Local Search Engine Marketing Blog

For Google Content Is, Was, and Will Be King re: Google Local

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on August 3, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://googleplaceshelp.blogspot.com/

Don’t Play Games with Someone Who Controls the Rules.  Google Has Always Been Clear.  Unique, Useful, Relevant Content is What They Will Reward.

Try silly stuff if you want.  Maybe you have already.  Google is getting better and better at rewarding great content and slapping spam and black hat.  Panda, Penguin, Venice have all wiped out entire businesses who were “helping” businesses and marketing consultants with SEO tricks.  JC Penny’s and other major corporations have seen the wrath of Google. 

Check out the following video for a clear discussion of how to get to the top rankings on Google Search and Google Places/Google+ Local Business, and stay there through what will surely be new efforts by Google to get to their goal:  Great, well written, unique, useful, and relevant content.

Do you agree that the smart business owner sticks to a long term effort to create content that Google specifically says will fit its rules?  Or do you think it is better to try to trick the Goog?  Let me know in the comments.

http://googleplaceshelp.blogspot.com/2012/08/for-google-content-is-was-and-will-be.html) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

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Social Secrets: What Does Wildfire Mean To Google?

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on August 3, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://www.smallbusinessonlinecoach.com Luckily for Gary Vaynerchuk, his investment into the social media marketing software Wildfire just paid off big! Google just bought the company that makes the software for 250 million dollars. To understand the significance, lets first look at what the software is exactly. Wildfire: Social Powerhouse Wildfire is a social media promotion tool mainly used […] http://www.smallbusinessonlinecoach.com/blog/social/social-secrets-wildfire-google/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SmallBusinessOnlineCoach%2FMwlZ+%28SmallBusinessOnlineCoach.com%29) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

The Battle with Penguin: Content Solution

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://blog.seorevolution.com

You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything

… and that is especially true with content writing.

As you know in this post Panda/Penguin world, content is everything. But the
biggest problem with content has been the expense and the quality. In my testing of over 20 companies, I have found a strong team of content writers and we’ve been really pleased.

The solution? http://www.GetArticlesDone.com/

That’s a straight referral link. No affiliate code and no cookie. These guys are good. They can deliver large amounts of original, CopyScape checked articles with quick turn-around time. In the last 10 days they did over 9,000 articles, for example. They also do article submissions.

They have UAW and AMA style articles which fully support article spinning if that’s what you need. They even provide writing of extra articles titles and extra resource boxes and also offer an integrated article spinner with their platform or ready for cut and paste into third party spinning software.

Don’t sit on this, your sites need more content and this is a great solution right now and an offer which expires in a week. Tackle it right now. Injection of fresh content with solid marketing is showing great recovery from drops in the Google SERPs.

A few things you want to tackle …

1) Unique Titles are a must. Don’t forget this step. Audit your site. Look at the Titles through a program like Screaming Frog SEO. Any titles that are duplicate or near duplicate, you want to change those.
2) When is the last time you have run a complete CopyScape analysis of your entire site? I thought so. Get that done this week. You just maybe shocked at what you find.
3) How are your headlines? Are they targeting what you want the user to do or does it get your point across?
4) Review your Call to Action. Improve it.
5) New information to inject? If the article is “stale” or just isn’t cutting it, look to improve the lead in, the narrative, the closing. Add pictures, graphs, quotes, etc. Drive your point home, sell it, convince them. Lead them down the path they need to follow.

Most web masters who are having the most success overcoming Penguin are saying the same thing … they are getting back to SEO/Marketing 101 and doing the little things right. I cannot emphasize this enough. Doing the basic things right will lead to a faster and more complete recovery.

http://blog.seorevolution.com/2012/07/30/the-battle-with-penguin-content-solution/) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

5 Overlooked PPC Keyword Research Tools

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://searchenginewatch.com/ Keywords are the building blocks of nearly all search-based PPC campaigns. But these free tools are often overlooked in the PPC keyword research process. Taking these tools for a whirl may just help take your campaigns to the next level.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2195435/5-Overlooked-PPC-Keyword-Research-Tools?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sewblog+%28Search+Engine+Watch+Blog%29) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

Facebook Promoted Posts and Other Recent Updates of 2012

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://www.verticalmeasures.com

facebook promoted posts recent updates 2012

Facebook can be an efficacious marketing tool for businesses if the brand managers controlling the pages are able to use it effectively. To do this, they must have a clear understanding of the platform’s functionality and how it’s evolving. Earlier this year when brand pages were switched to Facebook timeline, we provided you with 15 tips to bring you up to speed. Since then, Facebook has had many more significant updates and seems to be more focused on business pages than ever before. In today’s post you will learn what those updates were, and how to use them to your advantage.

