SEO Articles

Social media strategy: Where to begin?

Social media is not to be ignored these days: it’s everywhere! So, when you’re working on building and growing your website, you need to take social media into account. Not sure why? Check out how social media can influence your SEO. Now, where do you begin? In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of determining a social media strategy that fits you and your brand.

The goal of your social media presence

What is your goal for being on social media? Beware: what type of content you’ll be sharing is not your goal. That’s a means to reach your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish by sharing? Do you want followers to learn about your products? Increase sales, possibly by sharing discount codes or promotions? Are you looking to educate them? For example, the blog you’re currently reading is important to one of Yoast’s social media goals: We want to share our SEO knowledge with everyone. 

There are many goals to choose from, and you can pick more than one. Try to maintain some focus though, start by selecting a few that you can focus on first. If you find it hard to pinpoint your goals try turning it around: what content would you like to share? What goals could you deduce from that?

If you want to learn more about using social media and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-Around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it’ll help you put these skills into practice!

What type of content do you share on social media?

So, you’ve decided on your goal(s). On to the next question: What kind of content are you going to offer? Are you going to share your own blog posts? Or, articles written by others, that you find relevant for your audience? Product information? Behind the scenes footage from your company? Information about you as a person? There’s so much you can do – and again, you don’t have to pick just one! 

Pro tip: Don’t forget content you might already have, that you could turn into social posts!

Mindmapping can help with this phase. Sit down to a piece of paper (or use a digital tool) and start writing. Let your ideas flow! Write down all types of content you can think of, that would fit your brand and/or products.

After that, it’s time to choose. What are you going to focus on? Keep in mind that engaging your customers with interesting content will increase their affinity for your brand. Think about what your audience would like to see, read, and preferably even share with others. In general, engaging content will do better than posts written mainly because you want to sell.

Determining content buckets

Now, you know what you want to accomplish with your social media presence. You also know what type of content you’re going to gather or create to do so. If you order these types of content, do you see any overarching themes? Try to combine all you have up till now by deciding on content categories or topics, also known as content buckets. Here are some examples of content buckets that we could choose to focus on at Yoast:

  • Product information
  • SEO knowledge
  • Our company culture
  • Engaging with customers

Other categories could be sharing the latest news, or announcements for events, or podcast episodes, and so on. But for this example, let’s say these are our four main focus topics. The first three are subjects we’d like to create posts about, the fourth differs slightly. Rather than just broadcasting, it’s about engaging in existing online conversations related to our brand or products. This is probably one of the most important focus points for brands anyway, as people these days expect to be able to connect through social media.

So, basically, you want to end up with a few content buckets for your social media presence. The goal is that every post you put out there should contribute to at least one of these content buckets. That’ll help you keep focused.

Prioritize and allocate your time

Another trick to help you keep focused is allocating a percentage of your time to each of the content buckets you determine. For example, engaging with (potential) customers could be very valuable, but also more time-consuming. We could decide to spend 40% of our social media time on that, and 20% each on the other three subjects.

That doesn’t mean flexibility is impossible, it just serves as a guideline for yourself. It helps you focus on what you find most important, and to make sure that you give that the attention it needs. When planning your content, check up on this. Are you keeping to it? Do you need to focus a bit more on one or the other? In a later blog post, we’ll come back to evaluating and reassessing your social media strategy.

Which social media platforms for your business?

Not every social medium fits your brand or your message. If you’re in the recruitment game, LinkedIn is an awesome network to build your presence on. If you’re in tech, definitely check out Twitter. If you offer products that look nice or like to share recipes, Pinterest just might be your best fit.  

Do a little research, look into the different platforms. The web is full of up-to-date reports on what platforms work best for wat content! Figure out what platforms fit your goals, and if they accommodate for content you’re looking to create. Would it be easier for you to create textual content? Or mainly visuals? Thoughts like these should help you figure out what fits your brand best. 

