tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/seo Latest SEO content from Econsultancy 2016-09-22T14:30:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2016-09-22T14:30:00+01:00 2016-09-22T14:30:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68272 2016-09-08T09:58:00+01:00 2016-09-08T09:58:00+01:00 Local search experiences: The good, the bad and the ugly Ben Davis <p>David Whatley of <a href="http://mishoplocal.co.uk/">MiShop.local</a> talked at BrightonSEO about Google local listings as the join between retail and search.</p> <p>Those with healthy local listings are those that likely have organisation integration between retail and digital.</p> <p>Let's contrast a great Google Places experience with some not so good ones, using David's examples.</p> <h3>Schuh - an excellent local search experience</h3> <p>Schuh's Places listings are all in order, as you'd expect, including link to website, opening hours and phone number. </p> <p>Note I can also click through to the Places listing for the shopping centre the store is located in.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8854/IMG_3129.PNG" alt="schuh google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8853/IMG_3130.PNG" alt="schuh google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8855/IMG_3131.PNG" alt="schuh google places" width="200"></p> <p>When I click through to the website, I am sent to a store-specific URL (/stores/machester-market-street). </p> <p>It is mobile optimised, but for clarity I'm including the desktop screenshot here.</p> <p>Things to note:</p> <ul> <li>Location-specific stock check.</li> <li>Location-specific content in schema (reviews of this particular store are included and picked up in Google Places).</li> <li>Address, phone number and opening times consistent with Google Places. </li> <li>Local content.</li> <li>Mobile optimised site.</li> <li>Store specific page.</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.schuh.co.uk/stores/manchester-market-street/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8856/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.24.10.png" alt="schuh store page" width="615" height="458"></a></p> <h3>William Hill - a poor local search experience</h3> <p>As you can see from the screenshots below, lots of stores seem to lack Google Places listings.</p> <p>Those that are listed have no opening times, branding or information.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8859/IMG_3132.PNG" alt="william hill google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8857/IMG_3133.PNG" alt="william hill google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8858/IMG_3134.PNG" alt="william hill google places" width="200"></p> <p>It gets worse once you click through to the linked websites.</p> <p>The Places link takes me to the William Hill homepage, not to a store specific page.</p> <p>On desktop, store information is hard to find (see below) and there is no store information <em>at all</em> on William Hill's mobile site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8860/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.48.42.png" alt="william hill homepage" width="615" height="315"></p> <p>Once I have clicked the stores link on the William Hill homepage I'm taken to an entirely separate website.</p> <p>Here, the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65622-store-locator-tools-which-retailers-offer-the-best-mobile-ux/">store finder</a> makes you start again and input your location, even though William Hill should know you have clicked through from a Places listing.</p> <p><a href="http://shoplocator.williamhill/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8862/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.55.39.png" alt="william hill shop locator" width="615" height="289"></a></p> <p>Finally I get the information I need.</p> <p>It's obvious that William Hill's digital team is not working with its shop team.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8863/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.57.17.png" alt="william hill store locator" width="615" height="425"></p> <h3>Other local search experiences that can be improved</h3> <p>Pets At Home's Google Places listings link through to a website that isn't mobile optimised.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8870/IMG_3135.PNG" alt="pets at home google places" width="300" height="533">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8871/IMG_3136.PNG" alt="pets at home store locator" width="300"></p> <p>Debenhams' Places listings link to a store finder that doesn't sit on the Debenhams website (even though it does have one here).</p> <p>Nor is the store finder mobile optimised.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8868/IMG_3137.PNG" alt="debenhams google places" width="300" height="532">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8869/IMG_3138.PNG" alt="debenhams store finder" width="300" height="533">  </p> <h3>What have we learned?</h3> <ul> <li>Google Places can be the link between retail and search.</li> <li>Listings need to be properly formatted - consistent name, address, phone number.</li> <li>Good photos, logos and keywords should be included in Places listings.</li> <li>Places listings should link to store specific web pages on your main mobile optimised site.</li> <li>These webpages should include local schema, including reviews.</li> <li>Store web pages can enhance the experience by providing local stock check, click and collect info, and content.</li> </ul> <p><em>More on local search:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64925-what-is-local-seo-and-why-do-you-need-it/">What is local SEO and why do you need it?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64164-local-seo-best-practice-dos-and-don-ts/">Local SEO best practice: dos and don'ts</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67882-what-do-google-s-expanded-text-local-search-ads-mean-for-marketers/">What do Google's expanded text &amp; local search ads mean for marketers?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68226 2016-09-07T11:27:39+01:00 2016-09-07T11:27:39+01:00 23 mobile UX mistakes that Google doesn't like Ben Davis <p>The information is taken from a variety of Google resources and includes both factors that Google has explicitly stated could be detrimental to search performance, and other factors for which the same could be implied (e.g. from Google's developer guides).</p> <p>Of course, many factors are used to judge page quality and ultimately if Google judges a page to have the best quality content, it may survive these UX errors.</p> <p>So, on we go...