SEO for eCommerce

What are the specific skills, techniques and strategies that you require in order to SEO for Ecommerce?

In episode 16 of Old Guard vs New Blood, Dixon Jones was joined by Kristina Azarenko from MarketingSyrup, Chris Dunn from FoundIt! and Emma Russell from Slingshot Organic.

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Transcript

Dixon Jones

Hi everyone, this is SEO for E-commerce, episode 16 of Old Guard versus New Blood, Majestic’s monthly webinar and podcast and general kind of communication around the web, and we’ve got a brilliant panel today. This is going to be interesting for me because I haven’t done an awful lot of e-commerce SEO, but fortunately I’ve got a really good panel around me. So why don’t I bring them in and ask you guys to introduce yourselves, tell us where you’re from.

We’ve got the old guard this time is Chris and myself, and the new blood is Emma and Kristina. So I’ll start with the old guard. Chris, tell us about yourself and where you come from.

Chris Dunn

Well, thank you Dixon. Yes, I’m Chris Dunn. I’ve been in well what’s called SEO since 1998. It wasn’t called SEO back then.

Dixon Jones

I think we met in ’99. We met in the last century, yeah. That’s-

Chris Dunn

Yes, that is bizarre, isn’t it? Yeah. It was things like AltaVista, Excite were all the rage back then.

Dixon Jones

Absolutely.

Chris Dunn

Not even Google really for my first year of doing this discipline.

Dixon Jones

No.

Chris Dunn

Fast forward 22 years and I’m now in my third startup, and two successful startups along the way, and the startup’s called FoundIt! And we specialize in helping retailers, specifically large retailers, and we’ve got an AI platform that predicts intent and simplifies shopper journeys in short, which helps obviously grow sales through both SEO uplift and site wide conversion, and that’s across all channels. So it’s not just SEO.

Dixon Jones

Very good. It sounds good. We might have to find out a little bit more about that if you’ve got time. Emma, why don’t you tell us who you are and where you come from?

Emma Russell

Hello, I’m Emma Russell. That tool, FoundIt!, sounds pretty useful. I work at a place called Slingshot Organic. We just changed our name from Contemplate Digital, so I was about to say that and that could’ve been a boo boo. But if you’ve heard of Contemplate Digital, we’re now Slingshot Organic and we’re predominantly a tech SEO agency, that we do content strategies as well with more of a technical spin on them. So yeah, here for the tech e-commerce SEO.

Dixon Jones

And how old were you when Chris and I met?

Emma Russell

What was I?

Dixon Jones

No, you don’t have to answer that. That’s fine. That’s fine. That’s fine. And Kristina, you’ve come all the way from, you’re over in Toronto, I understand?

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah, I’m usually in Toronto. Now, I’m in Alberta, in Canmore, in a really beautiful city with mountains. And I didn’t work as an SEO in the last century. I was born in the previous century. But I’ve been in SEO for I think 10 years or even more and I’m an e-commerce and technical SEO consultant. I help small and big online stores to sell more by using organic channel, free Google traffic. And I also teach people through my course and yeah, I’m really happy to be here and I’m sure that the discussion is going to be really amazing.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, I hope so. I think it will. And if there’s anybody out there watching us live, you can tweet us. We’re live on YouTube and on Facebook. So feel free to ask some questions. We’ve got David in the background who’s our producer. David, do you want to say hi?

David Bain

Hi. Yeah, absolutely. We’re broadcasting live on Facebook and YouTube as Dixon said, but we’re also available as a replay of course on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, other places like that. Just go to Majestic.com/webinars to find out more about that.

Dixon Jones

Yep, brilliant, okay. And we’ll tell you about the other things that are coming up at the end of the show. So let’s get into it and start with SEO for e-commerce. Firstly, first and foremost, why is SEO for e-commerce different to SEO for anybody else in the world? I do SEO. I do some SEO, but probably not the best. Why is it that SEO for e-commerce is different? I don’t know who wants to take that. Emma, I’m going to go with you first.

Emma Russell

Okay.

Dixon Jones

What’s the difference between those two?

Emma Russell

Okay, the difference between e-commerce SEO and other SEO, I guess-

Dixon Jones

Yeah, your blog or whatever, your standard.

