Using Coupons On Your E-Commerce Store | More Than Just Discounts

Using Coupons On Your E-Commerce Store | More Than Just Discounts

Depending on where you live in the world, “couponing” is popular. In the USA, using a coupon to purchase a product or service is a normal way of shopping. Elsewhere around the world they may be known as promotional codes or discount codes. Wherever you are, they are a very popular way of reducing costs when shopping. As the online shopping world has exponentially grown, so has the prevalence of coupon aggregators, where codes can be submitted, and shoppers can find them all in one place.

If you’re an ecommerce store owner or webmaster, you may of not have considered coupons yet. Up until now, coupons have been considered low value or even damaging to a an e-com store, but as the industry has grown, it’s become the norm for sites to offer some form of discount, either store wide, or for various products.

E-commerce Coupons – What Are The Benefits

In the early days, coupon sites we considered somewhat spammy. As these sites have grown with industry, they themselves have become ultra powerful, and ultra profitable, both from a business point of view, but also the authority and trust that is now recognised by Google. This represents a unique opportunity that many webmasters may of not considered. Not only can they be a source of buying traffic, but also powerful link opportunities.

Targeted Buyer Traffic

Many of the large coupon aggregators such as RetailMeNot.com or Groupon.com, now have so much traffic themselves, that this metric alone makes it worthwhile leveraging. Both have close to 30 million organic visits per month.

A quick SEMrush.com check gives a peak at their crazy traffic.

retailmenot.com traffic statistics

groupon traffic stats

There are a plethora of sites that now offer submission of coupons, that not considering this as a viable marketing option is foolish. Many sites are free to submit, however some are more heavily monitored than others.

Coupon Site Link Opportunities

The other major benefit I see, possibly more important than the traffic, is the opportunity to obtain a link from these sites. When a coupon is submitted, many also provide the opportunity to add a website or product page URL. Taking the two examples above, you can see that retailmenot.com has DR of 65, and Groupon.com has a DR of 71.

linking from retailmenot

groupon stats

Leveraging Existing Traffic Of Your E-commerce Store

As using discount codes and coupon has become so popular, many visitors may add a product in their cart, and then open another browser and search for  coupon for the product. Once they have it, they may come back to the site to complete the purchase. There are even very cool browser extensions such as Honey that will scrape coupons for you as you shop.

How To Submit To Coupon Sites

Submitting your coupon codes (once you’ve set them up in your store), is a rather simple process. For example, retailmenot.com has an easy to navigate submission page where you just enter the details of the coupon. Here: https://www.retailmenot.com/submit

While this is simple, it can be tedious if you’re submitting to a large number of sites. Luckily there are some sauvy marketers on Fiverr.com that offer submission services rather cheaply. Simply head on over to fiverr,com and search “coupon submission” . To be honest, there are not that many gigs, which means there are probably not that many people doing this, which makes it all the better for us.

gigs on fiverr to submit coupons

Best Coupon Sites To Submit To

Below is a list of example sites where you can submit. There are many more, but this is a good start.

  • https://www.couponchief.com
  • https://www.dealsplus.com’
  • https://dealspotr.com
  • https://www.couponit.com
  • http://www.dealsdigg.com
  • https://www.oodiscount.com
  • http://www.lpcoupon.com
  • http://master-pages.com
  • http://www.couponrepublic.com
  • https://www.retailmenot.com

This is a simple, yet highly effective and powerful strategy which is quick to implement really cheaply. Most sites create a branded or naked URL, ensuring you are creating a powerful, highly relevant link reasonably safely, plus the benefit of the extra traffic. A no brainer IMO for any e-commerce site owner.

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Shopify SEO Case Studies | Does It Stack Up to WooCommerce, Weebly or Bigcommerce?

Shopify SEO Case Studies | Does It Stack Up to WooCommerce, Weebly or Bigcommerce?

Over the past 6 months I’ve become increasingly intrigued with Shopify. The main reason I first decided to see what all the fuss was about was that there we so many Facebook ads popping up in my feed about “making your first million with Shopify”, and “explode your shopify proifits with Facebook ads”, etc etc.