</p> <h3>1. Slow-loading pages</h3> <p>For some time, speed has been acknowledged as crucial for mobile search performance, with Google providing its Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insights tool to help developers understand where they can improve.</p> <p>Minifying code, <a href="https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/design-and-ui/media/images/optimize-images-for-performance?hl=en">reducing image weight</a> and asyncronously loading Javascript are all common suggestions for reducing load time of pages.</p> <p>Of course, Google's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67567-four-things-you-need-to-know-about-google-accelerated-mobile-pages-amp/">Accelerated Mobile Pages</a> (AMP) project is the latest innovation designed to reduce load times even further. In May of this year, <a href="http://searchengineland.com/google-amp-reached-125-million-documents-expanding-apps-recipe-sites-250059">it was reported</a> that 125m+ documents had been indexed, across 640,000+ domains.</p> <p>Adoption of AMP is increasing rapidly though 2016 among publishers, and is now starting to spread to ecommerce.</p> <p>Whilst trackable buttons and other featues haven't yet been mastered within the format, <a href="http://www.ebaytechblog.com/2016/06/30/browse-ebay-with-style-and-speed/">eBay is making progress</a>, with 8m browse nodes currently live.</p> <p>Eventually, the pureplay retailer wants to use AMP to help improve its site search functionality, as well as interactive elements.</p> <p><em>An AMP eBay browse page.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8524/Screen_Shot_2016-08-29_at_19.29.39.png" alt="ebay amp page" width="400"></p> <p>The benefits of AMP can be seen in the numbers.</p> <p>John Shehata of Searchmetrics told Search Engine Land that amongst his clients "AMP is about 5% of total traffic (9% of total mobile traffic), 3% of total impressions, +2% in CTR and +5.6% in ranking position.”</p> <h3>2. Large popups</h3> <p>Google has made <a href="http://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/08/helping-users-easily-access-content-on.html">its position on mobile interstitials</a> clear. As of January 2017, sites 'where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.'</p> <p>Popups are one such example of this content. Google defines them thus:</p> <blockquote> <p>Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the blog post announcing its position, Google states that banners will be deemed permissible providing they 'use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible' - app install banners for example.</p> <h3>3. Standalone interstitials</h3> <p>In the same blog post, Google also cites 'standalone interstitials that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.'</p> <p>The illustration below shows how these interstitials typically appear.</p> <p>Again, there are exceptions - legal obligations (such as cookie consent) or login dialogues (for private content) often necessitate an interstitial.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8543/Screen_Shot_2016-08-26_at_09.56.40.png" alt="interstitials" width="550"></p> <h3>4. Main content below the fold</h3> <p>Not an interstitial per se, but the use of a layout which relegates the main content below the fold is also a no-no.</p> <p>This is often designed for the same purpose as an interstitial, to encourage signup for something ahead of the main website proposition.</p> <h3>5. Low ratio of main content to supplementary content</h3> <p>Sticking to the subject of so-called 'main content', we can refer to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67412-12-practical-content-tips-from-google-s-page-quality-guidelines/">Google's Quality Rater Guidelines</a> for some general advice on sensible web page layout.</p> <p>Google's guidelines use the analogy of a bad student, who may fill their work with distracting pictures, in order to disguise its lack of content.</p> <p>Similarly, having an appropriate ratio of main content to supplementary content to ads is important for web pages to be seen as high quality.</p> <h3>6. Video elements overflowing their containers</h3> <p>Video dimensions can be controlled with JavaScript or CSS.</p> <p>Element size dependent on viewport dimensions can be specified in CSS, with 'max-width: 100%' ensuring no overflow.</p> <p>If video elements do overflow their containers, users won't be able to see all of the video.</p> <h3>7. Waffle</h3> <p>Text on web and mobile in particular should be goal-oriented, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66120-12-handy-tips-for-writing-better-web-copy/">should get to the point</a> and be written in the active voice.</p> <p>In addition, imagery can often be used to increase readability.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66833-is-user-experience-important-for-a-higher-google-ranking/">A Searchmetrics study</a> from 2015 reported websites that rank in the top 30 use around 25% more images in their landing pages than in 2014.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/6311/ux_images-blog-flyer.png" alt="images and ranking" width="470" height="266"></p> <h3>8. Long and complicated menus</h3> <p>Keep them short and sweet is <a href="https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/getting-started/principles/site-and-page-navigation?hl=en">Google's developer advice</a> for mobile.</p> <p>Using as few options as will make navigation quick and easy.</p> <h3>9. No easy route back to homepage</h3> <p>A long-standing convention of web design is a logo in the top left that links back to the homepage.</p> <p>Without this, mobile users in particular will be frustrated.</p> <h3>10. Site search tucked away</h3> <p>Yet more advice from Google's mobile developers fundamentals.</p> <p>Site search, especially in ecommerce, is always visible on desktop homepages. </p> <p>On mobile, site search may be even more important, as smaller screen real-estate means navigation can involve more clicks, scrolling and page loads, which users will seek to avoid with site search.</p> <p>Therefore, site search should be visible on the mobile homepage, not located within a menu.</p> <h3>11. Unhelpful site search</h3> <p>Once users have located the site search function, it should provide them with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66658-24-best-practice-tips-for-ecommerce-site-search/">relevant search results</a>.</p> <p>Autocomplete, spelling correction and intelligent suggestions (as illustrated by Google below) are all advantageous.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8545/Screen_Shot_2016-08-30_at_10.01.33.png" alt="site search" width="615" height="505"></p> <h3>12. Hidden content</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64823-the-five-golden-rules-of-responsive-web-design/">Responsive design</a> should not lead to completely hidden content.