How to write meta descriptions using BERT

If you are confused about meta descriptions in SEO, why they are important and how to nail it with the help of artificial intelligence, this article is for you. 

If you are eager to start experimenting with an AI-writer, read the full article. At the end, I will give you a script to help you write meta descriptions on scale using BERTGoogle’s pre-trained, unsupervised language model that has recently gained great momentum in the SEO community after both, Google and BING announced that they use it for providing more useful results.    

I used to underestimate the importance of meta descriptions myself: after all Google will use it only on 35.9% of the cases (according to a Moz analysis from last year by the illustrious @dr_pete). In reality, these brief snippets of text, greatly help to entice more users to your website and, indirectly, might even influence your ranking thanks to higher click-through-rate (CTR)

While Google can overrule the meta descriptions added in the HTML of your pages, if you properly align:

  1. the main intent of the user (the query you are targeting), 
  2. the title of the page and
  3. the meta description

There are many possibilities to improve the CTR on Google’s result pages. In the course of this article we will investigate the following aspects and, since it’s a long article, feel free to jump to the section that interests you the most — code is available at the end.

What are meta descriptions?

As usual I tend to “ask”  “experts” online a definition to get started, and with a simple query on Google, we can get this definition from our friends at WooRank:

Meta descriptions are HTML tags that appear in the head section of a web page. The content within the tag provides a description of what the page and its content are about. In the context of SEO, meta descriptions should be around 160 characters long.

meta description definition

Here’s an example of what a meta description usually looks like (from that same article):

meta description example

How long should your meta description be?

We want to be, as with any other content on our site, authentic, conversational and user-friendly. Having said that, in 2020, you will want to stick to the 155-160 characters limit (this corresponds to 920 pixels). We also want to keep in mind that the “optimal” length might change based on the query of the user. This means that you should really do your best in the first 120 characters and think in terms of creating a meaningful chain by linking the query, the title tag and the meta description. In some cases, within this chain it is also very important to consider the role of the breadcrumbs. As in the example above from WooRank I can quickly see that the definition is coming from an educational page of their site: this fits very well with my information request.  

What meta descriptions should we focus on?

SEO is a process: we need to set our goals, analyze the data we’re starting with, improve our content, and measure the results. There is no point in looking at a large website and saying, I need to write a gazillion of meta descriptions since they are all missing. It would simply be a waste of time.

Besides the fact that in some cases – we might decide not to add a meta description at all. For example, when a page covers different queries and the text is already well structured we might leave it to Google to craft the best snippet for each super query (they are super good at it ?). We need to look at the critical pages we have – let’s not forget that writing a good meta description is just like writing an ad copy — driving clicks is not a trivial game.

As a rule of thumb I prefer to focus my attention on: 

  • Pages that are already ranking on Google (position > 0); adding a meta description to a page that is not ranking will not make a difference.
  • Pages that are not in the top 3 positions: if they are already highly ranked, unless I can see some real opportunities – I prefer to leave them as they are.
  • Pages that have a business value: on the wordlift website (the company I work for), there is no point in adding meta descriptions to landing pages that have no organic potential. I would rather prefer to focus on content from our blog. This varies of course but is very important to understand what type of pages I want to focus on.

This criteria can be useful, especially if you plan to programmatically crawl our website and choose where to focus our attention using crawl data. Keep on reading and we’ll get there, I promise. 

A quick introduction to single-document text summarization

Automatic text summarization is a challenging NLP task to provide a short and possibly accurate summary of a long text. While, with the growing amount of online content, the need for understanding and summarizing content is very high. In pure technological terms, the challenge for creating well formed summaries is huge and results are, most of the time, still far from being perfect (or human-level).

The first research work on automatic text summarization goes back to 50 years ago and various techniques. Since then, they have been used to extract relevant content from unstructured text.  

“The different dimensions of text summarization can be generally categorized based on its input type (single or multi document), purpose (generic, domain specific, or query-based) and output type (extractive or abstractive).”

— A Review on Automatic Text Summarization Approaches, 2016.

Get Rich Snippets on Google’s SERP with Schema.org

Rich snippets and other features that you can obtain on Google’s SERP using the schema markup in 2019

Within the past 10 years, the appearance and function of Google’s SERP have drastically changed with the inclusion of several rich snippets and SERP features that provide additional functionalities for users and adds challenges for SEO experts. 

In fact, these rich snippets provide unique opportunities to increase CTRs as well as lower opportunities of appearing on the SERP with a simple blue link. This guide will introduce you to the various forms of rich snippets you can find on the SERP and then will focus on using structured data to optimize your content for rich snippets.

Let’s start with the basics…

What are Rich Snippets and SERP Features and why they are important?

When you search for Neil Armstrong on Google, you will receive different results both in the form of snippets and blue links. What distinguishes a rich snippet from a normal one is that a rich snippet is a specialized form of search result that is tailored for a particular task or function rather than a simple blue link.

In this example, you can see a Knowledge Card about Neil Armstrong, a collection of movies about him, a group of people who are usually searched together with this astronaut, and a series of Top News which refer to this search.

SERP result displaying rich snippets of Neil Armstrong

Other examples include: the movie schedule for a given cinema when searching for movies in your area. When searching for a chocolate cake, a photo, item description, nutritional information and recipes pop-up.

What makes rich snippets important in SEO is that now, these snippets have become more important than the regular blue links. Rich snippets are more engaging as they can contain pictures, highlighted information and links more closely associated with the search terms. In addition, they are viewed as both more trustworthy and convenient as not only does the content stand out from the other search results, but it is far more likely to be much more closely associated with the official content such as an official website and social media.

An Important Note on Structured Data

Much of these rich snippets require the development of structured data to fully utilize their benefits. Structured data is an on-page markup that adds additional information to your website and provides it to users seeking relevant information on the SERP. It utilizes HTML coding and Schema markup to communicate with the search engine regarding your content. 

Here is what Google states on its introductory guide to structured data:

Google uses structured data that it finds on the web to understand the content of the page, as well as to gather information about the web and the world in general.

In this article, you will find more specific information on how to optimize your content for each type of rich snippet using structured data. 

We at WordLift can help you develop structured content for your website, not only to be on the Google SERP, but to appear in the newer, much more engaging content found in rich snippets. We’ll go through the types and uses of much of this data using the schema markup. If you’re wanting more specific uses of structured data or how best to utilize it for your content, we’re always happy to provide our services and assistance.

