A bounce rate indicates the percentage of visitors that look at one page of a website and then leaves. The higher the bounce rate, the lower the value of your website. Search engines view sites that people enter and leave quickly as being irrelevant and unhelpful so they are listed lower on search engine results pages.
If you don’t already have Google Analytics set up on your site, you’ll need it to access this data as well as a lot of other pertinent information in regards to site traffic, conversions, and more.
Say your site has a bounce rate of 33%—that means that 33% of all traffic to your site is leaving after they view one page. Having a high bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what type of site you have or what your goals are. It’s important to look at the other data to have a better idea of what is happening on your site.
For example, blogs that have higher bounce rates may be good if traffic also increased because that means there are more people coming to the blog from different sources. Others may visit the site to find an address or phone number. Overall, it is better to decrease the bounce rate by encouraging visitors to continue browsing your site.
Before you are able to improve your bounce rate, identify the reasons that people may be leaving so soon. Here are some examples of why people are leaving after seeing one page:
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve a bounce rate after diagnosing the problems. Sometimes it’s a quick, easy fix, other times it requires looking at the trees and the forest together. Use Analytics to identify the following:
Which Page People Are Exiting
From Analytics, click on: Behavior > Behavior Flow. Here you can check out how many people are dropping off of which landing pages (in red), as well as where people are going after the first page.
Where Are You Getting Traffic From
Check Acquisition > Overview to see where traffic is coming from and the bounce rate of each source (Organic, Direct, Referral, Social, Paid Search, Email).
Page Load Time
Many people will leave your site if it takes more than 4 seconds for a page to load and never come back. Check your Page Load Time by navigating to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview.
Once you have a better idea of why your Bounce Rate is what it is, you’ll be able to more accurately improve it. Here are ways to improve your website bounce rate but be sure that you are choosing a solution to an actual problem.
Some of these fixes may require the help of a development or SEO team. If you need help improving your bounce rate or have questions about it, just contact us and we’d be happy to help you out.
Last month, Google launched an algorithm that specifically extracts mugshot websites from showing up at the top of search engine results. Sites that feature mugshots pull the images from government sites and then develop well-ranking landing pages so that if you Google the name of somebody who has ever been arrested, the result shoots to the top of the search results.
Mugshot sites created controversy among the public and then the government as it can give a false impression of somebody. The images do not inform the audience whether or not they were found guilty or innocent of the charges, whether it’s for traffic tickets or child abuse. All past arrests are available and the websites charge $30-$400 to have the pages removed, which some argue is extortion.
Besides potentially experiencing public shame or losing out on a job, Google actually developed this algorithm because many mugshot sites conflict with Google’s guidelines. When people search a person’s name, this algorithm prevents mugshot site pages from ranking above all others. This algorithm comes as a relief to those who were afraid of possibly losing their jobs as well as how friends and family would perceive or react to their own personal mugshots.
Sites such as Mugshots.com argue that the algorithm puts the public in potential danger. However, seeing as how mugshots are available through government and news sites, this would not prevent people from finding out arrest records if they spent a little more time investigating. As far as public safety goes, people ought to continue practicing common sense and not put themselves in a risky situation, like we all learned to do in our lives before Googling people.
Businesses that are searching current or potential employees should be able to rely on background checks when hiring rather than Google or Facebook. Some local governments attempted to create laws to block mugshots sites but reporters stated that this violated the First Amendment and governments cannot regulate material for being distasteful.
However, Google does have that power to censor what their search engines show and they do it very seldom with exceptions. The algorithm does have its flaws still but to those whose past arrests no longer show up as #1 on search results, they can breathe a sigh of relief.
Erin in our search marketing team needed to create a banner ad for our local search marketing client, Phil Clark, who is a criminal defense attorney in Boulder, Colorado.
The goal for the banner ad was to engage with University of Colorado (CU) students (or their parents) who got in trouble with the law. Although CU is actively trying to combat the "party school" image (see this Daily Camera article), the reality is that students are living by themselves for the first time, and often drink too much and/or get behind the wheel of a car.
Here’s a look at the final banner (740 x 238) to fit a specific space on the site:
The creative goal of this banner ad was to use local photography from the CU campus (where I am an alum, as well as many of the people here at the company), and create a visual connection with the student (or their parent).
The goal for the photograph was to evoke a feeling of belonging to the campus, but show empty space with shadows to mirror the sullen mood of a student facing legal trouble. Yet… keeping the bright blue sunny sky Boulder is famous for, as an aspirational wish toward better times.
Erin and I wandered around the campus until we found the best location to shoot.
All images were shot using a Canon 5D Mark III camera with the 17-40mm f/4.0 lens.
