Marketing Blabs – Podcast

Blab #4: eCommerce Performance Tips

Date of Blab

14 April 2023

Blab Host

Categories

Listen Time

00:37:19

In this episode, we discuss the various elements that go into optimising your e-commerce website for both better search engine rankings and user engagement.

We share tips on simple navigation, product page layouts, keyword research, image optimisation, FAQ creation, building trust with your audience and upselling opportunities.

Tune in to learn how to create product pages that not only attract potential customers but also convert them into loyal buyers.

On this Blab: Tom Haslam (host), Matt Janaway, Steven Pownall and Josie Quigley-Jay

Blab Transcript
Tom Haslam - (Host):

Hello and welcome to Marketing Blabs. This podcast is brought to you by Marketing Labs, an expert digital marketing agency based in Nottinghamshire. If you're a business owner or a marketing professional looking for straightforward, non-salesy tips and advice to help grow your business online, then this podcast is for you. Strap in because we're about to reveal the things that other agencies would rather you didn't know.

We're back, and the next Blab is here. We hope you all enjoyed the last episode where we talked about all the elements that come together to create a great brand. I'm Tom. I'm the host for this wonderful podcast. In this episode, we're going to talk about a bunch of valuable tips to help you improve your e-commerce performance. If you own or manage an e-commerce business, then stay tuned. Today I've got the e-commerce pros with me to talk about what it takes to grow your online store and hopefully generate more sales for your business. So first of all, I've got Matt, our CEO, how are you doing, Matt?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, good thanks.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I've also got our senior SEO strategist, Steven with us.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Thanks for having me back.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

You were on the first podcast, weren't you?

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

I was, yes.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Where have you been?

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

I've not been invited back until now.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

No, to be fair, we thought we'd get Steven on this one because it is most relevant to his job. He didn't want to talk about branding because he thinks it's boring, but we've got Josie with us today, our digital marketing assistant. How you doing, Jose?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Hello. I'm good. Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Second one on the trot.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Second one on the trot. I'm on a roll now. You can't get rid of me.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

We'll have to... [inaudible] you for the next one.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, subbed.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Thanks.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Subbed in.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I guess we can get started for it then. Matt, you've been there and done it with e-commerce, first, was it 16? Was your first e-commerce website?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Long, long time ago now. Long, long time.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

What you now? You're 40 aren't you?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

No. I'm not 40 yet. No.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

No, you are 38.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, I know it was a long time ago.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Yeah, so I guess we'll start off with the simple things, product page layouts. How do people think about those when considering e-commerce?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

So one of the things I see quite a lot is when businesses will look at their competitors' websites and try to take some, I guess, creative thought process from what they've done. Now, I'm not one to say that you shouldn't really watch your competitors, but if you do things right, eventually they'll be watching you instead of the other way around and what I see all the time is where you might get, I don't know, four or five big competitors in any one industry.

And over time they all just end up with the same messy product pages because someone will try something, they'll add some social sharing buttons or they'll add a wishlist or they'll add loads of different features and then the next one will add it and then the next one will add it, and then the fourth one will look at it and say, "Well, those three have got it, so this must work." And before you know it, they've all got the same features. They've all got the same, for some reason they get called bells and whistles a lot, but they've all got the same bells and whistles, let's use that term. But that's not actually very often, at least good for users.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Doesn't make it stand out.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It's messy. None of them are unique and also most importantly, it draws your eye away from where you want your visitor to look.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

They never test it either do they?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

They never test.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

When they put these things on, they don't know if it actually works. The amount of times we speak to people and they haven't tested if people use the wish list or people use the social share icons.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Just putting it there for the sake of thinking that it's going to do or add value.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It's almost like, and maybe it comes back to financials and psychology, but when they're thinking about maybe designing a website, it's like they want their best bang for buck so they throw more features and more features and more features, and actually usually that reduces performance. So I think the thing that probably needs thinking about in any web design project like that, especially e-commerce, but any web design project is simplifying that view. Not too many call to actions. Don't expect your visitors to understand what they need to do next if you are telling them to do 10 things all at once.

