Home – New Forums Tech talk Should I dig deeper into Google “Not Provided” and how?

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  • #987983
    Qinnie(OzFairTrade)
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    Hi I need some expert advice. My site has been running since October last year, and so far I only get about 500 visitors and 5 orders a month. I spent sometime talking to bloggers and even got featured in the latest Mindfood magazine. However, this only increased site traffic by about 20%, and this could be temporary. I looked at Google Analytics and asked my customers how they found me. Seems like word of mouth works best for me, but it is quite slow. Some found me through Google search for particularl products e.g. “fairtrade cushion cover”. I’ve added descriptive text for all my product images and included “fairtrade” in all the image file names. So far, I haven’t seen a noticeable pickup in the site traffic as a result.

    I know it takes time to get the words out, but I’m wondering if I could speed up the process. I use Facebook ads and Adwords with about $10 daily budget. In the past Facebook ads have increased my page “likes” but hardly any of it converted to sales. Most of my traffic is still through organic search according to Google Analytics, but it doesn’t tell me what keyword people used to search. What is this “Not Provided”? Should I dig deeper into this, or is this a dead end?

    I use Bigcommerce because it’s affordable and provides good customisation. It says it’s got good SEO. Is it true?

    Should I just continue what I’ve been doing i.e. writing to bloggers, writing on my own blog, Facebook ads, Adwords, approching magazine editors etc. and just accept that good things take time to build?

    #1165122
    JohnW
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    Hi Quinnie,
    A year or so back, Google started “hidding” its keyword information. What you need to do is associate your Google Webmaster Tool with Analytics. Then you will be able to see “Search Query” reports. They are not the same as keywords reports but they do give you some useful info.

    “Good SEO” starts with research into the competition in your marketplace. It looks for the important search methods that people use to find your products. It then requires for the site owner to develop:

    1. A SE-friendly website structure
    2. A SE-friendly site design
    3. A SE-friendly page content structure
    4. A program for creating content to answer the questions people look for about your products

    Then, and only then does the ability of the shopping cart to support on-page SEO attributes come into play.

    Many shopping carts provide a similar level of managing the basic elements of page addresses, titles, descriptions, image alt tags, etc.

    “Good SEO” is not done with shopping cart SEO plug-ins that manage HTML code. This is an important issue but it cannot overcome the problems that the other elements direct and control.

    IMHO, you could easily have a twenty-fold difference in search engine referrals with the same brand of shopping cart software. All determined by variations in the 4 itemised issues.

    I only had the quickest look at your site but that suggests you have major problems with lack of relevant content, a poor site structure and design.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165123
    Qinnie(OzFairTrade)
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    Hi John

    Thank you for introducing me to Webmaster Tool. It gave me more information about search terms people used and other useful information which is good. It would be great if you could expand a bit on how I can improve website structure, design and content so that it’s more SEO friendly, all within the Bigcommerce framework.

    p.s. I have a separate wordpress blog. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean by “relevant content”.

    Thanks heaps!

    Qinnie

    #1165124
    John Romaine
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    Overcoming ‘not provided’ is a bit tricky but doable with a bit of digging around.

    1. Track rankings.

    Tracking rankings will give you some idea of how your site is performing for certain terms. Once you know what these are, you can generally tie this in with my next point.

    2. Landing pages

    Take a look at what pages people are entry points for your visitors. You can view this data in Google Analytics.

    3. Titles of landing pages

    The titles are usually a dead give away as the keywords you use in your titles often match up with the data above.

    (and of course WMT as John said above)

    Hope this helps.

    #1165125
    JohnW
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    Qinnie(OzFairTrade), post: 191147 wrote:
    …It would be great if you could expand a bit on how I can improve website structure, design and content so that it’s more SEO friendly, all within the Bigcommerce framework.

    p.s. I have a separate wordpress blog. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean by “relevant content”.

    Thanks heaps!

    Qinnie
    Hi Quinnie,
    SEs are looking for search topic information.

    Search topics could be:

    handmade jewellery
    Thai jewellery
    handmade earrings
    Thai earrings

    You need to structure your site so that you can link these types of products together. On-page “sort by” functions won’t do it.

    At present your structure looks like pages of unrelated products.

    Eg: Your pages for “Sale”, “Peacebomb”, “Last Chance”, “Free Shipping”, “20 and Under”, “Winter Warmers” and “Gifts” have no SE attraction value because they are all mixtures of unrelated products.

    Lack of relevant page content is a big problem.

    These are the only words about the product on this page, ozfairtrade.org/gifts/most-unique/blue-knot-earrings/:

    “Handmade in Yunnan (China)
    Blue knot earrings $26.33″

    SEs can read 700 words on this page. Most of them are repeated on every other site page.

