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Crisis Adaptation – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Businesses all over the globe are struggling with new challenges as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers turning to the internet for the majority of their needs, it’s never been more vital to ensure your online presence is easily found and your business updates clearly communicated.

In this special edition of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller outlines a checklist that businesses can use to meet the changing needs of consumers and improve visibility for local searches.

Bonus — We’ve adapted these tips into a free checklist you can download and share:

Get the checklist

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over crisis adaptation, and I first have to give a huge shout-out to Miriam Ellis, who really helped me package all of this up to deliver to you today.

If you’re not already following Miriam on Twitter, I highly suggest you do. She is a local SEO genius. So let’s dive right in. 

Meet your customers where they are

You often hear this phrase in marketing and in SEO about meeting your customers where they are. This might be important now more than ever because the current landscape, it’s changed so much.

Listen to your customers & understand how their needs have shifted

In order to better meet your customers where they are, you really first have to listen and understand how their needs have shifted, how have their concerns shifted. What are they searching for now? Just really paying attention and listening online to your current target market.

One of the things I also like to suggest is listen to competitive reviews. Keep an eye on competitive reviews being posted on Google and other spaces to get a gauge of how things have perhaps moved. 

Know where your audience is

This could have also shifted a bit. Whiteboard Friday’s OG, Rand Fishkin, launched SparkToro that does exactly that. So you can really deep dive into current data around what your audience is listening to, who they follow, all sorts of great stuff for you to leverage in today’s climate.

Connect with potential customers in meaningful ways

Now is a great time to reach out and engage with not only potential customers but current customer base and remind people that you are still here, you’re still serving them in various ways. So it’s really, really key.

Partner with relevant businesses

I’ve seen this do really well in some great examples of pivoting, where a fruit delivery company partnered with a bakery to include these free cakes within orders. What a great way to get some visibility for that bakery, and vice versa — they could do different things. I think it’s a great time to leverage those relationships and help one another out. I absolutely love that tip. 

Communicate all changes and updates

Now the other big, big priority right now is all around communicating changes and updates to your website visitors. So what do you need to cover?

  • Changes to hours is so important right now. It’s essential that you have that information readily visible to anyone visiting your website, if this applies to you. All forms of availability, video, curbside, no touch delivery, have that information available.
  • Any expected delays and product availability challenges. This is a really great tip too. 
  • Sanitation and any adopted safety precautions. 
  • Payment methods accepted. This can be really helpful in the transaction. 
  • Any philanthropic efforts that you’re doing to help support people in need.

I’m seeing a lot of these show up in banners and readily available information for people visiting websites. I think it’s great to consider making sure that this information is easy for people to access. 

Immediately communicate this information:

Set up online orders and catalog inventory/services

In addition to these things, set up online orders. At the very least, catalog your online inventory or services for people to still have that awareness of what you’re currently offering.

I would suggest if you’re a struggling business and you don’t want to go into a huge website build, you can absolutely check out and explore things like Squarespace or Shopify. I would have never thought I would be suggesting these platforms a year ago just because they’re not usually great for SEO reasons. But they can do a beautiful job of solving this problem so quickly, and then you can roll out V2 and V3 down the road when you’re ready to make those improvements. But I think just getting businesses off the ground is so important right now. 

Add products for free on Google Shopping

This was such a neat thing that Google offered I believe several weeks ago, and it’s doing great. What it basically does is it allows you to list products for free on Google Shopping, giving you that extra visibility right now. So if you’re an e-commerce brand, definitely check that out. 

Create maps showing delivery radiuses

Miriam had this great idea to create maps showing delivery radiuses, if that applies to you, so really giving someone visiting your site an easy to consume idea of the areas that you serve. Sometimes when you see the ZIP codes, it’s a little overwhelming. You have to do a little work. But that’s kind of a great idea. 

Routific

Then this was mentioned in a recent GatherUp webinar by Darren Shaw — Routific. So if you are doing local deliveries and they’re getting a little out of hand, Routific is a company that creates delivery routes to make them most efficient for you, which I thought was so cool.

I didn’t even know that existed. So it’s a good little tool tip. 

Double down on SEO and content marketing

I absolutely loved Mike King’s post on this — I think it was a couple weeks ago — where he explains why economic downturns favor the bold. It’s brilliant. There are incredible use cases around this, and we’ll link to that down below. 

Someone who has impressed the heck out of me the last couple of weeks is Kristin Tynski — I hope I’m saying that right — over at Fractl. She is going above and beyond to create content pieces that are not only genius but are link building opportunities, apply to various clients, and use traditional journalism tactics to gather offline, unique data to present online. I highly suggest you pay attention to what Kristin is up to. She is a genius. Kristin, we have to meet sometime. I’m a huge fan of you. Keep up the great work. 

Local & Google My Business

Now let’s dive into some GMB stuff. While this might not apply to you if you’re not a local business, I think there are still things to take away for larger companies that also either have a local listing or just to be aware of.

So here’s an example of Uptown China Restaurant, a local Chinese restaurant. It’s awesome in Queen Anne, and it’s going to be our example. So what’s the first thing? 

Correct any GMB errors

Just correct any GMB errors. Make sure that the current data shown and information is correct and up to date.

Update hours to remove warning

Then this is probably my favorite hack of all, from Joy Hawkins, about this warning that we see on all businesses currently, because of the pandemic, that says hours or services may differ. You can get this removed simply by updating your hours. How incredible is that?

So I highly suggest you just update your hours. Joy also mentioned in this webinar I keep referring to, that was so good, she suggests using the hours that you are available to take phone calls. Google has never had an issue with that, and it tends to make the most sense. So something to think about.

Respond to reviews

Now is also a great time to invest and be engaged with these reviews. I think it’s one of the most overlooked PR and marketing tactics available, where customers exploring your brand, exploring your location want to know that (a) you care and that (b) you’re going to engage with a customer and that you have a timely response. So I think it’s important to respond to reviews, especially on behalf of the business side. 

Confirm or reject any new Google My Business prompts

So we’re going to continue to see different things roll out. There were senior hours available to, I believe, grocery stores that popped up as an option. No-contact delivery. These things will always be changing. So I think it’s important to maybe put a reminder in your calendar just to keep an eye on are there any new options within Google My Business that I could activate or clarify. Google loves that, and it also helps fill out your listing better.

Update menu and product listings

What a great time to take some good, new photos. Update your menu items. I wish Uptown China Restaurant did this, and I might suggest it to them that they can add those offerings. They can add those things to really pop up on the listing and kind of make it shine.

Use Posts

Posts have always been really, really great for Google My Business listings because it gives you a big photo. It lasts for a while up here, I believe up to 14 days. It’s very prevalent when you see it. Now Google has also been offering COVID-19 posts.

There isn’t an option to add an image with the COVID-19 posts. It’s text only, but it lasts longer and it’s more prominent than a regular post. So it will show up higher in your Google My Business listing, and we’ve also seen it pop up in actual SERPs in the organic area. So pretty cool. Good to know. I suggest you doing that. You have control over the messaging. You can say whatever you would like. You can provide updated info, all that good stuff. 

Use Product Posts

So a shout-out to Darren Shaw, who noticed this.