Emma Russell

Gotcha, yeah. Well, let’s talk about tactics and things you can actually do and optimize for. The things that you do are completely different. Let’s say you have a blog versus an e-commerce site with filtering. You don’t have to deal with anything like long tail categories, how to index deeper into your left hand nav. You don’t have to consider that at all with a blog unless you have some kind of category situation and you have a lot going on in there. Otherwise, you probably have a much simpler navigation. So there’s a lot to factor in and think about when it comes to e-commerce SEO that you wouldn’t necessarily encounter on other types of sites like a blog or anything like that.

Dixon Jones

Right, okay. So the sheer number of URLs that you’ve got in the system is a massive, great, big factor.

Emma Russell

Yeah, you can scale very quickly and that can become a massive challenge, yeah. So scale, I guess, is probably, definitely something that you’d have to think about that you don’t necessarily have with other types of sites.

Dixon Jones

Kristina, anything to add on that?

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah. Yeah, so I agree with Emma and I would also add that one of the things that differentiates e-commerce type of websites, and when I say e-commerce type of websites, I’m not only meaning online stores, but also dealerships. They are also e-commerce type websites because they have filters, they have SRPs like categories on an online store, and also kind of marketplaces. And one of the biggest challenges is flexible stock, especially if we are talking about a big store.

So when, for example, we talk about a blog or let’s say a B2B website, you have your let’s say blog pages, service pages, and they are mostly static while when it e-commerce type websites, especially those that are bigger, you have stock coming in and products coming out of stock, and you should have processes in place to control it from the SEO’s point of view. This is one of the biggest things.

And also, to add to Emma’s point, yes, we have so many URLs and faceted navigation, search results, pages, and whenever you create new URLs for filtering and all this stuff, it creates so many possibilities for duplicate content. And plus, there can be many product variations and they really love talking about that or it can be many product variations, and sometimes it’s not worth to create separate URLs for those products. And so that causes duplicate issues.

And one of the other things that can potentially cause you to get content is that there are sub-categories, which belong to multiple categories, and they have different URLs, but displays the same products. Yes, so this is basically a quick overview on things that are different.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, okay, we’ll come back to cover those because I think that-

Kristina Azarenko

Yes, definitely.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, those, that you’ve picked out some of the major ones and I certainly want to come back to the stock one because that’s a really useful one. But before I do that, Chris, is there any such thing that’s been burning in your head to shout out on top of those?

Chris Dunn

I think both the ladies have nailed it. Yeah, scale. Absolutely, the scale for e-commerce really makes it completely different to anything that you do. Obviously, most people are growing range these days. Most shops are trying to grow more and more product, which is a really great thing, but growing product is also a really bad thing because you’ve created it more and more difficult for both your users, and we’ve got to focus in on the customer typically and that’s where my mantra’s at is focus in on the customer and obviously if you’re focusing in on the customer, you’ve also go to focus on these search engines as well. And that, in itself, is where the difficulties lies.

And you ladies have touched on all the sort of classic problems, faceted navigation, the one size fits all. You’re dealing with what you’ve inherited quite often. The search engines on the sites, you’re dealing with what you’ve inherited. Dixon, you’ll remember Blue Martini, yeah, those sort of e-commerce systems-

Dixon Jones

Yeah.

Chris Dunn

Absolute nightmare to work with, isn’t it?

Dixon Jones

Unusable, yeah.

Chris Dunn

Absolutely. So I’m glad things have got better, but life is still pretty damn tough, so you do need a damn good strategy.

Dixon Jones

So let’s go into one of those several examples, and I don’t suppose I’m going to get very much faster from beyond those points that you’ve made, that you’ve given me in the first part of this presentation, but I’d like to go and get some ways in which people can deal with them. And let’s start with that stock one first because I think that’s a really interesting one to bring up.

So you’re trying to be dynamic. You’re going to run out of stock. Assume you can technically set things up, what’s the ideal situation for when you’ve come out of stock? How do you tell Google that you’re coming out of stock? Do you deliver a 404 page at that URL? Do you then deliver a generic out of stock page of that URL? If you’ve got the option, how do you deal with running out of stock in a perfect world, Kristina?

Kristina Azarenko

Well, so it depends if this product is out of stock completely or it’s going to be restocked. And especially if it’s going to be restocked, I would not recommend removing the page and inserting a 404 page because at the end of the day, you want the product to come back to that exact page, which most likely has acquired already some authority from the website or maybe even it has some external links pointing to it, and also, what’s the most important, people coming to this page checking if this product is in stock.

