By Author admin

SEO and User Experience Guideline: How To Make Them Work Together

SEO and user experience on desktop and moblie - Acidgreen

Are you struggling to implement SEO and user experience strategies on your website? Maybe you understand SEO and you understand the concept of user experience (UX), but combining them together? How does that work?

Well, there was a time when all you needed to do to rank on Google was SEO (search engine optimisation). This was in the early days of the internet however, when SEO meant stuffing your site with keywords and watching the dollars rolling into your bank account. User experience was not even in our vocabulary. 

However, when search engines use hundreds of factors to determine which websites should rank in the results pages, you need to up your game. Essentially, you need to use SEO best practices to increase user engagement and conversions on your website, but how do you do that?

What is SEO?

SEO is concerned with increasing the visibility of your website to the search engines so that it will be ranked higher in the results pages. It involves a lot of strategies that help search engines understand the topic of your website and web pages, enabling them to match a shopper’s keywords with the best web pages. Search engines want to give shoppers a good user experience.

What is the user experience? 

User experience refers to a shopper’s interaction with your website. It’s how they engage with your brand online. If you can fulfil the needs of shoppers on your website, then you have given them a good user experience.

What is user experience design?

User experience design is where a developer designs your website to enhance the user experience. After all, a website’s success depends on how visitors perceive it to be. So shoppers will ask themselves – is this website easy to use? Does it answer my questions? Does it give me value? UX design consists of many factors, all of which focus around system performance, accessibility, utility and usability. It’s a vast field and many people specialise in UX design because it’s so interesting and challenging.  

To put it in a nutshell, you could say that SEO deals with enhancing search engine interactions with your website, whilst UX enhances a visitor’s experience. Combining these two concepts. However, is vital if you want your website to rank highly in the results pages. This is because search engines now include UX metrics in their ranking algorithms. If your website has a poor user experience, it doesn’t matter how much SEO you throw at it, it won’t rank well in the results pages.

How does UX design impact SEO?

User experience can have a profound impact on your website’s SEO making your site more accessible and crawlable by search bots. When search bots can easily access and crawl your website, it makes it easier to rank higher, all things being equal. User experience also helps to make your site more searchable, credible and desirable to consumers.

Implementing SEO and user experience ideas on your website

 

All of this means that you must focus on both SEO and user experience. After all, search engines want to give consumers the best online experience, presenting them with the information they are searching for online. Your website also wants to give consumers the best experience on your website, ensuring that it will keep returning. So both SEO and user experience design has the same goals. The problem is how do you achieve both of these goals at the same time?

The trick is to select a number of SEO elements that can also be optimised for consumers. Here are seven actions you can take today that will enhance SEO and user experiences on your website. 

1. Improve page loading times

Whilst Google now includes page loading times in their algorithms (so it should definitely be in your SEO arsenal), it’s also one of the best user experience ideas. Consumers don’t have the patience to wait whilst your pages take forever to load and will quickly click out and go somewhere else (your competition for example). In fact, just a one-second delay in loading your page can reduce your page views by 11%, and if it doesn’t load in 2 seconds or less, nearly 50% of your visitors will click away. 

If your website has a lot of traffic, it might be worthwhile using your own dedicated server, as this will help to speed up loading times. So talk to your web host and try to negotiate a good deal for your own server, as this is a critical component of both SEO and user experience.

2. Perform keyword research

The right keywords are essential for SEO and your visitors. For SEO, keywords help search engines to match visitors with your web pages, and if visitors find what they are looking for on your pages, they make a purchase and increase your revenue. Knowing the keywords consumers use to find your products or services can also help you to write better content that perfectly matches their needs. When shoppers are happy, everyone’s happy!

3. Use more enticing metadata

Just because another website ranks higher in the results pages, doesn’t mean that you won’t get the click! It’s all about writing better and more enticing title tags and meta descriptions, designed to lure searchers onto your website. Of course, you must deliver the goods at that point, but if you can catch a consumer’s eye as they skim down the results page, they may be more inclined to click on your website than the website above.

