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Last Resort for Penguin Hit Sites: 301 Redirection to a New Domain

Posted By SEOValley on : November 19th, 2015

Hi there,

Today we are sharing the interesting Penguin recovery story of one of our clients, a leading animated video production company – for obvious reasons, let’s call them Thevideomaker.com. We’d like to demonstrate how the proper implementation of a 301 redirect strategy can help Penguin-hit sites get their rankings back.

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that 301 redirection should be the last resort—it should only be done when all other methods have failed. While this post provides enough information for you to implement the same strategy, 301 redirection strategy deployed properly by experienced SEO specialists yields the best results.

But First, What is a 301 Redirect? 

In the simplest of definitions, a 301 redirect refers to a permanent redirect from an old URL to a new one. It’s the equivalent of the ‘change of address’ form you need to fill up at the post office if you are moving to a new home. If someone sends a mail to your old address, the post office redirects that mail to your new address. A 301 redirect does the same—it brings people (and search engine bots) from your old URL to your new one.

For instance, if your previous site was www.hello.com and you want to change it to www.hellothere.com, you will need to implement a 301 redirect from your old URL to your new one. Whenever someone types in your old URL or clicks on a leftover link to it will be automatically redirected to your new URL.

Can 301 Redirection Recover a Penguin Hit Site’s Rankings?

Yes it can — but only when implemented properly. SEOValley successfully used this technique to help Thevideomaker.com recover after being hit by the Penguin update.

Last year, Thevideomaker.com sought our help because their website was badly hit by the Penguin Update. As you might already know, Penguin was launched by Google to penalize websites that are involved in spammy/low quality or paid links. The client’s old domain had lots of low quality backlinks, all created by previous SEO companies they hired.

Like thousands of other small and medium businesses, the client hired an SEO firm to improve their rankings, not aware that the tactics implemented went against Google’s strict quality guidelines. Their old SEO firm bought and traded links with shady sources and link farms. This virtually wiped out their Google presence when Penguin was rolled out, causing them to lose serious revenue.

When they came to us, their situation was almost beyond repair. But you know how we are—we never give up!

And so our team quickly got to work and started a massive link audit. We disavowed almost all low quality links—a process that took many weeks. Still, the site’s rankings didn’t improve because Penguin did not refresh. Only when Penguin refreshes can penalized sites get a chance to get out of it.

At this point, the only choice for the client was to wait for the next update. But there was no guarantee that of this happening anytime soon—and the client wasn’t willing to wait. They were losing a lot of customers to their competitors because of their low search visibility.
That was when we decided to give 301 redirection a try.

Our team carefully implemented 301 redirects from old (Penguin-hit) domain to the new domain, which was totally fresh—with no backlinks. Also, we added all the low quality links found on the client’s old site in the disavow file to ensure that the penalties associated with the old domain does not pass on to the new domain.

The result: The site recovered immediately. The client saw a jump in traffic within days, and has since enjoyed increased Google visibility. They are receiving high-quality traffic once again, ranking on the first page of search engine results for some of the most competitive keywords in the animated video niche. This is what the rankings looked like after the site was migrated and 301 re-directs were made in place:

Last Resort for Penguin Hit Sites


Is 301 Redirection Right For You?

In general, 301 redirection is the last resort. It is recommended only for businesses that cannot wait 10 to 15 months for the next Penguin update/refresh.

Talk to the SEOValley team to see if this option is the best for your situation. We can

assess your Penguin-hit site and recommend the most effective remedies. If we determine that a 301 redirect might work for your situation, we can carefully implement a strategy to ensure that the penalties incurred by your previous domain are not passed on to the new one. Contact us today for more information.


