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4 technical SEO issues auditing tools won’t show you

Posted by on May 31, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 4 technical SEO issues auditing tools won’t show you

Throughout the history of SEO, people have debated the pros and cons of relying on technical SEO tools. Relying on the hints from auditing tools isn’t the same thing as a true SEO strategy, but we’d be nowhere without them. It’s just not feasible to manually check dozen of issues page per page.

To the benefit of the SEO industry, many new auditing tools have been created in the past decade, and a few of them stand strong as industry leaders. These few technical auditing tools have done us a great service by continuing to improve their capabilities, which has helped us better serve our clients, bosses and other stakeholders.

However, even the best auditing tools cannot find four important technical SEO issues that could potentially damage your SEO efforts:

Canonical to redirect loopHacked pagesIdentifying JS LinksContent hidden by JS

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Why tools won’t show these

Some of these issues could be detected by tools, but they’re just not common enough to come across their desk. Other issues would be impossible for tools to detect. 

As with many cases in SEO, some issues may affect sites differently, and it all depends on the context. That’s why most tools won’t highlight these in summary reports.

Required tools to uncover these issues

Before we dive into the specific issues, there are two specific requirements to help us find these issues.

Your web crawling tool of choice

Even though most tools won’t uncover these issues by default, in most cases, we can make some modifications to help us detect them at scale.

Some tools that you could use include:

Screaming FrogSitebulbOnCrawlDeepCrawl

The most important thing we need from these tools is the ability to:

Crawl the entire website, sitemaps and URL listAbility to have custom search/extraction features

Google Search Console

This should be a given, but if you don’t have access, make sure you acquire Google Search Console access for your technical SEO audits. You will need to be able to tap into a few historic reports to help us uncover potential issues.

Issue 1: Canonical to redirect loop

A canonical to redirect loop is when a webpage has a canonical tag pointing to a different URL that then redirects to the first URL. 

This can be a rare issue, but it’s one that I’ve seen cause serious damage to a large brand’s traffic. 

Why this matters

Canonicals provide the preferred URL for Google to index and rank. When Google discovers a canonical URL different from the current page, it may start to crawl the current page less frequently

This means that Google will start to crawl the webpage that 301 redirects more frequently, sending a type of loop signal to their Googlebot.

While Google allows you to make a redirected page the canonical, having it loop back to the previous page is a confusing signal.

I’ve seen this happen to some large brands. One recently came to me asking to investigate why one of their key pages hasn’t been driving the traffic they were hoping for. They had invested a lot of money into SEO and had a well-optimized page. But this one issue was the sore thumb that stuck out. 

How to detect canonical redirect loops

Even though this issue will not appear in any default summary reports in standard auditing tools, it’s quite easy to find. 

Run a standard crawl with your preferred technical SEO auditing tool. Make sure to crawl sitemaps as well as a standard spider crawl.Go to your canonical report and export all of the canonicalized URLs. Not the URLs the tool crawled, but what the URL in the canonical tag is. Run a new crawl with that URL list and look at the response codes report with this list of canonicals. All response codes should return a status 200 response code. 

Issue 2: Hacked pages

Hacked websites for profit is not a new topic. Most seasoned SEOs have come across websites that have been hacked somehow, and the hackers have conducted malicious activities to either cause harm or generate profit for another website.

Some common website hacking that happens in SEO includes:

Site search manipulation: This occurs when a website’s search pages are indexable. A malicious person then sends a ton of backlinks to their search results page with irrelevant searches. This is common with gambling and pharma search terms. 301 redirect manipulation: This happens when someone gains access to the site, creates pages relevant to their business and gets those indexed. Then they 301 redirect them to their own websites. Site takedowns: This is the most straightforward attack when a hacker manipulates your code to make your website unusable or at least non-indexable.

There are dozens of types of site hacking that can affect SEO, but what’s important is that you maintain proper site security and conduct daily backups of your website.

Why this matters

The most important reason that hacking is bad for your website is that if Google detects that your website might have malware or is conducting social engineering, you could receive a manual action. 

How to detect hacked pages

Luckily, there are many tools out there to not only mitigate hacking threats and attempts but there are also tools to detect if your website gets hacked. 

However, most of those tools only look for malware. Many hackers are good at covering their tracks, but there are ways to see if a website has been hacked in the past for financial gain.

Use Google Search Console

Check manual actions report. This will tell you if there are any current penalties against the site.Check the performance report. Look for any big spikes in performance. This can indicate when a change may have happened. Most importantly, check the URL list in the performance report. Hacked URLs can stick out! Many of them have irrelevant topics or may even be written in a different language.Check the coverage report. Look for any big changes in each sub-report here.

Check website login accounts

Take a look at all users to find any unusual accounts.If your website has an activity log, check for recent activity.Make sure all accounts have 2FA enabled. 

Use online scanning tools

Several tools will scan your website for malware, but that may not tell you if your website has been hacked in the past. A more thorough option would be to look at https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and scan all website admin email addresses. 

This website will tell you if those emails have been exposed to data breaches. Too many people use the same passwords for everything. It’s common for large organizations to use weak passwords, and your website can be vulnerable.

Issue 3: Identifying JS links

It’s well communicated from Google that they do not follow or crawl internal links generated by JavaScript.

By now, we’d think that our SEO auditing tools should be better at detecting internal links generated by JavaScript. Historically, we’ve had to rely on manually discovering JS links by clicking through websites or looking at link depths on reports.

Why this matters

Googlebot does not crawl JavaScript links on web pages. 

How to find JavaScript links at scale

While most SEO auditing tools can’t detect JavaScript links by default, we can make some slight configurations to help us out. Most common technical SEO auditing tools can provide us with custom search tools. 

Unfortunately, browsers don’t really display the original code in the DOM, so we can’t just search for “onclick” or anything simple like that. But there are a few common types of code that we can search for. Just make sure to manually verify that these actually are JS links.

<button>: Most developers use the button tag to trigger JS events. Don’t assume all buttons are JS links, but identifying these could help narrow down the issue.data-source: This pulls in a file to use the code to execute an action. It’s commonly used within the JS link and can help narrow down the issues..js: Much like the data-source attribute, some HTML tags will pull in an external JavaScript file to find directions to execute an action.

Issue 4: Content hidden by JavaScript

This is one of the most unfortunate issues websites fall victim to. They have so much fantastic content to share, but they want to consolidate it to display only when a user interacts with it. 

In general, it’s best practice to marry good content with good UX, but not if SEO suffers. There’s usually a workaround for issues like this. 

Why this matters

Google doesn’t actually click on anything on webpages. So if the content is hidden behind a user action and not present in the DOM, then Google won’t discover it. 

How to find content hidden by JavaScript

This can be a bit more tricky and requires a lot more manual review. Much like any technical audit generated from a tool, you need to manually verify all issues that have been found. The tips below must be manually verified.

To verify, all you need to do is check the DOM on the webpage and see if you can find any of the hidden content.

To find hidden content at scale:

Run a new crawl with custom search: Use the techniques I discussed in finding JS links. Check word counts at scale: Look through all pages with low word counts. See if it checks out or if the webpage looks like it should have a larger word count.

Growing beyond the tools

With experience, we learn to use tools as they are: tools.

Tools are not meant to drive our strategy but instead to help us find issues at scale. 

As you discover more uncommon issues like these, add them to your audit list and look for them in your future audits.

The post 4 technical SEO issues auditing tools won’t show you appeared first on Search Engine Land.

7 ways to increase sales by creating trust

Posted by on May 31, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 7 ways to increase sales by creating trust

7 ways to increase sales by creating trust

The key to converting a visitor into a client is trust. Even if your main product is not very exciting, it can be sold online when visitors know that you’re the best supplier. So, how do make sure your online WordPress or Shopify store looks trustworthy? We’ve compiled a list of seven tips for you to start with. Be sure to read on!

