Marketing | 5 min read

Web Personalization and SEO: Untold Secrets In Less Than Ten Minutes

Is your web design personalized for your customers? Learn the untold secrets for your Web Design Hong Kong and turn it into a conversion machine!
Tiffany Pau
By Tiffany Pau
October 08, 2021
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What's the Deal with Personalization?

It's a no-brainer that personalization helps you connect your customer wherever they are. It could be defined as an act of doing or producing something that meets the customers' individual needs.

Even if you didn't really enjoy Economics, you must have come across the phenomenon of Demand and Supply—the consumers demand and the producers supply. Although this supply is usually based on the broader market demand rather than an individual's personal demands, the producers have fine-tuned ways to meet both, market and individual demands!

This is how personalization was born. But does personalization matter today?

Why Should I Care about Personalization?

The beauty industry is an excellent example here. As the industry grows, it's expanding its products for multitudes of skin types—textures, types, problem areas, and more. As one product will not fit all skincare problems. According to research by Accenture:

91% of consumers are more likely to shop from brands that recognize their individual needs.

Did you know that you can craft personalized web development for your visitors?

Website experience personalizations have been shown to promote user retention, engagement, and ultimately grow revenue. Personalization can definitely be a part of growing businesses' content strategy.

We see personalization become powerful for global or multi-market e-commerce merchants. Building a platform that can then be localized to a specific market or location is a form of personalization. Content, products, pricing & other functionality (like payment gateways) can be specifically personalized for a segment or location. Helping to increase overall user experience and ultimately drive more sales.

However, it's natural to wonder how this affects your SEO. If you are building unique website experiences - then how does Google read and understand the content you are producing? So, let's start by taking a look at the risks you could be taking while personalizing your website.

Cloaking

Cloaking can be best described as showing content to the user and different content to the Search Engine crawler for the purpose of achieving organic ranking in Search Engine Optimization.

This falls under Black Hat SEO and is regarded as a clear violation in the frame of Google's Webmaster Tools. Therefore, we strongly advise you to display the same content to the Crawler and the visitors while setting personalization for your website.

Wrong Redirections

According to Google's official guidelines, when redirecting visitors to different URL variations (such as split testing), you should always utilize a temporary HTTP response status code (302 Found).

Alternatively, you can use a JavaScript-based redirect.

You should try to stay away from using a 301 Moved Permanently HTTP response code, as a general rule. The 302 redirect request informs search engines that the redirect is temporary and that the original, canonical URL should be retained in their index.

Duplications

When conducting online tests, the system may duplicate parts of the site's URLs for various test permutations. Unless they were originally constructed as an attempt to manipulate organic ranks through cloaking, these on-site duplications pose a rather modest danger in terms of a genuine penalty.

Implementing a canonical tag element on each copied URL can prevent this. A simple Robots.txt disallow command or a Robots meta tag with a no-index value can likewise be used to deny access to those duplications.

Loading Speed

The more you try to personalize your website content for your users, the more kilobyte it occupies. This could lead to the slow loading speed of the website. A slow loading speed not only affects Search Engine Optimization but also leads to a higher bounce rate since the visitor has limited patience.

Now that we have covered the risks, let's jump right into the precautions to make sure the SEO doesn't clash with the way you personalize your web development.

Well, we could talk about more advantages but we're not here to run promotion campaigns for Shopify Plus. We aim to make sure you take the right decision to help you scale your business. Which brings us to the next question, When are you eligible to open a Shopify Plus account? To answer that questions you must think about these points:

Don't Over Personalize

The material generated while targeting a different visitor will be un-indexable because Googlebot could pick up the tailored version of a page.

Since we never know which version of the content Googlebot will crawl, it's recommended to avoid Heavy personalization (such as page-level personalization) on pages meant for Google search results, such as blog or article pages.

If Googlebot picks up a substantially tailored version of the content, it may give it a worse ranking than the non-personalized version, jeopardizing your Search Engine Optimization.

Usage of Canonical Tags

If at all possible, avoid creating several URLs for the same page. If you can't avoid it, such as if you have a different language version with the same copy and content as en and en-gb, make sure you canonicalize the primary page to notify Google which page is the master copy of that content.

Usage of Hreflang tags

Use the Hreflang tag to tell Google which language you're using on the page if you have multiple language versions of the same piece of content. This means that when visitors search in a specific language, the search engine will serve the appropriate language version of a page.

Localized Pages

Because the principal crawler's IP address is in North America, if your pages alter depending on the visitor's location, Googlebot may not crawl, index, or rank the material for multiple locations. You should regard Googlebot the same way you would any other citizen of that country.

Usage of Server-Side Rendering

If possible, utilize server-side personalization, and if you're using JSS, check out Google's documentation on adding extra implementations to assist Googlebot to read your JavaScript.

Need More Help With Web Design Hong Kong?

Still, find it difficult to work on? Don't Worry, we're here for you. You can contact us for any help regarding website development.

About Digital Butter

We’re known for boutique e-commerce. We specialize in the design & build of high-performing platforms & stores. We produce work that redefines category excellence and accelerates platform profitability.

Get in touch to personalize your web design, web development, UI, or user experience with us today by contacting us here.

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Tiffany Pau
By Tiffany Pau
Digital Producer
Tiffany is a Biochemistry graduate from CUHK. After graduation, she worked as a Digital & Analytics intern at L'Oréal APAC for more than a year before joining Butter as part of the Graduate Programme. Tiffany now works closely with the Strategy and Business Development Team to meet output expectations and contributes to managing client projects within Butter.

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