Tech Crunch UK – All about the startups 2.0

Tech Crunch which is a blog that coveres web 2.0 and mobile start ups is re-launching again in the UK around June.

TechCrunch, founded by Michael Arrington on 11 June 2005, is a weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies. In addition to new companies, we profile existing companies that are making a commercial or cultural impact on the new web space.

They are looking for representation for their conference in San Francisco in sept. I so wish I could go! But I am not a start up……yet…..

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Optimising a Channeladvisor Store

Channeladvisor is a great listing tool for larger companies who need an automated solution for eBay and Amazon (and Overstock in the US). To add value it also has a store/website attachment with cname capabilities so you can run a website and ebay all together. Channeladvisor also provides feeds to shopping comparison sites such as Google Base, Shopzilla and Kelkoo but to name a few.

The channeladvisor store is by far the weakest point in channeladvisor as a ‘one solution e-commerce’ system and you have limited obvious SEO control.

(For all of this I am going to assume you are already logged into channel management)

Header Information:

HTML Titles: These are important and within channeladvisor you can specify the main page title in stores>store name and logo.

Meta Keywords: Pick 10 keywords to focus on that cover you main products. For example Rubbergirls-Blue-Boutique sells lingerie and shoes so the main keywords focused on are:
Leg Avenue, Dreamgirl, Vollers, Axfords, Sensual Mystique, Pleaser, Demonia, Hustler, Vacari, Bridal Lingerie, Wedding Lingerie, Nuptial Lingerie, Sexy Costumes, Fetish Lingerie, Corset

Place these keywords in your categories also as you have the opportunity to add in keywords for each category ( store>manage categories – click on the category name)

Meta Description: Its not just HTML titles and keywords a search engine picks up on it is also the meta description. Make sure you add a main page description in store name and logo AND a description for you categories.

This is the main listing in Google for the above website:

RubberGirls Blue Boutique | Bridal Corsetry | Hen Night Fancy

Rubbergirls Blue Boutique Provides excellent pricing for gothic, alternative and exotic clothing and footwear. Our brands include Leg Avenue,
www.rubbergirlsblueboutique.co.uk/ – 61k

Header Image: Make sure you use the alt functionality for your header image too

Item Details :

Rockabilly Demonia EMO Shoes Polkadot Goth: DAI20/BW RubberGirls

Black With white polka dot flat shoe!- Available in Sizes UK 4-10 Shipping for these shoes is £3.50/£6.00 as they are a light item!
www.rubbergirlsblueboutique.co.uk/Items/Item.aspx?sck=23968174&SKU=DAI20/BW –

Within channeladvisor you store title precedes the HTML title and becomes searchable on google. You can make sure you repeat a main keyword in your item titles, in fact you could possible squeeze more keywords in there! this title formation look familiar? Its the same title format as you would use in ebay. Tanked full of keyword goodness.

Keyword Links:

Google along with many other search engines like keyword links like Cybergoth Hair Extensions. Make sure you name your categories and sub categories appropriately with a good keyword and go to store>manage store layouts>home page layout and make sure you choose the option to display all your sub categories on the main page. Instant keyword links. ( P.S Make sure you have added an image to each or your categories or it could look a little dull)

Shopping Comparison:

To get ahead with google use google services! Google base is a free classifieds and syndicated everyday from automatically from channeladvisor (Console> Shopping comparison)

Other shopping comparison feeds can be used but they are pay per click

Track your results:

See what is going on with google analytics, sign up for an account and make sure you enter the information in store>store tracking. If you know what’s going on you can improve your SEO campaign

Every piece of software is what you make it and channeladvisor is no different.

P.S Rubbergirls Blue Boutique is MY store and also designed by me, if you want to know how I changed the layout then email me at liz@kidsontalks.com and if I have the time I will tell you.

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Lil bit on web usability….

Design a clear and simple navigation system.

According to Web usability expert, Jakob Nielsen, a good navigation system should answer three questions:

  1. Where am I?
  2. Where have I been?
  3. Where can I go?

 

Keep it constant: Navigation system should be in the same place on every page

Make the content easy to scan – most users only scan read websites

Put the most important content at the top of the page

Avoid text inside images – search engines can no read it and if you have McAfee or Norton Anti Virus, a lot of images can be blocked.

Use the alt and title functionality for images that are links to other pages

Be careful with font colour and background contrast. If your user can not read the text it won’t be effective.

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Things to remember when you design your e-commerce store

On the item detail:

1. Easy display of shipping costs for the item

2. Explanation of options and where to enter them if you have not got a drop down system.

3. Order delivery/processing times clearly displayed with the item

4. Display of accepted payment methods on the item in the form of an image

5. Clear, precise image – show all colour options if available and practical

On the site as additional pages:

1. Clearly state your terms and conditions including returns and replacement. Use laymen’s terms .

2. Describe in detail the shipping options and prices

3. Contact details, including an email form

4. External Links page for affiliates and shop directory back links

5. Size/Options chart if needed

6. Build and FAQ’s section from customer questions

Site Structure

1. Three clicks to products, use category sub tree’s

2. Search functionality

SEO

1. Write keyword rich titles

2. Include the titles in the URLs/HTML header if possible

3. Submit inventory to Google base, its free so why not!

4. Identify 10 core keywords for your site/products and try to use them as often as possible in the correct context. No random keyword spamming!