Informational – The Do-It-All Features

Some search features are just as potatoes: they can be served in a number of different ways and are a good pairing with a good number of different plates. In this page, you will find out how to obtain visibility with:

  • Featured snippet
  • PAA
  • FAQ
  • How-To
  • Answer Box Results
  • Explore Panel
  • Knowledge Graph Carousel
  • Site Links

Featured Snippet

An Example of Featured Snippet from Windows Report, one of the website that use WordLift.

A featured snippet features a website in a specialized format, providing a relevant passage and an accompanying photo. Featured snippets on Google may lead to higher CTRs, due to their more highlighted presence and description. 

To increase the odds of being featured in a featured snippet, your website should include at least a brief description relevant to the topic. The more precise and vivid you are in your descriptions, the more likely it is that Google will understand your webpage. A more careful selection of keywords will also help Google’s algorithm understand the website.

Structured Data and Featured Snippets

Structured data may help, but it’s not always needed to appear with a featured snippet. In this case the most relevant answer with a well-curated formatting is often enough.

PAA

A PAA snippet example from the Louvre's website

People Also Ask (PAA) is a rich snippet that contains a selection of questions that are similar to those found in a Q&A section of a website. Each question in the snippet can be opened to reveal its corresponding answer. As a question is selected, the revealed answer lists to a website and the snippet expands to add more questions related to the one answered. 

If you want the answers in the snippet to link back to your website, start by optimizing your content for each targeted query. Adding keywords to headings and use paragraph tags also helps. Keep in mind that if you want to be on a PAA snippet list for a particular question, you will want to make sure your content meets the News Publisher criteria for fact checks.

Structured Data and PAA

Utilizing structured data is a vital aspect to having your website provide answers on the PAA snippet. Using the Schema.org markup, answers can be provided in different forms, such as: specific questions from an FAQ or Q&A page (Question markup), specific questions and their specific answers (QAPage markup) or instructions on how to achieve a result by following sequential steps (HowTo markup). Using these markups will make your content more likely to appear on the SERP as part of a PAA snippet. Read the full definitions of QuestionQAPage and HowTo on Schema.

FAQ

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page uses official questions from a website on a particular topic. Note that this is only for official answers and questions and should not include content submitted by other users. This rich snippet appears in a block comprising of a series of similar questions, similar to the PAA section. The block titles indicate more specific questions. A FAQ page is useful for:

  • General business enquiries
  • Inquiries arising from brand properties
  • Inquiries concerning long-form products
  • Inquiries concerning specific products

Each question in a FAQ page depends on the answer provided. The more Google can provide answers, the more chances there are for users to find their way to the right website. For each section, it’s recommended that you add a title describing the content of the questions as a means of content organization and helping Google identify your content.

The FAQ type indicates that the page contains a question and answer excerpt. If the content is a long-form answer, you may want to consider including an FAQ section on your website.

Structured Data and FAQ

Note that FAQ is a structured data dependent feature which uses the FAQPage schema markup. You can use the Structured Data Testing Tool to validate and preview your content. The full definition of FAQPage is available on Schema.

HowTo

HowTo snippet example

HowTo results are snippets that present instructions on completing a specific task or activity. These results can be categorized into varying types depending on the kind of details that need to be provided. The HowTo type indicates that the page contains a tutorial, a list of steps, or a list of actions. There are two types of HowTo types:

  • A pre-filled HowTo type, represented by a container element containing steps or a list of steps.
  • A more structured data-heavy HowTo type, represented by a child container item containing an HTML snippet.

The former type is intended for informational content that answers questions, while the latter type is designed specifically for videos and other experiences that require viewers to follow a series or a chapter in order to be successful. Note that HowTo structure type does not include recipes, as that has its own form of structured data markup.

Structured Data and HowTo

You must include the required properties for HowTo pages for your content to be eligible to display it as a rich result. Most websites are able to display HowTo rich results regardless if they have HowTo structured data. You can use the Structured Data Testing Tool to validate and preview your structured data. Please note that HowTo pages may not appear in all languages. The full definition of HowTo is available at Schema.

Answer Box Results

An example of an Answer Box rich snippet

This is a snippet that you might see on the SERP for question queries like “Why can’t I eat?” The Answer Box usually appears at the top of the main feed under AdWords results. It’s part of the core Knowledge Graph that contains other relevant contextual information like ratings and questions. When you click on it, you‘ll be taken to a result that lists the previous or current queries of the users.

This feature is helpful for those users who can’t provide a specified question, as the previous search results can show the answer. This feature is also useful for content creators, as it makes their content more likely to appear. This feature can also be seen in the Top Stories carousel.

Structured Data and Answer Box Results

While there isn’t a specific markup of structured data that is utilized with the Answer Box Result, you can use HowToQuestion and QAPage to provide useful markup for your page. Providing keywords, entities (people, places, objects) and direct answers to a provided question can help to highlight your website. The full definitions of  HowToQuestion and QAPage andcan be found on Schema.

Explore Panel

Explore Panel on the Battle of Waterloo

The Explore Panel displays a card with up to seven images, a description (usually from wikipedia), important information, and related searches. In the above example of the “Battle of Waterloo,” the panel includes several images related to the event, a brief description linked to Wikipedia, some important information and related searches.

Three factors drive the inclusion of infographic content in search results: relevance, the number of items to be shown, and the quality of the resulting presentation. Focusing on these factors will help provide enough content necessitate the inclusion of an Explore Panel.

Structured Data and the Explore Panel

Structured data relevance for the Explore Panel has not being documented by Google or suggested by anyone else for the moment being. Still, structured data may help Google better understand and classify your content in order to include it.

Knowledge Graph Carousel

Featured example of the knowledge graph carousel

The Knowledge Graph Carousel features information from different sources that are grouped under a specific heading. The main benefit of this feature is the ability to provide more specific answers to a query. All items within a carousel must be of the same type, such as: a recipe or an article. Note that the Knowledge Graph Carousel does not include any Google ads.