4. Write better headlines

Once consumers are on your website, you need to make it easy for them to find the information they need. Headings are a great way to help visitors skim down your web page to confirm that they have landed on the right page. As you already know, visitors tend to skim down a page, before settling in to read more or click away.

This makes it vital that you use your headings to their best effect – engaging your visitors and explaining clearly the content of the page. One tip at this point is to only use one <H1> tag on any page, as this lets search engines and visitors know the general topic of the page.  Other headings, such as <H2>, <H3>, and so on, can be used as required throughout the content.

5. Focus on user-friendly navigation

Search engines need to find their way around your website, as do visitors. So user-friendly navigation is one of the basic tenets of both search engine and user experience design. Search engines use your navigation as a roadmap, so they can match a searcher’s keywords with your content. Visitors are happy that their search has pulled up the content they wanted when they typed in their keywords.

It’s also important to remember that many of your site’s visitors won’t enter your site via the homepage, so they need to easily navigate your website from whatever page they landed on. Finally, if you create navigation that’s very user-friendly, you can even earn bonus site links in the results pages, where these links take searchers directly to specific pages on your site. These site links can include the login page, product comparison pages, careers, and so on; pages that search engines believe enhance user experience.

6. Enhance the mobile experience

Whilst we have been talking about SEO and user experience, we can’t forget about the mobile experience, because it’s highly relevant to both search engines and user experience. A website that’s mobile-friendly has now become essential to consumers, but that doesn’t just mean that it’s a responsive design with fast loading pages. In fact, Google now ranks your mobile website as your main site, so it’s now more than ever, essential to rank your mobile pages highly in the results pages. Navigation, whilst it’s important on your main website, is absolutely essential on your mobile site, where even the size of the navigation menu can be a help or a hindrance to users. Every element on your mobile website impacts the user’s experience, affecting SEO and your rankings. So you should definitely add optimising your mobile website to your user experience ideas list.

7. Optimise your content

Optimising your content is going to please both search engines and visitors to your website. That’s because search engines check your content for keywords so that they can match a shopper’s search to the best web pages. When consumers click on these links they find what they need in your content and go away happy (hopefully to return). So you can maximise user experience by writing better content and at the same time, show search engines that your content deserves to be ranked highly.

To write better content, always make sure that it’s well written and spell checked. Write long-form content to keep search engines and visitors happy and make sure that your content is original, interesting and engaging. Use responsive images and videos to get your point across, as well as to promote or demonstrate your products. Also, if you make your content actionable so that the reader now has a solution to their problem, they will be hyper-engaged and very likely to return to your website again.

For help making your website more user and search engine friendly, contact the Acid Green team. 

By Author admin

How To Optimise The Magento Search Results Bar & Save Big

Have you ever seen the difference between your conversion rates when someone interacts with your on-site search?

On average, from looking across all of our client’s Analytics accounts, we can see that conversion rates increase by about 400%.

In simple terms, this means that the average conversion rate of 1% becomes 4% once people use the search bar!

magento search results bar

 

Not only does it help with conversion rates, it is crucial for good UX (user experience).

But, how important really is the user experience to your online business?

Very important.

I assume that’s what you answered, because if you didn’t then you’re probably not doing very well. Without taking the appropriate measures to optimise your online store to the best of its ability, your business is set to sink deeper than the Titanic. Say hello to Jack Dawson for us all.

Without a solid UX in place for visitors/potential customers, the only thing that’s going to be flying high is those bounce rates. And while most of us do place (necessary) importance on trying to reel in new customers to our websites, many of us also neglect those smaller website functionalities that will ultimately turn more current visitors into converters.

magento search results bar

So, herein lies the focus topic point of today’s discussion: optimising your in-built Magento search results bar to be as intuitive and user friendly as possible. While we’re the first to concede the in-built Magento search results bar may not be the best ecommerce search engine solution, there are still ways in which it can be configured for better on-page optimisation.

But wait… Why should I spend time configuring and optimising my search bar?