Why Is Shopify So Popular

That’s all well and good, but why was it so popular? I opened and account and had a play with the platform. It was pretty obvious to me that it was the ease of use and speed at which you could get a store up and running was the core to it’s success. That’s no mean feat, as I’ve built woocommerce and Magento stores that frankly are a PIA to get to a stage of launch. With Shopify, you literally can have a store live in under 30 mins. There is an element of the intuitive design that makes it literally childs play.

The founders deserve a lot credit, as I believe they really nailed a product that the market was crying out for. A dedicated ecommerce solution that anyone could master quickly. There was nothing on the market remotely close to what they deliver, and they keep delivering with every update.

With it’s ease of use, it was (and still is) a prime target for savy marketers to get in fast and develop products around the platform. Most though, are wholly focused around paid advertising to shopify stores. They seem to do well, and that’s great and I know quite a few marketers are doing well with that strategy.

Do Shopify Stores Rank Well In Search

But I was more interested in the SEO potential of the platform, and could it actually rank. It’s all well and good building a great platform forbuild a shopify store the user, but did it have the structure to do the job organically. When I first started researching the subject, I really couldn’t find any answers. I did find this quora thread that didn’t paint a very positive picture. I was almost going to forget about it, and then by coincidence a friend was starting a new online e-commerce venture and asked if I could help with the development, and they had chosen Shopify as the platform. And so began my journey into Shopify search engine optimisation. So………to answer the question above – do shopify stores do well in search? The answer is YES, they rank very, very well. I will say though, that you do need to firstly have sound foundations in search engine optimisation.

As with any site, on page is super important, even more so for for ecommerce, (as I’ll explain later). As it’s a dedicated e-commerce solution, the Shopify team IMO have done a pretty good job at sorting out some of the typical e-commerce inherent problems such as product variation duplication (inadequate canonical URLs), and poor URL structure.

One of the criticisms I’ve noticed about the platform is the inability to affect the structure characteristics easily, as you can,with say WordPress. But IMO I think this has worked in their favour. They’ve created a structure that works really well, and keep the platform tight, but cleverly allowed just enough open source tweaking with their Shopify App Store. This allows users to add extensions for all kinds of features, such as remarketing automation and and funnel creation.

Shopify SEO Case Studies – Show Me Proof

OK, so as I mentioned I took on a client on the platform. Shortly, after that, I was referred a second Shopify client on the strength of the results we were achieving with client no. 1. What I really like about the results we are achieving is not just improvement in ranking, but real actual ROI you can see in the store everyday.  So below are some of the stats on the two clients over the last 3 months. I can’t tell you the stores, due to privacy arrangements, nor can I tell you the specific niche.  I can say however that both these stores are in the sport apparel and sporting gear niche respectively.

Store 1

how to rank a shopify store

semrush shopify statistics

Store 2

best shopify stores

get more traffic for my shopify store

As you can see, both stores were in different times in their life cycle. Store 1, was developed from scratch, and initially developed a strong brand from a bricks and mortar store, and had strong POS sales even before the online store was launched. It’s important to realise that the strong brand, and in particular the initial strong brand search that was already present in Google, really gave the store the foundation to be ultra successful from launch. Customers we already searching for the brand, and this created a strong brand identity for Google to pick up and run with. If nothing else it’s a great example of how important branding is in Google search.

Store 2 on the other hand, had an aged domain with a very outdated online store. The old store was removed for a period of months where the domain remained dormant, until Shopify was installed. You can see almost immediately after install traffic increased on the SEMrush traffic graph, and sales took off as a result.

Apart from standard detailed on page and off page SEO, there are two elements of Shopify which I think go a long way to explaining the quick improvement in rankings and traffic. I’ll explain these in more detail below.

What We Did To Improve Rankings And Traffic

On Page

So as mentioned, the first thing we implemented was standard and detailed on page SEO. A full audit was completed on all on page elements such as internal links, titles, descriptions, image alt tags, combined with some in depth keyword research to optimise both product and category pages. All very standard protocol. So nothing new or exciting here.

What I did find though is you can certainly tweak code if you’re happy to play around with the .liquid code (an opensource code written in Ruby). This allows you to make edits and add advanced theme features such as schema. There are many extensions available for adding product schema, but I was more interested in adding schema to the category pages however as I was finding these we ranking crazy well, not unsurprising as I was hitting them with with some strong off page seo.

