Retailers, how not to mess up Christmas

With December just a couple of months away, thoughts will soon turn to buying those festive gifts and stocking fillers. Whilst some customers prepare for the impending high street battles and aisle onslaughts, others will be opting to carry out transactions online where they may discover that the purchasing process is just as tough to navigate.

Christmas shopping

But what is the key to a successful Christmas?

Understanding the challenges for both the consumer and business is vital to designing the perfect digital strategy. This is pivotal in guiding the consumer through the whole gift-buying process and earning their lifetime custom.

From a Consumer perspective , the main challenges are to ensure that customer expectations are managed and all promises are met. Buyers can be lulled into a false sense of security during this peak shopping period, where they will be expecting more out of any business. Typically you want to be able to search quickly for the ideal gift, at the time that is convenient to you and ultimately then be able to locate and receive the selected purchase in a place that is suitable. Customers are always on the move and fully responsive across all devices and channels, there’s no surprise that there’s a cross-section of savvy shoppers sourcing the best value for money for their purchases with high demands.

From a Business perspective, Christmas is a crucial and profitable time of year, yet with so many steps within the delivery chain open to problems, retailers need to be aware of the common pitfalls: Ranging from adverse weather conditions as witnessed last year, through to limited resources and failed opportunities. Disappointed customers are detrimental for any retailer – ensure you can build relationships with your customers based on accurate reliable information, follow their journey and be available to respond to queries in a timely manner when required to do so. In order to achieve success in all these areas, retailers need to make sure that they are communicating efficiently. Your customers show they’re loyal to you – how loyal are you to them?

For those who have no idea what to buy, the most daunting and time consuming part in the gift-giving process can simply be finding the perfect present. It is therefore imperative for retailers to consider how their customers’ purchasing traits can shift during the run up to Christmas. Pick early enough the Christmas trend and you’ll succeed in acquiring the customer at the lowest cost with time to have your supply chain ready.

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Through the looking glass: Google Penguin 3.0 Update

More than a year since the release of Penguin 2.0, Google has now updated their Penguin filter. This update started on Friday 17/10 and was rolled out over that weekend. What’s Penguin, you ask? In short, Penguin is an algorithm that targets webspam.

A filter to end all spam

Unlike the rest of Google’s’ algorithms, which run all the time, Penguin (along with Panda) is a filter. This means that once in a while Google will run their entire index through the filter, and sort out everything they consider link-spam. If you are hit you have to wait for the next iteration of the filter before you are included, even if you delete all your ‘spammy’ links.

More of the same

It’s too early to precisely say what is targeted, but the first reports show that the new penguin filter penalizes sites that

  • Have links from empty pages filled with links (link building software will create a lot of those)
  • Have links from unrelated Web 2.0’s
  • Have links from SAPE (a private network where link buying occurs) and other Russian link networks
  • Have a large percentage of keyword rich anchor text links.

In short, the name of the game is still the same – don’t build ‘spammy’ links and avoid using keyword rich anchor text, although Penguin 3.0 in general seems to have a larger tolerance than its predecessors. Perhaps this will be tweaked in an coming update.

Been hit before? Now is your chance.

If you were previously hit by Penguin and have cleared up your link profile you should see an increased ranking, although you may not get back to your previous rankings right away, considering how many links you removed.

The introduction of negative SEO

In the last year negative SEO has grown from a few people sitting in their basements, to a serious sub-industry in the black hat world. And, unfortunately, we are seeing reports that some sites that were targeted with negative SEO have been hit by Penguin.

This emphasizes the importance of regularly cleaning up your backlink profile and sending disavow-requests, even if you are not doing any active link building.

Bonus – EMD/PMD update.

There’s speculation that alongside Penguin, Google has lowered the value of having your keyword in the domain even further. So if you have a domain that contains your keyword and suddenly find yourself on page 2 instead of page 1, you might not have been hit with penguin.

If you want to know more about how we can work together to optimize your search results, feel free to send us an email or give us a call!