Webinar: Maximizing Your SEO Efforts in 2015

Did you miss our SEO webinar? Watch the replay to learn expert tips to maximize your search engine marketing efforts in 2015!

The past year has witnessed significant and unexpected changes for search engines and SEO. Techniques that were previously encouraged are now penalized, and Google has abandoned many programs that it once supported. In these uncertain times, it's crucial that you understand these changes and learn how to develop a successful SEO strategy for your online business in 2015. To learn how, watch Volusin's team of SEO experts as they discuss the most important developments of 2014 and demonstrate how these changes will affect your store's strategy in the new year.

With limited time, we weren’t able to address all the questions we received, so we wanted to take some time to do so here:

How can we appropriately enter reviews that came in through an email or phone call?

We recommend treating these as testimonials rather than reviews. While they don’t factor into search engine results pages like reviews do, testimonials are still important and help build a reputation for your company. Ask customers who are giving you praise over the phone or email if they’d allow that praise to be featured on your site, and then find an appropriate place on-site to feature those testimonials. You could also consider developing a site-wide review page so customers could review your company as a whole.

I'm new to SEO and Volusion. Are there any online courses you would recommend to get better at SEO? Does Volusion offer any classes? What is the best way to follow Google algorithm changes?

Volusion offers a number of free helpful resources including the Volusion blog, webinars, tutorial videos and our vast knowledge base. Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, The Moz blog and Search Engine Watch are also widely respected and informative websites that can provide you with a wealth of information regarding online marketing, SEO and algorithm changes/updates. Lynda is also an affordable resource for a variety of ecommerce topics.

We have had our site up for over a month and have received no traffic and sales. What is wrong?

There could be a number of variables impacting your website traffic and sales, including demand and pricing, but from an SEO perspective it’s important to remember that organic growth takes time and requires efforts across a variety of strategies. On-site content and text needs to be original to your site, informative and helpful to customers. Products need to be easy to find and purchase on your site. The site’s layout needs to be easy to understand and navigate. Social media networks should be utilized to get the company’s name out there and find your core customer base.

If you simply cannot wait for your SEO to gain momentum and you require immediate traffic, you might consider paid search advertising options like pay-per-click campaigns or shopping feeds to get your products seen by customers that are ready to purchase today.

What is unacceptable page speed time?

This can vary from site to site and industry to industry, but for most ecommerce sites, a desktop page should average less than 3 seconds, while a mobile page should average less than 1.5 seconds--the faster, the better. We recommend utilizing Web Page Test if you’ve been having trouble with page speeds on your site.

Can bogus reviews on a particular product be removed?

They can. Click here to check out a video within Volusion’s Knowledge Base about managing customer reviews on your site. We recommend only using the deletion feature on spammy, fake reviews. Never delete legitimate reviews!

How important are meta title tags and meta descriptions?

Meta titles and descriptions are important because they are what show up when a search engine displays a search engine results page (SERP) to a web user. Title tags appear as clickable blue links and meta descriptions display below that link to provide more information. These are two of the most important pieces of SEO real estate at your disposal. Make sure you populate these fields with keywords your customers use and make each tag and description unique to the page you’re optimizing. Keep title tags between 58-62 characters so they will appear in search results in their entirety, and keep descriptions around 150 characters. Going over these character numbers won’t have a negative impact, but keeping them under it allows the text to be observed in full by Web users on a SERP.

As for what content should be in these tags, a title tag should be more keyword focused so that it describes exactly what is on the page while a meta description should explain that product in more detail and act as a sales pitch. If you have free shipping, this would be the place to promote it, for example.

You said that incentivized reviews were penalized by Google. If we give a good review a 'freebie' or discount on their next purchase, won't this be seen by Google as an incentive for a good review?

An example of the wrong way to incentivize reviews would be if you had a banner across the top of your homepage that said, “Leave us a review and receive a coupon for 20% off your order!” In this instance, you’re clearly trying to manipulate the process to get more reviews.

