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The inner workings of search advertising in a cookieless world

September 13, 2022 No Comments

The inner workings of search advertising in a cookieless world

30-second summary:

  • As third-party cookies will eventually phase out and marketers search for alternate approaches, they may find themselves lost in a sea of data when attempting to measure and evaluate the impact
  • Focusing on the quality of users instead of attributable conversions can mitigate the inconvenience of losing third-party cookies
  • The shift from cookies to a new engagement model will require constant testing, so keep data simple where possible

For years now, digital marketers have been spoiled by third-party cookies and the ability to accurately track engagement – it has made life simple, and reporting a campaign’s activity a breeze. Such an approach has allowed us to easily see how many conversions Meta, Criteo, or an influencer has contributed to with minimal effort. But the eventual demise of third-party cookies demands accurate data on engagement to ensure that the transition to new identifiers can be as clear as possible. However, due to either ignorance or convenience, many advertisers still take overly positive and blindly optimistic metrics as the truth.

Counting your chickens before they’ve converted

If we take Facebook for example, they have no way of knowing to what extent their services contributed to a conversion. There are many ways of producing wildly inflated numbers, such as having several touch points and one conversion being associated with multiple channels, or even inaccuracies from false positives. This is particularly troubling for those engaging in heavy remarketing based on past users who already have visited or interacted with a site. One must ask the question – when working with inaccurate metrics, will remarketing actually contribute to further conversions or will it simply attribute miss-clicks to campaigns that don’t increase revenue?

We as humans love to oversimplify things, especially complex patterns. Imagine how complex a visit is to your webpage – you get a session that is connected to a user, that considers different attributes such as age, gender, location, interests as well as their current activity on your site. That user data is then sent to, for example, Google Ads, in a remarketing list.

Even the remarketing list provides a notable variable when trying to make sense of conversions. Facebook and Google users are not 1:1, with one user on Google often being connected to more devices and browsers than the average Facebook user. You could get a conversion from a device that Google has connected to the same user, while Facebook may lack any insight.

With each user visiting your website you populate remarketing lists. Those remarketing lists build “lookalikes” in Facebook and “similar” in Google. These “similars” can be extremely useful, as although traffic from one channel could be attributed to zero to no conversions, they could in fact help build the most efficient “similars” in Google Ads that can then drive a large number of cheap conversions.

Identify data that helps you steer clear of over-attribution

All automated optimization efforts, whether they be the campaign budget optimization (CBO) or Target CPA are dependent on data. The more data you feed the machines the better results you get. The bigger your remarketing lists, the more efficient your automatic/smart campaigns will be on Google. This is what makes the value of a user so multifaceted and incredibly complex, even when you don’t take the action impression of an ad into account.

With this incredible complexity, we need to have an attribution model that can genuinely portray engagement data without inflating or underselling a campaign’s conversions. However, while there may be many models that are well suited to produce the most accurate results, it should be remembered that attribution is by itself flawed. As consumers, we understand that the actions that drive us to conversions in our personal lives are varied, with so many things that can’t be tracked enough to be attributed. While attribution cannot be perfect, it is essentially the best tool available and can become far more useful when applied alongside other data points.

The last non-direct click attribution model

When trying to avoid inflated data, the easiest attribution model is a last non-direct click. With this model, all direct traffic is ignored and all the credit for the conversion goes to the last channel that the customer clicked through, ultimately preventing any conversions from being falsely attributed to multiple touchpoints. It is a simple model that only considers the bare minimum that still manages to solve the problems of over-attribution by being direct. This way, marketers can measure the effect rather than attributing parts of conversion to different campaigns or channels. It really is a very straightforward approach; essentially, “if we do this to x, does that increase y?”. Of course, like all attribution models, the last non-direct click approach has its downsides. For one, it’s not a perfect solution to over/under contribution, but it is an easily replicable and strategically sound approach that provides reliable data where you can measure everything in one place.

In any case, the delayed death of the third-party cookie is certainly causing many to reevaluate their digital advertising methodologies. For now, proactive marketers will continue to search for privacy-friendly identifiers that can provide alternative solutions. First-party data could well have a larger role to play if consent from users can be reliably gained. While we wait for the transition, getting your data in order and finding accurate, reliable approaches to attribution must be a priority.

Ensuring the accuracy of this data is therefore imperative, this can be achieved by ensuring there are no discrepancies between clicks and sessions whilst all webpages are accurately tracked. In the absence of auto-tracking, UTMs should also be used to track all campaigns and, if possible, tracking should be server-side. Finally, marketers should test their tracking with Tag Assistant, and make sure they don’t create duplicate sessions or lose parameters during the session. Ultimately, once the third-party cookie becomes entirely obsolete, which direction marketers go in will ultimately be decided by data – which must be as accurate as possible.


Torkel Öhman is CTO and co-founder of Amanda AI. Responsible for building Amanda AI, with his experience in data/analytics, Torkel oversees all technical aspects of the product ensuring all ad accounts run smoothly.

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The creator economy boom, bust, and need for SEO!

August 3, 2022 No Comments

The creator economy boom, bust, and need for SEO!

30-second summary:

  • The content creator economy has created the influencer marketing boom which has been accelerated and growth heavy
  • However, bubbling under the surface is a growing climate of inflated risk, unstable ROI, and a shooing-away of vital practices in lieu of, what can be perceived as, a “faster track” to success
  • Influencer and CEO of Gamactica, Anthony DiMoro shares a topline view of influencer marketing, social channels, and the need to use SEO for amplified digital marketing results

Not long ago, many internet marketing strategies were divided into very specific categories, from search engine optimization (SEO) to search engine marketing (SEM/PPC) and from online reputation management (ORM) to social media marketing (SMM), aside from a few wrinkles, these were the roads most often traveled.

Fast forward to today and the climate has shifted, as brands look for viable ways to penetrate the creator market, and build ROI in a very turbulent space that has a number of variables and differing angles.

The content creator economy has been mostly responsible for the boom of influencer marketing, and the boom has been so accelerated, growth heavy, that it has created a lot of successes. But with those successes, bubbling under the surface, there has also been a growing climate of inflated risk, unstable ROI, and a shooing-away of vital practices in lieu of, what can be perceived as, a “faster track” to success.

Where Instagram once ruled, seemingly by itself, TikTok is now becoming a major threat, so much so that Facebook is making sweeping changes to catch the trend of success that TikTok has had.

TikTok hasn’t just pushed Facebook, it has also pushed platforms such as YouTube to incorporate their own version of short-form video content, ‘Shorts’.

But, is it funneling the marketing dollars to show the viability of these trends?

The marketing spending, on this newer wave of content marketing and social media marketing, is illustrated below, via The Insider.

stats on influencer marketing, the creator economy and SEO

Source: The Insider

There is no denying what the creator economy has become.

But as the creator economy continues to burst through ceilings, it has practically reached a point where now there is an inflation of creators, but more and more aren’t cashing in. And it begs the question – does this apparent dilution hinder the overall successes of the platform and the creators?

According to The Information, more than 39,000 TikTok accounts have more than one million followers. Whereas more people are finding fame, not everyone is cashing in on it.

A snapshot of why every social media channel wants to be TikTok

It’s fair to assume that this can negatively impact brands that use influencer marketing as a pillar of their digital marketing strategy.

TikTok’s short form approach is more closely associated with television content, where entertainment is at an instant push of the button, or in this case a swipe of a finger. But is it the best form of new influencer marketing that delivers viable ROI?

Or, are platforms such as YouTube, where channels have a more long-term journey to success, reliant on branding and community building, delivering far better returns for advertisers and companies?

Surely, there is no clear answer here, and it varies from industry to industry and niche to niche, but TikTok’s success and immense popularity are forcing a shift in the creator economy that is having a serious impact on other platforms.

Amazon’s Twitch platform continues to stand atop the live-streaming game, but how long will Twitch streams be a major player with all the issues the platform has had to navigate through, such as toxicity, hate, and harassment?