1. Use clear and ‘normal’ language

Speak the language of your audience. Chances are, your audience doesn’t understand complicated and highly specific jargon. That’s why it’s important to use a clear and direct writing style. Focus on providing solid arguments as to why their quality of life improves after buying your product. And above all: keep your audience in mind. When visitors read a text that is focused on them, they’ll know they’re in the right place. And this will understand create trust.

2. Testimonials create trust

Don’t brag about your products yourself. We understand that you’re a fan of your business, but it comes across as less trustworthy. Why? Because visitors know you’re biased. That’s why they are more likely to trust a testimonial written by an actual customer. If possible, list the name and company of the customer and, if they agree, use a picture of them.

A video testimonial is also great. Just make sure you include a written excerpt. This will allow visitors to read the testimonial even if they can’t turn on the sound. Anyone can learn how to create a video to promote your business.

Many sites use customer testimonial videos to create trust

Testimonials are a great way to create trust. But if they’re only on the testimonial page and nowhere else, chances are not a lot of people will find them. So put your testimonials on pages where people will easily find them! For example, on your landing pages and near call-to-actions. Even below your shopping cart would be a good spot. We suggest that you test for yourself which locations work best for your audience!

Visible ratings in search engines

Another great location to put reviews and ratings is the search results. People immediately see that your product is highly rated and therefore more trustworthy!

Example of 5-star review rich result for Fender bass guitar

Google can show these rich results if you add structured data to your site. But what is structured data? To keep it short and sweet: structured data is a piece of code in a specific format, written in such a way that search engines understand it. It might sound complicated, but don’t worry. The Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin and Yoast SEO for Shopify app automatically implements structured data for your online store, so that your products are eligible for rich results. You won’t have to do a thing!

3. Security seals

Google has made a clear case for secure websites in the past years. By investing in following the guidelines of the right verification companies, you show customers that your online store is trustworthy. However, anyone can create a security seal nowadays, so make sure you stick to the well-known companies. Their seals really do add value to your online WordPress or Shopify store.

Security seals can make potential buyers feel safer

Usually, the security seal comes with a link to a certificate. The certificate should be on the website of the company that verified your shop’s security. Even though not many people click the link, it’s advisable to add it anyway.

Sites that list these security seals also come with a nice lock icon in the address bar of your browser. Did you know you can actually click the lock icon for more information on a website’s security? It’s pretty similar per browser, but here’s what it could tell you about yoast.com:

4. Pictures

Too many companies and brands use (the same) stock photos. Now, we’re sure the model in the image is a very nice woman, but she doesn’t work at your company. Visitors might be thinking you have something to hide by using stock photos! Therefore, we recommend you use actual pictures of yourself and/or your employees. This will create trust.

Fun fact: this article from 2014 highlights The 5 Most Popular Stock Photo Personalities. We recommend you avoid these 🙂

If you use something like a live chat on your online store, the experience will definitely be enhanced by using an actual employer’s photo.

5. List your physical address

People want to know if there is a place they can visit in case they have any problems or questions. Simply put: it’s reassuring. Moreover, having an actual store in addition to an online store allows you to cater to a lot of potential customers. Especially if you have a lot of local customers. Some people prefer to pick up their purchases or window shop before they buy.

6. What happens after checkout?

If you’ve ever bought something online, you probably recognize that moment of hesitation right before you click the Pay Now button. You’re thinking: What happens now? Will I be charged for taxes or import costs? Can I select a wrapping paper? Remove these doubts by explaining what happens after your customers click the button. This ensures that your customers are included in the ordering process and that there are no surprises. This can be done with just a few short lines of text: “This order is 100% guaranteed. There will be no additional charges upon delivery.” A message like this will comfort a lot of your customers. And it’ll make it easier for them to complete the order.

7. Show you care about more than making money

The most important thing, however, is that your website reflects your belief in the product or service you provide. Tell your customers about your company, your main values or mission statement. Show them that you’re not just in it for the money.

At Yoast, we emphasize our enthusiasm for Open Source and WordPress by actively engaging in the community. For example, we regularly sponsor WordCamps and WP Meetups. In addition, we’re one of biggest core contributors to WordPress — we have a dedicated team on it! This not only shows that your company or brand is involved, but also creates a huge sympathy and trust factor.

On to you

Now it’s your turn! Before you get started, consider what you’ve already done to make your brand and website more trustworthy. Then, look at things to improve. Remember, it’s an ongoing process. You want to keep the information on your website up to date, so be sure to schedule in time to work on this topic. Good luck!

Read more: What is E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)? »

The post 7 ways to increase sales by creating trust appeared first on Yoast.

10 Best Project Management Certifications for 2022

Posted by on May 28, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Best Project Management Certifications for 2022

A project management certification is evidence of your ability to navigate, optimize, and guide various projects in a business environment from start to finish. As a project management professional, you’ll need to demonstrate exceptional agility, creativity, and adaptability in a range of environments and the right certification can help you build the necessary skills. To […]

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YouTube Ads: The Complete Beginners Guide For 2022

Posted by on May 27, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on YouTube Ads: The Complete Beginners Guide For 2022

YouTube has a powerful advertising platform you can use to reach the 2 billion monthly YouTube users. By creating YouTube video campaigns you can target users based on their interests, demographics, or life events to find the people who matter most to your business. In this beginners guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know […]

The post YouTube Ads: The Complete Beginners Guide For 2022 appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

3 content marketing strategies to support SEO success

Posted by on May 27, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 3 content marketing strategies to support SEO success

3 content marketing strategies to support SEO success

“When we think about [SEO] success, we often think about ranking on the first page of Google,” said Jon Lightfoot, founder and CEO of Strategic SEO Solutions, in a recent webinar. “But beyond ranking [at the top], there’s something more [important], which is ranking for the right keywords.”

Ranking for the topics your target audience is searching for doesn’t come from keyword stuffing or overemphasizing keyword density. Success in this area relies on crafting quality content that audiences love and search engines recognize as authoritative.

Here are three effective content strategies Lightfoot recommends marketers enact to support SEO success.

1. Identify user intent

“Intent is the purpose behind the [user’s] search,” Lightfoot said. “There are four buckets to understand and nurture when it comes to your strategy.”

The four areas of user intent he identified relate to specific content or services searchers are looking for. They are as follows:

Informational: Searchers looking for information, such as an answer to a question.Navigational: Users looking for a specific website.Commercial: People researching a product or service.Transactional: Those who are searching for products or services to purchase.

Source: Jon Lightfoot

“How do we harness this and use it in a way that’s effective for our companies? The first step is to perform keyword analysis,” he said. “The epicenter of this is understanding what people want to receive from these queries so you can then create the content that serves them.”

Analyzing keyword data to glean user intent means looking at more than just volume. It requires a thorough analysis of the types of content those words and phrases bring up in the search results and getting a sense of what audiences want from these searches.

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2. Prioritize content quality, not quantity

“If you rank at the top of search, that’s only part of the battle,” Lightfoot said. “The real battle is staying there. You have to be mindful of content quality signals.”

Metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on page, number of page views, while telling little by themselves, can give marketers more context into user behavior when analyzed together. They can show how engaged readers are with your content, letting you know which pieces need to be reworked or scrapped altogether.

“It’s about [optimizing] in a qualitative way so that we nurture the core metrics and Google rewards us by maintaining our rankings,” Lightfoot said.

Instead of focusing on pushing out loads of articles, marketers should spend more time improving the quality of the content they’re already producing. This means making the most important on-page elements as well-written and user-centric as possible.