Decide what platforms you’d like to focus on first anyway, you can always add more. It’s harder to keep up when you need to tend to a lot of different platforms. Some platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, also offer ways to advertise. That could help you make your brand and company known way beyond the scope of your actual followers. Advertising isn’t just for selling products, you could also use it to promote some of the interesting and fun content you publish. Or to grow your audience!

Which social media does your (desired) audience use?

Unfortunately, you could be out there sharing the best content you can offer, without it getting any traction. You need to reach the people that actually need or want your content! For example, if you’re aiming for a corporate, older audience, TikTok probably isn’t the platform you should focus on. For now, at least!

To know where to find your audience, you first need to know what your (desired) audience is. So, you start by analyzing your audience. When you know who you’d like to reach, you look into the platforms they use most. There are numerous online sources, like Sprout and Business Insider, that regularly publish numbers on social media usage. Combine this data with your own goals and the platforms that fit those, and decide what you’ll be publishing on with what type of content.

Your brand voice and social media style 

Based on your audience and brand as a whole: think about the way you’d like to communicate on social media. Is your tone formal or playful? Would you use emojis regularly? Could your posts contain words like “gonna”, rather than “going to”? Decide what fits your brand and the content you’d like to put out there, as well as what fits your audience. If you think about this thoroughly now, it’ll make writing all your future posts so much easier.

Engaging with your followers

Basically, all you need to contact a company through their social media is an Internet connection. That means: People will ask you questions, post complaints, share their enthusiasm, publish reviews, and so on. Decide how you want to handle those. Are you going to respond to every message that people send to you? Are you going to keep an eye on all mentions of your brand name, even if your profile wasn’t specifically tagged?

The latter could be a great way to grow your brand awareness. Here’s an example of where someone mentioned Yoast SEO without tagging @yoast. We weren’t even mentioned at all, in the original tweet. For us, responding to this is a great way to reach more people and spread even more SEO knowledge.

Be realistic

Reading all of the above might have you all pumped up and ready to go. Or, a bit anxious as it might seem like a lot of work. Don’t fret! Now’s the time to be realistic. How much time would you be able to allocate to your social media presence every week? Or every day? Realistically.

You need to put the effort in, so don’t try and ‘do social media’ as an extra, or an afterthought. By doing so, you probably won’t reach your goals anytime soon! If you want to chime into all kinds of conversations online, it’s going to cost you a lot more time and energy. If you set up WordPress so that it automatically posts your new blog posts to Facebook, that would save you time. Automated posts differ from when you manually share by adding a fun or intriguing description, though. 

Think about a process that would work for you. How many posts would you want to publish on what platforms? Are you going to sit down once a week to write all of them, or take some time every day? Will you only post your own content, or collect and share articles by others? It’s easier to generate more content if you repost others’, but it could also cost you more time if you’re not already reading those other sources. Plus, it’ll send traffic to other sources than your own. That doesn’t have to be a problem, depending on your social media goals.

Make a social media plan

You’ve decided on where you’re headed: that’s the strategy. Now the plan is how you’ll get there. You have collected a lot of very useful information up till now. Time to turn it into an action plan! Think of a concrete and actionable plan that would fit in with your regular weekly schedule. You can always alter it along the way, but it’s great to have a plan to get you started. 

To help your future self and others to understand what you’re aiming for, it’s a great idea to write up a short document with your findings. Your goals, the brand voice you decide on, the content buckets you’d like to focus on, and so on. If you have several larger goals, you might want to prioritize them.

Concrete goals for social media presence

You’ve decided on your strategic goals, like “spreading SEO knowledge”, for example. You could do with more concrete, actionable goals in your social media plan. A few examples:

  • In the next 12 months, traffic from social media to my website will increase by 25%.
  • In the next 6 months, my profile on Google My Business will have 10 new reviews.
  • In the next 3 months, I will share at least one post on Facebook every day.

Be bold, dare to try! If you don’t reach these goals, you set new ones for the next period of time. You need something to aim for to keep you motivated.