Promoted Posts

You may have recently noticed the button labeled Promote when you go to post an update as your brand. That is, if your brand has at least 400 fans. That is the minimum number needed in order to see and use this feature. Overall, promoted posts exist to assist brands in extending their reach, so that more of their fans see their posts.

Page administrators can set the budget, based on the number of fans and the desired reach, and the post will run for three days. Currently, you have the option to promote posts at the rates of $10, $20 or $30. During the three days that the post runs, you have the ability to stop it if you wish to. Usually brand managers do this because they’ve decided they do not want to spend the full amount, or it is not getting as much engagement as they’d hoped. It’s also good to note that you may change the budget from here as well.

Facebook Promoted Posts

Promoted posts are a great way to remind fans “We’re still here”, and to spark up that engagement again. You can also think of them as a way to override Edge Rank, and by doing so you can actually increase your Edge Rank. Remember though, the post will show a sponsored tag, so fans will be aware that it’s not an organic posting.

After you’ve posted the update, it’s a good idea to head over to the ads management section and take a look at the targetted demographic. This includes location, age, gender, interests, categories, language, education, relationship status and more. Pay special attention to the targeted location. If you are a company that only ships your products or offers your services in the United States, then it’s a good idea to get rid of all the other countries it lists by default. There is no reason not to take advantage of these specifications. You can edit it at anytime during the 3 day campaign.

From the ads platform, you can also take control of the naming structure. Facebook automatically generates a name for the posts using the post ID number. To keep yourself organized, you have the option of re-naming the posts for consistency and easy reference in the future.

As far as analytics go, you can monitor the performance of the post while it’s running, as well as reviewing the data afterwards. The data shows how many viral vs. organic views there were, which is information that’s never been made available before. There is also the theory that promoted posts are taking over the normal side bar advertisements. Many page admins favor promoted posts over the side bar advertisements because unlike regular Facebook ads, promoted posts will show up in the mobile newsfeed. I believe they should be used as a compliment, and not in place of the familiar sidebar ads. However, as always, I advise that you do some testing and see what works best for your brand.

Bonus tip: Brand managers can opt to promote a post after it’s already been posted, as long as it’s not more than 3 days old.

Voice

Facebook voice is a new feature (or button, rather) that easily allows page administrators to post as themselves, instead of as the brand. Simply visit your page and look for the text at the top that reads “You are posting, commenting, and liking as Brand XYZ — Change to Your Name”, and click on the linkable text. It is interesting to note that this has always been an option within the page settings. However, this feature just makes it more obvious which voice you are using.

Links within Status Updates

Page admins (and personal pages, for that matter) no longer have the convenient button prompting them to insert a link into their page posts.  In the image below, you’ll see an updated screenshot with the link button missing. Links are still allowed within the posts, but the functionality such as the image preview, is just not as attractive. It seems as though it’s just one more step for Facebook to encourage page admins to keep their community inside Facebook, and not drive the traffic to external sites. Nice try Facebook, nice try!

Facebook links missing

Edit Comments

Mistakes are made, it’s inevitable. A typo here and there is one thing, but a brand manager saying the wrong thing while posting on behalf of the brand is another. Lucky for you, comments can now be edited. So next time you or one of your page admins slips up and says something they weren’t supposed to, just hover your mouse over the top right hand corner of the comment box and click on the little pencil button that says edit. Beware though; old versions of comments are still available for viewing even after they’ve been edited. So if it’s a major slip up, consider deleting the comment and trying again.