People are getting really savvy with product posts, which again it would show up in your Google My Business listing with a big photo and a description. What he’s seen people do is basically have a photo of a car with text on it that says “No-Touch Delivery” or different service options as the product.

Google is currently letting that slide. I don’t know if that will last forever. But it’s an interesting thing to explore if you really want that visibility if someone is struggling with their business right now, and you can kind of get that to pop up on the SERPs. 

Enable text messaging

So I’ve heard from so many SEOs that this has continued to go up into the right during the pandemic, and it makes sense.

People want to just quickly get information from businesses. You can create a welcome message. So I highly suggest exploring that if that’s available to you. 

Update images

Again, I think I’ve said this like three times, but update images. It’s a great time to do that, and it can really help make your stuff pop. 

Share these tips with businesses in need!

Lastly, don’t forget to share these tips with businesses.

Understand that there are a lot of people in need right now, and if there’s anything that we can do to help, by all means let’s make all of that stuff happen. The fact is that you’re not alone. So whether you’re doing this work on behalf of a client, or you yourself or family or friends are really struggling with a business right now, there are different support groups and options as far as financial support.

We’ve created a free PDF checklist of all this information that you can download and share with any marketers, clients, or businesses in need:

Download the free checklist

I know we at Moz are going to be putting everything we have into helping you and others during this time, and so I created a form at the bottom of this post where you can fill in some information and let us know if there are specific problems that we could help with. We’re in this together.

We want to help you all as much as we can. I will be taking that very seriously and spending lots of time on replying or creating material to help individuals struggling. So please fill that out. Also, feel free to leave comments and suggestions in the comments. I think some of the best, most valuable takeaways sometimes happen in the comments where you’re either clarifying something that I said or adding something really great. I would really appreciate that. Just want to get all the good information out there so that we can help everyone out. I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and I will see you all again soon. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Five quick ways to speed up your ecommerce conversions

30-second summary:

  • Many ecommerce stores struggle to boost conversions because 75% of people abandon the cart never to return.
  • Speeding up your ecommerce conversions seems hard, but it isn’t. Using scarcity, urgency, and exclusivity to influence your potential customers into buying can significantly improve your conversions.
  • Let’s have a look at five quick and lesser-known ways to speed up ecommerce conversions.

The retail ecommerce revenues are predicted to grow to $4.88 trillion in 2021. But many ecommerce stores struggle to boost conversions because 75% of people abandon the cart never to return.  

Fortunately, there are techniques to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion rates. Let’s have a look at five quick and lesser-known ways to speed up ecommerce conversions.  

1. Understand and fill the need gap – Scarcity, urgency, and exclusivity 

Understanding scarcity, urgency, and exclusivity can be one of the best ways to influence your potential customers to make a purchase. 

While the three terms are related to one another, the way they are implemented is different.  

In scarcity, you inform customers that there are a limited number of items of a certain product left in the stock. And that you’re not sure when the product will be available next.   

In urgency, you simply add a timer that says “order within the time limit to avail the offer”. Once the deadline is over, the customer won’t get additional benefits, such as a discount or free shipping.  

Here are four ways to work around scarcity and urgency

  • Let customers know that the product is exclusive and is manufactured on small batches so they might miss a unique item by not buying it right away.  
  • Highlight that the offer ends in a few hours/days.  
  • Let shoppers know how much time is left before they miss same-day shipping.  
  • Indicate how many people have bought the product (and are viewing it in real-time) to indicate that the item is in demand. This will make buyers feel a greater urgency to purchase before it gets sold out.  

In exclusivity, you reward the customer if they make a purchase within a set timeline. Sephora, for instance, promises a free exclusive gift to customers on their birthday month. When the customer purchases something either online or in-store, they are entitled to receive a birthday gift from the brand.  

2. Reduce price shock

Most of the people abandon carts during checkout because the extra costs, such as shipping and tax, are too high. To reduce cart abandonment and improve conversions, reduce price shock.  

Is the shipping free? No. How much will it cost? Is there any tax associated with the purchase? Yes. How much will the customer have to pay?  

Let your customers know all the other prices associated with the product upfront. Don’t just add these at the time of checkout. You will need to calculate the volumetric weight for each product to display an accurate shipping price. If you ship your products internationally, you will also need to know import fees for each country you’re exporting your products to.  

You can reduce price shock by a couple of ways

  • Avoid increasing the product’s price at the last moment, that is, during checkout.  
  • Highlight shipping costs and taxes on the products page. If you can’t calculate taxes or shipping fees up front, add a disclaimer stating “shipping and tax will be calculated during checkout”.

3. Allow guest checkout

More than 26% of shoppers don’t complete their purchase because the checkout process was too long or complicated.  

Having people register on your site is great, but it can negatively impact your conversion rate. Sometimes all a customer wants is to place the order as soon as possible.  

You will have their name and email address when they complete the transaction anyway.  

Major ecommerce sites offer guest checkouts to streamline their checkout process.  

Apart from allowing customers to purchase without an account, they have also added the option to “create an account” on the checkout page.  

If you are sceptical about completely eliminating the need for the registration to complete the purchase, you can test the option for a few days to see how guest checkout impacts your conversions.  

4. Follow up on abandoned carts

It is essential to follow up with customers who browsed products, added it to their cart, and left without completing the transaction. That way, you will be able to understand the reason for cart abandonment.  

One of the best ways to follow up with potential customers is by sending emails to remind them that they have left something in their cart.  

Around 45% of people open cart abandonment emails, 21% of them click on the link, and 50% of people end up buying something. 

ThemeIsle, a sister site of CodeinWP, sent a series of three emails to users who abandoned their cart over a period of five days.  

They changed the subject line every time and saw a surge in email clicks.  

  • After 60 minutes: Subject line “Forgot something? It looks like you have items in your cart”. 
    The result: 50% of emails were opened, out of which 21% received clicks. 
  • After 24 hours: Subject line “What’s that in your shopping cart?
    The result: 41% of emails were opened, out of which 3% received clicks.
     
  • After 5 days: Subject line “Are you sure? One last reminder about the items in your cart (including a 10% welcome discount).”
  • The result: 39% of emails were opened, out of which 8% received clicks.  

When sending emails to potential customers, follow the best copywriting practices to increase the chances of conversion. Also, add the images of the products and offer incentives, such as a discount coupon or free shipping, to entice users into taking action.

GoDaddy sent me an email when I saved a domain in my cart but didn’t purchase it. The email had a promo code offering 30% off on anything new for a limited time to tempt me into purchasing a domain immediately.  

5. Highlight Your Return Policy 

Many ecommerce stores don’t highlight their return and refund policy, but you should. More than 50% of customers read the return policy before buying from a website.  

Customers want assurance from ecommerce stores that if the product isn’t as they expected, then they would get their money back. So, ensure that your return policy is clear and concise. It helps in building trust with your potential customers.   

There are two ways to highlight your return policy: 

  • Adding it on the product’s page.  
  • By creating a separate landing page that contains everything you would like your customers to know about the return policy.  

It would be great if you can leverage both ways. There is a limit to what you can include on the product’s page, so people who want to know more about the policy can visit the landing page.  

Final thoughts

Speeding up your ecommerce conversions seems hard, but it isn’t. Using scarcity, urgency, and exclusivity to influence your potential customers into buying can significantly improve your conversions.  