So ideally, what I recommend to my clients and what I do with my clients, we leave the page as a 200 HTTP status code, which basically means this page is available and we just mark the product as out of stock, so that it’s clear that this product is out of stock, but there’s visibility that there are other products, which are related, or products that are similar that are in stock.

So instead of say, “Oh this product’s out of stock? And just go to our competitors because you spend lots of money acquiring people coming to your website,” but that if you show them the just 404 page when your product is out of stock, you just lose this and you waste this money. So instead of this, you make sure that you provide this user journey that shows that “Okay, there are other products that you might be interested in,” or if this product comes in stock later, you also set up notifications so that people can subscribe to the back in stock notifications and get emails when the product is in stock.

So that’s basically how I approach the situations when the product is out of stock temporarily. I can talk about permanent out of stock?

Dixon Jones

No, let’s stick with that one for a while. I’ve got a question about it-

Kristina Azarenko

Okay.

Dixon Jones

But maybe Emma or Chris will come in with some other ideas on that. Would you agree with those or got a different strategy?

Chris Dunn

Sure, yeah, that’s actually a really great point. So what Kristina mentioned there is brilliant with sort of giving the opportunity for customers to see products of equal sort of merit. We’ve actually developed a piece of kit on this. So it’s something that we’ve done quite recently. And we had one of our customers whose a big luxury fashion retailer, global, probably the biggest. They were getting a significant amount of traffic a day to products that have recently just fallen out of stock.

And one of the things that we did, and we automated this, so it’s a completely automated piece of kit, we understood the customer intent of that particular product that was out of stock. We’ve already mined that. We know what they wanted, so the language of the customer. From that, we can work out which are the most revenue relevant driving products so we can then deliver a sort of product carousel, which will then give the width of giving more products in terms of that.

But equally, we knew the search terms that they came in on and we can then give, so for example, it was a black dress, and we can then go, “Well, a black dress, it could be party, it could be little black dress, it could be the SEO goes into the bar,” all of those sort of search terms, and we can then give the user the opportunity to go back up the funnel and back into the journey via a recognized clean link, all alternated, all distributed on the site. And that actually showed, well, quite a phenomenal area of interest.

Dixon Jones

So in your one, they probably wouldn’t realize that the product was out of stock anyway in-

Chris Dunn

No, no, no, no. Actually the way the page, the template is done, the template says, “This product is out of stock. Here is some options of products that are of that ilk.” But equally, here’s a link back up the funnel to see that. If you want to see the product, it’s still there.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, okay.

Chris Dunn

So the content is still there in short.

Dixon Jones

Very impressive because the one thing I was worried about with, Emma, maybe you can come back on this, is that if you find… so Chris mentioned at the start that people are getting more and more stock now and what is probably happening is that they’re now going straight from warehouse to end user without going via store anywhere, so they don’t need to worry about individual stock in the store. They can hold up more stock in a central location and deliver it.

So my question is though if you started to develop that process and Google starts to continually see out of stock on the page, is that going to cause a problem if Google suddenly sees or if the search engine sees that that stock is not there and there’s a very similar response coming back all the time? Is that a problem or can we get around that or does Google not care?

Emma Russell

So before I answer that one, I actually wouldn’t mind going back to just address something about out of stock strategy. I think as SEOs, we often come up with an ideal and the ideal, we’ll just have SEO in mind, and sometimes we don’t necessarily think about the wider goings on with the business. But sometimes it’s actually it causes some issues for us.

So one example of this is is the point of service system linked in any way to how we actually populate products on site? So for example, in one of my previous roles, this was the case and we couldn’t take a product down until the returns period was over because the point of service system was linked completely by this one system that was driving what was on site and the messaging on site and the point of service system, point of sales system rather. And so we couldn’t take a product down from the site until that legal period of returns was over because otherwise somebody wouldn’t actually be able to return the product.

So I think it’s interesting, and I completely agree with everything that Kristina and Chris has said, but I think it’s interesting to take in other factors like the logistics in mind that might actually hamper us and block us from doing the ideal.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, I guess that happens quite a lot really on anything. Does anyone want to answer my question of if you keep on hitting out of stock things too heavily, can that be a penalization in search engines or is that not something that’s a big think in SEO for e-commerce?

