Startup SEO Budgeting for E-commerce: Conversion Rate Optimization

Optimize your e-commerce startup! Explore SEO budgeting strategies to boost conversion rates and maximize online profitability."

This Article has been revised, edited and added to, by Poulomi Chakraborty.

For e-commerce startups, SEO isn’t just about driving traffic to the site; it’s also about ensuring that traffic converts into sales. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) combined with SEO can amplify a startup’s online success, delivering tangible ROI. This article delves deep into effective SEO budgeting tailored for e-commerce startups with a specific focus on CRO.

Setting the Stage: SEO and CRO in E-commerce

At the heart of e-commerce success lies the synergy between attracting potential customers and ensuring they complete a purchase.

The Essence of E-commerce SEO

For e-commerce platforms, SEO focuses on enhancing the visibility of products, categories, and brand value.

Core Elements of E-commerce SEO:

  • Product Page Optimization: Ensuring each product page is optimized for relevant keywords, user experience, and search visibility.
  • Technical SEO: Enhancing site speed, mobile optimization, and ensuring smooth crawlability for search engines.
  • Content Creation: Crafting engaging content around products, tutorials, or user stories to drive traffic and establish brand authority.

Conversion Rate Optimization: Beyond Traffic

While SEO drives traffic, CRO ensures this traffic leads to desired actions, primarily purchases.

Pillars of CRO:

  • User Experience (UX): Simplifying the user’s journey from landing on the site to completing a purchase.
  • A/B Testing: Comparing two versions of a webpage or element to determine which performs better in terms of conversions.
  • Data Analysis: Using analytics to understand user behavior, drop-off points, and areas of improvement.

Integrating Market Research to Inform SEO and CRO

In the quest to establish a robust online presence, e-commerce startups must begin by comprehensively understanding their target market and competitive landscape. This knowledge is critical not only for defining SEO strategies but also for optimizing conversion rates.

By conducting detailed market research, startups can identify the specific needs and behaviors of their potential customers, which informs both keyword selection and site design tailored to enhance user experience and engagement.

Enhancing SEO Through User Intent Analysis

Understanding user intent is pivotal in crafting an SEO strategy that goes beyond mere keyword rankings. Startups should focus on categorizing user intent into informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial investigation.

This classification helps in optimizing content to match the specific needs of the user at different stages of their buying journey. For example, a user looking for “best running shoes” is likely at a different stage than one searching for “buy Nike Air Max online.” By aligning content with user intent, startups can not only attract more traffic but also guide potential customers towards making a purchase.

Leveraging Competitor Insights for CRO Enhancement

Conversion rate optimization can benefit significantly from an in-depth analysis of competitors’ strategies. By understanding how competitors are succeeding in converting visitors, startups can adopt similar tactics or develop counterstrategies that offer better user experiences.

This analysis should extend to examining the user flows, checkout processes, and overall site design that competitors use to optimize conversions. Startups can then implement tested methods such as streamlined checkout processes, highlighted calls to action, or more persuasive product descriptions to enhance their own conversion rates.

Developing a Content Strategy That Serves Both SEO and CRO

A well-thought-out content strategy should serve the dual purpose of boosting SEO and enhancing the conversion rate. For e-commerce startups, this means creating content that not only attracts potential customers through organic search but also engages and persuades them once on the site.

Content should be designed to answer common customer queries, demonstrate product benefits, and overcome objections, all while being optimized for search engines. A continuous cycle of creating, testing, and refining content based on performance metrics will ensure that content remains both relevant and effective.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

The digital marketing landscape is continually evolving, influenced by changes in consumer behavior, technology advancements, and search engine algorithms. Successful e-commerce startups remain agile, always learning from both successes and failures. By consistently monitoring SEO and CRO performance and adapting strategies accordingly, startups can maintain a competitive edge. This means regularly updating SEO tactics in response to algorithm updates and refining CRO strategies based on A/B testing outcomes and user feedback.

Foundational Budgeting: Aligning SEO and CRO Efforts

To ensure both SEO and CRO efforts bear fruit, startups must adopt a holistic budgeting approach.

To ensure both SEO and CRO efforts bear fruit, startups must adopt a holistic budgeting approach.

