind of incentive to them to wait and order from you rather than looking elsewhere for the product. This is usually best done as a discount.

Obsolete &/or Expired Products

Regardless of what you sell, you’re going to have some products that just don’t get restocked. You first instinct may be to delete these pages and leave it at that, but that’s not a good practice to get into because you lose SEO value and anyone who may have that page bookmarked is going to find an error message waiting for them next time they try to visit the page.

You can try one of the following options to deal with items that will not be restocked.

  • Permanently 301 redirect expired product URLs. If you are replacing an older model of a product with a newer one, use a 301 permanent redirect from the old page to the page with the newer model’s URL. This redirect tells Google you want this page ranked instead and you get to retain your SEO value.
  • Redirect to the parent category. If you have similar products as the expired one, you can direct visitors to the parent category.
  • Permanently delete everything to do with the expired product. If you do not have any closely related products, it may be a good idea to delete the page completely. You can do this with a 410 status code, which tells Google that the page has been permanently deleted and will not return.
  • Reuse URLs. If you are selling products where technical specifications and model numbers are not relevant, you can reuse the URLs of expired products. This will preserve the page’s authority in Google rankings.
  • Leave the pages for informational purposes. Sometimes it’s best just to leave the pages up with a note saying they’re permanently unavailable now. They can help people researching the product, or help previous buyers with information, help and service.

Product Pages with Little or No Unique Content

Running an e-commerce site is time-consuming, so many people don’t think about the importance of having unique content on their product pages. Many people pull information from databases or just post the manufacturer’s content on their site. This, obviously, can lead to duplicate content issues.

  • Add unique content for your most popular products. Use web analytics tools to identify your best-selling and most popular products and then update them manually with original content.
  • Focus on product categories. Some e-commerce sites have tens of thousands of products. Manually entering original content for all of them would be nearly impossible. So, focus your efforts on your parent categories. Improve your internal link architecture, improve your site’s breadcrumbs and add relevant products. This will help the search bots and teach them how to best crawl your site.
  • Add user generated content. Have your customers help out by allowing them to leave reviews for the products. This will help differentiate your product pages from other duplicates on the Web. Reviews from happy customers will enhance your SEO campaign and boost sales conversions.

Category Pages

Next to the home page, your category pages are the most important ones on your site.

  • Treat category pages like mini home pages. Think of  your categories as hubs that contain closely related product pages.
  • Add unique content to your category pages. This is much less work than adding it to the individual product pages.
  • Build deep-links to product categories. You can use guest blogging, content marketing, paid ads and social media to build these link networks.
  • Tag socially shared content. Share links on Google Plus, Twitter and other networks and be specific with your tags.
  • Be conscious of design. Design category pages to provide search engines and users the best possible service.
  • Use search-friendly URLs. The most effective URL structure for category pages (and product pages) is:
    • Category Page: Website.com/category/
    • Sub-category page: Website.com/category/sub-category/
    • Product page: website.com/category-sub-category/product-name/

Internal Link Building & Architecture

Internal link building helps with SEO and rankings, but to achieve the best results, you need link architecture, not just “link building.” Internal linking should focus more on user friendliness and not on making things easier for the search engine spiders. They’ll find their way. It’s your customers’ experience you need to keep in mind.

  • Offer category level navigation. This will make it easier for your users to get an overview of what they will find in the subcategories and pages.
  • Link to category-level relevant products. Take intent and needs into consideration, but also optimize for the right keywords.
  • Use breadcrumbs on all pages and category pages. This ensures that users and Google can navigate up one level to a parent category.

Following these tips can help boost your e-commerce site’s SEO power. Use them to help with site optimization and to boost traffic and, more importantly, sales.

[Photo courtesy of Paloma Gomez on Flickr.]
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