E161: Skye Tunks

The User-First Approach in SEO: Strategies and Frameworks That Drive Profit For Your eCommerce Store

skye tunks black and white headshot

eCom@One Listen on Spotify

Podcast Overview

AI…Alt tags…rankings, so much going on in the world of SEO. 

Organic marketing is commonly known as a very powerful channel yet so many eCommerce companies don’t implement the right strategy. At no fault of their own, SEO is often viewed as a dark art that only the few and mighty can master, but this simply isn’t the case. 

This podcast episode clears all the mystery surrounding SEO to help you create a consistent revenue stream for your online business. 

eCom@One Presents:

Skye Tunks

Skye Tunks is the Senior Growth Manager here at eComOne. Her main focus is helping eCommerce businesses thrive online from SEO. She excels in crafting effective growth strategies for clients and ensuring that the entire team is aligned with the plan. 

With a strong emphasis on data-driven decision marketing, Skye leverages various strategies to drive client growth and achieve measurable results from their organic marketing. 

In this podcast, Skye divulges our proven SEO strategies, going into detail about our CATalyst framework, a tactic that has increased the quantity and quality of traffic for many clients, therefore increasing their revenue. 

Find out how the economic uncertainty in the eCommerce industry has been impacted post-covid. Tune in to this episode for actionable insights, tools and trends that you can use to shape your strategy for profit in 2024.

Topics Covered

0:51 – Skye’s eCommerce career journey 

3:17 – Post COVID-19 impact on online sales and strategies and advice to cope with the economic uncertainty  

09:35 – Lack of data analysis is a strategy mistake. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Microsoft Clarity are recommended tools

11:54 – SEO forecasting is a new way to predict business growth based on data. It helps show the impact of SEO investment on future performance. How Skye deals with client communication

14:16 – Our SEO framework that we recommended implementing is FAQs for better search results and featured snippets. Internal linking also helps inform customers and build trust. Client case study

16:54 – Keep up with trends, network with others in the industry, use Google Trends, prioritise user experience and be aware of the growing trend of convenience in online shopping

20:01 – Success to client relationships

24:00 – Book recommendation 

Mike Shields [00:00:04]:

So welcome to eCom@One. I'm Mike Shields. I'm the head of digital PR here at Ecom One. You'll notice that I'm not Richard Hill this week, but we'll be talking to Skye Tunk's, senior growth manager here at the agency to find out really how our inner strategies work, how we come up with what we do, and hopefully, you'll be able to leave with some advice that you can sort of take on and use within your strategy or at least know what we're doing here at eComOne. Okay. So without further ado, let's jump into the episode. So hi, Skye, and welcome to eCom@One.

Skye Tunks [00:00:38]:

Thank you. Yeah. I finally made it on. I think we're on the over a 100 So it's now, and here I am. So, yeah, I'm happy to be

Mike Shields [00:00:44]:

here. Fantastic. I guess the first question I wanted to ask you is, what does a senior client growth manager do?

Skye Tunks [00:00:51]:

Okay. So as an agency, it's a bit of a hybrid role. So, I've been in that position while client growth manager and then senior client growth manager for Around two and a half years, and it is a hybrid role between helping the business grow, but then also helping our SEO clients primarily, grow. So, yeah, it's a bit of a hybrid one. Personally, I do focus more on helping clients grow. I do dabble in a bit of sales, and I do really enjoy that. But, personally, that's, what I enjoy most is helping our clients grow using various different strategies, and It's really about putting the correct strategy in place, making sure that the client's on board with it and fully understands it, and, the whole team that are working on the, the project or the account are also on board with the strategy, and It's always backed by a lot of data as well. So it's a lot of data strategy.

Skye Tunks [00:01:46]:

And then I guess a huge part of my role is Communicating with clients, so making sure that clients fully understand what's going on, everything's fully transparent, and they have a really good idea of where they're heading with their Ciel.