</p> <p>Users should be able to find your content, even if it is deemed low priority on mobile.</p> <h3>13. Launching new windows</h3> <p>Flitting between mobile browser windows isn't something that all mobile users are comfortable with.</p> <p>Launching new windows should be avoided where possible. </p> <h3>14. Lack of filters</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68222-ecommerce-product-filters-best-practice-tips-for-a-great-ux/">Filters are needed</a>, not just in ecommerce, to help mobile users refine results and speed navigation.</p> <p>Other UX features can improve filters, such as numbers to show how many products/articles (etc.) each filter will return.</p> <h3>15. Upfront registration required</h3> <p>Being forced to register at checkout, instead of being allowed to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65457-be-our-guest-a-guide-to-ecommerce-guest-checkout-best-practice/">continue as a guest</a>, is even more annoying on mobile than desktop.</p> <p>Offering guest checkouts the chance to register at the end of their purchase may increase conversion.</p> <h3>17. Incorrect input types</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">On the subject of forms, Google has a handy guide to <a href="https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/design-and-ui/input/forms/choose-the-best-input-type">HTML5 input types</a>.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Getting these wrong causes unnecessary extra clicks for users.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>The email input type, with its easy-to-access @ key.</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8552/email.png" alt="email input" width="450" height="338"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Other boons for the user when filling out forms include real-time validation, letting you know if an error occurs before submitting and committing to a page load.</p> <h3>17. Repeated form interactions</h3> <p>Auto-fill is perhaps the most blessed UX feature of all. The relief a user feels when they only have to enter certain information once, then see it pulled through to other parts of the form is palpable.</p> <p>Amazon exemplifies a retailer committed to minimising repeated interaction.</p> <h3>18. Difficulty sharing</h3> <p>Copying and pasting URLs, then sending emails or composing social posts is a lengthier process on mobile compared with desktop.</p> <p>Therefore, websites should make use of share and email buttons. Ecommerce, for example, will find this encourages word of mouth online. </p> <h3>19. Faulty redirects</h3> <p>If you have a mobile website using different URLs to desktop, there should be accurate redirects in place.</p> <p>For example, when a user clicks a desktop link in an email on their phone, they should be redirected to the correct mobile URL.</p> <p>If a redirect is faulty and serves the homepage, for example, this is a particularly frustrating experience.</p> <h3>20 &amp; 21. Zooming and mis-tapping</h3> <p><a href="https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/11/helping-users-find-mobile-friendly-pages.html">In November 2014</a>, Google introduced a 'mobile friendly' label into mobile search results, to 'help users find pages where the text and content was readable without zooming and the tap targets were appropriately spaced'.</p> <p>This label has recently been removed from mobile search results, as Google has announced that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria.</p> <p>However, the other 15% will be acutely aware that until they implement a mobile optimised or responsive design, search performance will suffer.</p> <h3>22. Unfriendly software</h3> <p>Some content will be unviewable on mobile. Flash is the most oft-cited software, as it is not broadly supported on mobile.</p> <h3>23. Typos and bad grammar </h3> <p>Though this is a general complaint, not specific to mobile, it is one which Google's Quality Rater guidelines highlight.</p> <p>That means poor editing could be a contributing factor to poor search performance.</p> <p><em>That's enough to get the list started. What other UX bugbears do you have on mobile?</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68187 2016-08-30T14:35:43+01:00 2016-08-30T14:35:43+01:00 A handy six-month website migration plan Kumail Hemani <p>Site migrations come with a lot of risks which can potentially cause your business to lose revenue while the problem is fixed.</p> <p>Common problems include:</p> <ul> <li>Loss of current traffic.</li> <li>Page errors (404's).</li> <li>Drop in search rankings.</li> </ul> <p>I've been involved in several critical site migrations of large scale websites.</p> <p>We recently worked on a university website and as per their requirements we had to provide a month-on-month action plan that we would perform while they developed the website.</p> <p>In this post I will provide you with the migration plan as a downloadable Excel document and explain how you can create a successful site migration plan with a monthly task list.</p> <h3><strong>Brief</strong></h3> <p>Our client was focused on creating a fresh website with a new design and CMS that was expected to go live in six months.</p> <p>So, we created a six-month plan that was divided it into pre- and post-migration according to:</p> <ol> <li>User experience</li> <li>Strong infrastructure (technical SEO)</li> <li>Same URLs for new webpages and images (or redirection plan) - URL Structure</li> <li>Navigation menu links </li> <li>Removal of old pages</li> <li>Quality check for the addition of new pages</li> <li>Current keywords ranking</li> <li>Structured Data</li> <li>Source code</li> <li>Page speed</li> <li>Robots.txt</li> </ol> <h3>Pre-migration</h3> <p>Here I'll cover off several of the most important pre-migration tasks.</p> <h4>1. User experience</h4> <p>User behavior depends on the website design and how it enables the user to interact with any calls-to-action.</p> <p>The obvious rule of thumb is that better designed websites convert more, so you need to make sure that the new website improves the conversion rate and doesn’t frustrate any current or potential future customers.</p> <p>On this topic, here are some interesting reads about user experience: </p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://www.digital-tonic.co.uk/digital-tonic-blog/the-risk-of-redesigning-your-website/">The risk of redesigning your website</a> – Digital Tonic</li> <li> <a href="http://conversionsciences.com/blog/this-website-redesign-got-250-more-leads-before-it-was-finished/">Website redesign got 250% more leads before it was finished</a> – Brian Massey</li> <li> <a href="http://www.kumailhemani.com/5-website-usability-testing-tips/">Five Website Usability Testing Tips – Why Should You Care About Them?