Tag Archives: search

What is Web Spam?

Web Spam: Intentional attempts to manipulate search engine rankings for specific keywords or keyword phrase queries. But isn’t that what SEO is? Trying to get your website content to rank better in search engine results? Well… There’s a fine line between doing everything you can to give your website content the best shot at ranking well in the search engines, vs. trying every sneaky trick possible. The Old Days of Web Spam – Keywords, Keywords, Keywords Everywhere! The first search engines (Lycos, HotBot, AltaVista to name a few) used a fairly basic approach to ranking webpages. For the most part,…

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Using Latent Semantic Indexing to Improve Your SEO Ranking and Boost Organic Traffic

latent semantic indexing SEO

When was the last time you sat down to write an amazing piece of content, pulled out your mathematical matrix for determining the most valuable keyword phrases, and set to work with a smile on your face? Yeah, me neither. If SEO and content marketers were forced to use a mathematical model to discover valuable keywords, our jobs would be a hundred times harder than they are now. Thankfully, there’s a little thing called latent semantic indexing (LSI) which can take your SEO ranking game from “0” to “100” in a jiffy (more like “100” to “1” if we’re getting…

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How Your PPC Strategy Should Differ on the AdWords Search VS Display Network

As we ramp up for Unbounce’s upcoming PPC week, we thought we’d revisit some of our favorite PPC posts from the archives. This post was originally published in June 2015 but still rings true. Enjoy!

Have you ever been kicking so much AdWords Search Network butt that it made you raise your chest and gave you instant super powers?

You know, the type of confidence that makes you walk with a pep in your step and hair bouncing around?

Confidence
Kinda like this mini-horse. Image source.

Feels AMAZING.

But sometimes you hit a ceiling with the keywords you’re bidding on, and there’s literally no more Search Network traffic out there (since your impression shares are all around 98%).

You immediately think of using the AdWords Display Network, simply because you know there’s more traffic, cheaper clicks and much more potential ROI just waiting to be grabbed.

dog-pee-to-claim-land-FACE-Low-Cost-SpayNeuter-Clinic-FB
Actually, don’t do that. It won’t get you conversions. Image source.

As you may already know, the AdWords Display Network (also known as the Google Display Network/GDN) is the biggest digital ad network in the world. It allows you to advertise on publisher properties like websites, mobile apps, Gmail, YouTube and more.

Compared to the AdWords Search Network, the Display Network also houses the largest viewership of any online platform. YouTube itself has a monthly viewership equivalent to 10 Super Bowls – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that display advertising is said to capture 34% of all online ad spend and about 10% of all marketing budgets.

But with new channels come different strategies.

What you’re doing on the AdWords Search Network will not perform the same way on the Display Network.

If the Display Network is uncharted territory for you, here’s how you need to adjust your current PPC strategy to get the results you want.

Different user behavior calls for a different strategy

The biggest difference between the AdWords Search Network and Display Network can be seen in the sweet visual I had my designer custom-make below.

unbounce-_chuck_norris

In the “Chuck Norris” action cycle above, you can see how the power of keyword intent in the Search Network can put people really close to taking action (AKA converting), but the Display Network typically has visitors who are a few steps behind.

This is because people who are on the Display Network aren’t actively searching for what you offer. As Erin Sagin puts it, they’re rarely in “shopping mode.”

Instead, Display Network visitors are most likely in the research phase when your display ads are hitting them. They’re on forums, blog posts, or watching that YouTube vid trying to gather enough information to make a decision. They don’t know what they need yet, so your job is create awareness.

If you’re selling more of an “emergency” service like being a locksmith or roadside assistance, then you’ll have a hard time using the Display Network to your advantage.

This is simply because ads on the Display Network are not triggered from a search engine like text ads on the Search Network are. The Search Network works as a demand harvester (your ads are grabbing the intent), while the Display Network works as a demand generator (your ads are creating awareness).