Giving someone a freebie after they’ve already left you a review of their own accord is showing customer appreciation. This wouldn’t want to be broadcasted on the site, but it’s a good way to build customer loyalty and earn reviews naturally.

What if we have the same product in different colors, shouldn't the description be the same? If we have basically one product in several sizes and colors (as separate products), is it a bad thing the descriptions are all the same? If you offer a product in colors, such as socks and Volusion sets up 4 subpages (red, blue, green, black) and the content is taken off the main page, will that penalize you? If you have an ecommerce site with a lot of products that are similar and only differ by colors/item numbers, how do you not get penalized for duplicate content?

One great way to streamline your product pages and have unique content is to offer one style product with color or size options underneath. This works if you have a lot of different products but a ton of variations of one product. If you only sell one particular engine on your entire site but in different colors, I would recommend optimizing each product page and keeping them separate while producing individualized, unique content for each. Use keywords with colors and the product title and build off of that. Don’t just copy and paste wording or bullet points from each page onto the next. Keep it unique. There is a really great article on Volusion’s support Knowledge Base to help you organize your products better.

What are your thoughts on using Pinterest and Facebook ads for B2B sites?

B2B (or Business-to-Business) companies utilizing social media ads can be a trickier tactic than if you were advertising to consumers. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but it does require a different approach to your targeting. You need those ads to reach decision makers within an industry. If you sold restaurant supplies, for example, you wouldn’t want your ads targeted toward someone working as a dishwasher or a line cook. Those ads would need to reach the restaurant’s owner, buyer or a member of the business development team. (This would be a time when marketing directly to people via an email list could be very beneficial.)

Does the Volusion review feature look like a rich snippet to Google when we enable it on our Volusion site?

Yes, as long as there are reviews on the product. If there are no reviews, a rich snippet will not show. Please note that Google only displays rich snippets in the first few pages of results, so that is also a factor.

What do you mean by "send links to all review sites"?

Include links to any review site you have a business page on when you send emails to your clients. This can be on the confirmation email that you send after someone has made a purchase or on your newsletter and e-blasts. As long as you include your business page links from Yelp, Google+ or any other review site, your customers will always have the option to leave a review. They will also be more inclined to do so if they don’t have to go searching for your page themselves.

Where do I go to create a custom 404 page for my Volusion site?

While there is not currently a feature you can activate within the Volusion backend to give your site a custom 404 error page, this article within Volusion’s Knowledge Base shows you how you can create a 404 error page for your site.

I am an online-only retailer. How do I not get penalized for the local and Google+ features?

If you only operate an ecommerce website and have no brick and mortar locations, you will not be penalized through local searches. No store, whether it has a physical location or not, would be penalized if they didn’t utilize local and Google+ Places resources. These resources are there to help brick and mortar retailers gain more exposure. What would cause you to be penalized in a local search is if you falsified information saying that you had a brick and mortar location when you only sell online.

In short, don’t place focus on local-based tactics, Google Places or any other marketing efforts related to Pigeon unless you have a physical store where customers can shop.

Is it better to have an in-website blog or an external one that links to the main website like WordPress or Blogger? When will Volusion have a blog built into the webstore platform?

Having an in-website blog certainly lets you keep the shopper’s experience with your site all in one place (and can improve average site visit time as a result) but there is currently no data we’re aware of that argues for one option over the other. In our work, we use Blogger if a website has no built-in blog as it is a product owned and operated by Google, thus meaning Google gives it more emphasis and makes it easier to link it to your Volusion store as a subdomain. On the other hand, WordPress offers more customization to your posts.

Our Product Development team regularly researches new features to include in software updates, and a built-in blog feature could be something that comes down the pipeline if enough merchants request it. Another option you could consider is setting up a knowledge base on your website to provide insightful articles and information for your customers.

On a category page, how many items should be listed for optimal SEO?