If you're telling them to share a product page, I mean one, nobody clicks those share buttons anymore. They haven't for a long time. Two, nobody's probably going to share the product anyway and apart from yourself, but three, and this is the important one, everybody knows now how to share a product page from a URL instead of going through a social share button, and that's I'm picking on social sharing there but that's one example of many where page layouts just get so full unnecessarily and they need to be streamlined a lot.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

You've got to go for a clean approach now, haven't you? As much white space as you can get.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I'm glad you said that because I always go down the route of just keeping it ultra simple, clean, making it obvious to the user where they've got to look. Do you consider positioning of wording and where the important element should be within that?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, so when people are viewing websites, we've sort of created these behaviours over the lifespan of the internet where people will browse a website from top left and then right and down. So you can use that in, use the knowledge of that in order to make sure that the important information is in the right place. People talk a lot now about above the fold content as well. So that used to be a lot more important than it is now. People will now scroll, it doesn't really cause too many issues, as long as they don't have to scroll too far and there's too many elements in the way, but you do still want the most important content above the fold, on e-commerce websites specifically, because that's the point of this pod, prices, the images, the product name.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

How's that changed, Matt, from your first website when you were 16? The visuals on the page?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, so I mean back then there were fairly generic HTML layouts, non-responsive websites, mobile phones couldn't browse websites then.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I'm surprised you even had internet, to be fair [inaudible].

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

It was in a catalogue.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

They had internet, but websites were very sort of generic HTML templates that you'd customise. More often than not, you'd just buy a template and tweak it, change a few things. So I would say probably even until maybe, I don't know, 2000 and probably five or six, I think that very little effort was put into user experience. Your website was just your website. It wasn't until after that though, I think people really started taking it much more seriously to help with conversions and user journeys.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

From a younger generation, Josie, how do you find e-commerce and shopping online? What do you like to see? Because it's changed.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Cleaner the better. When you go on sites and there's too much going on, it is just overwhelming and you can't find what you want to find, particularly if it's you're looking for products that are image-based, if there's clothes or something, if there's too much information scattered about the place and just too much bulk, it's just annoying and distracting. And the same you were saying with social share buttons, Matt. I've seen that on so many websites where people aren't going to be sharing it to social media. It'll be pet food or human food. Why would you share that to a Facebook stream of buying this cat food?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, exactly and also for the business whose website it is, why do they want to convolute a journey with something that doesn't benefit them? What use is a social share of some cat food going to do for them? What they want to do is sell it. So remove all of that confusion, all of those actions that people don't need to take and go straight in with the important information, the price, the buying, delivery, things that actually they care about, the returns policy, that kind of thing.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

I mean, they just pull the eye away. I mean all these social icons are so bright, they stand out, it pulls your eye away from the main bits, say the price, the buy now button, the basket.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

It's just noise.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Just streamlining it all. Making sure it's not overcomplicated, but what about the elements that people might not consider important that are going to help with, let's say SEO performance, things like titles and descriptions?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, so I think product, the naming conventions for products can't be understated how important that is. We see it quite a lot where somebody will describe a product with one or two words. We've got a client who sells jewellery, lovely business, nice website, great products, but one of the first challenges to try and get them found is by actually describing the product better because the way they're described initially or the way they were described initially, they're not descriptive enough so they can't be found-

Tom Haslam - (Host):

[inaudible] online brand, or brand terms and things like that.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Probably brand terms, but also not necessarily that descriptive. So I'll give you an example. I think one of them was just something hoops. Now hoops could mean anything. I mean somebody's searching for earrings, they'll be searching for hooped earrings or earring hoops or things like that. But then even beyond that, what kind of material is it? Is it gold? Is it silver? Is it platinum? That's quite helpful. Is it for men? Is it for women? Also helpful. Is it for kids? Are there any distinguishing features? Do they have jewels in? Has it got diamonds in? All of that helps describe the product and when you can describe a product in a way that matches what people might be searching for, all of a sudden your chances are being found are so much higher.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

I do think the one combatants to that is make sure you're not just then cramming because we've all been on those sites like Wish and even Shein and things like that where they just cram any relevant word. So it'll be like gold, metal, silver type earring for women, gift present potential, endless streams of words. You need to have the right balance that's key and exact.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, Amazon's terrible for that, isn't it?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

