Archive for the ‘Search Marketing’ Category

5 Easy Ways to Increase Website Conversions

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Most would agree that the main goal of most business websites is to generate leads and sales. It’s the whole point of driving traffic to your site and spending all that time and energy trying to engage your visitors. When a visitor leaves your site without providing any information, you’ve lost the opportunity to nurture that relationship and convert that person into a customer.

increase website conversions

We’re helping you to improve this goal by providing these five easy ways to increase website conversions.

Effective Calls-to-Action

If you have a low conversion rate, it may be time to analyze your Calls to Action (CTA) across your site pages. As a tip, it’s best to include a variation of CTA’s based on your customer lifecycle. Here are some other elements to keep in mind when creating effective CTA’s:

  • Perform A/B tests on elements such as color, language and placement. Great tools for this Optimizely and Unbounce.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Provide value. DO NOT just use “Contact us” as a default.
  • Make your CTA stand out from other elements on the page.

Read how we helped one client increase their conversion rate 381%.

CTA Positioning

Once you have the main CTA details down using the tips above, you can begin thinking about the positioning. One of the more common placements is at the end of your text, whether a blog post or main page of your website.

While this placement is effective, don’t ignore the rest of the page. For example, placing a CTA both above and below the fold may help you increase website conversions. Additionally, sometimes placement on the right sidebar helps increase conversions, but ultimately you’d want to test this out on your own site to see if it works for you.

A final tip on CTA positioning – adjust your CTA positioning to compliment your business funnel. This means placing your top-of-funnel type offers on top-level pages, and middle-of-the-funnel offers on pages where the visitor gets to dig deeper.

Landing Pages

Online advertising that uses landing pages typically sees a conversion rate improvement of at least 25%, testing can double this number. – Omniture

Landing pages are critical in generating website conversions. They offer a way for you to direct your visitor towards a specific action without the typical distractions included in the full website. Your landing page should include the following elements:

  • A headline and subheadline
  • Description of the offer
  • Captivating image (avoid stock photography)
  • A form to gather visitor information
  • A fast load time (A one second delay in your site speed can result in a 7% reduction in conversions – KISSmetrics)

Remove the website navigation from the landing page to remove the temptation to navigate elsewhere on the site. As with the CTA, you should constantly test your landing page to see what language, formatting, navigation schemas and other elements work best.

Forms

Forms are the key to converting visitors to leads, so it’s important to take the time to create the most effective forms you possibly can. The more fields you ask the visitor to fill out, the better you will be able to qualify the lead. However, if you create too many fields, you risk losing conversions, because people are hesitant to provide too much information. A few things to keep in mind with your forms:

  • Reinforce the fact that they can trust you. A link to your privacy policy is usually sufficient.
  • The more valuable your offer, the more information you can typically ask of the visitor.
  • Be cautious of asking for sensitive information people may not want to share.
  • Set expectations and deliver on your promises aka give them the offer right away.

Get the fifth way to increase website conversions by downloading our eBook (below) with the 25 Website Must-Haves to drive traffic, leads and sales!










The Semantic Web. An Introduction.

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The web has been in a constant state of evolution ever since the birth of the internet, and we are entering a new phase which focuses on making the web more connected, more open, and more intelligent.
semantic web
There has been much debate about what to call this new phase of the Web. Here are some of the most common names being used today:

  • Web 3.0
  • The Intelligent Web
  • Semantic Web

Timeline and Definition

Web 1.0 was, as it infers, the first generation of the World Wide Web. During this phase, the focus was primarily on making it accessible to everyone, building it out, and commercializing it. The main areas of interest were centered on:

  • the creation of Web sites
  • Internet access through ISPs
  • the first Web browsers
  • open standard markup languages such as HTML and XML
  • Web-centric software languages such as Java and Javascript

Web 2.0

web 2.0
Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of the web which began in the early 2000’s. The focus of web 2.0 is centered on:

  • AJAX
  • Social Networking
  • Collaboration
  • Social bookmarking
  • Media sharing
  • Wikis
  • Communication tools
  • The emergence of the mobile Internet and mobile devices

Web 3.0

Web 3.0 is the common term being used to refer to a third-generation web. This new phase began around 2007 and is focused on the user experience. More specifically, Web 3.0 makes it possible for machines to better understand information in order to provide the user with a more productive experience. Some of the main areas of interest include:

  • Microformats (see also Schema.org)
  • Resource Description Framework (RDF), an official W3C Recommendation for Semantic Web data models
  • Vocabularies such as OWL and SKOS
  • SPARQL, the query language for the Semantic Web
  • Inference (reasoning over data through rules)

Once a computer can understand the meaning of words, such as the difference between a person, place, and event, it can start helping you engage with and organize these things. For example, let’s say you get an invitation via email for a party. If it is marked up as an “event” and includes an identifiable date and location, you can simply tell your computer to save the event to your calendar. Here is a YouTube video that gives a great simple intro to the Semantic web.

While it’s important to understand the basics of Web 3.0, it doesn’t mean you need to immediately throw away what works today and recode your website. Rather, the semantic web is intended to solve simple problems and adapt to current behaviors and usage patterns.

However, it is highly recommended that you start including microformats into your webpages, the earlier you can start the better. Web technology moves like fire so you’ll be that much ahead of the game and won’t be trying to catch up.

Need help incorporating semantic web technology into your mobile and web platforms? We can help. Call us at 818-806-3868 or contact us today.

Changing Site Latency to PageSpeed

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

For a few years now, Google has been more than hinting at the fact that site latency (how fast your site/pages load) is going to have an impact on your visibility. Why? Well, for one, users are tired of waiting. Over a decade ago waiting three minutes for a page to load was acceptable but these days anything more than 3 seconds can cost you valuable visibility and loss of visits. Users don’t want to wait for pages on your site or elements on your site pages to load and neither to search engines.

Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be a Long, Long Time)
peasap / Foter / CC BY

New Tool: PageSpeed Insights
A few weeks ago Google launched PageSpeed Insights. We are ecstatic about this new tool since we have been pulling from various tools ourselves for creating site assessments and while we believe this doesn’t necessarily cover everything, it does help in prioritizing and figuring out how to make your site faster – and for that- we give three cheers.

We love that these tools make our job easier and faster so we can do more for our clients.

Find out how to make your site faster here.

After that, call us for a full Technical and Marketing Site Assessment to get your site in tip top shape.

Google Ad Rotation Change – The Workaround

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Many of you in the professional SEM world probably spend as much time as I do optimizing paid search campaigns, testing keywords and ads, and generally rolling around in all the data we have at our fingertips. As a firm believer in the mantra “test, measure, repeat” I was a bit peeved when I noticed that Google had changed the options for ad delivery in AdWords. My beloved “Rotate evenly” was replaced with “Rotate evenly: Show ads more evenly for 30 days, then optimize for clicks”. This small change has effectively removed our ability to do any longer term creative or other A/B testing.

The Real Issue
Some campaigns/adgroups don’t necessarily have enough traffic to do a legitimate test in 30 days. And even if there is enough traffic and conversion data to draw some meaningful conclusions, I never want my ads optimized for clicks. Google gets paid for the click, I don’t. What’s more is there is no obvious way to reset it for another 30 days. Selecting another option, saving, then re-selecting 30 days does no good.

After searching for an option on the Internet, I finally ended up calling Google directly. It seemed that the representative had no understanding of why this seemingly innocuous change was a very big issue for the advertiser. After a round of questions and answers with the rep, the issue was escalated. There was some lack of clarity on what the rotation rules applied to and didn’t. Here is the information I received back from Google:

  1. The ad rotation 30-day clock applies to the Ad Group level, not the Campaign, even though it is a Campaign-level setting.
  2. Modifying ads, adding them to the Ad Group, or even pausing and un-pausing will restart the 30-day clock.