Redesigning Your Site: A Quick SEO Checklist

Posted By SEOValley on : November 2nd, 2015

A website redesign is a major move that could impact not only the overall look and functionality of your site but most of all, your standing in search rankings. Because major redesigns and adjustments are very likely to affect your website’s optimization, it is extremely important to invest in a proper audit to know up to what extent your redesign is going to impact your search standing. While redesigning your site can definitely impact your website ranking, it can also be seen as a great opportunity to improve your visibility because after all, SEO should start right at the core of your website structure. Here is a quick checklist you could use to avoid a disastrous slide in your web rankings when redesigning your website:

  • Audit your existing site. Before busting out that wrecking ball and crushing your old site to pieces, take time to examine its framework and determine which of your SEO efforts have been keeping you alive in searches and which are not as effective. Some key metrics you should consider include your number of visitors and unique visits, your top performing keywords (traffic, rank, and lead-generation wise), inbound link domains, number of pages that receive traffic, and number of pages that are indexed by search engines. Thorough knowledge of these factors and elements will help you make informed decisions about which pages are worth keeping and which could easily be taken down and rebuilt without having too much of an impact on your rankings. This will also help you determine which pages can be salvaged, or simply revamped and reorganized during the redesign.
  • Identify top keywords. No matter how SEO has developed and changed over the years, one thing remains the same—it is still very much reliant on keywords. While it is not advisable to stuff keywords into your content to achieve ranking success, you still need appropriate key terms to capture your audience. Keywords are still as relevant to search as it was during keyword-stuffing days, only you have to be mindful how you use them. Google is more concerned about high quality content today than they are about keyword density and repetitions. As much as you can, work keywords naturally into your content and your pages so that they can contribute to your website’s relevance within a particular subject.
  • Proper URL structuring. Lengthy, symbol-ridden, and indecipherable URLs that don’t help much in identifying the subject of your website pages should be restructured so that they show exactly what readers and visitors can expect from their content. Search engines increasingly try to imitate actual searchers’ behavior and users prefer URLs that make sense and are easy to understand because they lead them right to pages that matter. Use dashes instead of underscores as separators because Google treats them as such. Underscores, in the eyes of Google bots, are connectors, which means website_redesigning_tips is likely to be read as websiteredesigningtips, affecting the page’s position in searches for the same topic.
  • Develop and keep a complete URL migration plan. To ensure a smooth transition from your old site to your new and improved site takes place, you need to thoroughly review the old site to create a mapping report which shall include “new” URLs for pages whose URLs are going to change with the re-design. This is one of the most, if not the most important task that needs to be completed during any site re-design. Mapping old URLs to new ones and then 301 re-directing them as soon as the new site is launched means preserving the rankings & links value of those important pages.
  • Mobile optimization. Most redesigns nowadays are done to make websites more mobile-friendly. With users accessing sites in differently-sized screens, website owners need a more proactive and responsive solution that allows their pages to be viewed properly through varying platforms. A responsive design is definitely your best option if you want to deliver superb search and surfing/browsing experience to your largely mobile users. A responsive design means better access across different devices and optimized experience across differently sized screens, which is simply impossible for websites that are still stuck with old browser and screen-biased designs.


Getting Additional Value Out of Your Most Important Landing Page

Posted By SEOValley on : October 31st, 2015

Optimizing your highest performing landing page is one of the most effective ways to boost your SEO campaign, increase its performance, and maximize your returns. Whether you want to engage people more, avoid abandonment issues or high bounce rates, here are some useful landing page optimization tips you can use to help increase your ROI and unbounce your online marketing campaign:

  • Send visitors to more relevant and better targeted pages than your homepage. Homepages are a hodgepodge of goal-oriented communication and this is how they ought to be. However, they are better targeted at curious explorer type-visitors rather than one who clicked through your organic search listing for a service oriented term. If you want a better follow through with these visitors, don’t confuse them with mixed messages from your home page. Instead, direct them to a page with one message, one goal, and one call to action, hence a targeted landing page.
  • Keep the experience consistent. Not only are users looking for a streamlined experience, they also want organization and consistency. Make it a point to keep your design, messaging, tone, and approach consistent from your META title through your landing page, and the call to action. This keeps your visitor’s experience consistent with their expectations from the time they click your link to when they have to decide to take action.
  • Don’t bore, get to the point fast. No one likes babble and your online prospects are certainly not one to sit through nonsense, especially with all the distractions that can steal their attention away. Make sure that the juicy bits of your message stand out so as to keep visitors enticed and wanting more.
  • Choose a clear, concise, catchy hook or headline. It is hard to compete for audience attention online. Just like a big black newspaper or magazine headline captures your attention enough to make you stop and bend over to read a snippet of the news story for a while, so should your page heading be. No one will pay attention to a web copy with a small typeset and no visible purpose. Create clear, noticeable headlines in relevant positions within your landing pages.
  • Ensure proper traffic segmentation. It is not uncommon for websites and businesses to have multiple target users and demographics. It is important to create landing pages that cater to the needs and the likes of each of your audience segment and intentionally direct traffic to those pages. Not only will you be able to focus on your strategies, you will also be able to measure the most effective market segmentation in your campaign.
  • Declutter. Step back from your landing page and see whether there are competing messages vying for your visitors’ attention. Remove conflicting messages and trim down your message until your call to action only asks for one answer. When there are too many things going on in your landing page, it creates conflict in the mind of the user. Step back, observe, declutter, refine, and repeat until you are satisfied with the resulting landing page.


5 SEO Basics Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Posted By SEOValley on : October 29th, 2015

Search engine optimization, SEO, and search marketing are terms that have been long thrown around in web marketing circles. If for years you’ve ignored the importance of search optimization, or you do not have the slightest idea of what it can do for your business, it is high time that you take a crash course on the subject because you are more than likely missing out on great opportunities to attract potential customers via organic searches.

SEO has definitely gone past its buzzword status, because unlike other passing industry trends, it is here to stay. This is because search engines are the cornerstones of the web and they are the standard go-to place of web users who are looking for information on things they need and answers to the questions they have. Understanding the most basic tenets of search engine optimization is extremely important because SEO is the key to keeping your business visible, present, relevant, and searchable to end users. When people search for terms related to your business or your offerings, they are more likely to come to your site and in turn, convert into potential customers. Understanding the basic principles of SEO will help you get in on its benefits and maximize your website’s potential in attracting targeted users.

  • SEO or search engine optimization is the process of aligning your website and all its elements to the recommendations and standards of search engines, through which you can achieve increased visibility in search results and in turn get increased traffic to your website and web pages. When search engines return search results, they list down web pages, listings, videos, etc., based on their relevance as determined by carefully set algorithms. While these algorithms aren’t made available to the public and can only ever be known to search engineers, search engines do provide legitimate guidelines to follow so that website owners can increase their chances of getting the coveted top spots in listings. They provide lists of standards that can help or hurt a website’s rankings.
  • SERP or search engine results page is the term used to describe the listing or the ranking order presented to the users after a search query. Websites that practice good SEO receive strong rankings in searches and are therefore more visible to end users. Businesses that are prominently featured in SERPs are more likely to receive quality traffic than those that are way behind.
  • Keywords ideally make the SEO world go around. In fact, they were at one time the most important components of an SEO strategy. Today, the key terms remain as the prominent elements of SEO as they are the very words that web searchers use to get to the websites they want to visit. Incorporating the proper keywords and key phrases into your website content is a huge part of optimization as this determines the site’s relevance to a particular search.
  • Search engine optimization is so much more than on-page optimization as search rankings are now impacted by many other signals, like social media signals. Businesses that cultivate strong social network presence and maintain visibility in different social channels tend to rank higher in searches because engines now factor in their social network relevance. Promoting content on different social platforms, can therefore help you boost your business’ search engine ranking.
  • Search engine optimization has plenty to do with producing superior quality content. While manipulative tactics that feign relevance may have worked in the past, search engines are now more intelligent in that they are focused on quality content rather than how many times a particular keyword is repeated within website copy. SEO nowadays is more focused on creating valuable, engaging, fresh, and unique content that satisfies the needs of end users.


