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Do it Yourself SEO Split Testing Tool With Causal Impact

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Do it Yourself SEO Split Testing Tool With Causal Impact

Do it Yourself SEO Split Testing Tool With Causal Impact

Get the Tool

We’ve got a new tool to share! This tool allows you to measure the effect of any SEO split tests you might run on your website. You can find it here. This post will walk you through how to use it, but before we do that, let’s jump back a step:

What is an SEO split test?

An SEO split test is where you make a change to your website on a subset of particular page template to see how those pages perform differently to the other half.

For example, you might change the title tags on 50% of your product pages and see how they perform compared to the other half.

This is different from a CRO split test, where you show users different versions of the SAME page.

Time for some quick definitions

Variant – This is the set of pages with the change. In our example the altered title tag.

Control – This is the set of pages where we made no change.

What do you need to use this tool

You’ll need to have run (or be running) an SEO split test (see ‘How does A/B testing for SEO work?’ in this post for help). You’ll need to have separated your pages into two groups, made a change to a percentage of them and then downloaded the total organic traffic to each of the two buckets.

(One way to do this with GA is sending a hit level custom dimension which contains “control” or “variant” and then measuring organic entrances, or you could also do this, by downloading the data for each of the individual pages and then matching them to your control and variant buckets.)

Specifically what you need is:

Total organic entrances (or sessions) day by day for the sum of your control set of pages.

Total organic entrances (or sessions)  day by day for the sum of your variant set of pages.

For both of these groups, you’ll need 100 days of this data before the test begins, plus however many days your test has been running for.

So if your test has been running for 14 days, you would need 114 days data.

Why 100 days of historic data? In short, this is what allows the maths behind this to work correctly.

Want to see an example data set? Here’s one we’ve put together in a Google sheet.

Sign up to find out more about our new ODN platform, for a scientific approach to SEO.

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How do you use it?

You enter the control and variant data into the boxes,  choose the start date for your test and click run.

(The tool knows your test begins 100 days in, so the start date input is purely to set the axis correctly. )

The tool will then plot your variant against the control using the Causal impact model, the start date will be highlighted on the graph and you can see how they perform relative to each other.

If the red line is positive, your change was good. If the blue line is higher then your change was bad.

You can also download the data in a CSV to calculate how much better they perform.

How does this work?

We’re about to enter the wonderful world of maths, so brace yourselves.

This tool uses Google Causal Impact model (you can find the academic paper here, there isn’t much written on this if you’re not maths inclined although I think this post was better than some of the others).

It’s a form of regression model and works kind of like this (simplification ahead).

Causal impact lets you break down time series data (data which is day by day) into its component parts i.e.: seasonality, industry effects, and the underlying trend.)

You provide causal impact with data to model those effects (seasonality, industry demand etc.) and then it creates the model using those inputs and your time series data. By isolating the other effects, it allows you see the true performance beneath those.

So how does it work in this case?

Well, our time series data is the variant set. We want to know how would that set of pages have performed if there was no change, so we can use the causal impact model to mimic that.

We provide a variable for time (you never see this) and a control set of data (what you enter) which then helps the model to account for any swings like sales or Google updates which should affect both the control and variant equally. This allows us to isolate and compare the variant and modelled control, which will have accounted for seasonality and site wide swings.

Why not just directly compare control and variant? We can’t directly compare them because of possible differences in the variant and control groups, the most obvious example of this is the two groups may be different sizes depending on how the pages got sorted.

For example, your variant may have an average of 5,000 organic sessions a day, where you control may only have an average of 4,000 organic sessions a day, so we can’t compare the absolute fluctuations in our two sections.

There’s more to it than that, but that is the easiest to follow example.

Why don’t we show statistical significance?

Statistical significance is an important concept. With any kind of statistical modelling there will be a band of error.

This gets a little more complicated however when looking at a prediction over time. If we were just comparing two days we might be able to say that A > B by such an amount that the result is statistically significant.

However, if we’re comparing two-time series, then what is important is the performance over time and not a one off date. If one consistently outperforms the other, then what is important is the total aggregate sessions, not any individual day. All the individual days may be within the margin of error and yet the total makes it notably significant.  

This basically makes day by day significance misleading, which is what this graph would show. Instead you need to calculate significance on total aggregate sessions i.e. total sessions to control vs total sessions to the variant, which you’ll need to manually with any standard significance tool.

Why have we made this tool?

We’re fully bought in on split testing. We think it’s the future of SEO and the way the industry is going. We even built an entire platform around it – DistilledODN.

But we also recognise that not everyone can afford large scale enterprise tools, so we wanted to make the basic maths available to everyone and encourage more industry testing.

While the maths here is a simpler version of what we use in DistilledODN (we can’t invest the same scale of resources into testing different models in this tool as we can in a full piece of software), the base (causal impact) is there and unlike in our ODN, where we have to have a generic set of maths that is applicable to anyone and anywhere, the power of testing and calculating the numbers yourself means you can make adjustment calls that a platform can’t. For example if you know you’ve run a sale on one section of your site which deviates from the norm, you can exclude that when providing the numbers to the tool.

Anyway, enough waffle. I hope you all find it useful!

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The Transformation of Search Summit: Strategies and tactics to harness the next generation of search marketing

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Transformation of Search Summit: Strategies and tactics to harness the next generation of search marketing

The Transformation of Search Summit: Strategies and tactics to harness the next generation of search marketing

On October 19, Search Engine Watch will host The Transformation of Search Summit in New York City, in partnership with ClickZ and Catalyst.

Dedicated to the key trends affecting consumer behavior and search marketing today, this 1-day event will provide a host of insights and practical tips for business leaders, senior marketers and search specialists.

Speakers include:

The importance of search as a medium for connecting with consumers cannot be understated, and the facts certainly substantiate this:

Over $90 billion was spent on search advertising in the US in 2017
93% of online journeys begin with a search engine
96% of Google’s annual revenues come from search ads.

And yet, pinning down exactly what search is can be a difficult endeavor. In essence, search arises at moments of need or desire; when people want to know, do, or go, they reach out to a search engine.

These moments are increasingly fragmented across devices at home, at work, and on the go.

While the commercial opportunity that search provides is rising, it is no longer a text-only medium and Google is seeing some competition from the likes of Amazon and Pinterest. Many voice-based searches do not involve a screen, while visual search uses images as an input to deliver results.

The underlying nature of search remains constant; people want answers or suggestions and brands compete to provide them.

However, marketers must keep pace with these developments and acquire new skills if they want to deliver the experiences the modern consumer demands.

The pace of change in search is only accelerating over time, and those who do not evolve in line with the industry will be left behind.

The Transformation of Search Summit, which will be held at Convene on W 46th Street, will cut through the noise to provide actionable insights on the trends that are transforming search today.

Comprised of talks by specialists from across the technology landscape, the event will go much deeper than the standard platitudes to discuss the points that will transform search over the coming months and years. Furthermore, each session will contain a list of tips that marketers can apply at their company today to drive better results.

This applies equally to organic search and to paid search, with some core themes cutting across both marketing media.

Key Themes at The Transformation of Search Summit

The new customer journey
Customer journeys are increasingly fragmented; simultaneously, consumers expect cohesion in their interactions with brands. This event will look at how these journeys have changed, including some new research from ClickZ and Catalyst, before delving into the ways marketers should prepare to take advantage.
Voice search
Digital assistants, driven by artificial intelligence, are an increasingly prominent feature in our homes and on mobile devices. In fact, there are now over 1 billion voice searches per month and this number will only rise over the coming years. But just how big an impact is voice having on search in real terms? What are the specific strategies brands need to apply to avail of this trend?
The rise of Amazon and Amazon Marketing Services
As Amazon’s online retail dominance grows, what impact will it have on the consumer’s path to purchase; how should search marketers respond; and what opportunities does Amazon Marketing Services offer?
Blockchain and the decentralized economy
We will explore what impact this new technology is already having on marketing, and what search marketers should be on the lookout for as this powerful technology gains traction in every aspect of online interactions.
Unlocking the power of AI
AI is here to stay. It’s transforming our world and revolutionizing businesses. In fact, Gartner estimates that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. Leveraging automated bidding solutions, discovering advanced methods for audience targeting, and understanding key considerations around AI opportunities such as voice search, digital assistants and chatbot are just the tip of the iceberg.
Data protection and privacy
With the recent string of data breaches and The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in Europe, data protection and privacy has made its way into the headlines of most newspapers and the minds of all marketers. What are the latest data regulations that you need to be aware of; what can we expect to see coming into effect over the next 12 months; and how can you balance compliance with operationalization to deliver the experiences customers expect?
Visual search and ecommerce
Pinterest has the highest average order value ($50) of any major social platform with nearly 2 million people pinning products every day. With the rise of mobile and movement to voice, image search is often overlooked, but is an important part of your modern search marketing mix. How can you take advantage of this trend and what actionable steps do you need to take on Pinterest and other visual search platforms?
The changing nature of leadership
With all this change it is important to take a step back and look at what you should be doing in the short, medium and long-term. Here we will explore the cultural, structural and practical steps business leaders can take to manage budgets, empower their teams and ultimately ensure that they balance risk with reward.