    This is very “thin” content. SEs have been demoting sites with little valuable content for over 2 years now. Google just released Panda 4 algorithm update. This is directly aimed at sites with little useful content per page. Folk are talking about Ebay loosing 80% of its keyword rankings.

    Your blog on WordPress.com is unlikely to give you much support in generating SE referrals.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165126
    Qinnie(OzFairTrade)
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    Hi John

    Could you please clarify on why SE sees each of the category pages as mixtures of unrelated products? I’m having trouble understanding what you meant by related? Each category page currently has linkages to every other category through the category menu on the left. Each product page currently has linkages to related products. How do I relate them further so that SE sees them as related?

    About rich content, are you suggesting that I should write longer and unique product description for each product?

    Thanks heaps,

    Qinnie

    JohnW, post: 191167 wrote:
    Hi Quinnie,
    SEs are looking for search topic information.

    Search topics could be:

    handmade jewellery
    Thai jewellery
    handmade earrings
    Thai earrings

    You need to structure your site so that you can link these types of products together. On-page “sort by” functions won’t do it.

    At present your structure looks like pages of unrelated products.

    Eg: Your pages for “Sale”, “Peacebomb”, “Last Chance”, “Free Shipping”, “20 and Under”, “Winter Warmers” and “Gifts” have no SE attraction value because they are all mixtures of unrelated products.

    Lack of relevant page content is a big problem.

    These are the only words about the product on this page, ozfairtrade.org/gifts/most-unique/blue-knot-earrings/:

    “Handmade in Yunnan (China)
    Blue knot earrings $26.33″

    SEs can read 700 words on this page. Most of them are repeated on every other site page.

    This is very “thin” content. SEs have been demoting sites with little valuable content for over 2 years now. Google just released Panda 4 algorithm update. This is directly aimed at sites with little useful content per page. Folk are talking about Ebay loosing 80% of its keyword rankings.

    Your blog on WordPress.com is unlikely to give you much support in generating SE referrals.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165127
    Stuart B
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    Where’s the website? Can we take a look? There could be things on your site which are stopping people from making a purchase. Simple things…

    If facebook isn’t giving you customers then you may need to modify who you’re targeting, or modify how you’re communicating with them after the LIKE your page, or both.

    Contrary to some believes LIKES are valuable, just like a database of email addresses is valuable but if you’re not communicating to them correctly then it’s going to have an impact on the sales you can generate from it.

    #1165128
    JohnW
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    Qinnie(OzFairTrade), post: 191175 wrote:
    Hi John

    Could you please clarify on why SE sees each of the category pages as mixtures of unrelated products? I’m having trouble understanding what you meant by related?
    Hi Quinnie,
    Look at your Sale” page. It lists:

    scarves = 15
    bags = 8
    runners = 8
    jewellery = 2
    cushions = 2
    mobiles = 1
    + other categories.

    This is a list of products from many product categories. I.e Most are not related to any single product category search.

    Compare that to your earrings page: ozfairtrade.org/categories/jewellery/earrings.html

    Now you have grouped all earrings together so that it will rank higher than the “Sale” page for “earring” searches but in the competitive SE ranking world you won’t get enough ranking points compared to thousands of jewellery websites.

    You need to target wider search phrases. Eg: “handmade Thai earrings”, “handmade Cambodian earrings”, “handmade Yunnan earrings”, etc. The problem is you have pages of Thai, Cambodian, Yunnan, etc. products but you don’t have any pages that just list the earring products from each region. It should be the product category list pages for each region that should rank highest for these search phrases.

    If you go to a region page (eg ozfairtrade.org/brands/Handmade-in-Cambodia.html) we are back to a list of many unrelated products. I count only 4 earrings out of 32 products on this page. Think of all the non-earring product types diluting this page’s relevance to search phrases that include the word, “earrings”.

    Qinnie(OzFairTrade), post: 191175 wrote:
    About rich content, are you suggesting that I should write longer and unique product description for each product?
    Look at your SE competition Eg. handmade cambodian earrings

    craftworkscambodia.com/ethical-jewellery.html
    liveworldly.com/live-cambodian-silk-circle-earrings/
    rajanacrafts.org/catalogues/earrings_catalogue.pdf

    The last is a 20 page PDF file of nothing but Cambodian earrings.

    SEO starts with defining the search words you want to target.

    Eg: I can tell you are missing a lot of SE referrals from people who include location words in their searches.