There really isn’t a set answer here, but in general we recommend setting your display default to 12 products (or less) on a category page. This allows there to be enough visual, clickable content for your customers without overloading the page with information and images your site has to render. It also leaves ample room to place on-page text so you can explain your products in more detail and give search engines information they can scan and index.

Can you explain the 3-click Rule again?

The 3-click Rule is based around the idea that your customers should only need to perform three clicks once they enter your site to find information they need. As it pertains to SEO, we look at how many clicks it takes before the user finds the product they want and makes their purchase. The idea behind the rule is to streamline your category and product layouts so that customers aren’t endlessly clicking through page after page. Too much work to reach the checkout page can deter shoppers, leaving you with abandoned shopping carts and lost customers. As far as where the last click should be from a purchasing cycle, the third click would ideally be the product page itself.

Not every site can fit into this framework, but it helps you look at your site objectively so you’re sure that products are easy for customers to find. It ultimately comes down to practicing good, logical organization of your site.

Do you believe that outside referral company links such as Angie's List review links are good for your site?

Yes. They are considered citations, but be careful about the ranking and legitimacy of a site. Angie’s List is a good example of a referral company doing it right, but there are a bunch of directory-like sites that just don’t hit the mark SEO-wise. Make sure to do some research on the sites you are prospecting before building each link.

I would like to know if "microformats" are important to implement in my ecommerce website?

Microformats and structured data go hand in hand. Structured data is content that is marked up in a specific way using microformatting to explain what the content is. Structured data can be used for almost anything from business info, products info, ratings, recipes, videos, etc. Volusion automatically implements Schema.org markup using the fields you have populated in your store. Some examples are Product Markup, Offer Markup, Video Markup, Product Reviews Markup and General Storefront Markup. To learn more about the automatic markups being used on your site, check out this Schema.org knowledge base article. If you would like to implement more markups on your site we recommend referencing Schema.org on how to go about this. In terms of importance to your SEO and your ecommerce site -- Volusion’s software already covers the most important bases for most stores.

Can you explain PR 2-10 rankings? Is it worth having links on them?

When you are working to build backlinks for your site, it is definitely important to do some recon on your site prospects. Having a high PR or Google PageRank rating is just one of the many factors you should take into consideration. Google PageRank ratings are on a scale of 0-10; 0 being the worst, 10 being the best. When professionals reference PR 2-10, they are talking about more desirable sites that they would target to get backlinks from or their own page-ranking. In the early 2000s, this was one of the only ways Google judged a site in order for them to appear in top search results. But now, with all of the algorithm updates we discussed in the webinar (and others), there are many, many more factors going into the calculation of search results. In so many words, it is important to target high quality blogs or sites when you are link prospecting or creating content to share with others, but ranking is not the only factor to be considered. You have to make sure the other site is within your industry, that you are contributing something to that community and that the link will look natural within your linking profile. You’ll know if a site is spammy or a 0 - 1 on a linking scale just by visiting it.

Is the history of a website (how old it is) still a very high factor in search ranking?

Yes. While there is no hard and fast rule about this, Google still takes into consideration the age of a domain when determining what results to display in a search engine results page. This doesn’t mean new sites are doomed to rank in search results. If you have a newer site with great content and a strong linking profile, then you could outrank a much older site if they have weaker content and a bad linking profile. In short, yes, it’s still a factor, but don’t obsess over it.

If a homepage template you offer doesn't have space in it for content, how can I add it for SEO without changing the template design?

On every Volusion templated homepage there are two articles in the backend that control the content on your homepage. They are Article 2 and Article 71. Article 2 controls the content above the featured products while Article 71 controls the content below the featured products. Before you begin tinkering around the homepage articles, you should back up your homepage’s design HTML in case you slip and delete some coding you need.

You recommended including Image Alt tags. Unfortunately from what I understand you cannot include Image alt Tags in Volusion. I'd love it if you could.

