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August 2018

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Voice Search – the next big reality for Marketers and Optimisation

By | Magento

Back in 2016 digital thought leaders were claiming that “mobile isn’t what’s next – it is right now”. Effectively mobile has eclipsed desktop as regards the device usage number game and continues to accelerate its claim that in 2018 it is the preferred go-to platform for connecting, engaging and converting customers in the Ecommerce industry. More pertinent are the consumer figures reflecting multi-platform use including large and increasing numbers of online users, many of whom are using mobile exclusively.

With that evolutionary scenario Google introduced an application named AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) as a framework to help enhance the mobile web experience for consumers at large. AMP has to be considered as an integral part of SEO campaigns since Google has included it in its search results. The mobile web revolution has transitioned. The AMP standard is continually evolving with the addition of even more accelerated mobile pages and it will undoubtedly impact present and future SEO strategies. However, this is not the most salient issue that challenges marketers and strategists in a world where technology evolution casts yesterday’s innovations aside in favour of today’s more revolutionary technological know-how and digital applications.The new era of mobile web, though well under way, is about to be challenged by another evolving phenomenon – voice search – an Artificial Intelligence software that is gaining traction as the upcoming technology of the 2020s, a digital technology that will be used by the Search Engines to rank voice search sites in the SERPS.

It is incumbent on the world of Ecommerce to prepare for the imminent introduction of “voice search” which is the next big thing to disrupt the status quo in the Ecommerce business industry. It will have an influential impact on the future of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation) that will not only be credible but will require a certain understanding and appreciation of how it will change those marketing strategies. Google is transforming into an answer engine which gives one single result- the right answer unlike the current Search Engine tendencies to let consumers choose from multiple results. This is what marketers have to optimise for in an AEO oriented device environment .

The rationale of the Search Engines has been to chaperon their users through the quickest of processes towards the most relevant answer or result. With the imminent onset of voice search, Google and other Search Engines will have to increasingly rely on understanding and credibility to furnish a single viable result or solution.  The key question to this expected future trend is – can online business owners with the assistance of marketers and AEO strategists, do anything to take advantage of this evolutionary change?

Owners of smart phones, tablets, or PCs are already exposed to voice search which has become smart and capable of answering most queries but not all. That is where AEO takes effect. The problem with answers is that they can be guesstimates, based on the software interpretation of the voice query and provision of a clear informative answer, an incomplete science that requires greater definition. This highlights the need for accompanying AEO which can optimise your website so that Search and Answer Engines can understand the services and products you are selling and provide more authoritative responses to voice search in general. The AEO allows your optimised site to understand the content and purpose of your website. You can manipulate certain elements of your site to optimise it for the Search Engines – make it more visible to the Spiders so they can award it a better position in SERPS. To optimise for the Search Engines there are certain site elements you can focus on to progress the technology so your site stays ahead of the metaphorical posse or online competition. Specific technical facets require focus and amendment where necessary. For example:

  • Schema Data Markup – this can be manipulated to allow answer engines to understand the page information and what is being delivered to the user.
  • Authority  – This imbues the Answer Engine with confidence in your credibility.
  • Semantic HTML5  – By sectioning pages, a specific identifiable role can be allotted to each section,  encouraging the AEO to focus on certain areas while ignoring others.

 

The rationale of the Search Engines has been to chaperon their users through the quickest of processes towards the most relevant answer or result. With the imminent onset of voice search, Google and other Search Engines will have to increasingly rely on understanding and credibility to furnish a single viable result or solution.  The key question to this expected future trend is – can online business, with the assistance of marketers and AEO strategists, do anything to take advantage of this evolutionary change?

The journey from Desktop to Mobile to Voice Search has seen an evolution in the devices we use. Search behaviour has been impacted particularly by the change from Desktop to Mobile and it is expected that the transformation to Voice will be even more impactful – not only in how users browse and search but also how the Search Engines will provide solutions to users’ questions. If we were to draw up a device use comparison graphic, stretching from the 2000s to the 2020s, we would see a clear progressive trend towards Voice Search – that is the view of the industry gurus. According to them this will have a knock-on effect on SERPS – where page  expectations will shift from the first three pages with desktop to the first page with Mobile and top of page one with Voice Search. There is a retrospective belief that more realistically Voice Search will seek dominance in the top three positions on page one, due to the doubt if a single answer will suffice as a response. There will probably be the option of more than one acceptable answer given the diffuse nature of natural speech. Since voice is circumlocutory there will have to be a new evolving SERPS paradigm that will allow Voice Search a little more discretion. It will not necessarily be a ‘fait accompli’ of achieving positioning of page one or nowhere. A likely scenario going forward is – it will probably rate for the top three positions on page one –

which will be considered a satisfactory positioning in the SERPS. One certainty pertaining to this situation is the need to prepare and act now so your online platform is tuned and fit for purpose in anticipation of Voice Search activation and the requisite requirement for AEO strategy creation.