Mike Shields [00:02:00]:

I guess it's like the ins and outs of of, like, dealing with things that come along as well, like, being reactive maybe.

Skye Tunks [00:02:08]:

Yeah. Sure. So there's a lot of when I say data analysis, it's not like, looking at the data at the start and then not not looking at it again after you Create your strategy. It's more you look at the data on even I sometimes look on a daily basis to see what's going on, not just with Specific client websites, but their industry in general. So for example, if if I've got a client in, like, the baby clothes industry, I'll always look at that industry and what's going on with competitors and who's coming out on top and just movements In the baby clothe, baby clothing section in general, using certain tools like Google Trends is a really good one to use to keep up to date and just general Looking at the news, social media, see what's going on, and see if there's anything that's really really needs action in that's really important.

Mike Shields [00:02:56]:

It's really interesting. I guess, it's it's just being there at the cutting edge of everything. I guess there's, Been quite a lot of uncertainty within ecommerce over the last few years, really. You know, we've dealt with inflation. We've got war in Ukraine. We've got, You know, the cost of living crisis because of all this. How do you think your clients have coped with that?

Skye Tunks [00:03:17]:

Yeah. So I think there is a massive one that you've missed out there, which is COVID nineteen obviously had a huge impact on ecommerce and the ecommerce world, and that is a worldwide thing that's happened. What they noticed, what we noticed is, of course, a massive peak throughout COVID, and The struggle has been maintaining that revenue that they saw. I think it's difficult as a business owner to Do really, really well for not just a month or 2 months, but even a couple of years, and then slowly see that sort of, trend going downwards and sort of a lack revenue year on year, I guess, through your website. So I guess coping with that is knowing that firstly and accepting that that was a thing, and And everyone went online to purchase, shops open back up, and less people going online. So I think it's accepting that you will see a slight dip, but There's there's a lot of what I've noticed is a lot of clients are reaching out externally to people more for advice. So, Like, a lot of my clients come to me and ask me what my opinion is and what trends I'm seeing and, of course, go to other agencies and other external people of the business and get Their advice as well. I've also noticed a lot of funding going on.

Skye Tunks [00:04:33]:

So I think it is important to know that Grants are available more locally, I guess, more like council wise grants, but that's really helped a few of my clients, has been getting those grants And using those grants really purpose purposefully and making sure that they're using any kind of investment in the best possible way. So this can be for all kinds of things depending on what the grant is. But for example, if you would like to invest in SEO And that's not something you previously done. You could probably get a grant for that specifically and grow that way. So there's a lot of different sort of channels to explore. I've also noticed that people seem to be exploring more marketing channels than usual. So Primarily, for example, pre this economic crisis, they were just focused on, for example, Google Ads or Google Shopping. Now a lot more people are sort of adventuring out into what else can drive revenue for their business, whether that be SEO, email marketing, PR.

Skye Tunks [00:05:39]:

So, yeah, there's been a lot more, I guess, inquiries around what other services we can

Mike Shields [00:05:44]:

offer. Excellent. So I guess, like, focusing on SEO, have there been any trends in the last 6 months that you've noticed, and that you've seen do really well?

Skye Tunks [00:05:55]:

I guess an ongoing trend that I've noticed, so I've been in the SEO world for nearly 10 years, which is insane. And one of the trends I've noticed not just over the last 6 months, but for a long time is how SEO has now changed from trying to keep The search engine happy to try and keep the user happy. So previously, if you're in the SEO world, you'll know about things like keyword stuffing and, paying for thousands of backlinks and things like that, and we did that to keep Google happy. And now more recently or in the last couple of years especially, it's all become user first and user focused. So we no longer optimize for the search engine, But we optimize for the user. So I think that's a massive thing to consider when you are doing SEO strategies or working on a website's SEO is Never think, will Google like this, but think, will the user like this? Because that's now how search engines also think. Yeah. And I guess I can't really say what's happened in the last 6 months without mentioning AI because it's been a massive It's been a massive factor, and every talk, every presentation I've been to in the last 6 months has always mentioned AI And what that looks like in the SEO world.