To maximize the visibility of your content, it is recommended to update your web pages with schema markup. This will make the content eligible for the Knowledge Graph feature. The Knowledge Graph Carousel contains information from Google’s Knowledge Graph, which has a lot of different websites under its roof. It can help your site reach the right keywords by providing a better contextual link between the different websites. SEOs can then focus on optimizing websites to provide users with the information that Google needs.

Structured Data and the Knowledge Graph Carousel

Using the ListItem markup will allow you to list the items that will be used for the carousel. This can be done as separately, listing all of the items linked to different pages; or as one page, providing the full information of each item. The full definition of ListItem is available at Schema.

Site Links

Site links for DisneyWorld

Google Search can also expose sitelinks. This results in a white box with links to subsections of a website appearing under the results on the SERP, which can help users reach the right sections of a website. Google Search can also automatically add a sitelinks search box or sitelinks search result to your site if it can prove to Google that the search intent of the users is not being served the content through other means. Here is an example of a sitelinks search result, which is shown for searches related to ‘DisneyWorld’

The sitelinks feature includes an embedded search box that provides quick access to a website’s search results. Google Search can automatically add this search box to your site if it detects content that qualifies as technical information for a search question or a result that answers a question.

Structured Data and Sitelinks

A search box can also be added to your website, so long as you’re using its own search engine embedded in the site. Then, use the WebSite schema markup to provide structured data for the search box. The full definition of WebSite can be found at Schema.

How To Build A High-Converting Video Website That Ranks

Effectively ranking a video-on-demand website in search engines is a challenge many content creators and businesses face.

And with the ongoing global pandemic and current landscape, many have started looking into taking their businesses, events, and organization online by launching a video-on-demand site to host/monetize their content and have it globally accessible.

When the majority of your content is video-based and hidden behind a paywall, it can make on-page SEO feel like a constant uphill battle. But it doesn’t need to be. 

By learning how to build your video website the correct way, you can create a platform that ranks well for your target keywords and also outranks YouTube, like this one.

In this guide, I’m going to show you how our best Uscreen clients have optimized their video websites to rank high on SERPs and convert.

How To Build A High-Ranking Video Website In 7 Steps

Step 1: Perform A “Netflix Audit”

The first step is to perform what I call a “Netflix Audit.”

This involves going through your website and stripping it of any elements that make the logged-out view of your website look like Netflix’s logged-in dashboard. That’s this page here:

converting video website

Video websites often try to emulate Netflix’s design because it looks aesthetically brilliant, showcases the depth of their video database, and has a familiar feel to their target customers.

As you can see from the design below on Magic Stream’s website, it looks and feels just like Netflix:

But this type of theme design on your website’s customer-facing website pages comes at a high cost to both SEO and conversions, because it:

  • Decreases your website’s speed
  • Limits the amount of text (and keywords) which feature on a page
  • Doesn’t provide enough context for semantic search
  • Doesn’t contain elements needed to convert a customer (like CTAs or product info)

Combined, these elements can have a negative impact on your website’s rankings. If nothing else, the layout is complex for Google’s crawlers to work their way through, and filled with information they struggle to interpret.

Netflix understands the pitfalls of using this dashboard view and, despite not having a search-led marketing campaign, they still opt for a text-based homepage.

If your video website is heavily reliant on this Netflix-style theme, I highly recommend you keep this dashboard-view for the paid (read: logged-in) version of your website and use a more traditional-style landing page for your homepage and subsequent category and taxonomy landing pages.

Step 2: Optimise Your Website’s Homepage

The most important page of any video on demand website is the homepage. It has two crucial jobs:

  1. Ranking: it needs to be well structured to compete for good positions in the SERPs
  2. Converting: it needs to convince visitors to become customers

Your homepage is one of the few pages that will be eligible to rank for search terms because it isn’t behind a paywall, so it’s your chance to shine in the SERPs. It’s also one of the few pages visitors will see before making a purchasing decision.

These factors mean the page will need to be optimized enough to rank for your target keywords but also structured in a way that showcases your product. Basically, it needs to be both a landing page and a sales page rolled into one. 

To help you achieve this, let’s split this step into mini-sections.

Ranking: How To Optimise Your Video Homepage For Search Engines

To create a well-optimized homepage, you will want to rank for two kinds of keywords:

  1. Branded: the keywords you “own” (such as your company or product name) 
  2. Most relevant: a short or medium-tail keyword likely to drive relevant traffic

If you’re already fleshing out your SEO strategy, you will already have these keywords in place. Use this guide to understand how keyword research works and how to get started.

To ensure you have space to naturally include these keywords on your page, follow the 80/20 rule:

  • 80% of your homepage should be made up of keyword optimizable elements (headers, text, images, etc.)
  • 20% of your homepage should be made up of video

In a recent study, we’ve found that your homepage’s length doesn’t play too much of a role in how you rank—our top four ranking Uscreen video websites have less than 500 words on their homepage—but making use of this 80/20 balance does.

Be sure to feature your target keywords in

  • At least one H1 or H2 tag
  • The Alt tags for at least one image
  • Your title tags and meta description

IndieFilmHustle TV, a video website focused on indie filmmakers and screenwriters, is a great example of getting this right with limited text.

Their target keyword is “Indie Film Channel” which they strategically placed in key places for semantic search, namely the page’s header, and title tags:

Doing this has enabled them to have enough information and context for Google to willingly rank them in the second position for their target keyword.

Converting: How To Structure Your Video Homepage For Sales (A 10-Point System)

We find high-converting video homepages all follow a similar structure from the top of their page to the bottom. 

This can be varied depending on your branding and what you feel looks best for your site, but these elements should be present in some way. Here are the 10 points they all hit:

  1. Hero image or carousel: vivid and relevant product or niche imagery
  2. Subscription info: two-to-three sentences about your product and any free trials
  3. Expanded product info: text-based information about your product or page (which can be supported by video or text)
  4. Free trial link: 52% of people who sign up for a free trial convert into paying customers
  5. “How It Works” section: a bullet-point list of how video on demand works (as it relates to your product)
  6. Testimonials: share the views of your fans and customers
  7. Payment and pricing: the cost of your product with a sign-up button
  8. Featured videos: a small catalog section with JPEG images internally linked to video pages
  9. Social media: updates from your latest social media posts (if applicable)
  10.  Free trial link: a final mention of your product’s free trial

A great example of this structure is the video on demand website, Naturally Sassy

If you work your way down the page, the comprehensive home page allows the videos and services as the focus, without compromising on any on-page SEO factors.