So how do you change your strategy from the Search Network to also make the AdWords Display Network a money making machine?

Create trust and deliver value

As I mentioned, your Display Network ads could be interrupting someone who’s reading the news, reading a blog or watching a video.

Because of that, the level of commitment it takes for someone to stop what they’re doing, click your ad, then call you or fill out your landing page form is high and much more unlikely compared to the Search Network. In other words, you can’t expect to have the same campaign conversion rates on the Display Network as you do on the Search Network.

If you’re offering “Free Quotes” on the search network because people are actively searching for someone who can relieve their problem, it might actually be better for you to lead with valuable educational material (i.e. your content) on the Display Network.

A perfect example of this is my crush of an email marketing company, Emma.

Emma uses the AdWords Search Network to drive sign ups, but they use the Display Network to give you great, fun and actionable value. Here’s what some of their Display Ads look like (click on them to go to the accompanying landing page):

emma-gif-1

emma-gif-2

emma-gif-3

I reached out to Cynthia Price (the Director of Marketing at Emma) and she gave me this golden nugget about how they use the AdWords Display Network:

We get that someone seeing a display ad isn’t necessarily interested in learning more about our product just yet. It’s all about brand awareness, and more importantly for us, trust-building.

So we offer content that we think will be valuable and helpful to our audience’s marketing efforts. It starts our brand relationship off on the right foot, helps them understand the strength of our expertise and paves the way for us to nurture or retarget them in the future.

You already know that content marketing’s core foundation is about adding true value.

Your display ads should be no different.

On the Display Network, your first goal is to establish trust by giving value, and then nurture the visitors down the road to become paying customers.

Revisit your targeting options

Once you have a great piece of content that delivers value and educates your audience, it’s time to figure out how to target it to people who actually want it.

Let’s have a look at the five targeting options that’ve been found to drive the biggest impact on the Display Network.

To illustrate how each one works, let’s pretend you’re a dog walker. Your name is Lori and you live in Huntington Beach, CA. You’ve been advertising on the AdWords search network and this is your landing page:

lori-the-dog-walker

What are your best targeting options?

Placement targeting

Placement targeting allows you to advertise directly on certain publisher sites. This means you could have your ad show up on Forbes or CNN if you’d like.

Best practice advice: Make sure the website or page’s audience is relevant to what you’re offering. Don’t shotgun approach all of CNN – sniper shot individual placements within CNN if you can.

Contextual/Keyword targeting

Contextual/Keyword targeting allows you to give Google your keywords and have it automatically find relevant placements for your ads.

Best practice advice: Mix this with placement targeting to be even more laser focused with your targeting.

Topic targeting

Topic targeting allows you to go more broad than regular placement targeting.

For this, you could target the topic of Pets & Animals directly and cast a wider net, with the possibility of your ads showing up on FerretLovers.com (yes, that’s a real site).

Best practice advice: See what Topic targeting gives you, then exclude unwanted placements from your campaign once things are running and data is coming in.

Interest targeting

Interest targeting is kind of similar to topic targeting, but instead of judging the context of websites, interest targeting tracks behaviors of web users. This targeting method can be even more vague than topic targeting.

Best practice advice: Every industry is different, so always test things out and see the performance. Be quick to pause and exclude irrelevant placements once data comes in.

Combining targeting methods

This is where you’ll have a lot of fun and potentially get better results.

You’re not locked into using just one targeting method with the AdWords Display Network. In fact, Alistair Dent over at Search Engine Watch and many others highly recommend never going with just one targeting option, but combining multiple together.

You can target certain placements with the addition of contextual/keyword targeting to tell Google that you only want your ads to show when a visitor is on CNN and reading an article about dog walking.

Or you can target different interests with contextual/keyword targeting as well.

Create multiple ad groups, each with their own targeting specifications, and see how they perform against each other. Once you’ve hit your stride and conversions are coming in, pause the other ad groups that aren’t working, and make variations of the ad group targetings that are working for you, so that you can squeeze more out of your PPC dollars.

