SEO & User Experience: Reviewing Zappos

On-Site SEO is essential for ecommerce websites because products need to rank higher than competitors and display clearly so consumers can find the products in search engine results. Optimizing an ecommerce website can result in increased organic traffic to a business’s website, which can mean more conversions. About 38% of ecommerce traffic comes from organic search, the second highest source of traffic after direct traffic at 49.3% (Kalyadina, 2020). User experience is also important and because consumers conduct purchase decision research on desktop and mobile devices, product pages must be optimized for both (Kalyadina, 2020). While some ecommerce websites overlook the potential of on-site SEO and user experience, implementing these strategies is good for business.

The first on-site SEO technique is optimizing the page titles, or title tags, which are the blue clickable titles on a search engine results page (Kalyadina, 2020). These pages can impact the click-through rate because they inform users and search engines about what the page is about. Ideally the title should be between 55 to 60 characters, descriptive, and use chosen keywords (Kalyadina, 2020). Many ecommerce sites choose to add a company name to the end of the page title, but it should not be first because it does not reinforce users’ search intent (Kalyadina, 2020). For example, Zappo’s homepage title is “Running Shoes + Free Shipping |” (Zappos, n.d.).

Ecommerce websites should utilize header tags (such as h1, h2, and h3) because search engines use them to understand a page’s content that sets the tone and purpose for the page (Tietbohl, 2021). Header tags help support the overall theme or purpose of a page, and header tags are often used to define sections on the page (Tietbohl, 2021). Appropriate short and long keywords should be inserted into header tags because as search engines crawl the site, they will recognize the headers and keywords (Kalyadina, 2020).

Right underneath the page title on a search engine results page is the meta description, which also plays an important role for click-throughs and ultimately conversions. To optimize the meta description, one should ensure its length is about 150 characters, each description should be personalized to the webpage, each meta description should be accurate about what the page contains, and they should explain why a consumer should visit the website (Kalyadina, 2020) or they can give an answer to a question (Crowe, 2016). Below you can see that Zappos’ meta description is listed, along with the header tags, and each has a unique description (Google, 2021).

Some ecommerce websites feature perks and discounts in their meta description to attract attention, such as “free shipping” or “buy one, get one free”. Some examples of action words brands are using in their meta title include decide, shop, free, limited time, win, exclusive, and sale (Crowe, 2016). While meta description may not improve search rankings alone, it will earn a website more clicks when optimized correctly (Crowe, 2016). Above you can see that Zappos uses terms like “free shipping and returns” and “1000s of styles” to get click-throughs (Google, 2021).

Surprisingly, a whopping 10.1% of all Google traffic is for; and daily pageviews of Google Images are over one billion (and that number is seven years old) (Patel, n.d.)! Google Image search is another way of generating website traffic, and optimizing images are like optimizing webpages. Images rank in search just like websites do, and the having first image in the search is like being the first position on the search engine results page (Patel, n.d.).

To optimize a website’s images for search, edit the file names so they are user-friendly and reflect the image contents (Patel, n.d.). Then, modify the image’s alt tags (which help visually impaired users) to be short and descriptive (Patel, n.d.), and include the product name and relevant keywords where appropriate (Kalyadina, 2020). And finally, the images should be high-quality but small in file size (under 1 to 2MB) so that they do not slow down page loading speed (which impacts user experience and bounce rates), and this task can be achieved through file compression (Patel, n.d.).

Further, using original images for a website is always preferred because they are more likely to grab peoples’ attention (Patel, n.d.). While Zappos does use original images for its products, there is room for improvement with file names (Zappos, n.d.). The Brooks Canopy Jacket image included in the screenshot is titled “71TftAbTByL._AC_SR700,525_” (Zappos, n.d.).

Next, adding markup will help Google understand a site’s content and help potential visitors navigate the site (Kalyadina, 2020). It can also result in a higher click-through rate of up to 30%, resulting in further sales (Kalyadina, 2020). Some of the most common schema properties include reviews and rating schema, product schema, breadcrumb markup, business details including contact, product availability schema, and FAQs (which can generate a lot of traffic if a site gets a Featured Snippet) (Kalyadina, 2020).