You can, in fact, include image alt tags within Volusion’s software! When you’re looking at a specific product page while logged in to your store’s backend system, within the Advanced Info tab there is a section titled Search Engine Optimization. Within that section is a field marked Photo Alt Text. Place a keyword-rich description of your product here for an added boost when it comes to Google Image searches.

Alternatively, when it comes to images placed throughout your layout and not necessarily tied to a product, you can give these an image alt tag as well. They won’t come with a tag by default, but if you look at the image in your HTML you will see alt”” listed at the end of the image’s code path. Place your alt tag within those quotation marks.

How do I find out if I have links?

Setting your website up with a Google Webmaster Tools account will allow you to see what sort of linking activity your site has with other sites.

How do I get my site to rank in surrounding areas? My business is located in its current city because of cheap rent not clientele.

Local link building is a great way to start branching out and expanding your local reach. We mentioned building citations for your site in the webinar. Other ways to do this is list the locations you serve on your contact page. Network with businesses or industry insiders that serve a regional base as opposed to just one city. Google understands the geographical connection between neighboring cities, but this might be a good opportunity for you to cast a wider net on the region as opposed to the city.

What if you don't have a physical location and just sell online?

If you only sell products online, then focus all your efforts on making sure you have a robust site. It should be user friendly, your on-site content should be unique and high quality, you should network and link with other industry sites and you should develop a social media presence to give your company a voice and reinforce branding.

I do not have a brick and mortar shop. I do sell products with map locations of the US. Would adding some type of Google map to my product page help me? The Google map would coincide with the product listed and the map on that product.

Without more information as to the exact nature of your products, we wouldn’t be able to recommend a strategy that works best for you. In general, local-based strategies should only be considered if you operate a brick and mortar location.

How can I tell SEO to find the variation of a word? For instance, does Google find (how's, hows, how is, etc.)

Search engines are sophisticated and intelligent enough to understand the correlation between singular and plural, hyphenated and unhyphenated, common differences in spelling, etc. If you sold dog products and targeted a keyword with “dogs” in it, the search engines would understand that you are targeting both the singular and plural version of that word at the same time.

What if you name images from different pages the same? Is that considered duplicate content. For example, Image 1 on Page 1 is "pandabear" and Image 2 on Page 2 is also called "pandabear".

If you’re referring to the filename of your images, then that has no bearing on SEO. You can give your images some differentiation from each other by using the Photo Alt Text field which can be found on a specific product’s page. Populate this section with a descriptive name for the photo that is unique to each product.

Any feedback on the value of FB promoted posts vs. ads?

Promoted posts are a great way to expand the reach and frequency of a particular post you made in the past. They tend to receive better engagement (shares, comments) than an ad does, tend to be easier to spot in Facebook News Feed, and are more or less on the same level with ads as far as cost if not a bit more expensive. The downside is that these posts often reach a smaller audience. Your targeting capabilities are much more limited. Additionally, you can’t use Facebook Analytics to observe a promoted post’s progress over time.

We recommend utilizing both ads and promoted posts to get the most out of your paid efforts on Facebook. Posts are good for timely promotions and events while ads are good for brand awareness and establishing a voice.

Can we reply to reviews on Volusion products?

While a built-in way of responding to reviews does not currently exist on the Volusion platform, such functionality is always being researched and considered by Volusion’s Product Development team. In the meantime, there are a few things you can consider.

Hopefully, the reviewer leaves their name and/or email on the review. This lets you track them down using your order records and reach out to them individually. You can also consider installing Yotpo on your site. Yotpo is a 3rd party software that adds a social element to the review process on-site.

What does an ecommerce company do that cannot justify paying each month for SEO? How can they benefit from the beginning if they can’t justify the ROI?

Every marketing strategy needs to start somewhere. If you can’t afford to have an agency handle your marketing efforts, then we recommend doing what is within your power and scope to do. Anyone can write unique product descriptions or on-page content for their website. It will take more time, but you can learn to use SEO effectively.