Allow prospects to checkout without having to create an account to streamline their buying process. Show all the price (shipping, tax, and others) right on the product’s page to reduce price shock. Follow up on abandoned carts through email and highlight your return policy to build trust and confidence with customers.  

The post Five quick ways to speed up your ecommerce conversions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The perfect SEO recipe to survive COVID-19 and the May core update

30-second summary:

  • The latest broad core algorithm update, called the May core update, is making headlines in the SEO world. 
  • It was launched early May, but all leading digital marketers and webmaster community agree that it’s one of the biggest Google algorithm updates.
  • Award-winning digital agency, MintTwist’s SEO Manager shares a bunch of tips to survive and thrive in light of the new Google update.

The latest broad core algorithm update, called the May core update, is making headlines in the SEO world. It’s the second update of 2020, but the last one didn’t cause as big of an impact as this one.  

It was launched early May, but all leading digital marketers and webmaster community agree that it’s one of the biggest Google algorithm updates.

Research of SEMrush connects this update to change in search intent after the pandemic. Queries that were once intended for just information may now be looking for a service or product on search engines.  

That’s why industries like Travel and Real Estate that were already suffering due to lockdown and restrictions were most affected by the May core update.  

On the other hand, News, Sports, and Entertainment sites saw an increase in their traffic after the release of this update. Their online channels were already booming as people have more spare time during the lockdown and May core update gave it a boost. 

Other leaders of the digital marketing world also shared their insights on this new update that wasn’t contrary to those of SEMrush and brought new information to light. His tests show that sites with the following issues faced up to 10% decrease in their traffic.

  • That don’t update old content 
  • Have thin content 
  • Have SEO errors like duplicate meta tags 

Likewise, the websites that were wary of these issues experienced growth in their traffic 

Google faced criticism from a lot of webmasters for rolling out an update during COVID-19 outbreakWhile digital marketers are offering their resources worth thousands of dollars free of cost, it released such an update to make these difficult times more difficult 

Hundreds of Webmasters shared their experience with May core update on WebmasterWorld explaining why they might have suffered or survived.  

While many messages show a negative response complaining about how their rankings have been destroyedsome reported a growth in their website traffic 

An update this big takes time to fully roll out. That’s why some websites experienced a temporary fall but got back on their position after a while.  

This reminds us that Google updates are not for penalties. They are just to ensure that all webmasters follow their exact guidelines. Only websites that fail to follow guidelines suffer consequences.  

On the other hand, websites that have built a strong and clean SEO foundation always benefit from these updates.

It means you can withstand these updates and, in fact, benefit from them. Now let’s get on to the SEO recipe to not just survive but use May core update to your advantage.  

Follow EAT guidelines

The only goal of search engine updates is to provide the best results when users search a query. Google has published comprehensive webmaster guidelines to show what it expects from a website. In order to ensure that all those guidelines are met and the user gets exactly what he expects, it keeps improving the search algorithm.  

It has released several major updates over the past decade, but was there a specific reason behind May core update? Many asked and that’s how John MuellerSenior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Googleresponded.  

Like always, they didn’t reveal how the update works and only shared some vague hints, and that was all we needed.  

Mueller said everything we need to know is in the first official tweet about the May core update, which linked to its blog about Google’s core updates. 

That blog post highlights two things: 

  • Focus on content 
  • Get to know the quality rater guidelines and E-A-T 

Some of the most important Google algorithm updates like the Panda update in 2011, Pirate update in 2012, and Fred update in 2017 are more than enough to scrutinize the quality of content.  

Next, Google wants us to focus on EATExpertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. 

  • Does your content show expertise in your niche? You will simply feed rewritten content to the visitors without any value if you are not an expert of your niche.
  • Do you have an authoritative name? Reputation is a major ranking factor in SEO. People follow brands, and so does Google.
  • Do users and Google trust you? Trusted sites easily rank – Wikipedia and Forbes are the best examples. You will always find them in top ranks even if the page has thin content.

Refresh old content

It is believed that sites with outdated content saw up to 10% decrease in their traffic after the release of the May core updateSome researches showed that sites, where old content was regularly updated, saw an increase in their traffic.

It was never a secret that Google prefers fresh content in its search engine results pages. Brian Dean listed the content freshness and magnitude of updates in his 210 Google ranking factors 

Content losses its relevance as it gets olds. Users want the latest and accurate information that is not possible with outdated pages.  

  • They are unlikely to rank and they affect the ranking of your overall site.  
  • If a page is ranked on SERP, it may lose its position if it’s not up to date.  

That’s why it’s suggested to either update or remove outdated pagesYou can ensure that almost every single one of your articles maintains top positions in SERPs for years by regularly updating content with fresh information, research, and surveys while removing unnecessary and outdated parts.  

Build highquality links

Many webmasters that suffered from May core update had lowquality backlinks. Low-quality links don’t necessarily mean comment spam or cheap directories.  

Among many other characteristics of a bad linkit includes links from sites that are irrelevant, have low authority, or the content around link is not good enough.  

Use of an irrelevant site, low authoritative site, or low-quality content as source are some of many characteristics that make a bad link. 

You should try to get backlinks from ranked articles, preferably posted by niche relevant sites. One high-quality link is considered better than a hundred low-quality backlinks.  

Furthermore, ensure that no penalised or bad site is linking to you even if you didn’t ask for it.  

Private Blog Network (PBN) is also no longer a good strategy. You can randomize footprints all you want, but Google algorithm is smart enough to identify them, and it doesn’t go unpunished.  

Publish long-form, unique content regularly 

Google asks for in-depth content and covers every aspect of the topic. You don’t always have to write a twothousandword page although it is more likely to rank.  

What you need to avoid is thin contentAutomatically generated, spun, duplicated or scraped content is classified as thin – in short, it has no value to offer to the user.  

Websites with thin content also saw a decrease in their traffic and ranks as the May core update rolled out. 

Some people use them as doorway pages, but they should never be left as they are on a site, either remove or update the pageEven John Mueller discussed this issue in one of his hangout videos and suggested to deindex thin content.

 

You should update any page that has short content or doesn’t have a keyword focus; it will give you an edge even after this new update.

Hopefully, these pointers will help you steer clear of the difficulties that the update could bring. Share your queries in the comments section. Bon appetite!

Sergio Arboledas SEO Manager at MintTwist. He can be found on Twitter @sergi_seo.

The post The perfect SEO recipe to survive COVID-19 and the May core update appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The data-driven approach to making backlink analysis decisions

30-second summary:

  • The pandora’s box opened when the link building game got out of control at some point ultimately leading to lower-quality but better-linked pages on top of search results – and that’s when Google started taking counteractions.
  • Whether you or Google like it or not, backlinks remain the crucial part of Google’s algorithm, and consequently, backlink analysis remains the most important step to organic visibility.
  • However, everyone in our industry keeps facing the same question again and again: How to tell good links from the bad ones?
  • All of the SEOs working with sites with more than 20 pages and brands with more than $200 budget know that looking at each backlink is hardly possible.
  • Is there a data-driven approach to link building? Ann Smarty helps you create a data-driven backlink analysis strategy.

