Is Your Website Secure? – It Needs To Be

SSL Certificate

If you have a website you may have heard a lot of talk about security and in particular, the need for an SSL certificate or “having a security certificate”.

Most people, in all honesty, don’t even know what an SSL certificate is. I’ll try to explain without getting too techy.


What is SSL

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.  The (SSL) creates a secure connection between the visitors on your site and the server that does the processing of interactions on your website, such as product sales, or form submissions.

SSL uses a cryptographic system that encrypts your users’ personal data from malicious activity. If you’re selling goods and services online, where people need to input their credit card details or any personal information, it is essential that your website is secure.

SSL Certificate

SSL certificates make it known that your site is secure and therefore, trustworthy.

Online shopping has increased dramatically in recent years and as web users become more tech-savvy, they know that shopping on sites with a SSL certificate is more likely to mean a more safe, secure transaction.

Sensible online shoppers won’t risk submitting their personal financial information on a non-secure website site.  Would you input your personal details to a site if it was marked in the browser as being un-secure?

Why Your Website Needs An SSL Certificate

  • Encryption of sensitive information
  • Authentication of the transactions path to the proper party
  • Gain consumer trust (trusted websites sell more!)
  • Protect against phishing scams
  • Google ranks secure sites higher

My suggestion, as a site owner, is to make the investment. Not only will it improve sales/trust, but it will also, mitigate the potential grief from stolen customer data.

Furthermore, your website is a part of your business, something that you made a significant investment in.   Therefore, if it’s not performing as it should, because it’s been demoted in the listings by Google, then surely that’s an urgent action point?  Need more info on this? 

Not secureThe address bar on Google Chrome notifies users of an insecure website.  That’s not going to inspire trust, and subsequently,  you may notice your leads dry up.

Different Types of Certificate Are Available

There are lots of different companies providing SSL Certificates, and there are different levels of encryption available.   If you get an EV certificate, you will also get a green address bar that further denotes trust.  * Green may not be active since 2018 via Google Chrome.   The stronger certificates still look slightly different though. (see below)

digicert ssl

This is preferable if you sell products online.

Choose wisely, because winning customer trust is really important.  Once they’re gone, you may never get them back.   Peak District SEO can advise you about making your website secure.

Related Links
Reliable SSL Providers

3 Ways to Use Onsite Search Data to Boost Conversion Rates

on site search

Onsite Search Improves Conversion Rates: – Phil Gregory

Implementing on-site search on your website will literally be the gift that keeps on giving.   Looking at site search data one of the easiest ways to gauge what your customers/visitors are actually looking for on your website.  this will allow you to better react and make key marketing decisions that will help your customers and your bottom line.

Correctly implemented and configured, web CMS platforms and Google Analytics can record customer searches.  These days website platforms such as WordPress and Magento have some kind of internal Site search tracking built in. If your platform doesn’t, then there are usually lot’s of extensions or plugins that will add or enhance the ability to monitor what users search for.

Why Internal Site Search Data Is Important

Learning what people search for will give you key insight into:

  • What your customers want.
  • What content customers find it hard to find
  • What your customers describe the product they seek.
  • How many people use search, and why.
  • Searcher types

Let’s split the searchers into 3 core searcher types and therefore different ways to deal with improving the customer journey for each

Default Tendency- AKA Lazy Search Monkeys

Some customers just use search as their first option. They often perform broad term searches such as ‘dresses’ or  ‘men’s shoes’ etc.

There is a good chance that they are searching for something which is probably already well signposted via the main website navigation. They just choose to search.

The Well Informed Shopper

Most people don’t even notice product codes. However, Anyone who works in retail or ecommerce knows that product codes are a fantastic way to identify EXACTLY the product you seek.

Many websites have product codes, MPNs (Manufacturer Part number), barcodes or a unique code which the user might come to the site with. Especially with popular products, the EAN (International / European Article Number) is a great way to get fast product price comparisons across channels and find the best deal.

Novice Searcher & Frustrated Users

These people are the ones where your business is most at risk of losing the conversion. If users can’t find what they are looking for via the navigation, they often turn to search.