Step 03: Make Use Of Strategic Target Keywords

When Google has a limited amount of information to work with, context is everything. 

The more information you can provide in fewer words, the more it will help you set the foundation for a highly rankable website. One way you can provide more context is by using Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.

LSI keywords are related to your target keyword or the focus of your website and help Google understand the big picture of what your website is about. And even though Latent Semantic Indexing is old technology, and search engines might not heavily rely on LSI these days, it’s still one of the best SEO practices to make sure that your storefront and other pages are targeting a set of keywords and key phrases relevant to what you represent and what searchers are actively looking for when searching for your content.

Let’s say you run a pop-culture website and you create a video web page talking about “Avatar.” Google would look for these set of keywords to determine if you are referencing:

  • Avatar – The 2009 Film (Film, James Cameron, CGI, etc.)
  • Avatar – The Metal Band (Music, Guitar Solo, Tour Dates, etc.)
  • Avatar – The Anime Cartoon (Aang, Nickelodeon, Waterbending, etc)

These keywords are especially important if your target keyword could be interpreted in multiple ways. Take KweliTV, an independent film streaming platform, for example, whose target keyword is “black streaming service.”

The word “black” makes this keyword unspecific; it could be referring to a brand called Black or an illegal black-market streaming service. 

To ensure their website is recognized as a streaming service for black people, KweliTV uses a range of LSI keywords like:

  • Black community
  • 100% black-owned
  • African descent:
    – Caribbean, 
    – African American
    – Latin American
    – European
  • Diversity
  • Cultural issues.

These keywords will often naturally appear in your website’s copywriting. But, you can also find them suggested using a tool like WooRank’s keyword tool.

Step 04: Hit The “Big Three” Of Video Optimisation

This part is simple.Google is looking for three things when analyzing a video:

  • Title: a descriptive headline for the video 
  • Description: a clear description of what the video is about
  • Thumbnail: an image relevant to the content

These enable Google to determine what your video is about if it’s unique and valuable, and whether it’s worth ranking and are non-negotiables in the eyes of Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Because Google doesn’t “watch” your video in the same way it “reads” a blog post or article, this extra information provides more context and an understanding of how the video will look to the viewer.

Step 05: Build Video Optimised Pages To Attract Traffic

As a video content creator, you are likely to use video to help promote your business. One way to capitalize on this, and to generate more organic search traffic, is to focus on ranking video pages and category pages.

These pages are a great way to add high-value content to your video on demand site, which is also likely to attract links and social signals that can improve your rankings.

The structure of these pages is similar to that of a blog post, which as standard will include:

  • Keywords in your headline tags
  • LSI keywords throughout the page
  • An optimized meta-description
  • Minimum 300 words text
  • Internal links to other website pages

Moz does this brilliantly with their Weekly Whiteboard Friday video posts, like this one on SEO title hacks:

They use a short, keyword-rich introduction to the video, and then follow it up with a blog-post style transcription of the video below.

Video content is well and truly at the core of this content, but these extra touches help to increase the perceived value of the content and have some positive semantic search factors.

Step 06: Use Schema Markup To Add Depth 

Google has a hard time understanding video content. They can glean limited information from the audio and video files but are still heavily reliant on text and users to provide context.

You can make Google’s job much easier by applying schema markup to each of your video and category pages. This allows you to tag elements of your video like:

Adding schema markups to your video and category pages will enable Google to display your pages as rich results. Here you can find the ultimate checklist to rank in the Google Top Stories Carousel.

Step 06: Use Schema Markup To Add Depth 

Google has a hard time understanding video content. They can glean limited information from the audio and video files but are still heavily reliant on text and users to provide context.

You can make Google’s job much easier by applying schema markup to each of your video and category pages. This allows you to tag elements of your video like:

Adding schema markups to your video and category pages will enable Google to display your pages as rich results. Here you can find the ultimate checklist to rank in the Google Top Stories Carousel.

Source: IMPACT

Although schema markups don’t directly impact rankings, it can help Google understand the information on your pages better. This is super helpful for your video pages and category pages.

You can read the full guide to video schema markup right here.

FAQ Schema for Video and Category Pages

Another great tactic to increase your SERP real estate and drive more clicks is to use FAQ schema markups on your video and category pages.

What is FAQ schema?

“A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page contains a list of questions and answers pertaining to a particular topic. Properly marked up FAQ pages may be eligible to have a rich result on Search and an Action on the Google Assistant, which can help your site reach the right users.” -Google

Here’s an example of an FAQ rich result:

Although Google only mentions FAQ schemas for FAQ pages, this doesn’t mean that you can’t leverage this type of schema on other pages.

In fact, adding a FAQ section to your category and video pages, not only will allow you to naturally add context to the pages but also will allow you to answer frequently asked questions, boost your visibility on SERPs and organic traffic.

For example, let’s say you’ve launched an online yoga studio and published a series of yoga workout videos for back pain. By answering several frequently asked questions around the topic (Yoga poses for back pain), and adding FAQ markup to your category page, you can both elevate the user-experience as well as organic traffic. 

In the example below, you can see how this page is using FAQ markup to do exactly that:

Check out this guide to learn more about how you can easily add FAQ markups to your pages using GTM, regardless of your CMS.

Step 07: Make Use Of YouTube

YouTube is the world’s largest video search engine and it should play a part in your website’s overall SEO strategy.
As you can see in this example from TawzerDog, it’s possible to rank first for keywords on both search engines, without negatively impacting your search results:

Uploading your marketing videos to YouTube can provide social signals back to your website, as well as bringing in traffic from people who find you on their platform. 

Wrapping This Up…

Although ranking a video and live streaming website is more challenging than your usual text-based website, I hope you can see it’s not impossible. 

By setting the foundation of good on-page SEO, and focusing on user-experience over video-showcasing, you can build a website framework that ranks well, even with limited content.

How to turn your content model into a powerful marketing and SEO weapon

Providing your website with a structured content model is not only the best solution to better organize your content, but also a powerful strategy to improve the SEO of your website and increase organic traffic.

In this article, we’ll explain how the WordLift entity-based model, coupled with the new feature WL Mappings, will allow you to add a more specific markup to your content and to obtain a Knowledge Graph capable of communicating to search engines in a more effective way.