Wrapping up

Wow! Quite a bit of info huh?

Now that you clearly know why your Display Network strategy has to be different from your Search Network strategy, what do you have to lose? Get started now. Try different targeting combinations, and never forget to offer true value.

What have you found to be the best driver of conversions on the AdWords Display Network? How different are your strategies compared to the ones we talked about?

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How Your PPC Strategy Should Differ on the AdWords Search VS Display Network

Optimizing Mobile Home Page Increases Conversions for Wedding Shoes Website

Elegant Steps offers a large selection of wedding shoes in the UK, both online and in store. More than 50% of its users are new, female users discovering the website organically through mobile. The bulk of them are brides-to-be who are looking for wedding shoes.

Problem

After looking at Elegant Steps’ Google Analytics (GA) data, it was found that while its desktop website was converting at 2%, the mobile version was converting at a much lower 0.6%.

Observations

Hit Search, a digital marketing agency, used VWO to help Elegant Steps dig deep into the problem. They used GA, heuristic analysis, and VWO’s scrollmaps and heatmaps capabilities to find that:

  • Hardly any visitors were scrolling enough to reach the Shop by Brand section on the home page.
  • Elegant Steps’ 3 main USPs, including free shipping, weren’t appearing above the fold on mobile.
  • The text on the home page image was hard to read because it was the same color as the background.

This is how the home page looked on mobile:

elegant_control_jpg

Hypothesis

Armed with these observations, Niall Brooke from Hit Search set about optimizing the mobile home page to fix the problems. It was decided to:

  • Introduce the Shop by Brand section higher up on the page, as the presence of an established name is known to help instill trust and assuage fears.
  • Many studies have found that unexpected shipping cost is the biggest reason for cart abandonment. It was hypothesized that displaying “Free Shipping” above the fold will help reduce bounce and encourage users to continue down the conversion funnel.
  • Change the CTA copy from the generic “Shop Wedding Shoes” to the possessive, “Find my new wedding shoes.”
  • Change the text color on the image for the text to be readable.

This is how the variation looked:

elegant_variation_jpg

Test

Hit Search ran the new version of the home page against the original only for mobile visitors, using VWO’s targeting capability. Niall set VWO’s Bayesian-powered statistics engine to “High-Certainty” mode, and the results kicked in within a month.

Results

“The results were positive with almost a threefold increase in conversions and almost a 50% drop in bounce rate,” said Niall.

In his closing thoughts, Niall had this to say, “VWO is a brilliant all-round conversion optimization platform which we use on a daily basis to perform user analysis, A/B and split tests,” he added.

Mobile an afterthought?

According to a 2015 report, the average conversion rate for mobile websites in the US was 1.32%, significantly lower than its desktop counterpart (3.82%). Though studies have suggested that visitors mostly use mobile for research purposes and make the actual purchase through desktop website, there’s no denying that online retailers are still leaving money on the table. We would love to your thoughts about optimizing mobile websites. When does it become important for you to start looking at mobile optimization? Just hit us the comment section below.

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What Does A Trustworthy News Article Really Look Like? 16 Pro Tips

It may seem demoralizing to spend hours writing a trustworthy article, only to have the latest abomination from Buzzle or ListVerse outrank you. Don’t panic about this. Time is on your side. What do I mean by this? Google and Bing have made it a priority to highlight more timely news articles at the expense of content mills and tabloids. Search engines have the ability to read articles in a human-like way and determine their finer qualities. Human editors also play an important part in filtering out untrustworthy sites from truly valuable resources of information. In addition to search engines…

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The Crazy Egg Guide to Google Search Console