Skye Tunks [00:07:12]:

And we have introduced it as an agency, actually. So we are using it. We are on board with it. But one thing that we We advise to never do is just use AI meaninglessly and just copy and paste from AI. I think it's really great more For inspiration, more for ideas. For example, if you write a lot of content, don't get an AI tool to write the content, but more use it for content outlines And any supporting keywords that you might want to put in your content. So, yeah, who knows what's gonna happen with AI, because it's already developed massively in the last 6 months. So in 6 months' time, yeah, no doubt it will develop even more, but I think that's something to Make sure you're on top of and not avoid.

Skye Tunks [00:07:57]:

I think it can be quite a scary thing, and a lot of people try to avoid it, but it's important, To, yeah, keep keep on top of it and especially if your competitors are using AI and things like that, it's really great for mainly streamlining work and, Making sure that you're spending your hours and your time on more, like, strategy and data and actually writing things than coming up with content outlines some things like that and keyword research and little niggly things, that are needed for SEO.

Mike Shields [00:08:28]:

Definitely. I I think it's using it intelligently as well, isn't it? Like, making sure that You're not just kind of copying and pasting entire chunks of things that it's created. You're actually looking at what it sort of outputs

Skye Tunks [00:08:38]:

and Yeah.

Mike Shields [00:08:39]:

Using that in a really intelligent way within your strategies. So Absolutely. That's a really good answer. So, are there any mistakes that you see that SEO people are making, you know, or or clients making or kind of in the SEO

Skye Tunks [00:08:53]:

world. Yeah. I think the biggest mistake I see I talk about data a lot because that is, like I mentioned at the very start, that is a lot of my role. But the the biggest mistake I see is people that have done an SEO strategy that is not backed on data. So they will kind of research on Google how to do SEO And use it will probably come up as a Moz .com article, no doubt, or an Ahrefs article, and it will kinda bullet point, do this, Do that. Do this. And people will just take that and just follow it step by step. But the one thing that they're missing massively is Looking at previous data and developing your strategy based on what that data is saying, and not only looking at the data, but making sure the data you have Setup is accurate.

Skye Tunks [00:09:35]:

So for example, if you've got Google Analytics running and set up, you might think, well, I'm collecting all my data there, But, actually, something's not tracking properly, or you're double tracking conversions, and that's a massive issue that we see, because, yeah, we always like to back things with Data. So it's important that it's there. So the things that I would recommend using and making sure is set up correctly are things like, especially Google Analytics or GA 4, they now call it, and Google Search Console. They're 2 really good tools. Another little side one would be Microsoft Clarity, which was Just released in November last year, and it's like a heat mapping screen recording tool. So that's more for, like, the user experience side. So, yeah, To wrap that up, I guess the mistake I see is lack of data analysis before creating a strategy.

Mike Shields [00:10:25]:

Yeah. It's almost like going in blind, isn't it? It's a it's a really sort of risky thing to kind of, sort of embark

Skye Tunks [00:10:31]:


Mike Shields [00:10:31]:

Yeah. So, like, SEO can be really complex for a lot of people. It can kind of, throw a lot of people off with how many different things you're doing on and off page and and all their little, like, meta descriptions. And it can seem like hieroglyphics to a lot of people, especially like small business owners or, MDs of larger sort of ecommerce sort of platforms. So what can kinda give them confidence in their strategy from an s SEO professionals suspect.

Skye Tunks [00:10:57]:

So I recently just completed a whole course that mentioned a lot about this actually, and it's how to Show business owners and MDs the benefit of SEO because a lot of the times, they don't really wanna know all the niggly things. They don't wanna know, okay, you've got 2,000 missing meta descriptions. They're not really that bothered. They wanna know how much it's gonna cost and what return they're gonna get from it. So The easiest way to talk to a business owner about SEO and show the benefit is simply going from, like, a revenue level of it, because money is very important. And even when I look at data, one of the first things I look at is revenue. So I guess it's important to communicate very clearly and in a very simple way. If you invest this much, this is how much you're gonna get back from it.