You go on Amazon and you'll see, in fact, way back in the day, I don't even know if this still happens on eBay, but way back in the day, people would say not something in their titles just to try and get some exposure on their product, but it's not what people are looking for.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

A bit of black hat SEO, right?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, you're absolutely right though Josie, I think the moment it even remotely starts looking stuffed.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

You've gone too far. You shouldn't even get close to that. The beauty about SEO, modern day SEO is actually it's not about trying to manipulate Google, it's about trying to give search engines the information they need. So actually if it's good for a user, really it should be good for Google and there's being descriptive is good for both. It's not the kind of thing where there's a balance that needs to be met, just don't do it specifically for search engines, do it for users and that will be helpful for search engines.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I'm interested to learn what Josie bought from Wish.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

I've not actually ever bought from Wish.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Oh.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

I've just browsed.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Your cat.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Thanks.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

So moving swiftly on from that comment, I suppose when you're considering your product titles and descriptions and getting the key information in there for the user and search engines, is there any particular process or way of working to help with the keyword research for that? Is there any tools that you can use?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Off the top of my head, I mean I'm not the expert at this, but from my humble opinion, Google is actually just a great resource on its own. Using the search engine, putting in some words that might be relevant and seeing the suggested results that come up is always a good one because they like to suggest things that are relevant. And even when you scroll down to the bottom of the page and it'll be like, oh, people also search for... Looking into that, seeing what kind of things that other people have looked for and what products are coming up. If their product's similar to yours, then you're probably in the right area. If they're products that are completely different, then you're definitely in the wrong area.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Yeah, you can also use Amazon. Following on from that, you could do the same sort of thing. If you look for the items that are best sellers on Amazon, see how they're performing, related searches, the best sellers because they're doing something right. So you can have a look at what their kind of name criteria is and use some of that information.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, and as well, I think, so one of the things that you'll find in a lot of industries is they tend to use industrial terms for products. So lots of, all of their competitors will use the same terms, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what people are searching for. So there's a few ways of doing that, you know, you can use the Google Keyword Planner, that's one way of going. There's a tool called alsoasked.com, which will give you questions that people are asking. In those questions you often find gold dust in terms of key words that you can use.

The big one though, and this doesn't happen often, but there's genuine value in this, is when customers call your business, if you take a note of how they describe the products, so everybody who answers calls, if they have a notepad next to them and however the product is described, start collating that information because that's how people are searching as well. So quite often you can, as a business, you can be describing a product in a way that is fine, but it's not necessarily what people are searching for. So you're not aligning the product with search, you're aligning it with your own industry.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

That's quite interesting.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

That works well.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Is there anything that you consider traditional methods, like focus groups and things like that? Or is that a step too far and not really relevant?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

No, I think it can be relevant. It can be a lot of effort as well though. There's a slightly easier way in to things like that and that kind of information. I would say use Reddit and Quora. So both of those are community-led question systems effectively, like community systems, scouring Reddit for information about things in your industry and just having a look how people describe things and what people call things. It's really valuable.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Following on from the Amazon one, you can actually do something similar in terms of the questions that are asked. So when somebody's purchasing an item, people are reviewing, people are asking questions. There's so much user-generated content there that you can then implement into not only product titles, product names, but you can also use it in FAQ sections and category pages.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, and that's really powerful, really powerful. So that in itself is finding a pot of treasure at the end of a rainbow. If you can collate all of the issues that your customers face and then turn those into FAQs on the product pages, what you're actually doing is you're giving potential customers solutions to problems that people are facing and the problems that your product solves or the purpose of your product and you're tackling that head on before they've ordered. The benefits of that from an SEO perspective are very strong, but the benefits of that from a conversion rate perspective are even better. You're giving the people the information they want before they have to ask it.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

One that we haven't touched on is, I know we did a podcast on it the other week, but ChatGPT, I mean you could use a bit of AI to get some good click through rate, name solutions, let's say.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Put it into your strategy.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Yeah, I'd not actually thought when you mentioned Amazon, to be fair. It's really obvious one isn't it?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

