Introducing the ‘answer box’ – and what it could do for your SEO chances

Piranha Designs - Friday, May 31, 2019

You might think that you’re already doing everything you realistically can to get your ecommerce site to achieve strong positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs). But are you?

In today’s blog post, for instance, we’re taking a closer look at something called the ‘answer box’. It’s the box that you might have noticed at the top of a results page, providing an answer to whatever query you performed a search for.

A quick response to many users’ problems

To give just one example, let’s imagine that you are looking to purchase window film for a building, to better protect occupants and furnishings from solar heat gain and glare at this hotter time of year. You might not be able to easily reach the inside surface of the building’s windows, so you might be wondering whether it’s possible to install window film on the outside surface instead.

So, we Googled “can window films be applied outside”. An answer box popped up at the top of the resultant search page from www.windowtintingco.com, informing us that “the application of window film to the outside surface of some windows may be considered.”

The answer box goes on to provide further relevant information, and a link to the page on the aforementioned website where this text has been taken from.

You, too, can take advantage of these boxes

‘Answer boxes’, then, are a seriously handy feature for users, who might not even need to leave the Google search results page to have their query answered. For the same reasons, they’re also powerful from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective for the online businesses that manage to capture them. But with so many ‘how-to’ and other content-rich sites out there, does your humble ecommerce site have much chance of grabbing an answer box or two?

The answer to this question might surprise you. Data from one enterprise platform, for example, shows that the Internet’s 10 most popular shopping sites are collectively eligible to appear in the answer boxes arising from over 453,000 search queries.

But even these ‘elite’ sites – including such household names as eBay, Etsy, Walmart and Home Depot – only actually capture 11 per cent of those answer boxes.

‘Eligibility’, meanwhile, was defined as ranking in the first three positions in Google for a search query that brings up an answer box. The top three was chosen for the threshold because data indicates that 98 per cent of the time, it is one of those three sites that grab the answer box for the given query.

So, what does all of this mean for your online retailer?

What it means is that if you can get your ecommerce site into the top three positions for a query that causes an answer box to spring up, you might well have an extremely good chance of winning it – and reaping the consequent benefits for your brand’s online profile, authority and rankings.

Remember that the content standing the best chance of capturing an answer box is that which answers a question in simple language, in a couple of short lines.

Would you like to investigate the full range of SEO possibilities for your website, and start propelling your business to ever-higher rankings, sales and revenue online? If so, our team here at Piranha Designs is available at the other end of the phone. Get in touch now to discover more about our in-depth search engine marketing expertise and packages.

What’s stopping your mobile site from converting as well as it should?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, May 23, 2019

If your experiences as an online business owner have been anywhere near typical, there’s a good chance that you will have seen the amount of mobile traffic received by your site creep higher and higher. Indeed, it was back in 2016 when mobile page views overtook desktop for almost all websites. Alongside this trend has been a tendency for mobile conversions to also gradually go up.

One other thing the statistics seem to tell us, though, is that customers tend to still prefer desktop and tablet devices for placing those really big orders.

This presents a difficulty if you’ve been focusing a lot lately on optimising your mobile ecommerce site design. If your online retailer’s conversions via mobile seem a little sluggish, what could be causing the problem – and is it even your fault?

Not all causes of poor mobile conversions are easy to address

Fortunately or unfortunately, there are certain things inherent to mobile sites – even the very best ones – that can act like a drag on their conversion rates.

There’s a good chance that a prospective shopper browsing your site via a desktop computer, for instance, is enjoying a faster Internet connection than the typical mobile user. The latter, after all, often access the web on their devices through public Wi-Fi connections. If they were simply sat at home or in the office, many of them would surely use the frequently faster hardwired connections available on their desktop computers instead.

The bigger screens that desktop devices offer over mobile ones can make a big difference as well, as they enable more information to be shared within the visitors’ view, with regard to navigational menus, products and search options alike.

Oh, and mobile users also often just have more distractions to contend with than desktop shoppers, in the form of social media alerts, text notifications and any messages that may come in from other apps installed on their device.