Skye Tunks [00:11:46]:

And with SEO, that's a very difficult thing. So it's not like paid ads where you can invest a budget and you know kind of what it's gonna generate.

Mike Shields [00:11:53]:


Skye Tunks [00:11:54]:

But we we can do what we call SEO forecasting. So it's quite a new thing, and We can basically plug all of your data in and forecast where you'll be in 6 to 12 months' time based on All of your previous data, again, that's why data is very important to have that up and running. But that really has been great to show business owners and MDs A very simple graph of this is where you are, this is where you'll be without SEO investment, and this is where you'll be with SEO investment depending on different budgets. So that's been really helpful as well. But, I think it really varies depending on what business owner you're talking to because some will want all the details, All the niggly bits like the 2,000 meta descriptions, they'll want to know that, but some will literally just want to know how much am I gonna get. Yeah. Where yeah. Where's my money going, and when am I gonna earn it back kind of thing? So it's important to, yeah, be aware of what people want to know in the 1st place and then adjust based on that.

Mike Shields [00:12:52]:

At At the end of the day, they're about making money, aren't they? You know? We're we're here to sort of, like, help their bottom line improve. You know? So I guess that's that's part of it. So in terms of what we do here at Ecom 1, I think it's quite interesting that we've got a strategy that kind of spells out what we get, How we get to know a client, how we sort of, action sort of things that will make that needle move. One thing that we've introduced is the catalyst strategy, which is, I think, really interesting, and I've been part of that. What's it actually involve? It's it's to do with category pages, but, really, I guess we're looking at, like, why are we focusing on cat category pages in general?

Skye Tunks [00:13:32]:

Sure. So this kinda loops back to the whole user experiencing and no longer optimizing pages for Google but the user. So what this catalyst framework is is essentially reformatting category pages To include, extra content, but what we never wanna do is push all them products down the page. The whole idea is to sell more products. So we never wanna push products down the page. So the way we've been formatting category pages with this new strategy is, adding a read more button, and that will either expand the content for those that want to read more, or it'll drop you to the bottom of the page where there's loads more information. So the idea behind that is it gives people the option. If they wanna know more, then they can.

Skye Tunks [00:14:16]:

But if they don't, then they can just kinda scroll past it. So that's One feature that we would recommend implementing, there's also, I think one of the biggest things when it comes to catalyst is FAQs. So we've seen really great results We've added bespoke FAQs to each category page. And not only does this get you picked up for more informational search terms, But you can also wrap what we call FAQ schema in the SEO world around it, and then that will allow you to be featured at the top of Google as like a featured Snippet. So when you search question in Google, it's kind of a recent in the last couple of years thing where the answer pops up, so it allows for that as well, which really increases your, like, impression share on page 1 and drives a lot more clicks through to your content pages and category pages. I won't reel off absolutely every little element that we do, but there's things like internal linking, so linking up blog blogs and guides. And the whole idea behind it, the bottom line is to inform the customer as much as possible before they purchase, Which again is all around making sure the customer's happy, their content, and it's a huge trust factor as well. So If you're selling tents, for example, we've got a client that we've implemented this on called Valley and Peak, and they sell, like, outdoor gear and tents and sleeping bags.

Skye Tunks [00:15:40]:

And if you if you hit that category page for 1 man tent and it's got all the FAQs there, all the information, you're more likely to trust But they're experts in their field, so you're more likely to purchase from them. So there's a there's kind of a whole array of benefits that go into it, but I would recommend rolling that out because it kind of reform reformat your category pages, add your FAQs, and then you will see results. So for Valley and Peak, for example, we we shifted their their keyword, like, 1 man 10 up 86 Positions on Google within 2 weeks.