Here’s how SEOs can improve the content quality in a few of these areas.

Page titles: Use target keywords in the title element, placing the primary terms in the front. Craft them in ways similar to competitors that are performing well in search.Heading tags: This element defines your page’s body text, so make it specific to that information. Internal linking: Use descriptive, keyword-rich anchor text to prompt readers to explore relevant pages on your site.

3. Focus on E-A-T through external linking and footnotes

E-A-T – building expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness – is going to come from not only the things you say but the areas that can support what you’re saying,” Lightfoot said. “If you use external linking to provide more information to users, it shows that what you’re saying is validated by other sources.”

“Linking to trustworthy sites proves your value and credentials,” he added.

Source: Jon Lightfoot

Linking to authoritative external sources shows readers you took the time to make your content the best it can be, especially when that content is linked with relevant anchor text. But more than that, this process helps improve your own content’s credentials.

Lightfoot also recommends providing additional information with footnotes, which many sites fail to include. Incorporating these resources adds more contextual content to your articles and shows that the data is coming from trustworthy sources.

Source: Jon Lightfoot

“Footnotes are great ways to fortify your content, building that expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and Google certainly celebrates it,” he said.

Watch this webinar presentation at Digital Marketing Depot.

The post 3 content marketing strategies to support SEO success appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Google Analytics 4 guide for PPC

Posted by on May 27, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Analytics 4 guide for PPC

Like many of you, the first time I looked at Google Analytics 4, I immediately closed it and said, “nope!”

A year passed. Then we learned that Universal Analytics was going away in 2023, which finally forced me to explore GA4.

It feels like going from Windows to Mac. You just have to know what you’re looking at.

Universal Analytics is going away

You really need to install GA4 on your website and set up goals.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to install GA4 now, even if you’re going to wait until July 2023 to fully learn how to use it.  

In July 2023, UA will go away. You will need to be able to compare year-over-year data. You can’t do that if you haven’t installed GA4 on your website this year.

You will have to export reports from UA and GA4 and somehow combine them. You can do that in Data Studio, but it is a huge hassle.

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GA4 uses an event-based model as opposed to the old session-based model that UA uses. This allows for a lot more data to be sent to your analytics.

The GA4 tag can send up to 25 event parameters. UA could only send four per event.

GA4 can have up to 500 distinctly named events. The 500 event limit is only for events you set up. This limit does not count toward GA4 events that come by default like page_view, click or video_start.  

I’m not going to go into detail on how to install GA4 because lots of people have already done that.

One thing you should do is turn on Enhanced Measurement.

You do that by going to Admin > Data Streams of the property you are working on. Click on the Web tab and make sure the slider for Enhanced measurement is on.

If you click on the gear icon on the far right you will see all the different things to measure like Scrolls and Outbound clicks.  

Setting up conversions

If you already have goals set up in Universal Analytics, Google has rolled out a tool to move your conversions over to GA4. If you don’t have this you will need to use Google Tag Manager to set up a Custom HTML tag to push your conversion data to the data layer.

Some plugins and third-party services may already do this for you. Once the events exist, all you have to do is go to the main menu and click on Configure and the first thing you will see is Events.

Always check here first when you want to create a conversion. What you want to count as conversion may already be in here. Just find your event and click the slider to activate. 

New concepts

One of the main concepts of GA4 is differentiating between user engagement and session engagement. The main difference is that user engagement statistics can span more than one session.

A session engagement includes data for each session. GA4 is all about engagement.

The biggest difference you will notice in GA4 is that the bounce rate is gone. It has been replaced with “Engaged Sessions.” A session is either engaged or not.

To be counted as engaged, the user must stay on the website for more than 10 seconds, trigger a conversion or have 2 or more page views.

Instead of Average Session Duration, we now have Average Engagement Time per Session. If what you are looking for is not available in GA4, and there are a lot of things not available, you can go to the Explore tab and create a custom report. Custom reports are a lot like Data Studio or the Analysis Hub in Universal Analytics. 

Google Ads

The first thing that you will notice in GA4 is that the menu on the left is much smaller and there are fewer sub menus and many things are missing or buried.

Another thing I noticed is that not all sections have the ability to change the time period you are viewing. Specifically, if you are running a custom report in the library, you can’t change the time period for that report.

The solution is to navigate to another section like the Report main menu that has the ability to change the time period. Then go back to your report and it will reflect the change. 

For paid search, we are missing the Google Ads section. The Google Ads section can be found in the Acquisition Overview submenu under Report > Acquisition on the second row, the third box on the bottom right.

One of the biggest problems with GA4 is that it no longer allows you to easily see reports that show tables that you can click on and drill down to see more detail. If you go to the Google Ads report that I mentioned above, it defaults to show statistics about your campaigns.

You can no longer click on them and see Ad Groups. You have to change the pull-down menu to see Ad Groups, Keywords or other Google Ads items. 

If you select Ad Groups it will just show you all Ad Groups. There is no way to see just Ad Groups from a specific campaign.

It is the same with any dimension you pick. If you want to filter the table there is a very simple search box at the top. It does not allow regex or have the nice visual filter that you have in Universal Analytics.

This functionality, or lack thereof, is on all table reports. You will notice that every table has a little blue plus sign that lets you add an additional dimension like browser or city.

For some reason, this is not available in the Google Ads report. To see this information you have to go over to Report > Acquisition > User Acquisition and look at the table on the second row of the report. You only have access to the Ad Groups dimension here. Now you can use the secondary dimension dropdown.

Advanced reporting is extremely limited

The default GA4 seems to be designed for novice users to get overview information quickly.

Many of the detailed reports that were easy to get to and easy to use are no longer available without advanced knowledge of GA4. The custom reports that you can build under the Explore menu are extremely powerful if you know how to set them up.

There is a gallery of pre-made reports, but not many at this time. Once GA4 has been around longer there will be more custom reports and articles on how to create specific reports.

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5 Types of Marketing Organization Structures That Will Fuel Your Growth

Posted by on May 27, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Types of Marketing Organization Structures That Will Fuel Your Growth

5 Types of Marketing Organization Structures That Will Fuel Your Growth

Successful marketing requires a focused strategy and an outstanding team to bring it all together. However, introducing an effective marketing organization structure can take your business to the next level.

With a solid marketing structure in place, your staff knows exactly what is expected of them. With everyone clear on their jobs and their roles in the company’s success, everything operates more smoothly, and it enables your team to work in unison.

However, not all business models are suitable for all companies. If you want to choose the right marketing organization structure, you need to know which type is best for your business.

How do you choose? Let’s talk about the five most common structures, how they work, and the pros and cons of each one.

What Is a Marketing Organizational Structure?

A marketing organizational structure is the setup of a company’s marketing department. It determines the leadership chain and sets out your business’s goals. It also defines employee roles, establishes employee structure, and organizes teams.

Organizational structures in marketing come in many shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: to create a system that enables the marketing department to function effectively and achieve its goals.

As Gartner’s Marketing Organization Survey 2020 notes, marketers are continuing to strive to create “more effective and responsive organizations” while minimizing disruption.

According to their research, 27 percent of marketers use functional marketing organization structures in their business.

Why a Marketing Organizational Structure Is Important

Setting up a structure benefits your company in multiple ways, empowering employers, allowing better focus, and enabling agility. Let’s look at this in more detail.

Improves Agility

Today’s businesses need to be agile. Agility is essential in fast-changing sectors, allowing your team to enhance efficiency, prioritize workloads, create relevant products, and allocate budgets more effectively. It also makes it easier to shift when technology, trends, or Google’s Algorithms change.

Agile marketing is increasing in areas like content creation and creative services, with 77 percent of businesses taking this approach.