But there are still some things you can do to boost user experience

So, we’ve established a number of issues that can be tricky to overcome as far as bolstering mobile conversions is concerned. But that’s no reason to be fatalistic, given the wide range of measures you can adopt to minimise the impact of these problems.

The speed of your mobile site is certainly imperative, which is why you should go to every length to compress images, scripts, CSS and HTML without adversely affecting other aspects of the user experience.

All manner of ways also exist to optimise category and search results – even just fitting product thumbnails into two columns, to enable visitors to see more options without having to scroll, can make a significant difference.

Oh, and you might also want to look into how you can allow for cross-device and generally more seamless shopping – such as the use of ‘persistent carts’, which retain products that the customer has stored in them for later reference, even if the customer moves away from the site.

Ask us about our high level of mobile website design expertise

The above are by no means the only steps that you might take to refine your mobile website’s effectiveness – so why not contact our capable and seasoned experts today for advice tailored to your own site’s specific requirements?

Get in touch with us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today for an in-depth discussion about how we could assist you in achieving formidable increases in your mobile conversions this year.

Are you overlooking the importance of unique product descriptions?

Piranha Designs - Monday, May 06, 2019

It’s curious, in many ways, that product descriptions seem to be a ‘blind spot’ for a large proportion of ecommerce businesses. By ‘blind spot’, we’re referring to the fact that so few such product descriptions seem to be unique, despite it being widely recognised how much harm content duplicated from elsewhere can do to a site’s search engine rankings.

After all, when multiple pages have the same content, competition is created between those pages that damages the chances of any of them ranking in the search engine results.

However, we’re normally used to talking about duplicate content as content that repeats itself across a single site. Many of us aren’t so accustomed to discussing the problem of syndicated product descriptions also producing duplicate content across the web as a whole – or more specifically, giving your site the same on-page content as its ecommerce rivals.

So, what has led to this unfortunate situation, and what can be done about it?

The role of the major brands and manufacturers

Let’s imagine that your brand is one of the world’s biggest, such as Adidas. It’s likely that you won’t feel you have much to lose from resellers using your product content, given that your own site is likely to have almost unparalleled link authority and contextual relevance for your products.

In any case, of course Google is almost certainly going to rank you higher for online searches of your products, than the thousands of retailers stocking them. Yours is the megabrand, after all.

Retailers can reap major rewards from composing their own content

Now, if you’re a relatively small ecommerce business using syndicated content from these megabrands for their products, you might initially imagine it to be too big a risk, or otherwise problematic, to have unique content created for your product descriptions.

What if, for instance, you accidentally misrepresent a product in a description that you write, and find yourself receiving a heightened number of customer support queries, complaints and returns as a result? Plus, it can be very costly in terms of time and money to keep on creating such unique descriptions for all of the products that you are likely to be continually adding to your site.

However, given that the highest-ranking ecommerce businesses are consistently those with unique product descriptions – not merely reworded, but actually with innovative and fresh angles compared to whatever basic information the brand has already provided – it makes sense to look seriously at creating such content for your own site.

Your unique product descriptions might go into greater detail about the historical context of each product than the standard syndicated copy does, or they may clearly and plainly outline the benefits of certain technology that the given product uses. Blocks of text may also be converted into bullet points for easier reading.

You don’t need to look far for help with your brand’s online presence

Are you interested in investigating further with us how our team here at Piranha Designs can assist you in realising the maximum potential from your site’s ecommerce web design and SEO marketing? If so, we’re available on the other end of the phone; simply get in touch with us at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today for more information.

Picture this: tips for optimising images to make them Google-ready

Piranha Designs - Friday, May 03, 2019

In your efforts to carefully tailor your site's on-page text content in such a way that draws Google's positive notice, you could be in danger of overlooking how much of Google's search results pages are now being taken up by imagery. Indeed, Google search results now include images on 34% of occasions.

In just weeks, image results have grown by 42% on the world's most popular search engine, as per a recent study. Those results have increased in both frequency and prominence – about half the time, the images are among the first three positions.

While you may initially see such developments as cause for alarm, SEO has always continued to experiment and adapt over time. For this reason, you should regard the increasingly visual nature of Google search results as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

Do keywords still come into play with images?