Here’s the shot, out of the camera (sized down to 1,000 pixels), shot at 40 mm, f/16, 1/80 second exposure, ISO 100, handheld:
We chose this image over these:
This image was too bright and cheery:
This image of the CU campus didn’t have the introspective shadows we were looking for:
And this image, while close, didn’t have the three dimensional look on the lower left side of the frame.
Here’s the final banner, that I like for all of the reasons above:
Photos by Jeff Finkelstein of Customer Paradigm
Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation. –Max Euwe
Max Euwe may have been a chess grandmaster, but the maxim he coined for the difference between strategy and tactics is more than apt when discussing the ever evolving strategy used by Google for devaluing SEO link building tactics. Google, the strategist, is always thinking of and considering new ways for which they can provide the most accurate and informative SERPs to their users. Meanwhile SEOs, the tacticians, must cautiously wait, watch, and observe for exactly what Google will deem as “link schemes.” This list of schemes has been steadily growing over the years, and has recently received a few new violations which were added to its guidelines.
The new link violation guidelines which were recently added are as follows:
It is becoming clearer by the day that Google does not like exact match, keyword rich, anchor text links. They have been steadily trying to take value away from its overuse to dissuade marketers from abusing what should be considered a simple “reference” online. By now it’s relatively apparent that many inbound links received by websites are indeed advertorials, at least in the sense of guest blogging.
This exchange consists of trading content for links, and while this seems simple and innocent enough, when you consider that a link is supposed to be a “reference”, it becomes quite apparent how that then becomes terribly skewed in the eyes of search engines. When you pay for a “reference,” it becomes an advertisement, which is then no longer a reference. Problem being, these links are still posed as references. This both misleads readers and confuses search engines results, and is the reason for these new link violation guidelines.
Now what this is not saying is that inbound links themselves are to be devalued overall, only inbound links that fall under their list of “link schemes.” The total penalty for engaging in a link scheme is dependent on the scheme itself, and its overall scope. In the end, when it comes to inbound links, Google wants them to be honest references, not advertorials. If it is an advertorial, that’s ok. Just let it be known. The worth of the content, if it’s good, isn’t taken away by the fact that it’s a marketing piece. In fact, if it’s worthwhile, it may even be more appreciated.
So what does this mean for people doing SEO? In all honesty, it doesn’t change much, except rather than scrapping 4 terrible guest blog articles together sourced to numerous low DA or PageRanked sites, you should be doing what is the honest approach. Writing quality content that provides a “real” value to readers. Naturally, if the content is good enough and you have used social media well enough to promote the piece, sites related to your field will find it and link to it.
If guest blogging is necessary to help build up your inbound link profile, simply don’t try to trick readers by failing to state who the article was written on behalf of. Don’t’ try to unnaturally inflate your rankings by using exact match, keyword rich, anchor text links. Use your company/website name, use the intended URL. This is all Google, and any search engine for that matter, is asking for. Less spam would be welcome by everyone on the internet. Sifting through heaps of trash sites to finally find one worth viewing used to be worse, and is getting better. But to help it along, we all have to do our part.
People often rag on Google for trying to be the “internet police.” But the internet is like the wild west, and in the wild west, those who cared most for their towns, and were able, stepped up to become sheriff. They were never appointed, people hated them for trying to instill law and order where there was once chaos, and some listened to them while others ignored their advice. Google is “not” the internet police, but they are trying to create order amongst the chaos.
Many people don’t like it, even though they know it’s necessary. So for all of you internet black-hat red-sash wearing cowboys out there, you would do well to remember the movie Tombstone. Order is being instilled, and to the general pleasure of most people who use the internet. If you continue to cause a ruckus, Google will find you, remove your black-hat, strip you of your red-sash, and devalue you with a rage previously unknown. For all you black-hat tacticians, Google is quite literally… your strategic huckleberry.
If you need help link building or coming up with a proper link building strategy, be sure to Contact Us today. Our in-house SEO experts have the knowledge and ability to help with the most difficult problems regarding link building and SEO.
We’ve taken our search marketing to a whole new level: Customer Paradigm is now an official Google Partner for search marketing. This means that we’ve passed advanced tests and have been certified directly by Google as both individuals and a company. Google Partner Profile Page >>
If you haven’t built a mobile page or applied responsive design to your website, don’t expect to rank very high in mobile search. Our society relies heavily on mobile these days for getting around or getting quick information on-the-go, so if your site doesn’t load fast or look good on someone’s smart phone, Google isn’t even going to bother ranking your site very high, even if your regular website ranks well on a desktop.