</a> – Kumail Hemani</li> </ul> <h4>2. Page removal</h4> <p>Page removal is often one of the reasons why site migrations don’t meet their objectives.</p> <p>This can happen while re-structuring and re-designing websites. For example, the organization might remove or change the URLs of some of the important, high-ranking pages.</p> <p>To make sure this doesn’t happen during your site migration, you need to create a list of the top 500–1,000 pages (depending on the size of your website) which were getting the most traffic.</p> <p>Then double-check if they are present on the current website using Google Analytics or any other web analytics tools you are using.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8574/pages-removal-analytics.png" alt="" width="149" height="283"></p> <p>If the site owner decides to remove any pages, make sure to implement 301 redirects on these pages to the most relevant content pages.</p> <h4>3. Adding new pages</h4> <p>When revamping a website, the site owner often wants to add new pages.</p> <p>Create a list of newly added pages and carry out the below quality checks: </p> <ul> <li>Pages don’t contain thin content.</li> <li>Title &amp; meta data is up to date.</li> <li>Page load time matches the other website pages. Ideally you want it to be below one second.</li> <li>Webpage layout and content alignment.</li> </ul> <h4>4. Strong infrastructure (technical SEO)</h4> <p>Technical SEO is vitally important for achieving high rankings, so you must ensure the new site adheres to Google's guidelines.</p> <p>These resources will give you all the advice you need in this regard:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64056-19-technical-seo-considerations-you-should-look-at-today/">19 technical SEO considerations you should look at today</a> – Kumail Hemani</li> <li> <a href="http://www.caliber.ae/Site_Migration_Plan.xlsx">Site Migration Checklist for Developers and SEOs</a> - Kumail Hemani</li> </ul> <h4>5. URL Structure</h4> <p>URL structure is a tricky subject. To migrate your website successfully you can either follow the old URL structure or create redirects to sustain the previous traffic.</p> <p>Different CMS platforms develop their own URL structure which sometimes can’t be controlled.</p> <p>If your URLs are dynamic or you cannot follow the old URL structure, you can use 301 redirects to the new page URLs.</p> <p>There are three main URL types on the website that could affect the website traffic after migration.</p> <p>We have similar advice for all of them - either follow the old URL structure or 301 redirect the old URL to the new URLs. This should apply on the following type of URLs:</p> <ul> <li>Page URLs</li> <li>Image URLs</li> <li>Attachment URLs</li> </ul> <h4>6. Page speed </h4> <p>Page speed has become one of the major ranking factors on Google. New websites often include large images that can impact negatively on the overall page speed.</p> <p>According to Kiss Metrics, "If an ecommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a one-second page delay could potentially cost $2.5m in lost sales every year."</p> <p>Before you begin the migration, analyze the page load times for the site and try to identify some quick wins to optimize page speed (e.g. resizing images).</p> <p>Compare the pre- and post-migration load times. Ideally you want the new site to be as fast as the old site, if not faster.</p> <h4>7. HTML structure</h4> <p>Although source code optimization (HTML structure) comes under page speed optimization, we want to cover this separately to give it the attention it deserves. </p> <p>Even if your page load time is fast, having good HTML structure allows Google to crawl your entire page quicker.</p> <p>For this you need to make sure that:</p> <ul> <li>All hard-coded JavaScript and CSS should be covered in separate .js and .css files.</li> <li>Ajax scripting is used on the internal pages.</li> <li>Wireframes are not used on the overall website.</li> <li>Navigation menu links are structured as the proper hierarchy level.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8563/hard-coded_JS.png" alt="" width="526" height="508"></p> <p><em>Ref: Hard-coded JS and CSS. Image Producer: <a href="http://www.caliber.ae/">Caliber Dubai</a></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8564/navigation_menu.png" alt="" width="442" height="229"></p> <p><em>Ref: Nav-gation menu links. Image Source: <a href="https://blog.kissmetrics.com/site-structure-enhance-seo/">KissMetrics</a></em></p> <h4>8. Current Google rankings</h4> <p>To ensure that hard-fought Google rankings are not lost after the site migration, you need to track all keyword rankings before you push your website live to re-check the performance.</p> <p>It's unlikely that everything will remain completely stable during a site migration, but a major drop off should be cause for concern.</p> <h4>9. Google Analytics tracking on overall website</h4> <p>Ensure that you have Google Analytics or other traffic tracking code placed on your site.</p> <p>This is usually done on the last day before going live.</p> <h4>10. Robots.txt management</h4> <p>Robots.txt should be handled carefully. Minor mistakes can mean that pages aren't indexed correctly in Google.</p> <p>You can encounter massive loss in traffic if you make any unnecessary additions.</p> <p>You can read up about this important topic here:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://varvy.com/robottxt.html" target="_blank">Guide to the robots.txt file</a></li> </ul> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>I hope you enjoyed the article and found this brief overview useful.</p> <p>Please feel free to download the month-on-month site migration plan, <a href="http://www.caliber.ae/Site_Migration_Plan.xlsx">here</a>.</p> <p>Good luck with your site migration!</p> <p><em>And for more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s range of SEO resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/"><em>SEO Best Practice Guide</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>SEO Marketing Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68214 2016-08-24T14:41:52+01:00 2016-08-24T14:41:52+01:00 40% of banks in the US have registered a .bank domain Patricio Robles <p>Only verified banks and savings associations are permitted to register .bank domains, and registrants are required to adhere to "enhanced security" requirements, such as the use of strong encryption.