Groups Read Receipts

This update concerns Facebook groups, a feature many of you may not be too familiar with yet. Although brand pages cannot join groups, page admins may facilitate or join groups in an attempt to promote or drive traffic to their brand page. The latest update with groups is that Facebook is now offering “read receipts”. Depending on how the administrator sets the permissions, group members or admins may see these receipts. Look for a checkmark below the posting, and next to it will display a count of the total number of impressions. Click on this, and you’ll be able to see a drop-down list of the members’ names who have viewed the post. If every person in the group has viewed the post, it will instead just say “Seen by everyone”. This feature will allow you to see how many, and which of its members are active within the group even if they are not creating posts themselves.

Timeline for Brands on Mobile Devices

Fans are now able to view your timeline, instead of the old layout, on their mobile devices. The new look is very clean, and fans are able to immediately see the brand’s cover photo, the page’s about section, the number of fans, a ‘like’ button, and a phone number. The phone number is clickable, and allows fans to easily call the business via their mobile device. This update seems to currently only be available to fans using Android devices.

 

Facebook Timeline for Mobile Phones

 

Events

Brand pages have had the ability to create events for awhile now. Many page admins are waiting for the day when Facebook allows you to invite all of your fans to events. However, to keep spamming to a minimum, Facebook has chosen to not allow this option. As page admins we have found ways to get around this, such as inviting friends from our personal accounts, or asking fans to join and invite friends to the event. If it’s a fun event or worthy cause, it usually grows organically the way it should.

Recently though, in attempts improve the user experience, Facebook has inadvertently helped us out a bit with this dilemma. This update, which was developed at their latest hackathon, is an improvement to the evens section. They have integrated suggested events into the layout of our events section on our personal accounts. This means that your fans will now see all of your page’s events listed right there with all of the events they were invited to. They will have the option to press join, maybe, or click the x to delete it from their list. They will not be notified of these events, like they are with ones they are personally invited to, but these events will still appear on the same list. Not only does this give users the chance to learn about new events they are connected to, but it significantly increases exposure for brand events.

Reach Metric

Facebook has changed the way they calculate your brand’s reach. Facebook now defines their reach metric as “the number of people who have seen your post. Figures are for the first 28 days after a post’s publication and include people viewing your post on both desktop and mobile. Your post counts as having reached someone when it is loaded and shown in news feed. Note that data from before July 2, 2012 only includes people viewing your post on desktop.”

Yes, you read that correctly, and no, we didn’t know it neglected to account for mobile data either. Just like everyone else, we assumed mobile views were included in the reach score. Now that you are aware of this, it will explain why your reach numbers have most likely increased dramatically.

But wait, there’s more! According to Inside Facebook, the “desktop News Feed will no longer count reach until a user scrolls and loads the page’s story”. Because of this change, you’ll notice that fewer stories are loaded in the newsfeed. The reason for these updates is to improve the accuracy of your reach score.

Shareable Ads – Coming Soon!

Shareable ads will give companies the opportunity to buy advertising space on other websites that will include a “share on Facebook” link. That link would lead to the company’s website, at which time users could share the ad on their timelines. Basically, it would empower fans to become brand ambassadors and help them advertise. The pricing structure or release date for shareable ads has not yet been made public.

So as you can see, Facebook has been busy. Which changes do you find the most effective for marketing? What else does Facebook need to improve on?

Related posts:

  1. 15 Facebook Timeline Tips to Bring You Up To Speed
  2. How to Increase Your Facebook EdgeRank
  3. Recent Unveiling of Google Plus Has Many Speculating

http://www.verticalmeasures.com/social-media/facebook-promoted-posts-and-other-recent-updates-2012/) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

Famous Bloggers Founder Loses Domain Names

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://smallbiztrends.com

If you’re an online entrepreneur, there are few things more important than the security of your domain names. Building an audience and marketing your website depends upon the security of these names and of the passwords that protect them. It also depends upon the password security of  other accounts you use in your business. So imagine how it might feel to suddenly discover that the domain names to two of your most valuable sites are suddenly gone!

