Home Forums Tech talk Are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is?

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  • #987000
    SalenaKnight
    Member
    • Total posts: 604

    I’m frustrated.

    I’ve been in the ecommerce business for 5 years now (we also have 2 B&M stores).

    In this time, I’ve seen many SEO tactics change.

    I am not an expert.

    Therefore, I pay others who purport to be so.

    However, I am yet to find an SEO and/or PPC expert, that actually gives me a positive return on investment.

    By this, I mean, earns me enough income from their efforts – this is especially true for PPC which is much easier to quantify – to cover their costs, from my profits, and actually earns me money. The closest I have gotten is (nearly) breaking even.

    So after spending tens of thousands of dollars, I’m looking for someone who is prepared to back themselves.
    Who will work with me to set reasonable targets, and stick to them.
    Someone who KNOWS they can actually deliver.

    I am prepared to give you testimonials, and work with you to use this as a marketing tool. I mean, hey, there are loads of people like me, who are jaded and have lost faith in this industry. Imagine being able to spruik that you were able to define targets, reach and exceed them in the timeframe.

    Let’s use this as an ongoing blog post. Publicise how you’re performing and some of the tactics you’re using. Clients will love it. It will prove to them, that you’re invested in how you’re clients business grows, not that you’re just out there to take their money and move them up on google a few places.

    I don’t want this for free, I just want a commitment that in turn for $, I’ll get a positive ROI.

    I measure my traffic. I measure my average $ sale, I measure my CTR and profit margins on a weekly basis.

    I need to see an increase. My website url is flowerchild.com.au. Go and have a look. You’ll be able to see that over the last year, despite working very hard on content and a raft of other things suggested by SEO experts, traffic hasn’t grown much.

    So, are you up for the challenge? Can you actually put your reputation on the line?

    If so, I’d love to hear from you.

    Feel free to PM me if you don’t want to go public at this time.

    #1160581
    Calcul8or
    Participant
    • Total posts: 469

    Great idea!

    I for one would be very interested in following the progress of someone who understands SEO and can deliver a positive result.

    I have always cast a skeptical eye in the direction of SEO as a whole, basing my skepticism on the sheer size and complexity of the internet, and the doubt that any one person could influence it in any meaningful way. But I will be very happy to be proven wrong!

    #1160582
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,125

    There are a bunch of issues with trying to set up something like this not least of which is the fact the SEO guy will have little control over whether you are making the most of your leads or not.

    For one example, many small business owners think that they can market small value items on AdWords and make a profit on once-off sales, unfortunately that is not usually the case. Making AdWords work in small dollar stuff means:

    YOU need to turn those leads into sales (by having a great and highly competitive offer)
    YOU then need to turn those customers into repeat customers so as to get them to a profitable lifetime value.

    The PPC and SEO guys don’t get to control your prices or business practices so they have no control over your profit!

    There are other issues too such as what SEO methods have been used in the past and whether they are likely to get you into trouble soon? This is particularly common with small businesses who have engaged cheap SEO services in the past.

    By the way there seems to be little evidence of any real SEO having been done on your store home page at the moment? It’s even got some old fashioned ‘meta keywords’ in there!

    #1160583
    Dimi
    Member
    • Total posts: 29

    Great post. I am also very keen on this topic as I have just acquired an online business and rebuilding the entire site and looking at investing in SEO and increasing sales.

    I have read many number of posts here, many with knowledge of SEO but I keep asking my self about how do we quantify the value to what we pay. The answer always seems that “it takes time” – fair enough but I think it needs to be measured in some sort.

    I do understand that there are many things to consider such as product pricing and many other factors. It seems quite difficult to understand what a $500 SEO consultant will do as oppose to a $2000 consultant. Its all about the tech jargon that keeps it all confusing.

    Would be good if people in the industry could put up there posts public so that we all can make use of it :)

    Dimi

    #1160584
    Stephen Forde
    Member
    • Total posts: 53

    Can I ask what you’ve been paying for SEO in the past as it looks like stuff all has been done. The site has numerous technical problems and your content marketing is poor at best. Not having a go, you should just be aware this site isn’t going to be a quick turn around.

    If you want a ROI in the short term, you’re going to need a long tail strategy and because it’s e-commerce, rather large and in a fairly competative market you’re going to have to pay more than a display/catalogue type website.

    If you’ve tried PPC and have had zero return then there could be several factors at play. You need to determine what these are. These could include :

    Poor Descriptions
    Poor Pricing
    Poor products

    If you are gettting some traffic and you’re not converting you should look at where your drop offs are in analytics. Possibly subscribe to crazy egg

    I need to see an increase. My website url is flowerchild.com.au. Go and have a look. You’ll be able to see that over the last year, despite working very hard on content and a raft of other things suggested by SEO experts, traffic hasn’t grown much.