</p> <h3><strong>So how is .bank doing?</strong></h3> <p><a href="http://www.bna.com/banks-flock-newbank-n73014446420/">According to</a> Bloomberg Law, 2,883 banks have registered nearly 6,000 .bank domains since the gTLD went live in mid-2015. </p> <p>fTLD Registry Services' Craig Schwartz says that that amounts to "a slightly better than 40% market penetration of banks that have bought .bank domain names" in the US.</p> <h3>Adoption versus use</h3> <p>Schwartz says that of the banks that have registered .bank domains, "a couple of hundred" have actually migrated to use a .bank domain.</p> <p>One such bank is Lead Bank, a three-branch bank located in Missouri, which migrated its website from leadbankonline.com to <a href="https://www.lead.bank/">lead.bank</a>.</p> <p>Lead Bank's marketing director, Melissa Beltrame, explained the rationale to Bloomberg Law's Paul Shukovsky:</p> <blockquote> <p>.bank allows differentiation of the bank from a branding perspective, a strategic perspective and a technology perspective. It’s the market perception that community banks lag and have less technology than national banks.</p> <p>It’s to our advantage to adopt .bank, which helps us to start changing that perception.</p> </blockquote> <p>Beltrame indicated that there were concerns about the effects the migration might have on the bank's brand equity, but that "clients understood why we were making the migration and came right along with that."</p> <p>She did not comment on any SEO effects.</p> <p>Despite the fact banks have been slow to put .bank domains into real-world use, fTLD Registry Services' Schwartz is confident that other banks will follow Lead Bank's lead and believes 2017 will be a "tipping point."</p> <p>In an effort to speed the process, Schwartz says his organization is working with banks to assist them with migration plans. </p> <h3>Low recognition of new TLDs a challenge despite security concerns</h3> <p>With hacking and identity theft on the rise, the security value proposition of the .bank gTLD is obvious.</p> <p>But banks considering a switch from .com to .bank will have to contend with comparatively low recognition of new gTLDs.</p> <p>While recognition is up in 2016 versus <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66557-new-top-level-domains-struggle-for-recognition/">2015</a>, awareness in North America is still well under 50% <a href="https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2-2016-06-23-en">according to ICANN's latest study</a>, a far cry from the 95% awareness of .com. </p> <p>What's more, despite increased awareness, reported visits to new gTLDs have actually declined in the past year.</p> <p>Large banks like Barclays, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67789-five-companies-using-branded-top-level-domains-tlds-why/">which actually has its own brand TLDs</a>, .barclays and .barclaycard, might be able to overcome the recognition challenge.</p> <p>But expect smaller institutions, which don't have huge marketing budgets and may lack the technical expertise needed to ensure their website migrations go smoothly, to take a wait and see approach.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68180 2016-08-17T15:24:00+01:00 2016-08-17T15:24:00+01:00 Are payday lenders prepared for Google’s paid search ban? James Perrott <p>Further to this, Google is also banning ads for loans with an APR of 36% or higher in the US only. Ads sending you through to products where repayment is due within 60 days of the date of issue are also banned. </p> <p><em>(UPDATE: As of the beginning of August 2016, the payday loan ban has still not been implemented by Google. There has been no official word as to why.)</em></p> <p>This ban was introduced as research showed to Google that these loans can result in ‘unaffordable payment and high default rates’, which results in users entering a dangerous spiral of unrepayable debt. </p> <p>So, what does this mean for websites and brands that are relying solely on paid ads to acquire business in this space?</p> <p>This niche has been one of the most fiercely fought SERPs in recent years, historically dominated by black hat SEOs.</p> <p>Because of this and the ‘spammy nature’ of queries, payday loans also saw the introduction of its own algorithm in 2013 to help improve the results provided by Google.</p> <p>To analyse the paid space, we have a proprietary tool called Market Defender which assesses current bidding strategy based on positions/impression share and outputs your ‘digital market share’ based on total volume of available impressions from the keyword/s positions.</p> <p>Below shows the share of voice within the paid payday loan space:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8802/lenders.jpeg" alt="" width="700" height="492"></p> <p>By directly comparing this against the best-performing websites in the payday loan organic search niche, we’re able to then begin our analysis.</p> <p>To do this analysis, we’ve compiled 508 of the most competitive keywords within the space that has an estimated return of 403,857 visits if you were to rank first for each individual term.</p> <p>We have removed all aggregator websites such as uSwitch to focus purely on the lenders themselves.</p> <p>The chart below shows who these websites are:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/img2.png" alt="competitive landscape" width="997" height="351"></p> <p>Broken down, we can see how each of the top performing websites in organic search is doing:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/img3.png" alt="organic search ranking table" width="940" height="382"> </p> <p>Now by overlaying the top performing websites in paid with organic, we’re able to identify how the best performing paid websites do in both channels:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8138/Screen_Shot_2016-08-17_at_11.27.28.png" alt="" width="469" height="371"></p> <p>You can quickly identify that 11 of the 20 websites do not have over 100 visibility in organic search.</p> <p>This has to be a huge concern for these websites once Google's new policy eventually comes into place.  </p> <p>Looking at two important organic metrics - domain authority and number of referring domains - we can dive a little deeper into how these websites stand up to one another.</p> <p>The top 10 paid websites’ authority and number of referring domains can be seen below:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/img4.png" alt="da and linking domains" width="1060" height="191"></p> <p>From this research it’s clear that quickquid.co.uk has had both paid and organic sewn up.</p> <p>In organic, the site doesn't have the highest authority, but does have the highest number of referring domains.