Well, because the customers who are utilising your search bar are exponentially more likely to make a purchase, and they are usually much further along in the buying funnel than those who aren’t. What’s more, according to econsultancy, up to 30% of your shoppers are likely to use it when shopping online….

magento search results bar

Shall we proceed?

Great.

First, let’s map out the steps that need to be followed (we will go through each in detail later on).

The Essential Steps For Optimising Your Magento Search Results Bar

There are different options you can use for search on Magento e.g. MySQL, Solr or Elastic. However, for the purpose of this article we will focus primarily on MySQL and Solr as they are the two most popular.

  1. Select how you would like the information to be processed
  2. Select the correct Attributes that you would like the Magento search results bar to use. This also involves configuring how you would like them to be weighted.
  3. Begin maintenance for search optimisation:
    Add synonyms and common spelling mistakes PLUS similar words that may not necessarily have the same meaning (how many times has your phone autocorrected a word for you without asking? This is something we all experience, particularly shoppers!)

Matthew Curry, eCommerce Manager at Lovehoney:

“In my experience, autosuggest provides a real boost to search conversion rates. In a usability test I ran, we found that users actually relied upon site search autosuggest and autocorrect to know the correct spelling of words for them. Make sure that your site search solution is up to scratch, and that you still provide search results for common misspellings, just in case.”

4. Take your shopper to a pre-existing page… select Landing Pages for common searches.

magento search results bar

Okay, so that’s an outline of the steps that need to be followed. It’s okay if you’re a little confused or overwhelmed. We’re about to break it down step by step.

First thing’s first…

How Would You Like The Information To Be Processed?

You have three options, and one decision to make:

You can set the search type to one of the following:

 

Like

Performs a search based on individual keywords.

Fulltext

Performs a search based on the full text of each attribute and ranks each by relevance.

Combine (Like and Fulltext)

This combination of Like and Fulltext matches by keyword, but takes into consideration its relevance.


acidgreen’s personal recommendation is to select the ‘combine’ setting, as this is the most comprehensive, encompassing search type out of the three.

You can navigate to this under System > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog Search (for Magento 1).

magento search results bar

Attributes For Processing In On-site Search

This is the toughest part to understand. So if you can wrap your head around this, you’ve won half the battle…

Not so simply put, the way in which you can apply a logic to how Magento returns results is governed entirely by which data you decide to tell it to take a look at.

When creating an Attribute in Magento ALWAYS make sure that the Quick Search Box under ‘Front End Properties’ is selected.

Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes > Front end Properties > Use in Quick Search Box > Yes.

Top Tip: 

The Meta Keywords attribute no longer has any SEO value. Soooo... If you just add lots of keywords into this section and then use the steps provided above, it can help the product to show better search results without having to alter the look of the page at all!

What’s more, If you’re doing this on Magento Enterprise v1x and you select Solr instead of MySQL, you can add weighting on a scale of 1-10. This scale is measured in terms of importance… For example if you give it a rating of 1, it’s going to understand that it’s not all that relevant. However, if you give it a rating of  10, it’ll show every time that keyword appears. 

I’ve categorised the steps below depending on the Magento version you’re using…

Magento Enterprise v1x:

Again, this functionality is only available for the Solr option on Magento 1 Enterprise. So skip ahead if that doesn’t include you…

Product attributes that are enabled for quick search use an additional Search Weight parameter. These parameters denote the priority of a specific attribute in Solr search. A customer can then enter a search term in the Magento search results bar on your website and the attribute search weight is taken into account for more accurate and relevant results. And attributes with a greater search weight are searched and returned first by Solr.

Let’s use an example created by Magento themselves

“‘E.g. a system has two attributes with different weights, where the ‘colour’ attribute has a search weight of 3, and the description attribute has a search weight of 1. When a customer searches for the word, ‘red’, Solr returns a list of products that have a colour attribute value of ‘red’, but does not include products with the word ‘red’ in the description. This result is returned because the search weight of the ‘colour’ attribute is higher than the weight of the ‘description’ attribute. The higher the number, the higher the priority.”