These days, the first thing I do after setting up a new website is link it to Google Search Console. Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, this free resource from Google shows how the search giant crawls and indexes websites. It is invaluable for anyone needing to monitor: Their site’s performance in search results Content accessibility Malware and spam issues Frankly, anyone who has a website should use this excellent tool. If you’re not already using it, here’s how you can get started. Note: If you ever find this guide to be out-dated, please reach out to me on Twitter…

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How to Master SEO for Ecommerce Product Pages

Regardless of your industry/niche, reaching the upper echelons of the search rankings is vital in our search-centric consumer world. According to Optify, “websites ranked number one received an average click-through-rate (CTR) of 35.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5 percent; and number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent.” When you break it all down, having the number one spot will essentially bring you the same amount of traffic as spots two through five combined. That’s pretty incredible! To prove the importance of SEO for Ecommerce even further, just consider the fact that 44 percent of people begin…

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The Top 17 Places to Spend on Paid Search Other Than AdWords

It seems like pay-per-click (PPC) is a strategy that’s sometimes overshadowed by organic SEO for the simple fact that it tends to yield smaller profit margins. Here’s my advice: Don’t neglect any channel that delivers any profit margins. While it’s true that you’re probably not going to see the same ROI with paid search as you would with SEO, paid search still has plenty of potential. In fact, “businesses generally make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords.” Not too shabby. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of organic traffic, content marketing,…

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10 Actionable Marketing Blog Posts You Missed in 2015

Marketing trends are always changing. Some take flight, some evolve and some die.

But, with each new marketing trend comes new important insights and tips.

If you love self-improvement (like we do), and enjoy keeping on top of trends, it’s likely that you’ve bookmarked hundreds of blog post and articles in the past year. Maybe you’ve opened up multiple tabs on your computer in hopes that one day you’ll get some time to read them — posts that you’ve maybe completely forgotten about. Let’s be honest, you may never read these marketing blog posts.

Image of team working
These actionable and information-heavy blog posts will get you get you ready for next year’s big projects. Via Startupstockphotos.com.

The Unbounce marketing team has both written and read tons of actionable, thought-provoking marketing blog posts this year. We’ve selected the crème de la crème — posts that are the exact remedy to get your brain stimulated and on track to produce smart marketing ideas for 2016.

Here are 10 of our favorites posts that will help you step up your marketing game in the new year.


Handpicked: not-to-be-missed blog posts from 2015 that’ll prepare you for 2016.
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1.Quality vs. Quantity: A 6-Month Analysis of the Age-Old Blogging Debate by Ginny Soskey for Hubspot

quality vs quantity graph

This post by HubSpot’s blog editor, Ginny Soskey, discusses the age-old debate: quality versus quantity of content. If you’ve been thinking about revamping your editorial strategy or even running some experiments with your content, this post delivery all the nitty-gritty details you could have ever wanted.

“But that’s not how blogging works in real life. To grow a blog, you need to consistently publish content that your readers enjoy reading. Yet exactly how often to publish and what those posts should look like can vary tremendously […].”

Why did we love this post? Ginny’s post takes no prisoners. No details are left behind in Hubspot’s ambitious blog publishing experiment. Every detail is laid out and provides a roadmap for how other marketing teams can plan and execute a full-funnel, data-driven content strategy.

2. Are Podcasts the Next Big Thing for Sponsored Content? by Celine Roque for Contently

bar graph of podcast listeners in America

In this post, Celine Roque lays out how marketers can leverage this medium in order to produce sponsored content. As it turns out, podcast listeners are among the most highly engaged of any medium.

As Celine puts it:

“Podcast listeners are actually “super listeners,” consuming more than one hour and 45 minutes of audio per day than the average American, and they spend more than 25 percent of their total audio time listening to podcasts.”

With shows like Serial and This American Life gaining mainstream popularity, podcasting has moved beyond the niche and hobbyist world into something we should be taking notice of and experimenting with.

3. Growth Is Not A Hack by Phin Barnes for First Round Capital

image of child next to meter stick measuring height

The struggle (for growth) is real.