Long term, the trending towards voice search does not intimate the complete dominance of voice search as a device but rather a more balanced spread of search across all devices. The eventual levelling out of digital device deployment will be a natural progression according to the digital experts, however, the evolutionary nature of online search will necessitate platforms to help Google and other Search Engines to understand that your offer to consumers is the best solution. Once you succeed in that objective you then have to convince Google that you offer the best of several options by proving to them your relative credibility. These factors will leverage popularity in a new AEO world of “Answer Engines”. Google is already well acquainted with your brand but still needs to have a clear detailed understanding of what your brand offers so that the credibility factor favours your platform. In relation to the outworking of Search Engine indexing and positive placement in SERPS it is important to remember that it is their understanding of your website and its inherent credibility that gives your brand authority.

As with all other digital developments that have exercised minds in the past and have created unwarranted panic at times, Voice Search is not to be feared but rather considered as another device and opportunity to engage a potential customer base that you can tune into by being better informed and prepared in advance. As an online business why not garner all the positives that Voice Search represents and use it to your advantage. Find out what Google’s review of your brand reveals in terms of public opinion and work to ensure that there is a positive reflection of your brand on Pages 1, 2 and three of your brand name search, suffixing the word “reviews”.

 

magento experts

Why Magento is the preferred ECommerce platform for over 250,000 global merchants.

By | Magento

There are so many ecommerce platforms available to the retail sector that making a choice can often be predicated upon a host of subjective arbitrary factors that are at best confusing and at worst unreliable. Comparison in performance between top ecommerce platform contenders can provide empirical data to make certain assertions about their efficiency in delivering conversions and a return on investment. Whilst a few ecommerce platforms seem to dominate the marketplace there is a major swing towards Magento as the online sales tool of choice. It is fast, free, transparent, customisable and reliable. With Magento 2 it gives you a robust engaging online experience and a greater functionality, since it is geared up to help you meet the challenge of the increasing demands of online shoppers. With over 250,000 Magento merchants globally, many of whom are top brands such as Coca Cola, Burger King, Cisco Systems, Nike, Procter and Gamble, Christian Louboutin, Ford, Fox Connect, Warby Parker, Olympus, Nestle Nespresso and many more, it is the most popular and feature-rich ecommerce software platform in the world. Kurt Geiger’s decision to move to Magento’s ecommerce platform has helped them to give their customers a rich and captivating experience across all devices.

 

Enjoying a 23% share of the market it still leads the pack in the ALexa top one million. It is also no surprise that it is used by many global small to medium size businesses with great success. Based on analytical data and reports regarding its effectiveness as an online sales tool and its success as the top performing ecommerce sales software, we can deduce that it is the best rounded ecommerce system currently available. Its endorsement by some of the best known global brands, who are turning over billions of pounds in revenue annually, is clear testament to an efficient and popular ecommerce retail and wholesale system that works extremely well for a business mix of world wide clients.

 

Magento is an open source self-hosted platform providing you with a hosting choice, the most reliable option being third party hosting with a specialist company who can control your hosting needs professionally. There are also Companies who can provide Hosting and support as a package which represents a headache free solution for the Magento developers. With its vast global community of developers and contributors it can give you the structure for a scalable platform which can always meet your growing and expanding business requirements. As the ideal partner for promoting your online business Magento has all your needs covered with its rich out-of-the-box features and extensive capability to customise, whatever your business objectives. As an expert partner in seamless third party integrations it can resolve your unique business needs across any industrial sector. You are never left alone to deal with any issues as you have a world-wide system of merchants partners and developers to help you at every step of your ecommerce platform development and running operations. Whether your business is Fashion, Health and Beauty, Food and Beverage, Automotive, Retail or Wholesale the Magento solution can offer many features and benefits that streamline your online enterprise.