But have not.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Yeah, I hadn't considered that one.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, powerful, powerful and what you could do as well, just coming back to what Josie mentioned earlier about if at all it ever looked like it was stuffed and the title was created for SEO, you could actually use ChatGPT to make it more natural. You could pump that into ChatGPT and ask it to rewrite it 10 times and you pick the one that feels the most natural. Tweak it maybe if you have to, but that's probably a good way of getting some variation and making it look a bit less optimised, if you like, if you're struggling with that balance.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Would you say in terms of layouts that there is a particular way that you have to separate maybe a short description and a full description? Would you have typically, in terms of from a design perspective, I would position the images to the left product title and meta to the right, and then below that a short description, then price, then maybe a basket button. Would you say that's about right or?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Potential, yeah, sometimes it depends on the business and the website. Sometimes price works best next to the title at the top. Depends how price sensitive the product is, and then obviously below all of that you've then got quite a lot of choice. So if it's a very image heavy product where the details really matter, then maybe below that you could have some more imagery and below that a longer description. But if it's something that's maybe technical, then that longer description is probably more important. So yeah, it varies depending on what the product is and also the thing that also will make quite a big difference when you're thinking about that, way back when Google would crawl websites from desktops, they started rolling out a few years ago crawling websites from mobile devices. That rollout is basically finished now, so the vast majority of websites now are being crawled from mobile.

What Google used to do is if you hid content behind, say an accordion or a toggle where it opened and closed, you wouldn't really get the benefit of that, depending on how you implemented it. But Google read that now and it's fairly normal because they know that you don't want sort of a mobile journey that's too over the top. You can easily get too much information on a mobile and a small screen. So I think personally it's great to get FAQs on product pages, but they could easily go in a toggle, in an accordion. Longer descriptions maybe as well to a certain degree. You could maybe have the first little bit of a longer description and then a read more button that expands it just to make sure that there's not too much on the page. If people want to read it, they can then open it up.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Yeah, not to over complicate the page, I'd always use accordions.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

For technical information as well, like sizes-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

... measurements, weight, and then obviously maybe shipping information would be a separate toggle.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

So it's just about streamlining all of that information into readable chunks.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

But also not making the page 80 miles long.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I guess another thing to touch on would be imagery. I personally always recommend professional photography to be taken of products and different angles of the product in use, features, closeups, things like that.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

I think it's so important having that comparison of the professional, well, both professional, but one where it's sort of more studio styled of just the product and one where is the product in use, particularly, I mean down to things like clothes. To me, if you've just got the top or whatever laid out, it's not being worn, that means nothing to me. I can't tell anything about it. And the same with-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

No context is there?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

... yeah, there's no context and the same, even any other products like a fence. If you've not got that, put a photo of that outside. I can't tell the size of it. There's nothing to compare it to, what it looks like, the colour in it, it's all that sort of balancing outside information that helps influence someone's perspective of the product.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, I think the main image has to be a simple one, and then lifestyle slash contextual images after that.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

A lot of platforms need a simple one first, don't they?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah. Google Shopping, for example.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Google Shopping, Amazon, they all prefer white backgrounds.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

White background, yeah.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

But then-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

With no text.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

... plenty of lifestyle shots after that.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, yeah. Also, so this seems to go unnoticed a lot in SEO at the moment, but for a long time people have preached about having unique content, written content for SEO purposes. Actually unique images are really important. So if you say have, I don't know, 10 suppliers that supply your products and you are just using their images and all of the other businesses who sell their products are using their images, that's not really going to be that helpful from an SEO perspective. It's best having unique images as well.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I guess there's a problem with that though, isn't there, because if people don't hold stock-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

... how are they going to get those images?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

And if they've got large inventory as well. We've got clients who have hundreds of thousands of products. That's a real challenge, but that's a normal business challenge. Every business faces it. If you really want to optimise properly, unfortunately you need to do it. These are the things you need to do.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Just to agree with that. Yeah, I definitely think it affects it. If you see the same image loads, the same with if you've got product in different colours and the image is just edited a different colour, you can see that from a mile off where it's exactly the same image, but it's just been coloured in.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, yeah.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

That annoys the life out of me.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah. Can I add an annoyance in now Josie's mentioned one?