Why is the content model becoming a key tool for SEO?

During his webinar on content modeling for SEO in the WordLift Academy, Cruce Saunders highlights some of the main features that make the content model an indispensable tool for managing and enhancing online content.

In fact, the content model:

  • Specifies how information is organized on your website
  • Makes content more visible to search engines
  • Allows you to reuse content through different channels

Structured content model, in short, not only allows you to better organize data and information but to do it within a malleable structure capable of communicating:

  • to search engines through the use of structured data
  • to users through the enhancement of the user experience and the possibility of reusing the content by presenting it in the form of different layouts both on the site and in the SERP to respond to specific search intents (the same article, for example, may appear in the form of a snippet, of blue link, promotion, etc.)

Structuring your content model means creating a three-dimensional identity capable of highlighting your content and the relationships underlying it. This allows search engines to recognize you among hundreds of pieces of information, making you more visible to users who correspond to the search intent related to your business.

The more the content model is rich in structured data, the more chances you’ll have to meet exactly the users interested in you. That’s why we created WordLift Mappings, a new feature that allows you to select the information and connections that are truly relevant for your business and to create an increasingly specific and refined Knowledge Graph to highlight only the most relevant facets that make your identity more authoritative. 

Through our entity-based model and WordLift Mappings, your content model becomes a powerful SEO weapon and a valuable resource to increase the value of your online data.

WordLift Mappings helps you create a custom Knowledge Graph and increase your online authority

WordLift creates a personalized and highly performing Knowledge Graph through the schema.org markup and the creation of a customized entity-based vocabulary containing the most relevant data to help Google better understand your online content.

Remember that Google uses entities to satisfy users’ search intent and allow them to find the best results. For this reason, an increasingly refined entity-based model such as WordLift is key to increase the visibility of your content for search engines.

WordLift Mappings increases the accuracy of this process and allows you to take greater care of your content and your Knowledge Graph.

Advanced Custom Field for Schema.org: how the new WordLift extension works

By connecting to ACF (Advanced Custom Field), a WordPress plugin that allows you to create advanced fields to specify the attributes that characterize your content, WordLift Mappings allows you to structure your data starting from the fields that you have already configured with ACF or from new fields based on the schema.org taxonomy.

This means having more and more structured content, which can be used to add relevant details to your Knowledge Graph and shaped in different configurations to improve the user experience.

In this webinarAndrea Volpini and Jason Barnard explain how they used WordLift Mappings to improve Jason’s content model and Knowledge Graph. Jason shows how he obtains a Knowledge Graph in which only the most relevant data to create an authoritarian and coherent Brand SERP are structured to stand out in the search results.

With over 100 podcasts made in collaboration with some of the greatest SEO experts on the planet, Kalicube – Jason Barnard‘s website – has an enviable wealth of content, relevant to the entire digital marketing sector. Thanks to WordLift Mappings, we helped Jason structure this content by following a model that focuses on content, events and people. Thus, each guest of Jason’s podcast has his own page connected with the podcasts in which he participated and with the events in which the podcasts were recorded.

In this way, the architecture of the Knowledge Graph is customized on the basis of the content model and the “network” of the links between the contents becomes the bearer of meanings and allows you to predict further connections. Below you can see the entity-based content model applied to Kalicube through WordLift Mappings.

What can you realistically expect in terms of traffic? How long does it take?

In recent weeks, our SEO team has implemented a new content model on the site of an American customer who deals with the dismantling and re-evaluation of used hardware on a large scale.

The results? After the first week, traffic increased by 14.6% and the growth curve does not seem to stop. To analyze the impact, isolating other factors that may influence the SEO of the site, we have developed a predictive model based on Bayesian networks which, analyzing the traffic in the month preceding the introduction of the WordLift Mappings, allowed us to isolate the benefit to the net of other ranking factors (it’s called causal inference analysis).

Want to find out how to analyze your traffic data to optimize SEO?

Contact our experts!

Here we see the real clicks in black and the traffic we would have had in blue (that is, the traffic predicted by the mathematical model), then in the following chart the difference between the real traffic and the estimated traffic and finally the delta of increase. In this way, we can be sure that, as analyzed, it has statistical relevance and is related to the introduction of the new content model. 💪

Data source: Google Search Console

In summary, WordLift Mappings allows you to:

  • Build a Custom Knowledge Graph based on your content model
  • Improve the SEO of your website through structured data
  • Shape the structure of your content to improve the user experience
  • Reuse chunks of content through different configurations to respond to different research purposes
  • Enhance any type of content composed of reusable elements (articles, courses, events, How-Tos etc.)

The implementation of a custom Knowledge Graph through WordLift Mappings has a positive and measurable impact on traffic.

The Role of Content Structuring in Voice Search and Beyond

In 1996 Bill Gates wrote “Content is King”, predicting a world where content would have been the main wealth on the Internet. Although this prediction has been a catchphrase in the contest of digital marketing in the 2000s, nowadays it could sound a little naive. It isn’t, if you rethink content separating it from its containers and try to understand and follow its law

Don’t think in terms of pages, think in terms of entities

Pages are just one of a thousand ways in which content can be rendered and displayed to your users. An entity is the real single brick of your content strategy. It can be displayed through a page, but it’s something more. It is a thing (or a person, a place, an event, etc.) that has its own properties and relationships with other things. 

Adding schema.org markup to your content you can define and describe your entities and help search engines better understand your content. Let’s say for example you have a recipe: as an entity, this recipe will have many properties such as recipeCuisine, recipeIngredient, recipeInstructions, recipeYield… and a lot more. All these properties can connect the entity to other entities or just exist as single data points. 

On the left side, you see a recipe on IINH, as users would see it on the web page, while on the right side, you have the same recipe as Google sees it through structured data.

Let’s say I’m looking for an apple pie with one single egg — because I have just one in the fridge, semantic search engines could give me the right recipe thanks to the additional information related to the entity. So, in the end, entities allow you to give a better answer to your potential readers

The same recipe presented on Google’s SERP in the recipe carousel

Why are entities relevant in this context?

Structured content can help you build Actions for the Google Assistant upon some entity types such as recipes, how-tos, news articles and podcasts. And here is how schema.org markup comes handy for voice search

Moving from building pages to creating structured data helps us create relationships between entities that matter. Entities are not isolated items, they are all connected into a cluster which is semantically meaningful.