</p> <p>QuickQuid is close to being the market leader in paid and is the clear market leader in organic search, so let’s look at which bits it's doing well.</p> <h3>Analysis of QuickQuid's performance</h3> <p>QuickQuid's link acquisition strategy is working well with links from websites such as inhabitant.com, lifehacker.com, lifehack.org, buzzfeed.com etc.</p> <p>It's generally assumed that distributing content about payday loans is difficult, but with the right strategy it can be simple.</p> <p>QuickQuid isn't limiting itself to payday lending, but day-to-day facts people are interested in, which is shareable and, most importantly, linkable!</p> <p>The method QuickQuid has most often utilised is infographic creation on topics that have huge human interest; lifestyle and the environment.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/img5.png" alt="top referring content" width="940" height="476"></p> <p>An infographic on ‘Could the entire world really run on solar power’ appears to have done very well – its placement on inhabitant.com acquired 9,900 Likes alone on Facebook, as well as 31 referring domains into the placement, which in turn links through to QuickQuid. </p> <p>Another infographic on ‘How to create a spa day at home’ was included in a Buzzfeed article on making yourself a happier person.</p> <p>Lastly, there’s an infographic on ‘How many calories can you burn in 10 minutes’, which has been placed on lifehack.org and attracted 273 shares.</p> <p>Looking through the ‘<a href="https://www.quickquid.co.uk/quid-corner/">Quid Corner</a>’ blog, you’re able to quickly see that this is the company's main method of content creation and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67491-how-to-do-successful-link-building-on-a-startup-budget/">link acquisition</a>. </p> <p>This method is working in an impressive manner and is helping lift QuickQuid's website in a difficult niche. </p> <p>Following on from what is clearly working for QuickQuid, I ran a mini ideation session to better understand how the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/digital-content-strategy/">content strategy</a> might work for QuickQuid. </p> <p>This is a rundown of our ideation:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/img6.png" alt="our ideation process" width="621" height="369"></p> <h3><strong>Content ideas</strong></h3> <p>Instead of veering too left field, we’ve tried keeping our ideas related to finance in some capacity.</p> <p>Below are the ideas, as well as content types we created.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8168/ideation.png" alt="" width="635" height="643"></p> <h3><strong>Content campaign plan</strong></h3> <p>Below shows a potential content distribution plan that would take place over three months. It shows the different teams required to make it happen, as well as ensuring good content flow is achieved. </p> <p>Constantly posting infographics may become tiring for your audience, so it's important to mix up the content formats. This varies from short form blogs to quizzes. </p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/img7.png" alt="campaign timeline" width="1028" height="566"></p> <h3>In summary...</h3> <p>The analysis shows that 12 of the 20 websites are going to massively struggle once the ban is in place due to having next to zero visibility in organic search.</p> <p>If it was a quick method of making money via paid acquisition, that’s fine, but if these websites want longevity, they’re going to have to begin looking at an organic strategy, and <em>fast</em>.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3074 2016-08-16T10:07:49+01:00 2016-08-16T10:07:49+01:00 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing <p>Search Engine Optimisation [SEO] is becoming increasingly tricky - continuous innovations between the rival search engines, coupled with increased activity from your competitors, means that you have to identify the right strategy for your business to rank well.</p> <p>This SEO training course will enable you to build an organic search marketing strategy that will mean more of the right kind of visitors to your website, boost online conversions and stand out in today’s fiercely competitive online marketplace, ensuring the best possible return on investment.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3059 2016-08-15T17:02:28+01:00 2016-08-15T17:02:28+01:00 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - Advanced <p>SEO is a complex subject and for those wishing to move their knowledge beyond the basics, this course has been designed for the intermediate to advanced learner. There is lots to consider when optimising for maximum visibility through search. From key phrase research and query audits, to content strategy, page mark-up and site architecture. Getting all these things right is key to grabbing customers who know what they want, but not where to get it from.</p><p>Providing you with a structured process to improve your results from SEO, an industry expert will lead this one-day workshop, reviewing attendees' existing optimisation approaches, analytics and tools against their top-performing competitors and best practice.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68102 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 Why there should be more plaudits for digital audits Chris Bishop <p>Those at the top of organisations don’t feel they have the strategic sweep to justify the time and effort required to commission them.</p> <p>Audits are viewed at times as a little “too tactical” or only done once every blue moon by agencies aiming to impress for your business, only to then collect dust on top of Econsultancy buyers guides print outs or even your old New Media Age magazines (<strong>Ed</strong>: We let this lie, but only to show we have a sense of humour).</p> <p>For the in-house Head of Ecommerce, requesting a digital audit might sound dangerously like a turkey voting for Christmas. </p> <h3>Are we selling audits wrongly?</h3> <p>Or is it the slightly cheesy marketing of website or marketing auditors themselves that is putting people off?</p> <p>All that tired ‘digital health check’ stuff might be the kind of foot in the door tactic that make brands feel suspicious of then giving access to their precious AdWords account, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67171-what-is-affiliate-marketing-why-do-you-need-it/">affiliate network</a> or analytics suite.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7503/healthcheck.jpeg" alt="health check" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>How important are digital audits anyway?