The reason that your site won’t rank well is because user experience is a large factor in the Google ranking algorithm. According to James Barrese, CTO of Paypal, “96% of mobile users search for product information on their mobile device.” Unfortunately, if you don’t have the patience to wait for a website that takes 5 seconds to load on your mobile device, neither do your potential customers. This increase in bounce rate will have a negative effect on your mobile ranking.
Google has been rolling out ranking changes for mobile search and we can definitely plan on more in the future so it’s important to stay up-to-date on this. The preferred method for mobile-friendly websites is to apply a responsive design to your website so that it is able to adjust accordingly to different screen sizes. If a responsive design isn’t suitable for your website due to a more complex design and usage, then creating a separate mobile site would be your best course of action. Otherwise, you might miss out on the $20 billion of mobile transactions that PayPal expects to have by the end of this year.
Avoiding negative marks from Google requires more effort and refinement than just building a mobile page or applying responsive design. These are common mistakes that mobile sites have and how to fix them.
If your site could use some help with responsive design or optimizing the mobile page, contact us today at Customer Paradigm to learn how we can assist you.
Google is at it again, creating things, and as we have all come to know – Google seems to do no wrong. Although, on this attempt, I would say it’s NOT the best tool we’ve seen Google produce.
Welcome to Google’s latest and greatest the Databoard, which is a do-it-yourself tool for learning about marketing-specific statistics and the ability to turn them into infographics. All of the statistics are presented on cards and come with their own graphics. People have the ability to mix-and-match information to customize an infographic that they can share through email and social media. Although I was hoping for an amazing tool from Google to create endless beautiful infographics, but limited to only marketing-specific information greatly decreases the capabilities of the tool.
As a marketer though, I can’t complain about more marketing material.
Although this tool sounds great, it’s solely focused on information and trends that Google wants you to know about. The majority of the topics revolve around why you should engage in digital marketing, marketing, and YouTube, and care about mobile, tablets, etc. These are definitely great numbers to present to clients and are sourced. However, don’t plan on using it for much else at the moment.
Our Opinion: This tool should be viewed as a interacting information center, rather than a infographic builder.
As noted above, you’re able to share the infographic on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Email, or source the URL but it cannot be embedded on any websites nor saved as an image. It seems that Google wants people to just come to the Databoard site. However, Google does promise to include more research in the future. Check out Google Databoard for yourself and definitely play around with their infographic tool.
Most people who manage a website have heard that they need to link build. But many are confused as to what exactly link building is and why it matters so much. This description should help to clarify a few of the broader and more important points to consider, and should ease some of the tension for anyone moving forward building up their websites inbound link profile.
Creating relevant, authoritative, and quality inbound links which point to your website for the purpose of raising keyword rankings, overall site rankings, and generating traffic to your website.
Consider the whole of the internet to be an actual physical room filled with only 100 people. If you walked into that room and asked, “What are the best running shoes on the market?” You will have some of those people make recommendations as to who you should speak with, while the quality and trustworthiness of those recommendations depend upon who is speaking.
Let’s say in total 50 people respond to your question. 2 of them were recognized and skilled competition runners, 5 of them have written books on running, 8 of them were recreational runners, while the remaining 35 people had no noteworthy running experience to speak of. Of those responding, who would you trust most?
You would probably trust the opinion of professional runners first, the authors second, the recreational runners third, and everyone else last. In essence, the professional runners opinions will way far more than everyone else’s because they are the authority on the subject. The weight given to the two opinions of the professional runner will be much heavier than all 35 people combined who knew nothing of running at all. Perhaps 1 professional runners opinion is as good as 3 of the authors, or 3 of the authors as good as 5 recreational runners.
This example and the numbers used are purely arbitrary, but explains clearly enough how link building is used. Each of the people in the room has a “score” associated with their knowledge on certain subjects and topics, and that “score” changes for each person as the topic changes. A professional runner may know nothing about dog training, and as such, their opinion on that topic would not matter.
The people in this example represent websites, their recommendations are links. If you owned a shoe store, it would behoove you to be recommended first by the professional runners, then the authors, then the recreational runners. It would do you very little good, and may even be damaging, to be recommended by people who have little to no knowledge about running. Because in the end, what is the worth of their opinion?
In this sense, you want to find websites who deal in the same things your website deals with, is trusted overall based on their authoritativeness and expertise, and other people refer to it often when dealing with those same or similar topics. Then when someone enters the room and asks a question about something you deal in, only the best recommendations come forth. The number of these recommendations and the quality of them determine your overall ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for certain keywords and keyword phrases. In this way, by building your quality recommendations (links), SERPs will direct traffic to your website.
When determining the value of a link, there are numerous factors that Search Engines take into consideration. As such, you need to keep them in mind as well when building up your inbound link profile. Currently, those factors include what follows below, but as time progresses, there will no doubt be other factors included. As an example, social media has in recent years taken more of a prominent role in providing link value than ever before.