Tom Haslam - (Host):

No.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

This is actually massive and I think most e-commerce businesses don't give this the attention probably because they don't realise how important it is but the size of images in terms of raw kilobytes and megabytes sizes. I don't mean in terms of pixel size, I mean in terms of actual file size. It's quite common that we see images all the time where there might be even be 10 megabytes or more. I mean ideally images need to be a hundred, 200 megabyte kilobytes, sorry, at the most. So just to put into perspective, if you've got a one megabyte file and you reduce that to 200 kilobytes, it's loading five times quicker. Five times. So if your loading times are on average of two seconds, that could be the difference between getting a conversion and not getting a conversion because that two seconds is easily going to become 3, 4, 5 seconds at that point.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Especially when it's a professional photo. They're huge, aren't they?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah. So if they come fresh out of a camera, a digital camera, they might be a 40 megapixel image, which is huge. It might be 15, 20 megabytes more, and sometimes they go straight into websites. Now one, that's going to impact your SEO quite badly because your pages are loading really slowly. But two, it's really bad for conversions because most of the visitors aren't going to wait around for that to load. So to counterbalance that, one of the most obvious questions that gets asked when you have that conversation is, well, how can I do that without reducing the quality of the image? Actually, no image needs to be 8,000 pixels wide. Nobody's screen or very few people's screen is 8,000 pixels wide. 1200 pixels is fine if you really want to go for it, go for 2000, but most screens won't see that very well at all, and you can optimise the image using optimization algorithms that will reduce the file size quite heavily without impacting performance. So that is visually it'll look the same.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Yeah, a lot of people don't think of that do they? They just upload the pictures because they've got them in a big file from-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

... the photographer or-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Exactly.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

... wherever they've taken them. Another thing that I really like to see on say category pages is hover effects on the product as you go over it. A lot of people might not do that, but I think that could be the difference between them clicking onto the product.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Because without having to go there and see further images, they've already seen it hover in use, for example.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

So that could be the difference, I think.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Great views are experienced because if you've then got your plain image as the main image and you hover over it and you've got that lifestyle image, the contextual one that Josie was talking about, all of a sudden it's going to save you clicking into every product. It makes that journey much easier.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

I imagine that's good for you as a site owner as well 'cause you don't see as much of the bounce rate then because people know before they've gone onto the thing rather than clicking it and then bouncing straight back.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, if you were to try to analyse that journey, it'd be quite difficult, wouldn't it?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It'd be quite difficult to analyse that journey, whereas if you can streamline that journey and also remove clicks for visitors, it can only be a good thing. It'll help with conversion rates, but it makes analysis easier.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

I feel like another thing for images is alt text, both for SEO and for accessibility. Alt text on images can be a big one 'cause it helps make that description of what's in it a lot clearer for Google because Google can't see images.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep, yep, exactly. I think for the visually impaired, for accessibility, it's great. It passes reasonable signals for search as well, and it's good if you've got a visual product as well and you are wanting to get in Google Image Search, alt tags are almost a must. If you don't have them, you're going to struggle. So yeah, for Google Image Search, quite powerful having alt tags.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

But yeah, again, you've got to make sure you don't cram keyword into them. You can't stuff, like going back to titles, you can't stuff keywords, especially for like you say, people that are visually impaired, the readers will just read all of these keyword and it won't make any sense. It's got to be a nice descriptive bit of text.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, descriptive is the important word there isn't it? It's got to be descriptive. Explain what the scene is. If it's a contextual image, if it's someone wearing a shirt or a T-shirt and they're in a meadow and it's a sunny day.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Dancing around in the sun.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, there's a sunset or there's crops in the field and describe the scene properly. Describe what the woman looks like, what colour hair does she have? Is she wearing glasses? All these different things. Be as descriptive as possible. I think the challenge with things like this always comes from hard work. It's actually hard work describing those images and when you have to do hundreds of them or thousands of them, it's a big job, so people naturally want to take shortcuts and automate things. When you automate that kind of thing, that's usually when you start losing quality in how descriptive it is. Again though, there's ways you could potentially use AI to assist there.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Yeah, that's quite helpful. Talk to me about meta. I'm not talking about meta descriptions for this. I mean product meta, so SKUs, things like that. Would you say that's important to be linkable asset as well on the page for getting between categories and things like that or?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