This means that through entities you can feature different angles of a complex thing. 

For example connecting all information related to a course or a webinar across multiple pages can be strategic to stand out on Google search and is the best way to answer to different user intents. 

Related articles

How to turn your content model into a powerful marketing and SEO weaponSERP Analysis with the help of AIHow To Build A High-Converting Video Website That RanksDoes structured data create a competitive advantage in SEO?

Structure your content building your own content model — and stick with that

As I said before, entities are just the first brick of your content strategy. Content modeling is the law that underlies your content. Structuring the content of your website allows you to reuse it in different formats and match different search intents. 

For example, the content model of the WordLift Academy allows us to repurpose our content in different formats. Each main content is a webinar which is connected to different data points such as creation date and duration, other entities such as the topics covered during the webinar and the main speaker, and media such as the cover image, the profile picture of the speaker, and the video recording. 

The Entity-based content model of the WordLift Academy

All this information can answer to different search intents and function as different entry points to the main content. 

Experiment new formats starting from your content wealth  💎

Now, let me tell you a story. 

Recently, we’ve joined Google’s Mini Apps Early Access Pilot. The idea was to offer to the user an app experience built into the SERP to navigate into the Academy content. 

I won’t enter into the details of the technological stack used to create this Mini App prototype through Google’s console. What matters here is that, having a structured content we have refined the search for WordLift courses allowing the users to navigate through them by selecting one or more topics of interest and/or a speaker. 

A preview of the WordLift Mini App and some query examples

As the pilot has been shut down due to COVID-19, you won’t see it on the SERP anytime soon. 😭 But… we are planning the same structure — well, with a few changes in terms of technology – to build an Assistant App for Google. 🚀

So users will be able, for example, to look for all the webinars about SEO by Jason Barnard on our Academy just invoking the App.  

What’s the take-away of this story? 

Formats may change and evolve, experiments come and go… but a strong content model allows you to reuse your content in different environments.

È viva la lezione di Modigliani

1918-2018

Il primato della lotta alla disoccupazione contro il monetarismo dominante. Cento anni fa nasceva l’economista premio Nobel, costretto all’esilio dalle leggi razziali di Mussolini

Franco Modigliani (a sinistra, 1918-2003) mentre riceve il premio Nobel per l’economia, che gli fu assegnato nel 1985,  dalle mani del re Carlo XVI Gustavo di Svezia (foto Ansa)

Franco Modigliani (a sinistra, 1918-2003) mentre riceve il premio Nobel per l’economia, che gli fu assegnato nel 1985, dalle mani del re Carlo XVI Gustavo di Svezia (foto Ansa)shadow

Franco Modigliani — uno dei maggiori economisti della seconda metà del Novecento, premio Nobel per l’Economia nel 1985 — era nato un secolo fa, il 17 giugno 1918. Aveva perciò venti anni nel 1938 e stava per laurearsi in legge a Roma quando vennero promulgate le leggi razziali. Il consiglio di Bruno Calabi, padre della sua futura moglie e proprietario delle Messaggerie Italiane, che vennero in quella circostanza cedute alla Mondadori, fu di lasciare subito e definitivamente l’Italia. Franco e Serena si trasferirono a Parigi, si sposarono e nell’agosto del 1939 si imbarcarono a Le Havre sul Normandie — uno degli ultimi piroscafi a traversare l’Atlantico prima dello scoppio della guerra; giunsero a New York il 28 agosto, quattro giorni prima dell’invasione della Polonia.

Franco Modigliani (1918-2003): docente al Mit di Boston, fu anche firma del «Corriere della Sera»
Franco Modigliani (1918-2003): docente al Mit di Boston, fu anche firma del «Corriere della Sera»

Per sopravvivere Modigliani trovò lavoro come venditore di libri importati dall’Italia. Contemporaneamente, grazie a una borsa di studio di Max Ascoli, un antifascista italiano emigrato da tempo negli Stati Uniti, si iscrisse ai corsi serali di economia della New School for Social Research. Negli anni Venti, la New School era stata un’oscura Università per l’educazione degli adulti creata da un miliardario filantropo, ma negli anni Trenta, sotto la protezione di Franklin Delano Roosevelt e soprattutto della moglie Eleanor, divenne uno dei grandi centri universitari che accoglievano docenti e studenti in fuga dall’Europa, tanto da essere soprannominata l’Università in esilio. In quel periodo alla New School Modigliani ebbe due maestri: Jacob Marschak, un economista matematico russo che dopo la rivoluzione di Ottobre si era rifugiato in Germania da dove era dovuto fuggire all’avvento del nazismo, e Abba Lerner, anche lui ebreo, inglese, che aveva fatto i primi passi alla London School of Economics con Friedrich von Hayek, ma si era convertito alle idee di John Maynard Keynes dopo la pubblicazione nel 1936 della Teoria generale dell’occupazione, dell’interesse e della moneta.

La coincidenza fortunata per Modigliani fu che i suoi anni di apprendistato economico coincisero con «la rivoluzione keynesiana», cioè con la trasformazione radicale dell’impostazione degli studi economici seguita alla pubblicazione nel 1936 del libro di Keynes. La Teoria generale — scrisse Paul Samuelson qualche anno dopo — «colpì la maggior parte degli economisti sotto i trentacinque anni con la virulenza inaspettata di una malattia che attacchi per la prima volta e decimi una tribù isolata dei Mari del Sud». Essa, in effetti, segnò in modo indelebile Modigliani e gli economisti della sua generazione: «Keynes — scrisse Modigliani nella sua autobiografia Avventure di un economista (Laterza) — ci dava la speranza che la malattia misteriosa che aveva originato la tremenda recessione del 1929 fosse qualcosa che poteva essere compresa… Quegli studi ci infiammavano. Capimmo di essere su una linea di frontiera… stavamo combattendo una guerra importante per il futuro». Keynes per l’economia e Roosevelt per la politica sono stati la duplice ispirazione cui Modigliani è rimasto fedele per tutta la vita.