Magento 2x (Community & Enterprise)

One of the MANY great things about Magento 2 (Community, too) is that, even if you are using MySQL you now have the option of adding weighting to your attributes.

This done simply by going to:

Stores > Attributes > Product > Storefront Properties.

Perform More Effective Maintenance and Optimisation

None of these solutions have any machine learning or algorithms in place to improve performance, so the only way to improve the effectiveness of search is to keep running reports and optimising. This can be done by reviewing Search Terms that people have typed in and then making the right adjustments/optimising accordingly. Not only is this helpful for optimisation tactics, these search queries also provide great insight into how users are searching on your store, they also provide you with an understanding of what shoppers expect/hope to find on your website.

To do this on Magento 1, go to Catalog > Search Terms

magento search results bar

The Magento 2 configuration is a little different. They’ve actually split out the synonyms and search term reports. You can get to them from either:

Marketing > SEO & Search > Search Terms

magento search results bar

Marketing > SEO & Search > Search Synonyms

magento search results bar

From here, the most important thing to do is to sort by Number of Uses. This is a vitol field as it shows what most people are searching for on your website. Results aren’t that important so long as a suitable amount of results are appearing for each unique search.

Here are the steps:

Step 1:

Sort the report by Number of uses.

Step 2:

Look for any misspelled words and then in the synonym box type in the correct spelling.

Step 3:

Perform your most popular searches on the front end of the site. If you are unhappy with the results, then create a CMS page merchandised with exactly what you want.

When you look into your search history, you’ll see that there are a lot of the same searches. For example, if you’re a printer supplier, you might find that a lot of people search for HP, a particularly popular printer brand. And you know what, you already have a category landing page dedicated to HP. This is a great opportunity to configure a redirect to ensure that when your visitors do search for HP in your optimised Magento search results bar, they’re directed straight to the landing page. Not only does this guarantee they find what they’re looking for, you can be reassured that they’re being taken to a landing page that has been curated with the best selling and/or most popular items. That’s a giant tick in the box for solid UX.

How do you accomplish this?

Head to: Catalog > Search Terms and then browse the list of related search terms, click edit or ‘add new search term’ in the top right corner. Then, the rest is simple. Just specify the redirect URL that you would like your customers to be guided to.  

Wait To See The On-Site Improvements

 

magento search results bar

Implementing these quick configurations is a sure fire way to maximise the user experience and ultimately drive up revenue and customer retention. We want to see that conversion rate soar!

If you still think optimising the Magento search results bar is a waste of time, then you’ve got the wrong attitude.
What’s the point of having a search bar if it doesn’t do it’s job properly?

You’ve put enough hard work in so far to get your site working as efficiently as it possibly can, don’t let it go to waste by neglecting the simpler, seemingly ‘less important’ tasks.

That being said, if you’ve skimmed this post and suddenly decided that you’re willing to spend a little extra dough on your Magento search results bar for complete superior search functionality, there are a few excellent third party search extensions that can be installed and maintained at a pretty reasonable price. And we’ve also provided a brief summary of those below…

Using A Third Party Extension


As a professional digital agency, we will always recommend using a third party search extension if you can afford it.

However, if you decide to use a third party extension, it is important to do your research. Make sure you choose one that actually adds value and doesn’t require more manual labour than it’s really worth.

So which ones do provide value?

SLi has proven international success and acidgreen highly recommends considering it when looking into optimising your Magento search results bar. SLi is currently utilized by some of the world’s top online retailers and with over 15 years experience, it supports 18 languages on 5 different continents.

magento search results bar

Why is it so popular with Magento merchants?

SLi is a full SaaS solution, which means it is faster and easier to implement and maintain than if you were to host it yourself. The benefit of having a Magento search results bar extension such as SLi means that it is on-premise, aka you have full control over how the solution is managed and updated. It also has great ease of navigation. As are most extensions, it is much more intuitive than Magento’s in-built solution.

SLi is a predictive product discovery platform that uses machine learning from customers. It is actually able to predict what your shopper is most likely to buy right now. Using a commendable search extension such as SLi can generate more traffic, and convert your shoppers into buyers whilst maximising your order values.