There’s a lot you can do, as you can see. In a future post, we’ll look into measuring and evaluating your social media efforts. Good luck for now!

Read more: Does social media influence SEO? »

The post Social media strategy: Where to begin? appeared first on Yoast.

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How to Scale Your Content Marketing: Tips from Our Journey to 100,000 Words a Month

Posted by JotFormmarketing

In the fall of 2018 our CEO had a simple yet head-exploding request of the JotForm marketing and growth teams: Produce 100,000 words of high-quality written content in a single month.

All types of content would count toward the goal, including posts on our own blog, help guides, template descriptions, and guest posts and sponsored articles on other sites.

In case you don’t think that sounds like a lot, 100,000 words is the length of a 400-page book. Produced in a single month. By a group of JotFormers who then numbered fewer than eight.

Why would on Earth would he want us to do all that?

My colleague and I trying to calculate how many blog posts it would take to reach 100,000 words.

It’s important to understand intent here. Our CEO, Aytekin, isn’t a crazy man. He didn’t send us on a mission just to keep us busy.

You see, for many months we’d dabbled with content, and it was working. Aytekin’s contributed posts in Entrepreneur magazine and on Medium were big hits. Our redesigned blog was picking up a lot of traction with the content we already had, and we were starting to understand SEO a lot better.

Still. Why would any software company need to produce that much content?

The answer is simple: infrastructure. If we could build a content engine that produces a high volume of quality content, then we could learn what works well and double down on creating great content. But in order to sustain success in content, we needed to have the pieces in place.

He allocated a sufficient budget and gave us the freedom to hire the staff we needed to make it happen. We were going to need it.

A full year later, I’m very proud to say we’ve officially crossed over the 100,000-word count in a single month [hold for applause].

However, it didn’t come without some painful learnings and mistakes.

Here’s what I figured out about scaling content through this process.

Develop a system early

Our old editorial calendar was a Google sheet. I started it back when JotForm was publishing one or two blogs per week and needed a way to keep it organized. It worked.

Back then, the only people who needed to view the editorial calendar were three people on the marketing staff and a couple of designers.

However, no spreadsheet on earth will be functional when you’re loading up 100,000 words. It’s too complicated. We discovered this right away.

After much discussion, we migrated our editorial workflow into Asana, which seemed like the closest thing to what we needed. It has a nice calendar view, the tagging functionality helped keep things orderly, and the board view gives a great overview of everyone’s projects.

This is where our marketing team lives.

Counterintuitively, we also use Trello, since it’s what our growth team had already been using to manage projects. Once the marketing team finishes writing a post, we send a request to our growth team designers to create banners for them using a form that integrates with their Trello board.

The system is intricate, but it works. We’d be lost if we hadn’t spent time creating it.

Style guides are your friends

Speaking of things to develop before you can really grow your content machine. Style guides are paramount to maintaining consistency, which becomes trickier and trickier the more writers you enlist to help you reach your content goals.

We consider our style guide to be a sort of living, ever-changing document. We add to it all the time.

It’s also the first thing that any legitimate writer will want to see when they’re about to contribute something to your site, whether they’re submitting a guest post, doing paid freelance work, or they’re your own in-house content writer.

Things to include in a basic style guide: an overview of writing style and tone, grammar and mechanics, punctuation particulars, product wording clarifications, and formatting.

Cheap writing will cost you, dearly

If you want cheap writing, you can find it. It’s everywhere — Upwork, Express Writers, WriterAccess. You name it, we tried it. And for less than $60 a blog post, what self-respecting marketing manager wouldn’t at least try it?

I’m here to tell you it’s a mistake.

I was thrilled when the drafts started rolling in. But our editor had other thoughts. It was taking too much time to make them good — nay, readable.

That was an oversight on my end, and it created a big bottleneck. We created such a backlog of cheap content (because it was cheap and I could purchase LOTS of it at a time) that it halted our progress on publishing content in a timely manner.