Initial Analysis and Audits

Understanding the current state of the e-commerce site is essential before diving into optimizations.

Key Steps and Budgetary Considerations:

  • SEO Audit: Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush can help assess current keyword rankings, backlink profiles, and on-page optimizations. These tools come with subscription costs.
  • CRO Analysis: Platforms like Hotjar or Crazy Egg can offer heatmaps, session recordings, and insights into user interactions on the site, guiding CRO efforts.
  • Competitor Analysis: Understanding how competitors are positioning themselves can offer insights into potential gaps or opportunities.

Setting Clear Objectives

Defining clear objectives ensures budget allocations align with desired outcomes.

Goal Definition and Implications:

  • Traffic Growth: If the primary aim is to increase organic traffic, budget allocations might lean more towards content creation, on-page SEO, and technical optimizations.
  • Conversion Boost: If enhancing the conversion rate is the goal, investments in A/B testing tools, UX enhancements, and checkout optimizations might take precedence.

Allocating Funds with Precision

For startup founders, the allocation of funds towards SEO and CRO should not be a generic distribution but a strategic investment in various components that directly impact online performance and sales conversion rates. It is essential to consider the allocation of a budget that reflects the startup’s specific goals and market position.

Founders should analyze which stages of the customer journey require the most attention—awareness, consideration, or decision—and allocate budgets to optimize each stage effectively.

Investing in Scalable SEO and CRO Technologies

As startups grow, their SEO and CRO strategies should scale accordingly. Investing in scalable technologies from the outset can significantly reduce future costs and streamline operations. For example, choosing SEO and CRO platforms that offer expandable functionalities can accommodate increased traffic and more complex data analytics as the business expands. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the foundational tools will support not just current needs but future growth as well.

Prioritizing High-Impact Activities

While it’s tempting to spread the budget across numerous channels and tactics, focusing on high-impact activities that offer the greatest return on investment is crucial. For SEO, this may mean prioritizing content development and keyword optimization that targets high-conversion keywords.

For CRO, this could involve focusing on optimizing high-traffic pages or the checkout process to ensure that the traffic driven by SEO efforts results in higher conversions. This focused approach ensures that funds are not diluted across less impactful activities.

Integrating SEO and CRO with Broader Marketing Initiatives

SEO and CRO should not operate in silos but rather be integrated with the broader marketing strategies of the startup. This integration ensures that all marketing efforts are aligned, which can amplify the overall effectiveness of each campaign and deliver a cohesive user experience.

For instance, SEO can be aligned with email marketing campaigns by using insights from keyword performance to tailor email content. Similarly, insights from CRO can inform more personalized and targeted ad campaigns.

Ensuring Flexibility in Budget Reallocation

The digital marketing landscape is dynamic, with frequent changes in search engine algorithms, consumer behavior, and competitive tactics. Startups must maintain flexibility in their budgeting to adapt to these changes swiftly.

Allocating a portion of the budget for experimental tactics or emergency reallocations can be a prudent strategy. This flexibility allows startups to pivot their strategies in response to analytics and market trends without compromising their overall marketing goals.

Budgeting for Product Page Excellence: SEO and CRO Synergy

Keyword Research Tools: Platforms like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest can help identify high-potential keywords for each product, incurring certain costs.

In e-commerce, product pages are the heart of conversions. Ensuring they’re optimized both for search visibility and user experience is paramount.

SEO-centric Product Page Enhancements

The first step is ensuring product pages are easily discoverable through search engines.

Key Budgeting Areas for SEO:

  • Keyword Research Tools: Platforms like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest can help identify high-potential keywords for each product, incurring certain costs.
  • High-Quality Product Images: Investing in professional photography ensures product images are clear, high-resolution, and SEO-friendly.
  • Meta Data Optimization: Crafting compelling meta titles and descriptions can enhance click-through rates from search engine results pages (SERPs).

CRO-driven Product Page Refinements

Once a user lands on a product page, the focus shifts to driving conversions.

Budget Considerations for CRO:

  • User Reviews and Testimonials: Tools or plugins that facilitate easy submission and display of user reviews can enhance trust and boost conversions.
  • Page Load Speed: Investing in faster hosting or content delivery networks (CDNs) ensures product pages load swiftly, reducing user drop-offs.
  • Detailed Product Descriptions: Hiring skilled copywriters to craft compelling, informative product descriptions can guide users towards making a purchase.

