Thursday, February 7, 2008

Web site review: Why is Blinds.com so blind to search engine optimization?

This site knows its customers, but doesn't do enough with search engine optimization

(In every issue of the print issue of Internet Marketing Report, we include a review of a Web site. This review of Blinds.com can be found on page 3 of the February 8, 2008 issue.)

Take a look at Blinds.com for a site that knows exactly what prospects need. Unlike its rivals’ sites, this company aims to build trust and credibility first, sell second. That’s something any company could be doing.

To see how, take a look at the home page. It:

• Uses the righthand side of the page to show how its prices compare with rivals’ and entice prospects to get its e-mail with the promise of continuing good deals.
• Promises free shipping, free samples and details of its 100% satisfaction guarantee, and
• Puts a running strip of products that customers have just bought across the middle of the page.

And it includes lists of the company’s best sellers. That reassures buyers that others like them have trusted this site, too. That’s an idea b2b marketers could easily adapt.

You are not alone

The other side of building trust is reassuring buyers you’ll be there to help them.

Blinds.com uses the tabs across the home page to show how it can help buyers measure and install. Then it uses the bottom left of the home page to reassure buyers that it won’t leave them to install the products by themselves. It provides links to “how-to” video, get help, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and other help.

What's not working on this site?

Gotta love what Blinds.com does to make buyers feel secure, but there’s not much to like about its search engine optimization.

Blinds.com focuses on paid keywords and affiliate marketing, without doing enough to generate free traffic by optimizing its site.

Content rules

For example, search for “honeycomb shades” using Google search. The company has the top listing in the paid ads, but is nowhere to be seen in the organic results.

What’s going wrong? It needs more content! Search engines love content best of all. To increase its results, it could break up its Frequently Asked Questions into separate pages and use keywords in each FAQ page.

For a good example of how to do this, visit the Internal Revenue Service's FAQs.

Blinds.com could also attract more organic (unpaid) traffic by including lengthy how-to articles or including users' own experiences with renovating their home and installing new window treatments.

Another problem: It has great customer reviews, but it isn’t doing much viral marketing. It doesn’t have a blog or a user forum where buyers could discuss what worked for them. For example, the site makes minimal use of RSS feeds, and subscribing isn’t easy or arranged to improve search rankings.

The RSS page does have something worth borrowing if your online visitors aren't Web savvy. It includes descriptions and definitions of RSS. That's useful for less sophisticated online shoppers.

Cool idea: Online feed of product reviews

And I like the way buyers can get an RSS feed of reviews of popular products. That's a nice touch.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor, Julie Power, Thursday February 7, 2008, at 10 a.m.


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