Instead, treat your freelance and content agencies as partners, and take the time to find good ones. Talk to them on the phone, exhaustively review their writing portfolio, and see if they really understand what you’re trying to accomplish. It’ll cost more money in the short term, but the returns are significant.

But good writing won’t mask subject ignorance

One thing to check with any content agency or freelancer you work with is their research process. The good ones will lean on subject matter experts (SMEs) to actually become authorities on the subjects they write about. It’s a tedious step, for both you and the writer, but it’s an important one.

The not-so-good ones? They’ll wing it and try to find what they can online. Sometimes they can get away with it, and sometimes someone will read your article and have this to say:

Screenshot of feedback for article saying it feels like it was written by a content creator, not a photographer.

That was harsh.

But they had a point. While the article in question was well-written, it wasn’t written by someone who knew much about the subject at hand, which in this case was photography. Lesson learned. Make sure whoever you hire to write will take the time to know what they’re talking about.

Build outreach into your process

Let’s be real here. For 99.9 percent of you, content marketing is SEO marketing. That’s mostly the case with us as well. We do publish thought leadership and product-education posts with little SEO value, but a lot of what we write is published with the hope that it pleases The Google. Praise be.

But just publishing your content is never enough. You need links, lots of them.

Before I go any further, understand that there’s a right and a wrong way to get links back to your content.

Three guidelines for getting links to your content:

1. Create good content.

2. Find a list of reputable, high-ranking sites that are authorities on the subject you wrote about.

3. Ask them about linking or guest posting on their site in a respectful way that also conveys value to their organization.

That’s it. Don’t waste your time on crappy sites or link scams. Don’t spam people’s inboxes with requests. Don’t be shady or deal with shady people.

Create good content, find high-quality sites to partner with, and offer them value.

Successful content is a numbers game

One benefit to creating as much content as we have is that we can really see what’s worked and what hasn’t. And it’s not as easy to predict as you might think.

One of our most successful posts, How to Start and Run a Summer Camp, wasn’t an especially popular one among JotFormers in the planning stage, primarily because the topic didn’t have a ton of monthly searches for the targeted keywords we were chasing. But just a few months after it went live, it became one of our top-performing posts in terms of monthly searches, and our best in terms of converting readers to JotForm users.

Point being, you don’t really know what will work for you until you try a bunch of options.

You’ll need to hire the right people in-house

In a perfect world JotForm employees would be able to produce every bit of content we need. But that’s not realistic for a company of our size. Still, there were some roles we absolutely needed to bring in-house to really kick our content into high gear.

A few of our content hires from the past 12 months.

Here are some hires we made to build our content infrastructure:

Content writer

This was the first dedicated content hire we ever made. It marked our first real plunge into the world of content marketing. Having someone in-house who can write means you can be flexible. When last-minute or deeply product-focused writing projects come up, you need someone in-house to deliver.

Editor

Our full-time editor created JotForm’s style guide from scratch, which she uses to edit every single piece of content that we produce. She’s equal parts editor and project manager, since she effectively owns the flow of the Asana board.

Copywriters (x2)

Our smaller writing projects didn’t disappear just because we wanted to load up on long-form blog posts. Quite the contrary. Our copywriters tackle template descriptions that help count toward our goal, while also writing landing page text, email marketing messages, video scripts, and social media posts.

Content strategist

One of the most difficult components of creating regular content is coming up with ideas. I made an early assumption that writers would come up with things to write; I was way off base. Writers have a very specialized skill that actually has little overlap with identifying and researching topics based on SEO value, relevance to our audience, and what will generate clicks from social media. So we have a strategist.

Content operations specialist

When you aim for tens of thousands of words of published content over the course of a month, the very act of coordinating the publishing of a post becomes a full-time job. At JotForm, most of our posts also need a custom graphic designed by our design team. Our content operations specialist coordinates design assets and makes sure everything looks good in WordPress before scheduling posts.

SEO manager

Our SEO manager had already been doing work on JotForm’s other pages, but he redirected much of his attention to our content goals once we began scaling. He works with our content strategist on the strategy and monitors and reports on the performance of the articles we publish.