Chris Dunn

Not that I’ve just witnessed of recent times. All we’ve seen is if you give the user a better journey, then those signals will flow back and we’ve actually seen better performance from those sort of things. You obviously can start using your Schema Markup as well. So you can tell the search engines that this product is out of stock. You can tell the search engines, “This is the price.” And also you can deal with it if it’s coming back in the future as well.

Dixon Jones

Okay, that’s quite interesting that you’ve got an out of stock option in Schema. Schema’s bloody cool these days.

Chris Dunn

Yeah, it is, yeah.

Emma Russell

Yeah.

Chris Dunn

It makes life so much easier, right?

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah.

Dixon Jones

For e-commerce, it’s a huge, huge boon, yeah.

Chris Dunn

However, it’s still undervalued. It’s still not being used.

Dixon Jones

Yep.

Chris Dunn

It drives me nuts.

Dixon Jones

Well, I guess e-commerce systems have got to actually have developers building in the abilities to add them-

Chris Dunn

Exactly, yeah.

Dixon Jones

Because there’s just too much to do manually.

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah, lot’s of work.

Chris Dunn

And there lies the difficulty in trying to convince developers that SEO is from the ground up.

Emma Russell

Exactly.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay. Well let’s talk about that a little bit, that whole automatization that goes on with e-commerce because I wanted to talk about product feeds a little bit because the way I understand it, a lot of e-commerce is based on product feeds, whether it’s CSV files or whatever, from the manufacturer. So you’re trying to find the… you’ve got the Zanussi fridge with all the spec and all the other bits and pieces, and it’s in a feed from a wholesaler or from a manufacturer, but presumably all of the e-commerce, all the people that are reselling this, have exactly the same data. Basically, they’ve got the same feeds.

So does this cause duplicate content problems for a search engine and for the website owner that’s trying to sell their Zanussi fridge instead of somebody else’s Zanussi fridge? Are there real problems with product feeds or has that been ironed out as well? Who wants to take that one first? Emma, go on.

Emma Russell

If that’s okay with everybody else?

Chris Dunn

Yeah, go for it.

Emma Russell

Cool. I think you have duplication at two different levels here. Firstly, duplication, let’s say you’ve got two feeds coming in, do you have product duplication or variant duplication? That’s a huge issue and it can be difficult to iron out. I worked on an affiliate site that had feeds from I think 20 different companies selling very, very similar products and ironing out the deduplication there was actually quite tricky because one company will refer to a product as one thing, one product will refer to it as another, and it gets tricky quite quickly.

So you have at one level, duplication there, and then you have duplication with all of the content. And again, if you’re working with scale, then that’s when it becomes really tricky because how do you actually differentiate yourself unless you’re alternating content or you have some kind of really quick and easy way of differentiating your site from a different site. And that could be the content on the page or it could be something else like your positioning in the market, your branding, ease of use, and things like that.

I think it can definitely be a problem, but you can overcome it with other things or by deduping the page itself or the content on the page itself.

Dixon Jones

Any other thoughts, Chris, Kristina?

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah, I can add a little bit to this. So definitely Emma brought up a really interesting thing. I think there is no exact answer in SEO. It depends. But that’s because you need an SEO, because in that situation, as Emma pointed out, you’re not going to find an answer in a blog post that says, “Do this.” Because in your particular situation, it might be different. You need a brain behind this to basically create a customized approach for your store or for your affiliate, let’s say, whatever.

But basically, a really good approach and I’d say a best practice approach would be to have… so okay, let’s step back for a second. Duplicate content is considered on the page level. So basically Google considers the whole page to think if it’s duplicate or not. And first of all, one page on one website will be different from another page on the other website because it has different content, different navigation. It has different content blogs and so on and so forth. So if you have the same images, which is not ideal, but still it doesn’t mean that your pages with other resellers will be identical. This is the first thing.

And the same goes about the content itself, the text, the specs, because the specs, you just can’t remove them. Everybody is interested in how big their refrigerator is. They need to have these images and specs. But then, what happens, you can add reviews options to your pages. And when it comes to reviews, if these are reviews specifically for your product or for your store, these are going to bring you more unique content versus all your competitors on all other resellers.