Begin by using free tools and resources. We mentioned earlier that Volusion has a great knowledge base so you can learn how to get the most out of your store. Use webinars and blogs posted by Volusion to gain more insight on topics. Develop your social media presence. All of these things can get you moving in the right direction until your business has the budget for hiring an agency.

What SEO auditing site do you recommend?

Moz is a great tool for looking at all angles of your site and key metrics of your competitors. Google Webmaster Tools will help you audit your site’s technical performance when it comes to links, sitemaps, etc. Google Analytics will help you learn more about your customer’s purchasing habits and where they enter and exit your site.

Re: Google's Panda algorithm, I'm a manufacturer who has an e-commerce website. I also wholesale and drop-ship to other e-commerce websites. I allow my wholesale/drop-ship customers to use my product images and descriptions. Does Google know who the original author is or am I getting penalized by allowing others to use my content?

Google weighs a number of factors in determining who was the first to establish content on their website. Technical things like domain authority, where the product is manufactured, product specifications and so forth will all play a factor. You’re more than likely in the clear regarding Google penalizing your site for duplicate content, but it would be advisable for all parties involved to rework product descriptions to be unique. Images would be less of an issue in this instance, but if your ecommerce clients have the resources, they should consider uploading original images of your products.

You guys mentioned that it is good to respond to customer reviews (whether bad or good). Don’t you think they will feel its invading their privacy?

Every customer is different, but if one is willing to take the time out of their day to review your products or services, then they clearly want their voice to be heard. Reaching back out to them after they’ve reviewed your product or services shows that you care about their opinion and want them to have an enjoyable, painless shopping experience. Such contact doesn’t need to dig any deeper than surface level. Acknowledge their feelings and move forward from there with next steps.

Will Volusion offer responsive design for left navigation menus?

Volusion’s Design Services department is working hard to offer as many options as possible when it comes to responsive design templates, and hopefully such a feature will be available to merchants soon.

How often should I submit my updated sitemap to Google? For example, if I added 500 products or 100 category pages, should I submit an updated sitemap or just wait until Google crawls on their own schedule?

If you’ve made drastic changes to your product offering and want to make sure Google knows about it, then it won’t hurt to resubmit your sitemap to have those URLs indexed. If nothing has changed for your site in a while and you haven’t made any adjustments behind the scenes (like 301 redirects, deletion of products, etc.) then you should leave the sitemap alone.

Is a Volusion Facebook store of any use?

With the growing use of social media as an ecommerce tool, it’s always a good idea to remove as many hoops as possible so your customers can make a purchase via Facebook if they wish to do so. Make the most of this feature by promoting it in your posts or your social media ads!

Does changing keywords and descriptions monthly or bi-weekly help boost the crawlers?

An occasional refresh of pages that have been optimized in the past is a natural part of any SEO strategy, but this should only be done after some time has passed. If a page’s keywords and descriptions are rapidly changing then search engines don’t know what the page is supposed to be about. A constantly changing strategy signals unreliability to the search engines.

Should the Google Authorship code be removed?

If you used Google Authorship in the past, there’s no need to remove the coding from your blog. An author rich snippet of your writing can still appear to anyone within your Google+ circles, and it’s not harming anything to have the coding stay intact.

What is a good file size for your images? Especially your main page, main carousel images and stuff like that, how big is too big?

This is a great question. Like we said, you want high quality images but not too high quality that they take forever to load; and you want photos large enough that your customers can clearly see your products without having to squint, but that can also slow down your load time. We recommend 960 pixels wide by 540 pixels high for the main carousel or slideshow on your home page. To find out more about individual product sizing, check out the Product Images knowledge base.

If I am just developing an SEO strategy for my ecommerce store, which "animal" should I direct the majority of my efforts? Panda? Penguin? Something else?