The payoff

JotForm’s blog wasn’t starting from scratch when Aytekin posed the 100,000-word challenge. It was already receiving about 120,000 organic site visitors a month from the posts we’d steadily written over the years.

A year later we receive about 230,000 monthly organic searches, and that’s no accident.

The past year also marked our foray into the world of pillar pages.

For the uninitiated, pillar pages are (very) long-form, authoritative pieces that cover all aspects of a specific topic in the hopes that search engines will regard them as a resource.

These are incredibly time-consuming to write, but they drive buckets full of visitors to your page.

We’re getting more than 30,000 visitors a month — all from pillar pages we’ve published within the last year.

To date, our focus on content marketing has improved our organic search to the tune of about 150,000 additional site visitors per month, give or take.

Conclusion

Content isn’t easy. That was the biggest revelation for me, even though it shouldn’t have been. It takes a large team of people with very specialized skills to see measurable success. Doing it at large scale requires a prodigious commitment in both money and time, even if you aren’t tasked with writing 100,000 words a month.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make it work for you, on whatever scale that makes the most sense.

There really aren’t any secrets to growing your content engine. No magic recipe. It’s just a matter of putting the resources you have into making it happen.

Best of all, this post just gave us about 2,000 words toward this month’s word count goal.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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SEO Insights on Salesforce Community Cloud Behavior

The Salesforce Community Cloud is a content management system (CMS) specialized for support or community-focused websites. It is a powerful CMS that allows brands like NASAAncestryPlayStationIntel, and many others to share information in a concise and organized way for their communities.

A well-implemented CMS complements a website’s SEO. The CMS platform is a medium through which a business presents content to its users. However, the content reach and indexability through Google can be impacted by a CMS’s technical limitations. Content management systems’ ability to improve a website’s SEO depends on its capacity to support the implementation of SEO best practices.

One of our clients had come to us for help after they noticed their organic reach had dropped. They suspected their recently implemented CMS had something to do with it, so we decided to investigate further. To identify the concerning behavior, we conducted a technical audit of our client’s website, as well as five other sites that use Salesforce Community Cloud. We found the following issues, which are fairly standard but nothing too unusual.

SEO Issues in Salesforce Community Cloud

  1. Status codes served differently for user and user-agent: A page a user sees as a 200, gets picked up by Googlebot as a 302.
  2. No Canonicals: None of the pages we observed are using canonical tags, but Salesforce support indicates that it is possible to implement them.
  3. JavaScript Rendering: Pages using Salesforce Community Cloud are rendered in JavaScript, possibly slowing down the index rate of a website.
  4. Redirect Limits: We believe Salesforce Community Cloud has a limit on redirects. They do not have any public documentation stating that they do.

Although I wish I could share what client, and what websites I found this behavior in, I am not allowed. I was, however, able to find this behavior on OpenTable, which is a website that Salesforce publicly announces as using their platform. Let’s dig deeper as to why these issues are showing up on Salesforce and what we recommend your team does to handle them.

Status codes served differently for user and user-agent

Status codes represent the communication between a browser and a server. When a user submits a browser request, the site server is asked for information, and it returns a status code.

The behavior we noticed in websites with Salesforce Community Cloud was that our crawler was classifying most URLs with a 200 status code.

In theory, if a user would visit that page, the information would be visible, and the user can interact with the website. We clicked into some URLs to confirm that they were a 200 status code, and we identified misclassification on status codes. We got the “User” status code by opening up the link in our browser and found the status code with the Redirect Path extension for Chrome. To get the “Crawler” status code, we used the Mac Terminal. In Terminal we executed a curl command with additional filters, to get the status code and HTML source code as Googlebot.

Our Terminal command:

curl -v https://help.opentable.com/s/article/Account-Management-Incomplete-Reservation-History-1481744282490?language=en_US -H “User-Agent: Googlebot”

The following are examples of how URL status codes were different for the user and crawler.

