It’s spooky season, but for marketers, there’s something even more horrifying than the prospect of a ghost haunting the attic.
So if you’re looking for a real scare, hit pause on your horror movie marathon this Halloween and take a look at some common – yet deadly – mistakes that marketers make across SEO and Ecommerce for some real nightmares.
Focusing too much on on-page
SEO is becoming increasingly important for brands who rely on their online presence due to changes to the shopping landscape as a result of the pandemic. However, focusing all attention to content and on-page SEO may be futile if the technical SEO health of a website isn’t optimal. If search engines can’t crawl or understand a website, then no matter how great your content is, your visibility will be impacted.
Improper use of redirects (and missing out the housekeeping!)
Redirects are a great tool to ensure users and search engines are sent to an appropriate new destination once a page is no longer needed. Pages need to be removed all the time, so a redirect allows us to tell search engines that they’re gone, while passing over all the equity it has built up to a new URL. It also works for users, and sends them to another URL if they happen to click on a link pointing to the old page instead of an empty page.
However, we see time and time again the wrong redirect being applied.
There are two main status codes: 302 and 301s. 302 are classed as temporary. This tells search engines that this page is coming back soon so don’t deindex and keep all the equity there. A 301 does the opposite, it’s classed as permanent. This tells search engines that this page is gone, signalling it should be removed from the index and pass all the equity over.
A common issue amongst marketers is that 302’s are often implemented when they should be 301s, which means all the old URLs stay in the index! This isn’t ideal for rankability and requires a bit of housekeeping.
Page speed is more important than you realise
However, since the introduction of Core Web Vitals, more and more importance is being placed on page speed as it’s essential for user experience. Google also uses this as a ranking signal. Fixing your page speed not only benefits your users, but will improve your rankings and help search engines with the amount they have to render.
Inventory mismanagement: out of stocks
Out of stocks are a short-term revenue killer with long term consequences. Why? Because Amazon punishes you for undermining the customer experience.
Most obviously, poor inventory health results in an immediate revenue loss and consumer trust and brand reputation are damaged over the medium term. Sellers are forced to reforecast and manually review budget allocation and PPC targeting tactics across the wider assortment; often shifting over-supply to additional products which increases the chance of further stock issues.
While Amazon removes out of stock products from ads, this creates gaps across placements such as Sponsored Brands, damaging the browser experience and professional look of your brand – not to mention the inherent opportunity cost from empty ad space, even if temporary.
Amazon will punish you for out of stocks by removing Buy Box benefits and decreasing your hard-earned organic rankings, reducing your “free” visibility and harming your competitive advantage – even for the biggest brands. When products are restocked, it takes time to rebuild this trust with Amazon and return to previous revenue levels, demonstrating the long term consequence of poor inventory health.
Many sellers also overlook the differences in logistic requirements and tax implications as these vary significantly across markets.
So what can you do? Use Amazon’s inventory report tools – including its inventory health and forecasting software – to prepare for eventualities, and if the worst happens, replace items with a close substitute in order to mitigate the short term sales drops.
Brand store creation – an easy win
Brand stores are the Amazon equivalent to your brick and mortar shop and have become essential for brand credibility within the Amazon ecosystem. Yet many brands underestimate the importance of brand stores and avoid creating one altogether, which is a costly mistake
Amazon Stores enable consumers to browse your catalogue in a safe space where you can increase cross-selling opportunities while minimising competitor conquesting.
How can you do this? Start by creating a home page to share your brand and educate prospective customers. Control your customers’ shopping process by segmenting pages by individual categories, deal pages or focusing high margin products to provide a structured and easy shopping experience that also hits your commercial focuses and objectives.
Amazon stores accommodate brands of all sizes and budgets. They are a simple way to create a stronger brand presence within Amazon and create a competitive moat through differentiation. You can highlight your brand store, categories and up to three specific pages through Sponsored Brand spotlight campaigns – advantages you’d miss without a brand store.
Make the most out of Amazon Creatives
Creatives represent your brand and are a unique chance to engage with browsers and repeat customers. Despite this, some sellers ignore creative options such as A+ content, which provides an enhanced description of your products in a visually appealing way on each product detail page.
Don’t let your creatives decay and become outdated, make sure you update your store and A+ content according to the season and tastes of your target market to remain relevant and engaging.
Ensure you use all the available modules within A+ and invest time in ensuring these assets accurately represent your brand, unique selling point and value. Jump on emerging themes such as using infographics within your A+ content to accurately and measurably compare your product and highlight its value through memorable visualisation.
Specifically, ensure you have good quality images, detailed product descriptions and invest in HD video production that’s also appropriate throughout the year for maximum value. Many sellers produce their content but contravene the strict content requirements and risk rejection at the point of submission. Review the creative policy requirements and avoid having to redo production – get it right the first time to save money and time.
For video assets, ensure they feature front and centre in the top half of your A+ content to quickly engage consumers who have expressed initial interest. Crucially, make sure your videos are extremely product focused, showcasing the product in the opening shot.
Some brands mistakenly believe that the longer the video the more value it represents – as you’re fighting for user attention, we recommend that your video should be no more than 9 to 15 seconds to increase conversion chances.
So there you have it. With so many moving parts, it’s easy for marketers to fall into common traps that lead to hellish results – whether that’s using the wrong redirect status code or missing out on Amazon Stores. If you’re interested in learning more about the best approach for your marketing efforts, please contact us and a member of our team will be in touch.