Here’s What Happened

It’s your worst nightmare. On Wednesday of last week, blogger and online entrepreneur Hesham Zebida says he discovered, to his dismay, that two of his most valuable domain names (including FamousBloggers.com) had been mysteriously transferred from his Web hosting account. He says he then received an e-mail from someone claiming to have the domains and offering to sell them back. Zebida.com

What he did next. After contacting his hosting company, Zebida spent the next four days doing what many of us might, contacting everyone imaginable including law enforcement and his connections in the online blogging community, working to get his domains back. He finally succeeded, but admits he didn’t get much sleep in the process. Here’s what we can all take from his ordeal. Famous Bloggers

Lessons Learned

It’s your responsibility. Zebida blames his hosting company for allowing his domains to disappear in the first place and for not working hard enough to resolve the problem on his behalf, but the fact is that hosting companies regularly post warnings like this one. It is every website owner’s responsibility to do what they can to secure their site, as Zebida says he now realizes. Go Daddy

What you can do. If you want to go the extra mile and avoid issues with your domain names and other online security problems, webmaster Mitz Pantic has some suggestions for you. Don’t rely on your hosting company alone to protect your site and domain names. Take the time to learn what’s necessary to protect your online business from harm. Let’s Build Websites

Risks Abound

Don’t fool yourself. You may believe that only big companies need to deal with attacks on their websites and that small businesses are too far under the radar to draw the attention of attackers. You’re wrong. In a recent Twitter chat with representatives from online security provider Symantec, members of our community learned the threat is real. Small Business Trends

Protecting your Website. Of course, as blogger and online entrepreneur Scott Dudley reminds us, it’s not just your domain name that’s vulnerable to attack. The content management software you use to create your Website may also allow unwanted access, resulting in lost visibility and lost business. Take steps to protect your site. Lo Cost Marketing

What the Future Holds

The problem with progress. New developments in Web standards may bring even more security challenges in the not-too-distant future. For example, new tools known collectively as HTML5 could make your humble website as sophisticated and powerful as desktop software, but resulting security risks may give any webmaster pause. Technology Review

From Small Business Trends

Famous Bloggers Founder Loses Domain Names

http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/07/famousbloggers-founder-loses-valuable-domain-names.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SmallBusinessTrends+%28Small+Business+Trends%29) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

The Great Canadian PC E-Commerce Showdown

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://www.poweredbysearch.com

E-commerce and online shopping dominates the time and wallets of Canadians: in 2010, 74% of time spent online was attributed to shopping, the average order size per person was $1,362, and the retail e-commerce market was worth $15.3 billion in Canada.

With numbers like these, it’s no surprise that companies like Amazon, ThinkGeek, and Zappos have flourished on a global scale. Best practices for retail e-commerce design and development are continually developed and published, but we wanted to dig deeper into the SEO aspects of real e-commerce websites and figure out what could be done better. Specifically, we wanted to dig deeper into the SEO practices of Canadian websites, because we believe that we can make the internet a better experience for Canadians together.

For this post, we wanted to take a closer look at four relatively large e-commerce websites that focus on selling personal computers and personal computer parts: NCIX, Canada Computers, Tiger Direct, and NewEgg.

We chose these companies for a few reasons:

  • Strong Canadian presence. All four of these stores were either started in Canada, or are well known by Canadians when making technology purchases. We did our best to gather only Canadian results.
  • Huge product library. The world of personal computers releases many, many products every year and these four companies all list the same products in their websites, giving us plenty of samples to work with.
  • Similar designs, different architecture. All four websites have a similar look and feel for their product catalogue and product pages, but the way that the data is organized and the architecture of the website are different.

At the end of the day, we wanted large Canadian e-commerce websites that were in the same industry, and had room for improvement in terms of search engine optimization.

Table of Contents

  1. Side-by-side Comparisons of SEO
  2. An Expert Weighs In On Design and E-Commerce
  3. Real-World Search Results

Side-by-Side Comparisons of SEO

To figure out the current state of SEO for each of the four e-commerce websites, we examined four aspects of their websites: on-site SEO, off-site SEO, social profiles, and general design. In order to compare them side-by-side, we’ve taken the really important parts for each aspect and organized it into a table to give you an idea of just what the playing field looks like.

NOTE: All of these numbers were generated during the week of July 16, 2012, and may not reflect current numbers. In addition, we gathered a lot of this information through Microsoft IIS Manager’s SEO Tool.