Crafting a Narrative Around Your Products

Product pages are not merely about listing features but about telling a story that resonates with your target audience. Investing in narrative development can transform the standard product description into a compelling buyer’s journey. This involves using emotive language, situational contexts, and the integration of user-generated content, such as customer testimonials, which illustrate the product’s impact. By creating a story, startups can differentiate their products from competitors and engage customers more deeply, encouraging them to convert.

Optimizing Visual Elements for Enhanced Engagement

Visuals play a crucial role in capturing and maintaining customer interest. Investing in high-quality, interactive images and videos can significantly improve user engagement. This includes 360-degree views, zoom capabilities, and video demonstrations that help buyers get a closer look at the product. Such enhancements make the product page not only a source of information but an interactive experience that can lead to increased conversion rates.

Leveraging Advanced SEO Techniques for Product Visibility

Beyond basic keyword integration, advanced SEO techniques such as schema markup, alt text for images, and optimized URL structures can elevate product page visibility in search engine results. Implementing schema markup provides search engines with specific information about products, such as price, availability, and reviews, which can be displayed directly in search results as rich snippets. This not only enhances visibility but also boosts credibility and click-through rates, driving more qualified traffic to the site.

Personalizing User Experiences to Increase Conversions

Personalization is key to converting visitors into buyers. Utilizing AI-driven tools to offer personalized recommendations based on user behavior, past purchases, or browsing history can dramatically enhance the effectiveness of product pages. This strategy involves dynamically changing content and recommendations to reflect the interests and needs of each visitor, providing a tailored shopping experience that encourages both initial and repeat purchases.

Implementing Dynamic Pricing Strategies

Dynamic pricing can be a game-changer for e-commerce startups. By adjusting prices in real-time based on market demand, competitor pricing, and user engagement, startups can optimize their pricing strategy to maximize sales and profits. Investing in pricing optimization tools that automate this process ensures that prices are always competitive and appealing to customers, enhancing both SEO and CRO by making the offerings more attractive just at the right time.

Prioritizing Mobile Experience: The Future of E-commerce

A significant portion of e-commerce transactions now happens on mobile devices. Optimizing for mobile isn't just a luxury; it's a necessity.

A significant portion of e-commerce transactions now happens on mobile devices. Optimizing for mobile isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Mobile SEO Enhancements

Ensuring the e-commerce platform ranks well for mobile searches is vital.

Key Mobile SEO Budget Areas:

  • Mobile Responsiveness: The e-commerce platform should adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes. This might require investments in responsive design implementations.
  • Mobile Search Analytics: Tools that offer insights specifically into mobile search behaviors and trends can guide SEO strategies.

Mobile CRO Tactics

The mobile user’s journey is distinct from that of desktop users, and optimizations should reflect this difference.

Budgeting for Mobile CRO:

  • Mobile Checkout Simplification: Streamlining the checkout process for mobile users can reduce cart abandonment rates. This might involve UI/UX design costs.
  • Mobile A/B Testing Tools: Platforms like Optimizely or VWO, which offer mobile-specific A/B testing, can identify areas of improvement, incurring subscription costs.

Embracing Progressive Web Apps for Superior Mobile Experiences

In the evolving digital landscape, progressive web apps (PWAs) represent a transformative approach to mobile e-commerce. By investing in PWA technology, startups can offer users an app-like experience directly from their mobile browser. This includes features such as offline access, push notifications, and fast load times. PWAs not only enhance the user experience but also improve engagement and conversion rates on mobile devices by leveraging the convenience and accessibility of web browsing combined with the high-performance features of native apps.

Optimizing for Voice Search and Local SEO

As voice-activated devices continue to grow in popularity, optimizing for voice search becomes crucial. This involves tailoring content to be more conversational and focusing on long-tail keywords that are likely to be used in spoken queries. Additionally, for startups whose business model benefits from local traffic, enhancing local SEO can drive significant mobile traffic and conversions. This includes optimizing for location-based keywords, claiming Google My Business listings, and ensuring contact details are easily accessible and consistent across all platforms.

