SPY World and a Great List of SEO and Marketing Tips for BigCommerce Stores

Manuel C. Published on 01 February, 2012

Another great week is already behind us and I have gathered a group of links and tips that can be of use for each one who want to do good SEO and to understand better the physics of social networks and the importance of strategising in many of these aspects.

I will post here more links as usual, but they are la creme de la creme from the last week. If you follow the subjects covered by most of the top SEO blogs then you get to gather a lot of useful information. And if free, as in "you get to apply them and nobody asks for a penny form you". Free and good are always precious together.

SPY World and other Google updates

I had a good laugh when a forum poster told the people that Search Plus Your World is an acronym for SPY World. Honestly this didn't crossed my mind and of none of the people I work with. To a certain extent this is true: Google gets to collect huge amounts of information about you, your likes and your behavior.

Integrating all this knowledge and spreading through all its services can lead to Google being our Big Brother, and it seems that we really don't mind this.

Google rolled out Panda Update 3.2 and some of the sites that were hit regained their rankings. It seems that there has been done a data refresh, or so do the googlers say. I wonder if BigCommerce stores that got hit regained their rankings. We'll see soon enough.

Another cool thing that Google has done in the last week is the Sitemap Verification Tool which can be found in your Webmasters account, under Site configuration and then Sitemaps. It gives you the ability to see if the sitemap is okay and even reports on broken links. Handy tool to say the least.

Also, for the ones out there that are spending even the last minutes creating SEO reports and trying to figure out how to better build those tables there is an Export Tool from Your site on the web. Mostly, we will need to export the Search Queries and then be able to work on that table. Invaluable tool when you do not have an acocunt with some more sophisticated SEO tools available around the web.

It seems that Google goes a long way in keeping us busy and changing as much as they can. Yes, you are allowed to use the word "dizzy" with confidence. We do not know what it's new move will be.

SEO tips remembered and why conversion is more important than ranking

If you, as a BigCommerce store owner, are not the one handling SEO then it's easy to forget many things. Even if you do some in house SEO it is easy to forget that meta keywords are good only to insert some main topics in there just to remember what you're writing about since they do no have any ranking value anymore.

Even so, there are some things that you can do your self to increase traffic. Maybe you will gain only 1% more, but every bit counts. The same core concepts of little things that matter can be found in the 10 tips for local optimization for Bing.

Yes, in US Bing has still some market share and if you think that it will be gone in a couple of years you may be misinformed. This is why using some tips needs to be taken into account:

  • standardize your business contact info - did you heard of NAP? It is the acronym for : name.address and phone. Make use of it in every URL
  • use an image for your business - images tend to attract more visitors
  • set hours of operation - Bing Local business profiles allows you to insert working hours
  • optimize your site - as you will see in one of the infographic listed in a later section of this post, having a well designed site helps you keep customers close.

Of, course most pieces of advice form the above mentioned post do not apply to many BigCommerce stores, but it's good to know that if you have a local business, then you need to be local the right way.

Reading through The Ultimate Guide To Enterprise SEO: 25 Things To Know Before You Take The Plunge you may get overwhelmed with the multiple aspects of SEO in your company, but they all get clearer and you get to test and experience more in this field.

If you have a company with enough employees and can afford to have a SEO team then the post above is the best start you can have because it outlines some important facts:

  • the free organic traffic is not free at all - yes, you may not spend a fortune, but time and energy still has to be spent in order to see some results
  • SEO will take more time than expected - do not panic if you don't see the results you expected. You may need to tweak things along the way.
  • do not outrule social media and other aspects on the web world - Google takes into account the shares on Facebook and your interaction in social web
  • study and study again - the game is changing and always there is something new to learn, so expect to know only a part of the issue always
  • content is king - it doesn't matter that you are an ecommerce site, the pages need to have original and value added content.

The above link gives you a perspective on how you should think and act if you want to do SEO the right way. IT is better to buy an outside consultant or it is better to have your own optimization team? you may find out that grey areas are the most effective in these cases.

Wait, I'm not done yet. Did you forgot to mention that this will be a long post? Well, I think now it's the time to get the coffee close and let's dwelve more into the great pieces of advice I found out in this last week. All goodies are at a click distance.

In this great Interview about the future of SEO we find you a neat thing: ranking does not matter as much as you'd like to think. Conversion does.

What use is it to you to rank well for some keywords and not get any conversion at all?