What’s more…

The Magento extension currently have a great programme installed called Scorecard that scores the performance of your website search engine. This quick and easy to us programme is a great way for businesses to benchmark their performance against industry best practice.

Another machine learning Magento search results bar extension acidgreen highly recommends (if you’re in the marketplace) is SearchSpring.

magento search results bar

As we’ve been through for the in-built extension, SearchSpring also allows you to visually merchandise which products have the highest conversion rates, and then manually place those at the top of the search list. However, with SearchSpring this procedure it a lot simpler.

The SearchSpring Magento search extension is also great for larger digital commerce stores that have enhanced, responsive websites for multiple platforms e.g. mobile and tablet devices. The extension allows merchants to deploy customizable price ranges, rating, colour palettes and size grids…even unique landing pages for highly searched products. SearchSpring’s AutoComplete system also supports spell check, relevant type-ahead suggestions and promotional banners for supreme UX. 

The Importance Of On-Site Search Optimisation

So, in conclusion, no matter if you decide to head down the cheaper, rockier route of optimising your already in-built Magento search results bar, or you decide to splurge the extra cash on a certified extension, make sure you take the correct measures to ensure your Magento search results bar is performing to the best of its ability. Don’t let it be neglected. More and more companies are increasing their investment on-site search as they’re slowly realising the incremental benefits that effective technology can bring to their online business and overall brand.

magento search results bar

The steps provided above are sure to set you and your business on the right track. Let’s give a cheer for on-site optimisation! Hurrah! (an optimised search engine would recognise this as a synonym for Hooray…)

acidgreen is an award winning e-commerce agency  specialising in Magento, Shopify Plus and digital marketing with over 15 years of  industry experience. Our certified developers and digital marketers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing Magento and Shopify Plus websites that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or give us a call to learn more about our services.

By Author admin

Warning: You’re Losing Money By Not Using Magento 2 OneStepCheckout

Did you know, a simple and efficient one step checkout page has the capacity to increase your conversion rate by at least 30%?

That’s why the Magento 2 OneStepCheckout extension is an absolute gold mine for ecommerce retailers. Basically, this extension structurally organises all the necessary checkout fields onto one single page. This means not having to click ‘back’ or ‘next’ if your customers realise they’ve made a mistake; they don’t have to restart the entire process. This essentially decreases wait time to 0% and boosts sales by up to 60%. Now that’s some pretty impressive statistics.

onestepcheckout 5

Before we get into more detail about M2’s latest extension, let’s review why the checkout experience is so important…

Customers no longer expect to be treated well. They demand it! This is how M2 introduces the importance of customer value in the mix. Ensuring your site has the same customer feel from beginning to end; aka the moment they land on your page, to the moment they receive a confirmation of their order, is vital. Ecommerce retailers must have a flawlessly consistent website design. Every little detail counts… a simple change in font could throw a customer off and destroy the user experience.

In fact, past experiences have shown us that the first page checkout is where we see the largest number of drop-offs in the checkout funnel. The nit and grit of a ‘sign-in’ barrier, commanding customers to recall which email (out of half a dozen) they decided to create an account with 6 months ago, and then commence the arduous journey of figuring out its corresponding password – that’s a whole lot of potential (and likely) frustration!

There comes a point where over customising your checkout page will become of detriment to your ecommerce store. Nobody likes a complex, hard to follow layout. There’s a good reason why the saying, ‘less is more’ is so popular.

“Studies have shown that the top 3 reasons for cart abandonment are around unexpected costs, site speed and checkout form complexity. That’s why we got overwhelming responses from merchants when we came up with the original OneStepCheckout back in the early days of Magento. With Magento 2, native checkout has been simplified to just 2 steps instead of 6. However surprises can still happen after the two steps and most importantly we have found over the last 7 years dealing exclusively with checkout for Magento that each merchant needs a different checkout: registration type, fields placements, country specific legal requirements, payment provider and third party compatibility etc… That’s why our upcoming OneStepCheckout extension for Magento 2 will be extremely modular and allow merchants to shape the checkout that they want with minimal development skills and resources,” states Thien-Lan Weber, CMO of OneStepCheckout.