3 SEO Misconceptions Most SMEs Have

Posted By SEOValley on : October 27th, 2015

Misconceptions about search engine optimization are quite common and most of them are due to the differences in opinion by supposed industry experts. With the wealth of resources about search optimization and online marketing available on the web, it is not difficult to find good information about these kinds of discussions, but always proceed with caution lest you fall trap to these common misconceptions:


  • The first misconception is that meta description and title tag cut-off occurs at a specific character count. While keeping your title tags under 70 characters is still a good advice, there is no truth that Google cuts short your Meta descriptions and title tags once you reach a particular number of characters. Rather, search engines (or at least Google) do so when you exceed their allowable pixel-width for titles and meta descriptions. This is relevant because a few extra characters in your title tag or your meta description can make or break that potential clickthrough. You don’t want to lose valuable traffic because of something as small as a missing character that makes the point to your page undecipherable.
  • Another misconception is that 302 redirects are same as 301 in terms of passing links value. Though, these redirects appear the same for users, 301 permanent redirect is the only advisable solution if you want to transfer link value from a URL to another URL.
  • Some people also mistakenly think that regardless of your website’s size, you should accomplish and submit a single XML sitemap. The value of an XML sitemap is obvious, in fact it is one of the greatest SEO tools. Sitemaps help search engines understand website URLs better and make them crawl your pages better, however, it is not always possible to compile all the URLs into a single XML sitemap. Many modern websites, especially online retailers, can potentially have hundreds of thousands of URLs on their website and distributing website URLs into multiple XML sitemaps is a great idea.
  • Another rather popular misconception about XML sitemap is that submitting it into Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) is all that’s required for making a site search engine friendly. It is important to remember that submitting an XML sitemap doesn’t necessarily excuse poor website architecture.

As an added bonus, another common SEO misconception SMEs and website owners believe is that disavowing bad links will return their website to their pre-Penguin standing. Disavowing links, especially a good amount of links is akin to removing the frail and delicate foundation boards of a structure that’s already in ruins or is one slab away from tipping over. When you have been penalized because of bad links, the damage has been done and the fall has already started. Removing bad foundation (disavowing bad links) is only the start of your clean-up and rebuilding. Thinking that you will recover your lost rankings once you get rid of your problematic links is not only wishful, but irresponsible, because you have plenty of rebuilding to do before you get to the same level as your pre-penalty days. However, just because your rankings have plummeted way down doesn’t mean you can’t recover from the rut.


Why Quality Trumps Quantity When it comes to Local Citations

Posted By SEOValley on : September 21st, 2015

Citations are characterized by mentions of your business name and your address on other web pages, including mentions that don’t link back to your website. An example of an unlinked citation might be an online directory where your business may be listed but not necessarily linked to. Citations are commonly found in a local chamber of commerce pages as well as in local business association websites that include your business information and profile.

Citations, much like links, are key components of search engine ranking algorithms, at least for major search sites like Google and Bing. Other SEO factors being equal, websites or businesses with greater numbers of citations are more likely to rank higher than those with fewer citations. Additionally, citations coming from well-indexed, authoritative, and well-established portals also help the degree of certainty and trust that engines have about your business’ categorization and basic contact information. They help search engines confirm your business for who they thought you were.


Local citations are of particular importance when it comes to less-competitive niches like electrical or plumbing services where many providers don’t (yet) have websites themselves. Because search engines don’t have much other information to refer to about these businesses, they rely heavily on whatever data they can find about the business/service, making citations extremely essential for these kinds of providers. More than this, citations validate a particular business’ belongingness to a community because it is hard for an entity to fake membership in a city/county business index or a chamber of commerce. Blog and online newspaper mentions are also hard to falsify, making citations of these kind tremendously valuable in improving local search engine rankings.

Citations may look the same, but they are not created equal. In fact, there are many different types of citations your business can have, and they are as follows:

  • Structured Citations – these are the most common citations found on many business listing sites, where you have your business name and contact details all in a structured format.
  • Unstructured Citations – these are citations that can be found on newspaper websites, blogs, event listings, job portals, government sites, and similar types of locations.

Submitting your business to local directories increases the number of your citations and mentions. However, it should be noted that quantity isn’t everything when it comes to their use in SEO. Much like links, search engines also put greater merit on the quality of these mentions rather than their mere quantity. A mention of your business’ name and contact details on a well established site like whitehouse.gov, for instance, is worth far more than a mention on a spammy directory created solely for some blackhat link exchange.