</h3> <p>In reality, though, digital audits are absolutely vital. And third party objective auditing ensures that you’re not marking your own home work or ignoring long term problems.</p> <p>Proper auditing, UX testing and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67473-seven-conversion-rate-optimization-trends-to-take-advantage-of-in-2016/">CRO analysis</a> means you can elongate the lifetime and effectiveness of your website and digital media activity, in a way that can be done on any budget.</p> <p>Your digital real estate is often an expensive investment - you’ve got to maintain it properly to get results.</p> <h3>Regular servicing is vital</h3> <p>Think of that shiny new website you’ve just spent months developing as a new car you’ve just acquired.</p> <p>To start off with, it’s the envy of everyone who sees it. After-sales support is pretty good and you can see years of trouble free motoring ahead of you. Before you know it, though, your warranty is up and you’re on your own.</p> <p>As the car ages, small problems become big problems. It performs less effectively. You’re paying for petrol, but it’s becoming less and less economical to run. There are so many things going wrong with it you don’t know where to start. Eventually the car's value is so diminished you might as well scrap it and buy a new one.</p> <p>It’s the same with websites and digital marketing campaigns. They can’t be left to look after themselves – and even the mechanic themselves might need some fine tuning or training themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7504/service-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="car service" width="380"></p> <h3>What a digital audit can do for you </h3> <p>Audits can show you how to balance your budget more effectively through action and prioritisation. They can identify common issues like plateaus in activity and drop offs in acquisition; all the elements that reduce profitability. </p> <h3>The Lessons of the Audit</h3> <p>Constantly learn, constantly improve, constantly trade! A timely and constructive audit will help you:</p> <ul> <li>Keep up to date with the latest channel trends - Google changes, new publishers in affiliate, new platform or techniques for social. </li> <li>Use competitor analysis to keep your enemies close! It’s crucial to analyse and understand market share/spend and its consequences for your brand. </li> <li>Help you (re)define your goals.</li> <li>Confirm your objectives or KPIs so you can measure success.</li> <li>Understand new opportunities.</li> <li>Benchmark improvements or conversely measure areas of decline.</li> <li>Ensure corporate compliance – its best practice to have someone external “rubber stamp” your activity.</li> <li>Encourage serendipity – the uncovering of that nugget of information that transforms your understanding and makes the commercial difference.</li> </ul> <h3>Should you take the plunge?</h3> <p>Regular and skilled digital auditing is a detailed and never ending task.  It can transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising, website and budget.  </p> <p>Is it sexy? It’s showing your website a lot of love and attention. It’s optimizing and maximizing your marketing profitability and performance. Sounds pretty sexy to me.</p> <p><em>More on auditing:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68031-answering-the-key-question-of-content-auditing-where-do-i-start/">Answering the key question of content auditing - where do I start?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68040 2016-07-19T13:40:00+01:00 2016-07-19T13:40:00+01:00 Five digital strategy tips for mono-brands that wholesale and sell direct to consumer Ben Potter <p>For many businesses, the wholesale route allows the brand to build awareness via retail partners, such as department stores, but at the expense of margin and the ability to form a direct relationship with the end customer.</p> <p>At some stage, the brand will decide the time is nigh to create a direct proposition. However, this presents a number of challenges in the digital marketing space that are often not understood or properly considered from the outset.</p> <p>Having worked with a number of mono-brands over the years, here are a few things we’ve observed and helped them overcome:</p> <h3>1. You must give people a compelling reason to buy direct</h3> <p>By the time a typical mono-brand goes direct, they are likely to have a number of well-known, trusted stockists selling their wares online (normally with much deeper pockets).</p> <p>This means that the mono-brand is, in effect, competing against themselves online, via those stockists. The customer is therefore presented with choice as to where they buy that brand.</p> <p>Last year, we <a href="http://www.leapfrogg.co.uk/froggblog/2015/07/insight-edit-consumers-favour-multi-brand-retailers-over-single-brands/" target="_blank">questioned our consumer panel</a> on this very topic - <strong>89% of respondents stated they favoured buying from multi-brand retailers over single-brand sites.</strong></p> <p>When pressed a little further, of those that preferred buying from single brand sites, 71% stated it was because the brand makes them feel more valued as a customer.</p> <p>Added value is therefore the key to driving conversion on the brand site - the promise that if a customer buys direct, they are buying into more than just the product itself.</p> <p>This is where the brand has an advantage. Getting to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67526-how-retail-marketers-can-ensure-they-deliver-the-right-customer-experience/" target="_blank">know the customer intimately</a>, what it is they value and then delivering on this is something that a multi-brand retailer, such as John Lewis, <strong>cannot replicate, at scale, for each and every brand they stock. </strong>Some get the specialist treatment but even then the breadth of content is fairly limited.</p> <p>For example, despite Levi’s being a ‘featured brand’ on the John Lewis website, content is limited to a brief overview of the brand, a few images and a men’s fit guide (strangely, in the women’s section with a link that didn’t work at the time of writing).</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7209/Capture.jpg" alt="John Lewis Levi's category page" width="526" height="489"></p> <p><br> Ultimately, as THE brand, you need to be able to answer (and act upon) one, fundamental question;</p> <p><strong><em>‘Why would someone buy from our site as opposed to an established multi-brand retailer?’</em> </strong></p> <p>If you can’t, then you need to go back to the drawing board.