301 Redirect Scenarios and Best Practices for Ecommerce
In this post, we focus on technical code that will support scenarios common with ecommerce websites. A 301 Redirect is a command that communicates to search engines a webpage and its content no longer exists, has permanently moved and the location of where the content has moved. Think of a 301 Redirect as USPS mail forwarding when you move. A 301 Redirect will ensure the clicks and the SEO value of the previous URL is transferred to the new page and the valuable Google traffic and rank remains. Without proper use of 301s after a URL change event, all of those clicks will result in a 404 not found error.
A 301 Redirect is not a marketing tactic or a silver bullet in itself; 301s are utilized when websites are going through URL changes and need to preserve an old page’s value. Below, we cover five scenarios when a 301 Redirect should be used. In order to 301 Redirect a URL, the page being redirected must be 404 not found and deleted.
Implement A 301 When a Valuable Page No Longer Exists
Websites should strive to create a category structure that makes sense to their users and allows visitors to easily find what they’re looking for. It’s a vital part of building a website, but this does not mean a website’s architecture needs to stay the same. If the focus of the site has shifted or a new product line is added, it may make sense to re-categorize landing pages. Volusion’s category drag-and-drop feature makes it simple to organize categories, but if you need to delete a landing page with traffic and use a new page/category ID, I advise using a 301 Redirect. The authority of a page is applied to your URLs but it doesn’t mean each custom URL is why you are ranking; each page’s on-page content, keywords included in the meta title and ability to answer a visitor’s search are much more important. Keep track of deleted category URLs, then add a 301 Redirect, pointing to the most logical replacement page.
Use a 301 When Editing a Volusion Product Code
We just covered why 301s are important when removing landing pages. They’re just as vital to add if you edit a product code. In general, I do not suggest editing a product code of a Volusion product page because the product code is part of the product URL. There are far more important fields to update if a product’s information changes slightly, such as the URL text, meta title, meta description and on-page product...
The Advanced Guide to Keyword Clustering
Posted by tomcasanoIf your goal is to grow your organic traffic, you have to think about SEO in terms of “product/market fit.”Keyword research is the “market” (what users are actually searching for) and content is the “product” (what users are consuming). The “fit” is optimization.

To grow your organic traffic, you need your content to mirror the reality of what users are actually searching for. Your content planning and creation, keyword mapping, and optimization should all align with the market. This is one of the best ways to grow your organic traffic.
Why bother with keyword grouping?One web page can rank for multiple keywords. So why aren’t we hyper-focused on planning and optimizing content that targets dozens of similar and related keywords?Why target only one keyword with one piece of content when you can target 20?
The impact of keyword clustering to acquire more organic traffic is not only underrated, it is largely ignored. In this guide, I'll share with you our proprietary process we’ve pioneered for keyword grouping so you can not only do it yourself, but you can maximize the number of keywords your amazing content can rank for.
Here’s a real-world example of a handful of the top keywords that this piece of content is ranking for. The full list is over 1,000 keywords.

Why should you care?
It’d be foolish to focus on only one keyword, as you’d lose out on 90%+ of the opportunity.
Here's one of my favorite examples of all of the keywords that one piece of content could potentially target:
Let’s dive in!
Part 1: Keyword collectionBefore we start grouping keywords into clusters, we first need our dataset of keywords from which to group from.
In essence, our job in this initial phase is to find every possible keyword. In the process of doing so, we'll also be inadvertently getting many irrelevant keywords (thank you, Keyword Planner). However, it's better to have many relevant and long-tail keywords (and the ability to filter out the irrelevant ones) than to only have a limited pool of keywords to target.
For any client project, I typically say that we'll collect anywhere from 1,000 to 6,000 keywords. But truth be told, we've sometimes found 10,000+ keywords, and sometimes (in the instance of a local, niche client), we've found less than 1,000.
I recommend collecting keywords from about 8–12 different sources. These sources are:

Your competitors...
The Anatomy of SEO Scams
Ah, the unsolicited SEO email pitch: if you’re an ecommerce store owner, you’ve probably gotten at least a couple of these in your day. And if you haven’t, there’s a major likelihood that you’ll end up on a list at some point; scam SEO agencies use highly untargeted methods of mining for email addresses and shop domains. As an SEO strategist, I see these a lot, too, when clients forward me the attached message and say something like, “Should I pay any attention to this?” And that’s what makes these spammy emails so dangerous. They’re designed to bamboozle unsuspecting business owners into thinking that their site is an organic disaster, and the only way to fix it is by (of course) hiring the agency of the hour. Let’s take a look at one of these emails and break it down so you can learn to spot the red flags:

Red Flag 1: Poor Grammar
First things first, if you spot any grammar errors, be wary immediately. Typos happen, and not all of us have perfect grammar, but the syntax oddities that you’re reading in that first paragraph or in phrases like “Recommended to fix the error” move beyond the occasional grammar faux pas and into the realm of someone who’s used to the linguistic rules of an entirely different language. In other words, this isn’t a native English speaker.
Does that mean you should never trust an SEO strategist if their first language isn’t English? Goodness no! Being able to speak multiple languages is a huge asset in a field where you at least have to be able to speak English and code. But a large portion of SEO is content-related, and part of thriving in the very wide-reaching field of SEO is playing to your strengths. That means a writer is going to get her technical work double-checked by a technician, and a technician will get her content double-checked by a writer. A sales pitch that doesn’t display mastery of English is an example of a team that can’t play to its strengths.
Red Flag 2: A Lack of Specificity
If an email highlights ten points that could apply to any business out there, it means they’ve sent this same email to every business out there. You might be thinking, “But wait, my social media presence is poor! How would they know that if they didn’t look at my Facebook page?” Well, “poor” is relative — and they know that. With apologies to any Astrology fans out there, they’re using the Astrology method of closing a sale: making...
The Difference Between URL Structure and Information Architecture - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by willcritchlowQuestions about URL structure and information architecture are easy to get confused, but it's an important distinction to maintain. IA tends to be more impactful than URL decisions alone, but advice given around IA often defaults to suggestions on how to best structure your URLs. In this Whiteboard Friday, Will Critchlow helps us distinguish between the two disparate topics and shares some guiding questions to ask about each.

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Video TranscriptionHi, everyone. Welcome to a British Whiteboard Friday. My name is Will Critchlow. I'm one of the founders of Distilled, and I wanted to go back to some basics today. I wanted to cover a little bit of the difference between URL structure and information architecture, because I see these two concepts unfortunately mixed up a little bit too often when people are talking about advice that they want to give.
I'm thinking here particularly from an SEO perspective. So there is a much broader study of information architecture. But here we're thinking really about: What do the search engines care about, and what do users care about when they're searching? So we'll link some basics about things like what is URL structure, but we're essentially talking here about the path, right, the bit that comes after the domain www.example.com/whatever-comes-next.
There's a couple of main ways of structuring your URL. You can have kind of a subfolder type of structure or a much flatter structure where everything is kind of collapsed into the one level. There are pros and cons of different ways of doing this stuff, and there's a ton of advice. You're generally trading off considerations around, in general, it's better to have shorter URLs than longer URLs, but it's also better, on average, to have your keyword there than not to have your keyword there.
These are in tension. So there's a little bit of art that goes into structuring good URLs. But too often I see people, when they're really trying to give information architecture advice, ending up talking about URL structure, and I want to just kind of tease those things apart so that we know what we're talking about.
So I think the confusion arises because both of them can involve questions around which pages exist on my website and what hierarchies are there between pages and groups...
Synopsis: Five Years of Google Ranking Signals
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Every ecommerce business wants to stay abreast of Google changes to ensure their business ranks higher based on keywords, phrases, page speed and other factors.
In Five Years of Google Ranking Signals, Bill Slawski provides an in-depth exploration of Google ranking signals and patents that he has written about over the course of five years to help you better understand how Google uses keywords, locations, ranking signals and patents to help with optimizing search rankings and increasing page traffic.
Bill covers the following topics:

Organic Search Google Search Rankings
Semantic Search Google Ranking Signals
Local Search Google Ranking Signals
Voice Search Google Ranking Signals
News Search Google Ranking Signals
Additional Google Ranking Signals

