Website owners have been hearing “content is king” for years now. And with Google’s barrage of Core Updates in June/July 2021, that isn’t changing any time soon. The challenge with many eCommerce sites, though, is the massive number of pages on them and how they’ve become tangled with each site change or even product addition. If you do a deep dive, we’re sure you’ll find pages that are out of date, irrelevant, misplaced, containing errant links, and generally the cause of user-experience frustrations and Google penalties. Fortunately, there are ways to diagnose and fix SEO content problems.
There are hundreds of SEO audit tools out there. We built the EXCLUSIVE Content Scorecard for SEO to fill a gap in the understanding of content health. Sure, we could have run a crawl and told you how many short and long titles you have, but we’ve heard from prospects and clients time and again, “Don’t just tell me how many broken links I have – give me something more.” Understanding content health goes much deeper and can actually help uncover larger technical issues at the same time. So by exploring content health, we’re also uncovering the “more” that growing eCommerce businesses want and need.
Our free scorecard covers thin content, duplicate content, and orphaned pages. We provide a health score based on what we have observed as ranking signals (cues picked up by Google and other search engines to calculate how a website should rank). With 200+ signals in ranking algorithms, any single grader or audit tool only provides a snapshot in terms of specific breakdowns of performance. However, we have focused the Exclusive Concepts scorecard on three ranking signals that are weighted most heavily for optimal SEO performance.
Thin content includes pages that aren’t living up to their full potential. Remember that Google is in the business of providing answers and information. When a website doesn’t provide visitors with enough information in breadth and depth, that is considered thin content and Google will prefer another website over yours, namely one that better satisfies the algorithm and visitors.
The EXCLUSIVE Content Scorecard flags web pages with fewer than 100 words on them. Even for product detail listing pages, you should aim for 150-250 words. For category pages, you should aim even higher. And yes, Google is smart enough to detect redundancy and filler so make sure that your content delivers clear value. Other benefits that come from including content that is clear and provides value include:
Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one page of your site. It includes exact duplicates and as well as content that is highly similar. When you have duplicate content on your website, you’re confusing Google and shoppers who can’t discern which page is the “right” one to go to.
As well, duplicate content skews your metrics as you are splitting impressions between pages and not getting an accurate read on traffic and clicks. Our scorecard flags pages where more than 50% of the page content is found on another page of the site.
Orphaned content is a web page that is stranded because nothing links to it. The page is not attached to the site structure. It’s essentially floating untethered to the navigation or any other content.
Often, orphaned pages are leftovers from earlier website iterations. They should have been unpublished, but they were missed and now they’ve been forgotten about and are slowing your site. Google can still find them and evaluate their content and so can our scorecard. If the orphaned page is important, integrate it logically into the site structure so shoppers can find it. If the page is no longer relevant, remove it so as not to confused Google or users. Any pages you can eliminate may also help with site load time and indexing.
SEO is about so much more than backend and frontend keywords. Content that sends the right signals to Google and that resonates with shoppers is critical. Don’t leave your rank or shoppability to chance. Get your free EXCLUSIVE Content Scorecard for SEO so you can easily find trouble spots and fix them
Add if you’re interested in further helpful SEO tips and tools, check out The Ultimate Guide to Understanding & Improving eCommerce SEO: Your Free Resources Center.
Google Ads campaigns are instrumental to eCommerce success, but maximizing the value of these campaigns requires accessing and understanding exactly what drives your Google Ads performance. Without that, it’s really just throwing money at keywords without fully understanding the ramifications of how that money is spent. And needless to say, a lot of that money gets wasted on non-performing or underperforming campaigns.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to discern how a campaign or ad is performing. The Google Ads interface is overstuffed with data requiring heavy filtering and downloading. Once you’ve exported your data, you have to aggregate it and dig deep in Excel to make sense of what’s there.
Once you’ve taken the time and used the skill required to do that, it can often be hard to tell what’s a true success. Just because a campaign is making money doesn’t mean it’s a true winner. And even if the RoAS (Return on Ad Spend) is the same on multiple products, that doesn’t mean that all of those products are equal when it comes to selling them efficiently and profitably.
You need to be attuned to bigger-picture efficiencies and your personal business goals — those aren’t things found within Google Ads (like all ad platforms, Google Ads is a platform that exists to encourage you to always spend more even when it may not be truly worth it).
That’s why we created the Google Ads Scorecard. Time after time, executives and brand owners approached us with the same concerns about their Google Ads spending. It was clear to us that they were missing some key information and that we could assist them by providing that.
In this article, I’ll cover the key points our scorecard looks at so you can determine how your Google Ads are performing.
Our free scorecard covers products, keywords, devices, and branded versus non-branded performance. It ranks the best and worst Google Ads performers in each category as well as the total cost of wasted spend so you can reduce that ASAP.
