Offering multiple payment choices increases conversion rates for e-commerce sites

eMarketer and Internet Retailer published articles on the findings of a survey conducted by CyberSource which focuses on the impact multiple forms of online payment has on the conversion rate of e-commerce sites.

The survey found that shopping cart abandonment rates decline along with increases in the number of offered payment methods. Shopping cart abandonment for survey respondents offering only one payment method was 40%. The rate dropped to 34% for retailers offering two payment methods, 29% for those with three and 28% for those with four or more.

The most popular payment methods, according to the survey, are the general purpose credit cards like Visa and MasterCard, followed by gift certificates. 53% of the surveyed e-retailers offer only one or two methods of payment.

Offer credit card alternatives

Offering an alternative to credit card payment like PayPal or Bill Me Later improves the chances for successful e-commerce experience for those online shoppers who are not willing yet to share their credit card details with the e-merchant.

Froogle Submission Tricks

Froogle, Google’s comparison shopping search engine has been gaining in popularity and has been bringing solid traffic to e-commerce sites. Building a datafeed is the most important step in the preparation for Froogle submission. The default guidelines for datafeed require single URL per single product. This can be a challenge for many sites which might prefer to sell group of related products or list a single product with multiple valiables, i.e. color, size, etc. What to do in that case?

Here are the specific guidelines I received from the Froogle editors:

“If you have product pages for individual products, then we ask that you include those in your Froogle data feed file. However, if you only have product pages that list multiple products, it is fine to include those… if you have variations of the same product on your product page, then you may include a separate listing for each product and include the same product URL for each listing.”

If you still need help building your Froogle datafeed, feel free to contact WebSage and ask about our search engine submission services.

Expert advertising. Minimum effort. Google’s Entry into SEM

Today Google revealed its AdWords Jumpstart program aiming to introduce the pay-per-click AdWords program to those new to search engine marketing.

Google promisses that its search engine marketing specialists will:

Our specialists will:

  • Write compelling ads promoting your product or service.
  • Choose relevant keywords to trigger your ads.
  • Set cost-per-click amounts (within your budget) to maximize your ad exposure.

The price for setting an account, $299, in fact goes towards future bids, so overall the service offered by the Google AdWords Jumpstart program is free.
Continue reading “Expert advertising. Minimum effort. Google’s Entry into SEM”

Comparison Shopping Search Engines Bring Substantial Traffic for Mother’s Day

Nielsen//NetRatings reported that some 13 million Mother’s Day shoppers used comparison shopping search engines and directories, bringing their traffic by 8% over the previous week.

According to the report released on May 7, 2004, “Traffic to AOL Shopping from home surged 91 percent to 1.4 million unique visitors, as compared to 718,000 unique visitors during the week ending April 25 (see Table 1). Froogle jumped 80 percent in traffic to 613,000 unique visitors, from 340,000 visitors during the previous week. MSN Shopping drew 901,000 visitors, increasing 35 percent.”

Further the report interprets this data as a proof that comparison shopping sites and comparison search technology has become a standard tool for finding the right price for products sold online.

Fastest Growing Shopping Directories and Guides, Week Ending May 2, 2004 (U.S., Home):

  1. AOL Shopping 1,374,000 unique visitors 91% growth over the previous week
  2. Froogle 613,000 unique visitors 80% growth over the previous week
  3. MSN Shopping 901,000 unique visitors 35% growth over the previous week
  4. MySimon 311,000 unique visitors 14% growth over the previous week
  5. Quixtar 285,000 unique visitors 8% growth over the previous week

Managing Click-through Fees in Overture Site Match

I am asked often about the main risk of submitting web pages to the Overture Site Match program — being charged per click indefinitely. Indeed, Overture do not clarify this outright on their website. PositionTech, an Overture partner has been equally cryptic about this question on their site but luckily were more responsive to my emails.

Here I am sharing a paraphrased version of the answers I received…

  • Shall I participate in the Overture Site Match
  • Can I remove web links from the Overture Site Match program?
  • How can I manage my CPC funds in Overture Site Match?

Continue reading “Managing Click-through Fees in Overture Site Match”

Removing information from Google’s index

Most people think of search engine optimization as an exercise to make more pages indexed by search engine spiders and then having them rank highly. That’s fair.

Now imagine yourself in a situation where your pages rank too high… Or rather, the wrong pages rank too high?

I found myself in such a situation when the representative of a large company approached me politely and requested I remove information which I was not authorized to publish. I tried to cooperate as much as possible but time was against us. Most people know that it takes weeks if not months to have Google reindex a site and update the pages already scanned.

I would like to share two ways of accelerating the solution to this problem — when the issue is urgent.
Continue reading “Removing information from Google’s index”

Get ready for Google’s twist on paid inclusion

CNET published an intriguing article on the anticipated next step in Google’s ever evolving search engine marketing offering: Google’s twist on paid inclusion. And let us state it right on: Google will not include sponsored results into its general index.

Currently, if you were to participate in the Google AdWords pay-per-click program, you start by selecting your keywords. While Google has been offering more and better tools for broadening or narrowing your keyword selection, selecting the proper terms for bidding has always been a difficult process.

Now (or in near future), borrowing from the context advertisement songbook, Google is to offer that for a modest fee you submit web pages which are then scanned by Google’s spider and analyzed for keyword content density. Then, based on the words in your pages, Google will build automatically for you a list of related keyword terms which will be included in your pay-per-click marketing campaign. Of course, participating in such a program would imply you are not affraid of spending money, perhaps big money, on search engine marketing. It will be just another way of ensuring that your site is always on top of the search engine sponsored results.

Since the CNET article is a long one and the gist of it is way down below the fold, I am proviging you with a big quote for your convenience:

“Google wants to take the technology even further. Its proposed service would allow marketers to pay to have a Web page examined more often for inclusion in sponsored listings, according to one source. Instead of having to bid on thousands of keywords, a large advertiser–such as Amazon.com–could rely on Google’s search technology to automatically create connections between its Web pages and related search queries. Amazon would pay Google to examine thousands of its pages and to serve an ad whenever the software deemed it appropriate. Amazon would pay an amount previously bid at auction for those pages, whenever people clicked on its listings.”

Google continues to rule – web analytics companies agree

Recent data by online web analytics providers indicate that Google continues to be the number one search engine on the web.

OneStat.com issued a press release with the seven most popular search engines among all of its users:

  1. Google 56.4%
  2. Yahoo 21.1
  3. MSN Search 9.2%
  4. AOL Search 3.8%
  5. Terra Lycos 2.0
  6. Altavista 1.7%
  7. Askjeeves 1.7%

It’s rival, WebSideStory, listed different numbers for the search engine marketshare but confirmed the trend:

  1. Google 40.91
  2. Yahoo! 27.40
  3. MSN 19.57

What MSN and AOL have in common is their ability to sell paid advertisements

iProspect , Fredrick Marckini’s search engine marketing firm released a survey today which confirms that loyal users of Google and Yahoo! prefer organic search results over paid advertisements. No surprise here. What is more interesting is a shared characteristic of MSN and AOL: their ability to convince users that paid advertisements are as relevant as natural search results. Or is that so? What is more likely, of course, is that the way MSN and AOL show search results is not intuitive enough to enable the average user to distinguish between natural and paid results. Either way, the fact is that if you want to reach the audiences of AOL and MSN, pay-per-click programs Google AdWords which provides the sponsored search results for AOL, and Overture’s Pay for performance program which feeds ads to MSN, are as important as having your site optimized for natural search engine rankings.