Il ciclo vitale del risparmio

Nel gennaio del 1944 apparve su «Econometrica», una delle più importanti riviste americane di economia, un articolo di Modigliani, che aveva solo 24 anni, intitolato Liquidity Preference and the Theory of Interest and Money. L’articolo conteneva una fra le prime, se non la prima, formulazione matematica completa della Teoria generale. Modigliani sosteneva che la rigidità dei salari, e cioè il fatto che il salario monetario non si riduca in presenza di disoccupazione, spiega perché i sistemi di mercato non realizzano automaticamente la piena occupazione. Forse, con il senno del poi, si può sostenere che l’articolo contenesse un fraintendimento della Teoria generale, le cui conclusioni non richiedono questa ipotesi sulla rigidità dei salari. Ma l’articolo comunque rafforzava gli argomenti sulla necessità di una politica economica attiva per realizzare e mantenere la piena occupazione.

Oltre a mettere in dubbio le vecchie certezze sulle virtù del mercato, la Teoria generale aperse di colpo nuove promettenti aree di ricerca. Una di queste fu lo studio delle determinanti del risparmio nel breve e nel lungo periodo. Keynes aveva sostenuto che, al crescere del reddito, il consumo tende a crescere, ma non quanto il reddito. Dunque anche il risparmio cresce al crescere del reddito. Ma che cosa determina esattamente la propensione al consumo e al risparmio? Modigliani avanzò l’ipotesi che la propensione al risparmio muti nel corso della vita secondo un ciclo che essenzialmente vede le persone risparmiare da giovani e spendere da vecchie il risparmio accumulato. Su questa ipotesi continuò a lavorare a lungo traendone implicazioni importanti. Nel 1985 la Commissione del Nobel nelle motivazioni del premio si riferì soprattutto a questa filone di ricerca.

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L’unicità di un attore come Massimo Troisi

Il 5 marzo 1981 Massimo Troisi debutta al cinema in veste di regista-attore con Ricomincio da tre: il film incassa 15 miliardi di lire e viene proiettato per 43 settimane consecutive nelle sale, segnando un record ancora oggi imbattuto. Da quel giorno, l’artista napoletano ha conosciuto una lunga serie di successi, terminata solo con la morte prematura avvenuta durante  le riprese de Il Postino nel 1994. In tredici anni ha lavorato in dodici pellicole, di cui solo cinque nella veste di attore. Eppure, Troisi riuscì a cambiare le regole della comicità al cinema, plasmate da artisti come Manfredi, Sordi, Tognazzi e Villaggio Oggi la nostra comicità è orfana del lascito di Troisi, molto lontana da quella che l’attore aveva portato a teatro, in televisione e introdotto sul grande schermo.

La forza comica di Troisi si trovava soprattutto nella visione sarcastica e romanzata del quotidiano, dove ogni evento diventava spunto per un umorismo spontaneo, immediato, paradossale, mai volgare, aggressivo o urlato. Non aveva bisogno di forzare una situazione o di una parolaccia per strappare la risata del pubblico, ma si basava sulla mimica inconfondibile e un talento quasi istintivo per i tempi della battuta. Dal teatro-cabaret al cinema, dalla radio alla tv, la comicità italiana di oggi si nutre in molti casi  di urla sguaiate, volgarità, bassezze, qualunquismi e stereotipi. Anche per questo è sbagliato considerare Massimo Troisi uno dei maestri della comicità italiana. L’attore rappresenta più un unicum privo di eredi artistici. Venticinque anni dopo la sua morte non esiste una “scuola Troisi” e il suo ricordo sfocia nella citazione o nei peggiori dei casi nell’emulazione, mentre non viene scalfito quell’alone di irripetibilità che da sempre lo ha accompagnato in una vita segnata da una malformazione cardiaca scoperta all’età di 14 anni.

Il Postino, 1994.

Per capire l’unicità di Massimo Troisi possiamo partire dal linguaggio e prendere in prestito quanto detto da Roberto Benigni, con cui ha diretto nel 1984 il film Non ci resta che piangere. Nella poesia dedicata a Troisi dopo la sua morte, Benigni scrive: “Morto Troisi muore la segreta arte di quella dolce tarantella, ciò che Moravia disse del Poeta io lo ridico per un Pulcinella”. Parafrasando, l’arte di Troisi è Troisi, al punto che gli è stato riconosciuto lo status di “maschera” che prima era stato di Totò. Quando Ettore Scola nel 1990 gli affidò il ruolo di Pulcinella ne Il Viaggio di Capitan Fracassa, sembrò una naturale sovrapposizione.

Il concetto di maschera è ancor più evidente nei film di cui Troisi è stato regista o co-regista. I protagonisti sono una proiezione della sua personalità in diversi contesti: impacciati e timidi, vivono una condizione di esuli più che di emarginati, trovando la risata nell’incomprensione, nella parola smangiucchiata, nei gesti abbozzati del corpo. Lo si vede con Gaetano in Ricomincio da tre, il soggetto più autobiografico nella carriera di Troisi, ma anche con Mario Ruoppolo ne Il Postino (co-diretto con Michael Radford), quando l’artista di San Giorgio a Cremano ha mostrato la sua indole più nostalgica, matura e intima, che gli valse la candidatura postuma per l’Oscar come miglior attore protagonista nel 1996.

Massimo Troisi non era solo divertente, ma tagliente. La sua carriera è stata una costante operazione di decostruzione della società, usando Napoli come suo luogo archetipico. Troisi ha offerto un’immagine della sua città ribaltando i luoghi comuni. Per riuscirci ha seguito due percorsi: nel primo ha rappresentato Napoli con lo sguardo esterno, mentre nel secondo l’ha raccontata come può fare solo uno dei suoi abitanti. Dagli inizi in calzamaglia con I Saraceni, poi diventati La Smorgia insieme a Enzo Decaro e Lello Arena, dai piccoli teatri al passaggio in tv nelle trasmissioni Non stop e Luna Park, fino al clamoroso successo da “solista” al cinema, Massimo Troisi ha tentato di spezzare tanto la visione conservatrice che hanno alcuni dei suoi abitanti su Napoli, quanto i pregiudizi del resto degli italiani.

Gérer les produits temporairement indisponibles sans perdre en référencement

La rupture de stock est une situation assez fréquente sur les sites ecommerce. Elle s’accompagne souvent de déception chez l’internaute et parfois de perte de CA. Voici comment gérer le cas des produits temporairement non disponibles (stock épuisé), sous l’angle SEO mais aussi expérience utilisateur.