Original text, images and videos will always be of very high importance and they almost always form the foundation for the rest of your marketing efforts. You wouldn’t try to earn links to your site from other sites in your industry if you didn’t have a site chock full of great content, right? In that vein, make sure your site has all the information and visuals it needs on-site before you start venturing into more complex strategies like negotiating links. In other words, pay attention to Panda’s influence if you’re just starting out.

Why is Google Authorship dead?

It is not uncommon for Google to test new strategies for ranking factors and then change course abruptly. That’s what happened in the case of Google Authorship. In an effort to increase use and engagement of Google+, the bigwigs of search at Google decided that frequent writers who had the Authorship markup included on their blog’s HTML coding would appear more often and higher in search results. That technique was eventually abandoned by Google (for any number of internal reasons) thus leaving authors without a surefire way to promote themselves effectively as writers. It’s why we recommended diversifying your promotional methods to make sure you’re reaching your audience wherever it is they spend their time online.

Define UX.

UX refers to the user experience of a site. Basically, this relates to how easy it is for customers to navigate, find products, purchase, etc. It involves using design and structure to create a site that is easy for visitors to use.

If you recommend putting company info at bottom, why are most templates showing all of that FAQ, etc., at the top of the navigation?

Templates can be easily adjusted to place clickable buttons wherever they make sense for your site, as all templates are just a generic draft of what your site might look like. Determine the natural categorization of your products and place those main categories across a top or left-hand navigation menu where customers can find them.

It's been shown FB doesn't create sales, only provides information about company.

In our webinar slides we made mention that, at its core, an action on Facebook should be first and foremost a chance to reinforce company branding and develop a voice or personality that customers can relate to. Maybe you’re an environmentally focused company and that shows in your Facebook ads and posts. That social responsibility could be what influences an environmentally conscious Facebook fan to purchase from you. The branding and establishment of a voice always come first and lead the way for future sales. With the incredible targeting parameters now offered with Facebook ads, we’d argue that sales from the social network are only going to increase exponentially.

I read that keywords should be limited to 5. With that said, should it be the product's name or words pertaining to the product?

If you’re selling a product that is well known and searched for by its product name, then one of your targeted keywords should certainly be the product name itself. If you’re selling a more generic product like socks, then it would be better to focus your keywords on words pertaining to the product.

How important are Google AdWords and Google Analytics in SEO?

Google AdWords is a service that is used for running paid search advertisements such as pay-per-click ads and shopping feeds. While we may be able to gain insight on what products and ads are performing well in Google AdWords, we focus on Google Analytics for statistical and strategic information from an SEO standpoint. It’s very important to create a Google Analytics account to help you better understand the day-to-day health of your website.

What is an acceptable or normal bounce rate?

If your site has a bounce rate in the 25-40 percent range, then you’re doing a great job. Most sites will average a bounce rate closer to 50 percent or 55 percent. Anything very low (in the single digits or teens) is a red flag that there is something wrong with your Google Analytics reporting. It could be that you have duplicate tracking scripts on your site’s HTML coding. Anything very high (70+ percent) is cause for concern. This could signal broken links, unresponsive product pages, long load times, etc.

Regarding duplicate content, my site provides tickets to Disney World and other attractions, and therefore has A TON of very similar products. Often just a digit for the number of days or the number of benefits is the difference in the descriptions. Do you feel I might be being penalized?

Penalization is possible, but not definite. While it can take time, allocating resources to writing these product descriptions uniquely is an important and beneficial strategy. Many times the details of your tickets won’t change, but you can dress up the product pages with descriptions that are creative and fun. View it as a chance to get people excited about what they can do with your ticket packages!

What is a 301 and 401?

A 301 is a redirect function used to direct a customer from a page that no longer exists to a related page. It’s very commonly used when sites are migrating from one platform to another. We highly recommend you use 301 redirects if you have a large product migration or recently discontinued a line of products.