Mike Shields [00:16:14]:

Kinda speaks for itself, really, doesn't it?

Skye Tunks [00:16:16]:

Yeah. Yeah. And that's quite a high volume search term. So There's kind of all all different examples I can give in case studies, but, yeah, I think Valley and Peak is a is a good one to have a look at.

Mike Shields [00:16:27]:

Yeah. Really good shining example of of kind of where we've really gone in and and kind of gone, right. Okay. What are people looking for? Can we answer those questions? Can we be that person, that expert that they can go to? It keeps people on page. It makes them more interested. It might make them look at other blogs and things. So it's already it's a journey, isn't it?

Skye Tunks [00:16:45]:

It is.

Mike Shields [00:16:45]:

Yeah. Basically. That's great. So, like, sort of looking to the future, what do you think that ecommerce companies should be looking at in the next 12 months?

Skye Tunks [00:16:54]:

I think Keep on top of trends. So no one can really predict the future. I would love to be able to. It would make my job so much easier so I could do strategies, and things like that, but you've just got to keep on top of trends and make sure that you know what's going on in your industry. If you are a business owner or, say, even a marketing manager For a company in house, you're involved in that industry on a daily basis, and you're kinda surrounded by people in the same industry. So reach out to people, have a chat, see what they're experiencing, like external people to your business, and just make sure that you, again, use Google Trends that Can kind of predict what people are gonna be searching for in seasonality, but think it's just the user first approach Again, so if you're if you've got a website, settle peak mapping, settle Microsoft Clarity, and make sure that users can navigate round that website and check out very easy easily. I think a big trend going forward is how lazy we're all becoming when it comes to online shopping. Yeah.

Skye Tunks [00:17:58]:

So we wanna be able to purchase a product within a click and not have to go through, like, 5 pages of checkout. And there are tools that you can implement on your website where it is literally from the category page. It's a one click. It uses your Apple information. So I think it's currently just with Apple Pay, but it uses your Apple information with your address and everything, and you literally double tap your phone, and you've purchased the product. Name yourself. Yeah. No address needed.

Skye Tunks [00:18:26]:

No name. Nothing. It just uses it all. So I think that's a huge thing is making it as easy as possible As people are getting more and more lazy with online shopping to purchase and receive a product

Mike Shields [00:18:38]:

Yeah. Go with the customer. Go with UX. Go with, like, what they're searching for.

Skye Tunks [00:18:42]:

A 100%. Makes loads of sense, doesn't it? Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:18:44]:

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Richard Hill [00:19:37]:

Let's head straight back To the episode. So

Mike Shields [00:19:40]:

some companies might not trust SEO agencies, you know, with you know, there might be a reputation out there for some that might just, like, using, like, black hat tricks from years ago and, you know, just, I will write a few blogs, and that's that's kind of our service. So what what Why do you think people trust us so much, and why do you think we've got, like, the tools to kinda make it happen?

Skye Tunks [00:20:01]:

Paul, we've been I'm not saying we're the longest ever running agency, but we have Been an agency for 13 years, I believe, coming up 13 years. So we have a lot of knowledge over the last 13 years. And there's people in the business that started 13 years ago that are still with us now, so they have built up all that knowledge. And we always say to clients that we're not an external agency. We're almost like an extra arm for your business, so Treat us as if we are in house, like we're here to help you. And I think when it comes to the whole trust thing, it's A a lot of a lot of people that come to us come to us have been burned in the past by agencies because the the thing that gets mentioned a lot is about Talking gibberish, and they don't understand, and reports don't make sense. So I think reporting is a massive thing when it comes to, clients understanding the transparency of the work we're doing and the amount of people that have come to us and said, I don't understand my reports. It's just A load of content that don't make sense, and it's important to communicate with different business owners and market managers in the way that they understand, And that helps build trust.

