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New Yahoo Search
Posted 02 June 2005 - 02:30 PM
It's here Yahoo
Posted 02 June 2005 - 03:04 PM
Posted 01 July 2005 - 11:31 AM
Right now, you:
1. identify your target markets
2. figure out what you can provide for them on your website
3. try to get in front of them in search results
1. target market = teenagers downloading music
2. provide music downloads & resources on your website
3. optimize the site to try to rank high for music download topics
But with personalized search, in the case of Yahoo! Mindspring, there is a scale that has left end, right end and middle.
If I search for digital cameras on Yahoo! Minddspring, by default (the first time) my slider will be in the middle and I'll get natural (as we see them now) search results.
I can slide my slider towards research or shopping. Here is where the targeting comes in again. If I sell digital cameras on my site, as an SEO, I will be scanning the forums to see what people are saying about how Yahoo! determines their shopping vs. research results, so I can further target my site to those people and hopefully end up at the shopping side of the slider.
Which brings me to another question... We try to build sites now that are all-inclusive resources, even if we're just selling products. SE's like content, our visitors like resources, etc. So there are plenty of cases where research and shopping happen in the same site. Does this mean you rank high straight in the middle of the slider, if you have equal resources and shopping? Does it make more sense now if you are selling products to just leave the resources (that might be considered research by Yahoo) out, so that you'll rank high for your targets who have their slider on the Shopping end?
I'm not sure how similar Google & MSN personalized search is going to end up, but boy, SEO is getting complicated, eh?
Posted 01 July 2005 - 01:13 PM
One of my sites is a store, only a few months old. We've worked hard and are at number 8 and 11 for two of the top terms on yahoo. When I use the new beta test, every little bit I move towards shopping, my rank drops and it moved up when I slid the scale towards research. (The store dropped again when slid all the way to research).
We do have some pages that would lend themselves the research tag, but the page yahoo is bringing up is strictly a sales page. This is going to be very interesting - and scary if people use it for sales and it becomes necessary to completely rethink optimizing.
Posted 01 July 2005 - 01:17 PM
Posted 01 July 2005 - 02:22 PM
Posted 01 July 2005 - 02:55 PM
Posted 01 July 2005 - 04:18 PM
What is displayed in the SERPs? Some kind of site summary, or links to specific pages? When somebody clicks on your listing, are they taken to some kind of overview of your site as a whole, or are they taken to a specific page within your site? At least in the SEs I've worked with, they're taken to a specific page. Rankings aren't assigned to the site as a whole; they're assigned to pages within a site.
Which actually makes no harder (and no easier) than it is now, MHO.
If you want to present both informative content and sell products, separate the two things into two different pages. The product sales page should be focused on selling the product, with no distractions to get in between your visitor and the checkout button. This isn't simply an SEO tactic -- this is good design for maximizing conversions. (Check out GrokDotCom or any number of other places for more info on how to design for conversions)
If you want to present informative content about your products to help support your sales, do that on other pages -- with appropriate calls to action linked to your sales page, of course.
In theory, the informational page could come up highly if someone searches for an appropriate key phrase with the slider over to one side, while the product sales page could come up high for the same phrase when the slider was pushed to the other side. Maybe both would rank with the slider in the middle.
Maybe I'm dense, or somehow overlooking some level of complexity that is crystal clear to everyone else. But I just don't see this as a big deal in terms of what we need to do to optimize pages. Seems to me it's actually promoting the kinds of things we should have been doing all along...
Posted 06 July 2005 - 12:49 PM
I beg to differ. Selling on the internet is not this cold and "Walmartish". Many businesses focus on selling from an educational slant, where the more you know about the product, the more you understand and appreciate the nuances. For our business in particular, where I'm selling German collectibles that are typically blown-glass or turned wood, it's the history and peculiar stories associated with some of these individual pieces that SELLS that piece.
You blanket statement might apply to many businesses, but certainly not all, and absolutely not mine. So for me, it was not a surprise to see many of my pages slide slightly to the right as being moderately informative.
Posted 06 July 2005 - 02:01 PM
What I was trying to convey, though, is that on the web site visitors sometimes seem to "lose their minds" in a way. By that I mean that if they're presented with too many choices, they freeze. So when a site has pages that have too many choices, too many links, too much extraneous information, too many things going on at once, people go into sensory overload. They get confused, they don't know what to do next... and all too often they decide to go elsewhere instead of trying to figure it out.
If your goal is to sell something, certainly you need to provide all the information the customer needs to make an informed and confident decision -- which will vary widely depending on the type of product you're selling and the audience you're targeting.