Who should attend?

The Transformation of Search Summit is aimed at business leaders and search professionals, with a split focus on strategy and tactics. Attendees have already been confirmed from companies including Marriott, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Kaiser Permanente.

How can I sign up?

For more information and to sign up for the October 19 event, please click here. Early Bird rates are available until September 14.

Voice search: what will the future bring?

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Voice search: what will the future bring?

Voice search: what will the future bring?

My husband – Joost de Valk – and I often have discussions on how technology will change our day-to-day life. Joost is an early adopter, while I am much slower and more reluctant to technological change. Our discussions are pretty heated. So, what’s Joost’s opinion on the future of voice search? How dominant will voice search be? And how will search be affected by it? I interviewed my early-adopting-voice-addict-husband  to shed some light and perspective on the matter of voice search. I did some thinking myself as well. Here, I share our views on what the future of voice search could look like. 

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Voice queries make a lot of sense

Joost just likes voice. He likes talking to machines. Joost asks Siri to set the timer while he’s cooking dinner and gives orders to Google Home when he wants to listen to some music. So what is it what attracts him in voice search? ‘I like voice whenever I cannot type,’ Joost answers,  ‘So, I use it while I am cooking, or when we are in a car together and we have a discussion. Using a voice query is just as easy as typing in a keyword. And if you do not have access to a keyboard, voice search is especially useful.’

I think Joost is right about that: voice queries just make sense. Voice search is easy to use (as long as your voice is recognized properly). For most people, speaking to a machine is quicker than typing. And, you can use voice search everywhere, even when you’re doing other things.

Voice results do not (always) make sense

The results that voice gives us are always singular. Siri will set a timer, Google Home will play the song. Joost:  ‘Voice results only make sense if you’re looking for a singular result. If you want to know something specific. If you want to end the discussion you’re having in the car and need to know exactly how many people live in France. And also, if you search for a specific restaurant. But if you want to have dinner in a nice restaurant and you’re not sure which one it ‘ll be,  you’ll probably prefer to see some options. And right then and there, is where I think voice results as they work now stop making sense.’

I started thinking about that. Most search queries people use are not aimed at a singular result. People like to browse. People want to choose. That’s why physical stores have a lot of options. People like to browse through different pairs of jeans before they choose which one they’ll buy. Online, we’ll probably check out different sites or at least different models before we add a pair of jeans to our shopping cart.

If you’re searching for information that is longer than a few sentences, voice result is not very useful either. That’s because it is hard to digest information solely by listening. As a listener, you’re a very passive receiver of information. As a reader,  you can scan a text, you can skip pieces information or read an important paragraph twice. You cannot do that as a listener. As a reader, you’re much more in control. So, if you’re searching for information about what to do in Barcelona, it makes much more sense to get that information from a book or a screen.

Search engines are growing towards singular results

Joost thinks that search engines are working towards singular results. They are developing that type of functionality. ‘The answer boxes you see in the search results are an example of that,’ Joost explains. ‘Search engines are trying to give one single answer to a search query. But, in a lot of the cases, people aren’t searching for one answer. In many cases people want to make a choice, they want to browse.’

So what will the future bring?

‘I think you’ll see different applications being connected to each other,’ Joost answers when I ask him what the future of voice search will look like. ‘Siri, for example, would then be connected to your Apple TV. Search results and information would appear on the screen closest to you that Apple controls. I think voice will become the dominant search query, but I think screens will continue to be important in presenting search results.’

Read more: How to prepare for voice search? »

The post Voice search: what will the future bring? appeared first on Yoast.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Site Migration

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Hitchhiker's Guide to Site Migration

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Site Migration

“Towel day” by Alan O’Rourke

In online marketing, site migration is usually a phrase that makes SEOs, PPCers, site owners and stakeholders wince. We’ve all heard the horror stories about sites that have migrated from one domain to another and experienced a huge drop in traffic and visibility, and those that have suffered the same fate just by changing protocol. Whether you have acquired a domain, want to roll up your M-Dot site into a responsive design or desire a move from HTTP to HTTPS, devising a solid action plan to avoid traffic and revenue loss is paramount. On this journey, we’ll cover some of the most important things to address pre, during and post migration to give your site the best chance of a smooth transition to your new destination.

Pre-pre-migration: migration types and considerations

So you are staring out into the abyss thinking what now? Before you rush off into the unknown, let’s start with the basics; migration types. There are many reasons you may want to migrate your site, but the most common reasons include:

M-Dot Roll-Up migration

The main reason for this type of migration is for a transition from a separate mobile and desktop site to a fully responsive website. Moving towards a responsive site helps to consolidate site authority and reduce development resources (due to having only one site to update).

HTTP to HTTPS migration

An HTTP to HTTPS site migration is one that is becoming more common. This type of migration is one where the domain remains unchanged but an SSL certificate becomes associated with the site. This certificate is a symbol of a safe and trustworthy site and explains Google’s push for domains to adopt the protocol. Google have recently added to this by displaying the word ‘secure’ on all HTTPS pages in the search bar, and have hinted that the phrase ‘non-secure’ may feature on HTTP pages in the near future.

ccTLD to TLD migration

This type of migration involves moving a country specific TLD (Top Level Domain) to a more internationally recognised TLD (a well-documented example of this was the Guardian moving from .co.uk to .com). A move from ccTLD to TLD can be great for users who have a much wider audience outside of their country specific location – due to reduced resources needed to manage each branch separately.

Rebranding/ consolidating multiple domains migration

Rebranding is a type of site migration which occurs due to a change of name or brand acquisition. Like ccTLD to TLD migrations, this can involve moving a single domain or migrating multiple domains into one. As expected, involving multiple sites in a migration leads to greater risk for traffic and visibility.

No matter which type of migration you are looking to do, each comes with a shared list of do’s and don’ts:

Do understand that looks aren’t everything

With the prospect of a new site comes the excitement of building something visually stunning. Do put your flair on the new site, but make sure this doesn’t come at a usability or SEO cost.

Do consider wider channels

Site migration has a big impact on multiple digital channels and is sometimes overlooked:

Social – This involves thinking about social platform bios, logos, names, trademarks and brand tone of voice. It should be relatively simple to update a social media account without interrupting ‘regular’ behaviour, but if you need users to take action, give them notice and follow up with regular ‘countdown to launch’ reminders.
PPC – If you run Adwords paid search activity then this is a biggie. Make sure you update your final URLs to reflect the URL changes you have made in the migration plan – the last thing you want is your ads sending users to broken links or being disapproved entirely. Also, don’t forget to adopt the same tracking codes/UTM parameters to ensure that there is no break in reporting.
Offline – If your migration involves a name change you may want to take out advertising on billboards, local press (and beyond depending on your offering). Also, don’t forget to look back at previous domain campaigns/products that may have been supported by vanity URLs – be sure to 301 redirect these to your new site if they are still valid/ have garnered links and social shares.
SEO – Organic traffic is likely to be impacted most adversely in the short run as Google makes sense of redirects and page changes that have been made. As a backup, it is useful to allow extra budget to invest in alternative traffic sources in this period such as email or PPC spend for keywords that you rank well for organically.

Do get the timing right

Timing is everything.  In the planning stage it is vital to choose the best time to migrate by considering the following questions:

Is your site affected by seasonality? If so when are these peak periods?

Who are the core team members that will be involved in the site migration? What is their availability?

Take advantage of your analytics data to understand your business traffic patterns, and Google Trends data to understand overall user demand within the market. Plan to migrate during a quiet business period where ample staff resources are available.

Do set the tone

As hard as you try migrations  don’t always go to plan, therefore it is recommended to manage expectations early:

Agree on migration objectives (why are you migrating?)

Be clear about the amount of time and effort a migration takes and the tight deadlines needed to keep the project on track

Outline what is expected from everyone involved in the migration and the impact of these expectations not being met – make sure that a migration plan is developed and communicated across all teams involved early on

Be clear about the potential impact of migration in both the short and long term and  the average length of time needed for ranking recovery (this will be longer if site design, URL structure etc.. are compounded)

Share migration case studies with clients if you have them

Do agree on reporting format and frequency

Agreeing on what will be monitored and reported will provide you with accountability and makes sure that you are aware of what is important to measure; and what data is important to pull before launch. From experience, clients often request weekly ranking reports with keywords divided by category type (determined by the site), and page speed insights within the first few weeks of launch.