Examples:

OpenTable Dinner Help

https://help.opentable.com/s/article/Account-Management-Incomplete-Reservation-History-1481744282490?language=en_US

Crawler: 200 Status Code

User: 302 Status Code

https://help.opentable.com/s/article/How-do-I-view-change-or-cancel-a-reservation-1505260327125?language=en_US

Crawler: 200 Status Code

User: 200 Status Code

No canonicals

Canonical tags are used to help Google identify which URL we want them to index. This is helpful when multiple URLs have the same information. Implementing the canonical tags helps Google identify and index the URL we want. These tags prevent Google from labeling multiple URLs as duplicate content.

The behavior we picked up on Salesforce Community Cloud was that out of the multiple websites we crawled only one was using canonical tags in three of its URLs. Supporting documents on Community Cloud’s page state that adding canonical tags is possible with the platform.

We recommend that those who are using Community Cloud implement canonical tags as soon as they know which URLs they want to be in the index.

JavaScript Rendered Page

The relationship between Googlebot and JavaScript has always been very uncertain. Recently the Search Engine Journal published an article titled “JavaScript Indexing Delays Are Still an Issue for Google”. In this article, they test and confirm that Googlebot is still taking longer to index a page that is rendered using JavaScript. We recommend that if your page is using JavaScript the source code visible to the bot should include the links that are found within that page. This allows for the Googlebot to more efficiently crawl its way through your website.

The behavior we found on Salesforce Community Cloud is that all those using it have their pages rendered in JavaScript. It is often that tabs or actions a user may take are linked to by using a JSVoid(0) command. Another essential behavior we noticed was that the source code that is visible to the user does not contain the same information as the source code available to Googlebot. We can confirm that Salesforce Community Cloud was designed to be this way, and they are single-page applications according to Salesforce’s Blog on Lightning Communities.

While this does not mean that Google cannot index or crawl your site, it does mean it will take longer for new content to be indexed. At this point, there is not a lot that can be done, so either Salesforce optimizes their CMS to make HTML crawlable, or Google speeds up indexing JavaScript-rendered pages.

Redirect Limits

We have worked with clients in the past that have had a limited amount of redirects available when using Salesforce Community Cloud. Although we are not able to confirm this with current public Salesforce documentation, we were still able to find a solution for our client. They wanted to redirect all their previous links and met the threshold. Our recommendation to them was to use a CDN to manage the redirects beyond the limit.

If you are thinking of using Salesforce Community Cloud, we recommend making sure that they can redirect all of your current links.

In Conclusion

Salesforce Community Cloud is a great CMS allowing businesses to efficiently and quickly show content to their users. However, some of its behavior may significantly impact your site’s search performance. While the behaviors highlighted in this article are not necessarily bad, they are helpful to keep in mind when it comes to thinking about Googlebot crawling and indexing your site. For businesses interested in using Salesforce Community Cloud, I recommend asking questions around the common behaviors to a Salesforce Sales Representative and making sure that this CMS will work for your business.

If you have any questions about this behavior or want to know more, please don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected] This project would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of Lydia Gilbertson.

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Internet Wayback Machine Adds Historical TextDiff

The Wayback Machine has a cool new feature for looking at the historical changes of a web page.

The color scale shows how much a page has changed since it was last cached & you can select between any two documents to see how a page has changed over time.

You can then select between any two documents to see a side-by-side comparison of the documents.

That quickly gives you an at-a-glance view of how they’ve changed their:

  • web design
  • on-page SEO strategy
  • marketing copy & sales strategy

For sites that conduct seasonal sales & rely heavily on holiday themed ads you can also look up the new & historical ad copy used by large advertisers using tools like Moat, WhatRunsWhere & Adbeat.