Empowers Your Employees

If you want your business to succeed, you need the best people for the job. A functional marketing organization structure groups your team based on skills, ensuring you have the right person for each job and they have the support they need.

When employees are in positions that fit their skills and the support they need, they are empowered to succeed—which improves loyalty and your bottom line.

Improve Employee Focus

When employees have clear goals, it’s easier for them to concentrate on their tasks. When every employee on the marketing team is working with the same focus, it streamlines the process and enables collaboration.

Additionally, focus keeps team members engaged. This is crucial because, according to Gallup, engagement increases productivity by 18 percent. Further, it increases profitability by 23 percent, while decreasing absenteeism by 81 percent.

5 Types of Marketing Organizational Structures

There are several types of marketing organizational structures. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages, which we detail in this section. Keep in mind what works well for your business may not be suitable for someone else.

A company’s structure depends on its size, products, customers, and type. Below, we’ll cover the most common systems and who should consider using them.

1. Functional Marketing Organizational Structure

A functional marketing organizational structure describes a company’s design and is built around the marketing functions it has to perform. As detailed in the intro, research by Gartner shows 27 percent of marketers use this model.

The functional structure allows for clear communication and cooperation between different departments. It also makes it easy to identify and assign specific tasks to individual employees.

It looks like this:

This type of structure allows for greater specialization and expertise within the marketing function, leading to improved efficiency and effectiveness in marketing operations.

Amazon uses this structure for its e-commerce business because it’s well-suited to the sector. Additionally, the functional marketing organization structure is favored by larger organizations and is ideal for companies with a stable environment.

Despite the positives, this structure can lead to communication breakdowns, decreased creativity, and inflexibility. Additionally, it may be difficult to move people around within a functional frame, potentially impacting the company’s ability to respond quickly to market changes.

Finally, functional structures can be difficult to manage when a business grows too large.

2. Segmented Marketing Organizational Structure

Segmented marketing organizational structures allow firms to tailor their marketing efforts to specific customer segments. For each segment of customers, a different team is responsible for understanding their needs and creating tailored marketing programs.

The structure usually works well for companies with a large customer base and a complex sales process. Businesses can ensure customers are constantly engaged, and it allows the streamlining of communication between different departments.

Additionally, organizations using this model can decide how best to segment depending on their aims and the resulting customer insights.

Advantages of this model include:

Improved customer engagement due to increased focus.Improved communication and collaboration due to smaller, more focused teams.Increased efficiency due to specialization.The ability to spot new trends faster.Customer trust through relationship building.

However, this structure can also be costly because it requires multiple teams with different skills and knowledge.

3. Product Marketing Organizational Structure

Product marketing teams have a multitude of tasks, including target audience research, content marketing, and analytics. Then there are co-branding partnerships to consider, with research showing 71 percent of consumers enjoy multiple brands working together to make a unique product.

With so much going on, what’s the best way to coordinate? By introducing a product marketing organization structure.

In this model, each group has its team of marketers responsible for developing and executing the marketing strategy for their specific product line. A product marketing organizational structure is the preferred model for businesses with different lines of products/services and looks like this:

This model allows organizations to respond to changing trends and meet customer needs while concentrating on targeted market sectors.

However, it can be difficult to track and measure the effectiveness of the marketing activities due to a lack of central control and duplicate roles in different divisions. To work around this challenge, businesses may consider grouping similar products together.

4. Digital Marketing Organizational Structure

A digital marketing organizational structure is essential for any company looking to create an online presence. If your business has a dedicated team to handle all digital marketing tasks, you can make and implement a cohesive strategy to reach your target audience.

The structure of a digital marketing department varies by company size but often includes a mix of people with various backgrounds and skillsets.

With a digital marketing organization structure, the company can have specialized teams that focus on different aspects of digital marketing, such as search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine advertising (PPC), graphic design, and content marketing.

This specialization allows each team to become an expert in their area of focus, which leads to better results for the company.

Depending on which model you use, your structure might look like this:

You might also choose to have different organizations for paid versus organic, social versus content, and so forth.

5. Hybrid Marketing Organizational Structure

In today’s business world, companies need to adapt to the ever-changing market. One way to do this is through a hybrid or matrix marketing organizational structure. This structure allows companies to have the best of both worlds by combining the advantages of both functional and divisional systems.

Both of these structures have their advantages. For instance, a functional structure works on a centralized basis, with each department reporting to a single leader. This allows for better communication and coordination between departments.

By contrast, a divisional structure is centralized, with each department having its own head and reports to a different leader. This allows for more local decision-making but can lead to duplication of efforts and coordination problems between departments.

In practice, your hybrid/matrix marketing organizational structure might look something like this:

The flexibility of the hybrid model means it’s enormously popular among businesses, with 72 percent of employees working in matrixed teams.

A big advantage of a hybrid marketing organization is they tend to be more responsive to changes in the market. Because it is flexible, it can quickly adapt to new conditions.

However, a hybrid structure can lead to conflict between departments or divisions, and it’s sometimes hard for departments to coordinate. Gallup’s research also uncovered a lot of overwhelm with the hybrid model, with 45 percent of employees saying they spend most of their day responding to requests from coworkers.

Companies often use the hybrid model in dynamic environments which move from project to project.

More Tips to Pick an Organizational Structure

The market organizational structures listed above are among the most popular, but there are more you could choose from.

For instance, a linear organization structure is a management style where all employees and managers report to one boss.

This type of organization is common in small businesses and marketing organizations. The linear organization structure is easy to understand and can be effective when the company is small, and everyone reports to the same person.

In a marketing firm, you can use the linear form to control the flow of information from the top down. However, this can also be limiting because it does not allow for horizontal communication among employees.

Finally, projectized organization structures are organizational structures in which specific, temporary projects are given to their departments that report directly to top management. In businesses with high fluctuation in workloads, this type of structure makes it possible to quickly set up and disband project-specific teams as needed.

A typical projectized organizational structure would look something like this:

When choosing an organizational structure, think about both your current needs and your future needs. If you plan to launch several products in the next year, for example, it makes sense to create a product-based marketing structure from the start.

Marketing Organization Structures Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best marketing organizational structure for small businesses?

Each business works differently, meaning which system works well for one may not work for another. The linear structure, which has one leader, is the most common. You could choose from several types, including functional, matrix, or divisional.

What is the best marketing organizational structure for B2B businesses?

To keep things simple, consulting firm the Pedowitz Group suggests a basic structure for a B2B marketing organization structure to focus on tasks like content and digital services, digital demand generation, and reporting to a CMO. There is no “one size fits all” structure for a business: you need to begin by looking at your business’s overall aims and current strategy. To guide you, the Edward Lowe Foundation has some great tips.

What is the simplest marketing organizational structure?

The linear structure is the most basic model and the functional structure is the most common and also easy to implement.

How long does it take to set up a marketing organizational structure?

It varies depending on the size of your business, the type of structure you go with, your goals, and your current strategy. It can take weeks or months to get it right, and then you need to review your structure regularly to make sure it works for your goals.

Should I consider freelancers and contractors in my marketing organizational structure?

Yes, consider all options when structuring your team. This includes both freelancers and contractors. Freelancers can be an excellent option for short-term projects or for filling gaps in your team’s skill set. Contractors can be a good option for long-term projects.

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Conclusion: Marketing Organization Structures That Fuel Growth

The structure of an organization’s marketing department can significantly impact its overall performance.

The best structure for your business will depend on the products or services you offer, the size of your company, and your geographical location.

Companies should carefully evaluate their options and select the format most likely to lead to success.

Popular choices include the foundational structure, product-based, or a divisional model. Alternatively, you might want to adopt a hybrid model to cater to today’s hybrid consumers.