Off Page

Apart from foundation social and citation type link building, some guest posting and PBN links, there is nothing special in the types of links we are building. What is a little different is “how” we are building them. If you’ve worked with web 2.0s extensively, this will be nothing new, but I do think it’s a feature of shopify that is overlooked. I’ve scarcely noticed even the most guru of guru SEOs talking about it. Quite simply every shopify store is first created on a sub domain just like you would with the free versions of Weebly, WordPress, Tumblr or Wix. So when you first set up your store, you’ll create it on:

mystore.shopify.com

When you add your custom domain, this sub domain is automatically 301 redirected if you chose that option. Shopify itself has a DR of 73, and a DA of 92. This provides the unique opportunity to build links via the subdomain, and funnel through the super powerful sub domain. While initially it might not seem special, when you consider there are scarce competitors in the e-commerce niche that can do this, it sets them apart.

So a proportion of our link building efforts we made via the subdomain.

E-commerce Store Speed

As the platofrm is hosted on it’s own servers, (you can’t self host…yet), the stability and speed is superior. Pingdom and GTMetrix routinely have these stores in the top 70% for speed of all websites. Again, overall no that special, but for e-commerce, it is.

To summarise, I’m really liking the potential of Shopify to rank e-commerce sites at the moment, and the results shown above are more than encouraging. With the platform companies growth and smarts, I can only see this improving.

If you’ve had a bad experience or struggling to rank a Shopify site, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Just leave a comment below. Keep in mind, I’m sure there are some problems with other aspects of the platform, but this article is only talking about specifically rankings.

Update

To gain further understanding of it’s true potential, I’ve started my own store on a brand new domain, to get an understanding how a brand new store will rank from scratch. I’ll report on this when I have something to report!

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Link Prospecting Strategies | Software Vs Manual

Link Prospecting Strategies | Software Vs Manual

Sometimes when you take on a clients SEO campaign, you can hit a brick wall when finding new link opportunities. There are a number of great strategies you use to find new links. Of course you can chase citations if it’s a local campaign….and all successful campaigns also nowadays normally have a strong social component. Depending on what’s working for you, you may also be into PBNs, or guest posting, or both. If you haven’t tried it already, you can also try broken link building. I wrote an article on it here:  How To Use Broken Links To Your Advantage – Dead Link Building Strategies.

However finding links relevant to your market, or thoise your competitors alreadt have, is another great strategy.

Below I explain two strategies I use regularly. One is using software, and one is manually finding competitor links, with the help of free, or semi free tools.

Software – Citation Labs Link Prospector

Citationlabs.com have  been around a while and provide a range of paid tools for both enterprise and smaller clients. Their tools include link prospecting, broken link building, co-citation tools, and outreach. I use the link prospecting tool quite a bit, and it produces pretty good results normally.

finding link opportunities

To get started, sign up here: https://linkprospector.citationlabs.com. Create a new campaign and name it. Click “Find New Prospects” and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select the type of link to prospect. These include commenting, blogs, guest posts, forums, and many more. Click to the next screen and here you can add in your keywords / research phrases. The advanced tab also allows you to select locations and other options, which is handy for local campaigns.

Once you done, hit start, and the software will start prospecting for relevant places you can add a link relevant to your key word or research phase.

You’ll will be emailed the report, at which point you can take the required steps to gain a link.

Cost

Prices are based on credits. You can choose to pay monthly, or pay as you go, which is how I use it normally. Minimum purchase is 5 credits at $1 per credit, which will get you five campaigns.

I pretty well use the software if I’m in a rush, or exhausted manual prospecting. It normally provides good results if I can’t find any others manually.

Using Ahrefs.com Link Intersect To Find Competitors Links

Ahrefs.com does provide limited free use, so it’s worth using it for a range of strategies. However you can also sign up to a free 7 day trial, before they charge you $99 per month.

As mentioned above, a great way to find quality links is reverse engineering your competitors.

Step 1:

Let’s use an example of “flower delivery”. If you had a site for flower deliveries, it makes sense to try and obtain links the same as or similar to those website that are ranking well already.