You’re actually referring to a 404 instead of a 401. A 404 is an error page that, if used, will pop up on your site when someone enters a URL that is invalid. A typo is a common cause of this. 404 error pages are important because they prevent web visitors from being taken off your site and let them know they might have entered the wrong URL or the page they are looking for no longer exists.

Would you say paying for a link on a local directory that places a link only on that local directory and not on other websites is still a spammy paid link?

If the local directory you negotiated link placement on is a respectable directory with a strong linking profile, then no, your link would not be considered spammy or unnatural. Once we start venturing into fly-by-night directories and websites that disappear as quickly as they come, then the quality of the link comes into question.

For a website targeting locally, should you include service + company + location on title of all pages or should location only be included in relevant location pages. Would doing the former limit your chance to appear on search in other areas outside business location even though Pigeon is in play?

Only include information about your physical location where it makes sense to include it on your website. Your Contact Us page would be a great place to put it, for example. It’s difficult to answer the second portion of your question without taking a closer look at your site’s title naming conventions, but we can lean on SEO best practices to provide a comparable answer.

If I ran an ecommerce store that had no physical location, I wouldn’t want each title tag to just say my company’s name and what I sell. I’d want each title tag to be unique to the page in question. The same should apply to localization tactics. Mention your physical store where it makes sense and keep title tags unique to each page.

How do you find out how search engines view your website?

If you conduct a Google search for your site, you can see how you appear in the search results page. Google weighs several factors like trust, authority, relevancy, shopping habits, location, age of a page, how often that page is frequented, etc. to return a SERP to Web users.

Re: repetition, I copy and paste the first section of the meta description and then use a unique set of words for the second half of it. Would I be penalized for that repetitive first half?

We can’t say for certain that you’d be penalized for that practice as there are still a few words within the description that are unique to each page. That being said, we always recommend that each meta description on your site be entirely unique to its associated page.

You say to limit Java, but it's built into my template — by Volusion. There are other warnings which I get and as far as I know, are part of the template. How can I be sure that my template is "clean" without messing my Volusion features?

We mentioned limiting the use of Javascript on your website to help keep your page load speeds moving quickly. Having some Javascript isn’t going to hurt, and it’s a regular part of the design of many sites. It just shouldn’t be the overwhelming majority of your site’s layout. Our goal in that section of the webinar pertaining to user experience was to make sure your site has scannable, plain HTML text so search engines can crawl it and index it properly.

The responsive designs you spoke about work well. We tried placing video so people can see what our product looks like moving but the video on your end is not responsive like the rest of the site.

Our Design team is working tirelessly to make sure all functions within our responsive templates are fully responsive. If you need further assistance, be sure to contact our Support team.

What are top channels to spread yourself across?

When we spoke about Google Authorship’s decline, we mentioned that moving forward it will be important to promote blog articles and other content you write across a variety of channels. For your industry, that might be an influential blog that several potential customers visit for advice and information. For other industries, that could be a specific social media network. Research the most frequent places your customer base congregates and promote your writing and expertise there.

In Google Analytics they have three different URLs for my Volusion homepage. So is this considered triple (and duplicate) content?

I am assuming you are looking at pages for your site in Google Analytics and are seeing three separate URLs that all lead back to the homepage of your site. Often we can see any of the following populate in GA and direct to the homepage: /, /default.asp, or /mobile or even sometimes /mobile.aspx. Regardless, they are all pointing to the same homepage, it just depends on how the user accessed the site - which browser, on mobile, etc. This is not considered triple or duplicate content. Duplicate content is when you have the same written content like product descriptions or category descriptions on multiple pages of your site. This can also include the same meta descriptions or title tags across different pages of your site. Every page should be unique in those aspects.

A Volusion client since 2009 operating a wholesale catalog and lead generation, no shopping cart use. Using members-only pricing while the entire website can be viewed (not prices). What specifics can you provide for the B2B that does not show prices or complete shopping cart purchases? Our clients want large images with lots of detail. small images are no value to them. Wholesale womens' apparel. Thank you.