And is it fair to consider Twitch streamers as vibrant aspects of influencer marketing the way that TikTok creators and YouTubers clearly are?

Furthermore, while platforms seem to fluidly move with the market trends, Twitch has seemingly stayed the course, for better or worse. Perhaps it’s a bullish vision, or perhaps even Twitch is out of touch in this aspect.

Businesses are showing the willingness to invest market dollars into platforms that have a vibrant influencer marketing value to them, and agencies are focusing on serving these needs.

“Working with content creators and influencers is different than traditional advertising for sure” Brendan Gahan, Partner & Social Officer at Mekanism said earlier this year (via Gamactica).

“Ultimately, the way to be successful with an influencer campaign is to make sure that three things happen:

  1. The audience gets the content they love
  2. The creator has a great experience
  3. The brand gets it’s message across

“When you’re not working with creators you are really starting from a blank slate. It’s wide open. But, the beauty of working with creators is their community. That community (in theory) knows them, trusts them, pays attention and wants to hear from them. As a result, advertisers need to collaborate. They need to focus much more on those first two points.”

A one-track approach could be a potential pitfall

As with most things, being diverse in your approach is key, and this point comes into focus more as we continue to delve into the industries providing the content that drives influencer marketing.

Where we celebrate the successes of this new form of digital marketing, other aspects are being left behind in certain spaces, such as gaming and content creation.

But we have gone over this a few times in the past.

However, little has changed, and despite the metrics, despite the proven formula, and despite the years of data, the absence of SEO continues to be troublesome.

And as the influencer marketing landscape continues to evolve, it will have its own struggles and present its own “risk and reward” and “boom or bust” scenarios, forcing the vertical to shift yet again, and platforms to reshuffle.

It still remains difficult to keep SEO in respective corners, where local businesses in Florida use Miami SEO, and surgeons use Medical SEO, but content creators and influencers don’t.

It seems short-sighted to continue that trends, especially as internet marketing evolves to bring influencer marketing into the spectrum.

Only time will tell.

The SEO element

While many may not automatically, initially, link SEO and influencer marketing together, there is a lot of symmetry, and it begs the question as to why SEO isn’t incorporated in most influencer marketing campaigns.

Influencer marketing is mostly about building relationships and optimizing those relationships in a manner to create impact, and ROI potential – the two appeals of a successful marketing campaign.

But coupling it with SEO is a “cherry on top” of the sundae.

By using SEO to boost the content marketing aspects of influencer marketing, there can be a real added value to both the impact and visibility of the campaign.

We, at Gamactica, have demonstrated that SEO can be viable within the industries and niches of gaming and content creation, both on an organic global level and a targeted search level. This indicates that these specific elements can indeed work to boost potential success, ROI, and impact for any influencer marketing campaign.

These integrations are critical in evolving the influencer marketing landscape so that it is more viable and valuable as these niches and industries grow and evolve. It also helps the SEO sector push forward to become more organically immersed in the new age of digital marketing.


Anthony DiMoro is CEO of Gamactica. He can be found on Twitter @AnthonyDiMoro.

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Seven SEO roles that are key contributors to brand success in 2022

July 27, 2022 No Comments

Seven SEO roles that are key contributors to brand success in 2022

30-second summary:

  • SEO is important for brand success and there are several key roles that contribute to this
  • Some of these roles are obvious, but others are ones you may not immediately associate with SEO
  • Each of these roles has a different but important contribution to make
  • An effective multidisciplinary SEO team will have good communication, clear roles and responsibilities, and realistic expectations
  • By following these tips, you can set your team up for success

SEO is more than just a one-person show. It takes a team of dedicated professionals working together to achieve success. In this article, we will explore the different roles that are key to brand building in 2022.

Whether you’re a CEO who wants to understand why SEO is important for your business brand or an SEO pro who wants to build a case for improving SEO processes at your company, we have you covered.

Why is SEO important for brand success?

There are many reasons why SEO is important for brand success. Here are some of the most important ones:

1. SEO helps you reach new customers

Customers who are actively searching for businesses like yours are more likely to convert than those who stumble upon your website by chance. In fact, organic search is one of the most effective channels for generating leads in 2022.

U.S. organic search visits by engine _ Statista - SEO roles and brand success - why SEO matters

Source: Statista

2. SEO builds trust and credibility

When customers see that your website is ranking high in search results, they will automatically perceive your brand as more trustworthy and credible. This is especially important for small businesses that are competing against larger, well-established companies.

3. SEO drives traffic to your website

The higher your website ranks in search results, the more traffic it will get. And the more traffic you have, the more opportunities you have to convert leads into customers.

4. SEO helps you stand out from your competition

If your competitors are not investing in SEO, then this is a great opportunity for you to differentiate yourself and gain an edge over them.

5. SEO is an ongoing process

Unlike other marketing channels (such as paid advertising), SEO is an ongoing process that needs to be regularly worked on in order to maintain and improve your rankings. This means that it can provide you with long-term results, which is essential for any successful business.

Business roles that are key to SEO success

There are many different roles within a company that contribute to SEO success. Some of them might seem obvious, but some of the others might be roles that you wouldn’t have immediately thought of when considering your SEO. It just goes to show: that SEO strategy is something that can be woven into your business operations at every level.

Here are my top six roles:

1. CFO (or another senior executive that holds the purse strings)

Why? because without a proportion of your marketing budget being ring-fenced for SEO, nothing else matters. The CFO or other senior decision-maker at your company needs to understand the importance of investing in SEO. Without a budget for SEO, none of the other roles on this list will be able to do their jobs properly.

2. Brand designer

This is perhaps an obvious one, but your brand designer mustn’t be overlooked: the person responsible for designing your brand identity should have a good understanding of SEO. This is because they need to create a branding strategy that includes keyword research and other SEO best practices.

Even the name of your brand is important, because it’s an opportunity to get important keywords into your website domain and across your web pages, and it may also be used as anchor text when other websites link to yours.

Side note: you should make sure that SEO becomes part of your next brand audit.

3. SEO consultant

The person responsible for your overall SEO strategy must work towards building your brand.

An SEO consultant is responsible for developing and implementing your overall SEO strategy. This includes researching keywords, optimizing website content, and building links. But it also goes beyond that. A good SEO consultant will also work on building your brand by creating a strong online presence and ensuring that your website is visible to your target audience.

4. Content marketer

The person who has a foot in the SEO camp and a foot in the marketing camp. This might be an in-house role at your company, or it might be a service you outsource.

A content marketer is someone who understands both SEO and marketing. This person is responsible for creating high-quality content that not only ranks well in search results but also resonates with your target audience.

5. Web designer

Why? Because the person who decides what the website design looks like will have a big impact on the SEO friendliness of the website.

The web designer plays a crucial role in determining the SEO friendliness of your website. This is because page design, navigation decisions, and site architecture will all have a huge impact on SEO performance.

6. Web developer

Because technical SEO has never been more important.

Your web developer is responsible for the technical aspects of your website, such as its code and structure. This is incredibly important for SEO because it can impact things like site speed and crawlability.

This is one of the many reasons that using an off-the-shelf website builder is not a viable option for a business serious about its web presence.

7. PR manager

Because this person needs to know how to get the most SEO impact from promoting the company in a traditional PR sense.

A PR manager needs to have a good understanding of both SEO and link building. This is because they need to promote your company in a way that will help you earn high-quality links.

Your PR person will naturally always be looking for ways to get your business mentioned by other publications and websites. This lends itself perfectly to a clever strategy of building backlinks to your website.

Tips for effective multidisciplinary SEO teams

Now that we’ve gone over the various roles that are important for successful SEO, let’s talk about how to build an effective multidisciplinary team.