</p> <h3>2. Make it your mission to ‘own’ organic search results for brand terms</h3> <p>The remit of an ecommerce manager is to grow the direct channel, which of course yields a number of benefits compared to the wholesale model (control, acquiring data, building a relationship with the end customer and so on).</p> <p>Search will be a key part of the strategy. <strong>Occupying as much of the search ‘real estate’ for brand terms, as possible, should be the aim.</strong></p> <p>To what extent you can do so will ultimately depend on how many retailers stock your products and how sophisticated their natural search strategies are. The more stockists you have, the more competitive the search results are likely to be for brand terms.</p> <p>Utilising site links, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64778-what-is-schema-markup-and-why-should-you-be-using-it/">schema mark-up</a>, My Business pages, reviews, social media profiles and optimising rich-media assets, such as images and video, are just some of the means by which you can occupy a greater share of the search results for brand terms, at the expense of stockists, as highlighted by Sony below:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7211/Capture3.png" alt="Sony Google search result" width="532" height="597"></p> <p><br> Please note, there is often a balancing act between aggressively growing the direct channel and keeping stockists on side. Stealing share from stockists is inevitable so needs to be carefully managed.</p> <h3>3. You will almost certainly have to pay for brand PPC traffic</h3> <p>Assuming stockists are present in paid search and bidding on your brand name, you will have to do likewise. There are a million and one articles debating the pros and cons of bidding on your own brand terms so I won’t repeat those arguments.</p> <p>Instead, a slightly different take on the issue, born out of a recent client conversation. Despite the presence of some fairly small but aggressive stockists, the client in question was determined not to bid on their brand terms, due to two questionable assumptions.</p> <p>Firstly, they felt that searchers would, by default, seek out their organic listing. Some no doubt will.</p> <p>However, we demonstrated that other searchers were distracted by a compelling ad from one of their stockists and therefore didn’t even think about scrolling down to find the brands organic listing. Opportunity lost.</p> <p>Secondly, they assumed that if somebody searched for their brand, then that searcher would go onto purchase one of their products (whether direct or via a stockist). However, with some qualitative insight, this was proven not always to be the case.</p> <p>The presence of a multi-brand retailer meant that some were distracted by the greater choice on offer, going onto buy a different brand altogether. Again, opportunity lost.</p> <p><strong>By being present in the paid listings, ideally by being as aggressive as you can to own the number one position, you give yourself the greatest chance of getting the click.</strong></p> <p>This is especially important on mobile where it is common for only ads to appear ‘above the fold’.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7210/capture2.png" alt="Search results on mobile" width="330" height="583"><br> </p> <p>Therefore, paid search is increasingly the only way in which you can guarantee a presence on the devices searchers are most likely to be using and where they are most likely to click. Don’t leave money on the table.</p> <h3>4. Getting the price right is more important than ever</h3> <p>We worked with a brand where you could consistently purchase many of their products from a well-known high street retailer for 30% less than the price on the brand site. But we were tasked with significantly growing direct revenue. Errr…</p> <p>Consumers are savvier than ever. <strong>With the prominence of Google Shopping listings, price information is thrust upon eager searchers without them even having to click.</strong></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7212/Capture4.png" alt="Nike Internationalist shopping results" width="481" height="231"><br> <br>Whilst some consumers will of course buy from the brand site and be loyal in doing so again in the future, others won’t give two hoots where they purchase. In fact, if I can buy your product at the same time as all the other stuff on my John Lewis ‘wish list’, all the better.</p> <p>Whilst you cannot dictate the prices your stockists choose to sell at, you need to be aware of their pricing strategy and be agile enough to react should you choose to, particularly during sale periods.</p> <p>It was put to me by a brand in the past that “our stockists can have those ‘sale only’ customers”. Fair enough but I’d always prefer to acquire any customer direct, sale only or not, and nurture the relationship.</p> <p>This brings to light an interesting point regarding loyalty. It should not be measured only in monetary terms. We have discovered that some of our clients’ most loyal customers are not necessarily those that spend the most money.</p> <p>Perhaps these customers can only afford to shop with the brand once or twice a year. However, they are the ones that shout the most about their purchase, something that is often not measured or harnessed.</p> <p>You therefore need to look beyond financial data and models, such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64481-finding-your-best-customers-with-the-rfm-matrix/" target="_blank">RFM</a> when it comes to understanding loyalty.</p> <h3>5. Make sure your direct and wholesale teams are talking to one another</h3> <p>I spoke to a premium menswear brand last year looking to grow their direct channel. ‘Super!’ I thought, we can help. However, as we dug a little deeper, we soon realised it was going to be a huge challenge.</p> <p>We discovered that the wholesale team had some pretty aggressive targets of their own, meaning they were selling into an ever-increasing number of retailers. Worse still, many of these retailers were at the lower end of the market, damaging brand perception.</p> <p>The direct team also had some rather juicy numbers to hit for the next financial year. But nobody internally had joined the dots, namely that the direct team would find themselves gradually hamstrung by increased competition in search as stockists optimised their sites and bid on brand terms.</p> <p>This highlights how <strong>the wholesale and direct strategy have to be working in unison.</strong></p> <p>Growing both channels simultaneously is possible but requires careful planning, great communication and an understanding of how the two will play out online, especially in search. </p><p><strong>Have you worked with or for a mono-brand? What challenges did you experience? Please feel free to share below.</strong></p>