Although this list of dos and don’ts is important, it isn’t exhaustive. It is strongly recommended that a thorough technical audit is performed before migrating. This allows you to identify any issues that should be resolved to prevent trouble down the line.  If you are aware that your site is in particularly poor technical standing or suffering from a penalty, it is advised to delay your migration plans until these issues are resolved.

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Pre-migration: fuelling the rockets

Now we’ve thought about what’s in the abyss, it’s time to arm yourselves with information before you get out there. It is vital to obtain as much URL information about the legacy site as possible, for tracking, benchmarking and URL mapping purposes.  This can be gained by exporting data from the following sources:

Sites Analytics Platform – Export a list of every page that has received at least 1 visitor in the last 12 months. This ensures that all traffic driving pages are accounted for ready for the URL mapping process.

Buzzsumo – Export a list of all your most shared content. This is a great way to ensure that content that users have engaged with and continue to engage with are accounted for.

Screaming Frog/ Deepcrawl – Run and export a full crawl of the legacy site to gather a list of every URL that may need to be mapped. (If you have a separate M-Dot site or subdomains that you are looking to move, don’t forget to include these in the crawl).

Moz’s Open Site Explorer/ Majestic/ Ahrefs/ Google Search Console – from these tools, export a list of each legacy URLs that have external links pointing to them. By using each tool you can ensure that you are casting the data capture net wide as wide as possible, given that each tool collects backlink data differently.

AdWords – Export a full list of URLs you are using for your PPC campaigns. If you have PPC specific URLs, ignoring these could lead to broken links, a significant drop in quality score and even mass ad disapproval.

Once you have exported this data, it is time to combine lists, remove duplicate URLs and prioritise the most important URLs for redirection. This can be done using programmes such as GDoc and Numbers (for Mac), but for the speed of processing large volumes of data and the ability to easily group, de-dupe and order, Excel is the preferred choice. Next, create a list of URLs for the new site. When you have a list of unique legacy site URLs ordered by importance, a list of planned URLs for the new site, it’s time to create your URL redirect map.

Map each legacy URL to the new site URL on a 1:1 basis (where possible) rather than blanket mapping to the homepage or category page, and ensure that this is done via a 301 redirect – given that you want to let search engines know that the redirect is permanent. With some migrations, there are an enormous amount of URLs that need to be mapped. If this is the case look out for opportunities to use formulas and regular expressions to make the task lighter.

Once you have created your URL map for the new site, it’s time to benchmark your legacy site. This will make it easy to measure current performance against your new site. Make a record of the following on your legacy site:

Site speed of the top traffic/revenue-driving pages using tools like Pingdom, GTMetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights.

Rankings for your keywords (this does not need to be exhaustive, although it should contain your most valuable keywords and be spread across the products/services you offer). In order to effectively monitor keyword behaviour and patterns after migration, be sure to group similar keywords together in ‘category’ type groups.

Organic traffic and conversions per page.

Now that you have your most important data, and your new domain confirmed:

Create a robots.txt file to dictate which areas of your new site search engine spiders can access. Areas that you don’t want crawlers to reach should be marked with ‘disallow:/folder-on-site/’. An example of this can be found in Google’s robots.txt file.

Create an XML sitemap for the new site.

Register and set up the new domain in Google Search Console.

Create a useful 404 page to help users that reach a broken/ non-existent page find their desired destination on site.

Ok so now you are ready to make the journey right? Not quite yet – the abyss can be big and scary, so I would recommend performing a test run.

If you aren’t using a staging environment to test site changes it is highly recommended that you start now. A staging site is a great way to mess with settings pre-launch to understand the full effect of the changes made. Just make sure that it is either blocked in robots.txt and/or all test site pages have a noindex tag on them. Once this is done use the staging site to:

Test every 301 redirect from the legacy to the new domain.

That URLs present the expected information (e.g meta descriptions, H1 tags, title tags).

That internal links present 200 status codes and there are no broken links present.

The migration: launch

Finally, you’ve finished you rigorous testing, you’ve set up your monitoring tools and everyone and everything is in place for the big button push – launch that site!

Launch! – Publish content to the new domain and ensure that there are no internal broken links and pages are displaying as expected. Apply the 301 redirects from the legacy domain to the new domain.

Crawl Legacy URLs – Using Screaming Frog upload your legacy URLs in list mode and crawl to ensure that all pages are 301 redirecting. If this isn’t the case, review any non-200 status code pages manually.

Update robots.txt file – Remove the disavow rule in robots.txt/remove the noindex tag from pages where applicable, in order to open up the relevant pages for indexation. Remove password authentication if extra precautions were taken.

Tracking code – Check that all tracking code put on the site (analytics, retargeting, AdWords, Google Search Console etc.) are triggering and collecting data as expected.

Notify Google of site change – If the only change occurring is the protocol (from HTTP to HTTPS), or subdomain name change, this step will not need to be taken. In all other instances, it is imperative to notify Google via the existing Google Search Console domain as soon as the migration is launched.

Fetch as Googlebot – Make sure that your homepage and any other important pages are accessible to Googlebot and display content as expected.  You can ‘fetch’ through the following path: Google Search Console > Fetch as Google > Enter URL > Fetch and Render > Submit to Index. Although other search engines will pick up changes from Googlebot, it is advised to follow the same process with the designated webmaster tools for each search engine that contributes a significant amount of site traffic.

Real-time –  Using Google Analytics (which you should be, even if you use another analytics platform) monitor the real-time feature to view the drop in users to the legacy site and the rise in users to the new site.

Review and Upload Sitemap – Check that the new site XML sitemap is as expected and that URLs are returning a 200 response code when ran through Screaming Frog in list mode (if errors occur address each URL respectively). Once this is done, via Google Search Console, upload the legacy and new XML sitemaps through the following path Google search Console > Crawl > Sitemaps > Add. Uploading both the new and legacy sitemaps will aid crawlers to identify the new desired page and understand that legacy URLs have been redirected. As above this should be done in all webmaster consoles that contribute a significant amount of traffic to the site.

Post migration: fighting the baddies and taking it home

You’ve thought about the journey, fueled your rockets and now you are in flight. You are landing soon and you want to make sure you glide rather than fall out of the sky. Depending on the strength of your site, backlink profile and social clout, Google will begin crawling your site quite quickly, however, new pages entering the index will occur over time. Regularly check search engine caches for important pages such as the homepage and top level category pages to identify when the new URLs/page content are indexed.

Google Search Console checks

In the days after migration, Google Search Console makes it easy to monitor a site migration including;  messages and crawl error reports:

Alerts and messages – Check the Google Search Console inbox daily for any alerts or error messages that need to be addressed.

Indexation –  Compare the number of submitted URLs to the number of indexed URLs according to Google Search Console. These numbers may not be close together in the first few days, but if this is the case after this period, there may be errors that need to be addressed.

Crawl errors – Be sure to check the crawl error report daily for the legacy site and the new site. Within this report, it is important to pay attention to the date the error appeared and compare this to the date any changes were made. If you believe that the errors in the report have already been identified and resolved mark all errors as fixed. If they are still an issue, the error will return and it will be clear what needs to be addressed.

Screaming Frog crawl

Beyond Google Search Console, Screaming frog is a great tool to monitor status codes, redirect chains, tracking code and more. Using the tool, perform a crawl of the legacy site URLs to ensure that:

There are no temporary 302 redirects, or redirect chains present

No real pages return a 404 status code

Tags and meta descriptions have been migrated as expected

Analytics tracking code is present on all pages (use the custom extraction feature to identify this)

No pages that you want to be indexed are being blocked by robots.txt or meta robots tags

Update online properties

Make sure to update social media properties to reflect the site migration, even if redirects are already in place. It may also be beneficial to update Twitter handles and brand pages. Both SearcEngineGuide and Moz provide helpful social rebrand guides for all the major social platforms.

Update your site’s most valuable inbound links

Where possible it is strongly recommended to contact the owners of sites that link to yours where the URL has changed. Although a redirect will already be in place, a linking root domain updating their link directly to the new URL will remove undesirable redirect chains and ensure that the maximum amount of link equity is passed to the new page. More often than not, the sites will appreciate the update. Use the data pulls collected from the pre-pre-migration stage from Majestic, Ahrefs, Google Search Console and Moz’s Open Site Explorer, identify your most valuable inbound links and reach out.

Build new links to your site

It is important to build new links in order to replace some of the link equity lost from 301 redirects, and to create new paths for search engines to discover in order to crawl your site. As always, this is best done by creating content that is informative, relevant and useful. Evaluating the existing content you have via what performs well in terms of visits and engagement, and grouping these using a content matrix can help determine your next move.