So attribution is really useful and when you're using attributes in the right way, you can then implement filters that are powerful. I think soon we're going to have a pod just about product filters and faceted navigation because from a technical SEO perspective, you've got to really get that right otherwise you don't get the benefit but it can actually limit performance sometimes. But yeah, if you have an attribute for brand, for example, and it's clickable and you can see all the brand's products, you could have an attribute for size, for colour, all of those are quite powerful.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

It has a knock on impact on other things as well, doesn't it? So you know, you could improve your website's search by simply adding those details in. You could improve your upsell, your cross sells just by getting that data in.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Just keeping that data, managing that data is a job though.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

That's a job in itself.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, and it probably is the thing that is most neglected.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Oh, a hundred percent.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

I think in most e-commerce businesses that'll be in the top three things that gets neglected, is data. It's a case of I've got this spreadsheet from my supplier, can we import it? Or I've got-

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

But going back to that, you mentioned images, people copying the suppliers' images, but they also do the titles, they do the descriptions.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

And they just create loads of duplicate content for themselves.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

And probably another 20 resellers.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yep.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Like you say, you've just got to manage that data, edit it, change your images, and stand out.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah. Yep.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Talk to me about, let's say, relevant products on the page or upselling opportunities. How can business owners and marketing professionals utilise that?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

One, I see, again, I feel like clothing is my main perspective on this.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

You need to buy some clothes that aren't black.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

No.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Yeah. Do you remember-

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

That's my element.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

... that red top that Matt, what was it that you promoted to her the other day and she was just like, "Nope."

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Was it like a red Ralph Lauren jumper or something?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Jumper? Yeah.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Not for me.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

I thought it was nice. It was a nice jumper.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Black alone.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

So colour attributes aren't useful for Josie?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

No.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

No.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Don't use them.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Just black.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Yeah, just black. But anyway, for upselling, when you're selling something like clothes, if there are other items that you sell in that image, particularly if you are showing a person dressed in the outfit, you can easily at the bottom go also in this photo or recommended to go with this because people see that photo and it may not be what they're looking for, but they go, oh, it goes really well with this, so I'm going to get that as well. And they might even go for the full outfit. Same with other things like people also looked at relevant to this, those kind of tags with other products at the bottom of [inaudible].

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It's another hard job isn't it? When you're trying to figure out cross sells, upsells. It's a challenge because again, it requires a lot of time. There's a theme here, really, and the theme is that it's hard work, but it's worth it. It takes a long time, but it adds value and it's, at the end of the day, it makes the website much better, make much more money. Customers will appreciate it. It's great for your brand, but it's hard work.

If you want to just automate cross selling and upselling and saying, well, you might like every other product that might be in this category or every other product that is, I don't know, the same brand or the same colour, or however you wanted it to automate and upselling, there are ways of automating it to be a little bit better, but it's never going to be as good as somebody saying, "But what does this product actually work well with?" Or "What's an alternative to this product that somebody might want to buy instead of?" And that just requires a person who really understands the product, the customers, just going through and actually doing it. Very time consuming, heavy workload but it's worthwhile.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

You could have a good starting point though, with looking through past orders and seeing what people are ordering at the same time.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Or what they've ordered kind of over the time. It's a nice little starting point.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, there's a few ways you can make the job easier, isn't there? But ultimately I'd stress probably don't run away from automations by any means, but at the same point, sometimes they can be the enemy and you just end up not really doing it properly.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Yeah, I mean, one thing that I always like to see as well, it's only a simple thing, most of them are with me, but underneath, let's say a product filter on a category page. More recently we've started implementing recently viewed products as well so that they can navigate back to what they've been, they've already looked at. I think that helps as well because they always have that moment or period where they're thinking about making the purchase. They might come back to the page later on or a couple of days later. That data will still be there so they can easily get back to what they looked at.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, good for comparisons. Speaking of getting back to what you were looking at as well, and I know we've finished the layout conversation, but breadcrumbs, you still see it now where websites, e-commerce websites don't have breadcrumbs or because of the platform they're using, the breadcrumbs they have, everything is just nested in the home or shop all or maybe a Shopify collection, but it actually doesn't tell you where you've really come from or where product is properly nested, and that's another thing that just requires attention.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I feel like we just need a little Hansel and Gretel gif above that. Did they follow breadcrumbs?