Organic Search Google Search Rankings
There are 30 topics covered in this section with direct links to several Google patents. Bill shares links to his articles exploring each patent and he opens with organic search results, ranking signals and important aspects of search rankings. These include the use of keywords, search phrases, page speed, a domain's age, view times on a page and other areas that can affect rankings.
Bill covers ranking signals as important factors in searches and shares how organic search results have blended with non-organic searches to stay in line with Google's Universal search. He uses action items and suggests readers create evergreen (non-seasonal) content that adds value and perform keyword searches for each site page to ensure keywords are used to help with rankings.
Other helpful action items include looking up query terms, ensuring titles and headings are descriptive and monitoring page speed and watch times. Bill then covers knowledge base pages and creating high-quality content with editing programs and avoiding gibberish.
Next, Bill addresses quality rater guidelines, query matching, avoiding suspicious activity that Google deems manipulative to improve SEO and popularity scores. He explores biometric parameters and facial reactions before covering click-throughs, site quality scores, disambiguation and social network affinities.
The remaining sections cover quotes, category duration visits, repeat clicks, environmental issues, traffic producing links, how Google ranks freshness with time periods, media consumption, geographical coordinates...
What the Local Customer Service Ecosystem Looks Like in 2019
Posted by MiriamEllisEverything your brand does in the new year should support just one goal: better local customer service.
Does this sound too simple? Doesn’t marketing brim with a thousand different tasks? Of course — but if the goal of each initiative isn’t to serve the customer better, it’s time for a change of business heart. By putting customers, and their problems, at the absolute center of your brand’s strategy, your enterprise will continuously return to this heart of the matter, this heart of commerce.
What is local customer service in 2019? It’s so much more than the face-to-face interactions of one staffer with one shopper. Rather, it’s a commitment to becoming an always-on resource that is accessible to people whenever, wherever and however they need it. A Google rep was recently quoted as saying that 46% of searches have a local intent. Mobile search, combined with desktop and various forms of ambient search, have established the local web as man’s other best friend, the constant companion that’s ever ready to serve.
Let’s position your brand to become that faithful helper by establishing the local customer service ecosystem:

Your Key to the Local Customer Service Ecosystem
At the heart sits the local customer, who wants to know:

Who can help them, who likes or dislikes a business, who’s behind a brand, who’s the best, cheapest, fastest, closest, etc.
What the answer is to their question, what product/service solves their problems, what businesses are nearby, what it’s like there, what policies protect them, what’s the phone number, the website URL, the email address, etc.
Where a business is located, where to find parking, where something is manufactured or grown, etc.
When a business is open, when sales or events are, when busiest times are, when to purchase specific products/services or book an appointment, etc.
Why a business is the best choice based on specific factors, why a business was founded, why people like/dislike a business, etc.
How to get to the business by car/bike/on foot, how to learn/do/buy something, how to contact the right person or department, how to make a complaint or leave feedback, how the business supports the community, etc.
Your always-on customer service solves all of these problems with a combination of all of the following:
Good customer service looks like:

A publicly accessible brand policy that...
How Do Sessions Work in Google Analytics? - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by Tom.CapperOne of these sessions is not like the other. Google Analytics data is used to support tons of important work, ranging from our everyday marketing reporting all the way to investment decisions. To that end, it's integral that we're aware of just how that data works.In this week's edition of Whiteboard Friday, we welcome Tom Capper to explain how the sessions metric in Google Analytics works, several ways that it can have unexpected results, and as a bonus, how sessions affect the time on page metric (and why you should rethink using time on page for reporting).
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Video TranscriptionHello, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I am Tom Capper. I am a consultant at Distilled, and today I'm going to be talking to you about how sessions work in Google Analytics. Obviously, all of us use Google Analytics. Pretty much all of us use Google Analytics in our day-to-day work.
Data from the platform is used these days in everything from investment decisions to press reporting to the actual marketing that we use it for. So it's important to understand the basic building blocks of these platforms. Up here I've got the absolute basics. So in the blue squares I've got hits being sent to Google Analytics.
So when you first put Google Analytics on your site, you get that bit of tracking code, you put it on every page, and what that means is when someone loads the page, it sends a page view. So those are the ones I've marked P. So we've got page view and page view and so on as you're going around the site. I've also got events with an E and transactions with a T. Those are two other hit types that you might have added.

