eCommerce Store

HeadphoneZone: A Niche eCommerce Store for Audiophiles

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”, said Plato. There existed a time when music was not portable. There was no way one could walk with a band playing in their pocket. But over the last few decades, thanks to technology, music is mobile, accessible and listened to way more than ever, and much of it through headphones or tiny earplugs. Celebrating the importance of this extremely important gift of technology, here’s a startup that dedicatedly sells headphones and earplugs on its online platform.

headphonezone iamwire
Founded in 2011 by Raghav Somani, HeadphoneZone started out as an exclusive headphone and earphone offline retail store which eventually shifted to a hybrid model to cater to more audiophiles in the country. The company went online on 1st January, 2015.
The stores operate from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi with a core team of seven working out of our Andheri office in Mumbai. Besides this, Headphone Zone is supported by 25 operational staff across the country.

What’s So Special About this Startup?Headphone Zone is India’s first exclusive online store for headphones, earphones and personal audio devices featuring headphones from a large number of brands known for their sound, design and style. Some of the brands associated with Headphone Zone are FiiO, V-MODA,Comply, RHA, Jaybird and the likes. The company is constantly adding new brands from time to time. Jaybird Bluetooth wireless headphones are the latest to be added to the stable.

The primary differentiator of this startup is the fact that it is an exclusive portal for earphones and headphones. Brands which aren’t available easily in the country, can be found on the portal. According to Raghav, India’s growing community of audiophiles wanted a platform on where premium brands could be showcased. That’s precisely what Headphone Zone strives to create.While there are many eCommerce portals who are in a similar line of business, they can not be considered as its direct competition owing to their horizontal models and product offerings.

The website sees over 4,000 visitors each day

What Problems is it Trying to Address?
Initially, the company had partnered with marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal to cater to the requirements of the online buyers. But eventually, it realized that the partnership failed to render a good online buying experience to the customers, for the level of services and support provided to them by those companies were not adequate enough to drive their buying decisions.​​ But as an independent portal, the company takes care of all the customer queries, thereby eliminating the knowledge gap between the buyer and the product.
Monetization and Traction
The company is bootstrapped presently, and runs on an online retail business model of procuring products from international brands and manufacturers and fulfilling orders by partnering with various logistics companies. The website sees over 4,000 visitors each day and the current monthly turnover of Rs. 50 lakhs.

Headphone Zone plans to remain focused on Headphones, Earphones and related accessories as a category and maintain its niche while making several new prominent high-end international headphone brands available in India.

As eCommerce ecosystem evolves in India, it’ll pave way for niche product stores. They can scale up with a light inventory model, and focus on variety and quality within that vertical itself. Companies like Healthkart, Lenskart, FirstCry etc. have created a stable base for themselves in the market. Needless to mention, there is good scope for vertical eCommerce companies in the market. However, they need to be extra careful about their products and models to make sure that they are truly responsive to the Indian consumer.


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Three user behavior metrics that make a difference in SEO

Even though you optimize like crazy for keywords and keyword groups, don’t overlook another powerful, although somewhat mysterious, Google ranking factor: user behavior. There’s strong evidence that optimizing for user metrics can boost your position in SERPs.
True to form, Google has never explicitly said that searchers’ behavior influences the way your web pages rank. But company executives over the years have mentioned this, most notably when engineer Amit Singhal told the Wall Street Journal that Google had tweaked its algorithms by including more signals of quality. He said, “How users interact with a site is one of those signals.”
Google’s patents also provide strong evidence that this is so. In fact, Google holds a patent on modifying search result ranking based on implicit user feedback.
Good performance in user metrics can impact not only the ranking of the page in question but also your website’s overall quality score. Even if only some pages on your site perform poorly in comparison to other sites, Google may generalize and down-rank more pages – or even your entire website. This works the other way, too. Plenty of high-performing pages within your site can influence Google to up-rank more of your site in SERPs.
Here are the three user behavior metrics you should optimize for:

1. Click-through rate (CTR)

There is no optimal or expected CTR for any particular search, but Google does expect it to fall into a range, depending on the type of query. For example, for branded keywords, the click-through rate of the top result is around 50 percent. For non-branded queries, the top result usually garners around 33 percent of clicks; 15 percent for a second-place result; and 10 percent for number three. If your listing falls outside of the expected range – even if it’s above that range – Google may re-rank the result in real time.
How to improve CTR:
  • Use Google Analytics webmaster tools to identify pages with CTRs that fall below Google’s expectations and focus on them first.
  • Make sure page titles and meta descriptions meet technical requirements. Eliminate duplicate titles and descriptions, and then optimize them for keywords.
  • Keep URLs clear and easy-to-read. For longer URLs, consider using breadcrumbs, which are Google’s alternative way of displaying a page’s location in the site hierarchy.
  • Include a strong call to action in the meta description. Speak directly to searchers about the value of clicking through to your page.

2. Pogo-sticking

If the searcher hops quickly back from a result to the SERP, that’s an indication that the result page initially selected wasn’t high quality. When a user pogo-sticks back to results like this, Google may down-rank the first page. If that searcher then dwells longer on the second page he clicked through to, Google may up-rank that page.
How to reduce pogo-sticking:
  • Improve page loading time. Searchers can get frustrated if a page doesn’t load and bounce back.
  • Remove or limit distracting ads or pop-ups.
  • Add site search, so that if the initial result does not satisfy the searcher’s query, she can keep searching within your site instead of hopping back. Google’s custom search engines are a good option, because they allow you to use Google Analytics to track searches and identify search trends that you can satisfy by creating new pages.

3. Dwell time

Dwell time is the amount of time between when a searcher clicks through from a link on the search results page to when he goes back to the SERP. A longer dwell time is a clear indication – to Google and to you – that the result was valuable. The ideal search experience is when the searcher immediately lands on a page that has exactly the information she was looking for.
How to increase dwell time:
  • Use a tool such as WebSite Auditor to check for broken links on your site. Remove or repair them.
  • Up the quality of your content. Make sure every page is unique and delivers the information promised in the meta description.
  • Create task-oriented content pages. Analyze queries as the first in a series of steps leading to completion of a task. Provide several pages that can lead someone through those steps.
  • Entice searchers to stay on your site with links to additional information on the landing page. For example, on e-commerce sites, a Related Products section encourages them to keep exploring if the initial result wasn’t spot-on or the item searched for is out of stock.


It’s important that you follow SEO best practices and white-hat techniques when trying to improve your user behavior metrics. For example, Google won’t be fooled by the use of bots to artificially increase overall dwell time. Simply focusing on how to help searchers find what they’re looking for on your website is the only effective way to optimize user behavior metrics.
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Google penalty, Google to Penalize Sites, Google to Start Penalizing Non-Mobile Sites

Google To Penalize Sites Using Deceptive Mobile Traffic Networks

Google tells us they are actively working on detecting and penalizing sneaky mobile traffic networks.


Last month, Google warned webmasters against using sneaky mobile redirects, either intentionally or unintentionally. Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, participated in a Google hangout last week where he mentioned that his team is specifically working on detecting and taking action on mobile affiliate traffic networks that bounce users from one site to the next, which harms the user experience for the mobile user.

This was said at the 25:16 mark into the video. Here is my best shot at transcribing snippets of what he said. Andrey Lipattsev said this issue “is very close to my heart right now.” His team is working with him to detect these “mobile affiliate traffic driving networks” where “users are just being bounced from one place to another.” He said sometimes publishers add these networks to their sites on purpose to make extra money, but sometimes the publishers, and even the advertisers, are unaware of it.

Again, this is similar, if not identical to the warning Google delivered a month ago. But here you have someone from inside Google telling us that his team is actively working on this as a project.


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