Tracking and benchmarking

Once the new site has launched, it is time to monitor and report on the impact of your changes:

Compare site speed and usability of the legacy site vs. the new site for the legacy site’s most valuable pages based on the benchmarking data collected earlier.

Using your chosen ranking tool, monitor your pre. Vs. post-migration performance on a weekly basis. As tempting as it is; try not to draw any conclusions on positions for at least 4 weeks. It can take a while for Google to completely understand the migration that has taken place and this is compounded by the size of the site among other factors. Eventually, rankings should recover around the same positions they were previously.  As it is quite common for rankings to drop before recovering, it is stressed early in this post to be transparent with clients so that there are no nasty surprises.

Final thoughts

Just to wrap up for those of you who looked at the post and thought TLDR (too long didn’t read), a site migration is a significant project which affects multiple digital channels and should, therefore, be performed with great planning and care. For the greatest chance of success, be sure to follow the processes in this migration checklist so you aren’t spending a large chunk of the post-migration period chasing your own tail.

Remember to ask questions early, pull all necessary data with plenty of time, test and retest your 301 redirects before launch and consider the impact of site migration on wider channels. Migrating a site takes a lot of effort, but if done properly, the rewards can be plentiful.

Useful tools

Crawling

Screaming Frog (Free & Paid)

Deepcrawl (Paid)

Link/ engagement intelligence

Majestic SEO (Free & Paid)

Moz’s OSE (Free & Paid)

Ahrefs (Free & Paid)

GSC (Free)

Buzzsumo (Free & Paid)

Site speed and performance

Pingdom (Free & Paid)

Google Page Insights (Free)

GTmetrix (Free & Paid)

Rank checkers/performance monitoring

STAT (Paid)

Moz (Paid)

SEMRush (Paid)

Google Analytics (Free)

GSC (Free)

Emerging technologies present huge opportunity for content marketing

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Emerging technologies present huge opportunity for content marketing

Emerging technologies present huge opportunity for content marketing

In any role, it can be all too easy to fall into a comfort zone; you figure out a method that works, perfect your execution and watch as the fruits of your labor flood in. And repeat.

Of course, this can be a perfectly acceptable approach, but resting on your laurels can potentially cost you in the long term. While you’re using your tried and tested way of working over and over, your competitors are not only catching up, but trying out new ways of working that could leave you behind.

Digital and content marketing is an industry that prides itself on innovation. It is, of course, the data-driven offspring of traditional marketing, but results from Zazzle Media’s recent State of Content Marketing Survey revealed that even our industry is guilty of dragging its heels when it comes to jumping on emerging trends and technologies.

For example, just 2% of marketers surveyed said that voice search would be a key focus for them this year. While this is somewhat caveated by the fact that 17% of the marketers we asked are going to introduce voice search into their marketing mix in the next year, it’s still a low percentage of people who are eager to take the reins and own this space.

This trend continues across the survey, with the three least used channels comprising emerging technologies that have generated a lot of hype and excitement in the marketing space.

Just 13% of marketers are using programmatic as a marketing method and despite the massive growth and spread of virtual reality (VR) in marketing in 2017, only 6% are using this channel right now.

So why are these percentages so low?

You could argue that this is to be expected, but, 13%, 6% and 3% are staggeringly low numbers for trends that are touted to be the next big thing. And while ensuring foundation services such as written content and SEO are up to standard is essential, so is making sure your services are futureproof and ready to tackle the next big shift in marketing activity.

Brands also have the opportunity to win big by using emerging platforms in creative and engaging ways. In fact, we’ve already seen a number of examples of marketing campaigns incorporating these technologies to great effect, capturing consumers’ attentions in ways not possible through more mainstream techniques.

Pepsi’s Unbelievable Bus Shelter

 

 

How do you take a regular bus stop advertisement and turn it into a talking point among London commuters? As part of their promotion for their #LiveForNow campaign, Pepsi created an augmented reality bus shelter, which combined real-life imagery of London’s surroundings and overlapped it with some pretty interesting scenarios.

Showcasing everything from alien invasions, marauding tigers and even a giant robot attacking the city, this campaign managed to capture the imagination of the public and has so far clocked up over eight million views on YouTube. Sales of Pepsi Max were also up 35% year over year for the month the creative was live.

TOMS Shoes & AT&T: “A Walk in Their Shoes”

 

 

Shoe brand TOMS Shoes partnered up with internet provider AT&T to create a VR experience entitled “A Walk in Their Shoes”. The experience chronicles the journey of a Toms customer from California who he travels to Colombia to meet a child who benefits directly from his purchase.

AT vice president of brand marketing, Fiona Carter, told Fast Company that the goal was to celebrate Toms’ success over the last decade in an exciting and new way.

“What we love about this is that it’s a really immersive way to experience the impact that buying one pair of Toms shoes can have, in this case on one boy in Colombia,” says Carter. “It’s a powerful way to show how to make a difference in the world.”

Missing People make the most of advertising budget through programmatic

Innovation doesn’t have to be flashy, and while VR and augmented reality set pieces are effective visually, sometimes emerging platforms can help enhance reach.

The charity Missing People made the most of this concept by enhancing its outdoor advertising spend by shifting a portion of their budget from print to programmatic.

Before using programmatic, the charity was only able to advertise one appeal per week for a missing child across the whole of the UK. However, since investing in this method, the charity is able to run more targeted, location-based appeals outdoors that can be replaced as soon as a child is found.

Ross Miller, director of fundraising and communication at Missing People, told Marketing Week:

“When we first started using out-of-home, 50% of children we appealed for were found alive. When we switched to a more programmatic use of out-of-home our response rate went to 70%. People respond to a message that is relevant to either where they live or a location.”

Conclusions

These examples prove that emerging platforms have a role to play in content marketing in 2018 and beyond, and perhaps it’s a question of confidence as to why more marketers are hesitant to rolling out these new methods of working.

Content marketers need to prove their worth – having confidence in the practices, and being brave with the opportunities available will allow marketers to test, iterate and learn from their marketing efforts and emerging platforms have a large part to play in this.

The end of 2018 could look very different for marketers’ results if they’re brave with these new methods.

Free Essential Blogging and SEO Tools

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Free Essential Blogging and SEO Tools

Free Essential Blogging and SEO Tools

You just started running a blog and need all the help you can get? Already has a blog and want to get more visitors by employing SEO? In my opinion blogging and SEO go hand in hand.

Every website could benefit from SEO. Blogs more so. Be it an easier to navigate interface or fixing up broken links across your website. With better SEO comes more visitor and better SERP rank.

There are tons of tools out there. So much so that you are confused as to which to use. Worry no more. You don’t have to waste your time researching for them one by one. We have already done it for you.

Here are some essential free blogging and SEO tools to help you get started.
Blogging Tool
1. Blog Title Generator

click here to Blog Title Generator

Keeping up with the schedule and pumping out those blog posts weekly really drains your creative juice. Need inspiration for your blog titles? Get endless blog title suggestions with this Blog Title Generator by yours truly SEOPressor. All you need is a keyword of the topic you want to write on. Type it in and BAM endless blog titles for you to choose from.

2. Canva

click here to Canva

A blog post with a whole page of text? BORING. Get some color and pictures into your blog posts. Use Canva to create a header, featured image, flowchart etc. Any graphic design work needed to be done can be done on Canva. It’s ok if you’re a graphic design peasant (I am too), Canva is easy to use. Just drag and drop and you’ll get a colorful image for your blog post in no time.

3. Flaticon

click here to Flaticon

Here’s another blogging tool that can go hand in hand with Canva. I can get dozens of free icons on Flaticon. Let’s say someone is looking for a pet icon for the “ List of best pet bed” blog post. The word “pet” gives you more than three thousand search result on Flaticon. Download them, upload it to Canva, drag it to the canvas. There, another colorful image for your blog post.

4. Compressor.io

click here to Compressor.io

Now that you have awesome images to feature in your blog post, time to upload them. The problem is each images’ size is 3MB. That’s gonna slow down your loading speed by a ton. What you need to do is compress your images. Compressor.io does a good job downsizing your images while maintaining your image quality. Blogging and SEO both taken care of.

5. MailChimp

click here to MailChimp

MailChimp is an all-in-one marketing automation software. They can take care of all your basic marketing needs. The service is provided free of charge with more features being offered with a paid plan. If you’re just starting out, their free plan would work just fine.

Blogging Productivity
6. Focuswriter

click here to Focuswriter

Find yourself struggling to keep up with your posting schedule? Wandering off on pages after pages of Wikipedia. Watching one after another cat videos on YouTube? (Who doesn’t, its CAT VIDEOS) Focuswriter is a software with a minimalist interface for writers. That way, you are forced to focus on doing nothing except writing. Another brilliant blogging tool.