The job of Google Analytics is to take all this hit data that you're sending it and try and bring it together into something that actually makes sense as sessions. So they're grouped into sessions that I've put in black, and then if you have multiple sessions from the same browser, then that would be a user that I've marked in pink. The issue here is it's kind of arbitrary how you divide these up.
These eight hits could be one long session. They could be eight tiny ones or anything in between. So I want to talk today about the different ways that Google Analytics will actually split up those hit types into sessions. So over here I've...
SEO Case Study: How I Increased My Organic Traffic 652% in 7 Days

There’s a new SEO strategy that’s crushing it right now.
(“Skyscraper Technique 2.0”)
I recently used this strategy to increase organic traffic to one of my pages by 652.1%.

(In 7 days)
This same approach helped my brand new post hit the #1 spot in Google… within weeks.

And today I’m going to show you exactly how I did it, step-by-step.

My Content Was a Smash Hit… Then It Flopped
On July 26th, 2016 I published this post:

My post got a huge spike in traffic in its first week:

Lots of shares:

And people quickly started linking to it:

Sure enough, my page cracked the top 10 for my target keyword (“SEO checklist”) a few weeks later.

All good right?
Well… not really.
You see, my posts usually get more traffic from SEO over time.
Not my SEO checklist page.
In fact: organic traffic to that page decreased as time went on.

It got so bad that my post averaged only 4-5 visitors per day.

And my rankings dropped to the middle of the second page:

That’s When I Wondered: “What Happened?!”
On paper my content had everything going for it:
200+ backlinks.
Lots of comments (which Google likes).
And social shares out the wazoo.
What was missing?
User Intent.
User Intent + SEO = Higher Rankings
Google’s #1 goal is to make users happy.
Which means they need to give people results that match their User Intent.
Never heard of User Intent? Here’s a simple explanation:


User Intent



The main goal behind a user's Google search.

And Google is REALLY good at figuring out User Intent.
In fact, a big part of Google RankBrain is to give users “results that it thinks searchers will like the most”.

And the 2018 Google Quality Rater Guidelines has an entire section on User Intent:

Google has even started asking users about their User Intent:

That’s when it hit me:
My post was getting buried because it didn’t satisfy user intent.
Here’s what happened next:
Skyscraper Technique 2.0: (An SEO Strategy That Works GREAT In 2018)
After I optimized my page around User Intent, organic traffic shot up like a rocketship...
Building Links with Great Content - Natural Syndication Networks
Posted by KristinTynskiThe debate is over and the results are clear: the best way to improve domain authority is to generate large numbers of earned links from high-authority publishers. Getting these links is not possible via:Link exchangesBuying linksPrivate Blog Networks, or PBNsComment linksPaid native content or sponsored postsAny other method you may have encounteredThere is no shortcut. The only way to earn these links is by creating content that is so interesting, relevant, and newsworthy to a publisher’s audience that the publisher will want to write about that content themselves.Success, then, is predicated on doing three things extremely well: Developing newsworthy content (typically meaning that content is data-driven)Understanding who to pitch for the best opportunity at success and natural syndicationWriting and sending pitches effectivelyWe’ve covered point 1 and point 3 on other Moz posts. Today, we are going to do a deep dive into point 2 and investigate methods for understanding and choosing the best possible places to pitch your content. Specifically, we will reveal the hidden news syndication networks that can mean the difference between generating less than a handful or thousands of links from your data-driven content. Understanding News Syndication NetworksNot all news publishers are the same. Some publishers behave as hubs, or influencers, generating the stories and content that is then “picked up” and written about by other publishers covering the same or similar beats. Some of the top hubs should be obvious to anyone: CNN, The New York Times, BBC, or Reuters, for instance. Their size, brand authority, and ability to break news make them go-to sources for the origination of news and some of the most common places journalists and writers from other publications go to for story ideas. If your content gets picked up by any of these sites, it’s almost certain that you will enjoy widespread syndication of your story to nearly everywhere that could be interested without any intervention on your part. Unfortunately, outside of the biggest players, it’s often unclear which other sites also enjoy “Hub Status,” acting as a source for much of the news writing that happens around any specific topic or beat. At Fractl, our experience pitching top publishers has given us a deep intuition of which domains are likely to be our best bet for the...

Professional Website Audit 

Check website seo score and visibility, coding issues, social media presence with the best and most trusted internet websites ranking companies.

$180 Monthly

Daily One Website

Total Twitter Followers
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Alexa Global Rank
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Unique Visitors Last 28 Days
Pageviews Last 28 Days


Total External Backlinks
Keywords Tracked
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15 Jan 2019