Mimic Amazon by making these 3 changes to your e-tail site’s product pages

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The statistics certainly don’t lie about Amazon’s continued staggering dominance of today’s ecommerce market; the tech titan may have started off as a bookseller in the early days of the World Wide Web, but by 2018, its annual net sales in the UK alone amounted to a staggering 14.5 billion US dollars. It was also reported last year that almost nine in 10 UK shoppers use the site.

What does all of this say about how your own ecommerce store responds to Amazon? Well, it certainly suggests you could learn a few lessons from them.

So, here are a few steps that you might take to make your site’s product pages that bit more ‘Amazon-esque’ – for the better.

Make your product names as descriptive as possible

Of course, Amazon is effectively its own search engine – people are constantly using its search function to type in the names of products that they’re looking for. Accordingly, merchants compete hard to rank their products as highly as possible in Amazon’s search results.

A strategy that such sellers therefore often adopt, is loading the names of their products with highly descriptive and specific text, to help them to reach those prospective buyers who really are looking for that red, stainless steel, 1.7-litre, electric kettle.

What you might not have realised, though, is that it’s a method that could also greatly help your own ecommerce store’s products to rank highly in Google. Adding a few modifiers – such as colour, size, material and so on – to your product page names could go a long way to helping you to target the prospective purchasers who’re most likely to be interested in them.

Flesh out your product descriptions

It might seem to go without saying that if your product page titles are highly descriptive, the actual descriptions further down the page probably should be, too.

However, you might not have consciously noticed how Amazon makes good use of both bullet points and longer-form text descriptions on its product pages. Both of these aspects of a product page can be instrumental in informing Google of the relevance of the product for the searches that human users might perform for certain items.

Bullet points, of course, are highly ‘scannable’, which makes them great for quickly drawing attention to the key features and benefits of a product. Well-written extended text, however, can also considerably boost contextual search relevance, at the same time as helping human users who land on the given page.

Allow for user-generated content

How many of us haven’t found a review by an actual buyer of a given product helpful for informing our decision as to whether to purchase? More recently, questions and answers have also been added to Amazon’s product pages. Both of these features enable Amazon – and other online stores like your own – to use shoppers’ own language to augment the information already on the page and bolster the page’s chances of ranking well.

We’d add a caveat here, though: not all user-generated content will necessarily be good for the SEO of your e-tail store’s product pages. If such content is poor quality, irrelevant or outright spammy, the page’s relevance signals may become muddled, thereby undermining its ability to rank.

So, it’s a very good idea to have someone moderating the reviews your products receive. You might even go further in the Amazon-imitating stakes in this regard, by allowing shoppers to indicate which reviews they find most helpful. This means that the highest-rated reviews can be pinned to the top of the list – in the process, denying a prominent position to lower-quality reviews.

Would you like to learn more about the breadth and depth of the ecommerce web design and SEO marketing expertise we could bring to your own brand? If so, the Piranha Designs team is available on the other end of a phone or email inbox, whether you contact us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh.

How to foster trust among your online customers as coronavirus lockdowns loosen

Piranha Designs - Friday, June 05, 2020

There are welcoming signs of life beginning to return to some kind of ‘normal’ in the UK and across the world as the grim numbers associated with the COVID-19 pandemic gradually recede. But it’s not just brick-and-mortar businesses that need to prepare for a somewhat changed post-crisis landscape, as ecommerce stores will also have a lot to think about.

Indeed, the slowly brightening outlook means your store should probably be shifting its focus from its earlier lockdown ‘emergency’ measures to considerations of how you can cultivate longer-term loyalty from the customers you might have gained during this difficult period.

In order to do that, you’ll need to reassure them that your store is a trustworthy one, so that you can continue to attract their custom for months and years to come. Here are a few ways to accomplish exactly that.

Avoid any price hikes that you can’t explain or justify

Of course, not all retail businesses will have felt ‘on hold’ during the pandemic. The lockdown experience of a food or sanitary products seller, for example, is likely to have differed significantly from that of a high-end clothes label.

However, if you are in the fortunate position of stocking essential items, you should endeavour to maintain pricing of these at pre-pandemic levels. If price increases do need to happen, you should be careful to explain why, as even mere accusations of price gouging could hit your brand’s reputation.

Remove as much friction as possible from the checkout process

Many people will still be self-isolating, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or are simply in a vulnerable demographic. These people will be especially reliant on online retail; for this reason, you won’t want to lumber them with an overlong and cumbersome checkout process.