If you need help link building or coming up with a proper link building strategy, be sure to Contact Us today. Our in-house SEO experts have the knowledge and ability to help with the most difficult problems regarding link building and SEO.
Everybody wants their website to rank on the first page of Google but is it even possible? If your business is trying to rank for generic terms like, “bicycles,” then it’s time to restructure your online marketing strategy. The outlook on Google’s search algorithm is a more precise return on search queries that cater to the user’s IP address. So, “bicycles” returns Google Shopping, Local Listings, the highest ranked bike websites, and bike companies located in your city.
In order to increase your site’s chances of showing up on the first page of search engines, ask yourself the following questions:
From here, identify what IS your business’s niche. This is similar to a branding exercise. The more specific you can get, the better (i.e., lightweight mountain bikes).
However, if you have more than one specialization, then consider spreading out your eggs rather than putting them all in one basket as you risk losing out on business if you have some pretty awesome BMX bikes too. It is not recommended to try to rank for all the products and services you offer as this is near impossible and decreases your chances of ranking for much—stick to your hero products.
Once you’ve decided on your company’s niche, the next branding exercise is: Who’s your target? Are you a local business that only caters to one or two cities? Are your products only for children but geared towards parents?
Branded long-tail keywords are Google’s favorite search terms and if you’re still building your brand, then focus on location and product detail for your keywords, i.e. boulder children’s strider mountain bikes. But wait, is this how people phrase things when they search? Many businesses make the mistake of constructing keywords using industry terms and assuming that’s how their consumers also speak. There’s a fine line between being too specific and too generic when it comes to keywords. “Boulder mountain bikes for kids,” is a much more likely search term people might type in.
In general, identifying keywords that are in between being too specific and too generic, are long-tail, what people are searching for, and less competitive, will make it easier to rank for. If this is a headache, don’t worry, Google’s Hummingbird update tells marketers to rely less on keyword ranking, though keywords in general are still important. Instead, businesses should focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant to their target market and posting them on their websites.
People come to search engines like Google to help them find out more information about something. Google bots look at every single website every single day analyzing what type of information is available on each website so that they can be indexed and ready for Google to return. The more people that come to your website, stay for a while, and return for more, indicates to Google that your website is indeed helpful, interesting, and a resource so it is rewarded with a higher ranking.
When businesses provide high-quality content that is published regularly, not only are they seen as an authoritative resource, they also now have multiple paths of entry from users onto their site. Remember to focus your blogs around your niche and branding. Maintaining an updated onsite blog is a good option for doing this and when you’re writing blogs, make sure that you’re writing for your target audience and not for Google. The voice and flow should be natural and not keyword stuffed. Also consider the layout and design of your articles—large paragraphs, small fonts, and no images is an eyesore.
Once your blog is published, be sure to share through social media, emails, and especially Google+. Anything posted to Google+ is automatically indexed and pulled up alongside your website in search results. Through these means, you’ll be able to build your audience, allow for engagement, and increase your rankings as an authoritative site.
If you would like some help identifying what your company’s niche and hero products are, or would like help with your content marketing, contact us today for a FREE SEO analysis.
For many local businesses, showing up in search engines is a pretty big deal when it comes to gaining new customers and retaining previous ones. You may think that all you have to do is submit yourself to a directory or just put your address on your site but there actually a lot of factors that go into how close to #1 your business’s website will rank in search engines.
The basics of making sure your site ranks for local search are still the same:
Google is trying to create their own version of Yelp Elite Squad by recruiting “City Experts” to review on Google+. These City Experts’ reviews will be part of the larger group of authoritative reviewers, which is rated as #3 for making a difference among competitors. Yelp’s Elite Squad typically gains more trust by others in the community for their reviews compared to ordinary reviewers. In order to qualify for being a City Expert, you must be incredibly active on Google+ and Maps by writing at least 50 reviews at 5 reviews per month as well as uploading pictures of local places.
Google also considers these other factors when considering your website’s position, which mainly support the primary factors above.
As for local search optimization efforts, some of the worst offenses you can make according to Google are to use call-tracking numbers and keyword stuffing business names. It looks more and more that Google is really honing in on providing a good user experience for searchers. Those who practice Black Hat SEO are getting phased out as honesty is and always was the best policy and being popular also helps.
Earlier this year, Google unveiled voice search in the form of a small microphone on the right side of the search bar. Since then, it has quickly improved in quality for conversational speech. With the popularity of Siri for iPhone, Google and Android users will benefit from a competitive product for ease of use.
