We recently carried out research of 100 beauty websites across Birmingham and surrounding areas. The beauty industry is like most, it relies on a constant stream of new customers and existing customers to operate a profit. Therapists and products are expensive, whilst competition for customers is high. Everyone in the industry fully understands that the internet and search engines can provide a rich source of visitors, leads and customers, but what our research indicated is that most websites were as good as invisible to potential customers and all 100 websites were displaying at least 5 of the 10 common beauty website mistakes. As a leader in Hair and Beauty Salon Website Designs for UK Businesses we found that all websites were under-performing and most were invisible to users of search and Google.
The 10 common beauty website mistakes are as follows:
1. Few individual treatment pages
Users of Google and other search engines use a vast amount of beauty queries when searching for beauty related information, treatments and after sales care; equally, beauty salons provide a huge amount of treatments. What we discovered was that most websites tend to list treatments on either a single page or just a few. This is damaging your websites search engine visibility and as a result your website will bring few visitors, leads and customers.
To establish which pages of your website are in the Google index, all you need to do is query – ‘site:yourdomain.co.uk’ and Google will list every page of your website by title and meta description in its index. Here we list one of the results for a Central Birmingham located salon.
The above illustration indicates that this website only has 10 results (pages) in the Google index. It depicts the page titles (in blue) and the meta description for each page. This website has huge inbound marketing and SEO issues, because it not only contains so few pages, but those pages that have been published have completely inadequate page titles and meta descriptions. The website also features page titles that are from the WordPress installation process (just another wordpress site). Based on this simple Google query alone, we can see that this website contains 9 out of the 10 common beauty website mistakes and that’s without even having to click through to the website!
A simple fix is to create new hubpages i.e. ‘Female Waxing’ and then create individual pages for each treatment in this category i.e. ‘Hollywood Waxing’ ‘Brazilian Waxing’ ‘Full Leg Waxing’ etc. Each page should have a unique page title which should feature the target keyword / treatment. The target keywords should also feature on the page several times. These are basic SEO ranking factors that will determine just how visible your website is across the internet. By fixing this problem you will then create more visitors and customers because you drawing traffic to your website from a variety of different keyword queries.
2. Thin content
This common mistake builds on from the lack of treatment pages and poor keyword targeting. Thin content is a term that describes a page that has few words. Beauty websites are notoriously image orientated and as a result they often contain few words. Because of this, your website pages will fall short of search engine indexing best practice and will certainly not feature anywhere near the top of the results pages. A simple fix is to aim for 1000 words for each treatment page. This can easily be achieved if you focus on describing the treatment, the before and after care including recommended products, recommended frequency of treatments and treatment comparisons. Another very simple way to add word content to a page is to add treatments reviews.
Here we depict a website that not only has thin content, but it lists all of its treatments on a single page. It is therefore no surprise that out of the 23 pages they have in the Google index NONE are designed to bring visitors to the website for any of their treatments keywords, phrases or services. As a result, they are missing out on so many visitors, leads and customers.
3. Poor Call to Action (CTA)
Call to Action is a link or button on a page that seeks to gather visitor information such as email addresses, names and contact numbers. The purpose of CTA is to build a potential customer database that enables you to remarket your products and services. Every single beauty salon offers some kind of discount or promotion, yet few websites have CTA links or buttons that encourage sign-up. Most websites ask for individuals to call the salon for details. NO NO NO. A simple fix is to give them what they want in exchange for the name and email address online. This can easily be automated so it doesn’t cost you time and effort. Create different offers and CTA’s for individual beauty treatments and at the end you will have a database of very interested leads who you can communicate with on particular subject matters.
Here are some examples of CTA’s that should feature on your beauty website:
- Download your £10 voucher when you spend £60 or more
- Claim your £5 off a full leg wax here
- Buy 5 massages for the price of 4
- Download a treatment list here (remember you should ask for their email address)
Here we illustrate an example of a website that does feature an offer for first time visitors on its home page. But where is the CTA button or link? They should have a CTA button that links through to a landing page where they capture names and email addresses of individuals seeking to capitalise on the 50% off offer. They could easily be capturing the personal details of hundreds of leads each year. On the one hand they talk about wanting you to become a valued client, yet they are not making it easy for individuals to become clients – they want you to call, or ask at reception. They are missing out on a real opportunity to market and remarket their business.
4. Poor landing pages
A landing page is described as a page that contains a form that seeks to gather client information such as a name, email address etc. Landing pages should be very simple and free from clutter or links that may deter a reader from carrying out the transaction. We found that because most beauty websites had few CTA’s, in turn they had no landing pages, or worse they were cluttered with other information.