 

You can use visual merchandising tools to create compelling category pages and create exciting authentic content updates with no recourse to IT. You can actually draft personalised shopping experiences for your customer subdivisions. Developers are enamoured with Magento because of its extensibility through a capacious API, thousands of third party extensions and themes and off the shelf development and operationally-ready tools that come with Magento Commerce Cloud. Magento is built on a modern technology stack and has the full capability of handling high growth and peak performance thanks to its scalable and secure infrastructure. Magento’s Cloud platform is PC1, SOC2 and GDPR compliant. Magento commerce assumes responsibility for the heavy lifting, allowing you the business owner to focus on your daily business – learning more about your customers, products and services and marketing campaigns and planning to meet their needs.

 

The wonderful aspect of Magento is its flexibility in extending its capabilities. With Order Management you can bridge the online and in-store fulfillment system providing more convenient and cost-effective delivery. You can also garner the power of your Magento Commerce database with your other systems to quicken smart, data-driven decisions and transform your shipping into a money cow by streamlining operations with Magento’s intelligent multi-carrier software. The system enables Social Media and SEO integration with lots of plug-ins, themes and extensions to enhance the operational connectivity and efficiency. As an omnichannel operator Magento ensures a seamless shopping experience across all channels.

 

Make Magento your ecommerce platform of choice, to provide your online customers with a seamless shopping experience that is robust, engaging and converts.

 

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Trends in the E-commerce sector that could impact your online platform and SEO marketing strategies into the future.

By | Blog

Projected E-commerce sales are expected to exceed 3 trillion pounds sterling by 2020, so from a competitive perspective online businesses will have to shape up in terms of deploying more effective ecommerce marketing strategies to stay ahead of the ecommerce posse into the future. Ever increasing customer demand for faster more efficient and competitively priced services and goods is forcing website owners and webmasters to rethink their online offerings and how they are presented to their potential customers. In line with this retail and wholesale dynamic, digital technology, which is advancing concurrently at the pace of knots, must be garnered, manipulated and used effectively to improve online retail and wholesale business experiences that should actively engage consumers and customers. In an ever changing digital environment the pressure is on e-commerce operators to be cognisant of these developments and to adopt and adapt the latest technologies to make their websites – which is really their online sales tool – relevant, appealing, totally engaging and competitive so customers choose to stay logged in and complete the purchase pathway. That objective achieved there is another constant or element that has to be maintained on an ongoing basis and that is SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. Websites have to be finely tuned and developed to accommodate the bots and to perform well in SERPS ( the Search Engines Results Pages) – essentially reaching and staying as close to the top of page one as possible.

When a consumer search query lands them on Page one of these results they are automatically attracted to the top performing result. That is where they click for the service or product they are looking for – thus the importance of ensuring your sales platform is attracting optimal consumer awareness by its positioning on top of page one in SERPS. To achieve that coveted position you must offer consumers a credible proposition that rings loud and clear with the Search Engine robots that crawl and assess your website content. If they can see that you are giving your customers exactly what they want you will be rewarded with top positioning in SERPS. That brand and product awareness that such a position in SERPS promotes requires an Ecommerce website that is finely tuned, from both a technical and marketing perspective, with integrated onsite and offsite SEO strategies implemented. The process of reaching pole position is achieved by design rather than by accident and requires the collective collaborative input of technical, marketing and SEO expertise. SEO is metaphorically the petrol in your online sales engine that propels it to top position in SERPS so implement it constructively to help your business perform better than the competition in attracting more online visitors and conversions.

As we will elucidate shortly, Artificial Intelligence or I Search, as an evolving system, is transforming the SEO landscape and is gaining traction as a major metric in Search Engine rankings. That is only one element in a number of E-commerce trends that could be potentially disruptive in 2018 and beyond. Those elements that will affect both marketers and consumers are worthy of mention as influencing factors in a fast developing digital and consumer environment. We will be considering what we think are the greatest trenders and how they might impact in terms of opportunities and challenges for E-commerce businesses.

The first element that creates food for thought on ecommerce platforms is the essential need for much faster shipping and improved delivery systems – the Amazon model of hosting a set of efficient logistics that accommodate the fastest ecommerce delivery system in the world being the enviable gold standard. Achieving better logistics could differentiate between E-commerce platforms in sorting the best from the rest and that is a goal worth achieving to place your online business ahead of the competition by giving your customers the fast delivery they desire.