Sometimes, growth hacking is considered a “throw spaghetti on the wall” solution for attracting users, yet growth is a strategy based on observation of markets and understanding the consumer — it’s anything but a hack.

Phil Barnes has insider insight from First Round Capital’s portfolio of companies — companies that they fund at the seed level and that are dependent on growth to survive. Phil shares his expert advice and gives us an in-depth understanding into what growth actually means for a company.

Quote: “As you scale, you need to think about quality of users, not just quantity. Critically, growth is not just about adding net new users, but about developing a deep understanding of how to make your business grow.”

His advice is valuable, but his insights on how to shape your growth efforts into a full-blown strategy are essential for any startup, marketing team or entrepreneur looking to move beyond top-of-the-funnel acquisition.

4. 3 Google Analytics Reports to Help You Find Blog Post Ideas Your Readers Will Love by Andy Crestodina for Unbounce

Image of Data Plastic figures from Startrek

Content marketers often rely on their creativity and writing chops to create content that resonates with their audience. In other cases, content marketers may have a love of data and strategy. Andy Crestodina is the whole package.

His post runs through how to use Google Analytics to find blog post ideas when your creative well may have run dry. He also highlights that it’s important to use data alongside empathy to guide us:

“As a content marketer, you can take the guesswork out of the process by using data-driven empathy: using analytics to get into the heads of your visitors and find topics they care about most (and the topics that will convert).”

If you’re a content marketer working for yourself, a company or an agency, this post breaks down each step you’ll need to make data part of your content creation process. Take a walk on the wild side and make room for some Google Analytics data that will help your marketing ideas in 2016.

5. 7 Strategies to Make Your Lifecycle Emails Work Smarter For You by Janet Choi for Customer.io

Image of hello my name is tag

Chances are that you’re currently using email marketing in one way or another. But if you’re sending out lifecycle emails and are considering revamping them to better suit your goals in 2016 — this post is for you.

Janet Choi’s post is a tactical yet fun approach to email marketing:

“Welcome emails are your chance to create a positive first impression and secure the trust that will fuel a long-term customer relationship. All you have to do is follow the lead of that fictionally famous swashbuckling swordsman Inigo Montoya.”

She breaks down what a healthy lifecycle email marketing strategy should look like and gives helpful tips on customer retention, conversion and engagement. If you’re in the market to improve your current lifecycle email strategy, this post has your name all over it.

6. The Superhuman Guide to Twitter Advanced Search by Ash Read For Buffer

image of advanced search Twitter infographic

If you’re past the “just trying this Twitter thing out” phase and you happen to be a marketer, this post is going to knock your socks off. Social platforms like Twitter have a ton of useful information, but it’s all in how you mine for it.

This is where Ash Read’s post comes to the rescue. Ash dives deep deep into Twitter’s Advanced Search and gives detailed, step-by-step instructions that will show you technical know-hows as well as how to leverage Advanced Search for marketing hacks and experiments.

The post reads almost like a manual and it’s sure to take your social media sleuth skills to a new level by arming you with all the necessary data you need to monitor tweets more in-depthly, come up with content ideas or even find new sales leads.

If you’re currently using Twitter every day, then taking advantage of the Advanced Search function should be a no brainer  in 2016.

7. We Analyzed 37,259 Facebook Ads and Here’s What We Learned by Andrew Tate for AdEspresso

Image of AdEspresso blog

What elements make a Facebook Ad convert? Does the text really matter? Is choosing eye-catching images really all you need?

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions then this post by post by Andrew Tate has the answers. Andrew and the AdEspresso team have likely created the most comprehensive roundup of Facebook ads out there.

Whether you’re a performance marketer or interested in social ads and A/B testing, this post is full of information that gives you insight into what the big players are doing, what trends or words are most effective or even what tone works best.

This post goes beyond common best practices and dissects currents ads. The result is a post that is full of actionable information from top to bottom. Don’t make any more ads without reading this post.