The highlight of conversational speech is just that, we can search for things in a more natural manner as people tend to talk in complete sentences and not short or long-tailed keywords. Voice search has a few flaws in comprehension but it continues to improve week over week. You can see it thinking in action as it tries to decipher what you say into something that actually makes sense.
Google also rolled out Nutritional Search, which currently allows users to ask what the nutritional value of over 1,000 fruits, vegetables, meats, and meals are. You can ask specifically what the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, etc. of different foods are and it also give the serving size as well as a Wikipedia definition of it.
Although Voice Search may at first seem like just a fun added benefit from Google, the behavior of people show that local-based Voice Search is gaining in popularity. Imagine you are walking around downtown to meet up with a friend and you get distracted and go off-course. Then simply pull up Voice Search on your Android and say, “Where’s the Denver coffee shop?” No need to type in, “Denver coffee shop.” Then choose the location and go.
Google will also remember your previous searches to help give you more educated results when using Voice Search. With these things in mind, local businesses ought to keep their local onsite profiles up-to-date on their websites, Google+, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. Optimization for Voice Search will be focused on search phrases and a FAQ type manner.
Big brands and enterprises that struggle to rank with highly competitive terms should look to Voice Search for help, even if they do not have brick and mortar stores. Similar to local Voice Search, enterprises will have more success by targeting Voice Search phrases and FAQ language on their sites. A focus on branding with long-tail keywords reinforces consumer perception that your brand is the resource and go-to for information. This also follows the new keyword strategy that Google is pushing marketers towards by omitting keyword search queries with the “(not provided)” section, which is a return to branding and trust.
As we are living in the “one screen world” where all are screens are becoming more streamlined to provide the same information but on different sizes, optimizing for mobile search, utilizing Voice Search, and providing a great user experience is the direction that SEO marketers need to focus on.
If you have any questions on how to optimize for Voice Search or need help with your local search, please contact us today.
On November 11, 2013, Google is making some changes specifically for Google+ Page Owners and Managers. There are three main points that they highlight:
The only one of these that is actually an update is the first one. The new Google Terms of Service explains that your Google+ Profile and photo can appear in various forms on the web through Google, which they refer to as Shared Endorsements. Any action you take on Google+, whether it’s making a +1, commenting or posting, following, writing reviews, etc. may be used in advertising and be seen by friends, family, and other connections. Also, if your Page follows another, yours may appear if it seems relevant and useful to users looking at the other Page.
These Shared Endorsements create a better experience for users that you know by allowing your content to surface contextually based on what people are searching for or doing if it might also be interesting to them. Shared Endorsements are basically, “recommendations,” that you passively make based on your actions on Google+.
For those who are not interested in participating fully in Shared Endorsements, you can limit or turn it off through the Page’s dashboard or Settings. If you manage multiple Pages, each page has its own setting to control.
Updated 10/14/13: Google has since removed the (not provided) section from Analytics altogether.
You may have noticed the “(not provided)” section has been gradually increasing for your website in Google Analytics and you can thank Google for that mysterious section. This “(not provided)” protects the privacy of users by adding an SSL encryption to search terms, which began in 2011 with users who were signed into Google. It has since continually expanded its reach of coverage to the most recent Hummingbird update and finished off by having internet marketers in a panic after the switch from AdWords Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner. This change threw many people off but with some insight into “(not provided)” and Hummingbird, this seemingly unruly decision by Google makes a little more sense.
The focus of the Hummingbird update is to encourage businesses to provide content on their sites that are more of a question/answer theme. Google is much better at understanding concepts, complex questions and relationships between concepts. The original goal of Google was always to provide results (answers) to search terms (questions) people look for. This doesn’t mean to literally have a Q/A on every page.
By providing more quality content that answers user questions, a website in turn has many more entrance paths for people to come to their page, including new and unique visitors. You can check out how significant the “(not provided)” stat has become by logging into your Google Analytics account, click on Reporting, go down to Acquisitions on the left-side navigation, choose Keywords, then Organic. As you’ll see, Google really wants us to quit focusing on keyword rankings.
It seems that (almost) everything Google does is to improve the overall experience to its users. The increase of “(not provided)” and Hummingbird work together to encourage marketers to stop focusing on just increasing rankings and refocus on providing a better experience for visitors of websites. When the focus is on the end-user, you realize you need to look ahead at why the user would want to come to your site, which should be because there is really good, engaging, and relevant content that answers questions they may have.
Businesses who focus on quality onsite content understand that having interesting topics and answers is what gets people to their site and coming back for more. This encourages businesses to turn their attention to branded long-tail keywords. Before the internet, people perceived legitimacy and trust with brands. Google is bringing us back to the basics to focus on branded keywords. Focusing on keyword traffic and rankings was a distraction to the primary reason for search engines in the first place.
