RIP Google Product Search: Hello Google Shopping

Google has recently announced that from Fall 2012 businesses will need to pay the search giant to have their products included in Google Shopping (originally known as Froogle). Since first launching the service it has been completely free and relatively easy for businesses to add their products, allowing the “small guys” to compete on a level playing field based on price, customer reviews and delivery costs.

Hello Google Shopping

More recently, Google introduced PPC ‘product ads’ as a way for advertisers to achieve better click-through rates and greater visibility. The move also allowed Google to earn money on the search results and provide searchers with the ability to find the item they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible.

product ads

Google shopping are changing the way it works to be overtly ‘sponsored’ as opposed to the free model which caused them problems with anti-trust laws.

Following is an example of what these ‘paid inclusion’ product listings could look like in the future:

Going Forward

In the end, Google is shifting to what’s been the industry standard when it comes to shopping search, to have a paid inclusion program. The curious can take a look here at SingleFeed for a rundown on who offers paid plans. Most shopping search engines do. Even Bing, which is listed as being free, also does paid inclusion through a partnership with Shopping.com, saying that doing this will increase visibility.

For searchers, Google’s trying to find the balance between having incredibly comprehensive results and the noise that can harm relevancy when there’s too much junk and not enough signal, it seems. As I said, it remains to see if they’ll get that balance right.

…will Google eventually decide that Google Shopping should make the next logical step and provide transactions, the way that Amazon does? At some point, Google the search engine that is supposed to point to destinations may turn into too much of a destination itself.

http://searchengineland.com/google-product-search-to-become-google-shopping-use-pay-to-play-model-122959

Golden Opportunity or Dead-End for e-commerce?

No doubt when the switchover happens there will be winners and losers, the trick is ensuring that you are among the first to adapt when competition is likely to be down as the majority of website owners and managers scramble to react to the changes you have already prepared for.

If you do decide to get on board the advertising train in this fashion then analysis and tracking will be key for you and making sure Google shopping pulls its weight compared to the rest of the mix will be more important than ever.

Keep an eye on the blog for further updates from myself and the rest of the Online Marketing team here at Optix Solutions. Have a question? Get in touch. We are here to help.

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WEBSITE ANALYSIS WORKSHOP

When people embark on a new website project they do it for a couple of reasons. Its been a few years since their last re-development so their site is looking tired and in need of a bit of love or because its reached the end of its life, having had lots of elements bolted on over time and is now becoming cumbersome and clunky. "I know" someone says, "let's get a new website". The journey begins. 

The problem then is that the people tasked at client side with this are not usually web experts. They may have created a few sites in their time but they are not experts in user experience, persona development, analytics analysis or search engine optimisation. Its quite unfair to ask them to come up with a spec for a new site that will blow the competition away. How should they know what to specify? Sadly the answer is that in 90% of cases they don't and this will lead to one thing only – a site that doesn't perform for their business. 

In order to know what you should build you need to look at what data you have currently. How people use your site at the moment, where do you rank in search engines, where do you want to rank in search engines., who are your target audience and what makes them tick. As an agency we buy in lots of tools as well as using free ones (like Google Analytics) to measure the effectiveness of a site before looking at redesigning or building it. We ask lots of questions up front and don't resort to guess work before putting mouse to mouse mat. 

We're looking to share some of that knowledge with forward thinking businesses that want to know more about the performance of their online presence. This brings me on to our new event: Website Analysis Workshop. We want to teach and explain to organisations how to learn from their existing site, how to find out where its working and where it’s not, to find out what needs changing and why, all of which can then be used in their next website build. This event will teach you how to use the industry leading tools to find out exactly how your customers use your website and what improvements are needed. 

If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, if you want to take the next step to learning about click and heat maps, scroll depths & user journeys then you should book on today. There are limited spaces and we're keen to make this a dynamic and working session so will be looking at your sites on the day. We look forward to seeing you at Optix HQ and getting geeky with data. 

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Dartmoor_Brewery_Website_Design_Optix_solutions

CREATING A HOME FOR JAIL ALE – DARTMOOR BREWERY WEBSITE LAUNCH

 

Here at Optix we’re partial to the odd team after work beverage so you can imagine the buzz around the office when Dartmoor Brewery asked us to build them a new website. The website had to appeal to the B2C market; increasing the brand awareness of ‘Jail Ale’ whilst maintaining a drinkaware authority that falls upon any reputable brewery. Dartmoor of course want you to drink their beer, but responsibly. That really resonated in the brainstorms, kick off meetings and brewery tour right through to design and functionality. This was a brewery that thinks about the customer at every step of the process.

 

Encapsulating the Brief

Dartmoor Brewery wanted the site to reflect these values and also offer something new to the market, a design that reflected the freshness of the ale and the brewery without being trite or condescending. The brewery, much like Optix, feels like a family, everyone supports one another and works to improve the brew as well as the brewery so that’s what we set out to accomplish.

Not every step of the design and build process was easy, there are strict regulations for alcohol promotion, and much like the unpredictability of the moors themselves this clouded some of our ideas.