Enhancing Mobile Security to Build Trust

Trust is a major factor in the purchasing decisions of mobile users. Startups must prioritize mobile security to protect customer data and build trust. This involves implementing features like SSL encryption, secure payment gateways, and privacy protection measures. By prominently displaying security badges and clear privacy policies, startups can reassure customers that their transactions and personal information are safe, which is essential for increasing mobile conversions.

Utilizing Mobile-Specific Analytics for Deeper Insights

Investing in mobile-specific analytics tools can provide startups with detailed insights into how users interact with their mobile site or app. This data is crucial for identifying pain points, optimizing the mobile user journey, and ultimately improving conversion rates. Analyzing mobile user behavior can help pinpoint areas where users may be dropping off or where they are most engaged, allowing for targeted improvements to the mobile experience.

Streamlining Navigation and Checkout Processes

The navigation and checkout process on mobile devices must be exceptionally user-friendly. Startups should focus on minimizing the number of steps required to make a purchase, optimizing form inputs for mobile use, and ensuring that buttons and links are easy to tap. Simplifying these processes reduces friction for mobile users, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion. Implementing features such as autofill and integrating popular mobile payment systems like Apple Pay or Google Wallet can further enhance the mobile checkout experience.

Diving Deep into Analytics: Data-Driven SEO and CRO

In the world of e-commerce, decisions should be rooted in data. Understanding user behavior, traffic sources, and conversion paths can illuminate areas of opportunity.

SEO Analytics

Continuous analysis ensures SEO strategies align with changing trends and user behaviors.

Key Budget Considerations:

  • SEO Monitoring Tools: Subscriptions to platforms like Moz Pro or Google Search Console can offer continuous insights into keyword rankings, site visibility, and potential SEO issues.
  • Backlink Analysis: Tools like Ahrefs can monitor the site’s backlink profile, guiding link-building strategies.

CRO Data Analysis

To continually refine the user journey and boost conversions, data is indispensable.

Budgeting for CRO Analytics:

  • Heatmapping Tools: Platforms like Hotjar offer visual insights into where users click, move, or scroll, highlighting areas of user interest or potential issues.
  • Conversion Funnel Analysis: Tools that allow startups to visualize and analyze the conversion funnel can identify drop-off points, guiding CRO efforts.

Integrating Predictive Analytics for Proactive Optimization

The integration of predictive analytics into SEO and CRO strategies marks a significant advancement in how e-commerce startups can foresee and react to future trends. By using historical data and machine learning algorithms, startups can predict user behaviors, search trends, and potential conversion rates. This proactive approach allows businesses to optimize their content and user interfaces before potential issues impact performance. Predictive analytics can guide everything from stock levels to promotional activities, ensuring that startups remain one step ahead in a highly competitive market.

Leveraging User Segmentation for Personalized Marketing

Deep dives into analytics should extend to sophisticated user segmentation, which categorizes customers based on their behaviors, preferences, and past interactions with the site. This segmentation enables startups to tailor their SEO and CRO strategies to different groups, maximizing relevance and engagement. For instance, content can be customized to appeal to different segments, improving the chances that users will engage and convert. This targeted approach not only boosts the efficiency of digital marketing efforts but also enhances the overall user experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Implementing Multivariate Testing for Comprehensive Insights

While A/B testing compares two versions, multivariate testing allows startups to test multiple variables simultaneously to see how they interact and affect user behavior. This form of testing can provide a more comprehensive understanding of how different elements of a webpage contribute to its overall performance. By implementing multivariate testing, startups can refine their web pages to optimal configurations, ensuring that each element—from button colors to layout choices—contributes positively to the goal of increasing conversions.

Utilizing Real-Time Analytics for Immediate Adjustments

Real-time analytics provide a live snapshot of how users are interacting with a website, offering immediate insights that can be used to tweak and improve SEO and CRO efforts on the fly. This dynamic approach to data allows startups to respond quickly to user behavior patterns, such as adjusting marketing campaigns, redirecting traffic, or addressing sudden drop-offs in specific areas of the site. Real-time data ensures that startups remain agile, adapting to user needs and market conditions as they evolve.