Both quality and quantity of your citations are important when it comes to your site’s overall performance in searches. However, the degree of their importance largely depends on whether you are building publicity for a business that has been residing in the same address for years or for new premises. This is because your NAP details may already be listed in different local sites, while new businesses can benefit from numerous mentions even when they are coming from low value sites.

The big quantity versus quality debate can go either way, depending on whether you are building citations for a new or an established business. Quality and quantity may be equally important for a new business with a new address while quality might be more important for an established business, whose address may already be listed in various sites. The correctness of these listings can greatly impact the effect of local citations in your search rankings.


5 Fatal Ecommerce SEO Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Posted By SEOValley on : September 19th, 2015

Marketing departments face constant pressures of making e-commerce sites stand out to people and keep them engaging enough to increase retention and in turn, sales. In the ever-changing world of search and Google rankings, this can be an extremely difficult responsibility that leads many into taking aggressive actions with their optimization, not realizing they are contributing to the untimely death of their e-business. If you are struggling to cope with SEO for your business website, it might be high time to call in the help of professionals. In the mean time, take a look at the following fatal e-commerce SEO mistakes a lot of businesses make and you should avoid falling into:

  • Product pages that lack product descriptions – This is common in online gift stores and clothing shops. In an effort to prominently feature each product with their page, a lot of e-commerce store owners forget that search engines are suckers for text. The complete lack of text descriptions in product pages not only puts an end to their chances of ever getting into top ranks in search queries, but also prevents clients from seeing the true value of the product.
    Descriptions, however brief in item cards, help search engines and users make sense of your products better. If you worry about duplicate content in very similar products, spend more time in making up product descriptions that will help your SEO efforts. Write descriptive content that will help customers in their purchasing decision instead of stuffing too many keywords into sentences. Avoid copying from other websites, especially when reselling items, and test your description word count because too much content may also hurt your SEO efforts.
  • Few to no product reviews – At least 70 percent of buyers turn to product reviews in online stores before making their purchase decision. When your website lacks this feature, customers have no reference that can help push them into buying your products. Reviews are also great ways to up-sell, especially when you have solid brand ambassadors in your site.
  • Not optimizing pages based on their search demand – Consumers often think the same. This means the words they type into their search engines are likely identical. If you forget to check search demand for your niche, you may be losing precious clients to your competitors. Make sure that your product pages are optimized according to search demand. This means proper keyword research and smart key phrasing that reflects what consumers are looking for.
  • Non-Unique Titles – Duplicate title tags could also be hurting your optimization efforts. Avoid identical values as this may cause problems down the line. In an effort to cope with the fast pace of e-commerce, many have stopped observing the simple rule of simplifying titles and creating unique title tags. Focus on unique key phrases if using and repeating the same keywords cannot be helped. After all, online shoppers usually search for key phrases as opposed to single keywords anyway. A good tip to follow when creating title tags is to survey customers and find out the kind of language they use when talking about the products that you sell. This will help you structure phrases in ways that they do.
  • Forgetting "Speaking" URLS – A speaking URL is essentially a keyword friendly URL. This means URLs that tell readers exactly what the page is all about. This is important in keeping your URLs unique and making your site more reader and search engine friendly. There are three major reasons why you should use speaking URLs, one is keyword and anchor link correlation, two is relevancy, and three is semantics.


Why SEO Should Be a Priority in Your Marketing Budget

Posted By SEOValley on : September 1st, 2015

In business, you have to spend money in order to make money. Does this also mean you need to spend less to earn more? In some respects, saving what you can invest to earn greater returns, but you also need to set aside reasonable amounts of budget to ensure that your business is taking the path of progress instead of merely breaking even, which often leads to stagnation. Carefully invested marketing dollars have the potential to pay high dividends, given that they are placed behind the appropriate strategies. This is especially true when it comes to digital marketing. Unlike other channels like print and broadcast, the cost of entry for digital marketing is lesser, which means more opportunities to attract business for less.