On-Site SEO

NCIX Canada Computers TigerDirect NewEgg
Indexed Pages 97,400 71,200 1,810,000 89,500
SEO Violations 87,444 60,544 136,329 110,280
Content Violations 21,466 43,428 9,681 15,262
Performance Violations 2,376 7,037 12,004 4,132
Standards Violations 427 2,536 1,624 2
<img> Tags With No ALT Attribute 78,194 6,347 52,918 852
Pages with Invalid Markup 21,444 43,413 9,672 15,250
Pages Missing <h1> Tag 1,617 2,552 1,173 690
<title> is Too Long 781 1,759 1,915 1,023
Multiple <title> Tags 425 2 48 0
Pages with Broken Links 42 1,250 2,640 138
Number of Unnecessary Redirects 5,336 40,157 68,568 95,027

Off-Site SEO

NCIX Canada Computers TigerDirect NewEgg
Inbound Links 92,355 29,899 19,587 84,071
Duplicated Sections 136,054 6,377 6,894 50,329
Duplicated Sections Off-Site 81,872 5,276 8,104 63,011

Social Profiles

NCIX Canada Computers TigerDirect NewEgg
Facebook Page Likes 98,346 5,300 13,142 5,880
Facebook Page Mentions 1,600 296 53 38
Google+ +1s 351 20 0 0
Google+ Circle Inclusion 313 17 0 0
Twitter Followers 9,374 1,928 6,192 821
YouTube Videos 271 16 4,102 878
YouTube Subscribers 136,871 166 79,802 110,606
YouTube Video Views 23,044,422 20,845 105,770,603 26,752,176

UPDATE: I overlooked the largest TigerDirect YouTube channel for their social profile because it wasn’t Canadian-only, but they reached out and let me know that it is indeed a mixed market channel, and they are developing their Canadian-only channel as we speak. Thanks for the correction, TigerDirect!

General Design

From a general design standpoint, all four websites are rather similar: heavy on images, grid-style layout for catalogue, front pages are devoted to deals and specials, and products are listed by category. Aesthetics are rather subjective, but I personally think TigerDirect and NewEgg have the cleanest layouts, striking a good balance between white space and information and how they display that information.

However, when it comes to site architecture, they are vastly different. None of them are structured particularly well, especially in terms of SEO, and it’s apparent in the URLs. Here’s an example for all four when we navigate into the “Hard Drive” category:

Store URL
NCIX http://ncix.ca/products/index.php?minorcatid=109
Canada Computers http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?cPath=15
TigerDirect http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/Category/guidedSearch.asp?CatId=8&name=Hard-Disk-Drives&cm_sp=Masthead-_-Computer%20Parts-_-Spot%2007
NewEgg http://www.newegg.ca/Store/Category.aspx?Category=15&name=Hard-Drives

Note how all four websites use dynamic URLs, which is understandable for a website of their size, but terrible from an SEO standpoint. Digging deeper, here are the URLS for “Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green”:

Store URL
NCIX http://ncix.ca/products/?sku=62047&vpn=WD20EARX&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD&promoid=1261
Canada Computers http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=15_1086_210_212&item_id=039034
TigerDirect http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1421256&CatId=4357
NewEgg http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136891

NCIX and Canada Computers don’t even include the keyword “Hard Drives” in their URL, while the keyword is wrapped in a lot of other numbers and filler words when looking at Tiger Direct and New Egg’s. All the URLs above make it incredibly difficult for search engines to understand what the page is about.

These product URLs are much worse than the category URLs because now there is only 1 occurrence of the brand name, and no occurrences of the product name whatsoever. All four websites list by some sort of item ID or SKU, and that is a sign of bad site architecture.

Our suggested URL structure, for this particular situation, would be this:

http://companyname.com/[product-category]/[brand-name]/[product-name][product-specs]

So in the particular case of the “Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green” hard drives, the URL would look like this:

http://companyname.com/hard-drive/western-digital/caviar-green-2tb-64mb-3.5in-sata3-6gbs

With a URL like that, you have a category keyword, brand name keyword, and product keywords that would all be seen as far more relevant compared to “item_id=217682664″ or any other similar iteration.