(And just to be clear, in all of this I don't mean you as in "you specifically" -- I'm using the word "you" in a generic sense as in "the site owner, whoever that may be" )
The bottom line is that you've got to decide what the purpose of a page is. Is it there to sell the product? Or is it there to tell stories? If it's there to sell the product, then it needs to include as much detail, as much storytelling as it takes to accomplish its purpose, and no more. (Along with an appropriate call to action to alert people that the page is, in fact, offering something for sale and "Here's how to get it!")
One thing we as salespeople (and that's what we are if we're engaged in e-commerce) often fail to do is to recognize when the customer has made the decision to buy -- at which point the best thing we can do is to get out of the way and let them buy the darned thing. So a customer comes into our virtual store, points to a product and says "I want that one!" and instead of getting it down off the shelf and carrying it to the checkout counter for them, we're so eager to let them know what an expert we are we subject them to a 10-15 minute dissertation on the virtues of this item and a comparison between that item and all the other items in the store before we finally get around to letting them purchase it.
We give every customer the same pitch... which includes all the information they need to make an informed decision... whether they ask for it or not... and we just can't understand why 95% or more of them leave without buying anything...
Of course, absolutely, include all the details on the product sales page if that's what your customers are looking for! Extoll the fine craftsmanship, lovingly describe the hand-wrought filigree-work, explain the story behind where the item got its charming name, relate the life story of the person who made the item, recount the complete history of the craft, show them a dozen pictures, play them a MIDI tune -- but only include these things on the sales page if they will inspire your customers to purchase the product.
If they don't serve the purpose of inspiring a purchase of the product, they have no place on the sales page, MHO. They can -- and in most every case should -- be included somewhere on your site. Just not on the sales page.
If you sell gourmet coffee, on the sales page you mention the origin of these particular beans, maybe speak some to the roasting process used, and describe the flavor. You don't give the complete legend of Kaldi the goatherd and his discovery of coffee -- you put that one another page (or pages) in the site. If you sell crochet patterns, on the sales page you give clear pictures of the finished piece, an evaulation of the difficulty level (potentially a discussion of any special techniques required), a list of the supplies needed, and some narrative describing the finished piece. You don't include a discussion of the origins of the word "crochet" or instructions on how to make a half-double stitch. Again, you include that information on other informational pages in the site.
Having more pages of information on the site allows you to optimize for more key phrases, which gives you more chance of being found by your target customers in the first place. These additional detail-imparting, storytelling, informative pages serve as gateways into your site, giving your customers an appreciation of both the quality of the items you carry and of your expertise in selecting and recommending them. They'll feel more confident about buying from you, because it's clear that you know your stuff. Those who aren't ready to buy yet can spend as much time as they like, exploring all the nooks and crannies of your site, checking out all your products and deciding which one(s) will satisfy their desires.
Those who already know what they want, though, should find a clear path right to the appropriate item page, and on that page they should find a clear path through to the checkout. They shouldn't have to hunt around for it, or wade through a lot of stuff they're not interested in, or click through three or four pages to get to where the "add to cart" button is.
That's what I meant by "no distractions to get in between your visitor and the checkout button."
Of course your sales pages will be linked to the rest of your site so that if someone by chance lands first on the sales page before they're fully ready to buy they'll know where to go to get even more information about the product, about you, about your company, about your suppliers, about your shipping and returns policies, about whatever they need to know more about to feel comfortable giving you their credit card number.
But on the sales page, you should include only the details that will lead the visitor toward making a purchase, without extranous, unnecessary distractions. And the most prominent link, the thing that most catches their eye, the one thing they absolutely cannot miss in the midst of anything else that's there, should be the button or link that puts that product into their shopping cart. Give them sufficient details to help them decide that this specific product is the exact thing they've been looking for, make sure it's utterly clear to them how to buy the item, ask for the sale (call to action), and then get out of the way and let them buy.
How much detail and what kinds of detail you should include on the sales page will vary from one site to another, from one audience to another, from one type of product to another. The only way to know what works best for your customers is to test, test, and test again. The goal is not just to make sales, but to maximize the sales that you make (unless one is just running the site as a hobby/sideline and doesn't really care about whether it ever becomes a successful business).
Sounds as though you've done your homework and you know just what your customers are looking for, which is great! That puts you a giant step ahead of 80% or more of the other ecommerce sites out there.
Posted 06 July 2005 - 04:23 PM
Oh no, we got the "Deer in the headlight" type people on the web!
Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:10 PM
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