Tag Archives: search

7 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Organic CTR Using Google Search Console

improve ctr

In a world obsessed with rankings, sometimes it’s hard for us SEOs to remember that those rankings are worthless if they’re not accompanied by a high click-through rate (CTR). Why should you care about your organic CTR? Besides the obvious benefit of increased site traffic, Google often rewards higher CTRs with higher rankings. CTRs also pay off with increased brand awareness – the higher your CTR, the higher your ranking, and the better visibility for your brand. In this article, I’ll walk you through seven ways you can use Google Search Console (GSC) to improve your organic CTR. What You’re…

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7 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Organic CTR Using Google Search Console

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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What is Web Spam?

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

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

Craft For Sketch Plugin – Designing With Real Data

Besides the user’s needs, what’s another vital aspect of an app? Your first thought might be its design. That’s important, correct, but before you can even think about the design, you need to get something else right: the data. Data should be the cornerstone of everything you create. Not only does it help you to make more informed decisions, but it also makes it easier to account for edge cases, or things you might not have thought of otherwise.

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Craft For Sketch Plugin – Designing With Real Data

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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Is App Indexing For Google Worth The Effort? A Case Study

Will the resources spent implementing app indexing for Google search be a boon or a bust for your app’s traffic? In this article, I’ll take you through a case study for app indexing at our company, the results of which may surprise you.
App indexing is one of the hottest topics in SEO right now, and in some sense for good reason. Google has only been indexing apps for everyone for a little more than two years, and with only 30% of apps being indexed there is huge potential for websites to draw additional search traffic to their apps.

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Is App Indexing For Google Worth The Effort? A Case Study

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

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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How to Master SEO for Ecommerce Product Pages