Do you use a marketing organization structure? Which model works best for you?

SEO reporting to impress: How to successfully report your SEO process, efforts and result

Posted by on May 26, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO reporting to impress: How to successfully report your SEO process, efforts and result

None of us have likely become an SEO for the love of reporting, in fact, it’s among the least favorite activities for many SEOs based on a poll I did a while ago.  

However, decision-makers care a lot about reporting as it’s how we communicate and they assess the SEO process investment and overall success. In fact, the effectiveness of SEO reports can end up being the difference between getting fired rather than more SEO support or a raise by decision-makers. 

Despite this, many SEO reports are broken as they’re just a compilation of dashboards automated via tools featuring SEO metrics. I asked over Twitter and 41% of SEOs who answered said to only use a dashboard with data for SEO reporting. 

Data from our SEO dashboards can be included in reports but they can’t replace them as a whole: an SEO dashboard is a visualization resource that contains the most important, latest status of all metrics we want to follow up from our SEO process, to easily monitor its progress at any time. 

On the other hand, an SEO report is a document featuring a collection of key performance indicators from a certain time period along with an analysis and conclusions, to be used for periodic analysis and assessment of the SEO process towards the achievement of its goals.

Using only automated SEO dashboards as reports can end up harming more than helping. They are filled with information that the audience – often non-technical stakeholders or decision-makers – won’t understand or care about, with no prioritization, insights, analysis, or outcome actions. This only generates more questions than providing answers. 

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Even personalized SEO dashboards can’t achieve all SEO reporting goals – especially taking into consideration that a high share SEOs don’t always present their reports which are the following: 

Communicate SEO results: The SEO process evolution towards the established goals (what has been achieved vs. what was expected?)Explain the cause of SEO results: Why the different areas are or aren’t evolving as expected. Drive actions to achieve SEO results: Establish SEO-related activities and request support for the next steps to achieve goals. 

The biggest challenge to developing personalized SEO reports is caused by timing restrictions as we tend to feel the pressure to develop reports fast to get back to “SEO execution,” but SEO reporting is also in most cases only a monthly effort too. 

Ready to help effectively tackle your SEO reporting goals while accelerating the process? Here are three principles to follow.

1. Use only meaningful KPIs that communicate your results 

Cut the noise and minimize doubts with the data you include in SEO reports.

Avoid using confusing proprietary metrics, as they’re unreliable and difficult to connect with your actual SEO goals.

Don’t add everything you monitor to reports either, only Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that show the progress towards those SEO goals the audience is actually interested in.  

This is why the KPIs to include in each case should be personalized based on the audience profile and interests: the SEO related goals the CEO and CMO care about will be different (eg. SEO activities ROI, revenue and organic search market share) than those the head of SEO is interested in following up with (eg. SEO activities ROI, revenue and organic search market share along with other more technical related ones like non-branded commercial search traffic growth, top-ranked targeted queries, key pages crawlability and indexability, etc.).

Because of this, the KPIs used in the reports targeted to the former will be different than the latter, as well as the metrics to calculate them. 

Here are a few steps and criteria to help you select relevant KPIs to include in your SEO reports: 

Start by establishing your SEO reports audience: Who will you report? Each audience will want to answer different questions about the SEO process’s progress. Ask each stakeholder about the SEO goals achievement they want to be informed of. Make sure these are actual goals that have been set for the SEO process and there are actions to be executed that are connected to their achievement.These should be “SMARTER” SEO goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound, evaluated, reviewed), connecting SEO efforts with business objectives. Depending on the stakeholder role, they can be operational or business-related: Agree on which goals progress questions should be answered with SEO reports. Once you have these questions, it will be easier to establish the KPIs to report, as well as the metrics to obtain and measure to calculate the KPIs. If you can’t establish meaningful metrics to calculate KPIs and answer goal progress questions, then the goal might not be a SMARTER one.  Ensure metrics data sources are reliable and stakeholders trust them and establish a couple of methods to gather the same data for consistency check. If it’s difficult to ensure accuracy for some KPIs, ensure precision (its consistency over time).  Confirm the scope, frequency and format to present the SEO report to ensure you use a medium to facilitate its consumption (Google Slides, Google Docs, etc.). Set expectations about timing to avoid unnecessarily too-frequent reporting (e.g., there’s no point in doing weekly reports if there won’t be meaningful changes during this period due to SEO nature and frequency of releases). 

You now have the input needed to start collecting data and putting SEO reports together with only relevant KPIs for each audience and their understanding metrics. Here’s a Google sheet version of the SEO report Planner for using meaningful KPIs to facilitate this process further: 

2. Ensure clear KPIs presentation to facilitate progress understanding 

Your SEO reports KPI presentation efforts shouldn’t be about “creating a pretty document with beautiful charts” but about making the featured data easy to understand and achieving SEO reporting communication goals.

Sometimes a simpler scorecard will make it easier to understand goals achievement than a fancy time series. 

This is why it’s fundamental to follow certain data presentation and visualization best practices when selecting how to feature your KPIs:  

Identify the best data visualization format for each KPI by asking a few questions, as described here and here, the most important being: What’s the story your data is trying to deliver?Who will you present your results to?How many data categories and points do you have?Should you display values over time or among groups?Test with real data to see if each KPI goal progress question can be answered.Communicate one major KPI in each chart to avoid confusing the audience.Remove pointless decorations and chart information that won’t help to answer the relevant KPI goal question.Add the relevant data source to each chart to establish trust and avoid potential doubts.Always label chart elements clearly and directly to facilitate fast understanding.Add the question to be answered with each KPI as a chart headline to facilitate storytelling.Use color with intent to facilitate KPIs progression understanding.

Here’s a Google Sheet checklist for KPIs clear data presentation that you can use to facilitate your decision-making process: 

3. Leverage data storytelling to explain and drive action with your SEO reports

Data storytelling creates compelling narratives to help audiences understand and drive action from your data analysis.

As explained by PPCexpo, stories attract and maintain people’s attention for longer, numbers without stories can quickly become boring, and stories communicate insights with higher clarity. As a consequence, storytelling should help to communicate the value of the data you’re showing. 

However, it’s fundamental to avoid misrepresenting the data and bringing it to the wrong conclusions when leveraging storytelling.

For this, it’s recommended to avoid cherry-picking data or manipulating scale. Always show the whole picture, giving full visual context and keeping visuals and language consistent across the report. 

SEO reporting storytelling should explain and drive action from the data without misleading. Even if the results are not positive, otherwise, you will lose trust. 

For this, craft a compelling narrative for each KPI using the three-act structure, asking the following questions: 

Setup: What happened? Describe “what happened” with each KPI result vs. expected goal progress, taking the audience into account. Conflict: Why did it happen? Explain the why behind the result, whether positive or negative and describe the cause of the resultsResolution: How to proceed? What to do next to achieve the expected goal given the current results? Summarize top-recommended actions

Then to effectively structure your SEO report: 

Include a page or slide per KPI by organizing the pages to begin with, the most important KPIs to the audience.Add a data appendix at the end with additional evidence to refer to from the KPIs pages.Include an executive summary at the start, highlighting the main KPIs results and actions: It should be concise but include enough to stand by itself as a report overview. 

It’s also important to remember that there’s nothing like presenting the SEO report yourself to facilitate understanding and get feedback to improve. 

SEO reporting is critical for SEO success, and you should prioritize it accordingly. I hope these principles, guidelines and templates can help you with it as they’ve helped me.  

The post SEO reporting to impress: How to successfully report your SEO process, efforts and result appeared first on Search Engine Land.

9 ways to become an SEO problem-solver

Posted by on May 26, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 9 ways to become an SEO problem-solver

SEO is a big thing. Yes, it is made up of a lot of small things. Some connected, some not.