The perhaps surprising answer is that yes, they do. While images lack visible text compared to website pages with their textual content, you can start optimising an image by tweaking its filename, into which you should try to insert unique descriptions and attributes.

For example, if you run an e-commerce site selling swimwear, an image of blue Speedo shorts could be beneficially given the filename blue-speedo-shorts.jpg, as all three elements of that filename could be plausibly inputted into search fields.

Naturally, though, if you sell blue Speedo shorts, you probably sell a very broad range of swimwear, which is where tinkering with the alt tags attached to your images can also prove useful. In these tags, you should mention points of differentiation; for example, the specific colour of the shorts, if you offer them in various hues.

Your website's text copy still plays a part, too

Unexpectedly or otherwise, the visible text near an image on a page can also influence the image's placing in search results. Across captions, product names, descriptive bullets and other textual elements near the image, you shouldn’t neglect to include more details relevant to it.

If you remain unsure as to which keywords should go where when you are optimising your images, our search engine optimisation (SEO) services can steer you in the right direction. We invite you to phone us on (+350) 200 45599 for more information on this point.

What could a ‘live chat’ feature do for your ecommerce store?

Piranha Designs - Monday, April 08, 2019

‘Live chat’ functionality has become an increasingly familiar element among the wealth of customer support options offered by ecommerce sites, alongside the likes of social media links, telephone numbers and email addresses.

However, the benefits of incorporating such a feature into your brand’s own online store could be wider-ranging than you initially expect. Below are just a few examples of what we mean.

Customers are comfortable using it

Anything that could help to cultivate a good relationship with a customer from the earliest stages has to be a good thing for your ecommerce store, and there is both formal and more anecdotal evidence to suggest that customers are comfortable with using live chat functionality on a website.

One study last year, for instance, found that 43% of customers have previously used live chat. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given that it’s much like the chat programs, online messengers and text messaging that many of your customers will already be accustomed to using in their personal lives.

It’s quick to use

As they say, time is money. It’s therefore helpful for both the customer and the ecommerce business if visitors can receive swift responses to their queries – whether about the given company’s products, services, delivery costs or something else altogether.

As soon as a visitor initiates a chat using such software, a customer service representative on your business’s side can be notified of this straight away and provide an immediate answer.

This could be especially important if the customer’s query concerns an issue that is preventing them from completing a purchase. In such circumstances, your ecommerce store’s live chat feature could make the difference between a clinched sale and a lost sale.

It helps to replicate the ‘high street’ shopping experience

Sure, your customer service representative can’t pick up a product and present it to the customer for them to touch. If the customer has any questions about a product, though, they can ask them... and perhaps also any secondary questions springing from the answers given to the first ones.

In the process, you will be able to answer questions in relation to such specific matters as product selection and availability, and even any related products that you may recommend to the customer, in light of their specific requirements.

A live chat feature, then, can help to restore some of the ‘humanity’ to the shopping experience that may otherwise seem at risk of being lost when one switches from offline to online retail.

The above aren’t the entirety of the benefits that you could see from embedding a live chat feature into your site, with others including the opportunity to gather invaluable data about your customers, as well as the cost savings that it can offer over other forms of customer service.

Could live chat functionality be central to the customer service offered by your own next ecommerce site? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts in custom website solutions for a more in-depth chat about the requirements that you have for your firm’s online presence.

A database as a way of managing and developing a business

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 28, 2019

The use of a correctly structured database is essential for the survival and success of a business in the current market. Technological advances provide useful tools for the improvement of internal management, the optimisation of resources and the increase of sales. In addition, these databases are ever more accessible to the budgets of small and medium-sized businesses.

Customisation

Nowadays many companies operate in both local and international markets at the same time. Due mainly to the advances in the digital era, the rise in e-commerce and the disappearance of barriers towards international commerce, the expansion of markets out of the local environment has never been simpler. The search for standardisation in business processes whilst maintaining brand identity has been a constant concern for companies as they grow. That said, there is a rising trend toward the customisation of what’s on offer depending on the tastes and preferences of clients, because although the companies operate in open and globalised markets, they also compete in local markets.