These days, mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay can be built into online checkouts to enable shoppers to pay for their goods with a single tap or glance. This saves customers from having to register an account with the store in question, or even to manually type in their payment details, which will already be saved on their device.

Empathise with your audience

Difficulties related to the virus and the associated lockdown restrictions are clearly still widespread, which is why your customers might want particular reassurance that you will deliver them the items they need even as your own firm’s pressures start to bite.

Still, if your business isn’t serving high-end professionals, you should probably avoid using such phrases as “supply chain interruptions” or even – shudder – “unprecedented”. Instead, use simple, to-the-point terms like “we know times are confusing right now” or “our suppliers are working around the clock”.

If you aren’t a natural with written content, take heart that our SEO work includes the composition of blog posts that can keep your visitors updated on how your business is adjusting itself in the rapidly changing circumstances we’re all having to deal with right now.

Indeed, here at Piranha Designs, we possess wide-ranging website design and digital marketing expertise that could play an integral role in your ecommerce store’s efforts to thrive in the post-pandemic world. So why not contact us directly today to learn more?

Why you shouldn’t skip having an FAQs page on your ecommerce site

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, May 05, 2020

If there’s one part of an online store that can be especially prone to being forgotten by many merchants, it might just be the FAQs page. ‘FAQs’, of course, stands for ‘frequently asked questions’, and you’ve almost certainly found this section of a website useful in the past.

Unfortunately, all too many online business owners are inclined to dismiss the potential relevance of such a page on their own site. Often, this may be because they presume all of their customers’ queries are likely to have already been answered elsewhere on the site.

So, here are just a few reasons why you should consider an FAQs page to be not only useful or important, but essential.

It saves time for everyone

If the customer is struggling to find information on your website on such vital matters as how your firm packages its goods for delivery or how your products can be used, guess what? Presuming they don’t simply exit your site and cost you the potential sale altogether, there’s a good chance that they’ll get in touch with your support staff directly, consuming both their and your time and energy.

It’s so needless, when you can just have an easy-to-understand FAQs page instead – especially given that there are almost certainly questions your customers will be constantly asking.

It makes the shopper feel less alone

We’ve all had those times in life when we’ve worried that we’re the weird ones, and that we’re the only ones who’re confused by a particular subject. Just think of the last time your friends or colleagues cracked a joke, and you were the only one who didn’t ‘get it’... you won’t want to leave your customers feeling like that.

Addressing common questions explicitly in an FAQs format can validate the shopper’s query, making them realise that they aren’t alone in having a particular thought or question about your brand, products or services.

It builds positive and long-lasting relationships

Think of all of the characteristics you’ll want target shoppers to associate with your ecommerce store... like trustworthiness, transparency, honesty, responsiveness and professionalism. A well-sorted FAQs page can increase the extent to which both long-time customers and casual visitors connect you in their heads to all of these things.

Having a frequently asked questions section, then, isn’t just a way of answering a few random questions and helping out a customer or two. It’s also about presenting a clear picture of your store as one that genuinely cares and is there for the customer, with nothing to hide.

Furthermore, the sheer amount of useful information on your FAQs page could be instrumental in keeping the customer on your site for longer, and more confident in deciding to buy from you, instead of hitting that ‘back’ button on their browser window.

So, you now know that an FAQs page is important – but how can you put together an effective one for your own site? Get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today, and we can incorporate such a page for you into our extensive design or redesign of your ecommerce website.

A few tips for nabbing those late, late Christmas shoppers

Piranha Designs - Monday, December 16, 2019

If you’re not exactly the kind of person who suffers from procrastination, or you’re simply in the habit of always finishing your Christmas gift-buying by the 1st of December, you might find it hard to get your head around how so many other shoppers leave it so late to make their purchases.

Nonetheless, the most important thing to recognise is that these shoppers definitely exist, which means they’re there to be captured by ecommerce stores like yours.

But with the last Saturday before Christmas falling on the 21st this year, you’ll have to act fast to optimise your site if it’s not completely geared to the preferences and needs of these late shoppers. So, here are just a few simple steps you can take to lure such procrastinators.

Offer express delivery

This might seem like some of the most obvious advice we could give. However, you may be surprised by how many online stores prioritise affordability with their delivery offering, to such an extent that the speed and reliability of this service suffers.

Sure, price won’t completely cease to be a priority for most late shoppers – but above all else, they’ll want to know that their order will get to them in time. So, a lot of them won’t mind heightened shipping costs, as long as they aren’t ridiculously inflated compared to those of rival stores.