So I’ll simply do a Google search for “flower delivery“. Keep in mind this is a very broad example, and I would normally be much more granular, such as using the location, or type in the search.

From the page 1 results, I might then choose 2 sites that are doing well.


top 3 ranking competitors

Step 2

Copy and pastes these links into a notepad, and head on over to ahrefs.com. Select “More” from the menu, and then select link intersect. Add the competitor domains in the top fields, and your link target domain in the bottom field. For this example I found a site on page 3.

finding links with ahrefs.com

Step 3

Hit “Show Link Opportunities” and it will bring back a list of all the links that the other two sites have in common, and importantly that your site does not. So essentially it uses co-citation to determine common link prospects that your successful competitors have.

link intersect results

What I really like about this strategy is that it’s super simple and fast to implement, but the concept is sound and makes so much sense. One thing you should be aware of is that not all sites can be treated the same. ie, a very large directory site may have a large amount of low quality links. The site can absorb them due to it’s strength, but these links may not be beneficial for your smaller sites.

For this reason, I always try and select sites of a similar nature to the one I targeting. The results that are pulled back are much more likely to be relevant to your target.

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Can You Rank A Website With Just Traffic? | A Case Study (Kind Of)!

Can You Rank A Website With Just Traffic? | A Case Study (Kind Of)!

If you’re in any SEO groups around the web, there has been chatter recently about ranking websites with just traffic. For years we’ve all been on a about quality content and links. This has always made sense. If you build a website that has quality content, and then carefully build relevant and high quality backlinks, all things being equal you should do well in the search engines. As the process has evolved, it has become harder and harder to do this, although due diligence and planning is mighty helpful.

It also makes sense that if you do these two things correctly, you will rank, and then the organic traffic should start to flow, so it’s third in line in the sequence. Recently though it seems that Google has switched, or at least merged the presence of traffic into the filter. Sites that are getting more quality and relevant traffic, tend to do better in the search engines from a ranking point of view. So why is this the case?

Social Media and Traffic

As social media has taken off, it’s now normal that a site could gain traffic immediately on a site being launched. This can happen either from social viral traffic or paid social traffic. Any other paid traffic will also play a part. Google seems to have realised this, and no longer are webmasters patient enough to wait for organic traffic to roll in. Why would they when there is masses of traffic at their fingertips on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

In this case, is would also make sense that if a site is gaining highly targeted and real (human), targeted traffic, from whatever the source, that it’s probably worthy of Google love also.

When I have time, I want to run a case study on simply ranking a brand new site with purely social traffic.

Traffic Software

Crowdsearch.me, recognised a few years ago that traffic was starting to become important, and Dan Anton crowd search traffic platformand his team released the popular software platform to send targeted traffic to a website or other properties. It’s very cool, and I’ll probably do a full review on this software some time in the future.

Certainly in the last couple of months I’ve noticed a lot more chatter in the SEO groups about if this is a real factor. But I have’t seen any real hard core case studies yet, that can legitimately prove the theory. For many, organic traffic is hard to get, especially highly targeted real people wanting your product or service, and it does take time. The quickest, easiest and simplest approach is to simply buy it.

My SEO Traffic Case Study……..Of Sorts

OK, so the site I’m going to talk about has a bit of a blurry history. It was my first agency site (“my city seo”) site here in Australia. I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was a member of one of the largest and most successful SEO courses and that certainly did help things along. At one point, I was ranked positions 1 , 2 and 3 for the term “SEO + city”. My site was number 1, a citation at number 2, and my Facebook page at number 3. They stuck for around a year and things were going along pretty well agency wise. It was growing quickly. I’d been pretty careful how I ranked it, although I could of, and probably did make mistakes along the way.

In 2015 there was still a thing call “negative SEO“. Google seems to have got on top of the issue for now, or at least the majority of the problem. If you haven’t come across the term before, it refers to an attack on a website with spam link profiles to negatively influence a sites rankings, by sending large quantities of low quality links, or over optimized anchor text, or both.

Ahrefs.com Referring Pages

So on Christmas eve 2015, someone spammed the crap out of my site.

how to check ahrefs referring pages

You can see from the graph above that in January 2015, referring pages (links) increased from around 500 to over 12,000 in just a few days. The majority of these links were from ultra low quality domains, and all anchored to the term “seo + my city”. At the time this represented around 60% of the total anchor profile. Overoptimized…..? Just a little.