8.Our 8 Biggest Conversion Optimization Wins of 2015 (So Far) by Alex Turnbull for Groove

image of conversion experiment

Sometimes it’s hard to think of creative ways to increase conversions, places where some tweaking could lead to magical things. If you aren’t lucky enough to work with a CRO expert, there are many experiments you can run to help increase and optimize conversions in your business.

“No matter how high your conversion rates are, or your customer base, or your revenue… there’s room to grow. And holding steady is not an option. If you’re not doing more every single day to grow faster and stronger than the day before, then the hungrier company right behind you will. Conversion optimization is no different.”

Alex Turnbull’s post breaks down eight conversion experiments that Groove attempted this past year. Alex gives a step-by-step for each of these conversions experiments so that you, too, can run these experiments with your campaigns. From giveaways to autoresponders, this post will inspire you and your team to get testing in 2016.

9.The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching a Top-Ranking Podcast in iTunes by Stephanie Saretsky for Unbounce

image of headset and computer

If you’ve caught the podcasting bug, this post by Stephanie Saretsky is one of the few comprehensive how-to podcast blog posts out there. In fact, we dare you to find another one like it.

“No one is teaching how to actually podcast effectively – in a way that engages prospects and actually gets them to convert.

With many marketing brands jumping on the podcasting bandwagon, why not take a stab at reaching customers or potential leads in a more direct way by using Unbounce’s personal experience as a starting point?

This post goes beyond just editing your podcast and uploading it to iTunes. Stephanie guides you from the ideation phase all the way to dissemination via social platforms to even setting up possible partnerships.

With such a detailed step-by-step guide, it’s hard to miss a beat.

10.Why an Instagram Tweak Spells the Beginning of a Multibillion-Dollar Industry by Ryan Holmes for Recode

instagram image of two ice cream cones

Instagram’s previous ad offerings used to set you back a whopping $200,000! Luckily, Instagram’s API has now opened up a new world for marketers in the mobile advertising space. With this new access comes endless possibilities for advertisers like us to experiment. Let the race begin!

Ryan Holmes rounds out the importance of Instagram’s API offering and encourages digital marketers to jump to it. Like Ryan says:

“With Instagram’s new API offering, ads can now be purchased by just about anyone, using online ad-buying tools offered by official Instagram partners. The move has been called “one of the most anticipated moments in the evolution of advertising.”

Gaining access to a new ad platform is great news for performance marketers and content marketers, and surely something fun to test drive and generate new marketing ideas in 2016.

Make 2016 a year full of testing and experimentation and growth

We’ve specifically chosen blog posts with actionable marketing tips, interesting case studies and important trends. Each post touches on different aspects of digital marketing, including conversion optimization, growth marketing and even social media strategy in order to give the best tips out there.

With these posts covering the full spectrum of marketing, we hope you’ve got some new tools in your toolbox to help you become a better marketer in 2016.


Become a better marketer in 2016 by catching up on the posts you missed in 2015.
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Did we miss any key posts from 2015? Share some of the posts that inspired you this past year in the comments below.

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10 Actionable Marketing Blog Posts You Missed in 2015

Mobile Navigation For Smashing Magazine: A Case Study


Since we started plodding around on this rock in space, human beings have always been dissatisfied with their environment — which is (mostly) a good thing. Otherwise we might still live in caves, fearful of the weather and worshipping the sun. It’s dissatisfaction and curiosity which drive us to fix things that ain’t broken.

Mobile Navigation For Smashing Magazine: A Case Study

Back in spring 2013, Smashing Magazine sported a <select> menu as its mobile navigation. It wasn’t considered an anti-pattern back then and I still think it’s a viable solution to the complex problem of how to build accessible and functional cross-device navigation. Brad Frost wrote a few words about the pros and cons of this pattern on his blog and I couldn’t agree more.

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