You can still provide detail with images that are appropriately sized so as not to eat up bandwidth and load time. See our answer above in regards to proper image sizing and Volusion resources you can look at for alternate image views.

Aside from images, it will be especially important for your site to have descriptive and original content on your various pages.

Re: layout, I’ve heard that you shouldn't use slideshows because it is annoying for customer, but recently you have advertised slideshows.

Preference over how a site functions will certainly fluctuate from customer to customer, and not every site might be right for a slideshow feature. There are plenty of industries that benefit from having a rotation deck of images. It can entice a shopper to check out seasonal sales or a new product line you’re offering, and it lets you show the variety of products you offer instead of relying on one image to tell the whole story. On the flip side of that coin, we’ve seen sites perform very well without a slideshow if they have a homepage layout that makes sense with stagnant images.

If slideshows sound like a good idea for your business, Volusion recently launched a built-in slideshow feature that can help you easily create and modify a slideshow for your homepage.

I've been advised to put a video that is on my About Us page on my front page. Any opinion?

Without context as to the nature of the video, its quality or its length, we can’t advise you in full. As far as best practices with videos on your site, we always recommend limiting them to pages where they make the most sense. If you have a product that requires a lot of assembly and know-how, then it would make perfect sense to embed that product’s page with an instructional video or have a clickable link to a page of video resources.

Videos are great tools, but they need to be used smartly. Will the video increase the usefulness of the page in question? Does it answer valuable questions your customers have? Or is it just a video for the sake of a video? Keep in mind that videos take longer to render. A slow-rendering video might not be the best thing to have on your homepage.

I write a blog on the neuroscience of learning. I use articles written by experts, reshare them and add a paragraph of my own content. Is that bad?

It sounds like your blog posts are written as a response to the articles written by experts. If that is the case, consider paraphrasing their writing and then giving your opinions on those passages where applicable. Simply copying and pasting their work onto your own blog is not advised as Google won’t understand the intention behind your techniques. They’ll only understand the duplication of content.

Any idea when the option to promote pins will be available?

Sherri mentioned that Promoted Pins are being carefully rolled out to small batches of US-based businesses to start before becoming available to any business. In that light, Pinterest picks and chooses particular companies to used Promoted Pins. You can sign up to have your company considered and Pinterest will reach out to you when they are ready.

What if I wanted to create a second website with a different flavor to sell items under my same company name. What would Google do?

Any strategy that involves selling under a secondary website should be sure to include unique product descriptions and unique on-page content. Google values originality above all else. If you simply copy and paste information from one site to another, you’re not adding anything of value to the Internet.

I have around 2000 links from m.biz. I didn’t pay for them but they are linking to my store, should I even worry?

You’re not alone on this one. m.biz is a Chinese search engine that links out from thousands of subdomains to millions of sites, making their activity difficult to track. Are m.biz links harmful to your site? In short, no. Google penalizes sites with unnatural and manipulative linking profiles through manual penalties and the use of Penguin updates. They are well aware that m.biz is linking to sites without payment and without negotiation from the linked-to sites, and they aren’t penalizing sites that have m.biz links as a result. You can still disavow these links in Google Webmaster Tools if you’re uneasy about them or want to clean up your linking profile, but it’s nothing to worry about.

What is a citation?

A citation is a record of your brick and mortar store that includes helpful store information like store hours, address, email, phone number, etc. You can submit citations for your brick and mortar location to websites like Yellow Pages so that a record of your physical location is listed online. We recommend doing this consistently (the same information on all sites) so that potential customers looking for your store can find the same information regardless of which directory they are using.

How do we set up an automated e-mail to customers that have placed an order that has shipped? We want them to go back to the website and do a review on the product they purchased. I saw the set up but still don’t understand how that all works on the back end.

This article in Volusion’s Knowledge Base will get you started on setting up an automatic email message to send to recent customers asking for feedback and reviews on their purchase(s).