As for the product pages themselves, they are all once again very similar in terms of layout and design. Prices are prominently displayed along with product images, and a call-to-action to make the purchase. I will give kudos to NewEgg for placing all of the valuable information first: right underneath the product price and image, there are three tabs that let you quickly take a look at additional content like videos, the technical specs, and the product reviews. The other three websites seem to push related items, related deals, or related combo packs over any other information.

SEO Conclusions

  • All four websites have a variety of violations related to SEO, content, performance, or markup that affect the overall usability and discoverability of the websites.
  • NCIX and NewEgg have the strongest backlink profiles, but also quite a bit of duplicated content.
  • NCIX definitely has the strongest overall social profile, blowing everyone out of the water (in Canada) in terms of followers and likes, as well as engagement.
  • NewEgg’s YouTube channel deserves special mention because they have consistently posted videos for the past 3 years. However, they are definitely not Canadian only and are skewing the results a bit.
  • Duplicate content can be found, in abundance, in all four websites. This is partly due to using the content that manufacturers give them, but also because there are a few pieces of content and widgets that they have created that appear everywhere.

An Expert Weighs In On Design and E-Commerce

I wanted a more in-depth analysis of these e-commerce websites from an expert, so I asked Matthew Bertulli from Demac Media to weigh in on the situation. Demac Media is Canada’s largest Magento gold partner, and they’ve created many e-commerce websites for brands of all sizes.

Here’s what Matt had to say:

The first thing that jumps out to me is that NCIX is the only one who is using a fluid layout for their site. It doesn’t look pretty, but I’d guess that their target audience has high average screen resolution and as a result this layout works really well for browsing their catalog. NCIX is selling to the person who knows the exact part they are looking for. They make no bones about it. Just look at any of their main category landing pages / listing pages: the items are listed out with tiny images in linear form with the most popular at the top and the rest grouped by brand underneath without any images at all. Makes finding what you came for pretty damn fast.

TigerDirect changed their site recently and the new design is a much needed improvement, especially in navigation. Of all of the sites, I find their main navigation to be the most intuitive. That’s part design and part organization.

Newegg is a strange beast. Their home page and the rest of their site are actually two different widths. Not something you see often…I can’t actually remember the last time I’ve seen this. It’s also weird to see their main navigation as a left hand “super menu”. I find this strange as well given that most eCommerce sites use a horizontal super menu.

Canada Computers isn’t doing anything spectacular. It doesn’t even look like they are trying that much compared to the other 3. What stood out to me the most was that their category landing pages / listing pages only show 4 rows of products by default. That’s pretty light for a site with as many products as they have. We’ve tested this on many of our own properties and showing more product by default is more than likely going to result in better overall conversion. Theory has to do with less clicks to find product (i.e. paging, having to search and/or filter too much).

Creating great eCommerce sites is difficult. You’re constantly balancing innovative user interface concepts with proven, rock like structures (i.e. – the horizontal super menu structure). The thinking goes something like this: don’t show the visitor something dramatically different than they see on other major sites they are most likely visiting. For example, high fashion brands are notoriously bad at eCommerce, they are more concerned with their brand than they are with the shopping experience of visitors on their site.

Outside of the generic social buttons on each product page, I wouldn’t say any of these sites are doing anything innovative with social commerce. They aren’t even on the same planet as someone like Fab.com. Perhaps their customers aren’t great for social? Maybe they’ve tested deeper social integration, maybe not. All 4 sites present like VERY traditional online retailers.

In general, these companies have an extremely difficult job. All 4 sites have tens of thousands of products, which would present even the best in the business with a challenge of effective organization / structure. All 4 sites are in a business with notoriously bad gross margin. This in turn means their budgets for everything are thinner than many other categories of product.

Matt brings up the balancing act that e-commerce websites must perform, between new and innovative user interfaces and proven concepts. I think that is an important consideration for any and all e-commerce websites: how do you stand out from the competition and give yourself exposure without scaring away shoppers?

If you want to get an idea of the e-commerce landscape in Canada and what the current trends are heading, check out Demac Media’s Canadian eCommerce Benchmark Report for Q2 2012!

Thanks for your input, Matt!

Real-World Search Results

Of course, we have to examine the real-world search results in order to observe how their on-site SEO, off-site SEO, social profile, and general website design translate into rankings. We did a series of searches for five products in different categories, and grabbed the position that each company was found in.

