No, it’s not a follow-up to my attempt at the Fifty Shades of Grey and it’s not something that a little blue pill can fix.
The “it” that is the subject of today’s post is “sales.”
An eCommerce store owner reached out to me the other day to tell me that sales have been on a steady decline for several months. Like others I talk to, this person blamed Google. The big G has made several updates to its search algorithms since May 2010 in an attempt to provide searchers with the most relevant results.
It’s easy to pick one thing, like Google, and blame poor performance on it, but there are other things that have to be considered which may account for a decline in sales and search engine ranking.
If you’re one of the un-lucky eCommerce store owners who are wishing there was a little blue pill to pick things up, here’s some things to look at and consider when trying to determine what exactly could be attributing to your lackluster performance in the web world:
- Go back historically in Google Analytics or whatever analytics program you’re using and see exactly when your sales started to take a dip. Did something on your site change? Does the timing coincide with a Google update? Was it a hit all at once, or did it gradually decline?
- Did you notice that a major source of traffic suddenly stopped sending visitors your way?
- If you have commercial accounts, did you lose a major customer (or a few large ones) that you’re not factoring in?
- Are your pay-per-click ads still effective? Are they providing a good ROI? Do they need to be tweaked? Did you start spending less resulting in less conversions and fewer orders?
- Are you in the comparison shopping engines (CSEs) or did you pull out? How is the ROI? Are you using a software application that lets you track the effectiveness of your CSE advertising and individual item performance?
- Are there some bad reviews out there that people are finding that may discourage them from shopping with you? Word of mouth is powerful – in a good and bad way.
- I’ve been preaching about duplicate content for a long time now. Are you using section and item page content that is unique to your site, or is your content the same as hundreds of other sites selling the same items. Duplicate content is something that should be avoided at all cost! Here’s a great read from Exclusive Concept’s blog on the evolution of Google’s many updates and where duplicate content fits in: https://www.exclusiveconcepts.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-google-and-content-seo-monday.html Bottom line, according to them, me and lots of others, “keep it unique.”
- What about SEO? Do your section pages have good SEO content on them? Are you employing a link building strategy? If so, are those links helping you or hurting you?
- The site itself. Is it easy to navigate? How easy is it for someone to find a specific item? Do you have a good search that brings up relevant products? Check to make sure you site is functioning properly in all web browsers and on both PC and Mac computers.
- Did you suddenly have a new competitor arrive on the scene, or did an existing competitor suddenly creep up while you were sleeping and take over? How are your prices? Are you competitive? Do you price check your competitors?
These are just some things to consider when sitting at your desk scratching your head. If you’re down and you need to get up again, you need to devote some time to investigating why things have gone south. It’s going to take some time to pinpoint the exact cause or causes, but in the end it will pay off and you’ll be on the road to recovery!