    What you need is a proper strategy. Just like any other marketing strategy. It’s all over the place at the moment.

    Your key requirements as I see it. These will be open for other SEOs to agree/disagree but this is what I think ….(these are not questions)

    1. Move the site to home directory i.e. you don’t need /store
    In most cases the homepage will always have more power. Why use unnessecary url parameters when they’re not needed?

    2.. Determine your niche and get your onpage right. Have you had the most success with young mothers, 2-3 mothers, fathers etc. Who are you talking to ? – write your content for them.

    This page for example http://flowerchild.com.au/store/modern-cloth-nappies.html

    Where are the links? Why do I have to change page to make a purchase. It is not obvious.

    3. Give real thought to the keyword strategy.

    4. You have duplicate content. Whether it’s currently an issue or not, it should be fixed.

    5. Some technical issues to start with https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

    6. Login to GWT now. Go to search traffic > search queries. This will give you the best idea of your current rankings.

    7. Use this data to compare traffic estimations in Google trends and Keyword Planner

    8. Once you have this data you can work on page

    Honestly you need more than an SEO. You need conversion optimisation just as much.

    Good luck.

    #1160585
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963

    What strikes me is the lack of content on the store pages other than the specific product pages (which are then duplicated on similar products). And the Reusable Cloth Nappies page with the ebook has no actual on-page text. There’s all this fantastic content tied up in images that is worthless from an SEO perspective.

    Each page should have at least some content with attention paid to specific long-tail keywords to help them appear in search queries.

    It would also help to break the content that does exist (such as the Nappies page) with formatting and sub-headers. The H2 tag should be used in the relevant copy to add weight to related terms, not as headers in the same footer copy of each page. Bullets and bolding can also help break up the content and make it easier to read.

    Nor does there appear to be consistency across the meta tags. Some pages have customised tags, some don’t. The obsolete keyword tag is still being used in places and most tags are too long and aren’t optimised for appropriate keywords.

    As a result, a general browser search returns results for many pages which read like this:

    Select Store: Main Desktop Store, Mobile Store. © 2013 flower child. All Rights Reserved. Flowerchild on Twitter; Flowerchild on facebook · Contact Us · The …

    …rather than having a lovely/relevant description or call to action to entice people to the page. Of course, customised tags aren’t always used by the search engines – but if you have them, there’s a greater chance of them being used where relevant on-page text cant be substituted.

    On the plus side, at least all the photos seem to have customised alt tags and the site itself is quite clean and attractive, but there’s clearly still a bit of work that needs to be done.

    #1160586
    SalenaKnight
    Member
    • Total posts: 604

    Thanks for the info Stephen.

    I’ve been paying upwards of $1000 per month.

    I’m surprised to hear you say we have poor content, as that’s what we were working on with the last company. All of our product descriptions are written by instore staff, aimed at our target market. There are few products with cut and paste descriptions from the suppliers website.

    We also have info pages for our main products. Our pricing is RRP, and product choice, well, that can always be debated, but we choose our products on a strict set of guidelines (do they meet our mission of simplifying sustainable parenting?) and ethics.

    Our traffic and conversion rate are pretty consistent. Conversion rate sits between 1.7 and 2%.

    WRT your suggestions:
    1 – will speak to developer about that. I think it was done initially when our site was upgraded so there would be no downtime.
    2 – I think we’ve done that well, We’ve work with a branding strategist and clearly identified our target market and as per above, write our descriptions for that market.
    2b – The page example you gave is a category page. From there, the customer chooses where to go next. That page also was put in by the last SEO company.
    3 – that’s what I pay an expert for. I went through and defined my top 10 products/terms, and need someone to research which are viable and where to go to from there.
    4 – yes there is, from customer research, customers have identified that there are differences on where they would look for something, so we have tried to address that. It has never been brought to my attention that this is an issue.
    5 (edited) – passed this onto my developer who said that as the site is hosted in Brisbane, the speed test is not accurate, as it runs from the US.
    6+ will research these tonight. Thank you for the links.

    #1160587
    SalenaKnight
    Member
    • Total posts: 604

    Thanks Copy Chick.

    Just so I know exactly what I’m looking for, who would do/be responsible for this?

    #1160588
    SalenaKnight
    Member
    • Total posts: 604

    Interesting that you can all pick these things out straight away, which haven’t been highlighted before.

    Aidan:
    I have never used offshore companies. I have always used Australian companies that have come recommended from this forum, and other businesses, and I’ve made sure I’ve given them adequate time to see results (6-12 months).