Recovery

I immediately went about recovering the site, disavowing links and using some 301 redirect canonical strategies. It worked well and I was able to recover the site within about 3 weeks. It was immediately attacked again and I recovered it a second time. However it gradually decreased in rankings over the next month.

does negative seo work?

I don’t know which competitor I had pissed off, as I don’t really have anything to do with them in my city, although I have my suspicions. Only as I’ve heard they’ve done this type of thing before. Regardless I learnt some big lessons:

  1. The SEO industry is no different to any other, there are shit people, and there are good people.
  2. Negative SEO does indeed work
  3. I learnt how to recover a site…..fast

What I found most devious was that they executed the attack on Christmas eve, hoping I wouldn’t notice for a few days or maybe a few weeks.

What Do I Do Next?

So at this point, after 3 attacks and the site languishing between pages 10 and 100 for all keywords, I had to decide what my next move would be. Luckily I had partnered up with another agency, and  was busy ranking that site, and way too busy with clients. So I made the decision to abandon the site. Since early 2016 until late August 2017, I did absolutely nothing to it. Actually I tell a lie, I changed the theme, and removed some pages of content, and just left it as the home page, contact and about pages.

Fast Forward To August 2017

Around about July 2017, I was playing around with some new software that was on the market called Serp.tech, a new mass page building software by Herc Magnus and Todd Spears. I have been playing around with mass page builders for a while, including Network Empires V-Krakken, a mass page builder using video. It’s a beast, and a tool I’ll talk about in a dedicated post as it’s so powerful (I built a 1000 subscriber email list in less than two weeks for free using this tool). You can here more about it here:

One of the first sites I built with Serp.tech was a national SEO Agency site that built out every city and town in the country for the term “seo+city/town”. Once the site was complete, indexed and had started to rank, I simply redirected that traffic to my old SEO site. (I wont explain here how I redirected the traffic. All I can say it was not using a 301 or any other redirect protocol).

So over the last couple of months traffic has dribbled in from real users looking for seo services, albeit all over the country. Keep in mind though that my local area was also built out on the mass page site, so it has also received real local traffic also.

It’s Back…………!

A couple of weeks ago (September 2017), I was checking our rankings for our other agency site and noticed my old site was started to show up for many related keywords, I checked “SEO+city” and sure enough, it was on page 4. Then a week later, it was on page 1, and the last few days it’s been slowly clawing it’s way up page 1.

best keyword tracking tool

Considering I haven’t touched the site in nearly 2 years, and only sent the mass page traffic to it, did the traffic recover, and then rank the site back to page 1? The only other possibility, is that the penalty has been removed, or expired (which does happen) due to a Google filter shift or it simply expired over time. The majority of the spammy links have dropped off according to ahrefs,com, but this happened over a year ago.

To me, it’s a little bit too coincidental that after sending the traffic, it was back in about 3 to 4 weeks, and it was completely by accident. My main aim was to give the mass page traffic a landing page that was somewhat functional and user friendly!

I’m inclined to think it presents a strong case for traffic ranking a site. If nothing else, it’s given me a lot of data and ideas to put together a proper case study.

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How To Use Blog Commenting To Maximum Effect – Are You Looking At Them The Wrong Way

How To Use Blog Commenting To Maximum Effect – Are You Looking At Them The Wrong Way

Blog commenting has always had it’s place in the tool box for an SEO. It has a bit of a chequered history, and recently (the last 2 or 3 years) the benefit they actually have to an SEO campaign has polarised much of the industry. Inherently a blog comment on a blog has a positive impact both for the blog and the commenter. They are simply to create and add a backlink. Because of this it wasn’t long before creative gurus were developing software to build comments en masse. Popular software that can do this include SENuke or GSA Ser. Quickly blog commenting gained a reputation as being overly spammy. 35,000 comment links to your site will do that!

I still use comment links all the time. IMO, it’s not if, but how you use them.

What Is A Comment Link?