Surprisingly, not many businesses spend nearly enough to maximize the potential of their digital marketing campaigns. Budget allocation can definitely make or break any marketing strategy. This means putting every cent to good use, thus maximizing its worth and value by helping the business attract more attention, credibility, and authority. Determining your marketing budget and accordingly channelizing the money and investing in different aspects of marketing can be difficult, since priorities often change.  One good approach is to get in touch with the current trends, thus helping you cope with what your competitors are doing in terms of promoting their business. In addition to conducting market research, it also helps to determine where major companies are investing their marketing budgets, as they are likely to follow tried and tested strategies especially in allocating marketing funds.


The main marketing initiatives where most companies spend their budgets include their professional websites and their email marketing and social marketing efforts. With the majority of target audiences turning to the web to get in touch with the businesses they wish to patronize, it is critical for companies, big or small to harness its power in their marketing initiatives. In a recent survey by the Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 69 percent of the marketers that responded expressed their intention to increase website budget, only 5 percent more than those who also plan to increase their email marketing budget. 63 percent also plan to increase marketing efforts in social media. These are the main digital platforms that marketers today are focusing on mainly because they are platforms that allow easy tracking of consumer trends, while also enabling stronger personalized connections with consumers.

Increased website budget should also mean increased focus on search engine optimization and other search marketing efforts like paid inclusion, online display ads, and perhaps most importantly, mobile marketing. Traditional search optimization should be incorporated with modern trends, especially in terms of mobile searches. It is expected that more marketers would be focusing more budget on mobile marketing and getting your managers and administrators on-board is important if you wish to stay on track with the latest marketing strategies.

With more and more businesses moving away from traditional marketing strategies in non-digital areas like print ads, product placement, teleprospecting, you too, should consider channeling more budget into digital means, without necessarily neglecting traditional channels that still make good profit for the business. Integrating non-digital marketing with digital methods is the best way to find balance in your overall strategy. As Forbes explains, the best and most effective type of marketing for a particular company is one that is customized to the needs of each business. When marketing is solely focused on competing with rivals, rather than giving customers a positive experience, your business is setting itself up for a major loss. Consumers want to be treated as an important asset for companies and the way you market your products, services, and overall business to them speaks volumes about how you would treat them as patrons. The game today is no longer about simply attracting the attention of consumers, but also delivering them the best experience that they will remember well enough to come back for more.


How to Prove the Value of an SEO Campaign (The Importance of Doing SEO Regularly)

Posted By SEOValley on : August 30th, 2015

Many businesses today suffer from generational gaps—progressive marketing managers are often met with resistance by traditional executives who are reluctant to change tried and tested methods that have worked in the past. Sometimes, the way executives wish to protect against risk, hinder the business’ ability to progress in other forms. Thus making it harder for modern marketers to implement newer and better means to make marketing work. When presenting campaign proposals, it is critical that you understand how executives understand and perceive value.

When talking about results, you as a marketer is likely thinking in terms of platforms, resources, and actions you will need to take in order to hit the number of target audience/customers. Executives on the other hand, only think of ‘numbers’. This is why it is crucial to demonstrate quantifiable improvements if you want to get them on board with the type of campaign you want to implement. Search engine optimization, on top of other online marketing processes is a valuable and worthwhile pursuit, but getting decision-makers on board requires quantified results, especially when they are unfamiliar with basic online marketing practices. To them, the concept of investing so much time in processes like keyword research, backlink and content generation can seem too foreign, causing them to dismiss SEO as a complete waste of time. So, is there another way round, to explain the value of an SEO Campaign? Showing them metrics that matter to the company’s bottom line will increase your chances of convincing them to embrace the change. Let us know how:

  • Demonstrate SERP ranking improvements.
    The easiest way to demonstrate the value of search optimization is by showing measurable improvements in SERP rankings. If the focus of your SEO campaign is on a specific set of target keywords, efforts should result in higher search engine results for queries using these keywords. Tracking these metrics can be done using different types of tools and programs. Not only is it easier to track results using specialized suites, data is also more accurate and reliable than manual monitoring because manually going through SERPs to find keywords will result in artificially higher placements because of the impact of personalized search.