Website content is another form of on-page SEO that draws in consumers from the search engine results page. Each webpage in a site should have unique content, which can be time-consuming if the ecommerce website has thousands of products (Kalyadina, 2020). The written content on a page allows search engines to understand what the page is about and rank it accordingly based on a user’s search intent (Kalyadina, 2020). Every webpage should have at least 250 to 500 words that differ from all other webpages, including each product or topic page (Kalyadina, 2020). Product descriptions with 3 to 5 chosen keywords, product features, awards won by the product, technical specs, utilize customer reviews, comparison to other products, and a frequently asked questions section (and answering consumer questions) can all beef up a product page (Kalyadina, 2020). Zappos’ includes all these on-page SEO tactics on its product pages, including breadcrumb navigation at the top and social media share buttons (Zappos, n.d.).

Internal linking on ecommerce product pages is also necessary for on-page SEO. Strategically linking from high authority pages to high priority product pages will increase the likelihood of ranking in the search results for these products. A few options for links on product pages include breadcrumbs navigation, related products, and related categories (Crowe, 2016). Zappos uses breadcrumbs, “wear it with”, “customers who viewed this item also viewed”, and “you may also like” links on each product page (Zappos, n.d.). Internal linking should add value for users and provide an intuitive structure that prioritizes the content that is more relevant to the user (Crowe, 2016). Internal linking will boost SEO because one can choose their own anchor text, helping a website to rank for chosen keywords, as well as improve user experience by suggesting related pages (Kalyadina, 2020).

Tied closely to internal links is the having an on-site search engine, which is critical if an ecommerce site is large and has several tiers of content (Tietbohl, 2021). Zappos has a huge inventory, and it places its search bar at the top of its main page for ease of access (Zappos, n.d.). While on-site search engines may not directly impact search engine results page rankings, it does provide a better user experience and can provide useful consumer data in Google Analytics (Tietbohl, 2021). Around 30% of users are likely to use a website’s search engine when it is available and those who search are twice as likely to convert (Tietbohl, 2021).

While social media share buttons on a website does not impact search engine rankings, it provides the potential of free promotion (Crowe, 2016). Millennial shoppers are twice as likely to buy a product that was personally shared on social media (Crowe, 2016). Similarly, while product videos will not directly impact search engine rankings, it will increase engagement and time on-site, which increased the chances of a product page ranking higher (Crowe, 2016). About 73% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or sign up for a service after watching a branded video that explains the product, and 52% of consumers say watching videos makes them more confident about a purchase (Crowe, 2016).

Videos also give ecommerce websites the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition (Crowe, 2016) and improve visitor engagement, which can be tracked in Google Analytics. Videos are one of several ways to keep potential customers surfing an ecommerce website. Zappos’ embeds a video right at the top of its website to keep customers on the page (Zappos, n.d.).

Keeping users on a website longer increases the consumer’s likelihood of buying something and increases the likelihood the consumer will remember and trust the brand/company (Mohrman, 2017). A poorly designed website can cause the time spent on-page to be low and the bounce rate to be high (The Daily Egg, 2020), therefore user experience is important for ecommerce websites. Increasing visitors’ time spent on a website means optimizing a website’s design and content (The Daily Egg, 2020).

For example, the website should have intuitive navigation, easily scanned pages, links set to open in new tabs, valuable original content, and include calls to action on every page (Mohrman, 2017). The Daily Egg (2020) makes the point that most pages are scanned by visitors instead of being read in their entirety, which makes the words not always as important as the format and visuals. Better content, such as graphics, videos, and photos can increase a consumer’s duration on the page (The Daily Egg, 2020).

Finally, ecommerce websites that want to improve on-site SEO must ensure that product pages have a key-word rich, simple, and unique structure (Crowe, 2016). Guidelines for page URL include using lower case letters, using hyphens instead of spaces or underscores, and removing special characters (Crowe, 2016). While search engines do have the ability to remove special characters in an URL, a consumer viewing a complicated URL may lose confidence in purchasing from that website and move on (Crowe, 2016). The goal with a simple URL is to improve user experience and increase search result rankings that way (Crowe, 2016). This is another area where Zappos has room for improvement, as the first screenshot shared has a URL of, which is descriptive but also has many superfluous numbers (Zappos, n.d.).