Most blogs have a section at the bottom of a post for adding a comment. The foundation idea is to engage with the author of the post and interact with the blog. Inherently this is a good thing. It’s shows the blog post is quality content, people are taking interest, and interacting, and it further produces user generated content for the blog. When you add a comment, many times there is a field to add a URL, or even add a naked URL or HTML in the comment text field. When the comment, is published, it creates an inbound link to your URL. Links can be a mixture of both do-follow and no-follow, and also either be indexed or not indexed. There is a pretty good explanation here on that.

benefits of blog comments

So wouldn’t it make sense that if you comment on a quality post that is relevant to your website, that it should be beneficial as an inbound link. Absolutely. I cringe when I hear people say that blog comments don’t work anymore, and will even hurt your site. Yes that can be true if used in the wrong way.

The way I used them is two fold. First  I want a quality comment, then I want to build authority and trust thought that comment to my site. So the first thing is, you need to know how to find quality blog posts to comment on.

How To Find Quality Blog Posts To Comment On

You can use manual search string queries to achieve this, but it’s easier to use a free cheap tool to do this for you. DropMyLink.com is a fantastic free tool that’s easy to use. 
finding blog comments with drop my link

For this example I’m using the comment software Intense Debate (the reason for this will be made clear later on, but with my strategy it’s very important). The other comment software I target in this strategy is Disqus.com. To clarify, there are a number of different comment systems that bloggers can use on their websites. Intense Debate can be targeted with DropMyLink. Disqus is not integrated into DropMyLink, but I’ll show how to find these later in the article.

How Filter The Blog Comment Urls

DropMyLink will generate a search query string in Google for the criteria you have set. Each of the URLs delivered, theoretically should have a section to add a comment, in this case using the Intense Debate system.

how to find blog comment with google search query strings

When I first started chasing comments, I simply used the DA and PA parameters as shown in the image above, to determine the quality of a blog post. The days I get much more granular. The blog post must be highly relevant, have some authority, and I’ll generally do a further audit for the page and site using SEMRush or Ahrefs.com. I want to know that the blog post has some quality. Another quick check is how many other comments the post has. If it has over 100 I’ll probably pass, as it can be and indication of comment spam (bad neighborhood). I want to see a few comments already as then I know the page is getting traffic and is somewhat engaging.

Adding The Comment

So if you’ve never implemented comment linking before, it’s pretty easy to assume that you just simply add the comment and move on to the next.  In this example, we are only wanting to use blogs that host comments with wither IntenseDebate.com or Disqus.com.

The reason I like using these two platforms (and this is the key to the whole strategy) is that both have a profile dashboard. Just like anyother profile dashboard, you can add a heap of information and other links, plus all blogs you’ve commented on will be linked as well.

Here are example dashboards of both:

IntenseDebate.com

intense debate link building

Disqus.com

A Disqus.com profile includes a “nofollow” URL. IntenseDebate has a “follow” tag on the outbound link to your other properties including your website.

how to built links with disqus comments

Disqus Profile Indexed In Google

do disqus comments index in google

Comment Stacking

If you’ve following this post all the way through, you may of had that “light bulb” moment already. But some of you may be asking, “ok that’s great, but how does is benefit my site?”

The reason I like this strategy is firstly I can go and simply find high quality, highly relevant blogs to post a comment and add a link back to a profile quickly and easily, which then links out to my site or properties. Both IntenseDebate and Disqus are highly trusted sites in their own right. IntenseDebate.com has a Moz DA of 76, and an ahrefs DR of 64, and Disqus.com has a DA of 97, and a DR of 79.

So essentially, as you accumulate comments and start to build the profile with highly relevant content (from the comments), you end up with highly relevant, quality comment links, inbound to the profile page which is also highly relevant and trusted, which then links to your website or other properties. You could almost call it “comment syndication”, or comment stacking.

With both platforms, you also have the option to just leave your website link as you would with any other comment platform, so if you don’t want to link through the profile you don’t have to.

So in my humble opinion, I certainly don’t believe comment linking is dead. It just requires a little more tought and context. With all SEO strategies, you sometimes need to block out the noise and work it through rationally yourself first before you form an opinion.

My Answers On Quora

Read Jono Farrington‘s answer to Blogs: Is blog commenting dying? on Quora

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