    And I agree, an SEO company can’t control my profits, but if I can clearly define that I want to promote X product with RRP of $100, of which I make $50. I know in the past I can sell 10 units per month, without any ‘outside help’. We can then work on targets.
    Generally, we have a couple of options – decrease CPC and/or increase traffic and conversions. I don’t know how to optimise to get the CPC down. I need someone else to be able to do that.
    If I can demonstrate that this is what I can achieve without help, an ‘expert’ should be able to analyse my targets, asses if they are achievable and if they aren’t, advise me on a better option.

    #1160589
    rmck
    Member
    • Total posts: 35
    flower-child, post: 185382 wrote:
    I’m frustrated.

    I’ve been in the ecommerce business for 5 years now (we also have 2 B&M stores).

    In this time, I’ve seen many SEO tactics change.

    I am not an expert.

    Therefore, I pay others who purport to be so.

    However, I am yet to find an SEO and/or PPC expert, that actually gives me a positive return on investment.

    By this, I mean, earns me enough income from their efforts – this is especially true for PPC which is much easier to quantify – to cover their costs, from my profits, and actually earns me money. The closest I have gotten is (nearly) breaking even.

    So after spending tens of thousands of dollars, I’m looking for someone who is prepared to back themselves.
    Who will work with me to set reasonable targets, and stick to them.
    Someone who KNOWS they can actually deliver.

    I am prepared to give you testimonials, and work with you to use this as a marketing tool. I mean, hey, there are loads of people like me, who are jaded and have lost faith in this industry. Imagine being able to spruik that you were able to define targets, reach and exceed them in the timeframe.

    Let’s use this as an ongoing blog post. Publicise how you’re performing and some of the tactics you’re using. Clients will love it. It will prove to them, that you’re invested in how you’re clients business grows, not that you’re just out there to take their money and move them up on google a few places.

    I don’t want this for free, I just want a commitment that in turn for $, I’ll get a positive ROI.

    I measure my traffic. I measure my average $ sale, I measure my CTR and profit margins on a weekly basis.

    I need to see an increase. My website url is flowerchild.com.au. Go and have a look. You’ll be able to see that over the last year, despite working very hard on content and a raft of other things suggested by SEO experts, traffic hasn’t grown much.

    So, are you up for the challenge? Can you actually put your reputation on the line?

    If so, I’d love to hear from you.

    Feel free to PM me if you don’t want to go public at this time.

    Sounds a lot like an audit is required.

    “despite working very hard on content and a raft of other things suggested by SEO experts, traffic hasn’t grown much”

    PPC aside, the above sentence focuses specifically on traffic, with no consideration to conversion. If this is your only focus and it is true that you’ve seen little growth, then the targets that make up your strategy are flawed.

    ROI is influenced by many things in addition to traffic volume, including; usability, trust, relevance and competitiveness. These all influence conversion and ROI.

    It could be that you’ve maxed out the potential of your targeted keywords, or that the keyword targets themselves were poorly researched.

    You must also live with the fact that even the most experienced SEO professional cannot predict what Google will do around the corner that may impact on goals you have set.

    If I were handling this (which I can’t sorry – due to current workload), I would be looking beyond SEO.

    Who are your customers?

    What are they searching for?

    Do these answers match what you’re optimising for?

    Work this out first, then move onto keyword research. Then develop a new strategy that focuses on the end-to-end customer experience. Ie from when they first click on a PPC ad to when they make a payment.

    Conversion factors and marketing techniques have the potential to increase your ROI just as much as SEO. SEO will do nothing to increase your ROI for PPC.

    Regards,

    Ryan

    #1160590
    Stephen Forde
    Member
    • Total posts: 53


    I’ve been paying upwards of $1000 per month.

    About right if it’s been done correctly. As I said though and Aiden as well…doesn’t look like it.

    I’m surprised to hear you say we have poor content, as that’s what we were working on with the last company. All of our product descriptions are written by instore staff, aimed at our target market. There are few products with cut and paste descriptions from the suppliers website.

    I didn’t look at your products. Just the main pages that appeared to be optimised. Product search is easy, shouldn’t be over done. Duplicating content from your supplier is also a no no.

    We also have info pages for our main products. Our pricing is RRP, and product choice, well, that can always be debated, but we choose our products on a strict set of guidelines (do they meet our mission of simplifying sustainable parenting?) and ethics.

    It’s just a suggestion that you might want to look at. If you’re bounce rate his high on guranteed traffic – ppc. There is an issue.

    Our traffic and conversion rate are pretty consistent. Conversion rate sits between 1.7 and 2%

    2 – I think we’ve done that well, We’ve work with a branding strategist and clearly identified our target market and as per above, write our descriptions for that market.

    Where is the evidence of this ? The page I looked at was the modern cloth nappies I posted above. The content here is not great. It needs a re-write and styled. It looks cheap at the moment.

    2b – The page example you gave is a category page. From there, the customer chooses where to go next. That page also was put in by the last SEO company.