    Your freight page tells me you are targeting Australian customers. Your site won’t be included in any search results that use the words “Sydney”. “Brisbane”, “Adelaide” or “Perth” because those words are not used on any of your 1,600 pages.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165129
    JohnW
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    Octopus Labs, post: 191178 wrote:
    Where’s the website? Can we take a look? There could be things on your site which are stopping people from making a purchase. Simple things…
    The website is http://www.ozfairtrade.org.

    A major conversion barrier is likely the way your freight costs info is buried.

    “Free delivery Australia-wide for orders over $50.”

    This should be one of the most important messages. It should be very visible on every page on the site.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165130
    Qinnie(OzFairTrade)
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    Hi John

    Very useful information. One problem I have at the moment is that I don’t have that many products, so I have a category for “handmade Yunnan earrings”, there will probably be less than 15 products. But I understand what you mean by “related” now. I will have a think about how to group products better for SE, and also how to rename categories for SE.

    Including location words is also a very good advice.

    I’ve been trying to make the shipping policy more visible on the website. I tried to include a picture in the header but ran into technical difficulties. You are right that it’s important so I’ll spend some effort on that.

    Thanks a lot for all the advices I’ve received. Thanks guys!

    Qinnie

    #1165131
    marketingweb
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    You have been offered some excellent advice, but I did just want to add a couple things given I do have recent experience in doing a small amount SEO work in the Fairtrade area (see link in my signature).

    One of the biggest problems I see is that unfortunately the fairtrade market is just not big enough yet. I also see it as a product that a lot of people may buy as an impulse buy in retail (eg Oxfam shops, at a market etc), but the amount of people actively searching for Fairtrade product online is quite limited, particularly for something specific like cushions. So push marketing such as Facebook may in theory work better for you, provided you can determine a suitable demographic to target.

    The other question I had isn’t search engine related, but I was just curious regarding your use of the term “Fair Trade”. This, to the best of my knowledge is a trademarked brand rather than a generic term that can be used for anything you want. Among the niche market it’s also becoming more accepted, and I don’t see any evidence of this branding on your website. More info on the Fair Trade branding is here: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/what_is_fairtrade/fairtrade_certification_and_the_fairtrade_mark/

    In fact I suspect that what you are selling *IS* ethical and you have put a lot of effort into artisan sourcing directly, but it may not be technically “Fair Trade”. The first thing that alerted me to that is the fact that some of your product comes from China – when in fact that as far as I know there is not a single Fair Trade certified supplier the whole country. Reason being is that to be Fair Trade Certified, the product must be able to be tracked right back to the material source (eg Coffee Plantation, Cotton Field etc) and all workers treated fairly, paid an above market wage, and have money put into community development not just in the manufacture of the product, but also right through the supply chain. Being that most raw materials in China go into a common market and it’s near impossible to identify the farm let alone the knitting mill, there has (to my knowledge) been no certifications in China. India is the biggest supplier of Fair Trade items outside of Coffee.

    Whether this is affecting your sales, probably not, but who knows. Could it get you in hot water, possibly. But as much as you may not want to hear this, calling something Fair Trade doesn’t make it so – you have to use generic terms like “ethically sourced” etc, which makes your SEO job harder.

    Matt

    #1165132
    Qinnie(OzFairTrade)
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    Hi Matt

    I checked our your brother’s fairtrade T-shirt website and it looks great! Good job! I appreciate your thoughts regarding ethical v.s. fairtrade, and I just want to add that while cotton, tea and coffee can be certified fairtrade products, handicrafts can not be individually certified due to the complexity involved. Only producers can be certified fairtrade. Most of my products come from certified fairtrade producers, and I share all my producer information on the website to be transparent. The rest come from small villages where they can’t afford to go throught the certification process. As you rightly pointed out, fairtrade is not a relevant term in China. However, there are lots of villages in China who are doing exactly what the certified fair trade producers in Laos, India and Nepal are doing. I buy directly from these villages.

    I also had doubts about whether I should support these non-certified producers and I also worried that maybe they would land me in hot water. I wanted to support them because they actually need more support than the certified ones. I am currently applying to the Fair Traders of Australia to be endorsed, and they will look at the actual practices of producers instead of just looking at their certification. I will follow their advice. In the mean time, I take your point of Fairtrade vs Fair Trade, and I will make appropriate changes on the website.

    Now back to SEO, when I set up the business, I really believed that Australia is ready for a bigger fairtrade market and that people are actively looking for fairtrade products. But maybe the progress is much slower than I assumed, as half my orders still come from overseas. It is a disappointment, but part of the reason I set up Oz Fair Trade is to educate and push forward the Fair Trade Movement, so I will continue to do what I can.