Backlink analysis has always been one of the toughest tasks of digital marketers and one SEOs have never really found an agreement upon.

And Google has never been really too helpful in ending that debate once and for all.

A quick look into the history of link building

A decade or so ago Google had told us to get other webmasters to link to our pages and even provided us with a tool – PageRank Toolbar – to measure the effectiveness of our link building efforts.

That’s when the Pandora box was opened and no one has been able to close it ever since.

The link building game got out of control at some point ultimately leading to lower-quality but better-linked pages on top of search results – and that’s when Google started taking counteractions.

Penguin updates and manual penalties followed discouraging the site owners from attempting to manipulate Google’s algorithms. “Get backlinks” in Google’s guidelines was revised into “Build high-quality content”, and “link building” acquired a “spammy tactic” connotation.

Yet, no matter how much Google is trying to push away the “link building” agenda, digital businesses are unable to put it aside. In fact, the more Google is fighting bad links, the more emphasis it puts on backlink analysis and acquisition services.

Whether you (or Google) like it or not, backlinks remain the crucial part of Google’s algorithm, and consequently, backlink analysis remains the most important step to organic visibility.

In fact, backlink analysis is helpful on both fronts:

  • Identifying and removing/disavowing low-quality links, those probably sending poor signals to Google, may trip a filter and revive previously earned high rankings.
  • Identifying high-quality link acquisition methods will improve rankings.

While the importance of backlink analysis is clear to everyone who is not living under the rock, everyone in our industry keeps facing the same question again and again: How to tell good links from the bad ones?

When you look at a backlink, you can mostly tell whether it is natural and helpful. But all of the SEOs working with sites with more than 20 pages and brands with more than $200 budget know that looking at each backlink is hardly possible.

There’s simply no business implications for “tell it when I see it” concept. So what to do?

Is there a data-driven approach to link building?

I was actually inspired to write this article by stumbling across this article on data-based decision making listing multiple benefits of using data over instincts when making business decisions.

Today, the top companies around the world use data to make decisions about their business. The reason they’re leading the way is that they’ve gained a strategic advantage over their rivals simply by shifting their focus to data rather than relying on business acumen alone. 

The question is, how does this apply to link building?

Simply put, link building and backlink acquisition are crucial for any business presence and visibility in organic search results. This means they fall under the “business decisions” category which means they are basically unthinkable without data to support them.

But while we recognize the importance behind data, which data can we use to make link building and link removal decisions.

Ever since Google’s toolbar PageRank has been deprecated, marketers have no reliable ways to automatically tell a good link from a bad link.

Or do they?

Focusing on a single source of data is dangerous

Lots of marketers are content to judge a link page quality by looking at one particular source, like Moz DA.

And if you have a hard time explaining to anyone why they shouldn’t rely on any particular number, let me make it very easy for you:

None of the current numbers assessing the authority of a web page or a quality of a particular backlink comes from Google.

Do you need a more convincing argument?

It should be clear to any business owner at this point: You cannot achieve success with one of the marketing channels by 100% relying on a third-party source.

Yet, good link building data exists

In fact, when we say don’t trust numbers when it comes to link building or analysis, we mean “no one source”.

Solid link building data exists and not using it means missing valuable growth opportunities.

The smartest link building approach is about learning to combine multiple data sources and learning to identify patterns (to embrace or avoid).

There are multiple backlink research sources including link-only ones (Majesting and Link Assistant) and multi-feature platforms (SEMrush and Ahrefs). There are also newer platforms that are entering the industry that are worth looking at. Serpstat is the most recent example that claims to include one trillion backlinks for 160 million domains:

This is how different two backlink databases can be: 50% on average.

Source: Serpstat

At Internet Marketing Ninjas, for every backlink we acquire, we pull a crazy amount of data, including:

  • Number of domains referencing a linking page (based on all of these: Ahrefs, SEMrush, Majestic, and Moz)
  • Number of links from Wikipedia pointing to that domain
  • Stats on the author assigned to the linking page (number of pages they authored, number of quotations from all over the web, and more)
  • Number of .gov and .edu links pointing to the linking page
  • How many other links that page has

Again, none of those stats is useful on its own but when looking at all of those numbers, you can be pretty confident of the value of that link.

To help you create your own data-driven link building decisions, here are a few helpful tools and resources:

  • Use multiple tools. I know it may be costly but some free or freemium alternatives may help. Many of these plugins, for example, are free and lots of them include the link analysis component.
  • It’s time we rethink how we measure influencers for SEO.

Conclusion

Backlink analysis is the most misunderstood task in our industry. You will see absolute extremes floating around: From experts solely relying on Mox DA to those denying the value of any number whatsoever.

Yet, the task cannot be successfully accomplished without accumulating and assessing data, so the answer is in embracing a holistic approach, that is, using a lot of data sources and making your decisions based on all of them.

Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on twitter @seosmarty.

The post The data-driven approach to making backlink analysis decisions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Executing a Domain Migration: An Inside Look From OnLogic (Formerly Logic Supply)

Posted by ErikaOnLogic

In October 2019, our 16-year-old company rebranded from Logic Supply to OnLogic. The recovery from a traffic standpoint has been pretty smooth (and much faster than we expected), and our customers have embraced our new name and look. We want to share our story, the steps we took to prepare for this major change, and some things we learned along the way about what it takes to execute a successful domain transition (with minimal impact on organic results) in an effort to help those facing the same challenge.

Take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay.

First, a little history and background. Logic Supply was founded in 2003 as an e-commerce website that sold components and parts for small form factor computers. Over the years, the company has built up engineering and manufacturing capabilities that today allow us to offer complete industrial and ruggedized computers and technology solutions for a wide range of industries. We’ve known for almost 10 years that our ambitions would someday outgrow our name, and in 2015 we settled on a new one and began laying the groundwork for the transition.

Once we’d gotten past all the research and legal efforts related to the new name itself, we began formulating the website transition plans in 2018. This kind of project requires a long list of individual and team supporters, from the Design and Communications team who helped conceptualize and choose the name OnLogic, to the IT team who would be responsible for making sure the digital transition was executed effectively.

This piece is coming from the perspective of Erika Austin, who has worked in digital marketing for Logic Supply since 2009, with special credit to Tim van der Horst in our Netherlands office who led the roll-out of the new domain and the resulting SEO recovery efforts. Tim applied structure to all the data I had gathered in my head over the past 10 years of decision-making in SEO.

Unstructured Data / Structured Data = Erika / Tim

As I take you through the process and cite our plan, including what we did and didn’t do, as well as the decisions made along the way, you can download a copy of our Go-Live Checklist for your own reference.

Phase one: scoping and planning

I had full confidence that our team could lead a successful transition. The only thing was, I had never done this before. Few have, with the exception of our new IT director who had undergone a few brand and domain migrations in her career.

I had been working on building Logic Supply’s domain authority for 10 years, so the idea of moving to a new domain brought up a lot of questions. To help us along the way, I sought out an expert who could validate our work and answer questions if anything came up. While many of the recommendations online were people that had cited, or written for, authoritative sites such as Moz, I decided to ask Rand Fishkin, the SEO Rockstar himself, who he would recommend as a Jungle Guide for a project like this. He was kind enough to connect us with KickPoint.

