Is your eCommerce 2017-ready?

Charlie Hankers | January 12th 2017

In 2016 a number of important digital marketing and eCommerce seeds were planted that will be coming to fruition over the next few months. Here is what to do before summer to make sure you’re fully optimised and dodging pesky penalties.

Consider Mobile First

In 2015, a search landmark was reached when Google announced that more than 50% of search was done on mobile devices. By August 2016 this had reached a staggering 60%. Google cannot ignore this trend, and in 2017 it will be prioritising mobile-friendly pages, even when viewed on desktop – a change from the status quo, where the device being used determines the order of results.

This is a key moment for SEO. Pages designed specifically for mobile are different in terms of design, navigation, bandwidth use, resolution and content. Placement of key information is critical if it’s to appear above the fold. That’s not to say things need to be shorter – we’re now used to reading long-form on the mobile – but a philosophy of thrift is required. Get this right and you’ll see it in your rankings.

And if you’re serious about mobile friendliness …

Eliminate those interstitial pages

We’ve all been irritated by those pop-ups that take up the whole screen on our mobiles when we visit a website. They’re known as interstitial pages and are usually ads for some product, service, app or subscription. Google is starting 2017 by punishing sites that use them by kicking them where it hurts: in their rankings. If you’re placing such interstitials between the referrer (i.e. Google) and the content people are trying to see, now is a good time to take them down.

Google has pointed out, however, that this does not apply to pop-ups asking for age verification where required, informing users of the fact that cookies are being used (as per EU law) or as a means of signing in to protected content.

Get with https://

2016 was a year where hacking made the headlines, and might even have influenced the US presidential election. Whether these stories feel relevant to companies or buyers online is debatable, but Google is forcing the issue by down-ranking sites that do not use SSL certification; this means that competitors that do might see a rise. Expect sites whose URLs start with https:// to get a boost – and this applies not just to the pages where personal data is transferred.

Upgrade to Magento 2

If you’re using Magento and haven’t heard about Magento 2, the major new version that was launched in 2016, there’s a handy quick guide here. 2017 will of course be its first full calendar year of operation, and as more retailers upgrade to it, the whole support, plugin, theme and development ecosystem is sure to grow exponentially.

Some retailers have been holding fire on an upgrade to ensure any teething problems have been ironed out, but the system is becoming widely adopted now, and we would recommend an upgrade in most cases. Call us for a chat about your Magento.