Analyse de la situation
Le problème est-il temporaire ?

Je pense que la première question à se poser concerne la durée de cette indisponibilité. Essayez d’évaluer précisément combien de temps va durer la rupture de stock.

Si vous vous rendez compte que ça risque d’être très long, voire définitif, il faut mieux retirer le produit du catalogue. Dans ce cas, lisez comment gérer un produit définitivement supprimé.

Dans le cas contraire, passez en revue les solutions décrites ci-dessous, mais prévoyez vraiment quelque chose car ce cas de figure peut nuire à vos activités…

rupture de stock et référencement
Comment gérer la rupture de stock pour le référencement ?

Transformez un problème en opportunité !

En attendant de retrouver du stock pour votre produit, ayez en tête qu’il est possible d’en vendre d’autres en remplacement ou en complément. J’en reparle plus loin, mais votre principal objectif doit être d’éviter que l’internaute quitte votre site pour acheter son produit ailleurs.

Certes, le produit indisponible à la vente crée de la déception chez l’utilisateur. Mais tout va dépendre de votre façon de gérer cette problématique. Il faut rassurer l’internaute, lui faciliter l’achat ultérieur ou lui proposer une autre solution (produit de substitution).

💡 En complément, lisez aussi comment bien référencer une fiche produit.

Liste des solutions possibles

Mettre la fiche produit en 404 : mauvaise idée

Erreur 404

Il ne faut pas supprimer la page et renvoyer un code 404 car vous avez besoin de conserver le positionnement de la page dans les SERP. si vous la retirez, puis la remettez, plusieurs fois, alors Google ne va plus rien comprendre et il est probable que votre page perde son référencement.

Si besoin : rappel de tous les codes HTTP

Rediriger la fiche produit en 301 (redirection permanente)

C’est une mauvaise idée, comme la 404, car vous perdrez votre référencement.

Evidemment, si vous savez que le produit ne sera plus jamais vendu, pourquoi pas faire une redirection 301 vers la catégorie mère, ou vers un produit qui le remplace précisément.

Notez qu’il est possible également dans ce cas de faire une 404 (ou 410) personnalisée pour expliquer la situation à l’internaute et lui lister des produits équivalents.

Rediriger la fiche produit en 302 (redirection temporaire)

Ce n’est pas non plus une bonne idée, ou alors il faudrait vraiment :

  • que le produit soit à nouveau disponible sous quelques jours maxi (à mon avis). Si ça dure trop, Google va considérer qu’il s’agit d’une redirection permanente. Si ça dure pas longtemps, vous retirez la 302 mais dans combien de temps Google reviendra la crawler ?
  • et que l’internaute soit temporairement redirigé vers une page qui ne le déçoit pas (pas évident)

Préciser la situation dans les données structurées avec ItemAvailability

C’est une fausse bonne idée 😉

https://schema.org/ItemAvailability propose différentes valeurs qui peuvent aider à décrire la situation :

  • Discontinued
  • InStock
  • InStoreOnly
  • LimitedAvailability
  • OnlineOnly
  • OutOfStock
  • PreOrder
  • PreSale
  • SoldOut

Mais :

  • l’internaute qui verra dès les SERP que votre produit n’est pas en stock, n’aura sans doute pas envie de venir sur votre site
  • pour Google c’est également problématique car si ça dure pas longtemps, vous repassez à InStock mais dans combien de temps Google reviendra crawler la page ?

Proposer de récupérer le produit en magasin

stock épuisé

C’est déjà mieux : votre site ecommerce ne l’a pas en stock mais vous pouvez le vendre, à condition que le client aille le chercher dans le magasin près de chez lui. C’est juste la livraison à domicile qui n’est pas possible.

Si possible, gérez dans ce cas la liste des magasins possibles, et précisez si jamais celui initialement choisi par le client ne l’a pas non plus en stock.

Proposer la précommande

Si vous n’avez aucun doute sur le fait que le produit sera prochainement en stock, la meilleure solution est de proposer de précommander l’article. Montrez à l’internaute qu’il peut faire partie des premiers à acheter le produit dès son retour en stock !

Proposer de l’aide (service client)

Si vous n’avez pas de système de notification de future disponibilité, proposez au minimum que le service client entre en contact afin d’aider le client. C’est ce que fait excellencerhum.com :

Proposer de prévenir dès que le produit est disponible

Finalement, n’est-ce pas la meilleure solution en cas de rupture de stock ? Il faut que votre CMS gère cette fonctionnalité : l’affichage d’un texte du genre « Soyez le premier à être informé dès que ce produit est en stock » et un bouton « Prévenez-moi » (qui remplace « Ajouter au panier »).

Si possible, affichez aussi le délai de réapprovisionnement, ou mieux encore la date du retour en stock si vous la connaissez (« date de réassortiment »).

Evidemment, vous pouvez là aussi mettre en avant des produits de remplacement, ou d’autres conditionnements. Ceci est censé être gérer par votre système de cross selling : à vous de vérifier qu’il fonctionne bien.

Bonus : proposer une promotion

Que ce soit directement sur la fiche produit ou dans le mail de notification (quand le produit redevient disponible), vous pouvez offrir une réduction ! A vous de calculer selon votre marge sur le produit, mais c’est un très bon moyen de positiver une situation initialement décevante.

Autres conseils

Anticipez !

C’est évident, mais c’est mieux d’éviter la situation des produits hors stock, ou de la déception des internautes qui les consultent.

Une manière de limiter le problème, c’est de filtrer en amont pour ne pas afficher (par défaut) les produits hors stock. Voici l’exemple chez Amazon (cela dit, ce filtre ne semble pas toujours fonctionner, on peut trouver des articles sans stock même sans cocher la case) :

Même si ça ne change rien au problème, n’hésitez pas à indiquer quand un produit n’a presque plus de stock : ça peut déclencher des achats… C’est ce que fait par exemple Amazon :

Pensez au moteur de recherche interne !

Dans votre moteur de recherche interne, laissez l’utilisateur pouvoir filtrer pour exclure les produits hors stock, ou bien listez-les après les produits en stock.

Et vous, comment gérez-vous les produits hors stock ou indisponibles ?