Highlight gift guides and bestselling items

One reason why a given late shopper may have procrastinated in the first place, is a simple difficulty with choosing a gift. It might therefore only require a well-written guide to gift shopping, and a few highlights of ideal presents for certain categories of customer – dads, mums, brothers and so on – to give them that vital inspiration to go ahead and make a spontaneous purchase.

Including some obvious unfussy ‘stocking fillers’ in these guides – modest, lightweight items that can be delivered quickly and cheaply – and allowing for easy filtering by price will likely further convince those dithering potential customers of yours to just buy already.

Be razor-sharp with your replies to customers

Whether they get in touch with you via phone, email, social media or even by commenting on your YouTube videos, when these anxious late shoppers ask you a question, they probably won’t be able to afford you only getting back in touch with them in 12 or 24 hours’ time. Always responding within 20 minutes is much more the kind of timeframe you should be aiming for.

Streamline the checkout process

As Christmas Day nears, you’ve got more reason than ever to review your site’s checkout process afresh. This is the ideal time to turn off every single strictly unnecessary element, so that your already-rushed shoppers won’t be left feeling even more stressed by a frivolous pop-up or your store demanding that they register an account with you.

Yes, dealing with procrastinators can be frustrating. But it also represents a key business opportunity for your online store – not just for the festive season, but potentially for months and years’ worth of future purchases – if you make all of the right moves to convenience them.

As for the longer-term ambitions you have for the design of your ecommerce website, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team to discuss them in more detail? That way, we, too, could be looking forward to a fruitful long-term relationship that extends through many Christmases to come.

Your site won’t rank well if Google doesn’t even consider it a high-quality one

Piranha Designs - Monday, September 23, 2019

You might not exactly need to be told that Google places a big emphasis on ‘quality’ when adjusting the algorithms that ultimately determine how well sites rank in its search results. But how, exactly, does Google define ‘quality’? Well, that’s been a matter of longstanding confusion and frustration among many online business owners.

A recent Google blog post, however, shed considerable light on what the search engine considers to be ‘quality’ in a website.

Indeed, it listed a series of questions for those optimising their sites with a view to getting them to rank well, across the four subcategories of “content and quality”, “expertise”, “presentation and production” and “comparative”.

So, let’s summarise what Google addressed in the questions it came up with, so that you can make the tweaks your own site might need to achieve strong rankings.

Content and quality

Google’s questions in this subcategory – including “Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?” and “Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book” – show a concern for genuine quality in the content that a given site publishes.

If your site’s content pieces thoroughly analyse relevant topics from multiple angles, incorporating original information or research beyond the obvious things that plenty of other sites are already saying, you can expect Google to give you high rankings in response.

Expertise

It isn’t exactly a secret that Google places a big emphasis on authority when ranking sites, and that this has been addressed in its algorithms, with inbound links conferring authority based on the linking sites’ own topic and quality.

However, your site’s content and the authors who write it also impact on your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. Do the people writing your content, then, have positive reputations and prominence in your industry? Are they active on other sites and platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and are they regulars on relevant industry forums?

If the answer to too many of these questions is “no”, these are aspects that you might wish to develop in the authors who contribute to your site.

Presentation and production

If Google is even addressing the subjects of presentation and production in its definition of quality, these can hardly be regarded as merely ‘superficial’ matters.

In any case, they should never have been considered to be ‘superficial’ by anyone. After all, should you expect to be able to win the trust of both shoppers and search engines if there are misspellings or grammatical errors on your site?

In its blog piece, Google presented a number of presentation and production questions that were especially interesting with regard to what could trigger manual penalties or lower algorithmic rankings.

These included “Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content”, and “Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”

Comparative

Finally, Google also put forth a few comparative questions, focused on how well a site compares to its rivals in terms of quality.

It’s well worth bearing in mind, after all, that your site doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve strong rankings – it just needs to be better than the sites it’s competing with for certain keyword phrases.

Is SEO quality a subject that has been concerning you as you look to optimise your site for better rankings in the months and years ahead? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.

We provide acclaimed search engine marketing packages that will help your brand to ensure consistently great quality across every key aspect of its presence on the web.

How can a great user experience go hand in hand with great SEO?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, July 11, 2019

Are you constantly doing seemingly ‘all of the right things’ with the optimisation of your website for the search engines, only to find the high rankings you’ve worked so hard to achieve aren’t even bringing you a noticeable uplift in sales and loyal customers... that is, if your rankings are even climbing at all?