    I am recently debating whether I should continue the existing model of supporting many producers including the non certified ones, or whether I should narrow down my product range to have a better focus and be able to tell a more in-depth story, as fairtrade is sometimes too general. Love to hear your thoughts.

    #1165133
    marketingweb
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    Hi Qunnie, thanks for your reply, good to have some genuine discussion. But please don’t let me dissuade you from a certain path, I think your site is great and I’m only pointing out the Fair Trade stuff to make sure you are aware.

    Also want to mention my brother’s site is 95% his own and his business partner, so I can’t take credit there – all I have done is provide some SEO advice, which has started to have some good results but still early days.

    The whole Fair Trade thing is a minefield when you get into it – my brother knows more than I do re this, although I have spent a little time looking into the economic models of the industry.

    And I totally take your point re certifications since I still can’t personally understand why so few products have certifications, but suspect it’s due to the strictness of the supply chain rules. For example, something made of tin or iron, how do you track back to ensure the mine workers, or those at a smelter are treated well – it’s neigh impossible. Therefore Fair Trade in the strictest sense may always be limited, and will probably develop (or maybe already is) into a broader ethically sourced product industry. The problem then is that as soon as rules are relaxed, there will always be people who push the boundaries and use products for their own benefit.

    Then the other limitation is that Australian brands like Cetton which is both Australian Made and Organic can never be certified Fair Trade even though it’s in many ways better – simply because Fair Trade only applies to providing an above living wage in developing countries.

    The big problem I see in Australia and possibly other places is that the message is so fragmented in the marketplace, with terms like Fair Trade vs fairtrade vs Earth Positive vs WRAP Certified vs Fair for Life certification or things like Oeko-Tex vs generic terms like “sweatshop free” “organic” “carbon neutral”, . The environmental industry has a lot of what is known as “greenwashing” and the risk with this industry is “fairwashing” if I may coin a term.

    What is needed is one main term, the equivalent of the “Made in Australia” which replaced everyone done their own thing. Fair Trade is trying to do this, but there are of course limitations as noted.

    I believe there IS a market of people who want to buy fair, but there are three barriers:
    1) Price Premium (usually more than I personally think it should be)
    2) Lack of Range (go into an Oxfam store – most products are not those you would actually buy if there wasn’t a “story” behind them.
    3) Marketplace confusion due to above mentioned messages.

    I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with you focusing more broadly on ethical clothing, but just need to ensure you don’t put yourself at risk through trademark infringement.

    I wish you the best of luck with it. In my brother’s case it’s only a side business, but looks like this is your main gig, so hope it goes well for you. Sorry for getting off track from your original question.

    Matt

    #1165134
    Qinnie(OzFairTrade)
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    Hi Matt

    Like wise, it’s good to have a discussion about fair trade. It is my side business/charity at the moment, but it’s where my passion lies and I hope to run it full time in the near future, if I can grow it successfully.

    There is definitely a danger of “greenwashing” and “fairwashing”. Fair Traders of Australia is the official body that certifies businesses that have fair trade at the core of what they do, so this is one way consumers can be ensured that businesses who claim to be fair trade are indeed so. However the process can take quite some time, and I’m still going through it. I would encourage your brother to apply if he’s serious about growing his business.

    Re the three barriers you pointed out:

    1. I think price premium is more to do with perception than reality. A lot of products in the market are actually underpriced because the workers were underpaid. I did some research into pricing, and I found that at least for fair trade handicrafts they are competitively priced compared to similar products in the market, and much cheaper than those made in Australia.

    2. Lack of range. I think businesses like Etiko and Eternal Creation and your brother’s business are helping to change the perception that fair trade products are pity products. I’m also trying very hard in this area, to provide ethical alternatives that people actually want. Again, perceptions take time to change.

    3. Knowledge around fair trade is still lacking in Australia. Only 50% of Australians know about fair trade, according to Fairtrade Australia, compared to over 90% of UK population. Half of my orders come from overseas. A very important reason why I started Oz Fair Trade is to help pushing forward the Fair Trade Movement in Australia because there’s clearly room for growth.

    Now back to SEO. I am considering whether to grow through larger product range or narrower product range. I used Adword Keyword Tool to examine some keywords. Turns out that monthly search for “fair trade” in Australia is above 4,000, but monthly search for a particular fair trade product is less than 100, with shoes and jewellery being the top ones. So from SEO perspective, I should aim to rank higher for “fair trade” instead of a particular “fair trade” product, right? How to actually choose which keywords to target?

    #1165135
    Qinnie(OzFairTrade)
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    I just discovered SEMRUSH and it’s so good! I used up the free 10 searches already and they gave me such valuable information. I now have a much better idea of what keywords to target and where I need to get to.

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