You can do so much more but these are the simple basics to setting up an e-commerce store. Remember your customer over your SEO techniques. Accessibility is everything!

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Keyword Ranking Experiment

Synopsis:

I do not profess to know or care about Google algorithms, how the page rank
works or what Google have done to devalue links this time. One constant through
all Google and similar leading search engines is ‘Good Content’

‘Good Content’ is painful, slow and you need to make sure you are
writing about something someone will read, including GoogleBot. Who is all fairness
has a very stale opinion of most content. ‘Input’ I need ‘Input’
as Short Circuits Jonnie 5 would say. ( No? Not a child of the 80’s? Oh
well)

I have been making and selling hair extensions online for a while now through
Hairfreax.co.uk. I sell to a niche market, which is not overly represented in
the internet world. The subculture is called ‘Cybergoth’. I wanted
my site to appear at the top of Google for the UK and US for the keyword ‘Cybergoth’
and the key phrase ‘cyber goth’.

I decided on various methods to achieve this, in which I will report the methods
and conclusions after 3 weeks study. Before joining the world of e-commerce
I was a research chemist, so I have conducted my experiment in a very ‘scientific
fashion’ and the reporting will show this in its structure!

Equipment:

Two Domains – Hairfreax.co.uk (established website for the UK Marketing
Campaign)

Hairfreax.net – New domain for the US Market.

An open source e-commerce script. I used ‘Cubecart’ similar success
can be achieved with something like Oscommerce.

SEF Contribution for one store. This will convert URLs from:

http://www.hairfreax.net/index.php?act=viewCat&catId=1 to this http://www.hairfreax.net/dreads/cat_1.html

This will be the only difference between these two stores apart from the main
currency.

A Blog on the main domain with a tags facility. I used WordPress with ‘Ultimate
Tag Plugin’

Google/Yahoo Sitemap Facility (Google Webmaster/Yahoo Site Exploror)

An account with technorati.com, stylehive.com, google base, crowdstorm.com,wists.com
and a relevant banner exchange ( just pick one – I used Blueblood.net
as it is relevant to the scene)

Basic PHP and HTML Knowledge for installing scripts and plugins.

Methods:

The site:

I Mirrored the settings from my hairfreax.co.uk store to the new hairfreax.net
store and I choose a set of keywords to push from these sites:

Cybergoth,cybergoth hair,cyber dreads,cyber dreadlocks,hairfreax,hair extensions,cyber,goth,anime
hair,cyber hair,custom dreads, wool dreads,cyberlox,cyber braids,braid extensions,hair
freaks,hair,freaks,hairfreaks

My main focus is going to be in reporting the keyword ‘Cybergoth’
and the key phrase ‘Cyber Goth’ These keywords were used in product
titles as well as the meta tags for both sites.

A sitemap of all the URLs was also submitted to google and yahoo.

The blog.

The blog was set up on the main domain blog.hairfreax.co.uk. For content I
reported on ‘Order processing times’ and documented every hairpiece
I made with photos making sure I used the keywords as tags on every post ( other
tags were also added) and used Cybergoth is a number of the titles. The blog
needs to be set up with the post title as part of the URL to utilise the title
keywords. A post was made 3 times a week on average.

A blog sitemap was also submitted to both Google and Yahoo.

I logged into my technorati account and ‘claimed my blog’ and when
asked for tags used the same keywords again.

Using the plugin ‘Ultimate Tag warrior’ I was also able to product
a tag cloud for the sidebar of the blog.

Using Social Shopping to boost keyword ranking:

I added around 5 different products to wists, stylehive and crowdstorm making
sure my main keywords appeared as a title and as tags. With crowdstorm there
is no direct link so I used my brand name ‘Hairfreax’ in the title
to build brand awareness.

Google Base:

Products from both sites where submitted to Google Base UK and US respectively.
There is a theory that if you used Google products your ranking is better.

Banner Advertising and Directory Submitting:

I searched using my key words and found all the relevant directories and only
one relevant banner exchange for my sites. I also looked on my competitors sites
to see how they had signed up with or submitted too.

Results:

Google (UK)

As of 7th May 2007 – Keyword Cybergoth – 11th Place

Key phrase ‘Cyber Goth’ 34th Place

Google (USA)

Keyword: Cybergoth – 34th from ‘Wists.com’

Keyword: ‘Cyber Goth’ 19th from Wists.com

So as you can see there is some way to go but in other news my ranking for
‘Cyber Dreads’ is a second in the USA and first for the UK.

Now this will be an on going experiment, as for the two sites I have a different
URL structure. According to blog and things this should make a difference to
keyword ranking which to me, you can stuff page rank, it’s my keyword
ranking I worry about!

These are the results after 3 weeks. I will also report my results around every
month to see if the rankings are getting better or worse.

One thing I did fail to mention is that I have an ebay shop and around 5 items
up at any one time. Those listings were ranking higher for the main keywords
as ebay listings.

Conclusion

Using various techniques, focusing on a few keywords and patience are all part
of getting your website at the top of the search. Don’t forget to keep
adding content to your blog, with hairfreax the customers want to see pictures
of the latest creations
!

I will continue to make the effort to get on the first page (Google does vary
and some days I have checked I have been on the front page!) for my keyword
and keyprase.

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