22 Jul 2015

Google's handling of new top level domains

From Official Google Webmaster Central Blog

With the coming of many new generic top level domains (gTLDs), we'd like to give some insight into how these are handled in Google's search. We’ve heard and seen questions and misconceptions about the way we treat new top level domains (TLDs), like .guru, .how, or any of the .BRAND gTLDs, for example:

Q: How will new gTLDs affect search? Is Google changing the search algorithm to favor these TLDs? How important are they really in search? 
A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

Q: What about IDN TLDs such as  .みんな? Can Googlebot crawl and index them, so that they can be used in search?
A: Yes. These TLDs can be used the same as other TLDs (it's easy to check with a query like [site:みんな]). Google treats the Punycode version of a hostname as being equivalent to the unencoded version, so you don't need to redirect or canonicalize them separately. For the rest of the URL, remember to use UTF-8 for the path & query-string in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.

Q: Will a .BRAND TLD be given any more or less weight than a .com?
A: No. Those TLDs will be treated the same as a other gTLDs. They will require the same geotargeting settings and configuration, and they won’t have more weight or influence in the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs.

Q: How are the new region or city TLDs (like .london or .bayern) handled?
A: Even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia. There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they're used in practice. See our help center for more information on multi-regional and multilingual sites, and set geotargeting in Search Console where relevant.

Q: What about real ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) : will Google favor ccTLDs (like .uk, .ae, etc.) as a local domain for people searching in those countries?
A: By default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country. Again, see our help center for more information on multi-regional and multilingual sites.

Q: Will Google support my SEO efforts to move my domain from .com to a new TLD? How do I move my website without losing any search ranking or history?
A: We have extensive site move documentation in our Help Center. We treat these moves the same as any other site move. That said, domain changes can take time to be processed for search (and outside of search, users expect email addresses to remain valid over a longer period of time), so it's generally best to choose a domain that will fit your long-term needs.

We hope this gives you more information on how the new top level domains are handled. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop them here, or ask in our help forums.

15 Jul 2015

4 Ways to Grow Ecommerce Traffic in 2015

Original Article By  taken from www.praticalecommerce.com

Unique site visits — the number of individuals that frequent a website — are a proxy of sorts for an online business’s new customer acquisition. If month-to-month a site has more unique visitors, it stands to reason that it should also be getting new customers.
Online businesses typically have just two ways to increase sales. They can sell more to existing customers, which is the more lucrative way to grow in most cases. Or, those businesses can acquire new customers. If your business is focusing on the latter, you’re likely going to want more site traffic.
Getting traffic means giving folks a reason to visit.

1. Be a Publisher

For an ecommerce business, the product is likely the most important content your company can publish, but it should by no means be the only content. In fact, pretty much every online business that wants to increase site traffic needs to be in the content publishing — i.e., content marketing — business, too.
Content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and distributing content — be it an article, a graphic, or a video — with the purpose of acquiring, engaging, and retaining customers. Content marketing is among the most important forms of marketing in 2015.
Smart Insights surveyed marketers, asking what they believed was the most important digital marketing trend in 2015.
Smart Insights surveyed marketers, asking what they believed was the most important digital marketing trend in 2015.
In fact, earlier this year, Smart Insights asked marketers what they believed were the most commercially important digital marketing trends in 2015. Some 29.6 percent of respondents chose content marketing. In comparison, 14.6 percent of those surveyed believed Big Data was the most important and 12.8 percent thought that marketing automation was the leading digital marketing trend. Search engine optimization, which is where too many small businesses start and end their marketing, was the most important trend to just 4.3 percent of the seasoned marketers surveyed.
If you want to increase site traffic, publish content regularly.

2. Create a YouTube Channel

Although publishing videos on YouTube is arguably a form of content marketing, it certainly merits its own number on this list.
Here is an example. An executive at a brick-and-click retailer expressed some concern recently that the company’s YouTube channel, which had about 160 videos at the time, had generated just 7,500 video views in the past quarter. That didn't seem like much, but digging into the data, the company found that those 7,500 video views represented about 377 hours of video watching.
Put another way, this meant that the retailer’s potential customers had watched nearly 16 days worth of the store’s branded content, much of which was related directly to the products the store sells.
What’s more, the YouTube channel has generated a few thousand clicks to the store’s website.

3. Buy Advertising

While it is certainly true that advertising has changed in recent years, it is still an effective way to drive a significant amount of site traffic.
On a recent campaign, a retailer in the northwestern U.S. spent $100 on Facebook to promote an online contest, which ultimately resulted in more than 3,000 registrations (folks who joined the retailer’s email list) and $1,800 in immediate sales.
Consider buying:

4. Improve Product Detail Pages

An ecommerce site’s product detail pages really have a dual task. On the one hand, they need to be sales closers and deal makers. These pages should provide the proper content in the right layout to encourage conversions.
Product detail pages also need to be search engine friendly. I mentioned earlier that relatively few marketers considered SEO to be the most important digital marketing trend this year, especially as compared to content marketing, Big Data, and marketing automation. But this does not mean that you should not do your best to make product detail pages useful for human customers and easily digestible, if you will, for bots.
Improve your product detail pages, with compelling descriptions, detailed specifications, videos, helpful product images and graphics, reviews, and similar.