Building a Data-Centric Culture

Cultivating a data-centric culture within an e-commerce startup is fundamental to sustaining long-term growth. This involves training teams to base decisions on data rather than intuition and ensuring that all departments from marketing to product development understand how to use analytics to guide their strategies. By embedding data at the core of the business strategy, startups can ensure a unified approach to growth that leverages deep insights to drive success.

Checkout Optimization: The Final CRO Frontier

The checkout process is where conversions materialize. Ensuring this process is seamless, trustworthy, and user-friendly can significantly boost an e-commerce site's bottom line.

The checkout process is where conversions materialize. Ensuring this process is seamless, trustworthy, and user-friendly can significantly boost an e-commerce site’s bottom line.

Streamlining the Checkout Process

A complex or lengthy checkout process can deter potential customers, leading to cart abandonment.

Budgeting for Checkout Streamlining:

  • One-Click Checkouts: Integrating solutions that allow for quick, one-click checkouts can enhance conversions but might involve integration costs.
  • Guest Checkouts: Offering users the option to checkout without creating an account can reduce barriers, though it might require platform customization.
  • Progress Indicators: Clearly showing users where they are in the checkout process can reassure and guide them, though implementing this might involve design and development costs.

Enhancing Trust During Checkout

Trust is paramount during the checkout phase. Users need to be reassured their data is secure and the purchase process is legitimate.

Key Trust-Enhancing Budget Areas:

  • SSL Certificates: Ensuring the e-commerce site has a valid SSL certificate is crucial for data security and user trust.
  • Trust Badges: Displaying badges like Verified by Visa, Norton Secure, or other renowned security brands can reassure users. Some of these badges come with subscription costs.
  • Clear Return Policies: Displaying easy-to-understand return or refund policies can give users the confidence to finalize their purchase.

Refining User Interface for Clarity and Speed

The user interface (UI) of the checkout process plays a critical role in the conversion rate of an e-commerce site. Startups need to ensure that their checkout UI is as clear and efficient as possible, minimizing any unnecessary user inputs and ensuring that all instructions are straightforward. This involves using clean, intuitive design elements that guide the user seamlessly from one step to the next. Visual cues such as progress bars and minimalistic design can reduce the perceived complexity and length of the checkout process, thus reducing cart abandonment rates.

Integrating Adaptive Payment Solutions

As global e-commerce continues to grow, offering a wide range of adaptive payment solutions can significantly boost a startup’s conversion rates. This includes not only traditional credit card payments but also digital wallets, cryptocurrency options, and region-specific payment methods such as direct bank transfers or mobile payment systems. By integrating these adaptive payment solutions, startups can cater to a broader audience, accommodating varying preferences and increasing the likelihood of purchase completion.

Implementing Address Lookup and Auto-Fill Technology

To streamline the checkout process further, startups should consider implementing address lookup and auto-fill technology. This technology helps reduce the time and effort required for users to enter their shipping and billing information, a common point of friction that can lead to cart abandonment. By allowing users to auto-fill their information with a few clicks, startups can significantly enhance the user experience and decrease the time to conversion.

Conducting Continuous Checkout Process Audits

Regular audits of the checkout process are essential to identify and rectify any emerging issues that could impede conversions. These audits should assess every aspect of the checkout flow, including speed, user experience, and error rate. By continually monitoring and tweaking the checkout process, startups can ensure it remains optimized for the highest conversion rates possible.

Leveraging Post-Checkout Engagement Strategies

The relationship with the customer doesn’t end at checkout. Engaging customers post-purchase can transform a one-time buyer into a repeat customer. Strategies for post-checkout engagement include sending thank you emails, offering discount codes for future purchases, and requesting feedback on the shopping experience. Such engagement not only enhances customer loyalty but also provides startups with valuable insights that can be used to further refine the SEO and CRO strategies.

The Power of Retargeting: SEO and CRO Combined

Not every visitor will convert during their first visit. Retargeting strategies aim to bring back those potential customers and nudge them towards conversion.

Not every visitor will convert during their first visit. Retargeting strategies aim to bring back those potential customers and nudge them towards conversion.

SEO and Content Retargeting

Retargeting isn’t limited to ads. SEO and content can play pivotal roles in drawing users back.