We’d all love to stay on track, on plan and have everything go smoothly.

But the reality is that, at some point, something won’t perform as expected or a resource won’t come through.

That’s why, to some degree, SEO is based on problem-solving as a whole.

We have to be ready for those situations and know what to do because SEO roadblocks and challenges are inevitable.

Some SEOs are great strategists, others great implementers. Few excel at both. Everyone has different strengths and levels of idea generation, strategy development and tactical implementation disciplines.

With so many stakeholders and variables involved in SEO, what does it takes to be a successful SEO problem-solver? Here are nine ways to become an SEO problem-solver.

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1. Understand your stakeholders (all of them)

SEO success (fair or not) is often judged by non-SEOs and, at the same time, can be held back or negatively impacted by others as well.

Problem-solving gets easier when you already know the expectations, identify possible roadblocks in advance and have a full context. Whether it is company politics, differing levels of understanding of SEO subject matter, or wildly different expectations for performance and timing, you need to know all the players and assess what challenges might be ahead.

The more you can manage the stakeholder mix and expectations, the easier it will be to troubleshoot issues or to go down the right path when they happen. And yes, that’s a “when,” not an “if.” I’m not being snarky, but nothing ever goes according to plan.

2. Set up roles and communication plans

Beyond the full set of stakeholders, there are distinct people who you work with. That may include people on your team, within your agency, within your department and/or other functions whether agency-side or client-side.

You will need others to be successful unless you have the skills and roles beyond SEO of writer, designer, developer and approver.

Establish clear roles and responsibilities. Know who your go-to people are for the different functions you need. Learn their processes and sync them up with yours.

Understand lead times and turnaround times. Make sure they know that unplanned requests and things will happen.

Make it crystal clear what you know you need and what you might need, and how timing and responsiveness will impact SEO performance. Build allies and include them in your problem-solving and troubleshooting process and work to gain as much agility with resources that you can.

3. Maintain baselines and goals

You want to have as much objectivity and cause and effect as you can in any SEO effort.

There are so many misunderstood and gray areas that, without baselines and goals of where the effort is going, you can get way off track with resources, why something isn’t going according to plan, and more.

There are often many ways to accomplish your goals. We can get lost down a rabbit hole on a technical issue if we can’t tie it back to a baseline or impact on a goal.

We also can take a step back and reprioritize our efforts when we receive resistance or a roadblock if we find out that a dev update to resolve a technical issue might take six months.

4. Leverage your strategy and plan

First, I hope you have a defined strategy and plan. If you don’t have it or your baselines and goals (noted above), take a step back and work on this. Otherwise, it is hard to be proactive and lead in the SEO effort as you’ll always chase down issues.

With your strategy and plan, you can further build on the objective aspects of the campaign or cause that your baselines and goals help with.

As I noted in the intro, SEOs can be great at big picture strategy, some at detailed implementation, and many have a range of experience and favorite parts (technical vs. content, etc.).

Unification around a strategy and plan will allow you to know how hard to push for a specific fix versus moving on to bigger impact items. However, it allows you to adjust expectations. If the content writer or approval process is booked for months out, you can raise the red flag about how that will cause a change in the plan and expected timing and what that might do to push results further out.

Using your plan and any changes that come to manage expectations will help you get resources or engage others who can help you.

5. Go off-script and be agile

Even with the best plan and all the resources you could want at your disposal, things often play out in different ways that we project or anticipate. Sure, we work through all of the title and meta description tags and they are “perfectly” optimized. Yet we might find that there are issues that remain with duplicate tags or how they are being indexed.

Should we check off the box and move on? Should we do another round of optimization? Should we start doing other things in the plan in parallel? Do we need to get a developer or copywriter involved?

Again, things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes we have to double down in certain areas.

Finding the right balance of adjusting the plan and being agile while you go versus sticking to the plan is probably the most important troubleshooting or problem-solving ability that an SEO can have.

6. Develop technical skills and/or resources

Knowing the “what” and “why” of an SEO issue is powerful. This is a step beyond being able to rely on tools or performance issues as indicators that something is not performing according to expectations.

If you can dig into the XML sitemap, robots.txt, HTML code or other related factors yourself to get to the root of the problem, you can get deeper into problem-solving directly.

At a minimum level, you need to be able to quarterback a situation by bringing your resources together. However, with the ability to solve issues yourself or speak the same language and be highly prescriptive and direct with your resources, you’ll have a better chance of getting a resolution to your satisfaction and hopefully quicker.

7. Have content backup plans

One of the top reasons plans and performance get off track: not getting the quality and volume of content needed.

I don’t know many SEOs who still are writing or making content edits. In most cases, SEOs rely on a client, another resource, or a partner responsible for writing and producing content. In some industries, this is also shaped by legal and compliance requirements.

Content resources can get booked up even if you have a content calendar and needs established.

What happens when your content resource is unavailable or gets off track from the initial plan? Do you have backup resources? Do you go deeper into technical and off-page optimization to compensate?

It is one thing to be a problem-solver when content isn’t performing. It is another when you can’t get the content you need.

8. Be patient, but don’t wait

Be a team player and respectful of your partners and resources you collaborate with.

Pushing too much and/or not being tactful won’t help your cause. Give some grace and have patience, but also don’t wait.

If you’re stuck on content (per the section above), or a dev edit, or a technical update or on any specific resources beyond your control, find ways to move things around in the plan.

You can always prioritize link building, tag updates, or some other type of audit or update to keep things moving forward.

It might take some creativity, but don’t sit idle while waiting on others. Keep moving something forward.

9. See roadblocks as opportunities

My tone has probably been pretty strong because there will be challenges, roadblocks and things to troubleshoot. That’s the nature of SEO and the web in general.

A problem-solver mentality is important.

Accepting this reality and being positive in the face of adversity, being a realist and getting others on board with this reality are critical.

SEO is hard for everyone. We’re trying to be the best possible with our website and strategy.

If it were easy, everyone would be good at it, and we’d have a different set of problems.

The post 9 ways to become an SEO problem-solver appeared first on Search Engine Land.

25 Ways To Drive More E-commerce Store Traffic Without Buying Ads

Posted by on May 26, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 25 Ways To Drive More E-commerce Store Traffic Without Buying Ads

25 Ways To Drive More E-commerce Store Traffic Without Buying Ads

It’s no secret that e-commerce is here to stay.

With more consumers shopping online than ever before, retailers must work hard to get noticed.

What if you don’t have the budget for ads? Are you doomed to fade into the online abyss?

Absolutely not.

Over half of consumers prefer to shop online. Great news for online retailers like you, right?

With the growth of online marketplaces and hoards of choices available to consumers, it’s tough to get the attention you need to drive traffic and revenue.

Today, I’ll share 25 e-commerce tips to get more visitors to your site—without spending a dime on paid ads.

Best of all, many of these tips are easier to implement than you might think.

What Are the Benefits of Using Non-Paid Strategies to Increase E-Commerce Website Traffic?

Many marketers focus on paid e-commerce strategy because they think it’s the only way to outshine the big brands, but that isn’t always the case.

With 95 percent of website traffic hitting the first page of Google, all the traffic you could hope for is there, waiting.

One of the most obvious benefits of non-paid e-commerce strategies is you don’t need to invest money to drive traffic. You’re not trading dollar-for-dollar; instead, you’re trading time or resources for sales.

Another benefit is focusing on non-paid traffic means building a better, easier-to-use website. According to a study done by Amazon Web Services, 88 percent of online shoppers won’t return to a site they had a bad experience on.

With all the options for e-commerce shopping, why would they?

We’re completely inundated with options. The threshold for mistakes and user experience problems is getting lower and lower.