If so, your big problem may be that you’ve overlooked the crucial connection between user experience – or ‘UX’, as it’s frequently referred to in web design and development circles – and SEO.

You see, the two things have a very intimate relationship. Just imagine having two equally renowned high-street stores to choose from for a particular product, with the item being priced the same in both places... except that at one store, the staff are so much nicer, more responsive to your queries and more informative when answering your questions.

In theory, you might still buy the product at the ‘other’ store... but it’s the one that provides an especially great experience that you are especially likely to purchase the item from.

So, how does effect manifest for ecommerce stores?

Let’s continue with the offline analogy for a bit. You go to said brilliant store, you buy the product, you’re satisfied and you go back to that store again and again in the future, consistently benefitting from a brilliant service. You tell your friends and relatives how good this store is, and the store gains such a reputation that it is featured prominently in local directories, newspapers and magazines.

Well, there’s a similar thing going on for online stores that provide a superb user experience.

These sites don’t suffer from such high ‘bounce rates’ – the online store equivalent of someone heading into a shop, and then going straight back out again – while the more pleasurable browsing and buying experience for visitors lends itself to heightened ratings, referrals and inbound links.

A few quick ways to bolster your UX – and with it, your SEO

OK, so you might turn to Piranha Designs to undertake more in-depth optimisation of your site’s user experience – but here are a few quick tips to give you some inspiration and ideas. You might want to try...

  • Ensuring your site’s internal links are to pages that are genuinely relevant and useful for shoppers – there’s little point in linking to the page you’re already on, for example
  • Optimising for faster page loading times, in light of the Google study that showed conversions fell by 12% for every second of load time
  • Giving customers an equally pleasurable experience on mobile and desktop, in recognition of the fact that more than half of Google’s global search results are served from its mobile-first index
  • Going into greater depth with your content. Be careful here – length alone won’t translate into higher rankings, but content that is genuinely more informative and useful for visitors than what your rivals are serving up might well do
  • Targeting keyword themes and words that fit in well with what you’re offering to the customer, instead of being intended purely to drive search volume

Get in touch today with the Piranha Designs team at our Gibraltar, Edinburgh or London offices, and we’d be delighted to talk to you about our website design and SEO services that will help you to maximise your site’s user experience and with it, your brand’s online fortunes.

3 ways to shorten image loading times on your site

Piranha Designs - Monday, July 08, 2019

The reasons to have images on your website at all should be more than obvious when you consider what your site would be like without them. In short, it would be a rather dull place that would be relatively ineffective at inspiring visitors or giving them an accurate impression of your products or services. But are you allowing a love of sophisticated imagery to impact on other aspects of the user experience – such as how long it takes your pages to load? 

Believe it or not, it’s more than possible to reduce how long it takes for your site to load images, without compromising its all-round visual appeal. Here are a few examples of what we mean. 

Don’t have quite so many images on your site

It may sound like an obvious tip, but did you know that according to a HTTP Archive report, the typical webpage in 2019 may request between 28 and 32 images when it loads? It’s well worth asking yourself, then, whether all of those images on a given webpage of yours are really necessary. 

When it comes to product category pages on ecommerce sites, for instance, the various images showing actual available products tend to be critical in terms of not only showing the viewer the products in question, but also educating them about these items’ benefits and inspiring them to buy. 

But are some of the images on such pages on your own site effectively just pictures of text, or decorative, or perhaps even stock images that don’t really communicate anything? 

Embrace the ‘lazy loading’ of images 

Traditionally, when a webpage loads, it requests every image listed in the page markup, including any images that may be initially off-screen and only become visible when the user scrolls down the page. 

This is where ‘lazy loading’ comes in useful, as it loads certain images only when they are strictly needed. Just imagine how much quicker a given page on your site could load, if it only initially requested those images that would immediately appear on the user’s screen. 

Various lazy-loading scripts are available to introduce this functionality to your site, or you could ask the Piranha Designs team to incorporate it when you turn to us for website design.

Compress your images

Such raster formats as JPG, PNG and GIF are widespread on the web, and may therefore be represented across many of the images on your own site’s pages. 

Sometimes, it’s possible to compress such images to ensure they load faster, while scarcely making any visible difference to their quality. It can be done through popular image-editing software, or automatically via such other solutions as content delivery networks, scripts or application programming interfaces. 

Images may be just one element of your brand’s online presence, but they can make a greater-than-initially-expected difference to your efforts to market your business and generate revenue on the web. For a more in-depth discussion of your firm’s web design needs in 2019, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today? 

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.

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.


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