For SEO companies and businesses that always understood that everything should be about providing a better experience for the customer, this doesn’t change much. It does show as a very healthy reminder to others that just trying to rank #1 shouldn’t be the primary focus of SEO. Google has always stated that content is king and this merely reinforces that content is king…on your website. Link-building through off-site blogging is still a large factor in the trust of your website but it has become much more difficult in the last couple months.
In terms of AdWords where the new Keyword Planner resides, many marketers have noticed and are suspicious of the quantity of traffic that now shows for many keywords. It is thought that the significant decrease in traffic for certain keywords is a result of Google combining computer search traffic with mobile and tablets. However, it just doesn’t make any sense why search volume would drop instead of increase.
Some people speculate that this is all just Google’s way of getting marketers to use AdWords more since PPC is their main source of revenue. Whatever the motive may be, we need to look at the big picture of what purpose Google serves to their users and since Google dominates the search engine world, we just need to roll with the punches.
We focus on quality onsite content in addition to off-site so the core values don’t change much for us. However, we are happy to continue focusing on creating quality, relevant, and interesting content on our client’s sites with long-tailed keywords. In addition, we’re excited to continue being creative for our clients and their customers through designing infographics, shooting videos, managing social media, and overall, focusing on strengthening their brands. For us, these new updates are just about getting back to basics.
If you would like some help with your internet marketing SEO strategy in regards to the Hummingbird and “(not provided)” changes, contact us to find out how we can help.
Magento has updated their open source eCommerce platform to edition 126.96.36.199.
Every Magento Upgrade is working to fix previous identified bugs, improve the functionality, user experience, and enhance security for your eCommerce website.
To view the full documentation on CE 188.8.131.52. : Magento Community 1.8
Magento currently provides many options for monitoring and changing your tax levels to meet each countries legal tax requirements. As a store owner this is extremely useful when you are working to improve the accuracy of your final price. An incorrect tax cost could mean the difference between a conversion and an abandoned cart.
Fix: 1.8 has modified the tax calculation formulas and correction of rounding errors.
More Security is always better when it comes to handling sensitive information such as your customers credit cards. Nothing says goodbye to all your customers like compromising their financial welfare.
Fix: [some of the fixes please read full documentation above] Fixed the session vulnerability in a new user registration process, hackers are unable to retrieve new registration information. Big fix, preventing website hackers from receiving sensitive information from OAuth, gaining access to billing information, and not allowing browsers to store user names and passwords. They also added in cryptonic methods to enhance security.
If this is something you have been looking out for, make sure you read the details above before upgrading your website to 1.8. It’s very important in order to fulfill any orders. USPS updates focus mainly around the speed and quality of order shipping. Whenever your store fulfills an order multiple database queries are made which can cause your site to slow down.
Fix: Limited the large database lookups, limited the RSS cache speeding up the process, you are also able to load in a large number of tax codes without taking a hit on your websites performance.
If you are interested in updating your Magento CE website to 1.8 please give us a call at 303.473.4400 or fill out a contact form and learn how Customer Paradigm can help your eCommerce site.
A few of the team at Customer Paradigm were affected by the recent floods. A few wet basements, one completely flooded apartment, and one programmer who has decided to hang out at his house up one of the canyons (he has 4 weeks of food and an Internet connection). But we fared much better than most.
Most of what we’re hearing right now are stories about how families are flooded, ripping out carpet, and replacing furnaces.
But Boulder’s small businesses are also affected. Unless you sell shop vacs and bleach, some local businesses have seen a drop in sales.
Here at Customer Paradigm, we wanted to figure out what we could do. That would have an impact. Sure, we could collect canned food, or help rip out carpet.
But what could we do that could really help a few of Boulder’s small businesses?
Customer Paradigm is giving away $2,000 worth of search engine marketing and optimization to two local businesses in Boulder County (they will receive $1,000 each in SEO services) that were impacted by the flood. Perhaps your location didn’t take on water, but you saw a big drop in sales.
To apply, please use the comments field below. Please (a) tell us the name of your business, and (b) how your business was affected by the recent flood, and (c) let us know why your Boulder, Colorado business would benefit from $1,000 in search engine marketing assistance.
Please note: your business must be located Boulder County, Colorado. All submissions must be received before October 15, 2013. View more photos of the flooding in Boulder >>
Every now and then, I see a video that’s amazing.
This one is worth sharing.
Have you ever had a dream where you’re flying through the sky? Or wondered how it looks from an eagle’s point of view?
This video was taken by a small camera, strapped to the back of an Eagle, in the French Alps.