Crowe, A. (2016, May 10). SEO for Ecommerce Websites: A Step-By-Step Guide. Retrieved from:
Google Search. (2021, March 1). Zappos. Retrieved from:
Kalyadina, M. (2020, May 27). The Definitive Guide to Ecommerce SEO for 2021. Retrieved from:
Mohrman, E. (2017, November 8). 12 Ways to Keep Users on Your Website Longer. Retrieved from:
Patel, N. (n.d.) How to Drive More Traffic Using Google Image Search. Retrieved from:
Tietbohl, M. (2021). Week 5 Lesson: SEO – On-page Optimization and Technical SEO, Introduction to SEMrush [Online]. Retrieved from
The Daily Egg. (2020, May 14). The 15 Second Rule: 3 Reasons Why Users Leave a Website. Retrieved from:
Zappos. (n.d.) Running Shoes + Free Shipping | Retrieved from:

Google Analytics & Mailchimp Integration

Introduction to Integrations

Businesses and marketers have a wide range of Google Analytics integrations to choose from, including those that measure sales calls, paid ads, and email campaigns. Abbamonte (2019) interviewed forty-three marketers and identified twenty integrations that they rely on, one of which was Mailchimp. Why integrate Google Analytics with Mailchimp email marketing? As one marketer states, “You’ll be able to more accurately measure sales and other key conversion metrics that came directly from your Mailchimp email marketing. With that additional information, you can determine your exact email marketing return on investment, budgeting, sales projections, and other key numbers integral to your overall profit margins.” (Abbamonte, 2019)

Email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing channel (Vision6, n.d.), and if one is thinking about investing money in this channel, it is worth tracking data over time to make improvements. Mailchimp is one of many email marketing services on the market, but it is a good one because it offers an inexpensive way to stay in touch with customers and manage email campaigns. Mailchimp has also grown to offer landing page creation, user segmentation, A/B testing, digital ads tracking, content studio, domain hosting, and much more (InsightWhale, n.d.). Integrating Mailchimp with Google Analytics will allow one to better leverage the multiple functions offered by Mailchimp, and view website and email data with ease between Google Analytics and analytics provided by Mailchimp (InsightWhale, n.d.).

Get Ready for the Deluge: Set Goals First

Google Analytics integration with Mailchimp will undoubtedly result in more data, which is difficult to interpret unless there are email marketing goals for which to compare them. Before sending an email in Mailchimp, determine what the goal is for that email. This could be growing a subscriber database, generating leads, or increasing conversions. These goals will help to determine what metrics to track as to not be overwhelmed by the soon-to-come deluge of information.

Businesses and marketers must first set goals to be able to track progress against them. Kolowich Cox (n.d.) encourages regular close tracking of email marketing metrics to be able to analyze how one is trending towards their goal(s) month to month. Kolowich Cox (n.d.) suggests these ways of aligning goals with metrics:

  • Subscriber List Growth Rate: Email campaigns always include calls-to-action, such as “Subscribe to Our Blog” or “Sign-Up for the Monthly List,” and these should be centered around goals. If one’s goal is to attract more visitors to a website, grow the number of website downloads, and so on, then subscriber list growth rate is the correct metric.
  • Unengaged Subscribers: Tracking unengaged subscribers is just as important as tracking engaged subscribers. Sending emails to unengaged recipients can hurt the deliverability of one’s marketing emails and can lead to emails getting sent straight to junk folders.
  • Number of New or Total Leads Generated: Email marketing can be utilized for lead generation, and to gather data toward this goal, a lead capture form is needed. For example, if an owner of a craft supply store creates a download-able craft kit for parents, there should be a web form to capture information prior. Leads can be tracked every day, every week, or every month depending on priorities.
  • Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate: This metric should be tracked if the business goal is to convert more existing leads into customers. Calls-to-action in emails might urge readers to start a free trial, schedule a consultation, or get a product demo as marketing emails provide content related to a product or service.

Focusing on the right metrics will help to guide, analyze, and improve marketing campaigns over time. Fernandez (2019) suggests at least nine metrics to track to get an overall view of list health: open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, complaint rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, forward/share rate, campaign return on investment, and list growth rate. Fernandez (2019) also suggests five steps for benchmarking email marketing effectiveness: chart past broadcasts, establish averages, identify outliers, identify patterns, and set baselines and goals.

Tracking and benchmarking data will provide valuable insight into the best times to send email campaigns, what topics and subject lines are most popular, and what linked text is most attractive to readers (Fernandez, 2019). Email marketing is about more than just having the right layout and content in an email, it is also about achieving tangible goals and objectives. The email campaign is not done once the “send” button is pressed, instead that is when it begins.

Beyond Mailchimp Metrics

Integrating Google Analytics with Mailchimp provides additional data to help determine what is working and what needs to be improved. Mailchimp tracks several metrics that do not require Google Analytics, such as open rate and click through rate – but email conversions should be the end goal (Brui, 2018). A conversion for an email campaign is going to depend on macro and micro business or organizational goals. For example, an email conversion be defined as how many leads were generated, how many sales were made on the website, or the number of new accounts created because of an email. Beyond just click tracking, Google Analytics coupled with email marketing allows for a better overview of the journey that customers, or potential customers, take once they arrive on a website (Brui, 2018).

