SEO – Best Content, Best Experience – What does that really mean?
Google's explanation of their SEO algorithm can be boiled down to, "Best content, Best experience." What does that really mean? I finally got some answers, but I wasn't at a presentation on SEO!
If you go to a restaurant and it's dirty and no one greets you, the flavor of the food will already start to sour, and you haven't even tasted the appetizer yet.
What does a dirty restaurant have to do with SEO? A website that is difficult to navigate and visually unappealing, will not instill customer confidence in the product or services sold on the website. At PeachDish, their website is their restaurant, and their homepage is their store front.
I found my SEO answers in the most unexpected of places, Startup Grind Atlanta's meeting on July 28, 2016. Speakers were Judith Winfrey, President and Hadi Irvani, Founder of PeachDish - a food subscription service in Georgia providing fresh meal-kits across the US.
- 25,000 meals/month
- Over $3 Million annual revenue
- 1,200 shipments/week (average 3 meals per shipment)
- 58% of traffic comes from organic search
PeachDish is actually 3 businesses in 1
- Food - Their first business is sourcing fresh food from farmers and putting together recipes that are unique and people will enjoy.
- Logistics of working with farmers to get crops delivered, packaging the ingredients in the correct proportions, and shipping it out to the customer on-time and while still fresh! PeachDish generally has a 36-hour turnaround from receiving crops to sending out the food to the customer.
- eCommerce - At the end of the day, PeachDish is an eCommerce store. Their website is their store front. They package everything out of one location, their warehouse and ship it out.
You wouldn't know it by looking at soft-spoken and humble Hadi Irvani, but prior to PeachDish he was eCommerce director of Okabashi, an eCommerce shoe company. Hadi is one of the foremost experts in eCommerce, having worked with Amazon and applying his expertise to PeachDish.
He started off giving the same advice I've heard time and time again:
Best Content - Best Experience
And then he explained what that really means!
Photography was one of the key points Hadi emphasized at Startup Grind. "People buy with their eyes," said Judith Winfrey.
Hadi saw an increase in sales after he improved the quality of the photos of the food on his website. All photos are professional and PeachDish has invested in a visual storyteller.
Video is the next frontier for PeachDish and Hadi envisions 3D, Augmented Reality, or Virtual Reality cooking tutorials in the future.
In addition to the images, the website design must also be aesthetically engaging. PeachDish has a very clean, sophisticated website look and feel. Their blog offers beer and wine pairings for all of their dishes, personal interviews with each chef on their culinary inspirations, and lists of their farmers and partners.
Hadi emphasized over and over again hiring "the best talent" and presenting "the best content" on the website.
Navigation - Best experience starts with a website that is intuitive to navigate. Best experience means less frustration for customers for them to find what they are looking for or complete their transaction. Have you heard of Frictionless Retail? This just means making it easy for your customer to buy your products. Just as a good waiter will recommend dishes or talk about specials, your website needs to be just as helpful and thoughtful. Hadi revealed that his customer feedback has helped his business grow (because he listens to his customers).
10-year domain name registration - While the Google SEO algorithm is a constantly changing mystery, Hadi stated that in 2007, Google announced that domain names with registrations of 10 years or more would have higher SEO rankings. Hadi reasoned that Google felt 10-year domain registrations meant that the business would stand the test of time. I did my own research on the 10-year theory and was unable to find any concrete evidence one way or another. To me it makes more sense that Google is looking at many variables and domain name registration is just one of them. More likely, Hadi has worked directly with Google and this is true.
Response Times / Page Load Times - Nobody enjoys waiting for a page to load. Google bots crawl websites and record page load times. If you don't give leeway for a video/graphics heavy site, neither do the bots. Since PeachDish is a high resolution image site with varying traffic levels, Hadi provided his tips on minimizing page load time.
- With rich content such has hi-res photos, PeachDish utilizes Amazon Cloud Front, a CDN service. Simply put a CDN caches the content in multiple servers to bring the content closest to the end user, thus minimizing response times.
- PeachDish also experiences huge variations in traffic volumes depending on time of year, day of the week, and time of day. We've all heard of massive traffic taking down sites, and now there's a way to avoid that. Hadi implemented Amazon Elastic Beanstalk which fires up more servers as traffic volumes grow dynamically and then turns them off as traffic declines.
Security - Best experience also means a secure experience. Consumers want to know that their credit card and personal information won't be intercepted by hackers. PeachDish has implemented EV SSL certificate which is the highest level of authentication for their website. This keeps their customer secure and improves the level of trust with Google.
Amazon Ferrari vs. GoDaddy Rickshaw - I've heard developers and others say, "Don't host your website on GoDaddy." Why not? I've already purchased my domain name on GoDaddy and they've made it a relatively seamless experience to launch my website? Hadi finally revealed the truth. Nothing against GoDaddy or any of their competitors. The answer is in how the Google bots crawl. When Google bots find a server hosting many different websites, the bots almost aggregate the SEO score across all of the websites on the same server. This is bad news as the gambling sites and blue content on the same server (that you have no affiliation with) are now dragging down your SEO ranking. Hadi went on to compare GoDaddy and AWS to rickshaws and Ferraris and explained that at the end of the day, the price is almost the same.
There you have it, the secrets to SEO revealed by Hadi Irvani, SEO genius.
Is following SEO best practices enough? No.
"You need to have an outstanding excellent presentation matches the quality product that you are selling." - Judith Winfrey
Creating Value for Society - Hadi and Judith emphasized the importance of fresh, organic food for overall well being. By ingesting fewer chemicals, they believe that we can improve our health and overall well-being. Additionally, by working directly with farmers, they are creating a win-win. Hadi explained that a farmer in South Georgia may only produce about $500 worth of sprouts per year and it would be time consuming to sell those sprouts by driving to farmers markets in Atlanta. By pre-ordering from the farmer, the farmer can concentrate on farming and PeachDish can focus on distribution.
Quality and Attention to Detail - Customers are sensitive to quality and expect a quality product. PeachDish strives to provide the freshest ingredients possible by turning around incoming crops to shipping out meal-kits within 36 hours.
Respect the Relationship - Judith said she was honored that her customers trusted PeachDish with their food purchase. This also means transparency when there are problems. Admit when there is a problem, provide timely and frequent updates until the issue is resolved.
Personal - Customers expect a personal relationship. Each meal-kit includes a list of where each ingredient was sourced from; name of farmer and location.
Surprise & Delight - When asked how PeachDish retains their customers (as there is a lot of meal-kit competition out there), Hadi responded, "Surprise and Delight!" Each PeachDish shipment includes a bonus "gift" such as a cookie or a mix for a King of Pops popsicle.
Am I a customer of PeachDish? Is this an endorsement of PeachDish?
Quite frankly, I was never interested in purchasing a meal-kit, but after listening to Hadi and Judith's passion for fresh food and their business, I made my first PeachDish order (shipping August 23rd).
Still reading? Watch the entire PeachDish presentation at Startup Grind Atlanta on July 28, 2016.