Categories: 

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Before You Kill That Mobile Subdomain…

Most SEOs I know hate sites with separate mobile URLs. They served their purpose back in the early days of mobile browsers, but over time the maintenance overhead combined with the SEO uncertainty brought on by having two different sets of near duplicate URLs has caused many of us to advocate for migrating to a single set of URLs for both mobile and desktop. But maybe we shouldn’t be the ones advocating…

I have had the pleasure of working on several large M-dot URL migrations. In theory, these projects should be pretty straightforward – 301 redirect all the M-dot URLs to their desktop versions, maintain the redirects forever, and all is well. Too bad theory often runs into a reality brick wall.

When one argues for a big project like an M-dot migration, odds are someone with a nicer office than yours is going to ask for some proof that it’s worth doing. Here’s a handy tweet to whip out when the “Why would we want to do that?” question comes up:

Now I love John Mueller’s advice as much as the next guy, but SEO types often tend to think of themselves within the “scientist” Knowledge Graph, so we also like to see independent corroboration of our crackpot theories. Fortunately Sistrix has a handy tool to estimate organic traffic to subdomains. Let’s look at how some big e-commerce sites have fared with M-dot migrations:

TicketMaster Mobile Subdomain Migration

The Home Depot Mobile Subdomain Migration

If you believe the upticks were even partially caused by the M-dot migrations (and if you believe Sistrix’ data is directionally correct), then pulling the trigger on a migration seems like a no-brainer.

But as we SEOs know all too well, not everything always goes smoothly.

This is what it looks like when a large e-commerce site with an expensive IT consulting firm spends a year redesigning their site and kills their M-dot URLs without redirecting them because “it wasn’t in the original scope and would be too complicated”.

FUBAR M-DOT URL MIGRATION

And this is what it looks like (on SEMRush) when another large e-commerce site does their M-dot migration in phases and neglects to redirect some of the old m-dot URLs. Six months to get back to where they started from.

Phased M-DOT URL Migration

Now I know what you’re thinking – “I run the tightest SEO ship on the planet. Those kinds of screw-ups would never happen to us.” If so, good for you, but you might do well to consider the following conversation I had with the head of SEO at one of the largest retailer sites in the U.S.

SCENE: A networking event. Everyone standing around in business casual drinking corporate craft beers.

ME: (oddly proud) I’m working on a big M-dot migration…

EXEC: (stopped cold) Dude…I pitched a big M-dot migration last year. We estimated a big increase in organic revenue post-migration. After we pushed it live, we saw basically zero lift.

ME:

The post Before You Kill That Mobile Subdomain… appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

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What Do High-Performance E-Commerce Websites Do Differently? Results from the 2020 KPI Study

Posted by Alan_Coleman

Hello Moz readers,

We’re proud to bring some insights from the Wolfgang E-Commerce KPI Study 2020.

The annual study provides KPI benchmark data which allow digital marketers analyze their 2019 performance and plan their 2020. The most popular section in the report amongst Moz readers has always been the conversion correlation, where we crunch the numbers to see what sets the high-performing websites apart.

We’re privileged to count a number of particularly high-performance websites among our dataset participants. There have been over twenty international digital marketing awards won by a spread of participant websites in the last three years. In these findings, you’re getting insights from the global top tier of campaigns.

If we take a five-year look-back, we can see the conversion correlation section acts as an accurate predictor of upcoming trends in digital marketing.

In our 2016 study, the two stand-out correlations with conversion rate were:

  1. High-performing websites got more significantly paid search traffic than the chasing pack.
  2. High-performing websites got significantly more mobile traffic than the chasing pack.

The two strongest overall trends in our 2020 report are:

  1. It’s the first year in which paid search has eclipsed organic for website revenue.
  2. It’s the first year the majority of revenue has come from mobile devices.

This tells us that the majority of websites have now caught up with what the top-performing websites were doing five years ago.

So, what are the top performing websites doing differently now?

These points of differentiation are likely to become the major shifts in the online marketing mix over the next 5 years.

Let’s count down to the strongest correlation in the study:

4. Race back up to the top! Online PR and display deliver conversions

For the majority of the 2010s, marketers were racing to the bottom of the purchase funnel. More and more budget flowed to search to win exposure to the cherished searcher — that person pounding on their keyboard with their credit card between their teeth, drunk on the newfound novelty of online shopping. The only advertising that performed better than search was remarketing, which inched the advertising closer and closer to that precious purchase moment. 