Dana DiTomaso at KickPoint was able to quickly understand where we were in the process, and what we needed. Dana proved to be instrumental in validating our efforts along the way, but we were very encouraged by her assessment that our existing plan was thorough and covered the necessary steps. Admittedly, we would have been disappointed otherwise — it was a really detailed plan.

Tim outlined a six-phase project with specifications and definitions of our SEO strategy in a website migration document with an accompanying spreadsheet, complete with an RACI (responsible, accountable, consult, and inform) matrix and timeline. Tim’s plan was extremely clear, with positive outcome scenarios including possible growth as a result of the migration.

I will credit Tim again — my head was spinning with only the potential pitfalls (detailed below) of such a huge change. What about E-A-T? This new domain had no expertise, authority, or trust to it, and growth in traffic wasn’t something I had even considered. Our IT Director agreed that she had never seen that happen in her career, so we set expectations to have about a ten percent decline over six weeks before a full recovery. I squirmed a bit, but okay.

Along with traffic loss, it was important for us to lay out all the possible risks associated with this execution.

Risks

Many of the risks we faced revolved around implementation uncertainty and resource allocation on the IT side. Of the risks that were introduced, the one that I had the most reservations about was migrating our blog to a new URL path. This was decided to be too much of a risk, and we removed it from the initial plan.

*Credit to Modestos Siotos: The Website Migration Guide: SEO Strategy, Process, & Checklist

Redirect strategy for the main brand domain

To help mitigate some of the risks, we discussed options for an overlay notifying customers of the change. But as much as we wanted to get customers excited about our new name and look, we didn’t want it to be too disruptive or be penalized for a disruptive interstitial.

The more we spoke to customers leading up to the big changeover, the more we realized that — while this was a big deal to us — it ultimately didn’t impact them, as long as they could still expect the high quality products and support they’d come to know us for. We ended up implementing a persistent banner on every page of the site that pointed to a page about the brand evolution, but we didn’t choose to force users into interacting with that modal.

Phase two: pre-launch preparation

Technical SEO specification

At this point in the project, we realized we had an XML sitemap that would change, but that we wanted the old sitemaps around to help reinforce the transition in Google Search Console. We also determined that an HTML sitemap would help in laying out our structure. We were six months out from our brand transition, so any changes we wanted to make to our website had to be made ASAP.

So, we cleaned up our URL structure, removing many of the existing server redirects that weren’t being used or followed much anymore by only keeping links from our referral traffic.

We also created more logical URL paths to show relationships, for example:

/products/industrial-computers/ >> /computers/industrial/

/products/rugged-computers/ >> /computers/rugged/

And updated the redirects to point to the right end path without following redirect chains:

Technical CMS specification

When doing a migration to a new domain, the depth and complexity of the technical CMS specification really depends on if you are migrating your existing platform or switching to a new one. The CMS of choice in our case didn’t change from the previous, which made our lives a little easier. We were porting our existing website over to the new domain as-is. It would mostly come down to content at this stage in the plan.

Content updates

One of the most important things at this step was to make sure our content was displaying our new brand properly. Essentially, we planned for a “simple” find/replace:

Find: *Logic Supply*

Replace: *OnLogic*

We took inventory of every attribute and field on our website that mentions the company, and applied the change across the board: descriptions, short descriptions, meta titles, meta descriptions, manufacturer, etc.

At one point we asked ourselves, “What do we do with press releases or past content that says ‘Logic Supply’? Should that be replaced with ‘OnLogic’?” In the end, we decided to exclude certain parts of the website from the script (articles, events, news from our past), but made sure that all the links were updated. We didn’t have to bury Logic Supply as a brand name, as there would be an advantage in having references to this name during the period of transition to remind customers we’re still the same company.

During this phase, we prepared what needed to be changed in Google Ads, such as headlines, descriptions, URLs, sitelinks, and videos. We ramped up our paid search budget for both terms “Logic Supply” and “OnLogic”, and prioritized pages and keywords to elevate in Google Ads in case the domain change did have an impact on our core keyword rankings.

Priority page identification

Since the intent of our migration was to port our existing platform over to a new domain and make very few changes in the process, we didn’t have to list pages we would have to prioritize over others. What we did do was think about external factors that would impact our SEO, and how to limit this impact for our biggest referral traffic sources and top ranking pages.

External Links

We compiled a spreadsheet to help us address, and ideally update, backlinks to our former domain. The categories and data sources are worth noting:

Backlinks: We downloaded all of our backlinks data compiled from SEMRush and Google Search.

Referral traffic and top organic landing pages: This list was pulled from Google Analytics to determine high-traffic, priority pages we’d need to monitor closely after the transition. It also helped to prioritize links that were actively being used.

Partners: We wrote to each of our partners and suppliers about the changes in advance, and asked them to make updates to the links on their websites by certain deadlines. I was delighted to see how quickly this was implemented — a testament to our amazing partners.

Publishers: Anywhere we had a mention in a news story or website that we thought could be updated, we reached out via email at go-live. We did decide at some point we couldn’t erase our history as www.logicsupply.com, but we could at least let those contacts know we had changed. There were a few direct placement advertisements we also had to update.

Directories: We used various internet resources, and a great deal of Googling, to identify business, product, or industry directories that pointed to our old domain and/or used our old name. I hate that directories still have a place in SEO these days, since they date back to the early ages of the internet, but we wanted to cover our bases.

Redirect specification

Redirect mapping

When you’re performing a domain migration, one of the most important things for sustaining organic traffic is to help Google — and any search engine — understand that a page has moved to a new location. One way to do this is with a permanent (301) redirect.

So began our redirect mapping. Our migration scenario was fortunate in the sense that everything remained the same as far as URL structure goes. The only thing that changed was the domain name.

The final redirect map (yes, it’s the world’s most complicated one, ever) was:

logicsupply.com/* -> onlogic.com/*

Internal link redirects

As IT had their redirection mapping server-side prepared, we needed to make sure our internal links weren’t pointing to a 301 redirect, as this would hurt our SEO. Users had to be sent straight to the correct page on the new domain.

Objective: update all links on the site’s content to point to the new domain. Below is the “find/replace” table that our IT team used to help us update all the content for the transition to onlogic.com:

We also launched an HTML sitemap as soon as possible under logicsupply.com after our URL restructure, six months prior to launch.

Contingency plan

We took 15 weeks to prepare, test, and get comfortable with the migration. Once live, there is no going back. Executing thoroughly and exactly on the plan and checking every box is the only approach. So in short: there was no contingency plan. Whatever happened, once we switched domains, that was it.

GULP.

Phase two ended when we started to move away from the specifications and into exactly what needed to happen, and when. We used our Go-Live Checklist to make sure that we had every box checked for creative needs, third party integrations, and to configure file review. Making the checklist highly detailed and accurate was the only way to make sure we succeeded.

Phase three: pre-launch testing

To kick off phase three, we had to get a baseline of where we were at. We had a few errors to correct that had been outstanding in Google Search Console, like submitting noindex links through our XML sitemap. This project also alerted us to the fact that, if everything went well, site speed would be our next project to tackle.