Skye Tunks [00:21:11]:

We're just very transparent in every single thing we do. So we're not saying that things always go perfectly for clients. Sometimes things don't go so great, but it's being very open with them, coming up with a solution and next steps, and a really great strategy in place with the whole team involved. And that's how they learn to trust us, I think, is just being totally transparent even when it comes to, like, workload. Every single document we work on is available to the for the client to view. It's even

Mike Shields [00:21:40]:

It's unusual, isn't it? That's not something everyone does.

Skye Tunks [00:21:43]:

Yeah. And it's even got time stamps on it. So the client, if they really wanted to, can go in and see when we last edited a a document, Which I think it's just a whole mix of things in general that really, allow clients to trust us and come on board with us.

Mike Shields [00:21:58]:

That's brilliant. Yeah. I think it is a lot about trust, and it's a lot about kind of, just having that confidence. Like, going back to that question, just like having the, Okay. I've got all this in front of me. I I can actually see what they're up to and where they're going and where they're gonna take us. And, like, again, like you said, like, just being honest, when it doesn't go well, Say, right, why hasn't it? Let's move on and and make it good. Let's make this a success.

Mike Shields [00:22:22]:

That's brilliant. So, we always ask people for a book recommendation at the End of the podcast.

Skye Tunks [00:22:27]:

I knew this was coming.

Mike Shields [00:22:29]:

Our, our managed director, Richard Hill, he, very much believes in, like, improving your knowledge and kind of, Just like life advice in general. So which book would you, like, sort of focusing on if you're gonna give people, like, a a recommendation?

Skye Tunks [00:22:44]:

Okay. So I'm not actually a huge reader. Okay? So I will I will say that. I do I do like the odd book, but I'm more of like kind of girl. So one book that I would recommend which has been very helpful for me is, presentation book by Emma Levin, and that sounds really dull and boring. Like, I don't wanna read about presentations, but I said I'm not much of a reader, and I really managed to get into that one because it's very simple. That makes me seem like Such a simple girl, but it is very simple and easy to understand, and it's almost like bullet pointed. And if you do a lot of public speaking or you Even just putting presentations together for, I don't know, to present to your MD or present to the rest of the team or even clients, then It's got some really great tips in there on how to, like, over overcome fear and what needs to be included and how to format, And that's been really helpful for me when presenting and doing public speaking.

Mike Shields [00:23:42]:

Yeah. Because it's almost like an unknown. I think a lot of people get thrown into that sort of thing, don't they? And it's like, Right. Okay. I'm a deer in the headlights. What do I do? You know, do you read off the slides? No. Do you? Yeah. You know, do you sort of, like, shuffle your papers a lot? No.

Mike Shields [00:23:54]:

It's like, okay. Be focused. Doing a strategic way so you're absolutely ready for it. So, yeah, I can see how that would help.

Skye Tunks [00:24:00]:

It's a scary thing to do, like presenting well, I think for anyone. I know some people love it, some people don't, but it's still a scary thing for anyone to do, and it really helps kinda calm your nerves, that book, and makes you realize, okay, It's not that deep. I know I know what I'm saying. I know now how to present it. So, yeah, it it helps me when I'm feeling a little bit nervous about a presentation To overcome that fear a little bit, so, yeah, I I do recommend that book. There's a few more that I've got stuck into. Atomic Habits is really great as well. Yeah.

Skye Tunks [00:24:33]:

Henry, our head of operations, loves that book. He's just done a presentation on it to the team. But, yeah, I would go with the presentation one as a kind of a quick Basic read to improve your knowledge.

Mike Shields [00:24:44]:

That's great. Thanks for that. And, thanks for being on the podcast this week.

Skye Tunks [00:24:47]:

Thank you. It's my debut, kind of, so I've I've really enjoyed

Mike Shields [00:24:50]:

it. Very well done. So if you like what you've heard today and, you wanna hear more, we're actually holding an ecommerce master a class day on the 24th January, up at Lincoln Cathedral. We'll be talking about, digital PR, PPC, SEO, and a a lot more besides. So join us there.

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