An Annoying Dance
So, anyway you slice it, if you want to continue rotating your ads, you have some extra hoops to jump through. Keep in mind that any change to an ad does reset the metrics for that ad, so that one can be counter-productive. So that leaves us with the pause-unpause dance.

The Suggested Workaround

  • Set up an extra ad in each of your ad groups to use as a ‘switch’ you can flick to reset the clock at any time.
  • Use an identical headline or other element so you can easily sort it out using AdWords Editor.
  • Then you just unpause, post, pause post. This will reset your 30-day clock on all Ad Groups and leave all the metrics on your “real” ads intact.

I know it sucks, but it is what we have until Google gives us our tool back. I would love it if someone came up with a better alternative, so if you have, please share it with the rest of us.

———————————– UPDATE ————————————————-

As of June 1, 2012 the power of the people has influenced Google to reconsider this change. A word from Google:

“Also, in response to your feedback, we’re planning to make two changes to the setting. First, we’ll expand the even rotation period from 30 days to 90 days to give you a longer window for testing new ads. Second, if you still wish to have your ads rotate evenly indefinitely, we’re going to offer an opt-out of this change. You can opt-out by filling in your information on this form or by contacting your account representative. Both of these changes will go into effect on June 11, 2012.

If we see a large amount of demand for the opt-out over the next few weeks, we’ll also offer the opt-out in the AdWords interface directly.”

Read the reasons as to why they made this update in the first place on Google’s Adwords blog.

Creative 404 Pages: Page Not Found What To Do?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

One of the things we look at during our Search Marketing Site Assessments for clients, is the use of 404 pages no matter what industry you are in. We always recommend having a custom 404 page. A 404 page is when a user discovers a “page not found” on your site.

How does this happen and why should you care?
Well, it may seem like a completely elementary thing to put in place however if someone comes to your site from another site (i.e. they linked to your site – maybe a blog post or old web page). If there is not an appropriate redirect process in place the user will be sent to a “page not found” or 404 error. You have control over what gets displayed on this page and if it is a generic 404 (no branding just black and white) it can mean losing a visitor forever or you could help them discover the appropriate page they were looking for, thus keeping them on your site. Think of it providing a bit of customer service to your visitor – if they entered through the wrong door, you would want to show them the appropriate one or guide them to the location they were looking for.

While creativity and humor might get you far with anyone, it also helps to be…well, helpful. If your page is useful in guiding the user to the area or page they were looking for then you are more likely to create a better customer experience.

A few suggestions for your 404 error page:
- At the minimum have your logo and main navigation on the page, better yet use a page template from your site that will help customize it to your look and feel
- Have a link to your home page or better yet a listing of links to popular sections on your site. You may also want to provide a link to the sitemap and promote it as a “full directory of site pages.”

Here are a few examples of 404 pages that we think work while also maintaining the brand personality:

Thanks to fab404.com for some great examples – check out others to for more ideas.
P.S. We’ve got some work to do ourselves. Do as we say not as we do ;).

Oh No Daddy! GoDaddy Redirects Cause Major SEO Issue, now what?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

If you are a GoDaddy customer you will want to read this.

Part of our weekly SEO routine for clients is to check search engine Webmaster tool accounts, in doing so we usually find something interesting, disturbing or exciting. This week, we noticed that a domain that we permanently redirected to a new one back in December was showing as a top inbound linking site to the domain in which is was supposed to be redirected.

We asked ourselves, “How could this be?” Was the site moved to a new host without our knowledge? Was the domain being redirected properly?

And so our investigation began.

Our Findings:
This client is a GoDaddy customer and back in December we had permanently forwarded the domains in GoDaddy’s Domain Control panel which at that time issued a proper permanent redirect telling the servers and search engines that this was indeed a permanent redirect (otherwise known as a 301 redirect).

Today, when we checked the server headers it said that the redirect was a temporary redirect (otherwise known as a 302 redirect). We went a step further to investigate some of the other domains that also had been setup as permanent redirects in the GoDaddy system. And to our dismay, they are all showing as temporary redirects.