7. Tomato Timer

click here to Tomato Timer

Want to keep track on how much time you have spent on writing? (Or watching cat videos, really.) Tomato Timer is a free tool to time yourself on work time and break time. The default mode is set to a 25 minutes work time and 5 minutes rest time interval. That way you can keep your mind sharp and easily focused but not overworked. You can even select the alarm sound you want for when the 5 minutes rest time is up. I personally choose the elevator ding since it’s not violently intrusive. But the choice is yours.

Data Collecting
8. Google Trends

click here to Google Trends

As the name suggests, the tool lets you see what’s trending based on country and category. You can use it to gain insights on many things. This can highly benefit you from selecting a topic, a keyword, gauge how popular a certain product is to how well your competitor is doing. This could be a both blogging and SEO tools. Since writing about hot topics would attract more visitors. While targeting certain keywords can help step up your SEO game.

9. Google Adwords

click here to Google AdWords

The keyword planner function in Google AdWords is a vital tool for anyone who is serious about optimizing their blog posts. Keyword plays a key role in SEO. Choosing a relevant keyword makes your blog post relevant. And when it’s relevant, you gain more readers, that simple. Keyword is different from topic and is further break down into short tail keywords and long tail keywords. You can read more about keyword research here.

10. Google Analytics

click here to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the all in one data gatherer for your website. For me, this is one of the most important free SEO tool that everyone should be using. On Google Analytics you can see how many visitors each webpage has, how long they stay on the page, the demographics of your reader etc. There are so many things on Google Analytic that the easier way would be for you to see it for yourself. Take note of the data, and make adjustments. SEO means nothing when you don’t have access to real data. Read up on our SEO course about setting up analytic for your website here.

11. Google Speed Insights

click here to Google Speed Insights

While the average load time for a webpage is 8.66 seconds, the recommended load time is 3 seconds. Why? Cause users like their internet fast, and webpage load faster. Ever click on a web page that takes forever to load? Did you give them a chance to finish loading before you just abandon the site altogether? You probably just clicked on the x button right? That’s why speed is so important. This Google tool tells you how your site speed fare and gives you a list of suggestions. The connection between site speed and SEO should never be ignored.

12. Google Mobile-friendly Test

click here to Google Mobile-friendly Test

Another important aspect of SEO is responsiveness. You can read more about why a mobile-friendly website is important for SEO here. Your website should be mobile-friendly not only because of SEO but also for the ease of use for your readers. Like the tool above, this tool lets you check how mobile-friendly your website is and give you a list of suggestions to improve. Considering how Google has been stressing on the importance of mobile-friendliness to ranking, this is a must use tool.

Add-Ons & Plugin
13. Fireshot

click here to Fireshot

Everyone will find themselves needing to screenshot a webpage once in a while. Need to take a screenshot but is tired of the good old prt sc + ctrl v it into paint? Fireshot is a simple browser add-on for taking screenshots. Click it once to take a screenshot. Click again to download the image. Voila, you got your screenshot hassle free and in seconds. In fact, all the screenshots I have featured in this post is taken using Fireshot, no lie.

14. Grammarly

click here to Grammarly

When you’re writing a lot and writing quick. There tend to be overlooked grammar and spelling mistakes. Grammarly is a simple add-on that keeps an eye on your grammar. It highlights mistakes and suggests corrections. Making editing much less painful. If you don’t want the blog post which you poured hours on be frowned on because of a misplaced comma, Grammarly is a must have.

15. Alexa Traffic Rank

click here to Alexa Traffic Rank

Alexa the flagship virtual assistant of Amazon has an add-on too. The traffic rank toolbar is very useful for analyzing your website as well as your competitors’ website. Two of the most valuable information you can get from it is Search Analytics and average load time. Search Analytic is especially useful to analyze keywords of similar blog posts. That way you can analyze and learn from the enemy and outrank them.

16. WP Super Cache Plugin

click here to WP Super Cache Plugin

This WordPress plugin generates and serves static HTML files to a majority of your readers. A cached site loads faster. Faster load speeds lead to happy readers. Happy readers lead to more loyal readers. Loyal readers lead to more leads. More leads lead to more business. Now you know why you need to cache your website. Considering the benefit of caching, you should give it a try to boost your website.

Webmaster Tool
17. Google Search Console

click here to Google Search Console

Previously Google Webmaster Tool, as the name suggested it is an essential tool for every webmaster. If you want to gain full control of your website, Google Search Console let you do just that. From checking sitemap, setting crawl rate to setting up robots.txt file. You will find this tool extremely useful for managing your website. Together with Google Analytics these two free SEO tools are extremely helpful for everyone wanting to start optimizing their website.

18. Bing Webmaster Tool

click here to Bing Webmaster Tool

Like its Google counterpart, Bing Webmaster Tool lets you into a big amount of data and let you take control of your website. Submit your sitemap, test your website’s mobile friendly-ness, setting up crawl rates and more. Fully utilized, this can help boost your site’s SEO. It’s also completely free, so you should definitely make use of it.

Now that you know which blogging and SEO tools to use…

It’s time to start working on building your blog and SEO. There are many more articles on our blog that can help you. Be it SEO, blogging, inbound marketing or more.

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73 Blogging Tips That Make Sense

73 Actionable Steps That Many Gurus Do Not Teach
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It Is Free Tips To Advance Blogging Skills

What is Digital Marketing?

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What is Digital Marketing?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing has become one of the most popular buzzwords the last couple of years. Everybody is talking about digital marketing and professionals praise it’s the way to grow an online business.

If you type the phrase ‘digital marketing’ in Google trends, you will see that there is a clear upshift in search terms related to digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Search Terms Popularity

Universities advertise their new digital marketing courses and in general there is an increased demand from users to learn more about digital marketing and how to use it to improve their online presence.

In this guide we will examine what is digital marketing, what are the various digital marketing channels, what is a digital marketing strategy and clear out some misconceptions about digital marketing and its role in the Internet world.

In this Guide:

What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing channels
What do we mean by a digital marketing strategy?
What is the role of a digital marketing manager?
Digital marketing misconceptions
Key Learnings

Digital marketing definition

What is digital marketing? Digital marketing is a broad term that encapsulates all marketing channels and methods you can use to promote products or services on the Internet but also on electronic devices such as TVs, mobile phones and electronic billboards.

The main difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing is that digital marketing campaigns are executed exclusively through digital channels and this gives marketers more control, tools and data to analyze the effectiveness of a campaign.

Digital marketing channels

Digital marketing has a number of channels and these can be separated into online marketing channels and offline marketing channels.

Digital Marketing Channels

The main difference between the two is that online marketing channels are based solely on the Internet while offline marketing channels have to do with digital devices which are not necessarily connected to the Internet.

Online marketing Channels

Website Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Content Marketing
Email Marketing
Social Media Marketing
Affiliate Marketing
Inbound Marketing
Mobile Marketing
Video Marketing

Offline marketing channels

TV Marketing
SMS Marketing
Radio Marketing
Billboard Marketing

Website Marketing

A website is the focal point of all digital marketing campaigns. By itself is a very powerful channel but it’s also the medium to execute most of the other online marketing campaigns.

Your website should represent your brand, product and services in the best possible way. It should be fast, mobile friendly and easy to use.

Once you have a website your next step is to come up with a digital marketing strategy and promote your website and content with the purpose of getting more traffic and customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website for search engines. The main goal of SEO is to help a website rank higher in the search results and get organic (free) traffic from search engines.

SEO has a number of sub-processes. The main ones are:

Technical SEO
On-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC advertising gives you the ability to reach internet users on a number of networks through paid ads.

You can setup PPC campaigns on Google, Bing, Linkendin, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook and show your ads to people searching for terms related to your products or services.

PPC campaigns can segment users based on their demographic characteristics (age, gender etc) or even their particular interests or location.

Every time a user clicks on your ads, you pay a fee to the provider (and thus the term pay per click).

The most popular PPC platforms are Google Ads and Facebook.

PPC Campaigns and SEO make up what is known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Content Marketing

Content marketing is all about the content. The digital world is a huge collection of content in different forms like text, images, audio and video.

The goal of a content marketing campaign is to reach potential customers through the use of content.

Content Marketing Overview

Content is usually published on a website and then promoted through social media, email marketing, SEO or even PPC campaigns.

The difference between having a blog versus running a content marketing campaign is that the later has specific goals as to what content to publish, when to publish it, who to target, and how to monitor the effectiveness of your content campaigns.

The main tools of content marketing are:

Blogs
eBooks
Online Courses
Infographics
Podcasts
Webinars

Email Marketing

Despite the increase use of social media networks, email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels.