Another thing which does require lots of traffic, I’d say… for example, on Amazon, what I really love is that they have Q&A sections. In addition to reviews, they have Q&As when people can ask questions and other users can reply to those questions. And if you use this and additionally, if you, for example, for reviews or for such questions, put hints for people what things they need to mention in the review… not need to mention, but can mention in the review, it will also help, especially given the new updated approach that Google takes now to the quality of reviews for products from people.

So these are good ways to make product pages more unique. But also, we don’t need to forget about the category pages because for most websites, online stores, category pages will be the main driving pages for traffic from Google and that’s where you can differentiate yourself even more than on product pages.

Dixon Jones

Amazing. I like the Q&A tip. That’s a really good way of differentiating content. Chris, do you want to jump in there? And sorry, I’ve-

Chris Dunn

Yeah, that’s all right, there’s a couple things. I totally agree with what the ladies have both said. One thing to be careful of we have seen is, especially in certain areas with marketplaces, customers are actually sharing their data twice. So they’ve written it unique in the first place and they’re sharing it on the likes of Google and other marketplaces, and typically who’s going to rank you is probably Google, I mean Amazon for your own content. So you have to be careful there when sharing to different third party providers and Amazon and people like that.

I do agree, writing unique content in the first place, and I know that’s very hard at scale, but it can be done. There is some automated ways to look at this, long tail variations, synonyms, so getting some LSI keywords into that. Certain things, we see it all the time in the world I work, sneakers, trainers, just doing some quick swap outs, that sort of thing. And you can do that quite at scale and you can do that quite nicely. That does help to bring things down to a bit more unique.

But I wouldn’t sweat too much about certain product data. If it’s like size and that sort of thing, you can’t make that unique. It is what it is. You’ve just got to add more value to the page for the customer. And also, I wouldn’t distract too far away from the PDP. In my experience, about a third of traffic-

Dixon Jones

PDP? Sorry.

Chris Dunn

Product description page, the product page.

Dixon Jones

Thank you.

Chris Dunn

Forgive me. Forgive me. You are getting around a third of your traffic in e-commerce now is landing on product first, which is a big issue, because most of that traffic is actually coming from paid, from the likes of Google Shopping and that sort of stuff, and most of that traffic is generic. It’s coming in looking for a category page, but it’s landing on the product first.

So again, I would urge you to do spend time and making that content right on the product page and giving the users the journeys back up to the funnel, to the places where they do want to start that journey for that generic journey, such as category pages. So it’s a bit of everything, frankly. It always is.

Dixon Jones

So I want to dive in with I guess a bit of an advanced SEO or maybe a future SEO kind of question. Google has said that it’s moving towards passage indexing and it’s not yet been very specific as what it means about passage indexing. So these answers may be a little bit more broad in nature, but I’m going to ask the question anyway because Emma, you kind of… well all of you talked about trying to make the page, one of the ways in which you make those pages unique is by having your own brand and your own stamp, your own messaging on there. We had the Q&A as a really good idea of differentiating the content on the pages as well.

But ultimately if Google is going to start to analyze things by passage as opposed to by page, then arguably you’re using the same description of your brand with different products. So the way you’re getting a unique page is everything about your brand and everything about the product that you’re selling makes a unique blend. But if Google starts to analyze passages separately, they might sit there and say, “Right, there’s a page about the brand that’s the same on every page and then there’s a product that’s got the same thing as everywhere else in the world as well. So maybe there is a lot less unique content on here than we thought before.”

I guess my question is is passage indexing something that potentially could be really damaging for e-commerce sites that don’t have an individual product description for each individual page?

Chris Dunn

Discuss.

Dixon Jones

I’m going to ask Chris this one first because I think that’s a really hard question to answer

Chris Dunn

Well, it’s a theory isn’t it? We don’t know for sure and we never know what Google is going to do, and they always try, even back in the day when we knew something was coming, we never knew quite what was going to happen and how it would play out. But I would say from the brief understanding that I know of it, yes, you’ve got to try and get your uniqueness into that. So as I said, you can look for the words to swap out in that content.

So you’re not going to be able to rewrite all the manufacturer’s content across 100,000 products. That’s just not going to happen. Yes, you could and you could structure that and then which order to do them in, look where you should focus, but you’re not going to do that all day long.