 

A Change of Focus

Due to this challenge we turned the focus a little by encouraging the consumer to buy into the location of the brewery itself, Dartmoor is by definition a wild, stunning, natural area of outstanding beauty and when you’re stood on top of Haytor with the wind in your hair – you can feel that magnificence in her entirety. And that’s what the brewery has taken and put into their ‘Jail Ale’ they wanted to encapsulate that almost intangible feeling into a Nationally recognised ale. 

So we took this need for combination of location, people and National brand and created a website that truly encompasses it all – see it in all its wonder here.

If you would like to discuss a website project get in touch with us.

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5 things you can do as a site owner

Of all the areas covered where people can have the most impact and input, SEO is the one where time can be spent to maximum benefit.

This list contains 5 simple things you as a site owner can do yourself, to easily help your site rank well without needing a drop of technical knowledge. All it will cost is a little of your time, and you might even enjoy it!

1) Go to Yahoo Answers and answer as many simple questions as you can. Cite your website as the source.

2) Sign up to forums in your niche area. Provide information to users, be charming, answer their questions and put a link in the footer to your site.

3) Submit your site to niche directories, add your link and information to them.

4) Write, write and write some more. You are an expert in your field and the web is full of people looking for knowledge. Build it and they will come (and buy).

5) Promote that content via Social Media and by contacting people to let them know it’s there. Having good content is not enough. Make it easy for people to share this info by posting it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other platforms you use.

Conclusion

The beauty of these techniques is you do not need to be a genius programmer to take action on them. All you need is to get into gear and do them. Then you can sit back and see the rewards as your site ranks higher, your reputation becomes more credible and you increase your sales.

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Ink2Paper – A Search Engine Optimisation success story

Exeter-based Ink2Paper.com’s continued growth is based on three central tenets; unrivaled customer services, extraordinary product quality and a web presence that that is not just easy for people to navigate and use but that also keeps them engaged throughout their visit.

As an internet-based business, it goes without saying that Ink2Paper’s website is its lifeblood and principal means of creating new business, and in the summer of 2008 it invited Optix Solutions to redevelop their entire site and work on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

In essence SEO means enabling a company to squeeze every last possible benefit out of their web presence, adjusting and optimizing a site so it is search engine-friendly as possible.

Making sure the content of the site is both targeted and relevant increases the number of visitors who end up clicking the ‘confirm payment’ option.

SEO is a multi-disciplinary process and includes: data analysis, making refinements and adjustments to the site geography and content, introducing new technology, developing online marketing strategies, building databases and reawakening leads.

Ink2Paper and Optix both understand that simply increasing the number of visitors to a site is only the beginning; it is what they do once they are there that really counts. That’s why the new site was designed specifically to make the most of every new potential new lead.

Among the improvements introduced were:

  • A simplified, easy to follow four-step checkout process and built in discount and promotion facilities tailored specifically to appeal to individual customers.
  • A blog that keeps visitors up to date with what is going on at the company and highlights new products and services while encouraging them to give direct feedback on their experiences as a customer

The results were that:

  • Sales have grown by almost 40% year on year
  • Visits in the six months between July 2009 and December 2009 were up nine percent when compared with July 2008 to December 2008
  • Over the same period, the number of pages viewed – that visitors actually spent time on – jumped by no less that 75.81%, representing an average growth of 60.81% in pages viewed
  • The bounce rate – the number of people who left the site shortly after arrival – fell by 19.66%, with the average visitor spending 19% more time on the site than previously.

The results are proof positive that effective, intelligently targeted SEO really does work, helping to retain existing clients while generating new business.

For more information on how we can help you achieve similar success, call us today on 01392 667766.

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Site developed for: Just Another Baby

If doing business online was as simple as putting up a nifty looking website and an online shop then we would all be dotcom millionaires.

Unfortunately it’s not that simple, as many businesses, especially in highly competitive marketplaces, have discovered to their cost.

Intelligent online marketing focuses not just on providing product information and the means to buy, but building the sort of relationship with existing and potential customers that creates brand loyalty and leads to that almost priceless commodity – an ever growing word of mouth following.

Just Another Baby started last year as a company run by parents for parents. Its founders wanted to start a business that offered the highest quality products, both old favourites and latest innovations, that take the stress out of parenting and leave mums and dads free to enjoy the rewards of family life.

Optix Solutions were brought in by Just Another Baby to work on two fronts. The first, and key to any online-based business, is an easy to navigate and fully comprehensive online store to meet all their customers’ needs.

But there is no reason for the business to sit on its hands while the ecommerce side of the site is being built and fine tuned, so Optix have also created what is known as a ‘buzz’ site to maximise awareness of the Just Another Baby brand in the meantime.

As its name suggests, the site is specifically designed to create interest around the new business.

It is crammed with news and information on new products and latest company developments, features regular blogs and polls to keep site visitors engaged and actively encourages existing and new customers to keep up with, and spread the word on, the company through Facebook and Twitter.

“The buzz site has really helped us to make sure we get it right by asking our customers to get involved and let us know what they think about what we are doing. Its helping us spread the word on the company, our products and our commitment and values,” says John Williams, Director of Just Another Baby.

Fellow Director Rob Pascoe, added: “We’ve been working really hard with Optix setting up our new online shop and getting it just right, where you will be able to buy quality baby essentials and browse our great selection of hassle-free parenting products and it’s looking great.”

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