Arizona SEO: Checking redirects

We logged into GoDaddy to make sure the permanent redirect settings were correct for our domains AND…they were.

Phoenix SEO: How to set a redirect

We then called GoDaddy to understand why the domain settings marked to permanent redirect (301) were showing as a temporary redirect (302) in our third party checking tool.

The GoDaddy tech support person told us that “all of their forwarding now only issues a temporary 302 redirect” and if we wanted “to make it a permanent 301 we would have to do that at the hosting level.” They also could not tell us what type of redirect would be issued if we actually selected temporary redirect as an option or why there are two choices if they both do the same thing.

There are three situations for when you would use redirects:*

  1. If you are launching a new site and switching to a new domain.
  2. If you have deleted, removed, changed or are planning to change web page URLs.
  3. If you have a list of URLs that are derivations or misspellings of your company name/main site domain that you want to forward to your main site.

*Redirects can be configured for site domains and specific web pages/URLs.

There are two types of preferred redirects for these situations:

a) 301 which is for files that have been permanently moved.
b) 302 which is for files that have been temporarily moved.

Why are redirects such a big deal?

In the SEO world, redirects affect everything. A redirect tells servers, search engines and browsers how to handle the domain when someone requests it. If a page is deleted, a site is relaunched, or a page is renamed it is important for both SEO and usability to make sure you have those old pages going to either a new relevant page or appropriate URL.

If URLs/domains are not configured properly you can lose valuable search engine visibility. Keep in mind that people and sites are linking to your content and inbound links are one of the key influencing factors to search engine rankings. Use of 301 redirects should be used to preserve search engine rankings and any inbound links to that particular URL. This way search engines will index the new address instead of keeping the outdated URL. It is the best option to avoid negatively impacting search engine ranking.

The reason you don’t want to use a 302 redirect is this signals to the search engine that the old URL should be maintained in the index as an active URL, it just has been moved for now. This causes none of your new URLs to be indexed.

If a search engine doesn’t know where to go and runs into a dead-end URL/page this can impact your search visibility not to mention your user experience if they follow a link to a URL that no longer exists.

How do I fix my forwarding domains in GoDaddy to be properly configured for permanent redirection?

Note: If you are redirecting a domain, you DON’T want to just switch the DNS to your main site – this will cause a mirrored site and create a duplicate content issue for you. Search engines will not like that and you may get penalized for it by search engines.

  1. The first step is to remove or turn off the forwarding in your GoDaddy domain control panel. Go to Domain Management and find the domain, and go to Forwarding and click on Manage next to it. Edit to turn off.

    Search Optimization: Turning your redirects off in Godaddy

  2. If the web site you are redirecting to is hosted with GoDaddy, add the domain as an additional domain to the root through the Hosting Control panel.
  3. If the web site you are redirecting to is NOT hosted with GoDaddy, change the DNS records in the Domain Control panel to point to the IP address of the site you are redirecting to. Add the domain as an additional domain in your host’s control panel. Or your virtual hosts file.
  4. Add the following code to the .htaccess file for the main site. Make sure to create a RewriteCond and ReWriteRule line for each domain you are redirecting. Make sure to redirect both the www and non-www version of the domain if needed. And always immediately test your .htaccess to make sure there are no errors. .htaccess can be tricky, better to be safe than sorry. So always backup your .htaccess before making any changes.
  5. Options +FollowSymlinks
    RewriteEngine on
    rewritecond %{http_host} ^newdomain.com [nc]
    rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [nc,r=301]
    RewriteCond %{http_host} ^olddomain.com [nc]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [nc,R=301]
    RewriteCond %{http_host} ^www.olddomain.com [nc]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [nc,R=301]

    It is wise to speak with an SEO consultant prior to making your site live to the redirects of old pages and domains are appropriately handled. If you are relaunching a site or looking to increase your online visibility? Give us a call regarding your SEO.