Content review

As content wouldn’t change except for “Logic Supply” becoming “OnLogic”, we didn’t really have to do a lot of reviewing here. We did extensively test the find/replace functionality in the go-live scripts to make sure everything looked as it was supposed to, and that the sections we chose to exclude were in fact left untouched. Updated designs were also part of this review.

Technical review

The technical review involved checking everything we had planned out in the second phase, so making sure redirects, sitemaps, links, and scripts were working and crawlable. IT implemented all server-side conditions, and set up the new domain to work internally for all testing tasks that needed to be executed. Again, the checklist was leading in this endeavor.

Redirect testing

Using ScreamingFrog, we crawled both the sitemaps as well as the staging website we had internally launched for testing purposes — hidden away from the outside world. Any redirect errors that appeared were resolved on the spot.

Site launch risk assessment

Risk assessment was a continuous activity throughout the testing. We had a go or no-go decision prior to go-live, as we couldn’t go back once we flipped the switch on the domain migration. Everything that popped up as an error or flag we swiftly assessed and decided whether to mitigate or ignore for the sake of time. Surprisingly, very few things came up, so we could quickly begin the benchmarking process.

Benchmarking

The template above was what we used to track our site speed before and after. Our benchmarks were consistent between the website before and after our staged migration using both Lighthouse and GTMetrix, meaning we were on track for our go-live date.

Phase four: go-live!

The least impactful day to make this change was over the weekend, because as a B2B company, we’ve noticed that our customers tend to be online during regular office hours.

Our team in the Netherlands, including Tim, flew in to support, and our IT and marketing teams dedicated a Saturday to the migration. It also happened to be my birthday weekend, so I was excited to be able to celebrate with my colleagues while they were in town, and in turn celebrate them for all their hard work!

So, on Saturday, October 19, 2019, around 8 a.m., IT confirmed we were good to go and the maintenance page was up. This was returning a “503 — service temporarily unavailable” server response to make sure Google wouldn’t index our site during the migration.

It was at this point in the process that our Go-Live Checklist took over. It was a lot of work up front, but all of this preparation made the final execution of the domain transition a matter of a few clicks to move and/or publish items.

Among all our other tasks, we updated our page title suffix, which was previously “Logic Supply”, to “Logic Supply is now OnLogic” (today it’s “OnLogic formerly Logic Supply”). This was an indication to Google that we were the same company.

The hardest part was the waiting.

Phases five and six: post-launch and performance review

I had planned to camp out next to my computer for the next few days to watch for problems, but nothing surfaced right away. While organic traffic did take an expected dip, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic or prolonged as we’d been warned it might be. We are still seeing logicsupply.com indexed months later, which is frustrating, but doesn’t seem to be affecting our traffic on the new domain.

Overall, we view our website transition as a success. Our traffic returned to where we were and we surpassed our project benchmarks for both traffic and site performance.

Following the move, we looked for follow-on opportunities to help improve our site speed, including identifying inactive or out-of-date plugins from our blog. Our blog made up at least 40 percent of our organic traffic, so this change made our site faster and helped to reach our organic growth recovery goals in less than six weeks.

We are constantly looking at and prioritizing new opportunities to improve the website experience for our customers, and make doing business with OnLogic as easy as possible. The domain change project was a huge undertaking by the entire organization, and required a great deal of planning and constant communication and collaboration to pull off. That said, the time spent up-front was paid back twice over in the time saved recovering our organic traffic, and making things seamless for our website users to ensure everyone could carry on with business-as-usual.

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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Top three marketing trends for the COVID-19 era

30-second summary:

  • The COVID-19 era dramatically impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust. 
  • If you want to stay on top of whats going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are. 
  • Founder and CEO of  Teknicks, Nick Chasinov, shares three marketing trends that can help businesses meet consumer demand and capitalize on the industry dynamics.

Today, marketing shifts happen without warning and seemingly overnight. The novel coronavirus caused the initial wave, and now the industry is impacted by the surf. People under stay-at-home orders are spending more time online, leading to Facebook traffic spikes, Google search adjustments, and the rise in popularity of social channels like TikTok. The COVID-19 era impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust. 

Before the internet, changes in the marketing space occurred at a glacial pace. Marketers would develop best practices for the rare emergence of a new channel and stick to them for a long time. For example, TV induced the creation of video commercials in the late 1940s, but those advertisements remained mostly unchanged for decades. 

However, the most successful marketing campaigns of all time leveraged new innovative marketing strategies. If you want to stay on top of whats going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are. Here are three marketing trends that apply during the COVID-19 era: 

1. Featured snippets

Search evolves quickly, and thats made even more evident by how were searching amid the COVID-19 era. People have specific questions they want answers for, such as Can I freeze milk? or Does X restaurant deliver?”. Because of this, featured snippets — boxed search results that appear at the top of the screen — are extremely coveted. 

These spots provide instantaneous answers to user queries, and they provide more than a twofold increase in click-through rate, which means more traffic and potential leads than the piece that ranks in the coveted number-one position on the SERPs. Additionally, in a 2019 search algorithm update, Google announced that it would prioritize high-quality educational, authoritative, and trustworthy content over traditional SEO factors like keyword density. Marketing and advertising professionals need to be aware of how this trend will impact the industry moving forward. 

If you want to land a featured snippet, create content that answers very specific questions relevant to your audience (especially questions for which the current featured snippet is held by a low-authority webpage). Definitions, tables, step-by-step types, and lists are the four most common types of featured snippets. If youre wondering what people are looking for right now, check out current coronavirus-related search trends. 

2. Mobile optimization

While quarantined, more and more people are turning to home delivery, video games, online shopping, and social media. Despite the economic downturn, retail jumped 34%, and large companies like Amazon are hiring more employees in order to keep up. The coronavirus is having a huge impact on ecommerce. 

There are more mobile browsers than ever before, yet desktop conversion rates are almost double what they are on mobile platforms. Current events and Googles 2018 decision to make site speed a factor in page rank underscore the urgency of a lightning-fast browsing experience. A site that takes just one second longer to load can reduce conversions by 7%, while sub-second load times boost conversion by 15% to 30%.

Now is the time to invest in a new mobile website built with user-friendly formats. Progressive web apps, for example, can give your brands website app-like speed, instant logins, and seamless page transitions. PWAs speed up the purchasing process when used in conjunction with accelerated mobile pages and server-side rendering. Not only will your customers have a better mobile experience, but theyll also have a more pleasant time shopping. 

2. Shoppable social

Since everyone began practising social distancing, social media has seen a huge uptick in traffic. In particular, Instagram has been buzzing with new trends like Dalgona coffee, house party, fitness videos, and more. If youre a marketer for a small to midsize brand, you should consider creating shoppable posts to meet people where they are. 

A few years ago, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms began enabling consumers to make in-app purchases by clicking a call to action in a post. In-app purchases allow social media users to buy products theyre interested in without ever leaving their feeds. 

Marketers were initially sceptical about the strategy, but these posts are here to stay. One study showed that 72% of Instagram users have purchased something on the platform. This marketing technology trend is the lifeblood of influencers who monetize their personal styles and promote other brands. Next time you post a flat lay to Instagram, tag products from the share screen. Your customers will appreciate the easy access, and youll be able to collect data on your buyers, which you can use to create other targeted shoppable social posts. 