For the below rankings, I used Chrome in incognito mode for the exact phrases as listed, and grabbed the highest position for each particular company. If they did not rank within the first 5 pages, I counted it as not available.

At the bottom of the table, “Average Relative Position” denotes the position of the search result for that company compared to the others that we were testing for. The lower the number, the better that particular company did against the rest.

NCIX Canada Computers TigerDirect NewEgg
Hard Drives
“OCZ Vertex 3 120GB” 12 11 9 2
“Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green” 3 34 29 7
“Seagate Barracuda 1TB” 4 N/A 11 1
“Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB” 4 N/A 41 2
“Kingston SSDNow V200 64GB” 2 9 7 1
Processors
“Intel Core i5 3570K” 14 8 7 2
“AMD A8-3870K” 26 12 N/A 17
“Intel Celeron G530″ 29 N/A 18 3
“AMD Phenom X4 9850″ 3 N/A 9 8
“Intel Core i5-2310″ 8 16 11 4
Motherboards
“ASUS P8Z77-V” 36 35 9 8
“Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5″ N/A 18 42 4
“Asus P8B75-M LE” 4 3 N/A 2
“Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3″ 19 3 9 2
“Asus M4A89TD” 24 23 N/A 4
RAM
“Corsair XMS 8GB” 3 N/A 5 1
“G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600″ 4 6 N/A 2
“Kingston HyperX 4GB” 3 14 15 2
“Corsair Vengeance 16GB” 42 9 4 3
“Crucial Memory 2GB” 30 20 6 3
Average Relative Position 2.8 3.1 2.95 1.15

The results are rather clear: NewEgg is dominating the rankings for every single product we tested.

Conclusion

Throughout the research process of this post, I formulated my own thoughts and assumptions on what the search results and rankings would look like, based on the overall designs and social profiles. I internally placed a greater emphasis on three things: backlink profile, social profiles, and good design. However, I ignored a very important aspect: technical, on-site SEO.

NCIX was a relatively strong performer, with an average relative position of 2.8, it means that they were in second place to NewEgg, which has a massive brand in the US and has a very strong social profile as well. However, they barely edged out TigerDirect (2.95) and Canada Computers (3.1) in relative positioning, and there were plenty of products where they completely bombed in rankings.

One thing is abundantly clear from my above research: on-site SEO is a necessary step for doing well with search engine optimization.

All four websites have thousands and thousands of pages for categories, products, special deals, and every other miscellaneous page under the sun. A single technical issue can become duplicated on every single page of your website, causing thousands of violations like image tags not having alt attributes, or having multiple title tags on a page. These issues create negative repercussions when it comes to website visibility, crawlability, and user experience.

Correcting such a simple aspect of your website would create a cascading effect, where search engines would view it in a more favourable light (due to better relevance, context, and user experience), leading to better rankings in search results, which would lead to greater traffic coming to the website, and greater revenue from the additional traffic making purchases.

At the end of the day, these four companies are all leaving money on the table by ignoring simple technical issues with their websites.

At Powered by Search, we’re all about improving the online experience for Canadians, so that we can all win together. We hope to do more of these deconstruction and analysis posts on a regular basis in order to help guide Canadian companies in the right direction when it comes to website design, information architecture, and search engine optimization. More importantly, we want to generate a discussion on what could be done even better.

Thanks for reading, we would love to hear your feedback in the comments!

http://www.poweredbysearch.com/the-great-canadian-pc-e-commerce-showdown/) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

Your social media routine – slides from the webinar

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://www.portent.com


I did the 7th Portent webinar today. The topic: Your social media routine. I talked all about tying together tools like Pocket, If This, Then That and Buffer to make social media marketing more efficient.

The handy-dandy link bundle is here.

Here are the slides—video going live shortly:

Portent Webinar 7: Your daily social media routine from Ian Lurie

http://www.portent.com/blog/social-media/your-social-media-routine-slides-from-the-webinar.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+conversationmarketing%2FMRJI+%28The+Portent+Blog%3A+Conversation+Marketing%29) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

Busy Work Is Not Profitable Work

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

http://www.thenewbiehelper.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/cat-videos.jpg
I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://www.thenewbiehelper.com

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We all get the same number of hours in a day, we all need to eat and sleep and go the toilet so that can take some time up. But what do you do in the hours that are left to you? It is so easy to spend your day online reading SEO blogs, checking links people put in twitter, checking Facebook and Google Plus (especially Star Wars Tuesday) and suddenly it is lunch time and you have done nothing productive.