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Breadcrumbs. Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

No, I forgot what they followed.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

But then the birds ate the breadcrumbs.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I've messed the story up, but anyway, talk to me lastly about, I know you mentioned in a recent sort of short that we did to clients that meta descriptions weren't becoming as relevant anymore, or Google weren't considering them, or they're not a focus point or whatever. But talk to me about how clients or people uploading those can make them more engaging.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah so, Google doesn't use them as a ranking signal anymore. They haven't for a while, and actually Google are rewriting a lot of the meta descriptions that they'll see anyway. They're doing it based on how they think people are searching and what kind of information they think they need. So there's a good chance even if you write a meta description, roughly a 50 50 percent chance whether Google will even show it in search results. However, meta descriptions are really powerful for click through rates. So you could be in third position, but potentially have a higher click through rate than second position or even first position in some situations if your meta description is better than some of the others around them.

So it's all about being descriptive again. Try to do things to catch people's eye, so emojis for example, they do work and they have generally better click through rates from search results if you've got any emojis in your page title or in your meta description. But yeah, be descriptive. Think about intent as well. If somebody was looking to try to find a product in that meta description, think about including some dynamic content like maybe the pricing or reviews, things like that. That's quite powerful. You're more likely to get a higher click through rate in that case.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

What's the speck for meta descriptions at the minute? Is it still 150-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

No, it's-

Tom Haslam - (Host):

... characters or.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

... no, it's based on pixel size.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Oh.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

And it changes per device. So it's, I think if-

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Is it 155 to 160 they say based on-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Roughly.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

... characters.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Characters, yeah.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

But...

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, roughly.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Based on pixels.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

I like to personally like to try and keep mine around the sort of 140, 145 mark, which I know is a bit shorter, but you know it's not going to be truncated on probably most devices in that case.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I suppose if Google aren't considering it as a major ranking factor anymore, it's not as much-

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

No.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

... it's not worth putting your time into it.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

No, I think, so not unless you really think you can increase click through rates. What I would say is make sure for your core pages you have one and it explains what the page is about. I would probably lean on AI again for meta descriptions, that, you know, you could feed a product description, for example, into AI and ask it to create a meta description. I think that's probably the, considering how much work would be involved creating them manually, that probably is the kind of thing you can automate without causing you any problems.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Especially if you've got a lot of products, like you say.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Like some of our clients with tens or hundreds of thousands of products. You can get a lot in there quite nicely. Just import them.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Excellent. Well, I think on that note, we'll wrap the pod up there. Thank you all for being on and giving your insights. Hope you've all enjoyed it.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, as always.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

You all sound thrilled.

Steven Pownall - (Senior SEO Strategist):

Cheers.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

Cheers for that.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

That was good.

Josie Quigley-Jay - (Digital Marketing Assistant):

It's been an amazing time.

Tom Haslam - (Host):

I'm just going to go and buy another cat from Wish.

Thanks for tuning in to e-commerce performance tips with Marketing Blabs. Today we've navigated the sometimes treacherous waters of online shopping, highlighting the importance of keeping things simple and not overthinking the design process. Remember to test CTAs that won't leave your customers feeling confused and how white space is actually your friend.

We've touched briefly on product titles and descriptions and how you should aim to make them compelling and also descriptive for user experience. Don't forget the combination of utilising professional product imagery as well as user-generated content for social proof. Get your magnifying glass out for all the keyword research and don't forget to get those FAQs in there to boost your SEO. Think of these elements as the cherry on top of your e-commerce Sunday.

Tune into our next Blab to learn more about websites as we dive deep into the art of website creation, ongoing development, and the significance of robust, online security. Join our team as we reveal the secrets to crafting visually stunning, user-friendly experiences while ensuring the utmost protection from the most common cyber threats. Thank you once again for listening. We hope you found the information in this Blab useful, and make sure you keep your ears pert for some short Blab content coming soon. We look forward to seeing you next time. Thank you very much and goodbye.

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