Email Marketing Effectiveness Statistics

Many people confuse email marketing with the hundreds of spam email messages we all receive per day, but that’s not what email marketing is all about.

Email marketing is the medium to get in touch with your potential customers or the people interested in your brand and this entails that these people want to hear from you and you are not hijacking their inbox.

In fact, many successful online businesses and marketers use all other digital marketing channels to add leads to their email lists and then through email marketing they create a number of funnels to turn those leads into customers.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing has to do with reaching people in the various social networks either through content marketing campaigns (postings), paid ads or both.

The primary goal of a social media marketing campaign is brand awareness and establishing social trust but as you go deeper into social media marketing, you can use it to get leads or even as a direct sales channel.

Take for example Facebook. A Facebook sales funnel consists of 3 major steps.

The top of the funnel is awareness. This is the stage where you can use Facebook ads to introduce your brand to Facebook users. Your goal at this stage is to get your ad in front of as many people as possible and gain new followers.

The second step is consideration. At this stage your goal is to get people (that showed an interest in your brand) and pass them through the middle of the funnel and get them to visit your website, engage with your page, install your app, send you a message, etc.

The third step is conversion. This is the final step where you try to convince people that enter your funnel to convert. A conversion can be anything that has value for your business like a sale of a product or service or a visit to your store.

As you can see in the diagram above, for each funnel stage, you have a number of options as to which type of campaigns you can use.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing that has grown considerably with the rise of Internet usage.

Basically, with affiliate marketing you promote other people’s products and you get a commission every time you make a sale or introduce a lead.

Many well-known companies like Amazon have affiliate programs that pay out millions of dollars per month to websites that sell their products.

When designing your digital marketing strategy, you should include affiliate marketing as a way to get people involved in your brand and sell your products for a commission.

In other words, when you have a product or service to promote online, you should consider setting up an affiliate program where people can sign up and find resources and material they can use to promote your products on the Internet.

They will get a commission as a reward but the benefits for you as a provider are much more.

Your affiliates cannot only drive more sales but they can become the best representatives of your brand and positively influence other people to buy or connect with your company.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is another fancy term that refers to how you can use various digital marketing channels to reach new customers mainly through the process of content creation and how to ‘push’ them through a funnel until they convert.

Inbound Marketing Costs Per Lead

The main elements of inbound marketing are: content, attention, engagement, trust and satisfaction.

All these elements have a single goal: to help businesses connect with their potential customers and establish a channel of by bi-directional communication with them that will lead to more sales.

All digital marketing channels have similar sales funnels. What differs in many cases is the terminology used to describe each stage of the funnel. In general, a digital sales funnel has 3 main goals: to get people learn your brand, to get them engage with your brand (either through your website or app), and to get them to convert.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing refers to the process of reaching customers in the different mobile app stores such as Google Play, Apple app store or Amazon marketplace.

Mobile Marketing Statistics

Source

These app stores have thousands of apps and millions of users per day. With mobile marketing you can promote your apps either through paid advertising or through other methods (cross app promotions etc.), so that they can be seen and installed by more users.

Note: Mobile marketing is not the same as having a mobile friendly version of your website.

Making your website mobile friendly is a must and necessary otherwise your website won’t show up for Google searches performed on mobile.

Mobile marketing is about creating an app and uploading that app to Google Play or other app stores for users to download.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is something relatively new but recently is has become so popular that you simply cannot ignore it.

YouTube has become the second most popular search engine and a lot of users are turning to YouTube before they make a buying decision, to learn something or just to relax.

YouTube Statistics

YouTube is just one of the mediums you can execute Video marketing. There are so many other platforms like Facebook Videos, Instagram, Vimeo to use to run a video marketing campaign.

The best way to take advantage of video is to integrate them in your SEO, content marketing and social media marketing campaigns.

Running standalone video campaigns can be costly and does not always create a positive return on investment, but when video is used as part of your other campaigns, the ROI is justified.

We will examine below some examples on how to use Video marketing as part of a digital marketing strategy.

Offline Marketing Channels

The channels described above are the most important components of digital marketing. These are the channels that can be executed through the Internet (thus the term online marketing channels) and in many cases, it’s the only ones you need to use to have a strong online presence.

The offline digital marketing channels described below are still used but they are not suitable for all companies. For example, a small business does not have the funds to advertise on TV or electronic billboards.

TV Marketing

TV marketing is not dead, on the contrary is a marketing channel that will experience a boost in the coming years.

Currently TV advertising is not 100% targeted. Marketers can only make assumptions based on the statistics they have from a limited amount of people.

The adoption of Web TV will change this dramatically. Marketers will be able to target audiences based on a number of factors and make informed decisions as to what content to produce.

SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is still an option to get in touch with potential customers, although not among the most powerful.

There are better alternatives these days like push messages on the web and mobile and also on Facebook messenger.

Nevertheless, SMS marketing can be used to get more visits to your local community store.

Radio Marketing

Radio marketing is another tool you can utilize but not so effective as other methods. The main issue with radio marketing is that you don’t know exactly the return on your investment.

When you pay for a radio ad, you can only assume on the amount of people that heard the ad, based on the number of listeners the particular radio station has.

Radio marketing is still good for local businesses though and small communities that are not so affected by the social media mania.

Billboard Marketing

Billboard marketing is considered to be part of digital marketing. Electronic billboards are available in a number of public places (think Times Square billboards or Super Bowl commercials) and it’s another more traditional channel in your digital marketing arsenal.

What is a digital marketing strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is a detailed plan on how you can utilize the different digital marketing channels to achieve your business goals.

When you design a digital marketing strategy you need to consider which channels to use, the resources (people, time and money) to assign to each channel and what to expect in terms of results.

A common mistake made by many digital marketing managers or small business owners is that they try to execute everything at once and at the end of the day they get no results.

Either because don’t have the necessary expertise to run digital marketing campaigns or because they end up spending their budgets on channels that are not suitable for their business.

Example of A Digital Marketing Strategy

Although each and every digital marketing strategy is unique and based on the specific needs and goals of a business, you can read below an example to help you understand how all marketing channels can work towards a common goal.

Example: Digital Marketing Strategy for a company selling digital products (online courses, ebooks, etc.).

Step 1: Website – The first step is to create a website that is fast and mobile friendly. The website should have several landing pages (or sales pages) to present the company and its products.

Step 2: SEO – The next step is to perform an SEO Audit and identify which areas need to be optimized for SEO. Technical SEO should be tackled first, then On-Page SEO and last Off-Page SEO.

Step 3: Content Marketing – Based on the results of a thorough keyword research and findings of the SEO Audit, you should create a content marketing plan that will include:

What kind of content to create for the website (text and videos)
When to publish it (publishing calendar)
How to promote it (can include social media channels, email and PPC campaigns).

Step 4: Social Media Marketing – Utilize all social media marketing campaigns to promote brand awareness and sales. Identify which social media channels are suitable for marketing your business (based on customer profiling) and create a schedule for publishing content on those networks.

At the same time, start creating lists of influencers and other people that are most likely to be interest in your products or share your content on social media.

Step 5: Email Marketing – Start building an email list using several CTA areas on your website and social media channels.

Your initial goal is to get people to sign up for your newsletter or register to download free material or register for free trials.

Create several email marketing funnels to get ‘push’ your subscribers from the awareness stage to the conversion stage.

Step 6: Pay-Per-Click Advertising – In parallel to the above activities setup an AdWords Campaign to target people searching for product related keywords on Google and remarketing campaigns on Facebook to go after users that visited your website but did not convert.

Step 7: Video Marketing – Part of step 3 above is to identify for which topics / keywords you can create video content. Publish your videos on a dedicated YouTube channel, on Facebook, Instagram and any other platforms you are targeting in your campaigns.

For each video create a blog post on your website and embed the video with text content.

Step 8: Mobile Marketing – Consider creating a mobile app which users can download from the App Stores that will include your latest news and ways for people to access your courses through your app.

Step 9: Measure and Analyze the results – Ensure that you have Google analytics installed and configured correctly and that you can accurately measure the effectiveness of the above campaigns.

Create an excel sheet and add for each campaign details about the cost, number of visits, number of conversions, people reached etc.

The above it’s just a summary of what your digital marketing strategy should include. If you are a small business with limited resources then it’s normal that you won’t be able to execute the whole plan from the very beginning.

What you should do is that is follow a step-by-step approach starting with your website, SEO and content marketing.

Once you manage to have these in place for a number of months, you will gradually experience an increase in traffic and revenue and then you can add the other tools to the mix.

What is the role of a digital marketing manager

The role of a digital marketing manager is to create a well-defined digital marketing strategy. It’s his job to decide which channels to use, where to allocate the budget and in what order.

The DMM has also the role to oversee the work of the other managers and make sure that everybody is working towards the same goals.