  • Make sure everyone is on the same page by having regular meetings and communication. This will ensure that everyone is aware of the latest changes and developments.
  • Establish clear roles and responsibilities. This will help avoid duplication of effort and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
  • Encourage collaboration between team members. SEO is a complex field, and it’s important to have different people with different skill sets working together.
  • Set realistic expectations. SEO takes time, and it’s important to set realistic expectations for what can be achieved.

Following these tips will help you build an effective multidisciplinary SEO team that can help take your brand to the next level.

Final thoughts

SEO is a complex and ever-changing field. But one thing is for sure: it’s only going to become more important in the years to come. If you want your brand to be successful, you need to make sure that SEO is a key part of your overall strategy.

The roles we’ve discussed in this article are all crucial for successful SEO. So if you’re serious about your brand’s online presence, make sure you have the right team in place.


Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

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How a testing model is driving SEAT and CUPRA’s search marketing performance

June 23, 2022 No Comments

“Will we ever be able to put search marketing strategy in the driver’s seat?” This is almost every search marketer’s dilemma as the community continues to remain at the mercy of Google’s algorithms and updates.

SEAT S.A, the Barcelona-based multinational automaker part of the Volkswagen group have innovated a testing model that is driving growth for its brands, SEAT and CUPRA in the European market. While SEAT is the young, cool and urban brand that offers cars with striking designs and several mobility solutions – CUPRA is an unconventional brand, which is defined by its progressive design and the performance of its electrified models.

How a testing model is driving SEAT and CUPRA’s search marketing performance

We spoke with Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager at SEAT S.A, Sophie Santallusia, Global Paid Search and Programmatic Director, and Alejandro Sebastian, Global Search Team Lead at PHD Media Spain to discuss the ‘Performance innovation program’ (SEAT S.A’s testing model) and its value add to the businesses.

A fast-paced industry

Digital is a fast-moving sector and search is always reinventing itself with new formats and everchanging ways to create and manage accounts. The teams at SEAT and CUPRA had several pain points:

1. Staying on-top of all innovations and changes in the industry

“We needed to become first movers who actively capitalize on opportunities that appear. To ensure this our teams needed to take advantage of search space dynamics, apply best practices, and gain a technological and intelligence edge over the competition.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager at SEAT S.A.

2. Improving visibility of the team’s hard work

“While we were putting all these efforts, we wanted to improve our team’s visibility. While we are busy becoming the best performing channel, always reinventing, working towards results and efficiencies, we often miss the glitter of other channels. Adding an official scope and framework means we get to report and showcase our achievements.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager, SEAT S.A.

3. Maintaining performance and improving efficiency

“As the best performing channel on a last-click attribution model, we were also facing multiple challenges. The pandemic lockdowns and microchip shortages made search performance improvements a constant, ongoing must-have. This meant decreasing the cost per click (CPC) and improving the cost per acquisition (CPA) were always core reasons to develop such a testing model.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager, SEAT S.A

Putting testing in the driver seat: The SEAT and CUPRA Performance innovation program

The SEAT S.A testing model, ‘Performance innovation program’ was designed to align with the inherent love for innovation that runs at the core of SEAT and CUPRA brands. The testing model was built centrally to maintain brand focus on the strength of paid search – improving cost efficiencies and accelerating performance.

Corinne and her team at SEAT S.A and their agency, PHD Media reviewed brand strategies for SEAT and CUPRA respectively, their performance, and local needs. They created a framework that provides structure, helps the brands expand their market share, and deliver central visibility on the testing results. They created specific testing roadmaps, based on quarterly goals that align with local markets based on their needs and strategies.

“We then applied our tests, sharing the hypothesis (highlighting results from other markets) of what we hope to achieve and then applying the test into the main strategy.

“We had a clear timeline and roadmap. We always test and learn. This allows us to have a specific position with partners, allowing us to always be part of the alphas and betas, testing new formats, always trying to improve results at the same time”, Corinne shared.

To facilitate consistency the SEAT S.A team organized tests throughout the year pacing one test at a time for an ad group or campaign to maintain efficiency and gain clear observations. The roadmap was created on these factors:

  • Priorities for markets based on the impact and workload
  • Changes that Google makes to ad formats or different features that it sunsets or iterates

The search marketing grand prix: data, automation, and visual optimization

SEAT S.A and PHD Media started differentiating strategies by keyword type and defined them for each ad group. Keywords were segmented based on brand and non-brand search, their role, and their respective KPIs. This data was then used during the auction bidding. Artificial intelligence (AI) was used to segment audiences and target ads that were top of the funnel. Comparative insights from these tests were later fed into the business to inform the direction of strategy.

To improve the click through rate (CTR) and lower CPCs, the SEAT S.A team focused on adding visuals to ads, improving ad-copies, and testing new extensions. They also decreased CPAs by using bid strategies and the system’s AI to get the best of their budgets.

To master their visual impact on audiences SEAT S.A used image extensions for each ad across all their campaigns. Google displayed these images based on multiple factors like clicks, content, and keyword triggers to optimize the best performing ones.

From a data point of view, in Search SEAT S.A used Google Search Ads (SA360) to manage and monitor their Google Ads and Bing Ads respectively. The data sets tracked all the core essentials of paid search:

  • Keyword conversion performance
  • Ad copies
  • Audience data through all the custom bidding options available in SA360

Outcomes

The ‘Performance innovation program’ model has helped SEAT and CUPRA achieve one of their best tests which catalyzed their search performance in terms of the cost per visit (CPV), one of their main KPIs that signaled top of the funnel conversions. The cost per visit (CPV) improved by 30% and cost per acquisition (CPA) improved by 37%.

SEAT S.A (SEAT and CUPRA) are now equipped with new ways to deduce and analyze conversions on a market-to-market basis.

Sharing intelligence across diverse markets

After completing the testing phase, the SEAT S.A team and their global partner PHD Media reported on results and observations. Sharing their learnings and insights with other markets has empowered other teams to benefit from the knowledge and expertise derived from the successful test prototypes. Focusing on components that drive results has allowed the teams spread across to be challenged and has facilitated constant learning while embracing changes and new features. The SEAT and CUPRA teams are now strongly positioned to outperform the competition.

Gearing up for a cookie less future

Going cookie less will bring challenging times and impact the search channel. SEAT and CUPRA plan to counter this with the use of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to maintain performance and target the right audience. Opening up to new visual formats like Discovery campaigns and MMA/MSAN from Bing will also take an important place within search in the future, as the core of search might evolve with more automation, less granularity and control.

Greater focus on measurement and a privacy-first future

The team is testing ‘consent mode’ with GA4 and ‘enhanced conversion’ to estimate the attrition due to privacy guidelines. They are also focused on identifying and designing a risk contingency plan for the paid search elements that they won’t be able to test in the near future.

“We are testing all the new solutions and features that Google is bringing to the market in terms of privacy and cookie less capabilities. Particularly, our testing is focused on deploying the full suite of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), site-wide tagging, consent mode, and enhanced conversions.

Additionally, we are also testing new audience segments that GA4 allows within a privacy first ecosystem on our paid search campaigns. We are seeing some positive and promising results.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager at SEAT S.A

SEAT S.A and PHD Media are actively focused on Google solutions for mapping markets and audiences that are privacy compliant and applicable for targeting segments.

They are also working towards gathering and connecting first party data like CRM audiences and customer match solutions.


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How to drive B2B conversions from your organic traffic

June 4, 2022 No Comments

How to drive B2B conversions from your organic traffic

30-second summary:

  • B2B conversion funnels are long and unpredictable, and your SEO strategy should reflect that
  • Because it takes several touchpoints for a buying decision to be made, a B2B SEO strategy should focus on both informational and commercial phrases
  • Brand-driven search is crucial for your conversions because B2B customers tend to careful consider all options
  • While optimizing for informational queries is important, make sure you have distinct conversion paths on each page
  • Create consistent visual identity across on- and off-site channels to improve brand recognizability at each touchpoint

There’s one key difference between B2B and B2C conversions: B2B shopping is almost never spontaneous. It takes several decision makers (which are collectively referred to as a decision making unit or a DMU) to review several options and make a choice.