Now in 2020, these essential elements of the marketing mix are operating at maximum capacity for any advertiser worth their salt. Top performing websites are now focusing extra budget back up towards the top of the funnel. The best way to kill the competition on Search is to have the audience’s first search, be your brand. Outmarket your competition by generating more of your cheapest and best converting traffic, luvly brand traffic. We saw correlations with Average Order Value from websites that got higher than average referral traffic (0.34) and I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but display correlated with a conversion success metric, Average Order Value (0.37). I guess there’s a first time for everything!

3. Efficiencies of scale

Every budding business student knows that when volume increases, cost per unit decreases. It’s called economies of scale. But what do you call it when it’s revenue per unit that’s increasing with volume? At Wolfgang, we call it efficiencies of scale. Similar to last year’s report, one of the strongest correlations against a number of the success metrics was simply the number of sessions. More visitors to the site equals a higher conversion rate per user (0.49). This stat summons the final wag for the long-tail of smaller specialist retailers. This finding is consistent across both the retail and travel sectors.

And it illustrates another reversal of a significant trend in the 2010s. The long-tail of retailers were the early settlers in the e-commerce land of plenty. Very specialist websites with a narrow product range could capture high volumes of traffic and sales.

For example, www.outboardengines.com could dominate the SERP and then affiliate link or dropship product, making for a highly profitable small business. The entrepreneur behind this microbusiness could automate the process and replicate the model again and again for the products of her choosing. Timothy Ferris’ book, The 4 Hour Work Week, became the bible to the first flush of digital nomads; affiliate conferences in Vegas saw leaning towers of chips being pushed around by solopreneur digital marketers with wild abandon.

Alas, by the end of the decade, Google had started to prioritize brands in the SERP, and the big players had finally gotten their online act together. As a result, we are now seeing significant ‘efficiencies of scale’ as described above

2. Attract that user back

What’s the key insight digital marketers need to act upon to succeed in the 2020s? Average Sessions per Visitor is 2, Average Sessions per Purchaser is 5.

In other words, the core role of the marketer is to create an elegant journey across touchpoints to deliver a person from two click prospect to five click purchaser. Any activity which increases sessions per visitor will increase conversion. Similar to last year’s report, another of the strongest and most consistent correlations was the number of Sessions per User (0.7) — which emphasizes the importance of this metric.

So where should a marketer seek these extra interactions?

Check out the strongest correlation we found with conversion success in the Wolfgang KPI Report 2020….

1. The social transaction

The three strongest conversion correlations across the 4,000 datapoints were related to social transactions. This tells us that the very top performing websites were significantly better than everybody else at generating traffic from social that purchases.

Google Analytics is astonishingly rigorous at suppressing social media success stats. It appears they would rather have an inferior analytics product than accurately track cross-device conversions and give social its due. They can track cross-device conversions in Google Ads — why not in Analytics? So, if our Google Analytics data is telling us social is the strongest conversion success factor, we need to take notice.

This finding runs in parallel with recent research by Forrester which finds one-third of CMOs still don’t know what to do with social.

Our correlation calc finds that social is the biggest point of difference between the high flyers and the chasing pack. The marketers who do know how to use social, are the tip top performing marketers of the bunch. We also have further findings on how to out-market the competition on social in the full study.

Here’s the top tier of correlations we extracted from a third of a billion euro in online revenues and over 100 million website visits:

Retail

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Travel

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Overall

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To read more of our findings pertaining to:

  • The social sweet spot
  • Average conversion rates in your industry
  • In-store sales benchmarked
  • Why data is the new oil
  • 2010 was the decade of the…
  • And much, much more

Have a look at the full e-commerce KPI report for 2020. If you found yourself with any questions or anecdotes relating to the data shared here, please let us know in the comments!

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