So what I would do is try and work out some way to alternative some swapping out. Looking for the right kind of customer intent language, work out what the engagement rates for those kind of products, what they’re arriving in, look for the long tail varieties of all of that, and try to do some kind of machining on that. And that sort of stuff is possible and you can do relatively cheaply as well. You don’t need to be talking to people like us, the enterprise level, to do that sort of thing.

Dixon Jones

And I guess Kristina, you’d say get unique content at the category level.

Kristina Azarenko

Yes, exactly.

Dixon Jones

So that is your own messaging of that particular level.

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah, exactly because category pages get a substantial amount of traffic as well and I’m a big fan of creating long tail, basically a sub-category of sub-sub-categories to target long tail keywords. But when it comes to passage indexing, exactly as Chris said, we don’t know. We can guess, but we don’t know.

But one thing that I’m 100% sure about is that it’s not going to happen overnight because just think about, for example, speed, the importance of speed. Google started talking about this I think three, four years ago and this new update should have been launched at the beginning of May and now we are moving to June and the middle of August.

So what it tells me is that, first of all, on the Google side, it’s not that easy to switch completely how your search engine works and what factors are taken into consideration. This is the first thing. And the second thing, I’d say Google is quite mild in terms of rolling out all these important updates and we’ll have time to adjust. We’ll have to not just guess and think, “Oh what I can do now to get ready for passage indexing.” That could be a really good talk name, but we can only guess now.

And then while new details are rolling out, we can adjust, we can think about strategies instead of trying to, “Oh I need to do this now,” or something. We need to have a strategy first and we can have it while we have more details from Google. Yeah, so that’s basically… the short answer is we don’t know. We need to just make sure that the websites that we work on are really good in terms of user experience, they do deliver good even shopping experience when it comes to online stores, and give value. That’s basically it. It goes down to this.

Dixon Jones

Very good. Anything else you want on that, Emma, or should I just move on?

Emma Russell

Yeah, no, I do. I do want to add something.

Dixon Jones

Great.

Emma Russell

So we know what their intent is with passage indexing. Their intent is to bring really great content that just happens to sit in a wider chunk of content all in one page and bring that out and let users see it more easily. That’s the intent. It’s just we don’t necessarily know how it will impact other things. And I think that’s a really good example of something that might happen off the back of it that we didn’t intend for or think will happen, but it might happen. So I think that’s a really good example, first off, so thank you for that.

But I also think having, let’s say going back to the example of a passage about your brand on a product page and hoping that will make it unique enough to outrank somebody else, I don’t know if that necessarily brings value to the customer when they’re looking at that product unless it directly affects them. Let’s say your brand has… let’s say you’re Amazon, for the sake of argument, and you have Prime. That is something about your brand that impacts a decision on whether you purchase or not.

And so I think if you just have a passage about your brand, it’s fairly generic, you have it across every page, and it doesn’t really say anything that benefits the user. If they land on a product page, they haven’t you encountered before, I don’t think it’s necessarily useful. And so I think I would just raise the question of what are you actually putting on the page that’s useful? And if you have 100,000 products on your site and there’s a lot of potential in terms of search for and people are actually looking for it, but not all 100,000, then you have a core set that you focus on and you differentiate those and you really provide value for the user.

In which case, passage indexing, I just don’t know if it would impact that kind of page. If you have those pages where you see that value, you put the effort in and you add that content, I would struggle to see how you would be impacted. And then if you actually do that work, let’s say you’ve got 50% of the rest of your site where there’s not so much individual potential in terms of organic to land on that page and you don’t have as much content on there, are you going to be impacted anyway if there’s not much potential for organic traffic there?

Dixon Jones

All right, good, fair observation. Thanks for your answers by the way, because I know that was an obviously pointed kind of question, so amazing. And by the way, Amazon, if anybody from Amazon is listening, my wife’s got Prime. I don’t need Prime. It’s getting out of that checkout without pressing the damn Join Prime button is really hard and it’s really annoying.

So let’s go and talk about tips for doing SEO on Amazon then. So fortunately, I’ve never had to have an Amazon shop, so I don’t know what the pains are for it. You’ve talked about Q&A as a way of creating some uniqueness, Kristina. Are there tips that anybody that’s involved in selling on Amazon, which I guess anybody in e-commerce is probably doing by now, some good tips for Amazon that we can share with people? No one?