    Go to Analytics > visitor flow and see what the drop off here is. I think it’s high. I’m reading about a modern cloth nappy, I should be presented with some options immediatly. I click through to the Nappies and Covers, same content, have to click again. This is not a good user experience. It doesn’t matter what the previous SEO did. They are wrong

    3 – that’s what I pay an expert for. I went through and defined my top 10 products/terms, and need someone to research which are viable and where to go to from there.

    Take control. You know what your pages are. They mostly all lack the nessecary elements. Give your page a boost. You can flip things down the track when Google knows what you’re doing and categorises you.


    4 – yes there is, from customer research, customers have identified that there are differences on where they would look for something, so we have tried to address that. It has never been brought to my attention that this is an issue.

    I agree with that. But in saying that you need to give a page focus. Neither of those 2 pages with content about modern cloth nappies have been styled correctly. I know some here will say it’s not nessecary but all things being equal, a page correctly layed out vs a page that hasn’t been styled…etc etc

    5+ – will research these tonight. Thank you for the links.

    No problem. I hope you and others get some benefit ffrom this.

    #1160591
    Stuart B
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,073

    These old “put your rep on the line” ideas don’t generally fly. Not because people aren’t prepared to step up to the plate, but because typically any failings in the project will come down to how the client uses the increase in traffic (I’m presuming that the SEO work / company is good quality here).

    If you’re getting increased traffic then it’s up to you to make sure your landing pages, sell pages, leads generation / capture systems, follow up strategy, and overall sales funnel are all in place and well polished.

    You could have all the traffic in the world but if that’s not there then you’re going to waste leads, and not get sales and that’s nothing to do with the SEO people.

    In my experience the most skeptical people about SEO are the ones who haven’t tried it successfully, or don’t understand how it works which is totally understandable. Of course you’ll have a strong dose of skepticism if you don’t get how something works, and all of the snake oil salesmen out there don’t help the situation either.

    I didn’t do too much poking around your site but you home page has basically nothing in the way of content that a search engine can do anything with so that was pretty much case closed for me.

    #1160592
    SalenaKnight
    Member
    • Total posts: 604

    Thank you all for suggestions and clarifying things I didn’t even know were an issue.

    And Octopus labs, I get what you’re saying. But as a customer, I need to know that the investment I put in your strategies, is going to earn me money. I can’t continue to be paying money out, without a positive return, and if someone is truly confident they can turn it all around, then I want them to commit to it.

    As I said, I can go through and show you 2 years worth of data that we extract weekly. Sales, traffic and conversions are all pretty consistent. If I invest with someone, it will be easily identifiable if the strategies are working.

    It’s very easy to be skeptical when you’re paying money to ‘experts’, who don’t actually generate you any income.

    #1160593
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,465

    Hi Sal,

    It’s lovely to see you back on the forums :)

    Thank you for starting this thread – I hope it’s helpful for you, and am sure that there are other forum members who share your frustration, so I know it will be of assistance to others too.

    Good luck with it all – let us know how you get on.

    Jayne

    #1160594
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,125
    flower-child, post: 185453 wrote:
    Thank you all for suggestions and clarifying things I didn’t even know were an issue.

    And Octopus labs, I get what you’re saying. But as a customer, I need to know that the investment I put in your strategies, is going to earn me money. I can’t continue to be paying money out, without a positive return, and if someone is truly confident they can turn it all around, then I want them to commit to it.

    As I said, I can go through and show you 2 years worth of data that we extract weekly. Sales, traffic and conversions are all pretty consistent. If I invest with someone, it will be easily identifiable if the strategies are working.

    It’s very easy to be skeptical when you’re paying money to ‘experts’, who don’t actually generate you any income.

    Unfortunately there are no definitive guarantees of business success with SEO for the reasons many have outlined, so many other factors at play. For example, selling at RRP when your competitors are selling at less is a starting point that has nothing to do with SEO!

    Many website owners overlook the fact that a searcher on Google is most unlikely to visit just one site and buy from that site. Typical user behaviour is to visit several sites and then decide which one gets the order.

    In other words you are still competing with every other listing on the Google results page, so you need to ensure your web pages… and pictures… and prices… and guarantees… and shipping options etc. are as compelling as the competition. None of those are anything to do with SEO either.

    You can be in position 1 for all the great search terms for years but if the competitors around you have started to look and ‘feel’ better to the visitors, then you’re not going to make much despite your previous success.

    I really would look strongly at all the points brought up here before laying out more on pure SEO or PPC.

    I’d love a guarantee the physio can fix a back injury, or my business consultant will help me make more money than he costs, or the mechanic can fix an intermittent engine annoyance for less than the cars value(!), or that Google will keep its algorithms fixed for a while…

    …but I’m not going to get guarantees with everything I spend money on. I have to accept that.

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