By integrating Google Analytics with Mailchimp, businesses and marketers will be able to better understand how email campaigns drive website traffic and visitors’ behavior once they arrive on a website (McCartney, 2019). For example, one could determine how an email campaign impacted the number of pages visited by each visitor, the order of pages visited, length on the website, which pages they exited on, and if they made a purchase (McCartney, 2019). Similarly, one could add Google Analytics tracking to Mailchimp email campaigns to pass Google data back to Mailchimp’s reports (Mailchimp, n.d.-b). Mailchimp can also store a Google Analytics ID to track visits to campaign pages and hosted campaign archives, showing traffic to these pages in a Google Analytics account (Mailchimp, n.d.-b).

Mailchimp integration with Google Analytics can provide insights about website visitors and contacts to see who is visiting, in order to send more targeted messages (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Google Analytics can also be connected to Mailchimp’s A/B testing to understand what pieces of an email campaign resonate and messages that might need altering (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Landing pages, a service offered by Mailchimp, can also be optimized using Google Analytics code embedding (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Adding the code will allow for data collection directly in Mailchimp on page views, demographic data, and behavior on the website (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Integrating Mailchimp with Google Analytics can be done in a matter of steps, and several of the links in the “References” section provide a step-by-step guide.

In conclusion, connecting Google Analytics to Mailchimp allows for the tracking of campaign performance, creates a bettering understanding of who is visiting a website, and provides deeper user insights to send more targeted campaigns. To get the most out of email marketing, whether it is Mailchimp or another popular service, Google Analytics’ integration is recommended. Google Analytics provides a wealth of data that provides a more holistic view of audience behaviors and email conversions for the businesses and organizations that want to make better informed decisions about future email campaigns.


Abbamonte, K. (2019, November 14). 20 Must-Have Google Analytics Integrations That Marketers Rely On. Retrieved from:

Brui, A. (2018, November 11). Google Analytics Email Tracking for Your Marketing Success. Retrieved from:

Coquet, Julien. (2019, March 11). Integrate Google Analytics tracking with Mailchimp. Retrieved from:

Fernandez, M. (2019, November 22). How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Email Campaigns. Retrieved from:

InsightWhale. (n.d.). How to Integrate Google Analytics tracking with Mailchimp? Retrieved from:

Kolowich Cox, L. (n.d.). Email Analytics: The 8 Email Marketing Metrics & KPIs You Should Be Tracking. Retrieved from:

Mailchimp. (n.d.-a). Google Analytics Integration. Retrieved from:

Mailchimp. (n.d.-b). Integrate Google Analytics with Mailchimp. Retrieved from:

McCartney, K. (2019, April 1). How to Connect Mailchimp to Google Analytics. Retrieved from:

Vision6. (n.d.). Everything you wanted to know about tracking Email in Google Analytics (but were too afraid to ask). Retrieved from:

Google Analytics: Understanding Engagement Metrics

Google Analytics can benefit businesses and marketers who recognize the importance of web traffic and internet marketing tools, but who do not have the proper instruments to calculate return on investment (Tietbohl, 2021). Engagement metrics offered by Google Analytics provide insight into how often users visit a website and how many pages they are visiting. For example, marketers who don’t see a lot of follow-through on their ad campaign may use engagement metrics to determine where customers are exiting the website.

These are four Google Analytics metrics related to engagement, as defined by Tietbohl (2021):

  • A Page Exit Ratio is calculated as the number of exits / number of page views for a page.
  • Bounces are single page visits to a website.
  • A page’s Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave the website after viewing only that page.
  • Pages Per Session is the number of pages visited on average by users.

The Page Exit Ratio indicates how often visitors exit the site after visiting any number of pages on the website (Hotjar, 2020). By monitoring exits, businesses can come to understand the performance of specific pages or groups of pages (Hotjar, 2020). A high Page Exit Ratio may signal a need for improvements on a page, such as better navigation, (Hotjar, 2020), or it could simply mean that visitors are finding what they came for quickly.

A Google Analytics Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a website after viewing just one page (Willson, 2020). A high bounce rate may not necessarily be a negative thing and can even happen when a user idles for more than half an hour (Willson, 2020). Depending on website and business goals, a high Bounce Rate may be positive, a low Bounce Rate negative, or vice versa. Typically, a Bounce Rate of 25% or lower could signal a broken webpage or feature, while a Bounce Rate of 70% or higher could also signal something is broken (Willson, 2020). The average Bounce Rate for a website is between 26% and 70%, with the average at 41-55% (Willson, 2020).