For more information on CTA’s and Landing Pages, check out our Inbound Marketing Basics for Small Business Websites
5. Websites not mobile and tablet friendly
Because we are experts in building beauty websites, we have a vast amount of data about beauty customers, their behaviours, search phrases, devices and so on. We can see that as much as 80% of website visitors land on beauty websites via a handheld mobile or tablet devices. Nearly all of the 100 companies we examined did not have a professional mobile friendly website. This has obvious drawbacks when it comes to attracting visitors, leads and new customers. Firstly, Google penalises websites that are not responsive. So if your website is not mobile or tablet friendly, then it won’t be long before you are banished from the search engine results pages where mobile is concerned. The second issue is, how do you expect to bring leads and customers to your door, if your website content is not user friendly? Most visitors will simply hit the back button.
Here we illustrate three examples of websites that are not mobile or tablet responsive. As such, a user can barely read the text and would have to rely on magnifying the content. Now compare them to the following:
6. Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is a term used to describe web pages that compete with one another. This presents Google with a problem, because it is unsure which page to serve in its results pages. Here we depict a prime example of keyword cannibalization.
In the above illustration this website has 116 results (pages) in the Google index. The problem with this website is that most pages on the website feature keyword cannibalization because the title of the blog appears on nearly all of the pages – ‘Sanctum Therapies Halesowen’. Whilst having the title of the blog in each title isn’t necessarily a problem, keyword proximity is important – your target keywords should come first, then the name of your blog/website last. Logically, if someone is searching for your brand name, chances are they want to contact you, email you etc. So it would be sensible to apply your brand name to the contact us page.
You can also see that many of the pages have the same meta description. As we outlined above, every page should have a unique title and meta description.
A simple fix is to run the query ‘site:yourdomain.co.uk’ and establish which pages are in the Google index. If any pages show duplicate titles or meta descriptions, edit the pages and assign an appropriate title and descriptions, making sure they are relevant with the page content.
7. Lack of after sales content that helps delight customers. i.e. skin aftercare
During our research we only came across one website that offered content that was designed for existing customers. We all know that it’s cheaper to retain customers than it is to attract new ones. Yet despite this, it was clear that 99% of beauty websites that we examined offered no form of content that would assist in delighting the customer. A simple fix is to include content that is designed to help the customer post purchase. Content such as ‘skin care post waxing’ ‘regular moisturising’ and ‘how to videos’ would all help retain customers and ensure that they are satisfied with the overall service they receive.
8. Failure to add regular content
Google favours websites that add regular content. What’s more Google’s search engine results pages often includes latest news snippets, along with freshly published content. You should aim to add at least 1 new page or article per week. A simple fix is to add content in the form of: latest news, new treatments, weekly offers, seasonal offers such as brides pamper parties, product reviews, new treatment reviews and treatment of the week etc.
9. Poor internal linking and hubpages
Links are the number one ranking factor when it comes to the order of the search engine results pages. Those websites that have links from other beauty related pages rank highest. Internal linking plays a major part in SEO success (this is an example of internal linking) and beauty websites need to ensure that they incorporate content that naturally links to one another. A simple fix – we mentioned in common mistake #1 that we advise building hub or category pages and then create individual pages for each treatment in this category. Each page should link back to the hub and where appropriate link to other individual pages. For example it would be sensible to link your ‘Bikini Waxing’ page to both the ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Brazilian Waxing’ pages, and all three pages should link back to your main ‘Female Waxing’ page. You would do the same for all other categories and individual pages.
You will notice that throughout this article we have internally liked to other content and articles on this website. We’ve done it not only to help you gain a better understanding for each common mistake, but also to help boost our own SEO rankings. This is exactly what you should be doing on your own beauty website.
10. Lack of content aimed at the various stages of the buyers journey
Before we go into too much details with this one, it would be good to understand the buyers journey and some of the basic inbound marketing methodologies first. Your website content should focus on three stages of the buyers journey – awareness, consideration and decision. None of the websites that we analysed provided content that covered each of the buyers journey stages. A simple fix – your website should include content that reaches out to customers who have never had beauty treatments before; content for individuals that have a particular need but are not sure what treatment options are available, and finally content that reaches out to customers who know exactly what they want, but need convincing that you are the best provider of that service.
What you should do now
If you are serious about having a great website, you should read my blog, it’s packed with ideas and suggestions to help improve your site.
And if you have any comments or questions about this article, contact me.