A B2B shopping journey can thus take weeks and months.

Obviously, the organic search optimization strategy should address that challenge ensuring that more of those clicks driven by organic positions result in leads and sales.

1. Create SEO-driven landing pages for both TOFU and MOFU parts of the sales funnel

Fundamentally, a B2B marketing funnel consists of three stages: top, middle and bottom. The final stage is where the final sale happens, and may take eight touchpoints (i.e. a potential customer seeing or interacting with the site in some way or another) for a buying decision to finalize.

Traditionally, when it comes to SEO, businesses tend to prioritize landing pages that drive direct sales. In B2B it is hardly possible because customers tend to make lots of searches prior to making a purchase.

This is why informational search queries (those driving top of the funnel) are as important in B2B as commercial queries are.

How-to queries

How-to queries are highly engaging because visitors tend to stay on the page while taking the steps in a tutorial.

These are also likely to be transactional queries that may drive conversions if you manage to solve the customer’s problem.

Filter your keyword lists to how-to queries and start your optimization efforts by providing useful instructions (where your product is included in a non-promotional context as part of the solution).

You can also use Google Search Console to find how-to queries your site is already ranking: Come up with a plan to improve your positions for those:

Keep a close eye on your (and competitors’) branded search queries through search bar suggestions

Google’s People Also Ask and Suggestions

Both People Also Ask and suggestions impact searching journeys because they show up while people search giving them more ideas.

Moreover, both are dynamic, that is, they change depending on what people are typing in the search box or what they choose to click.

Because both of these search features can change the direction in which your customers are heading, you need to keep a close eye on those and optimize for each relevant query and question that shows up there.

Make sure you actually search for each of your target keywords and make notes of People Also Ask results and how to best address them on your site. You can use your current FAQ or Knowledge Base or answer each question in a dedicated article, depending on how in-depth an answer should be.

2. Keep a close eye on your (and competitors’) branded search queries

Because B2B purchases usually require long-term investment and commitment, B2B customers tend to carefully consider and compare all possible options and alternatives before finally making a purchase.

This means your brand name will be searched a lot.

Your brand will also be searched alongside your competitors.

Keep a close eye on your (and competitors’) branded search queries through search bar suggestions

No wonder in B2B these queries are always popular:

  • Brand name alternatives
  • Brand name 1 vs Brand name 2

Treat your brand name as a keyword and keep optimizing your site for it. It is a never-ending process because your competitors are likely to be doing the same.

Keep in mind that your brand-driven search is the most important part of your customers’ buying journeys.

3. Plan and monitor your search-driven buying journeys

Once those searchers land on your site, what do they do from there? 

While optimizing for informational-intent queries is important, don’t forget to plan distinct conversion paths from those informational pages down into your sales funnel: Invite people to schedule a demo with you, sign up for a webinar or sign up for a free trial.

Make sure to take full advantage of your lead magnets and lead-qualifying surveys: These normally make the best conversion path from an informational page because they match search intent and provide more answers to the covered questions.

Lead magnets work best when they are contextual, for example, cheat sheets, checklists and flowcharts make it easier to implement how-to content. HubSpot is a prime example of contextual CTAs and lead magnets done well:

HubSpot lead magnet example

Additionally, make sure all your assets are visually branded: Your organic-search-driven visitors should be able to remember you so that your tool looks familiar at the next touchpoint. 

Use your logo as a watermark on all images, keep your colors consistent within your site and across your social media channels and make sure all your downloads (ebooks, whitepapers, and other resources) include your visual identity elements and links back to your site.

From there, make sure you know how to monitor those conversion paths. Google Analytics Behavior Flow is a great way to track where people tend to go once they land on a certain page. You can segment this report to users referred to your site from organic search:

Plan and monitor your search-driven buying journeys to drive conversions through your organic traffic

Don’t forget to use Facebook pixel to be able to retarget those organic search visitors on social media to generate more touchpoints. You can also use retargeting when running YouTube ads. Both will remind your past visitors of your brand and take them close to a conversion.

Conclusion

Converting your organic search traffic is always a challenge, especially in B2B niches where customers are not likely to commit to your product from the first visit. Yet, when you understand your goals better, a strategic approach will gradually improve your conversions and boost your lead generation efforts.


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post How to drive B2B conversions from your organic traffic appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How to safeguard your privacy while building your digital business

April 22, 2022 No Comments

How to safeguard your privacy while building your digital business

30-second summary:

  • The need to become a public persona in order to be a successful business owner is overrated
  • Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to create an anonymous digital entity while using a majority of efficient marketing strategies
  • The problem arises when you already have your personal data published and want to delete it – it is neither easy nor possible (given all the variety of archiving tools that are publicly accessible these days)
  • So how do you keep your life private while owning a successful online business?
  • How do you navigate this conundrum as your private content may still become public at any moment?

The internet is both, a boon and a bane, depending on – how you use it, and how others use it to interact with you. A lot of new businesses and side hustles emerged post the pandemic, while brick and mortar businesses started digitizing themselves. This has raised well-being challenges around how business owners and senior executives can separate work from their personal pockets over the internet. How can they ensure their privacy and online safety are strong while building a digital business footprint?

Here are a few things you should know about safeguarding your online identity from the internet:

1. Making your site anonymous

Digitizing your business while remaining anonymous is difficult but doable. Here are all the steps you need to take to create an anonymous blog. In essence:

  • You need to come up with an online pseudonym (a moniker as we used to call it back in the days when we were using forums and never used our real names around the web)
  • Set up a new email address and create your new public social media profiles representing your business
  • In addition, you will need to pay for domain privacy protection to prevent your phone, email, and address from being tied to your domain. Domain privacy protection replaces personal information with proxy info in the public WHOIS directory.
  • Make sure you are using an SSL certificate (which you can do for free)

I know we have been talking about transparency and authenticity and building your personal brand too much, so creating a successful anonymous site without exposing yourself seems almost like an unpopular choice.

Well, I believe there’s still a place for anonymity in social media, and you can still succeed without the cost of compromising your personal details to the public. You just need to take careful steps when using all kinds of marketing tactics – like blogging and social media marketing – in order to keep your private life – well – private.

Of course, that means, not posting family pictures on Instagram, and not telling personal stories, but there is still a wealth of opportunities, from SEO to PPC ads. With more personal tactics, like blogger outreach, you will likely have to come up with an alternative identity as no one likes anonymous emails or emails coming from a business.

There’s one thing to note here: For both ecommerce and SaaS businesses creating an anonymous business entity is doable. Of course, some of your customers may be curious who is behind your brand but if you have working contact information, it is not a huge issue. It is, of course, more challenging for a freelancing business, as most freelance marketplaces require your real name in order to join.

Some may argue about the possibility of anonymity in the context of E-A-T but in reality, it isn’t common knowledge how exactly Google translates its E-A-T requirements into a ranking algorithm. So far, I’ve seen plenty of websites with no humanized ‘About’ pages ranking, and ranking high. Besides, you can tell the story of your business without telling the personal story of its founder. 

The need to become a public persona in order to be a successful business owner is overrated. It is still a matter of choice. Technical SEO and high-quality backlinks, as well as the quality of content and properly performed keyword research – remain the three pillars of solid organic visibility. A well-done ‘About’ page can exist without personal branding as long as it conveys your business’ proposition, origin story, and conveys values that will resonate with your target consumers/audience.

2. Delete your public content from third-party platforms

Chances are, you have been contributing to several third-party platforms using your real name. It is only natural because there are a few powerful social media players (like Facebook and Quora) that have real-name policies in place preventing users from maintaining anonymity.

If at some point you decide that you don’t want that content to come up in search when anyone is searching for your name, what are your choices?

The hard truth is that removing your own content that you added to a third-party site is a challenge. Some platforms don’t even have tools for mass-deleting content from the platform. In the case of Quora, you will probably need to delete your own account in order to get rid of your content.