Pages Per Session is a metric calculated by dividing the number of page views by the total number of sessions (Malnik, 2020). This metric is especially helpful to marketers that want to increase profits by getting more eyes and more time spent on a website (Malnik, 2020). To dig further into Pages Per Session, Google Analytics provides a breakdown to see which traffic source is bringing in the most engaged users (Malnik, 2020), such as search, social media, or an affiliate link. Malnik (2020) recommends that Pages Per Session be tracked on a line graph to show daily fluctuations in comparison to business milestones, such as sending an email promotion, website redesign, or an influencer retweet.

A number of technical and user experience optimization steps exist that can reduce a bounce rate and increase the number of pages per session (Malnik, 2020). But as Malnik (2020) states: “at the core of bounce rate and low page per session rates is the relevancy (or irrelevancy) of content that you are serving visitors.”


Hotjar. (2020, November 20). Exits and exit rate in Google Analytics. Retrieved from:

Malnik, J. (2020, June 23) What is ‘Pages Per Session’ in Google Analytics & How Do I Increase It? Retrieved from:

Tietbohl, M. (2021). Intro to web analytics and the basics of web analytics [Online]. Retrieved from

Willson, A. (2020, November 14). 13 Reasons Your Website Can Have a High Bounce Rate. Retrieved from:

Google Analytics: Understanding Foundational Metrics

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides reports to better understand website traffic and the effectiveness of marketing (Tietbohl, 2021). Google Analytics provides so much data that it may seem overwhelming to beginners. However, coming to understand even some of the foundational metrics will allow for better informed website and business decisions. Google Analytics also provides measurement to calculate return on investment for marketers (Tietbohl, 2021).

These are five foundational Google Analytics metrics, as defined by Tietbohl (2021):

  • A Page as a single unit of content, such as one webpage.
  • A Page View refers to the number of times a page was viewed, even repeatedly by one user.
  • User or Unique Visitors are the number of individual people that visited a site within a given time frame.
  • A Session, sometimes called a Visit, is the set of web requests (clicks, sign-ups, etc.), made within a given time frame by a single user visiting a website.
  • An Event is defined as any recorded website action with a specific date and time.

Google Analytics tracks data for each individual web page, or Page, that exists within a larger website. Page Views are not to be confused with the number of unique visitors that viewed a website. Instead, Page Views are the number of loads and reloads of the same page, from the same user, during a session (Chris, n.d.). In Google Analytics, Page Views will always be higher than the number of unique site visitors (Chris, n.d.).

Page Views, especially combined with other data, can help a business to better understand website use and visitor behavior (Chris, n.d.). For example, Google Analytics can be used to create a Segment that splits Page Views between Desktop and Mobile users (Chris, n.d.). If the number of mobile Page Views are higher than the number of desktop Page Views, a business may want to consider investing in a mobile version of their website.

Google Analytics defines Users as “unique visitors,” and the metric was called just that until 2014 (Malnik, 2020). Once a user visits a website, they will not be counted again unless they have cleared their cookies or visit from a different device (Malnik, 2020). A marketer can utilize the User metric over time to see if an ad campaign is increasing new customer traffic. Users and Session are different, as one user can have multiple website sessions (Malnik, 2020).

Another foundational metric, Sessions, can inform marketers of how attractive their website is to visitors. The Honey Baked Ham Company uses Sessions to “track the overall flow to a site from specific channels as the first indicator of its effectiveness to lead top of the funnel traffic into a site and users to understand which channels are effectively engaging those visitors.” (Malnik, 2020).

Events are defined as user interactions with content and can include downloads, form submissions, video plays, and link clicks (Google, n.d.). An Event “hit” includes four parts: category, action, label (optional), and value (optional) (Google, n.d.). For example, a business owner might track the success of a promotional video by setting up a “play” button that records a hit every time these values are met: Category: Videos, Action: Play, and Label: Promo Video.

Whether you choose to track Page Views, Users, Sessions, Events, or all the above, the metrics chosen should align with overall business goals. Stay tuned for the next blog in which readers will be introduced to Google Analytics engagement metrics!


Chris, A. (n.d.) What are Google Analytics Page Views? (Complete Guide). Retrieved from:

Google. n.d. About Events. Retrieved from:

Malnik, J. (2020, June 2). Sessions vs. Users vs. Pageviews in Google Analytics: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from:

Tietbohl, M. (2021). Intro to web analytics and the basics of web analytics [Online]. Retrieved from