The M2 Checkout Experience is estimated to perform 50% faster page loads as well as 38% faster checkout process. This means a substantial decrease in cart abandonment with a pleasing increase in customer retention.

Guest Checkout Improvements

Simple customizations such as allowing customers to ‘check-out as guest’ ensures a quicker buying process. While this was already an option in Magento 1, it was far more complex. And what have we already discovered about complex interfaces? They don’t work. These extra steps created an impediment and elongation of the conversion process. The Magento 2 extension is far less clustered and you’re offered far less choices. That means greater customer enjoyment.

OneStepCheckout Magento 2

Internal Payment Gateway

The new M2 checkout experience features an internal payment gateway that supports over 60 payment methods, including (but not limited to):

  • Credit Card,
  • Credit Card Direct Post,
  • PayPal Credit
  • PayPal Express Checkout Payflow Edition
  • Check/Money order
  • Braintree

Customers are no longer dragged over to an unknown third party site and moreover, are not left feeling anxious or worried about the security of their personal information.

This information is also arranged logically in a linear timeline. After following, ‘add to cart’, customers seamlessly navigate through the fundamental steps:

  1. Billing Address
  2. Shipping Address
  3. Shipping Method
  4. Payment Method
  5. Order Review

User-Friendly Customization

The new M2 friendly extension also means more flexibility for customization. Store administrators have large reign for design. While you will be limited to the one page, you (the online retailer) are in control of the layout and appearance ie. the number of columns you choose to display (1,2 or 3) as well as the look and feel of the checkout page.

Retailers can now include interactive customizations such as Gift Message attributes, which allow product items to be sent to the exact shipping address along with a personalised message. You can also select a Gift Wrap option that enables customers to select whether or not they wish the product be gift wrapped. The additional fee is then automatically added to the order total.

If you’re just after a simple comment box, that’s easy too. Installing this enables customers to include specific requests regarding delivery and drop off etc. The Magento 2 OneStepCheckout also has a user-friendly coupon code system. A helpful way to encourage more online purchases.

Mobile Optimisation

The great thing about a OneStepCheckout extension on Magento 2, is its mobile friendly design. As it has been for the last three years, mobile growth will continue to expand, and we will see a 6% rise in ecommerce consumers. If your website still isn’t optimised for mobile, (dare I ask, how have you survived?) then now is the time to do so. Push has well and truly come to shove, and it’s not a choice that needs second thoughts; having a mobile designed store front is necessary for your eCommerce site to succeed.

onestepcheckout 2

In 2015, it was reported that companies who did optimize their mobile website consumer experience increased their annual revenue by 157%. Optimising your website and installing extensions such as One Step Checkout are sure fire ways to ensure you’re not left behind.

Another multi-device benefit: Magento 2 OneStepCheckout decreases data usage and prevents people from having to wait around for yet… another page load. It shows the required information very clearly and simply, on all platforms.

Auto-Updates

Due to the installation of Ajax Loading Technology, auto-updates are quick and seamless; customers can change any information without waiting around for page reloads. It also means a simple way of tracking the entire checkout process.

So, Why Choose OneStepCheckout?

The new Magento 2 OneStepCheckout extension makes the customer process a whole lot simpler and more efficient. The user-friendly extension allows retailers to be in more control of the layout and overall experience. In turn, this allows the customer to be in more control of their purchases as they navigate their way through an easy and effective design. If you’re weighing down the options and want to know the best ways to optimise your ecommerce website, be sure to take the time to process all considerations. These Magento 2 upgraded features promises a friendlier experience and an extension such as the OneStepCheckout will only take your site to the next level.

acidgreen is an award winning e-commerce agency  specialising in Magento, Shopify Plus and digital marketing with over 15 years of  industry experience. Our certified developers and digital marketers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing Magento and Shopify Plus websites that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or give us a call to learn more about our services.