Finally, thinking outside the box helps build a real business with long-term potential.With paid ads, as soon as you turn off your budget, your traffic will plummet.

SEO, email marketing, and on-page experience are long-term strategies that pay off over time.

25 E-Commerce Strategies to Drive Traffic (Without Paying for Ads!)

Overall e-commerce sales have grown steadily year after year and show no sign of slowing down. By 2025, e-commerce sales could hit nearly 7,400 billion dollars. If you’re having trouble getting the traffic you want, there are tons of opportunities to get a piece of the pie.

Here are some e-commerce tips you can implement today to get more traffic to your site.

1. Start a Referral Program

Leads that come from referrals convert at a 30 percent higher rate than any other marketing method. If you don’t have a referral program for your e-commerce store, it’s never too late to get started.

Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be elaborate.

Take GetResponse, for example. You get a $30 account credit for every person you refer to the software.

Offer something of value to existing customers for every customer they bring to you; it’s as simple as that!

To get started, find a referral program platform, then use these tips to drive sign-ups.

2. Build Out Your Blog

Google controls more than 92 percent of the search market, which means if you want traffic, you need to invest in SEO. Investing in a blog and delivering valuable content is one of the best e-commerce tips I can offer.

Start producing content regularly whether you have to hire someone or write everything yourself. I’m definitive proof that this strategy works.

If you don’t currently have a blog on your e-commerce website, starting one is easy. Most e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify have built-in blogging templates to help you get started.

3. Improve the On-Page Experience

Google makes it crystal clear that the on-page experience is one of the most important factors they look at when determining whether a site should rank.

On-page experience refers to (but is not limited to):

core web vitalsmobile optimizationuser-friendliness

To use these e-commerce tips, start by running the reports linked above. Google will offer you tips and strategies to improve your on-page experience.

Improving these factors helps increase your e-commerce traffic because your site looks better in Google’s eyes, and it’s easier for users to navigate, which keeps them coming back.

4. Build an Email List

Repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new customers—and one of the best ways to bring them back is by building an email list.

Why?

You’ve already established trust with them, and they know what you have to offer.

Take a look at this example from Birchbox:

Offering a unique promo code encourages customers to return and makes the offer feel exclusive and like they’re getting something that isn’t available to everyone.

To build an email list, try these strategies:

Offer a small discount (10 to 15 percent) for users that sign up for your email list.Make your list feel exclusive by promoting new products only in your email list.Post teasers about an upcoming email announcement on social media to encourage followers to sign up.

5. Retarget Email Subscribers

Once you’ve built out an email list, you’ll want to retarget users based on onsite behavior. Retargeting, in this case, means sending an email to someone who has shown interest in your business but didn’t take the action you were hoping for. (It can also be used for paid ads, but in this case, we’re covering non-paid strategies.)

Abandoned cart emails are one of the most effective ways to leverage email retargeting. In fact, they’re responsible for recovering nearly 30 percent of abandoned carts.

You can also send current customers suggested products related to a previous purchase. As we already covered, it’s easier to go after customers you already have than find new ones.

Here’s a quick guide to retargeting your email subscribers:

Look for ways to retarget users in your email marketing platform. For example, MailChimp has a retargeting email guide that walks its users through the process.Implement the easiest retargeting campaigns first. Generally, abandoned cart emails and recommended products are easy wins.Test other retargeting campaigns to see what works. For example, ask for reviews a week or so after purchase or suggest a new collection.

6. Optimize Your CTAs

Only around two percent of your web traffic will convert on the first visit, so capturing email addresses through your CTAs is crucial.

You need to experiment a bit to see what works. Even something as simple as the color of your CTA button can make a difference.

For example, Performable found that switching their CTA button from green to red boosted their conversion rate by 21 percent.

Try different CTA buttons and phrasing to see what works and test them side-by-side using A/B testing.

Don’t stop at colors, though. You can also test your CTA’s:

copyplacementfont type/sizeincluding imageslanding pageOffer

7. Improve Your Checkout Process

Nearly 70 percent of people abandon their cart. This can be due to hidden fees, shipping costs, too many steps, and a poor overall experience. The best e-commerce tips build on what you’re already doing, and the checkout process is a great place to start.

While people are more comfortable than ever shopping online, they also have high expectations for the process. How do you improve the process? Here are a few tips:

Get rid of hidden fees and be upfront about pricing.Share shipping fees early in the process.Limit the number of clicks to convert.

Scandiweb did a great case study of the steps to improve their checkout experience. You don’t need to go nearly this far, but it’s a smart e-commerce strategy to implement no matter how big or small you decide to make it.

8. Develop a Rewards Program

A white paper by Altfeld shows that when selling to an existing customer, the probability of closing that sale is as high as 70 percent.

What’s the most effective way to bring customers back? Loyalty programs!

Rewarding customers for returning and doing business with you again is a brilliant and timeless strategy.

Take Sephora for example.

For every dollar spent, you earn one dollar in rewards. The more you spend, the more rewards you’re eligible for, including discounts and free shipping. It’s so simple when it’s broken down this way, but the hard part is coming up with a smart rewards program.

To set up an effective rewards program, you’ll want to:

See what your most profitable customers have in common (location, products, interests, etc.)Look at data to see what drives purchases. This will help you set up a reward program. Do they like free shipping? Discounts? Access to new product lines early? Use a survey to ask customers if you aren’t sure.Look for e-commerce reward and loyalty tools and plugins to implement your program.

9. Add Internal Links to Your Site

I’ve mentioned SEO already, but this step focuses on internal linking within your e-commerce website. How can this improve e-commerce traffic?

Sites without proper internal linking don’t rank as high as those with a solid link-building strategy.

By creating a web of links on your site, you’re telling Google that you are an excellent resource for what people want to buy and you’re a wealth of knowledge in whatever niche it is you sell in. That will improve the user experience while also improving your worth to Google.

Here are a few tips for adding internal links:

Identify hub pages—these are important pages you know your users want to see. Add links where it makes sense that point to these pages.Link to related products on your product pages. If you sell tents, link to other camping gear, for example.Use “breadcrumbs” in the navigation to help users quickly navigate back to core pages.Use easy-to-understand anchor text, like this: Here’s more information about internal linking best practices. It’s clear what you’ll get if you click the highlighted text.

10. Get Active on Social Media

Ninety-one percent of people read at least one review before making a purchase. Where is a great place to get a lot of customer reviews?

Social media, of course.

Are you using social media to drive traffic to your e-commerce store?

Are you using it as a place for customers to land if they have something positive or negative to say about your business?

You should be doing both things because it helps show customers that you’re a real business with real people and not just some brand.

Here’s how to build a social media strategy for your e-commerce business.

11. Incorporate Chat on Your Website

You need to be there for your customers. Sixty percent of people want to connect with someone during the sales process.

Remember that one time you were in a brick and mortar and wanted help finding something, but you walked around and couldn’t find anyone to help you?

How did that make you feel? Unimportant?

As people turn to e-commerce, they expect to have the same customer service experience they get in person. That means you need to be available to answer questions and assist throughout the sales process.

There are plenty of live chat software to make this process simple. Leveraging chatbot automation, which answers common questions before connecting users to a live person, can also make it more affordable.

12. Focus on Value Upfront

Your e-commerce strategy cannot revolve around you asking your customers to do things without making them feel like they’re getting the most for their time and money.

A great example of this is email marketing. We all know we need a lead magnet if we expect anyone to give us their email, right?

We’re getting to a point where just offering a product isn’t enough to make a sale.

You need to offer free shipping, free trials, fast shipping, bonus offers, and handwritten letters to drive sales.

Whatever you decide to offer, make sure it’s clear what you’re offering upfront so people can see the value before they click to buy.