Chris Dunn

Only what I said earlier where don’t share your content. Make sure your content between your retail sites and your Amazon retail shop is different.

Dixon Jones

So basically you’re saying all of Amazon content, you’re going to pay for anyway. So you don’t want to get your content from… any sale that you don’t get from Amazon is an organic win and any sale that you get from Amazon is a page win basically. That’s what you’re saying?

Chris Dunn

Yeah.

Dixon Jones

There is no organic in Amazon is your-

Chris Dunn

Of course, not.

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah.

Dixon Jones

I don’t know. I don’t do it on Amazon probably because it’s paid. That’s… okay, so there’s really no way of getting an edge against everybody else? You’re all going to pay the same amount or is it all about partnership deals behind the scenes with Amazon to get a better deal? Or you’re saying it’s not organic, so you’re staying away from it?

Chris Dunn

I’ll be honest, I have no clue.

Dixon Jones

Fair enough then.

Kristina Azarenko

I just have never… sorry, just I have never worked with Amazon-

Dixon Jones

Okay.

Kristina Azarenko

But it was basically selling on Amazon. But my friend does and I’ve heard stories from her. And I know that it’s important, your reviews, the average median of your reviews, and what’s interesting, that maybe sometimes five stars, like all five out of five is worst than let’s say 4.5 then out of five. So this is interesting.

And also I know that they push inter-pay because in Amazon, there are organic listings and also paid only things specifically, and I know that it’s hard to control as well, but yeah, I think that it’s a different part. So I’d concentrate first on your website than going out to Amazon.

Dixon Jones

All right, and then let’s come back to an easier sort of thing then and start talking about e-commerce platforms that we can use. So we know there’s things like Shopify or what are the common platforms that are out there for e-commerce businesses? And which ones have you got as the particular favorite? What would you like to use if you were given a new client? And we’re not talking about… I know you guys have worked with some pretty big companies and that’s all custom built, but for the majority of us, we end up having to do something off the shelf, a WordPress plugin or something like that. What are the limitations of those plugins? What plugins do you think work reasonably well with SEO?

Kristina Azarenko

You mean plugins or platforms?

Dixon Jones

Plugins or platforms, it doesn’t matter really.

Kristina Azarenko

Okay.

Dixon Jones

But are you a Shopify fan?

Kristina Azarenko

It depends.

Dixon Jones

Or WooCommerce fan then?

Kristina Azarenko

So the three most common e-commerce platforms that I come across are Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce. And for a long time, I worked for a company which developed Magento extensions. So I was really in that Magento world. But I’d say for Magento, you definitely need lots of of money and a dedicated developer because it’s a wide, big platform and there are so many moving parts and you’ll definitely need to… even when you buy a plugin, you need to customize it or have it customized for you by a developer or the company that produces this plugin. So this is something for companies that have lots of budget.

And also Shopify, on the other end is Shopify, is for people who are not tech savvy, which is fine, but it has limitations like editing robots.txt, which kind of makes sense because you want to make sure that nobody just gets their website disallowed in robots.txt because as I said, it’s created not for tech savvy people and it’s really easy to set up your store. There are so many different plugins for adding, for example, Schema, et cetera, et cetera.

And in the middle width is WooCommerce. And if I created my own store, I would go with WooCommerce because it doesn’t require that many development resources as Magento, but at the same time, it’s customizable enough because it’s basically WordPress and there are so many plugins for WordPress and specifically for SEO, you can use Yoast or Rank Math. And at the same time, it gives you lots of flexibility, but it requires some tech savviness still.

Dixon Jones

Okay. That’s a good way of differentiating those three things. If you don’t know anything, use Shopify. If you’ve got a developer, use Magento. If you’re in the middle and you’ve used WordPress a lot, use WooCommerce.

Kristina Azarenko

And a big store, because Magento, you don’t go with Magento if you have three products.

Dixon Jones

That’s a good tip to know. It’s a good tip to know because I’m sure there’s plenty that have dived in the deep end. And Chris, Emma, anything you want to add on there?

Chris Dunn

To be honest, I’ve only ever worked with the big ones.

Dixon Jones

It’s you area view, you’re always, yeah, you’ve always been a big… okay, a big end kind of person

Chris Dunn

Sorry. Sorry, yeah. So yeah, lots of products, big sites.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, that’s not a problem at all. That’s not a problem.