This morning I spent 20 minutes clearing my desk. Now that may sound like a waste of time but I found it really enjoyable as my daughter has obviously been coming into my office and slipping drawings she did in between the reports and things I have printed out and stacked on my desk. So clearing my desk went from a painful experience to one that really made me smile. But it was not Profitable Work

ooh Look Dancing Cats

Busy Work Is Not Profitable Work
This is a tough balancing act for many of us as we do need to keep up with news and stuff in our markets. However, looking at cat videos, the latest video of Bob Ross (which is superb by the way) and entering into disagreements on forums about which is the best film series with the word Star in the title is not earning you money.

Knowing which threads in forums to comment on and which to walk away from is tough, it is so easy to get sucked into a time wasting back and forth which helps none of you make any money.

Limit Yourself
Get a timer on your pc, or get one that will stand on your desk and set it for 10/20/30 mins and that is the time you allocate to certain tasks. If you like to look at forums in the morning that is fine, just use a timer so your morning doesn’t stretch to being all day.

Turn It Off
I look at twitter and then turn it off, because when it is on all day and notifying you of the latest messages it is just too tempting to go look at them. One becomes two, becomes three etc etc.

The same applies to Skype and even email, if you turn it off then you can not be disturbed by it. They are tools of your business but when you are not using them, turn them off.

One Thing At A Time
This is the hardest thing for me to do. I recently wrote a new report explaining a method I used to make $400 – http://thenewbiehelper.com/wso/ – The thing is it is one of 3 reports I have rolling around in my head. It is so tempting to write the other two right away but the only way to earn money from a report is to sell it. If all you do is write the report and never do the sales page and never tell anyone about it then you will never make money.

Having 3 unfinished projects on your hard drive will not earn you a penny. I can not guarantee much in life but I can guarantee that. Work on one thing at a time and finish it, it does not have to be super perfect (that is another issue, people don’t ever release things coz they feel they are never perfect)

Time Management Is A Pain
Yes it is, I hate being reminded that I need to finish things. I hate that buzzer, I hate wondering if I have 20 emails waiting for me. I love to spend hours floating through the net..

However ..and this is a big one..I have made more money selling the products I finished than the ones I didn’t finish. I make more money from sites I finish and promote than ones I don’t.

If you treat your online time like a business then you will appreciate time management is. If you had a team member who was sitting watching cat videos and funny Star Wars films for 3 hours a day you would be annoyed, so why do you expect less of yourself.

This is a business
Treat it like one and your income will grow. Ok now stop reading this and go do some work on your business!

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http://www.thenewbiehelper.com/busy-work-is-not-profitable-work/) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.

Google Maps Adds Transit Alerts

Posted in Internet marketing by smallbusinessonlinecoach on July 31, 2012

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I found this post interesting and I thought I’d share here:
I like to share interesting posts and information about internet marketing that read in my Google reader. Let me sort through the junk to bring you the real goods when comes to local internet marketing for small businesses. I thought this was super useful. if you like it be sure to share maybe subscribe to the authors blog: http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.com/

In New York Google Maps now includes transit alerts.

When you click on any of the 468 New York City subway stations labeled on Google Maps, you can now see whether any planned service changes are expected to affect that station. In addition, the relevant alerts will be included in the step-by-step transit directions pointing you wherever you’re going.



In the UK Google has also rolled out some new Street View. Last week Google Maps added panoramic imagery of the 2012 London Olympics. This week 10 Downing Street, the home of the British Proime Minister, has been added on Street View.

Also in the UK Google Maps has released its first Canal View imagery. Caen Hill on the Kennet & Avon Canal, and Pontcysyllte on the Llangollen Canal now have Street View imagery captured by the Street View trike.


http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.com/2012/07/google-maps-adds-transit-alerts.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GoogleMapsMania+%28Google+Maps+Mania%29) Don’t forget to comment and subscribe to the authors blog.