If youre not sure where to focus your marketing efforts amidst the COVID-19 era, start with one of these three trends. Its time to meet consumer demand and capitalize on the growing momentum of these marketing methods.

Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of  Teknicks, a research-based internet marketing agency certified by Google in Analytics, Tag Manager, and a Google Premier AdWords partner.

The post Top three marketing trends for the COVID-19 era appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Google Alerts for Link Building: A Quick and Easy Guide

Posted by David_Farkas

If you’re a link builder, you know how tough it can be to persuade other site owners to link to your site with “out-of-the-blue” pitches. This is true even if you have great content or have been building links for years.

That’s why the mantra “link building is relationship building” exists. Often, before you build a link, you have to build a relationship with the site owner first. This means anything from following them on Twitter, commenting mindfully on their posts, writing emails to them to discuss their content without pitching links, etc. It’s a productive strategy, but also a time-intensive one.

However, there’s another — relatively quick — link building strategy. 

Is your ear itching? If you’re the superstitious type, this means that someone is talking about you.

Sometimes a webmaster will publish your brand name, products, or target keywords on their site without actually linking to your site. In SEO, these are known as “fresh mention” opportunities. These are typically some of the easiest link building opportunities available, since you don’t really have to explain yourself to the site owner. Mostly, you just have to ask them to put an <a href> tag in the code.

But how do you find these fresh mentions? There are multiple methods and tools, but today I’m going to highlight the one I use most often: Google Alerts.

Google Alerts is beneficial in a myriad of ways beyond the world of link building and SEO, but there’s no doubt that it’s the best way to stay on top of your fresh mention opportunities. Allow me to explain how you can use it!

Setting up Google Alerts

First off, the obvious: you need the correct link. To start using Google Alerts, head over to Google Alerts. You can technically set up alerts without a Gmail account, but I would recommend having one. If you don’t have one, click here to find out how to set one up.

When you have an account set up and land on Google Alerts, you will see a page that looks like this:

No, there’s not much to see. Not yet anyway.

Let’s take a basic example. Say you want to create an alert for mentions of link building. Simply type the phrase into the bar at the top.

You will see something similar to the image above, even before you click on anything else. The first box asks for which email address you want to receive the alerts (I’ve erased mine for the purpose of this article, but trust me, it’s there). Below that will be examples of recent alerts for your query.

Click the “Create Alert” button, and alerts will be sent to your selected inbox going forward. However, you can customize a few settings before you do so. Click the “Show options” dropdown next to the button to see a list of settings you can adjust:

Each item is auto-filled with the default setting. You can adjust the settings so that you only get alerts from specific regions, for certain types of content, and more. In general, I have found the default settings to suffice, but there are valid reasons you might want to change them (if you’re only interested in video content, for example).

When you’re done with the settings, you can create the alert!

Google Alert tips

Quotation Marks

From that point on, assuming you stuck with the default option of once-a-day emails, you’ll get an email every 24 hours that looks like this:

Notice the returns in this example include pages that talk about each individual word from your query (in this example the word “link” and the word “building”). Obviously, this isn’t helpful, and it’s a waste of time to sift through these results.

So, how can you make sure that you only get results for an exact phrase? Quotation marks!

I (intentionally) made this mistake when setting up this alert. Notice in the image from the first section that “link building” didn’t include quotation marks around it. Without them, Google Alerts will return results like the ones in the image above.

The quotation marks indicate that you’re looking for an exact match of that phrase, so when you set up an alert using them you will get something that looks like this:

Much better, right?

Note that you can combine terms with and without quotation marks in one alert. Say for example I was looking for content related to link building around images. Instead of “link building images,” a phrase not likely to occur too often, I could use:

This will return results that include both the exact phrase “link building” AND the term “images”.

Set up multiple alerts

If you’re using Google Alerts for link building, I recommend setting up more than one alert. Consider some of the following:

  • Your brand name
  • Your products or services
  • Your focus keywords
  • Personalities associated with your brand

If you’re concerned about all the emails flooding your inbox, adjust the settings to decrease the frequency or stagger delivery days. You can also set up a separate Gmail account that only serves to receive these emails. I personally find the former to be the better option, but I know people who do the latter.

Consider setting up alerts for your competitors as well. Doing so may give you a window into their link building and publicity strategies that you can learn from. Along with that, you might find new potential target sites that aren’t mentioning you. If they mention your competitor, it’s likely they are relevant to your niche.

Also include common misspellings of any of the list items above. While Google’s algorithm is typically smart enough to correct such misspellings in its search, a few valuable results may seep through even still.

Conclusion

Google Alerts can be helpful for other purposes other than link building. Certainly, if you’re engaged in an online reputation management campaign, they’re a necessity. Some use Alerts to track the kind of publicity their competitors are getting as well.

There are other excellent link building tools out there that can complement your “fresh mention” strategy if you are a link builder, but Google Alerts is an essential. I hope you find Google Alerts as helpful for link building as I have. If you have other tools or suggestions, please mention them in the comments below.

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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Three Steps to a Better-Performing About Page

Posted by AnnSmarty

Somehow, many businesses I’ve come across online have one glaring problem in common: a very weak and unconvincing About Us page.

This doesn’t make any sense in my mind, as the About page is one of the most important brand assets, and unlike link building and social media marketing, it doesn’t require any ongoing effort or investment.

An About page is often part of a buying journey. It can drive people to your site and help convince them to deal with you. And, in these uncertain times, you can use it to help build trust in you and your business.

Creating a solid About page is a one-time task, but it will boost both brand loyalty and conversions for many months to come.

Why is your About page so important?

It is often an entry page

Whether you’re a business owner or blogger, your About page tends to rank incredibly well for brand-driven search queries (those that contain your name or your brand name). If nothing else, it shows up in your sitelinks:

Or your mini-sitelinks:

This means your customers will often enter your site through your About page. Is it making a good first impression to convince them to browse your site further (or engage)?

Let’s not forget that branded queries have high intent, because people typing your brand name in the search box already know you or have heard about your products. Failing to meet their needs equals a missed opportunity.

It is often a conversion trigger (and more)

How often have you checked a business’s About page before buying anything from them? I always do, especially if it’s a new brand I haven’t heard of before.

Or maybe it’s not even about buying.

Anytime someone approaches me with a quote or an interview request, I always check their About page. I refuse to deal with bloggers who don’t take themselves seriously.

Likewise, I often look to the About page when trying to find a press contact to feature a tool in my article.

On a personal level, I always open an About page to find a brand’s social media profiles when I want to follow them.

A lack of a detailed, well-structured About page often means leaked conversions as well as missed backlinks or follows.

It is an important entity optimization asset

We don’t know exactly how Google decides whether a site can be considered a brand, but we have well-educated theories so we can help Google in making this decision. The About page is a perfect entity optimization asset.

First, what we know: An About page is mentioned in Google’s human rating guidelines as one of the ways to determine the “expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness”, or E-A-T, of any page.

Human raters don’t have a direct impact on search results, but their assessments are used to teach Google’s algorithm to better rank pages. So if the About page comes up in their guidelines, it’s likely they use it as a ranking signal.

Second, Google is using information you choose to put on your About page to put your business inside their knowledge base, so it’s important to include as much detail as you can.