In some cases, like Reddit and Tumblr, even deleting your own account won’t help as your content will remain there assigned to a removed entity.

In case you are curious, here’s a break-through of major third-party content-based networks and how you can wipe your content off them in an easier way:

Third-party content- driven platform Any Way to Mass-Delete Content? Will the content be gone once you delete your entire account?
Reddit No No
Quora No Yes
(except for questions which are mostly anonymous)
Instagram Yes
(You can also make your profile private)
Twitter No
(However, you can make them all private/protected)
Yes
Facebook No (But you can make them all private/hidden) Yes
Pinterest No Yes
(but NOT re-pins other people make from your pins)
Tumblr Yes
(Using the mass post editor)
Not all
(Your group blog contributions will be kept)
Yelp No Yes
(But not instantly)
YouTube Yes
(You can mass-delete your comments and mass-hide your videos)
Yes

In summary, deleting your content from the web will take some work, and in some cases, it will not happen instantly. But it is better than saving future hours trying to block and delete spam communications targeted toward you and your business.

You can, of course, change your username on most of these networks to hide your real name but mind that your previous name will be still visible through the Wayback Machine and similar archiving tools, should anyone take the time to research.

3. Make your remaining accounts private

If you think going off the grid is an extreme sport and want to maintain some sort of social media presence to stay in touch with friends and family, simply make your accounts private. But remember that your name and profile picture may still be public and findable through Google, even when a profile is set to private.

Here’s an example of a private account on Instagram which still makes your name, username, description, profile picture, and website public, even for a non-logged-in viewer:

Safeguard your personal identity over the social media while growing a digital business- making your account private still keeps some parts of your profile visible

Generally, when a social media account is set to private, neither logged-in nor unregistered people cannot access your content or your friend list.

The culture of spontaneous sharing is going too strong: People publish and share private information without much consideration or without meaning any harm.

And let’s not forget about an always possible data breach risk that can land your personal information in the possession of hackers. From the past incidents, it is quite clear a social media platform is unlikely to even let their users know about the breach (they may do that but months after it happened, months after your private data may have ended up in the wrong hands).

That being said, deleting your accounts is probably a better – still not a perfect – option.

Conclusion

The truth is, once we start opening up our lives to the digital world, that private content gets wings of its own. It becomes very difficult to bring it under control and can easily spread without you even being aware.

If this is something of a concern to you, take at least some steps now: When starting a new business or digitizing your current one, keep your anonymity options in mind and make an informed decision as to what you want your customers to know about your personal life.


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post How to safeguard your privacy while building your digital business appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to avoid SEO penalties in algorithm-stricken industries

April 8, 2022 No Comments

When trying to rank on Google through search engine optimization, there are some industries which are far more competitive and prone to algorithm updates than others.

Industries such as casinos, insurance, loans, hosting, and FX are highly competitive, and many SEO practitioners will turn to black hat techniques to secure Page 1 positions.

Google is the most popular search engine used by consumers; it makes regular weekly algorithm changes. As a result, firms may find their initial SEO progress is shot down by a penalty which can ultimately lead to a significant loss of traffic and revenue.

The guide below gives some vital tips when trying to rank in the most penalty-stricken and volatile search results on Google.

Choose a good domain

 When trying to rank for a highly competitive keyword, SEO professionals might look at selecting a domain which is very similar to the ‘big money’ keyword. There is certainly evidence that having a domain with competitive keywords in it will give you an SEO boost. For example, carinsurance.com or onlinecasinos.com

However, in today’s marketing landscape, this is not as essential, and Google looks more at brands rather than just keywords within a domain name.

Firms which have an exact match domain or partial match domain (i.e. loans or insurance is in the domain name), will need to be a little bit cautious, however. This is because there will likely be a higher mention of ‘danger’ words, like insurance and loans, a lot more in the content, the meta-data, and the links acquired.

SEO professionals need to be aware of keyword stuffing, or over-use of sensitive words, their brand’s anchor text as this is likely the first thing Google will look at if they are going to penalize a business.

Strong competitor analysis

 Competitors are a good starting point for any SEO professional. Those which rank on the first two pages of Google’s search results will provide insight into what works and what does not.

Not only can SEOs then emulate the right kind of techniques for said industry, but they can also see who has potentially fallen within the search rankings and been hit most by algorithm updates and penalties.

Since the casino and insurance sectors are known to have their own kind of algorithms, SEO’s working in these markets will need to play close attention to whether the landing page, or homepage, is used to rank. Consideration will also need to be given to URL structures, meta titles, and how frequently is a keyword mentioned on a page.

With language in mind, SEOs will also need to take heed of what kind of rhetoric and language is being used within competitor sights, as well as what links are used.

As a result, looking at competitors is essential for ranking in a highly specialized and competitive industry. Firms which are well established in the market are likely to have gone through the motions and have overcome penalties in the past in order to secure such strong positions.

Using low risk link building strategies

 SEOs assisting firms in more penalty-ridden industries will need to be more careful with the links built and acquired.

For starters, getting brand name links to a homepage is always going to be low risk. Spreading these links across several resourceful blogs and guides, will help build a business up as an authority, while appearing organic.

Linking to homepages and guides is much harder to penalize than if links are embedded within ‘money pages’ of hyperlinked to words like casino or loans. However, firms need to ensure their content is not thin and includes real statistics, graphs and images which validate their resources.

It is important, therefore, for SEO professionals to review what percentage of links go to their organization’s homepage, money pages and guides; looking at competitors and their split can be very useful here. In fact, using tools like Majestic can show you this immediately.

Be cautious with link anchor text

 When choosing the anchor text of a links, SEOs should ideally be on the cautious side. In general, no legitimate site will offer hyperlinks of ‘car insurance’ or ‘best casinos’. Instead, SEOs should look to hyperlink to phrases like ‘find more information here’ or ‘check your eligibility’.

Hyperlinking to phrases which can be actioned – like ‘quotes from $ 300 per month’ – is also likely to be more effective. Using a mix of these techniques will look more organic within money pages.

The use of synonyms can also be helpful when considering which phrases to hyperlink. The word ‘car insurance’ can easily be interchanged with ‘motor insurance’, for example. Rephrasing is also a popular technique used by SEO professionals – instead of ‘car insurance policies’, try ‘insurance for your car’.

Avoiding abbreviations is also a common technique used by SEOs. Instead of saying ‘VPNs’, ‘virtual private networks’ can be used to anchor text more naturally.

 Patience is key 

Overall, the competitive industries mentioned within this article are so valuable that they attract a lot of attention from SEO practitioners, and this means black hat techniques who are trying to game the system and generate some quick traffic.

Whilst cautious techniques will take several months to have an impact, firms can have peace of mind they you will sustain good quality rankings and traffic and avoid future penalties.

Firms which make sure they look carefully at competitors and avoid overusing the big keywords in their content and links should be good to go!

The post How to avoid SEO penalties in algorithm-stricken industries appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Payday loans algorithm update 2022

March 17, 2022 No Comments

The payday loans algorithm continues to challenge search engine optimization (SEO) practitioners across the world, notably in the US and UK – the two largest markets for payday loans.

In 2012, UK’s payday loan market was worth around £2 billion and was so sought after that Google’s entire first page for payday loans was dominated by black hat results.

In response, the tech giant created a dedicated algorithm – which was revised in 2018 – known today as ‘payday loans 2.0’. The purpose of the algoritm was target what Google deemed “spammy queries”; never before had Google devoted an entire algorithm for one particular product or service.

The payday loan market in the UK is now heavily regulated and no longer as lucrative. But SEO professionals looking to help promote payday loan companies are still hoping to land on a search engine’s first page in order to access very high converting products with over 100,000 monthly searches.

Drawing on Tudor Lodge’s findings from the 2019 and 2021 algorithm, we look at how the payday algorithm has developed in the UK and US, and what techniques are succeeding in 2022.