  • Quantify traffic
    Tracking your overall increase in traffic is also an easy way to demonstrate SEO improvements. Analytics programs like Google Analytics will allow you to see trends on a global or a more granular scale. A growth in your overall traffic is one o the strongest indications of an effective campaign.
  • Increased conversions and greater revenue
    Rankings and traffic are both useful metrics in demonstrating the impact of an SEO campaign. However, an increase in rankings and traffic doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in sales and conversions. Support these metrics using conversion rates and overall revenue. This all boils down to tracking the impact of your SEO efforts in the ultimate goals of your campaigns. Analytics tools also offer the capability of monitoring and measuring conversions, whether you want to track completed actions, correlations between search histories and purchases, or clicks in multi-channel funnels. There are different methods of conversion tracking that you can use with your monetization model to help you make sense of and prove the value of your SEO efforts to your superiors.


While many businesses do realize the value of the internet as an effective medium to reach out to the target consumers, not many spend enough time, money, and effort on their SEO campaign to realize decent returns. It is your job as a marketing expert to help decision-makers understand the value of search optimization, in turn influencing their decision to put more effort and be more willing to pay for services that can help the business in the long term. SEO is a continuous process that requires constant attention, especially with the changing nature of the web and its technologies.


5 Tips on Utilizing User Generated Content for Ecommerce Sites

Posted By SEOValley on : August 28th, 2015

User generated content in the form of consumer comments, reviews, photos, and popular lists help online retailers bridge the gap between user and screen. User generated content (UGC) is invaluable in e-commerce marketing. The physical to digital disconnect is recognized to be one of the biggest challenges e-commerce businesses face because while many consumers do subscribe to online trade, many are still reluctant to trust their purchases and transactions in the hands of machines. This is especially true for large purchases.

UGC as an e-commerce strategy leverages fan engagement by repurposing content that is created by actual consumers to drive marketing efforts and sales. This turns consumers into powerful brand advocates promoting products and services through different types of organic content that they create. These include ratings, reviews, comments, photos, videos, and more. While some forms of user-generated content are still in their formative period, reviews and ratings have long been around and used by businesses to gain insight about their consumers and how they receive products. Consumers in turn learn whether or not to trust a business with their money, thus influencing their behavior towards that particular brand. It is for these reasons that UGC is dubbed as the Holy Grail and the future of e-commerce.

User Generated Content

In the same way that no one understands your business like you do, no one understands consumers better than other consumers. This is why they make the best content engine for e-commerce sites and other consumer engagement platforms. However, like any other marketing strategy, user-generated content has its unique challenges. One particular issue UGC creates is duplicate content. Though consumers’ use of duplicate content may not be deliberate, this sometimes causes copyright problems and indexing issues for search engines. To make things even more challenging, user-generated duplicate content can be very difficult to control but it is not without a good fix.

To avoid this issue, you can put a notice on your pages requesting users not to post repeat/duplicate content and that any such posting will be removed from the site as you deem appropriate. You may also put a reminder saying that users who illegally infringe copyright rules on your site will be barred. Inform your users that once notified, duplicate content will be removed from your pages as soon as possible. So, you can keep your pages safe from penalties before owners of the duplicated content takes further action, which may harm your site.

This, however, should not slow you down from using UGC as a major business driver for your e-commerce site. Here are other ways you can use content generated by users to your advantage:

  • Use UGC as social proof that provides consumers with valid and legitimate social cues about your products, services, and your business in the overall. This fills the significant gap between the physical world and the digital world, which hinder many consumers from subscribing to online trade.
  • Use UGC for merchandizing. People are into products that fit perfectly into their life. Seeing other consumers incorporate your products into their everyday life adds to the sense of tangibility that online products and services often lack.
  • Use UGC to build trust. User-generated content help you build trust with and gain the confidence of consumers in buying your products or subscribing to your business. UGC works even better than word-of-mouth marketing in that it provides solid evidence that other consumers sincerely like your brand and use your products.
  • Use UGC to get the pulse of your consumers and leverage their reviews to improve consumer satisfaction and product quality.
  • Use UGC to celebrate fans. Incentivize user-generated content on different platforms that you use by hosting promotions and contests directed at avid fans who help you gain business organically.