A typical ‘digital marketing team’ has the following roles:

Digital Marketing Manager

A person with skills and good knowledge related to:

SEO
Social Media
Content marketing
PPC advertising

SEO Experts are not digital marketing managers. A digital marketing manager has a broad understanding of ALL digital marketing channels and not just SEO.

Most successful digital marketing managers are experienced SEO’s who have working experience with other marketing channels as well.

See also: Should you hire an SEO or Digital Marketing Manager?

Content marketing manager

A content marketing manager is responsible to create and execute the content marketing plan. He is the person to decide what type of content to create and what channels to utilize.

Social media manager

He is responsible for the promotion of a company through the various social channels. He works closely with the content marketing manager to push the right content to the right people at the right time.

SEO manager

Depending on the team structure, you many decide to have a dedicated SEO manager that can assist the Digital Marketing for SEO related tasks.

PPC manager

A PPC manager is responsible for running paid campaigns on the different platforms, mainly Google Ads, Facebook Ads (including Instagram) and Bing.

PPC managers can become certified in Google Ads or Facebook, which another way to prove their qualifications.

Email marketing manager

The job of an email marketing manager is to ensure that any email leads created through all the other channels are entered into suitable email funnels that will eventually lead to conversions.

Sending a newsletter every now and then is not email marketing. A proper email marketing campaign turns leads into customers and this is the reason you need to have a dedicated manager to monitor these activities.

Digital marketing misconceptions

The term ‘digital marketing’ is relatively new and that’s why it has become common for people to use it even in cases where they mean something different.

Digital Marketing Overview

The most common misconceptions are:

Digital marketing VS Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a sub-set of digital marketing and is not the same thing.

Internet marketing or online marketing refers to the methods you can use to run campaigns on the Internet.

As shown in the diagram above, the main components of Internet marketing are: Search Engine Marketing (which includes SEO and PPC), Social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing. Mobile marketing and video marketing.

Digital marketing is over and above online / Internet marketing as it includes other digital channels as well.

Digital marketing VS Social media marketing

When you have an active presence in social media, you are essentially running social media marketing campaigns and not digital marketing campaigns.

Social media marketing is just one of the components of digital marketing. To fully experience the benefits of digital marketing, you need to add more digital channels to your plan.

For a more in-depth explanation read: Digital Marketing VS Social Media Marketing

Key Learnings

Digital marketing is all about marketing on the internet and the other electronic devices. It’s not a single process but it consists of a number of sub-components which you can use depending on what you want to achieve.

Not all methods work for all businesses, that’s why it’s important to come up with a digital marketing strategy that will detail how you will utilize each process.

A digital marketing manager is the person responsible to monitor all digital marketing activities.

He needs to have broad knowledge on how the internet works so that can decide which marketing activities are more suitable for a given project.

Other typical members of a digital marketing team are: content manager, SEO manager, social media manager, email marketing manager and PPC manager.

The post What is Digital Marketing? appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

What Is User Experience and Why It Concerns Your Website

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What Is User Experience and Why It Concerns Your Website

What Is User Experience and Why It Concerns Your Website

What is user experience and why it concerns your website?

If you’re using Google Analytics, you will have access to a bunch of data that came from Google monitoring the user experience of your visitors. Those data are used to gauge your website performance and also play a role in your SERP.

In this blog post we are going to talk about: what is user experience, how does it affect SEO, how to check your user experience signals data, and how those data matters.

What is user experience?

What is user experience?

First of all. What is user experience? Let’s look at it from a visitor’s perspective. When someone visits your website, how comfortable your website is? Did they get what they visit the website for?

Comfortability can concerns how easily they can navigate through your website: Is there a visible toolbar with clear categories? Are the text size and font easy to the eyes? Does your website loads in seconds?

Matching up with visiting purpose to make sure the users get what they want: Are the title tags and meta descriptions misleading? Do you have a thin content problem? Do you have the product that they want?

It is actually really simple. To sum it up, the user experience is in fact, the way you present your website to your audience and how they feel navigating through it.

How does it affect SEO?

Here is the point, this is an era of overloaded information. You can get 100 pages of Google search result on anything you type into the search bar.

The allmighty Google

When a user reaches your website, the first thing they decide is whether or not they want to click on that X button. Even before they spend a few seconds to scroll through the web page.

All those websites they clicked in, all those X they clicked on, all those seconds they spent on a webpage, means something.

Google keeps track of user behavior experience signals. All those clicks and seconds spent counts.

Why is that? Google as a search engine strives to give the user what exactly it is that they want and need. By tracking on user experience and user behavior signals, Google can gauge how relevant a website is to the users.

The point is a relevant website gains higher position on the SERP. A relevant website also gets more visits and business.

We have talked about how important a site speed is for ranking. We have also talked about building a responsive website. All those are parts of user experience that should be taken into account.

Ignoring user experience is one of the biggest SEO mistakes to avoid.

How to check your user experience signals data

Google Analytics is one of the Google Webmaster Tools which is free to use. By using Google Analytics, you can have a glance at user experience signals.

Now, I’ll show you how you can access your website’s user experience signals. All you need to do is click on the behavior drop down bar, and click on overview.

This is what you will see.

If you want more detailed data according to different pages. Simply click on the Site Content drop down bar and click on All pages. You will be presented with respective data according to pages.

There are a handful of data that you can access via Google Analytics.

But today we will be looking at these three signals: bounce rate, average time on page and exit rate.

How those user experience signals data matters.

Here’s how you can get the most of user experience signals out of a Google Analytics report.

Bounce rate

If a reader visits your website, stays on an article page then exit. It is considered a bounce. On the opposite, if a reader visits your website, browsed an article then clicked to another one, and another one, then it is not considered as a bounce.

What it means is, a visit session that only consists of one web page is a bounce. Lower bounce rate is usually preferred. Since it means a visitor is engaged with your website. It implies that your website is relevant to their query or interest.

Imagine a website selling shoes, if a visitor clicked on the page selling a pair of red sneakers, then exit the website altogether. We can safely assume that they did not found what they want.

But if the visitor, after the red sneakers product page, clicks on the white sneakers product page then the blue sneakers product page. We can assume that they are interested in the things offered. Thus, the higher level of engagement.

No, not this kind pf bounce.

Why it matters to you.

This is how Google views bounce rate. For Google, a page with a high bounce rate means less relevancy, less relevance means lower SERP position.

That’s how user experience can influence your SERP ranking.

When you create a web page, there is always a goal. Think about what is the goal of the web page then associate it with the bounce rate. Is it achieved?

If a homepage has a high bounce rate. That should be concerning. The main function of a home page is to serve as a navigation ground to visitors to explore your whole website. If they are not clicking on links to check out your other pages. Then that is not a very good homepage.

Average time on page

Browsing, browsing, and browsing…

This is pretty much self-explanatory, average time on page is just that, the average time a user spent on a web page (according to Google standard anyway). If you want an in-depth explanation on how Google attain the data itself, have a read at Misunderstood Metrics: Time on Page / Average Session Duration.

Why is it important?

For content creators, you want people to actually go through what you have created. If you have written a massive three thousand word article. But your average time on page is only 30 seconds. It is clear that the visitors didn’t really read your work.

For business, it’s normal for potential customers to spend time on a product page to read the reviews or product descriptions. If they spend more time on a product page, we can safely assume that they are interested in the product.

There are a couple reasons that can influence average time on page.

Starting from the web page itself. If the top of the fold, which is the area of the web page accessible to a user without needing to scroll down, is filled with advertisements. Or the users are overwhelmed with multiple pop-ups the moment they enter a web page. You can be sure that the visitor will nope out of the web page in a heartbeat.

Nope-ing out of a website.

If the website design is perfectly functional and user-friendly, yet the average time on page is short. Then maybe the problem lies in the content. If it’s a blog, is the content relevant to the title? Is the formatting easy to the eye and retains attention?

If it’s a product page, do you feature basic information about the products? Picture, measurement, price, availability, options, reviews, all those are crucial for a customer to consider if they are looking for something to put into the cart.

Exit rate

When a user exits your website, it means they clicked on that x button. That simple.

Let’s look at an example. The first web page the visitor has visited on your website is www.product.com/shoe/red, then looked at xxx.product.com/shoe/white and finally, they also browsed xxx.product.xom/shoe/blue then they exited the page.

So where does the exit happens? It’s simple, the answer is – xxx.product.com/shoe/blue.

Why does this matter?

Now, exit rate is a little more ambiguous way to gauge user experience. Because a visitor has to visit your website at some point right?

So what you need to do is, associate the purpose of a certain web page with the exit rate. Then see whether it is natural for a visitor to exit on that certain page.

Let’s look at some examples. A blog post tends to have higher exit rate. The purpose of a blog post is mostly to educate the reader about something.