We’ve all done it right? You know what you want, you can’t find an obvious place in the navigation, the navigation is poor, the website is cluttered and you can’t be bothered to try and seek it out.

NB: These customers offer a golden opportunity. Check their searches and improve your website based on their searches.

Default Tendency Searches

Customers who use search as their first action when visiting a site can be annoying for you, because they are ignoring and bypassing your site layout, and asking a question without looking. Are you prepared for this?

Actions to take
Look at the list of search terms, where a search term is broad, make sure that you redirect that term to hit a relevant category landing page. This way users will arrive at a more relevant page, helping them to narrow their search.

Product Code Searches

Some customers, particularly tradespeople, may search by product codes. Other users may have simply researched the product and are seeking just that, they may search in this way because they are single-minded and efficient types.

Actions to take
Try to segment these users after checkout. Later you could email them, ask them to complete a questionnaire and offer a discount on upcoming purchases for completing it. This will help you to learn more about why they search this way.

Novice & Frustrated Searchers

If people can’t find what they are looking for quickly, there could be an issue with your navigation menus. Ask yourself:

  • Is the navigation clear and simple?
  • Are the products in the correct categories?

We often see products that are not even in a category, or they have been placed in the wrong category by accident.

Actions to take
It’s worth checking the search terms for exact products and making sure that matching products are located in the correct category.

Make sure that your navigation is simple to follow.  Less is more. You want your navigation to be clear and obvious. Try to avoid duplication in your menu/nav bar as this leads to customer confusion, and worse, Google confusion.

In conclusion
Our research shows that taking action on the issues mentioned above have shown an uplift in conversions from 50 to 100%.

It’s easy to ignore internal search data, Many companies don’t even track it. Yet it really does offer you some low hanging fruit in terms of understanding user behaviour data.

Want to know more?

Email us or fill out the form on the right >>

ecommerce seo expert

ecommerce seo experts

Is your business looking for an ecommerce seo expert?

If so then why not talk to us?  Peak District SEO have plenty of experience of working on Multi-Million Pound eCommerce Websites.

Regardless of what platform your ecommerce website runs on, we can help. The majority of our experience lies with Magento, Shopify, Opencart and WooCommerce but we have worked an almost all the major ecommerce platforms and evaluate all work thoroughly before sending out quotes.

If you want to know more about what might be holding your ecommerce website back, get in touch.

Let us Check Your Site For Errors.

Get in Touch

How is Ecommerce SEO Different To Normal SEO?

Well truthfully, it isn’t.

Ecommerce SEO still requires a mix of technical SEO, On page, off page SEO, some social media and maybe some paid marketing. Most of all it requires a whole heap of patience and hard work.  The main aim is getting you more leads and sales. Visitor numbers matter but we want them to convert into customers.

“It’s no good paying for a couple of months work and expecting your sales to skyrocket. “

It’s no good paying for a couple of months work and expecting your sales to skyrocket.  I mean, that could happen, but it’s likely to take a lot more work than that.

ecommerce SEO takes time because usually ecommerce sites have a lot more pages than the average brochure website.  There are informational pages, Category pages and product pages, lots and lots of product pages.

Hire an affordable ecommerce seo expert

Price is always relative, but we have fixed rates. We don’t adjust the price up if we think you have money in the bank. We always offer a choice of work packages based on the amount of work that needs doing.

Nevertheless, you’ll find that Peak District SEO offer affordable rates for SEO and PPC that will allow your ecommerce business to grow year on year.

Some Common eCommerce SEO Mistakes

Titles and Descriptions
The majority of companies with ecommerce websites will come unstuck at some point.

“We’ve seen businesses start doing their ecommerce merchandising with the best of intentions, fifty products in and they are completely bored”

We’ve seen businesses start doing their ecommerce merchandising with the best of intentions, fifty products in and they are completely bored.  Then they start copy/pasting the same titles and descriptions on every product, you know, “just to save time”, when in fact, they are creating a nightmare for themselves further down the line.

We’ve seen sites with thousands of products that all have the same title and description, just because ‘some bright spark’ decided a plugin that offered a ‘one-click fix’ was the answer to all their problems.  Ignore ‘one click fixes’, ignore claims of ‘automated solutions’, humans understand user intention, humans, understand data, humans write passionate engaging content.