The personalisation of products and services to the specific tastes of the clients is becoming a key factor for the success of a business in the 21st Century. A very good example of this movement is McDonalds restaurants. McDonalds is without doubt the global leader in the fast food restaurant sector. Its restaurants can be found in over 100 countries around the world, with their brandname and business model being well-known worldwide. Even though for many McDonalds is a clear example of the standardisation of processes, brand and product image, the company has learnt how to customise its offering during its global expansion in relation to its intended market. An example of this is the McCurry in India, McKebab in Israel, McBaguette in France or the Greek Mc etc., just a few among various dozens of recipes adapted to local tastes. The management of information, in this case of the flavours and textures preferred by McDonalds clients, is essential for the success of the fast food chain.

Databases as a solution

Technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook or Google are examples of companies that have succeeded through the collection, study and effective use of data that is shared with them by clients. These sorts of business practices have been called the analysis and use of 'Big Data'. A detailed database which is well-structured adds value to a company offering and increases the degree of sales conversion.

What does this mean to a small/medium sized business?

All written and archived documentation can and should be digitalised. Client contact data, budgets, sales, projects or tasks, dates and times, income, costs, etc is data that all companies handle but few are digitalising. If this data was compiled in one place, its analysis and use could add value to processes and services. Many companies are content with their corporate website or continue using Excel databases and obsolete desktop software without online access. The main reason for which companies like Amazon know perfectly when, how and to who they should show their products, is because they program their databases so that they can optimise the final result. The question that the business person is probably making at this point is if the technology is really accessible to a small and medium-sized business. The response is loud and clear – Yes! It all starts with a change in the way that business is conceived and information is managed.

You are still in time to transform and improve your business.

  1. Plan: Bring together all the written documentation from Excel, Word, PDF formats that you share with all your contacts in the company. This could be employees, providers, clients, etc.

  2. Look for help: Concentrate on what you know how to do, most probably in the business activity of your company. Look for a company with understanding and verifiable experience in web systems and database management. They can facilitate the resources and will help you to structure and make the most of the collected data.

  3. Create: Get that company to build you a customised database driven, web-based solution that does everything you need.

  4. Be disciplined: The process might take time to process internally. The team must become familiar with feeding the new internal system, which requires discipline.

  5. Be more effective: As the database grows, start to analyse and optimise internal processes. Let algorithms carry out repetitive tasks and concentrate your time and energy on improving your business.

By using the power of a good database and a custom built system you can really take your business to another level.

By Piranha

For over 18 years Piranha have been developing database driven web-based solutions for all types of businesses. Analysing the current setup and replacing excel, word and outlook with one integrated custom built system that optimises time and effort. Piranha have built custom solutions for the Port Authority, Government Departments, Hearts Football Club and many local and international businesses.

Content writing tips that will help to vault your site up the search engine rankings

Piranha Designs - Monday, March 25, 2019

Composing the most effective text on your website – think such things as your product descriptions, articles, blog posts and other written copy – is a task that you may find intimidating from time to time. After all, it’s an element of your online presence that needs to be carefully crafted to appeal to both human users and search engine spiders.

But that doesn’t mean you need to give in to the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ when you’re trying to rustle up some text for your site. Follow our advice below, and you can maximise your chances of writing content that engages your target audiences and bolsters natural search engine performance.

Come up with an outline before you start

Sometimes, simply doing what your English teacher would have told you to do at school can be a brilliant formula for generating high-quality written copy.

It can greatly help, for example, to first devise an outline of what you want to write about in a given piece of text on your site. What are the key features and benefits of a product for which you are writing a description, or what vital points must your next blog post address?

Don’t worry too much about saying everything in an ordered or organised way at this early stage – just get it all out on the page.

Follow the ‘expel, then excel’ principle...

In the same spirit as the previous tip, when you come to actually write down those first few sentences or paragraphs, just focus on writing. Throw all of your thoughts down on the page, no matter how ‘stream of consciousness’ it might be.

Once you’ve got a lot of material written down, you’ll be able to then edit and refine it, including in line with the keywords you intend to use, to rustle up something polished, pleasurable to read and effective in attracting high search engine rankings.