The interview was taken by Eric Covino, from SEO Book, from Jon Henshaw and Taylor Pratt which have build Raven, a SEO metrics tool and more. The entire discussion was around two keypoints:

  1. ranking is becoming less and less important as a metric - a few years ago it was a strong metric, but now, when Google implemented the personal results, each person may get different results for the same search keyword.
  2. efficient link building depends on real relationships - if before you could have a backlink anywhere in the page with random keyword, that being enough for Google, now you need to cultivate strong relationships with people in the industry to get high value and relevant links from them. You want to be reasonable, have patience and offer value and those relationships and then backlinks will come.

If you do not like to read the entire interview just listed to the audio they have posted there. Lots of useful information and relevant opinions to hear there.

Social Media has to be part of your optimization

I like social media. This is why I got to create more than two dozens account everywhere I could see something new and interesting. Of course my main focus remained Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Being social, on the web and in the real world, helps you get in touch with relevant people and builds relationships. Needless to say that you get ranked better if Google sees social interaction on your site.

A nice feature was launched in Google+ this week: Ripples, a nice tool that shows graphically how far your message has reached and who might be your most important sharer in this network. That means that you can befriend more with your stronger sharers and be amazed how they can help you build your name on the web.

Also, I found three great posts about social media and different campaign tips you need to get clear with if you want to get better results:

  1. Top 10 Reasons Your Facebook Campaign Isn’t Working - it's not a secret that ads on Facebook are some of the most targeted ads ever. They will add a number of likes to your page if you build those ads the right way. Also, keep in mind that you do not want to use Facebook to sell your products, you want to use Facebook as a feedback channel and build relationships with them.
  2. 8 Quick Ways to Increase Your AdWords CTR - in some of the older posts I mentioned that organic traffic is good, but if you do not get enough traffic this way then AdWords is the way. don't be shy on spending some money, but be careful on how you do your AdWords campaign. Some nice tricks include using longer headlines, adding a descriptive URL and even removing the prices from the ad to lead people to your site. An eye opening tutorial which has great chances to help you.
  3. Social Media ROI explained - this post does a neat job in clearing what ROI in social media should look like. We all should focus on the long term effect of brand awareness and undertsand to use it less as a marketing tool and more as a PR tool. Social networks are a combination of PR and Marketing. You take PR to send messages back and forth from your customers and take advertising from Marketing to build brand awareness, not to increase sales.

I hope these posts will help you understand better that SEO is no more an independent discipline and that social media does not mean that you need to be there, instead it means that you need to be there and interact.

Great infographics to make us understand better SEO and social media

Do you like infographics? Many of us do like them because they present useful information and statistica in a way that we all relate too. Visual is always good.

If you like infographics you'll get in love with SEO and social media. Why? Because the ones form below will shed some light on these topics. and nothing is more interesting than to finally understand what these people are talking about:

  • Goldilocks SEO - here you will see the difference between spammy and right content in regards to keyword competition, on-page SEO, content quality, site size, monetization, anchor text, link velocity and many more. A big intravenous doze of tips on one nice image.
  • Social Media Cheat Sheet - want to understand how different social media networks work? See this infographic. You will get to learn what a RT, a TAG or a hashtag are used for and some starting tips for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr or YouTube.
  • 12 Critical Elements Every Homepage Must Have - I find it particularly interesting how many business websites from today are looking really crappy. You have all the details on the web. It is not easy, but not rocket science either so why do these webmasters harass visitors eyes with outdated design or simply out of place layouts? I may never understand this. The 12 things outlined by Hubspot may be taken as point of start. For you particular business it does not have to be that many. You need to do a research first and make sure you tell people upfront what you business is. If you manage to do this with only 6 elements on page, than go for it.
  • Rule Twitter with these handy tips - it is a known fact that a link on Twitter has a life cycle of two hours. Make use of them the best way you can. Life cycle of two hours means that the link will go forgotten in two our since the news are added simply too fast. On Twitter a status update gets most of the attention form Tuesday to Thursday, if it is at about 120 characters length and if you put your link at about 25% the way into your massage. More handy tips in the infographic. Be relevant and use time in a clever way.

Hoping that I didn't managed to bore you too much I need to repeat my self once again: you need to do the fight in your front (your website), on fronts you cannot control (search engine) and on fronts you can partially control (social networks). Dance between those. Experience will help a lot in all these fields.

Going viral strategy uncovered

And here comes a bonus point: each one of us hopes that the awesome post, image or product gets the most attention possible. Exposure is good and big exposure often times needs some serious palnning, as you will see in the video from Rand Fishkin about virality. Happy seo-ing until next week!

Manuel C. Published on 01 February, 2012