It can be frustrating when you’re trying to browse a website and get a message like, “404 Error: Page Not Found,” or “Oops, looks like something went wrong. 500 Error.” Once people come across a message like this, they usually give up and leave the site. What’s more frustrating is when these errors occur on your own site. Where did they come from and how can we fix it?
404 Errors pop up in a few circumstances, either due to user error or webmaster error. A user that types in an incorrect URL will result in a 404 Error. Make sure that the URL is typed in correctly and everything is spelled right. If everything is indeed spelled right with proper hyphens, underscores, and capitalization, it may be a webmaster error then.
The URL may have been edited incorrectly or changed by the webmaster. If this is not the case, 404 Errors also happen because a website moved to a different content management system and/or a page was deleted but not redirected.
If the error isn’t user error, 404’s are corrected by the webmaster. As mentioned before, the syntax of the URL should be double checked and corrected if this is the cause of the error. Otherwise, create a 301 redirect, which tells the server to automatically go from page A (no longer exists) to page B (an existing page).
500 Errors are due to the server failing to return a valid request. There is not an exact reason this happens, rather, 500 Errors occur because of a typo in the coding of the website. These typos can be missing brackets or semi-colons. There could be an extra space added to the code, malformed code, or is coded in the wrong order.
The developers need to double check their coding or identify the error through the error log in order to correct this. Once they debug the code, the 500 error will no longer show up and the page will successfully load.
The best way to make sure these errors aren’t showing up on your site is to regularly check your Google Webmasters account and check for crawl errors. Once you have this list, you’ll be able to go through and apply the proper fixes to the errors.
Not all of Boulder was flooded, and while part of me wanted to be out with the camera capturing the flood, I also had to stay home to bail out the basement.
The good news is that everyone on the Customer Paradigm is okay. A few people got wet, but nothing major…
Mud Ripples. These are patterns left by the overflowing river, on a concrete floor by Boulder Creek, during the flood in Boulder, Colorado in September 2013.
Boulder Creek – water reaching up to (almost) the bridge. This is a bridge spanning across Boulder Creek, by the Millennium Harvest House. This photo was take on Friday, Sep 13, 2013 in the morning.
Boulder Creek, which is normally a small creek, had about 16 times it’s normal volume during the September 2013 floods.
Chautauqua Park, with the first, second and third Flatirons emerging from the clouds. The trails were closed off due to flooding.
Chautauqua’s Dining Hall, from the new entrance to the park. This was taken Friday morning, after the weather broke (for a while) and the flood waters subsided.
Table Mesa Drive in Boulder, by the Yale cross street. A big chunk of earth was washed out, exposing a pipe, during the September 2013 floods in Boulder, Colorado.
Ori, walking in the rain, during the September 12-14, 2013 floods in Boulder, Colorado.
The river flowing down the middle of Table Mesa Drive in south Boulder, early Thursday morning, September 12, 2013 during the Boulder floods:
Whitewater rapids in south Boulder, Colorado, on Table Mesa road, during the floods in Boulder, Colorado.
Ori looking at the flooded creek in the middle of Table Mesa drive, during the floods in Boulder, Colorado.
Whitewater rapids in south Boulder, Colorado, on Table Mesa road, during the floods in Boulder, Colorado.
All photos by Jeff Finkelstein. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Want to use an image? Just ask… we won’t say no.
Due to massive flooding in Boulder, Colorado, the Customer Paradigm office will be closed on September 12, 2013.
Our client had complained of slow site speed for a few months. The long load times were significant enough to warrant concern that valuable sales were being lost.
It was clear the issue lie in lengthy queries to the database, specifically when loading category pages. We were in agreement with the host (another Magento Silver partner) that installing a robust caching application would merely be throwing money at a band-aid and not a full-fledged solution.
We began by investigating which particular database calls were taking the longest, and found a problem in the getFinalPrice function on the catalog page.
It seems that in order to get the price to display on category pages, Magento loads every simple product associated with a configurable product. For checkout and billing, this is necessary, but when displaying a simple price, it’s completely overkill.
The category pages in question were filled with configurable products, most having over 100 associated simple products. This meant that even loading as few as 9 products on a page made over 1,000 database calls. This caused a far too lengthy load time.
In our client’s case it took over 12 seconds to load one of their most popular categories.
We commented out the database calls within the getFinalPrice function, which gave us an immediate improvement on page load time.
There were still a few kinks to work out in this solution, however.
We discovered that this code was responsible for loading super product attribute pricing. Disabling this code meant disabling the ability to upcharge based on configurable product attributes.
Also, simply commenting out this line of code would be a modification to the Magento core code.
In resolution, our Magento Certified Developer created a module that creates a new, optimized version of getFinalPrice called getFinalBasicPrice for configurable products. It also updates the price.phtml used on the catalog list pages to use the new call.