Emma Russell

Yeah, same.

Dixon Jones

Okay.

Emma Russell

Although I will say something like Salesforce, which is monolithic, I think it’s so rigid and I think for an e-commerce store, if you’re on Salesforce, I think there’s much more flexibility coming up in the market with newer platforms that are likely going to be headless if they have that flexibility and I think that flexibility is needed. I haven’t seen a platform that is perfect for SEO and I think that the lack of flexibility is a big problem with the monolithic ones like Salesforce. Implementing left hand nav, long tail catch phrases on Salesforce is a nightmare, right? It’s tough.

Chris Dunn

And I agree with you, yeah, it’s a much of a muchness, that all the platforms have strengths and weaknesses from what I’ve seen and what we’ve done is always try to work our way around them, which is what your job is. There are some good ones up coming up. BigCommerce is really making some waves recently. And obviously Shopify’s got its premium products as well, and Shopify does do a lot of things really well, and I’ve used Shopify personally and I quite like it for that.

But I agree with you, the big monolithics, the old schools, the Demandware, which is now Salesforce and SAP, which is out there as well, they’re again, it really does depend of what you’ve got behind the scenes. So it goes back actually more closer to PIM data, product data in the first place for me is more important than the platform you choose. So how good is your product data because the sites are only as good as what you spit out really.

Emma Russell

Definitely.

Chris Dunn

Sites are quite dumb, faceted navigation is dumb. It will only spit out what you’ve got in the product catalog. So if you’ve got garbage in there, it will be garbage on the site.

Emma Russell

Definitely.

Chris Dunn

So for me, if you’re going to do hard work, put the effort into your product data, getting your right kind of products set up in the background, and you can chuck on any platform on the front end. It’ll be beautiful compared to most.

Dixon Jones

I found this an absolutely fascinating session, I’ve got to say. Before we just ask you where people can find out more about you guys, David, can I bring you back in and find out if there’s anything you need to know about the next session and what’s coming down the pipe?

David Bain

Sure. Wonderful session, as you said, Dixon. A lot of people are watching live. We didn’t have much interaction, many comments. I think many people were just glued to the screens there. But we’ve got another wonderful session coming up in a month’s time, as you said there. That’s going to be on Wednesday, the 2nd of June at 500pm BST, 1200 pm eastern time. And that’s going to be what you need to know about Google’s Knowledge Graph in 2021. We’ve already got Dan Taylor and-

Dixon Jones

I won’t have that advert behind me, because I would’ve moved house. So I’ll be in my brand new office, I hope. Well, touch wood, I hope anyway.

David Bain

Superb stuff. So Dan Taylor and Jason Barnard are confirmed for next month’s episode. Of course, if you’re listening to this on the podcast, remember, we stream live as well. So go to Majestic.com/webinars to watch the next one live.

Dixon Jones

That’s great. So guys, that leaves me to say thank you very much, but where can people find out about anything they want? Emma, where do they find out about you and get a hold of you and talk more?

Emma Russell

Sure, you can find me on Twitter, @Emlruss, so E-M-L-R-U-S-S or go on the Slingshot Labs website.

Dixon Jones

Excellent. Chris?

Chris Dunn

Sure, yeah, you can find me at FoundIt.com. You can also get in touch through our Facebook platform and our Twitter handle, which is all #FoundIt! with an exclamation mark and we’ll be gladly helping anybody that has trouble with findability on their website. So not just with large retailers. We love you all.

Dixon Jones

Brilliant. Kristina, where do we found your courses?

Kristina Azarenko

Yeah, so you can find me first on Twitter. I’m really active there and my handle is @azarchick, ck at the end. My company is Marketing Syrup, so you can find the website, as well marketingsyrup and we use the services that I provide there, including e-commerce SEO. And if you’re interested in learning SEO, there is SEOChallenge.co and you can go there and start from there.

Dixon Jones

That’s brilliant and thanks to the audience that’s putting chats in the live feed. Thanks very much for giving us some feedback. We do like to know that there’s people there live, which is good. So everyone, thanks very much for coming in. Internet world and everybody out there, see you next month and again, thanks to the guests. I really learned a lot today and had a good time. So thanks very much indeed. Cheers.

Emma Russell

Thank you.

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