Good titles and descriptions have to be thought about, and they have to be written by hand.

Fix Your Image Size Mistakes

Images make a website right?  How many times have you heard that? Well to some degree, it’s true, but they can also BREAK a website.  All too often we see ecommerce sites with terrible, terrible images.

Your images shouldn’t be too small or too large. They should always be named and labelled well.

Blurry images tend to be a hangover from the days when we all had to over-optimise images because we all had terribly slow internet.  Whilst the UK isn’t known for its lightning internet speeds, it’s certainly good enough to handle decent quality product images on ecommerce websites, so you don’t need to OVER compress images.

*You should still compress your images. Try to remember though that your product images don’t need to have huge physical dimensions.  They just need to be clear and properly illustrate the product.  If your images are too big they just slow the site down and make your pages load too slowly.

Name your images properly and give them an ‘alt tag’ that reflects the product.

Then you’re going to have decent images. Even then, don’t rest on your laurels, keep an eye on the product, has it changed?  Watch what your nearest competitor is doing.  Are they presenting the products in a more engaging way than you?  If so, you need to respond.

Create SEO Friendly URLs

It’s important to create easy to type and easy to remember URLs. Not just for customers but for search engines too.

URLs or web addresses, as many people know them, reflect the location of pages and content within your website. Having simple web addresses will help your site. The longer the URL the harder it is to remember it, the easier it is to make a mistake if typing it.

URLS reflect the structure of your website. It’s really important to plan the website before building it. We can always tell the sites that haven’t been well planned because their URL structures are poorly put together.

Here are some examples and variations of poor URLS


Example 1: large/flanellet-greyshirt123

This URL is just too long. Whilst it does reflect where the shirt is located and what the product is, it could be presented better. We don’t need the colour, or size in the URL and the product name could be more appealing.

Example 2:

This URL uses capital letters. It’s not the end of the world, but it can lead to mistakes when you are sharing the links, or if people are typing the links by hand. If someone uses lowercase instead of uppercase, the link will break and the user will see a 404. Keep URL all lowercase.

Example 3:

This URL uses underscores. Again, not the end of the world but when the URL is displayed as a link and the link is underlined (depends on the site stylesheet) you can’t see the underscore.  Also when a search engine reads URLs with hyphens, it ignores them, so it will only see “calvinklein”, which may confuse it. So keep it simple and use hyphens to denote gaps between words.

We see many of these issues when looking at older ecommerce sites.  In 2018 there are plugins and extensions that help your website URLs to be better optimised and present better more user and search engine friendly URLs.

Search engine and user-friendly URL example.

How hard could it be?  Details like the colour and size can be chosen via filters on category pages or options on the product pages.

Of course, we’ve hardly scratched the surface, but there are literally hundreds of things you can do to improve your eCommerce site, here are a few more.  Alternatively, you could speak directly to us about getting your site appraised. It’s completely free and should help you to make some clear decisions about how to get started.

Got More Questions About Ecommerce SEO?

The Website Images Checklist

website images

Website Images are an integral part of your content, whether you are an eCommerce business or a brochure site selling services the images are a key component of your sales Funnel.  When done correctly, images will aid your website when done correctly.

To make sure you are getting the most from your website images we have built a simple checklist.

Are Your Existing Website Images High Quality?

Website images are like websites themselves, they date. After a few years, they can begin to look tired, images from the early 2000’s are often too small and pixelated for today’s high-resolution screens. Photos of staff members and premises can go out of date, as fashions change and your staff members come and go.

Review your images, do it honestly, ask some team members and friends to review the images too. Get detailed feedback on the images on your website.

1) Take new photos yourself
If you are a great amateur photographer this could be the way to go.  It would be a good investment to buy a decent SLR camera, Some lights and a green screen or a lightbox. Again, be honest, if you can’t take photos, and you can’t use photoshop, forget it, Options 2 & 3 will serve you better.

2) Pay for Stock images
There are loads of good Stock image companies out there. My advice would be to pay for a premium service such as Shutterstock. The level of photos available is far superior to most others out there. However, if you are struggling for cash, then try a free Stock image account like Pixaby or Pexels.

