In this new interview, Kees shares some important news on Google adwords and answers a reader’s question on customer service.
Hi Kees, how was your week?
I was a bit bored in the weekend so I decided to host a webinar on Monday. I sent an email to my mailing list and I gave a 1.5 hour presentation on SEO on Monday: how to rank higher in Google. It was fun, I used webinar software for it, which allows people to ask their questions in the chat.
How is the Magento upgrade going? You told me last week that the layout didn’t function anymore.
Progress is slow but steady. There are a number of domain names linked to my online stores and ensuring that those links work proved to be more difficult than I thought. I did try to fix it myself, but ended up wasting an evening. Then I decided to outsource this job on Upwork, again to a Sri Lankan freelancer.
Kees, we got an interesting question from Frank on customer service. It is always nice to get questions from our readers. Frank asked: ‘What tools do you use yourself? A ticketing system or something else?’
Yes, we do use a ticketing system, by Freshdesk. That software package also includes live chat, and Tweets and Facebook messages also enter the system. It’s good software.
I can also route the telephone lines to it, but because we have so many telephone numbers, with one dedicated number for each of our online stores in the various countries in which we operate, we don’t use this Freshdesk feature. But for a smaller online store this could also be used without a problem.
Is it possible to link everything there? Automatically linking an email message to an order, for example…
I am not a fan of automatic linking by software. It sometimes goes wrong and it takes up server capacity. So we don’t do that.
Kees, you always follow ecommerce news. Did you find out something interesting or important last week?
Yes, in fact I did! We discussed Google Adwords during a previous session, and since then a lot has changed. The “right side” of Google Ads is gone.
What does that mean exactly?
That there are only four ads above the fold of the page. The rest of the advertisements are all “banned” to the bottom of the page.
Before this change, there were ten ads above the fold: five above the search results, and five at the top right of the page.
OK, that’s a significant development indeed! What kind of impact do you expect this to have?
One, I think the quality of the ads will increase – only the best ads of the best sites will be shown now. Second, the big online department stores such as Amazon will have a harder time to score top positions for niche products. This ensures that you will only get results that are really relevant, of specialized online stores who can serve their niche well.
It will, however, become harder for starting online entrepreneurs and the really small online stores. If you are not among the first four with your ad, you will see an enormous decrease of your paid traffic.
Why does Google do this? Will they earn more because of it?
They say that they do it to align web and mobile. Mobile never had advertisements on the side of the page, and the desktop/laptop browsers now follow.
Of course, there probably is an economic motive as well. If you really want to be part of the first four, your might spend more.
And don’t forget that Google Shopping becomes more prominent on the search results page now. This move made space for that.
Please remind us how Google Shopping works – are they all Google Ads as well?
Yes, what you see in the window after a search, is all Google ads. But when you go the Google Shopping page, there may also be some free results among the displayed products.
What is the impact for your business? You for example said during a previous interview on Google ads that you always want to maintain the top position with one online store, and that another hammock store doesn’t necessarily need to have a top position, but that it does need to shown somewhere above the fold. If it will be shown below the fold now, is that still interesting for you?
Yes, you are right, these are certainly also interesting developments for my company. We will definitely monitor these developments and perform analyses in the coming period. For now, I am not changing anything.
I will make sure that my primary stores keep on getting the top positions, that’s not something that is going to change.
A few interviews ago you told me that there are rumours that the search algorithm will be amended. Did you hear something more about that?
The rumours still go around. It is not totally clear what they are implementing, but it is clear that they are working on something. It seems that results of changes will be visible more quickly.
I am not totally sure, but I have the feeling that our SEO approach in France is bearing fruit sooner than it would a year ago. We made more progress with a couple of search terms than I expected. Perhaps this is a result of the amended search algorithm.
I’d be happy to hear more about this when you find out!
We will sure keep on following these developments!
It is a bit funny that when you were expecting a big change in the area of organic search (the search engine itself), a big change in Google ads happens instead…
Yes, this Google ads development came a bit unexpected.
There is, however, something that the various developments have in common: it becomes increasingly important to get and maintain top positions in Google, otherwise your online store will suffer from a lack of visibility.