This also extends to other areas of your site, such as:

product pageslanding pagesCTAssocial media posts

13. Improve Your Product Pages By Focusing on Benefits not Features

You could be losing a lot of money due to poor product descriptions.

Want to know an easy fix?

As you write about a feature, think about the benefit for customers and center that in your copy.

Look at this example from Gillette:

Every feature is tied to a benefit.

They don’t just explain what it does. It’s a razor, we know what it does, but they explain how it will make you feel.

Here are a few other ways to improve your product pages:

Cut the clutter so users can easily focus on what matters.Use clear, concise calls to action to tell visitors what to do next.Check your page speed.Use high-quality product photos.Add social proof to build customer confidence.

14. Implement Video

Eighty-seven percent of video marketers say that video helped increase e-commerce traffic to their website.

I could do an entire guide on video e-commerce tips because that’s how important it is right now.

If you’re not embedding videos into your product pages, you’ll want to start right now.

15. Add User-Generated Content

As much as 80 percent of people say user-generated content impacts their purchasing decision.

User-generated content can be as simple as taking an image of a product in use that a reviewer left and putting it on your website.

People are more likely to trust you when they see other people enjoy your products. Here are a few other ways to leverage UGC:

Add reviews to product pages.Create a branded hashtag and ask users to share their favorite products.Embed product pictures from users at the bottom of your website.

16. Understand Customer Personas

If you don’t know what a customer persona is, you could miss out on one of the simplest e-commerce tips.

What is a buyer persona?

It’s essentially a representation of your customer. What do they do? How do they act? How do they think? What makes them click?

If you don’t have a specific avatar that you’re marketing to in your e-commerce business, you’re potentially leaving money on the table.

17. Use Trust Signals

According to TrustedSite, lack of business legitimacy causes 50 percent of cart abandonments.

What are we talking about when we say legitimacy?

Trust.

As someone works through the purchase process, they might start to feel uneasy. Are you a real site, or a scam? Is the quality going to match their expectations?

How do you avoid mistrust?

Add trust signals to the process. These include:

badgesthird-party verificationscustomer reviewstestimonialsHTTP

Adding a video of yourself or someone in the business is another great way to show customers you’re a real business.

18. Offer Free Shipping

Here’s a stat that could drastically change your e-commerce revenue: 66 percent of consumers expect free shipping on every single online purchase.

These people expect you to pay the cost of shipping their products no matter how much they spend. You can thank Amazon for that.

That said, offering free shipping isn’t the revenue buster you think. As an added bonus, if you do everything else right on this list, you’ve likely secured yourself that customer.

There are a few ways to make free shipping work for you:

Up your prices to cover the shipping cost, then make it “free.”Offer free shipping as a loyalty program reward.Ask for an email address in exchange for free shipping.Offer free shipping only for purchases over a certain amount.

19. Keep User Data Safe (and Make Sure Your Customers Know It)

This e-commerce tip goes hand-in-hand with trust signals, but it’s important on its own.

E-commerce sites collect a lot of data about their customers, including onsite actions, banking or card information, addresses, and potentially even social security numbers on your website.

What are you doing to protect this information?

Here are a few ways to keep your customer’s information safe:

have an SSL certificatetrack all ordersrequire strong passwordsmake sure your data storage is encrypted

Make sure you let your customers know that you’re doing all of this. When asking them to input sensitive information, include all the steps you take to protect their data.

20. Use Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when you pair up with another brand or influencer to help them promote your products.

We see this frequently on platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram.

With the influencer marketing market growing to 16.4 billion in 2022, the potential is there.

Start reaching out to influencers in your niche and see if they sell endorsements. Send them free products to test out.

Dan-Os Seasoning is a great success story on TikTok, and now influencers all over the platform are using it in their cooking videos.

21. Research, Test, and Pivot

At this point, you’ve read through 20 e-commerce tips; all of which will help you drive more traffic to your site and convert at a higher rate.

If you want to succeed, you need to implement these strategies. However, not all strategies will work for every brand. Or they might work, but with a different approach.

For example, an e-commerce fashion website might get better results using influencers than a B2B manufacturing e-commerce company.

The only way to know is to research, test, and pivot. If something doesn’t work for your audience, try something new. It’s the only way to keep growing.

22. Create a Sense of Urgency

Visitors who leave your site without purchasing rarely complete the sale.

Urgency offers a compelling reason to complete the purchase now.

Maybe it’s “Act now! Quantities are low!” or “Buy now for free shipping!” or “This is a limited time offer!”

You can approach it from various angles, as long as the feeling of “don’t miss out on this” is created with your visitor.

Look at this example from American Apparel:

Right there in red font, they warn shoppers that they are about to run out of this item.

There are so many ways to create urgency through exclusivity and FOMO, including:

Use popups to show other users who have made purchases.Send “last chance” emails.Add a shopping cart timer.Display limited stock (like American apparel.)

23. Upsell the Customers You Have

Many smaller e-commerce stores ignore one of their arsenal’s most accessible selling weapons: upselling.

There is a false impression that it isn’t worth the effort, but that’s not the case.

Upselling can increase average order value, which adds up over time.

The very first year that Amazon tested upselling on their platform, they increased sales by 35 percent.

Here are a few ways to increase upsells:

offer related product sections on product pages.suggest products on the checkout page.offer free shipping for orders over a specific amount, say $25 or $50

24. Launch New Products

According to Nielsen, 63 percent of buyers like it when manufacturers offer new products. What does this mean for you as an e-commerce store owner?

You need to launch new products and make innovations in your industry regularly. The best e-commerce tip I can offer you is to focus on making a difference for people.

See what the competition is doing and figure out ways that you can take it to the next level.

If you don’t manufacture your products, there are still ways to innovate.

For example, if you’re selling home improvement products, perhaps you could find a way to bundle multiple items together? You could even create a bundle subscription box.

25. Spend Your Money Elsewhere

While this whole list of e-commerce tips focuses on how “not” to spend money, perhaps you could take whatever you would spend on paid ads and spend it somewhere else.

Spend it on outsourcing high-quality blog content, SEO strategy, or influencer marketing.

Every business should have a marketing budget regardless of how big or small it is. If you’re currently spending money on paid ads, think about what else you could do with that budget and experiment with other paid options.

E-Commerce Tips Frequently Asked Questions

How can I increase my e-commerce website traffic quickly?

Social media and influencer marketing are the two fastest ways to get more e-commerce traffic. Other methods like SEO are more of a long-term solution.

What percent of my e-commerce traffic should be from non-paid sources?

In years past, organic traffic had some of the highest rates of conversion simply because people are finding you naturally. This means you’re likely a solution to a problem the visitor has. It’s tough to put an exact number on this though because every business is different. However, you can succeed with nothing but paid traffic if your strategy allows for it.

How do I track my e-commerce website's traffic?

There are many ways to track e-commerce traffic. You can use your site’s Google Search Console dashboard as well as tools like SimilarWeb and Ahrefs.

What is organic traffic to an e-commerce website?

Organic traffic is website visitors that find your site without the use of paid advertisements, often by searching on sites like Google or Bing.

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Conclusion: E-Commerce Tips

As you read through these 25 e-commerce tips, which ones resonated with you the most? Do you feel more equipped to drive traffic to your store?

The most important thing to understand is that you don’t have to do all of these things perfectly, you just need to gradually implement them to see results.

Figure out what is currently wrong in your e-commerce store and identify the low-hanging fruit. Perhaps you simply need to ramp up blog content or update your checkout process. Most of those changes can be completed in a few days or weeks.

With all of these tips and tricks available to you, the possibilities are endless.

What are some of the ways you boost e-commerce sales without spending money on ads?