3) Hire a Professional
To get exactly what you want, hiring a professional is by far the way to go. They will translate your vision into reality whilst providing their artistic interpretation. the photos will be of high quality and you will own the rights to them ( if you negotiate that).

Hire a professional product photographer to come into your business and photograph your products or if you only offer services,  you should hire a good wedding photographer to come to your business and shoot your team in situ. These photographs will make a huge difference to the way users perceive your website.

Does Your Website Images Depict Your Goods & Services?

Working in this industry I see many websites that fail to utilise images well. It’s your job as the website owner/merchandiser to SELL your business and convince users that your products and services are the best.

Try to show your customers the benefits of owning such products, so blurry, dark, or poorly presented images won’t help you to sell.

Would the product benefit from any extra images?
If you are selling a product, the more detailed images you can provide the better impression of the product you will present to the customer.

Selling cars? Provide lots of feature images.  Selling software? provide screenshots of the different functions. It’s not rocket science. A good example is the Apple App store or Amazon. I’d never buy products that don’t at least try to sell the product. Most customers need to be convinced of how good the product is before they buy.

Are Your Images Compressed ?

Whether your images are coming from a digital camera or from photoshop or similar apps, they need to be compressed so that they load quickly.

Even in today’s world of super-fast broadband (jokes if you live in the UK) uncompressed images can still slow a website down significantly.

To avoid this compress your images. Image compression software squeezes images and removes and unnecessary data from the files. Good image compression software is included in Photoshop, using the save for web feature. A quick Google search will help you find alternatives if you don’t use Photoshop.

WordPress users can turn to a range of image compression plugins.  My favourite two are WP-Smush and Shortpixel.

Try to avoid scaling your images.
Blurry product images with a small physical size have been stretched to fill more space on a page.  It’s better to create clear, high-resolution images, and then create smaller versions to use on category and product pages, rather than to try to scale an image up or down.

Scaling a small image up reduces the sharpness of an image.
Scaling a large image down reduces the way it looks on the page. It will still have its large file size, which can slow down the loading time of your web page.

If you think the images need replacing, don’t hold off.  When it comes to replacing the images on your website, you have three choices.

Are Your Images Named Properly?

This is a great tip. So many websites and I literally mean about 98% of all websites I ever see, do not name their images correctly.  It’s such a simple tip that can help with:

  • Your organisation of files, both on your server and local machines
  • Helps search engines categorise the images better
  • improving  your SEO

Never just use the names from your digital camera. eg: DSC12674546sd
instead, try something like Eg. blue-salomon-trail-shoes.jpg

Do your images have alt tags?
Alt attributes within <img> tags are used by search engines to understand the contents of your images. If you neglect alt attributes, you may miss the chance to get a better placement in search results because alt attributes allow you to rank in image search results. Not using alt attributes also negatively affects the experience of visually impaired users and those who have disabled images in their browsers.

  • Always use hyphens to replace spaces or underscores
  • Always use lowercase not uppercase letters
  • Use Alpha-Numerics (and hyphens) where possible

Image Formats and Physical File Sizes

Ideally, use PNG formatting or JPG.
PNG files are good for logos, buttons and banners. use JPG/JPEG for photographs.  GIFS (Jiffs) are good fun but shouldn’t be used for product images.

Files size is the number of bytes (information) contained in an image. Physical size refers to its dimensions, eg: with and height. Depending on the aspect ratio you have decided upon for products, we recommend somewhere between 1000 and 1500 pixels in dimensions for image uploads. This should cover any zoom requirements.

If all of that wasn’t enough, here’s a quick audio podcast we made too.

Customer Trust Key to Making More Sales

Happy Customers

Building Customer Trust on Your Website: Phil Gregory 2017.

How To Build Customer Trust on Your Website

Trust is a crucial ingredient that you must earn to get visitors to buy from your website.  If visitors to your website don’t think it’s safe and trustworthy, they are likely to leave and may never return.

There are a number of factors that subtly influence visitors to trust your website.  In this post, I’ll explore some of those factors. Continue reading “Customer Trust Key to Making More Sales”