...as well as the ‘keep it simple, sweetie’ one

The KISS principle works so well in many areas of life, but especially when you’re writing. Don’t use overly complicated or specialised language, unless your brand voice requires this.

Make your written content readable and engaging for your target audience, and they’re more likely to stay around on your site, trust you and make use of your products or services.

Produce seasonally appropriate content

Those lulls of time during the year between the really big ‘flashpoint’ events – Christmas, Easter and so on – can really drag.

That’s why it may greatly help to put together a ‘content calendar’ that will provide a template for what kind of content you will be writing and uploading to your site at certain times of year. For example, you may time some of your content to coincide with birthdays, anniversaries or events that are important to your sector, or provide general advice that makes sense in the given season.

Did you know that your site can benefit from such services as keyword research, on-page optimisation and blog content writing when you take advantage of one of our SEO marketing packages? When you contact the Piranha Designs team, we’ll talk to you about how we can best address the needs you have for your firm’s online presence.

You don’t necessarily need to discount your store’s products to sell more

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 21, 2019

A lot of small businesses like those that we serve with our ecommerce website design services here at Piranha Designs can understandably become so worked up about bolstering their conversions of traffic into sales, that they might not pay enough attention to the overall impact this has on profit.

Yes, offering money-off vouchers, limited-time-only discounts and simply undercutting your competitors with the standard prices that you set could all help to boost sales.

However, you might have overlooked that doing so will also mean a lot more work for your company, in terms of the work needed to fulfil the heightened number of orders you receive.

You may therefore be especially interested in the ways you can drive sales from your ecommerce store without having to cut prices at all. Here are just a few proven suggestions.

Set out the unique selling points of your brand and products

If you spend any amount of time browsing the sites of luxury brands, you may have noticed that they don’t tend to offer discounts very often, or even necessarily a coupon code box on the checkout page.

You might imagine that the sheer pull of a prestigious brand means it doesn’t exactly have to put on special offers very often. However, another way to see it is that customers are prepared to spend more if they see a certain unique or added value in what a firm offers.

You should therefore ask yourself what especially high-quality materials or ingredients given products of yours consist of, and that customers may be willing to pay a premium for. Or perhaps your product solves problems in a way that not many alternatives do? Maybe the breadth and depth of your customer support is especially great compared to rivals, too?

Instil urgency in the customer

Incorporating simple, non-invasive messages that also have a sense of urgency into your product marketing can further encourage customers to fork out for the full price of something. This is especially applicable to trendy and limited-edition products that have a relatively committed target audience, who won’t wish to miss out on the latest ‘hot’ release.

Streamline the buying process

Everything that you can do to speed up and remove bumps from the online purchasing process is vital if you are to keep a buyer’s interest for long enough to see them through to the final checkout stage. Finding, adding and ordering products should be a cinch – otherwise, you are heightening the risk of cart abandonment.

Keep delivery charges as low as possible

Fair enough – when you’re a small company, you don’t necessarily have the luxury of reducing shipping fees to nothing. However, a flat-rate method could still be greatly useful for leaving your customers in no doubt about how much they will be required to pay at the checkout. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that free delivery is especially frequently offered on higher-priced products – so a ‘free delivery on orders over £50’ or similar policy could help you to compete.

You can’t, of course, expect to attract every possible buyer of your products if they are focused on price above all else. Nonetheless, the above tips and other measures for better presenting your store’s offerings could be invaluable for raising profits, irrespective of whether you also engage Piranha Designs to handle the design of your ecommerce website.

5 micro conversions that will help to cultivate customer loyalty and trust

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 07, 2019

The statistics on the typical British customer’s relationship with offline and online shopping makes increasingly ominous reading for the high street. Whereas in 2013, only about one pound in every 10 was spent in online rather than offline stores, this has since risen to about one in five pounds. 

With the news headlines indicating that even many of the UK’s biggest high-street names are still struggling to keep afloat, it seems the aforementioned proportion of online expenditure could be on the up for many more years yet. 

This also presents a real opportunity to ecommerce website owners – not least given that it isn’t only the ‘big’ conversions of actual sales that matter. Even all manner of smaller conversions can count, given their role in the lead-up to bigger ones. 