 Frequency of updates

 Payday loan companies looking to rank their sites higher on search engines may fine they are struggling to make progress, even with the help of SEO practitioners. When this progress will appear, may also seem uncertain.

In the UK, Google infrequently updates its SEO algorithm which means a company with ‘good’ SEO could result in it ranking highlight for months or even a year, without having to change very much. This means companies can ‘ride the wave’ of their previous good SEO work.

There is an age-old SEO assumption that Google takes the techniques used by websites on page 1 of its search and uses these techniques as the basis for the algorithm. Therefore, companies which copy the links and style of content of page 1 should be successful.

In the US, however, the frequency of SEO changes for payday loans is significantly quicker, with the search results changing far more regularly and competitors having to be consistent to maintain those results.

This could reflect the more competitive environment in the US and how state-specific lenders, such as those from Florida or Ohio, might suddenly start to rank higher due to demand in those areas.

Role of exact match and partial match domains

 Traditionally, having the word ‘payday’ in a business’ domain name was a strong ranking signal to secure a page 1 position, but this seems to be less relevant as time goes on.

Filtering by the UK’s geography, only one website appears on Google’s Page 1 search results page with the word payday in the businesses’ domain name; it is one of the oldest payday lenders in the market. The same occurs when filtering for the US market, only in this instance, the firm has used a black hat technique.

As a result, companies looking to set up a website in this market do not need to include the word ‘payday’ within their domain name to be successful.

Popular techniques and red flags

There are a couple of techniques, however, which will stand businesses looking to gain traction in the payday loan market in good stead.

  1. Careful phrasing is one of these techniques. Companies looking to improve their payday loan SEO should look carefully at the phrasing used by websites which rank on page 1 in the UK and US.

These websites tend to use the following terms: “direct lenders”, “bad credit”, and “alternatives”. Other popular phrases include payday loans online used by Dime Alley and include the word “instalment”.

Tudor Lodge’s previous investigation into the algorithm suggests these phrases push websites up the ranking because Google wants to: provide “alternatives” rather than expensive payday products; ensure “direct lenders” are promoted over brokers; and appeal to “bad credit” which is the real use of the product.

  1. Another technique to be considered is the use of Google Business, a free service which allows organizations to manage and optimize their businesses’ profile on Google. In recent years, the platform has gained more exposure in the SERPs for payday loans.

Arguably this is not surprising since figures show Google Business clicks are surpassing normal clicks on Google for the first time ever this year. This is particularly relevant in the US where there are over 23,000 payday stores and the role of local listings is far more important than in the UK where the industry is mainly online.

For SEO practitioners, having a populated Google Business account with images, descriptions and organic reviews will only help to secure more exposure and clicks, even for new entries.

And of course, making sure the address and contact details on your website are very clear on the footer and contact us page. Without any contact details or address on your website, you are pretty much a ghost in Google’s eyes.

  1. Another important detail for SEO practitioners and payday loan companies to think about is ensuring there is an explanation of how their product works. Customers need to know how to apply for a payday product listed on a website.

Websites listed on Page 1 of Google’s listings all ensure this copy is clear and concise, whether it be through a steps process – as demonstrated by Pheabs – or a dedicated ‘how it works’ page.

 In addition to best practice, there are a number of techniques which are now grossly out of fashion.

  1. Long content and landing pages are one example. Whilst I personally have always been a fan of long content, and nice strong landing pages, there are several strong examples on Google’s Page 1 which seem to defy this.

These websites, some with limited content (but a strong backlink profile) and others just including a ‘how it works’ page and some strong FAQs on their homepages, have managed to maintain their top spots. This might suggest backlinks are stronger than content in this market.

  1. Another faux pas is having multiple pages on a payday website. It could be assumed that having pages dedicated to each product, service and question would help the consumer journey, the sites that have multiple pages have declined and been penalized in 2021. This suggests companies should approach their website through the lens of having one, focused page which discusses different locations on said.

 Where do links fall into this algorithm?

 Links are always so vital for SEO, and Tudor Lodge’s studies show that acquiring links is likely to make a company’s website rank quicker in in the payday market, than adding more content would.

The role of PBNs is still evident with SEO professionals buying links and this is having a positive correlation on rankings, unless hit with a penalty. Some of the best ranking sites can leverage links from ‘gov.uk’ and ‘.edu’ by offering sponsorships and associating with good causes.

 Long SEO articles on third party sites

 Finally, there has been a surge in the US of companies who are ranking third party articles, rather than individual sites.

The SEO professional is writing very long and detailed pieces about payday loans and including lots of relevant keywords such as “no credit check” and “bad credit” – then listing their 4 or 5 favourite sites or clients in the text to generate leads.

Using third party sites, often regional or state press sites with domain authorities of 80 or higher, ensures these articles rank well and gains instant exposure via Google News. This technique is often underrated by the industry but has gained a lot of visibility in recent years.

It is innovative and well executed and essentially just SEO by any other name.

The post Payday loans algorithm update 2022 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Six data-driven SEO strategies that optimize conversion rates

February 22, 2022 No Comments

Six data-driven SEO strategies that optimize conversion rates

30-second summary:

  • Since Google now focuses heavily on user experience, using data as a pillar to uncover consumer insights will drive your digital marketing success
  • However, marketing teams still need to understand these sources and their areas of impact on the consumer’s experience
  • Atul Jindal helps you cover the ground with his advice and case studies

Studies have shown that businesses using data-driven strategies experience five to eight times higher ROI. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a process that largely depends on data. The core focus for most CRO strategies is to use consumer data to make their customer journey smoother and experience better.

With search engines also increasing emphasis on user experience, we find a point where SEO strategies start to complement CRO strategies.

But your SEO tactics can truly augment your CRO efforts when driven by data.

In this article, I share six data-driven SEO strategies to supplement your CRO efforts.

From content audit to website personalization, read till the end to find out how you can boost your search engine rankings and conversions altogether!

Data-driven SEO strategies to supplement CRO

Data-driven strategies are online marketing tactics fueled by consumer data. Unlike traditional marketing strategies, data-driven strategies are based on data-backed hypotheses rather than assumptions.

This reliance on solid data makes such strategies the star of the modern marketing world.

Here are six data-driven SEO strategies to make your CRO efforts more promising:

1. Website analysis and optimization

Website analysis is a process through which you test various elements of your website. It analyzes the overall performance of your website and highlights areas of improvement.

The elements that web analysis takes into account include the website’s on-page optimization and technical SEO, finding out about the keywords it ranks for, and what rank it has for different keywords.

Using various web analytics tools, this process also uncovers sources where your website gets traffic from, highlights the flaws in your website’s usability and UX, and provides the basis for the website’s load speed optimization.

Through all of these elements, it helps in enhancing your website’s overall user experience and contributes towards conversion rate optimization.

Additionally, it also provides your web traffic’s demographic and interest data, enabling you to optimize the website for a more relevant user experience.

Google Analytics is the most comprehensive and reliable tool to support your website analysis and optimization efforts. It integrates with your website and tracks all the data you need to optimize your website for an enhanced user experience.

A leading marketing automation software company experienced 10x higher conversion rates when they integrated their native real-time personalization tool with Google Analytics to use the personalization data. This was paired with the Google Analytics information to serve personalized remarketing ads through Google AdWords.

Not only did they experience higher conversion rates, but with the effective use of web analytics data, like demographic and behavior information, they also experienced a 107 percent YoY increase in qualified leads.

2. Content analysis and optimization

Content analysis is similar to website analysis, but instead of testing your website’s technical elements, it analyzes your website’s content and overall content strategy to uncover areas of improvement.

Conversion rates are almost six times higher for businesses that invest in content marketing. But results like this manifest only when your website brims with optimized content.

The purpose of your content is to compel users to take the desired action, or in other words, convert.

Content analysis finds out how well it serves this purpose.