1 Jul 2015

Content Marketing Ideas for July

Projects, smooches, and even summertime activities can drive your company’s content marketing campaigns this July, boosting site traffic and, ultimately, sales.

When businesses create, publish, and distribute content with the goal of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers, we call it content marketing. It is one of the best things that small and mid-sized businesses can do for long term success.

Try using some of these ideas in your content marketing efforts this July.

1. Any Article or Video — Similar to an Instructable

Launched 10 years ago, Instructables is one of the Internet’s premiere how-to websites. Visitors can find or post step-by-step tutorials for tackling projects that solve common problems, encourage new experiences, or that are just fun to build.
Instructables may be a great source of inspiration for your how-to related content.
Instructables may be a great source of inspiration for your how-to related content.
Some popular Instructable posts include:
For your content marketing in July, draw inspiration from Instructables, and create how-to articles or videos that will be useful or entertaining to your shoppers. Whenever possible, include products that you sell. Remember the aim is not to push products, but nonetheless, it is appropriate to show products in use.

2. International Kissing Day, July 6

Content marketers may think of July 6th’s International Kissing Day as a sort of mid-summer, miniaturized Valentine’s Day, since the holiday, which has its origins in the United Kingdom, is an opportunity to promote relationship-related content and gift giving.
Celebrated on July 6, 2015, International Kissing Day may be an opportunity to enjoy a boost in the sale of relationship-related products and gifts.
Celebrated on July 6, 2015, International Kissing Day may be an opportunity to enjoy a boost in the sale of relationship-related products and gifts.
Consider publishing articles or videos that raise awareness of the holiday, suggest Kissing Day date ideas or activities, or encourage kissing-related gift giving. Here are some sample video or article titles to fuel your creativity.

International Kissing Day Awareness

  • “The History of Kissing Day”
  • “10 Amazing Facts about Kissing”
  • “Why We Love Kissing Day (And You Will Too)”

Kissing Day Ideas and Activities

  • “How to Pick the Perfect Netflix Movie for International Kissing Day”
  • “7 Tips for Lovers on Kissing Day”
  • “The Married Couples Guide to Celebrating Kissing Day”

International Kissing Day Gift Giving

  • “21 Great Kissing Day Gifts that Will Get You More Smooches”
  • “19 Kiss-inspired Gifts”
  • “Everything You Need for Planning the Perfect Kiss”

3. Summertime Activities

July can mark the real beginning of summer in North America as the weather changes in earnest and many folks begin taking seasonal vacations. It is also the time of year when your customers act differently. Their activities changes and their interests might change, too. So with this in mind why not give them useful content, related to your industry that is specifically applicable to the summer months.
Your customers change behavior in the summer.
Your customers change behavior in the summer.
Here are a few example titles for summertime-related articles and videos.

Home Improvement Retailer

  • “Create a Backyard Retreat on a Serious Budget”
  • “Clean, Stain, and Seal Your Deck This Weekend”
  • “The 7 Power Tool Upgrades That Will Save Your Summer”

Home Decor Retailer

  • “9 Great Ways to Decorate a Small Patio”
  • “The Secret of Setting a Summertime Table”
  • “3 Simple Tricks for Summer Decor”

Apparel Retailer

  • “The Search for the Perfect Summertime T-shirt”
  • “The Ultimate Guide to Sunglasses”
  • “Find the Perfect Bikini for Your Body”

Outdoor Gear Retailer

  • “Choose the Perfect Tent for Summer Camping”
  • “8 Ways Your Backpack Is Killing You, and How to Save Yourself”
  • “15 Things Ernest Hemingway Can Teach You About the Outdoors”

4. How to Wear and Use Product Content

REI is a good example of a company that includes product information and promotion in its content.
REI is a good example of a company that includes product information and promotion in its content.
At its core, content marketing should seem more like expert advice than a visit to the local used car showroom. The emphasis is on serving the customer, not hard selling products. But this does not mean that there is not a place for products in content marketing. In fact, in July try to come up with useful content on how to use, how to wear, or how to do something that does feature the products you sell.
For example, REI, which is very good at content marketing, has a good article about stand up paddling basics. The post includes a list of the gear you would need (all of which REI sells) and includes a couple of great videos, like how to carry your paddle board to the car or to the water, which, again, features the products that REI is selling.