The first item in Google’s quality guidelines is “make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” Many webmasters and site owners focus so much on bots and search engines that they forget the spirit of their website: customers, readers and engaging content.
But focusing too much on search engines and search engine optimization (SEO) can actually have the opposite of the intended effect. Making your website human-friendly has to be a top priority. Otherwise, no matter how many people find your website, you won’t be selling to anyone.
Reliable Web Hosting
One of the worst things you can do is host an ecommerce site on an unreliable host server. If a customer receives errors or can’t complete an order, the customer will find somewhere else to purchase your product. Not only does the company lose the customer, but it can also develop a bad reputation. Hosting an ecommerce site on a reliable host means no customer experiences server crashes even in the middle of the night when the company is closed.
Videos and Helpful Content
Content isn’t just words on a screen. Fast, reliable web hosting allows the business to provide video streaming. Video content can take up a lot of storage space. It’s best to host video on a content delivery network (CDN). CDNs support multiple geographic locations and delivery streaming from several data centers. This speeds up streaming, which helps keep users on the ecommerce site instead of bouncing due to poor performance.content. Videos are especially helpful for businesses that sell products that need to be built or repaired. The business can have a FAQs page with video streaming for better, more unique customer support.
Chat Popups and Real-time Support
Users have several options when purchasing product online. Every ecommerce site has some kind of competition, so losing a customer is easy if there is no support for questions. Another way to keep customers engaged is to offer real-time chat support. Chat programs offer a way for a user to ask questions from the web page instead of calling a support number. The chat program runs in the user’s browser, and it “rings” a customer support person when the user needs to ask a question. This type of engagement is useful during the checkout process if a user is unable to find product or answers to questions during the ordering process.
Engaging Users and Not Search Engines
How engaging is your ecommerce content? Do product descriptions properly define product and entice users to buy? Content written for search engines is typically choppy, keyword stuffed and awkward. You know when the content is keyword stuffed when phrases are forced into each paragraph.
This is done to attract search engines when the reality of it is the phrase only needs to be in the content once for an algorithm to “understand” the content focus. When the content writer writes naturally, the phrases are placed inadvertently without forcing them. It’s smart to have the phrases in the website content, but any terms being targeted should be placed naturally and not forced into sentences.
Websites built for users create a better conversion rate for customers, and a well-written site won’t get hit with penalties. Instead of focusing on bots, focus on users. The traffic and search engine rank might rise more slowly, but the eventual effect is more customers and better rank without the threat of search engine penalties.
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Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for open cloud company Rackspace Hosting.