You can uncover various metrics with content analysis, like which content type is the most popular among your audience, which content is bringing you closer to your marketing objectives, and which needs more work.

For example, a marketing optimization software company may have blogs and case studies in its content strategy. Their web analytics may reveal that case studies drive more conversions while blogs get the most social shares.

With its content marketing objective being increased conversions, content analysis will help them focus more on publishing more case studies.

An effective content analysis will also uncover whether or not your content matches the search intent of your target search queries. And therefore, whether or not you need to find new SEO keywords and re-optimize. If your content doesn’t match the search intent perfectly, even if it gets traffic, those users will not convert.

So, in essence, content analysis will help increase conversions by helping you create content that is proven to drive results. It will also help save time and resources from being spent on less-profitable strategies.

Here’s a case study discussing how changing content on your website can reflect a spike in revenue.

Brookdaleliving.com, a website offering community living solutions for the elderly, had a disappointing website conversion rate. But then, their website had nothing that would drive conversions.

The digital marketing experts they hired revamped their website and tested two different content types on their landing page – an image and a testimonial video – to see which one performs better.

Ironically, the web page with an image drove 3.92 percent higher conversions than the original page. This may seem like a small increment, but it resulted in additional revenue of $ 106,000.

3. Website design optimization

Tests like usability testing and A/B testing provide the data that drives website design optimization to improve a website’s design and enhance its user experience.

The purpose of CRO is to make the user journey smoother and experience better.

Website design optimization supports CRO by removing frictions in the buyer’s journey and making it easier for them to accomplish their goals.

But there are a couple of best practices the website design must adhere to to ensure that it really contributes to your CRO efforts.

  1. The design should be simple and somewhat similar to what the users are accustomed to
  2. The navigation bar should be designed intuitively, with the user’s search intent in mind, so they can quickly find what they came looking for
  3. The content arrangement should follow proven design techniques that enhance content readability and value delivery

For your web design to truly serve your business, you will have to continue to test various combinations of website elements, their placements, and designs.

Regardless of how you go about your web design, making the target audience’s journey easier should be at the heart of all your efforts.

Trucker Reports, a trucker’s community that helps truck drivers find jobs, struggled with low conversions.

The CRO experts they hired performed a web design audit and discovered multiple opportunities. Based on these opportunities, they tested different hypotheses.

They tested three different designs against the original ones in their final test and found out that the final design had 79.3 percent higher conversions.

Do you know why?

Because this last design had the least friction and made it easier for the users to convert.

4. Audience analysis

Audience analysis, commonly known as audience research, is the process through which you dig up information about your prospects so you can develop targeted marketing campaigns.

Since user experience is a massive part of SEO and CRO alike, audience analysis holds an important place as a data-driven SEO strategy for conversion rate optimization.

This process uncovers a wide variety of data, from core demographic information like age, gender, marital status, income, education, etc., to online behavior, internal and external challenges, and more.

Audience analysis helps develop a buyer persona, which then becomes the foundation of a highly-targeted marketing campaign.

Audience analysis is a core element of a successful CRO campaign because it makes your website relevant to the users. You find out about their pain points and struggles and are better equipped to address them through your content.

This shows that you care about your customers and inevitably builds trust between your brand and its prospects. Given that the modern customer prioritizes their connection with the brand when making purchase decisions, this bond of trust and reliability results in higher conversions.

Data-backed audience analysis also allows you to segment your audience based on their demographic information and interest. With this level of segmentation, you spend your efforts and resources on people you know matter to your business.

This is why studies indicate a 56 percent reduction in marketing costs for businesses that use audience analysis as a basis for all their marketing efforts.

5. Testing and optimization

Testing is the life of conversion rate optimization. You put samples of your content and design arrangements to test to see which one performs better and optimize using the results of these tests.

These tests are all data-driven, that is, they are based on hypotheses generated from existing data and provide insights into how valid the hypothesis is.

For example, data may show a higher conversion rate on websites with explainer videos. This forms the hypothesis of your test. So, you develop two different landing pages, one with a video and another with an image, to see which performs better. If the videos result in higher conversions, you know what to continue optimizing with!

You can perform different kinds of tests when optimizing websites for conversions. Two of the popular ones include usability testing and A/B or split testing.

Search engines also recommend A/B and multivariate testing for SEO as it improves user experience, which search engines pursue in the websites they index.  

NatureAir performed A/B testing on their landing page to increase conversions. One of the samples had a CTA on the side, while the other had a CTA prominently placed in the content area.

Once the test results were in, they found that placing CTA in the content area increases conversions by 591 percent!

That’s how potent A/B tests can be!

6. Website personalization

According to Google, 90 percent of marketers believe personalization results in business profitability. And why shouldn’t it? In an era with so many similar websites, a web page that offers a customized experience deserves to make better revenue.

Website personalization is a relatively complex process through which you can serve a unique experience to each visitor. These experiences are designed based on consumer data, including their demographic data, interests, search history, and online behavior.

75 percent of consumers prefer that online sellers use personal information to enhance shopping experiences.

People want you to make shopping easier for them, adding a personalized product recommendation on your website will help improve your user experience and could boost sales. They don’t want to go out and search for what they want. They want you to know what they need and bring it to them. And that’s what website personalization empowers you to do.

It improves overall website experience, lowers bounce rates, boosts SEO, and of course, increases conversions.

Serving dynamic content makes the customer’s experience more intuitive and relevant. It lets you put out the content that interests them the most, and hence, contributes to better revenue.

Conclusion

The goal of an SEO and a CRO campaign have become somewhat similar ever since search engines have started giving value to user experience.

There are many SEO strategies focused on improving UX. And these strategies, when backed by data, can lead to increased conversion rates.

Therefore, I have discussed some of the most promising data-driven SEO strategies that can drive conversions in this article.

But the true results of a strategy depend on how well you implement it. So, ramp up your data analysis game, derive insights, implement them, and optimize your strategies for better results.


Atul Jindal is a web design and marketing specialist, having interests in doing websites/apps optimized for SEO with a core focus on conversion optimization. He creates web experiences that bring conversations and transform web traffic into paying customers or leads.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Six data-driven SEO strategies that optimize conversion rates appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Is your business optimized for Google Discover? This guide is for you!

February 17, 2022 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Would you turn down an opportunity to acquire new customers without breaking the bank?
  • Google Discover currently supports 800M users in exploration and is a great way to attract new audiences
  • Joe Dawson covers the “why” and “how” in this comprehensive Google Discover optimization guide

Even though spending on SEO plays such a major role in the online business sphere, most web admins spend their lives attempting to crack Google’s organic page ranking algorithms. As SEOs may or may not lose sleep over the latest updates, Google Discovery is surely a dreamy-eyed way to win more audiences.

What is Google Discover?

Discover is the brainchild that replaced Google Feed in 2018 and helps around  800M monthly active users with content exploration. Discover aims to push hand-selected news and articles directly to user feeds without the need for searching. Google builds a profile of users and supplies them with content considered relevant to individual interests.

Nothing is anonymous online, and we all leave digital trails of our fundamental interests. Just as your website offers opportunities to glean first-party data, so does Google. With the average person estimated to make at least three to four searches per day, that’s plenty of information to harvest.

Google Discover - a quick look

Source: Google Search Central

Google plays their cards close to their chest about how they build consumer profiles. Experts believe that the following are factored into the creation of these blueprints:

  • Search history unique to Google
  • Browser history of websites visited
  • Activity on any installed apps
  • Location, assuming this information has not been barred in settings

That’s certainly enough material to understand what a user may be interested in. Much like social media targeted advertising, Google knows what your audience wants to see and will do all it can to meet such desires through Discovery. It’s your responsibility to optimize your Discovery presence and ensure that your content is chosen to be pushed.

Why optimize Google Discover?

Discover attracts a loyal, returning audience to your website. It allows users to follow a particular brand or business, ensuring their content will always appear on their smartphone. Naturally, you need to earn this loyalty. The usual caveats apply here. Work to attract your target audience by speaking their language, delivering content that shows your brand can be relied upon.