This module lives outside the Magento core code, and also allows the site to retain the function of super product attribute pricing.
We were able to push this new module to the client’s site, and immediately saw a 75% decrease in category page load time
For an immediate result, the day after their site enjoyed a 43.97% increase in their eCommerce conversion rate.
A quick shout-out to Cade Courtley who was just featured on ABC News – 20/20 program, talking about how to remain calm and alive while in peril.
SEO goes beyond increasing your website’s rankings in search engines; it looks to improve the overall health of your site through website diagnostics. Website diagnostics looks at the technical side of your site and how it affects user experience, which is how helpful and easy it is for somebody visiting your webpage.
A website that is easy to use and relevant to the visitor results in better leads and conversions. Your conversions can be anything you think is valuable to your company such as completing a sale, signing up for a newsletter, liking your social media page, filling out a contact form, etc.
There are many companies out there claiming to provide a great service by notifying you of whether or not your site shows up in search engines, providing mass link backs to your site or how your site looks on a pc, laptop, tablet, and mobile. They often will charge you upfront to run a diagnostic. However, most of the information is already available to businesses and some SEO companies exercise black hat SEO tactics to push search engine rankings as well as instill fear in clients.
We at Customer Paradigm do our best to always adhere to white hat SEO methods so that our clients’ websites remain healthy and are not punished by the frequent Google Penguin and Panda SEO updates. We provide free diagnostic reports that highlight the most important technical strengths and weaknesses your website currently has as well as what your competitors are up to. The primary key to improving your website ranking is by improving the health of the site and the user experience. The goal of the website diagnostics is to recognize any potential issues before they become a big problem.
Every single day, Google bots are crawling every page of your website to check out what kind of content is on there. They search through the text and html for certain keywords and information each page provides and decides how relevant this page would be to people looking for information in search engines. The goal of Google is to provide relevant information to the users. If your website is relevant with fresh, updated content, Google rewards those sites with higher rankings. If your website has little relevant content and barely has any updates, then it will drop in rankings.
In addition to having relevant content, how well a site is built and designed for an easy and friendly user experience is also taken into consideration with search engine ranking. Our diagnostics team addresses errors that appear since they affect user experience quality through things such as meta data, links, and 404 errors. We’ll also let you know if your site is not being indexed by Google and any other important things to note on your site.
Once all the basics diagnostics are covered, we go beyond the essentials and continue to look at the overall user experience that each website has. For e-commerce sites, it’s essential to identify why sales aren’t increasing and where and why users leave the site. For every type of business, it’s important to instill branding throughout the website and form a trusting relationship with users in order to get more leads into conversions.
A great SEO company will address these issues with you and talk about plans to continue to improve your website over time. It doesn’t end there either; SEO extends itself to offsite link building, social media, and more to improve page rankings. It’s important to understand that SEO is not something that happens overnight, over a week, or even over a month. Quality SEO improves websites over the course of several months or more for long term website benefits and organic search engine rankings depending on the size of your site.
Similar to the health of a person, you cannot take a pill that will make you healthy in a day or week. Rather, improving one’s health requires in-depth improvement of the body and mind, which gets better as time goes on, so long as that person continues to work on their wellness on a daily basis. For online businesses, it all starts with a website diagnostic to identify which areas need improvement before real progress can take place.
According to a new study, the city of Boulder, Colorado is the top city in the United States for technology start up companies.
As the founder of Customer Paradigm, I’ve always felt Boulder is a top place to create a company.
And now, there’s a study that backs it up:
Boulder is the top city for tech startups in the U.S, according to a joint report released today by research foundation Engine and the Missouri-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
The report measured the density of tech startups — companies between 1 and 5 years old — and found that after adjusting for city size, Boulder had a tech startup formation rate six times the national average.
Read more here:
Google search is now offering in-depth articles to satisfy the 10% of their visitors who really want to understand more about the topic.
Not everyone wants to do a deep-dive, but some do, and this is a great new trend:
Google is shutting down the Google+ Local app for iPhones on August 7th, 2013. Despite being a popular product, Google is already redirecting people trying to download Google+ Local app to the Google Maps app instead.
The Google Maps mobile app has the same features as Google+ Local and more. Streamlining to Google Maps mobile makes more sense since it is used much more regularly than Google+ Local. The switch over provides a more interactive experience, similar to what the New Google Maps has done for the online browser experience, since all the features of Google+ Local is available on Google Maps plus the ability to add photos.
Android users have nothing to worry about as Android is already a Google platform with Google Maps. In addition to Map, Directions, and ability to Call, users can write and look at reviews, see popular things people are talking about in regards to businesses, Street View, and photos.