Because the users are there to read an article. When they are done reading it they will go on their merry way and continue browsing the web. Or whatever it is that they were doing before stumbling on your blog post. That’s normal.

A product list page is a different story. If the exit rate of the page is high, it means the visitors are not interested in your products at all. That’s not normal.

You want visitors to buy your products. But instead, they are exiting your website. That does not align with the purpose of the product page.

Red alert! High exit rate at product page!

What you can do it. By analyzing whether is high exit rate is normal or not. You should be aware that there is a problem. Red alert, high exit rate! The users are not liking this page. You need to fix that.

TL;DR

If you are using Google Analytics but have no idea how those data could be of use. Bounce rate, average time on page and exit rate are three user experience signals that you can get from a Google Analytics report that is very useful. Gauge how your web pages are performing by associating the purpose of a page with those three user experience signals. Examples: high bounce rate and exit rate on a homepage are not normal. Blog posts tend to have higher bounce and exit rate. Short average time on page for blog posts shows that users are not engaged with your content.

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The SEO challenges of an ecommerce website

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The SEO challenges of an ecommerce website

The SEO challenges of an ecommerce website

When it comes to SEO, there are many challenges that a website has to go through. The problems, however, depend entirely on what type of site you are running. For an ecommerce website, it is easy to get things wrong when it comes to SEO.

In this article, we will discuss those challenges and also share some solutions. If you own an ecommerce website and are struggling with SEO, this article is for you.

1. Writing a strong product description

 

There are a number of challenges with providing a strong product description for all the products on your website. Generally, an ecommerce website consists of thousands of products, and they are automated to a certain extent. This leads to poor SEO quality when it comes to content and providing value to the reader.

Search engines, for example, will find little to negligible unique content to crawl. With so many pages to crawl and rank, no new content will result in no SEO exposure. According to reports, pages that rank on the first Google page have an average length of 1890 words.

As an ecommerce store, you need to update as many product information as you can, especially for the products that you want to rank on. Also, try to work on duplicate content and write unique content for all the products you have.

2. Low quality content

Written content should be of high quality. The need for high-quality content has risen after Google’s Panda Algorithm release. Also, as already mentioned, try to write unique and easy-to-read product description.

3. Loading speed

Website loading speed is one of the main reasons why visitors abandon a website or their cart. If you are running an ecommerce site, you shouldn’t neglect the time it takes for your website to load.

In short, every second counts and the longer it takes to load the website, the higher the chances of lower conversion rate, high bounce rate and so on. To get started, you need to have your website loading time somewhere between 2 seconds to 3 seconds. Anything above 3 seconds, you will start losing your visitors which in return will mean lost revenue.

To solve this problem, you need to get a good hosting and then do some website tweaks by installing cache plugins to optimize it further. If you are not sure which hosting to choose, you should go through genuine web hosting reviews on the web. Also, try to read multiple reviews from different sources to validate the findings and then finally jump to solving it.

For an ecommerce firm, it is always a hard time to optimize a website as they list thousands of products. On top of that, each product contains multiple images which also needs to be optimized. The best way to solve this is to take care of this from the start through using image optimization techniques such as compression.

4. SSL

SSL is essential for any website, and it becomes more critical when it comes to ecommerce. SSL is part of the technical SEO and provides not only security but also improves SEO in the eyes of Google.

SSL protects the content that is shared between the user and the website. On top of that, visitors are more likely to trust an ecommerce website that has SSL as they can use their payment options without worrying about data theft.

Right now, getting SSL is not at all hard. The firm Let’s Encrypt, for example, provides free SSL certificates.

5. Managing user reviews

For the starters, you will find many ecommerce websites who don’t let users review products or manage reviews properly. This approach can seriously damage a website’s SEO. A study done by Yotpo revealed that putting reviews on the ecommerce website resulted in a 30% growth in just one month.

For an ecommerce website, it is essential to understand that there are both positives and negatives of enabling user reviews on your website. However, if you see it from the SEO perspective, it is always better to have user reviews enabled on your site.

You also need to manage reviews to ensure that they have a better impact on your website SEO so don’t just allow any discussion and avoid fake or unnecessary reviews to keep your ecommerce website SEO healthy.

6. Site design and redesign

Another big challenge for an ecommerce website is having a proper site redesign, responsive and supportive of a multiple screen size. Many new ecommerce websites mainly focus on getting their site online without brainstorming their website design and optimizing it for SEO and user experience.

The biggest challenge here is to redesign the website after it has decent traffic and content. There is a huge change of growth if the design/redesign is done correctly. One such example includes Seer Interactive redesigning their client’s website with the client seeing a 75% increase in organic traffic.

Pawan Sahu is a digital marketer and blogger at MarkupTrend

Does site speed influence SEO?

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Does site speed influence SEO?

Does site speed influence SEO?

You don’t even have to listen very carefully because SEO people are shouting it from the rooftops: site speed is everything. Not a day goes by without a new article, white paper, Google representative or SEO expert telling us that optimizing for speed is one of the most important things you can do right now. And they’re right, of course! Site speed influences SEO in many ways. Here’s a small overview of how site speed and SEO go together.

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You won’t have a second chance for that first impression: Everything starts with speed

Picture this: you have put in a lot of effort to make sure that your site works well, it has a great structure and includes fabulous targeted and relevant content. But that won’t be the first experience your potential visitor/client/consumer has with your site. They will have to load your site first before they can access that killer content. If it takes ages to load, there will be a significant drop-off and a lot fewer people will visit your site. A much faster competitor is just a single click away. Not investing in a fast site is almost like you don’t care for your customers. No reason for them to stay, right?

On mobile, site speed is even more of an issue. According to research by Google, the average mobile site takes over fifteen seconds to load while people expect them to load in less than three seconds before they consider leaving altogether. Every second counts, as conversions drop sharply with every second longer, your site takes to load. With that said, what are some reasons to improve the loading speed of your site?

Site speed is a ranking factor
Fast sites are easier to crawl
Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates
It reduces bounce rates
It improves general user experience (less stress!)

It all boils down to this: improve your site speed if you want happy customers and happy search engines! And who doesn’t want that, right?

Site speed is a ranking factor

Google has said time and again that a fast site helps you to rank better. Even as recently as this month, Google launched the so-called ‘Speed Update’ making site speed a ranking factor for mobile searches. Google stressed it would only affect the slowest sites and that fast sites getting faster won’t get a boost, but they are surely looking at site speed across the board. Only the slowest sites get hit now, but what about the future?

The Speed Update, which enables page speed in mobile search ranking, is now rolling out for all users!

More details on Webmaster Central https://t.co/fF40GJZik0

— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) July 9, 2018

Loading times influence crawling

Modern sites are incredibly wieldy and untangling that mess can make a big difference already. Fix your site structure, clean up old and outdated posts and bring those redirects in order. Invest in a better hosting plan and turn those servers into finely tuned machines. The bigger your site is, the more impact of speed optimizations will have. These not just impact user experience and conversion rates but also affects crawl budget and crawl rate. If your servers are fast, Googlebot can come around more often and get more done.

Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates

Your goal should be to be the fastest site in your niche. Be faster than your competitors. Having a site or an e-commerce platform that takes ages to load won’t do you any good. People hit that back button in a split second, never to return. Not good for your bounce rate! By offering a fast site you are not only working on improving your conversion rate, but you’re also building trust and brand loyalty. Think of all the times you’ve been cursing the screen because you had to wait for a page to load — again — or been running in circles because the user experience was atrocious — again. It happens so often — don’t be that site.

Site speed improves user experience

Did you know that people experience real stress when experiencing mobile delays? And that this stress level is comparable to watching a horror movie? Surely not you say? That’s what the fine folks at Ericsson Research found a couple of years back. Improving your site speed across the board means making people happy. They’ll enjoy using your site, buy more and come back more often. This, of course, means that Google will see your site as a great search result because you are delivering the goods when it comes to site quality. Eventually, you might get a nice ranking boost. It’s a win-win situation!

Optimizing your site is not just looking at pretty numbers

Optimizing your site for speed is not as simple as getting a good score in all those site speed test tools. Don’t blind yourself on scores and metrics. Most tests emulate an unrealistic environment, but guess what: the real world matters even more. Every user is different. Every visitor uses a different type of internet connection, device and browser. Find out who your users are, how they access your site and what they do while they’re there. Combine classic tools like Google’s recently updated PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest.org and Lighthouse with analytical tools to get a broad overview of speed issues on your site. Use the recommendations to get started on improving your site speed, but do take these with a grain of salt; these recommendations are often hard to implement and not really realistic.

Ps: You are optimizing your images, right? Quick win right there!

Read more: Why every website needs Yoast SEO »

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