Deliver content that shows people can rely on your brand - Google Discover optimization guide

Source: Marketing Charts

Perhaps more pertinently, Discover knows what users want to hear about – and delivers this in spades. Imagine that a user’s five most visited websites are for their local NFL team, a health food store in their town, a website specializing in tips for joggers, a website that sells running shoes, and a food blog packed with recipes. This suggests that the user in question enjoys sports and fitness. This individual’s Google Discovery feed will reflect this lifestyle.

Somebody with more sedentary hobbies may receive articles on the latest comings and goings on Netflix or technology and gadget news. If you optimize your content for Discover, it could be your website and articles that are pushed onto a smartphone. As Discover has an enviable CTR, this is not an opportunity to pass up.

How to optimize your website for Google Discover

Now that we’ve established that Discover fast-track site traffic, and by extension, conversions – how do you achieve this optimization? This fifteen-point checklist covers hints and tips to enhance your success rate.

1. Comply with Google’s policies

First thing’s first. Do not forget that Discover is a Google property, which means abiding by the search engine’s usual rules and regulations. In essence, that means continuing to follow organic SEO and page ranking practices.

As much as keeping on top of Google’s regular algorithm updates can sometimes feel like a full-time job, it remains necessary. To optimize the potential of Discover, your website must maintain standard white hat SEO protocols. If your dedication to improving page ranking and quality score slips, your content is less likely to be selected by Discover.

2. Create a Google My Business account

Here’s another quick and simple hack to help produce tangible results. Google always wants to provide users with the finest and most relevant connections. If you’re using Discover for ecommerce, the big G will consider a GMB account as a seal of quality. You’re likelier to be selected by Discover if you have an active profile – especially one that boasts organic, positive reviews.

3. Ensure mobile compatibility

When investigating different web design possibilities, highly prioritize mobile compatibility. This sounds like a no-brainer as Discovery is a mobile-centric tool, but you may be surprised at how many fall at this hurdle. Use Google’s Mobile Usability Report to check how your site is doing.

If you build your website through WordPress, consider taking advantage of the Web Stories plug-in. This is made for use on Google – after all, Web Stories even have their own segment on the search engine’s home page – and will often pique the curiosity of Discovery.

4. Feature larger images to create compelling UX and boost CTRs

You can even feature your card images in a large format by using the robots meta tag max-image-preview setting. This is a great way to gain more screen space and win audience attention that will drive CTR. According to Google, this increased a food blog’s CTR by 79 percent and drove a weekly magazine’s clicks by 332 percent across six months.

Google Discover optimization guide - use large images to drive CTR
Google Discover optimization guide – use large images to drive CTR

Source: Google Search Central

5. Find a unique niche and demonstrate your knowledge

Like when bidding for a plum PPC spot, popular keywords can create an extremely competitive environment in Discovery. Unless you’re among the major players in your industry, you risk being muscled out by more prominent names. For example, if you’re writing about sports, ESPN is always likelier to be selected to discuss the playoffs and significant incidents in a game.

That doesn’t mean that Discover is pointless, you’ll just need to think outside the box. Come up with a topic that could be less commonplace within your niches, such as a particular player, team, or set of stats. Discuss these at length, appealing to the regulations of the E-A-T algorithm, and the results will come.

6. Consider your target audience

Discover is designed to match the ideal content with the perfect audience. That needs to be considered when creating blog posts and similar copy. Take the time to build a picture of your target audience and use analytics to ensure you are appealing to them.

Based on the results, you may need to adjust your approach. For example, emotive language may attract one type of reader but deter users likelier to convert. Equally, you may find that you need to use less prose and more images to draw users you really want.

7. Master your headlines carefully

Over 14 percent of all Google text searches include a question. Embrace this in your headlines. If you pose a question, you’re likelier to be selected by Discovery and attract an audience’s attention.

All the same, never lose sight of Google’s quest for relevance. That means not trying to pull a bait and switch. A blog headlined “how to hire an app developer” needs to discuss the trials and tribulations of this very process. An article that says, “don’t bother – here is a DIY mobile app design guide to save money,” will not be embraced by Discovery.

8. Ensure your content is of the highest quality

We’ve just established that Google Discover has limited patience for clickbait, but you may be able to slip some of this material through the net.

You’ll quickly lose their trust and struggle to attract followers. The same applies to content that has not gone through a quality check process and is littered with typos and errors. Quality matters, so do not try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes. Another way to create compelling, relevant content for your audience is by checking your Google search traffic and keyword research. This will help you distinguish and craft top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content for key segments of the search journey and align it with the sales funnel.

9. Keep your finger on the pulse

News and current events are the bread and butter of Google Discover. On paper, Google will always look to deliver the latest and greatest news articles to users. Criticism has been leveled at Discover, claiming that it has been top-of-the-funnel (TOFU), but it still pays to remain relevant when attempting to appeal to algorithms.

Anecdotal evidence claims that Discover ranks some search terms that SEO does not, opening new opportunities. That does not mean that you should throw together a hot take on the latest Twitter controversy and wait for the clicks to roll in. If that flies in the face of your brand values, you’ll suffer in the longer term. Just avoid shying away from existing talking points that would add value to your audiences. Also, don’t hop on this bandwagon unless you have something valuable to say as a brand.

10. Encourage users to ‘heart’ you

If you have a captive audience outside of Discover, encourage them to follow you on this platform. Discover offers a heart icon that matches the purpose of a Facebook like, which is a direct way to show appreciation for the material.

If somebody follows an article from your site in their areas of interest, it will be noted on their Google profile. They are then likely to receive more content on the same subject from your brand – as are other, unrelated users that Google considers to have similar interests.

11. Increase your brand awareness

As an extension of the point above, users are prone to discover – and follow – your Discover profile if they are aware of your brand. Use your marketing campaigns to raise your Google Discover profile, steering people toward following you on here.

12. Regularly create and post new content

Discover is often looking for the newest insights and articles to share with users. As a result, a freshly published blog is much likelier to be selected than something penned weeks, months, or years previously – assuming it meets the quality standards we previously mentioned. Evergreen content occasionally gets picked up, but not as often.

Just be aware that articles selected by Discover tend to have a shorter shelf life than something penned with organic SEO in mind. You can still look to appeal to both markets. Discover can be just as helpful for an inbound marketing strategy. Just do not expect your blog to remain on the platform longer than three or four days.

13. Include images and videos in your content

Regardless of whether a picture is truly worth a thousand words, there is no denying that Discover looks to curate variety in its content. Websites that included images and video in their blog posts saw a much greater uptake in selection by Discover than those that relied on pure prose.

Quality matters just as much as quantity here. A quick video shot on your smartphone and shoehorned into your content will not cut the mustard. Discover looks for crisp, high-definition image quality in moving and static pictures alike, so always opt for the greatest resolution you can that retains mobile friendliness.

14. Interact on social media

Discover loves social engagement. As with organic SEO, Discover is likely to select and push content that attracts comments and shares on social media. This creates a chicken and egg scenario. Will your content go viral on social media because it was picked up by Discover, or did Discover push the content because it was gaining social media traction?

In truth, the order of events matters little. Discover can sit neatly alongside the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to bolster awareness of your content and amass an army of new followers. As always, this creates a snowball effect – the more followers you gain, the more strangers will have your content pushed to their appliances.

15. Track your analytics – and improve where necessary

Finally, as with your SEO performance, you should always keep an eye on your Google Discover traffic analytics. You’ll find this in your Search Console. Do not be alarmed if your Discover traffic looks low. It takes a couple of days for these visits to hit the report so things may change in time.

Discover may not be essential if you are still attracting attention through other means. But no website should ever turn down an opportunity to boost website traffic! So if your numbers are tracking lower than anticipated, revisit points one through fourteen and implement what you can to improve performance.


Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

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