The next factor, which we already touched on briefly, is the growing impact of Artificial Intelligence on SEO. With an increasing inclination towards machine learning technologies in Silicon Valley and other global digital hubs there is great certainty that it will present challenges for the E-commerce sector. We are going to witness greater integration of these technologies into E-commerce systems in the future. We are already experiencing the effects of AI in improving Search functionality and product recommendation engines. However the next few years are going to see a huge increase in such applications with the objective of providing more exact responses to search queries and generally offering the customer a more precise service in terms of getting what they want much faster and with less effort. Already, some Facebook retailers are offered access to new chatbox tools that permit conversational operatives within Facebook Messenger to organise payments directly within the app, bypassing the need to process the purchase and payment on another site. Increasing development of these apps will provide a helpful way of handling an ambit of complicated functions ranging from problem solving to the transactional app – to which we have alluded. The future in machine learning will see a move from key-word based recommendations to a greater host of signals ranging from product purchase histories to related products that are linked from both a theme and semantic perspective. Advertisers will also experience greater uptake of machine learning within Adwords and other digital advertising platforms.

Augmented reality technology is beginning to reach beyond the novelty factor with big efforts this year to achieve mainstream endorsement. E-commerce platforms will be the leaders in adopting this technology. Based on what IKEA achieved with their app (its Place app) which provides the public with the technology to see how different IKEA products would look like in their homes. Amazon have also bought into this technology allowing their potential customers to visualise what thousands of their products would look like in their homes without necessarily having to make a purchase. The latest versions of this AR technology are proving much more stable and instinctual so we will undoubtedly see a greater intensity of competition in the E-commerce AR space during 2018 and well beyond.

It is nothing new to mention the exponential growth in Mobile checkout or the Internet of Things but that is the current reality with E-commerce trends. With at least ten different mobile payment platforms available to consumers, including cryptocurrency and the nation’s favourite – Bitcoin – increasing numbers of consumers are expected for mobile transactions and payments in the future. There is currently a credibility issue due to consumer concern about mobile shopping but that is expected to change dramatically in the future with mobile overtaking desktop transactions. It is up to retailers to win their trust and custom going forward and to leverage the changing consumer trends to achieve an increase in conversion rates.

A growing e-commerce trend is the Internet of Things with interconnected devices such as smart toasters and fridges that can bombard us with special offers and other maddening ads. Whether we approve or not of all things smart the reality is that all internet connected devices, whilst surveying our activity, can act as a point-of-sale system with constant calls to purchase.

Voice Search will prove to be one of the leading lights in e-commerce space and will be synonymous with mobile. Sales of Voice Assistant Devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, have been increasing gradually over recent times and indicate according to Amazon data that the average customer spend through Echo is greater than the purchases through prime purchase route. For retailers sales through Amazon Echo provided a 60% better opportunity of upselling other goods across certain product lines.

The next obvious trend in online shopping comes from the browser tradition of pricing across many retailers online offerings and then buying off-line. Consumers have been doing this since the inception of online shopping and have become canny shoppers, feeling empowered by the possibilty of finding the goods they require at the most competitive prices. This concept of Research Online and Purchase Offline driven by careful shoppers always hunting down a bargain is set to become more prevalent in the E-Commerce sphere. It will represent for retailers an opportunity to track shopper activity in conducting this type of ROPO purchase. The metrics can be derived from a number of channels including mobile payment data, CRM and point-of-sale systems, GPS tracking, customer purchase habits and social media interaction. A complete map of the customer journey can be plotted providing valuable data for retailers to make future marketing calculations and strategies.

Storefront Apps will make an impression in the coming months as the growing popularity of mobile and the increasing change from desktop to mobile shopping continues. Online shoppers have been using the apps provided by retailers for a number of years to browse and actually shop from their mobile devices. The future trend will see more SMEs employ storefront apps to prompt sales and garner customer loyalty. The popularity and success of storefront apps suggests that they will become increasingly de rigueur among online shoppers who may well opt for storefront dedicated apps as opposed to mobile site. Another factor that will drive this prospect is the low cost of entry for app development which in reality means that small family type businesses can afford to offer their customers dedicated apps – something that could limit growth in mobile search and purchase.

We hope that by presenting these possible future trends in the E-commerce sector we have provided you with food for thought and the opportunity to perhaps conceptualise and create marketing strategies that are more effective and rewarding going forward. It is vital to be cognisant of the potential impact of these trending issues on your wider business goals and objectives so your sales platform can adopt and benefit from implementation of improved online practices that attract more customers and sell more products and services.