So, it’s well worth investing the time and effort to boost ‘micro conversions’ such as the below. 

Signing up for emails 

Email may be one of the oldest means of making contact with others online, but it’s far from archaic or irrelevant in 2019. Indeed, you probably check your own emails several times a day, and the average customer does so, too. 

Registering for rewards 

Even the most rudimentary rewards, loyalty or VIP scheme can make a big difference to an ecommerce site. After all, it’s just one more way to encourage larger conversions and make the customer more likely to choose you as their go-to store for certain staple products. 

Saving for later purchase 

The customer may not have the most pressing need for your product right now, or they may be waiting to get paid before they will be in a position to do so. A ‘save for later’ function on your site, though, can be another effective way of capturing customers and heightening the likelihood of repeat visits. 

Following, liking or sharing on social media 

Embedding social media into your ecommerce site – including through the incorporation of actionable ‘share’ buttons on your product pages and even blog posts – can go a long way to deepening the relationships you enjoy with current customers and connecting to new ones. 

Using online contact forms 

If your customer has gone as far as manually getting in touch with you via the contact form you have provided for them on your site, you can be confident that they are very receptive to making a purchase from you – even if there are certain matters they need to resolve before doing so. 

The accumulative effect of micro conversions like the above across your target customer base can be extremely powerful as you look to maximise your brand’s prospects online, including by encouraging repeat purchases. As online spending continues to account for an ever-greater proportion of the UK’s retail spending, you could be sitting pretty if you take the right steps to optimise your site. 

Enquire to the Piranha Designs team today about ecommerce web design to place yourself advantageously to make big strides with your business’s online presence throughout 2019.

How can you analyse and compare your rivals’ SEO to your own?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Given that you will probably be glancing every now and then at how your competitors are doing anyway – it’s difficult to resist checking whether they are ranking higher or lower than you for a particular keyword – it makes sense to know how to undertake a more formal analysis of their search engine optimisation (SEO).

It’s worth remembering that while simply copying your rivals’ approach to SEO is not a fast ticket to success – after all, you’ll need to figure out the best ways to beat them, not merely match them – a competitor analysis can nonetheless provide vital insight into how your own site could do better. 

The five steps to a successful competitor SEO analysis 

There are five basic components to an analysis of your rivals’ SEO that will actually provide the information you need about where your competitors are going right or wrong – and by extension, what moves you could make to better challenge them in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

These are (1) determining your critical keyword themes and the sites competing with you for such themes; (2) conducting an organic ranking audit; (3) analysing the top-ranking pages; (4) identifying the elements valued by search engines; and (5) developing a plan to improve on these elements for your own site. 

Even a relatively basic analysis can go a long way 

As we mentioned above, picking out keywords and competitors is an important part of an effective SEO competitor analysis. If you have a keyword strategy already, this should be a straightforward step – and if you don’t, our team here at Piranha Designs can help to put one together for you. 

Some rudimentary keyword research can be carried out through the use of a tool like the free Google Keyword Planner. However, pinpointing your competitors from an SEO standpoint can be a little trickier, as they aren’t always the same as those your marketing team may have in mind. Remember that both large and small ecommerce sites can be SEO rivals of yours, as well as media companies and sites with different business models. 

Then, there’s the SEO ranking audit to undertake. You could do this with a dedicated enterprise SEO platform or even just manually with a spreadsheet, documenting how highly various rivals are ranking for certain keywords. 

Finally, once you’ve got such invaluable ranking data, you’ll need to start scrutinising and making some conclusions from it. It is at this stage that you will need to dissect the competitor pages that are outranking you, and consider just what is making those pages so special in the eyes of Google. 

It could be that certain high-performing competitor pages have more content than yours, or are optimised more effectively for the keyword themes you have identified. Perhaps they’re simply more engaging to read, which makes it more likely that the average reader will remain on that page, instead of simply leaving (‘bouncing’) a few seconds after arrival? 

Take your next big step to SEO success with Piranha Designs 

We could go into greater detail about how your business could make leaps and bounds online – but of course, we only have so much space here. So why not contact the Piranha Designs team to discuss how we could devise a search engine optimisation strategy that delivers big results for your brand?


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