Budget Considerations for SEO Retargeting:

  • Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA): Leveraging Google Ads to target previous site visitors when they conduct subsequent related searches can be a powerful strategy, though it involves ad spend.
  • Personalized Content Recommendations: Tools that offer personalized content or product suggestions based on a user’s previous interactions can draw users back, incurring subscription costs.

Retargeting Ads and CRO

Ads specifically crafted for retargeting purposes can significantly boost conversion rates.

Key Retargeting Ad Budget Areas:

  • Dynamic Retargeting Ads: Platforms like Facebook or Google allow for dynamic ad creation based on the products a user viewed, ensuring relevancy and higher chances of conversion.
  • A/B Testing for Retargeting Ads: Just like with website content, A/B testing retargeting ads can identify the most effective messaging or design, necessitating tools or platform costs.

Developing a Cohesive Retargeting Framework

Retargeting is a powerful tool for converting interested visitors into loyal customers. Developing a cohesive retargeting framework involves understanding the different stages at which potential customers exit the conversion funnel and implementing targeted strategies to bring them back. This requires a deep analysis of user behavior data to determine the most effective touchpoints for re-engagement. For example, a customer who abandons a cart might be enticed back with an email that offers a limited-time discount, while a customer who browses but never adds to cart might respond better to an ad showcasing the products they viewed.

Utilizing Cross-Channel Retargeting Tactics

Effective retargeting must transcend single channels to engage potential customers across multiple platforms. This means coordinating retargeting efforts across email, social media, search engines, and even mobile apps to maintain a consistent brand presence. Cross-channel retargeting ensures that no matter where your customers spend their time, they will encounter personalized prompts and reminders that draw them back to your site. Implementing such strategies requires an integrated approach to data management and marketing execution, ensuring that all channels are leveraging real-time data to serve relevant ads and content.

Personalizing Retargeting Campaigns for Greater Impact

The effectiveness of retargeting campaigns hinges on the level of personalization they can deliver. This includes creating personalized ad content that reflects the specific interests and behaviors of the user. For example, showing ads featuring products that a visitor has previously viewed or added to their cart can significantly increase the likelihood of conversion. Furthermore, segmenting the audience based on their engagement level—first-time visitors, frequent browsers, past purchasers—and tailoring the messaging accordingly can enhance the relevance and effectiveness of the campaigns.

Analyzing Retargeting Performance to Optimize Strategies

Continuous analysis and optimization are key to retargeting success. By regularly reviewing the performance of retargeting campaigns, startups can identify what works and what doesn’t and adjust their tactics accordingly. This might involve tweaking ad copy, revising targeting criteria, or even changing the timing of the ads. Employing A/B testing to compare different approaches can help refine the retargeting efforts, ensuring that resources are invested in the strategies that deliver the best return on investment.

Leveraging Advanced Technologies for Retargeting Efficiency

Advancements in technology have greatly enhanced the efficiency and capabilities of retargeting campaigns. Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms can automate much of the process, from identifying optimal retargeting moments to personalizing ad content. These technologies can also predict customer behavior, allowing for preemptive retargeting strategies that engage potential customers before they exit the funnel. Investing in such technologies not only improves the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns but also frees up valuable resources that can be redirected to other growth-driving activities.

Concluding Thoughts: A Balanced Approach to SEO and CRO Budgeting

For e-commerce startups, the dance between SEO and CRO is intricate. While SEO drives users to the platform, CRO ensures these users convert. Strategic budgeting, which balances both these aspects, is essential to ensure sustained growth and profitability. As the e-commerce landscape evolves, staying agile, updated, and user-centric will be the cornerstones of success.

By continually assessing, iterating, and refining strategies based on data and user feedback, e-commerce startups can ensure they offer value to users while also achieving their business objectives

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author avatar
Poulomi Chakraborty
Poulomi Chakraborty is at the heart of our digital marketing team at WinSavvy. With a keen grasp on the ever-evolving world of SEO and digital trends, she is known for her thoughtful and strategic approach. Poulomi blends deep industry knowledge with a genuine enthusiasm for helping businesses shine online. Her ability to translate complex digital concepts into clear, actionable strategies is what sets her apart.
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