All of this information is presented in graphical reports that are clear and informative so that execs can make cost-saving, revenue-boosting decisions. It’s based on three months of historic data and pacing over the next 12 months so businesses can see the cumulative effects (and costs) of not optimizing. And once you run your scorecard, it automatically refreshes monthly so you can see your progress as well as new opportunities.
A scorecard should be easy-to-read visual data presented clearly. You should see immediately where waste lies and where opportunities reside.
A good scorecard gives you more than just the raw data and displays, you should also get recommendations and insights that can only come from human advertising experts who bring a whole new dimension to the data.
In terms of specific breakdowns of performance, the Exclusive Concepts scorecard will show the following critical metrics:
Based on your unique results, these scores show how close your overall Google Ads performance is to optimal. Color-coded and titled for info at a quick glance, these scores prepare you for the detail and breakdown of what’s to come later in the analysis. To start though, you’ll be able to easily identify where you are excelling and where you can improve.
This section shows what percentage of spend is being wasted in each category. Wasted ad spend is any spend that isn’t hitting your RoAS goals or any spend on non-converting terms. We rank each brand’s best-to-worst performing Google Ads keywords, so you can clearly identify areas of opportunity and areas that should be scaled back or reallotted. This allows you to provide direction to your team and to hold them more accountable when it comes to meeting the goals you’ve set. You’ll see firsthand how you can stretch your spend by allocating more to winning campaigns and eliminating losing campaigns and redundancies that split impressions.
On average, mobile represents more than 50-60% of website traffic. By the same token, mobile can be one of the strongest drivers of poor return. Knowing your device placement performance will show if you’re making the most of this opportunity. Mobile-first eCommerce has never been more important, so this is a key area of improvement for most businesses. Right now, the use of mobile devices is increasing — but so is the variety of mobile devices. You need to know what works for your unique brand and products. You need insight into how shoppers are viewing your ads, not just the search terms they used to get there. Shifting ad spend from one device type to another can be a real game-changer for some businesses. But you won’t know until you see firsthand the device types being used to engage with your ads,
The intent in reviewing branded versus non-branded search term performance is to understand if the majority of your return is coming from existing customers. These shoppers know what they want and they ask for it by brand name. Branded terms will always outperform non-branded terms but they do little to bring you new acquisitions, so you need to find the right mix of branded and non-branded keywords.
Power Stat: Branded terms return at a 10X higher RoAS than non-branded terms. If you don’t own your branded terms, your competitors will, and they’ll pocket all that RoAS and revenue that should be yours. Your scorecard will show you exactly where you stand on brand terms and if/where you can go further to seize those branded 10x RoAS terms.
Succinct and precise, this section provides a snapshot of your overall performance so you never lose sight of the big picture.
10 Worst-Performing Search Terms: This result lists the 10 search terms that contribute the most waste to your ad spend. These keywords aren’t just failing to perform, they’re actually costing you not to perform. Once you know them, you can dial them back or even eliminate them and see immediate gains.
10 Best-Performing Search Terms: Similarly, this list outlines the 10 best search terms in terms of Google Ads performance. These are your winners, and once you’ve identified them, you can invest more heavily in them and try new strategies for incorporating them into growth campaigns.
10 Worst and Best Performing Products: Using a products-based focus, these sections are comparable to the corresponding search term sections in that they list the exact products where you can reduce waste and increase your RoAS. These charts compare ad spend and revenue item by item to demonstrate why each product got the rating it did. Again, you’ve never seen your winners and losers identified so clearly. Once you have, you can make changes that get immediate results.
With metrics like ad spend, revenue, RoAS, cost per click (CPC), and conversion rate, this chart reviews Google Ads performance for multi-channel campaigns. At a glance, you can see the results of your campaigns in text, shopping, video, display, smart shopping, and other vehicles.
This shows strategic opportunities in branded vs. non-branded campaigns that many companies overlook. Running this report for your business will make sure you know you aren’t among those companies. This is low-hanging fruit. Shake that tree!
By comparing your device performance with ad spend, revenue, RoAS, CPC, and conversion rate, you can determine if and how your mobile, tablet, or desktop campaigns should be optimized. This section also includes best practices and examples of poor paid search campaigns to give you a point of comparison. Remember that when you provide shopping experiences optimized for a user’s device, you increase the likelihood of conversion.
This section gives you quick access to the essential information for the holistic performance of your product ads across devices. It will help you understand your audience and their shopping habits better so you can adjust your methods of reach.
Your Google Ads Scorecard delivers seriously powerful data and actionable insights. It shows you where you’re wasting money and where you could be making money. With Google Shopping being commission-free, you need every advertising advantage you can get in order to stand out. Request your free EXCLUSIVE Google Ads Scorecard today.