With all of this in mind, how should you put together a great About page?

1. Start strong

This step is not unique to this particular page, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

Treat your About page as a business card: People should be willing to learn more as soon as they see it. Your page should be eye-catching and memorable, and grab attention at first sight without the need to scroll down.

For example, Cisco starts with a powerful picture and message:

Nextiva starts with their main tagline:

Slack tells us exactly what they are doing and sums up its most impressive stats:

Telling your brand’s story is a great way to make your About page more memorable and relatable. Terminus does a very good job at starting their page with some history about the company that leaves you wanting to know more:

And Zoom starts with a video and a list of the company’s values:

Starting your page with a quick, attention-grabbing video is probably the best idea because video has been proven to convince visitors to linger a little bit longer and start engaging with the page.

You can create a short and professional video within minutes using web-based video editors like InVideo (in fact, InVideo is probably the most affordable solution I’m aware of).

To create a video intro using InVideo:

  • Pick a template
  • Upload your images and videos (or use the ones inside the platform)
  • Edit subtitles to tell your brand’s story
  • Add music or a voiceover

It’ll take you just 30 minutes to create a captivating video to put on your landing page:

2. Link your brand to other entities

With all that Google-fueled nonsense going around about nofollowing external links, or even linking out in general, marketers and bloggers tend to forget about one important thing: A link is the only way for Google to crawl the web.

More than that, Google needs links to:

  • Understand how well-cited (and hence authoritative) any page is
  • Create a map of sites, entities behind them, and concepts they represent

This is where linking out to other “entities” (e.g. brands, organizations, places, etc.) is so important: it helps Google identify your place within their own knowledge base.

To give you some ideas, make sure to link to:

  • Your company’s professional awards
  • Your featured mentions
  • Conferences you were/are speaking at

For personal blogs, feel free to include references to your education, past companies you worked for, etc.

To give you a quick example of how useful this may turn out to be, here’s my own Google Knowledge Graph:



How did I get it?

To start, “Shorty Awards” is Google’s recognized entity. When I was nominated, I linked to that announcement from my blog, so Google connected me to the entity and generated a branded Knowledge Graph.

This nomination is hardly my only — or even most notable — accomplishment, but that’s all Google needed to put me on the map.

Google may know you exist, but without making a connection to a known entity, you can’t become one yourself. So start by making those associations using your About page.

To help Google even more, use semantic analysis to create copy containing related concepts and entities:

  • Register at Text Optimizer and type in your core keyword (something that describes your business model/niche in the best possible way)
  • Choose Google and then “New Text”

Text Optimizer will run your query in Google, grab search snippets, and apply semantic analysis to generate the list of related concepts and entities you should try and include in your content. This will make it easier for Google to understand what your business is about and what kinds of associations it should be building:

Using some structured markup is also a good idea to help Google connect all the dots. You can point Google to your organization’s details (date it was founded, founder’s name, type of company, etc.) as well as some more details including official social media channels, awards, associated books, and more.

Here are a few useful Schema generators to create your code:

  • Technicalseo.com
  • Hallanalysis.com

For WordPress users, here are a few plugins to help with Schema integration.

3. Include your CTA

Most About pages I’ve had to deal with so far have one issue in common: It’s unclear what users are supposed to do once they land there.

Given the page role in the buying journey (customers may be entering your site through it or using it as a final research touchpoint), it is very important to help them proceed down your conversion channel.

Depending on the nature of your business, include a CTA to:

  • Request a personal demo
  • Contact you
  • Check out your catalogue
  • Talk to your chatbot
  • Opt-in to receive your downloadable brochure or newsletter

Apart from your CTAs, there are helpful ways to make your About page easier to navigate from. These include:

  • Breadcrumb navigation
  • “Skip” navigation links (which are essential for accessibility, too)

Whatever you do, start treating your About page as a commercial landing page, not just a resource for information about your business. Turn it into a conversion funnel, and this includes monitoring that funnel.

On WordPress, you can set up each link or button on your About page as an event to track using Finteza’s plugin. This way, you’ll be able to tell which of those CTAs bring in more customers and which are leaking conversions.

Finteza allows you to keep a close eye on your conversion funnel and analyze its performance based on traffic source, user location, and more.

For example, here’s us tracking all kinds of “Free Download” buttons. It’s obvious that the home page has many more entries, but the About page seems to do a better job at getting its visitors to convert:

[I am using arrows to show “leaked” clicks. The home page us obviously losing more clicks than the “About” page]

You can absolutely use Google Analytics to analyze your conversion funnel and user journeys once they land on your About page, but it will require some setup. For help, read about Google Analytics Attribution and Google Analytics Custom Dimensions — both resources are helpful in uncovering more insights with Google Analytics, beyond what you would normally monitor.

Like any other top- and middle-of-the-funnel pages, you’re welcome to reinforce your CTA by using social proof (recent reviews, testimonials, featured case studies, etc.). Here are a few ideas for placing testimonials.

Takeaways

Creating and optimizing your About page is a fairly low-effort initiative, especially if you compare it with other marketing tasks. Yet it can bring about several positive changes, like more trust in your brand and better conversion rates.

You should treat this page as a business card: It needs to create a very good impression in an instant. Put something attention-grabbing and engaging in the above-the-fold area — for example, a quick video intro, a tagline, or a photo.

Consider using links, semantic analysis, and structured markups to help Google associate your brand with other niche entities, and put it into its knowledge base.

Add CTAs (and experiment with different kinds of CTAs) to prompt your page visitors to follow your conversion funnel. An About page is often an underestimated, yet a very important part of your customers’ buying journeys, so make sure it’s clear where you want them to proceed.

Thanks for reading, hope it was helpful, let me know your thoughts/questions in the comments. Let’s discuss!

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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How Twitter is contributing to support masses during the Coronavirus outbreak

30-second summary:

  • When it’s about spreading information, social media platforms are the biggest medium.
  • As search and social giants are providing special measures, this article takes a look at what Twitter has done to support people around the globe during these testing times.
  • Twitter condemned any spread of misleading information on its platform.
  • Twitter further donated a million dollars to support journalism during the pandemic.
  • More details on all these and a list of reliable Twitter accounts you can follow for accurate information.

The Coronavirus pandemic has created some unusual times and as we know unusual times call for extraordinary measures. As search and social giants are providing special measures, this article takes a look at what Twitter has done to support people around the globe during these testing times.

The role of social media during the pandemic

Social media platforms account to entertain almost 4.6 billion people from all around the world. The leading platforms Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are among the top contributor to creating a well-connected platform for active users. News and updates spread within second on these platforms reaching to millions, fastest than the one broadcasted through television channels. So, when it’s about spreading information, social media platforms are the biggest medium.  

At present, every single platform is making their efforts to creating the safest channel to spread information and to soothe the people down while guiding them about the havocs of the pandemic and ways through which they can save themselves. In this struggle, let’s discuss the role of Twitter, one of the most crowded social media platforms. 

How Twitter is taking care of its users

Twitter is a free platform to socialize. With the use of hashtags and a seamless interface, users are connected with each other despite the region they belong to. During the first three months of 2020, active users on Twitter maximized which reflects its authenticity and positioning among the active social media users. In fact, Twitter ad engagement is up 23%.

With the onset of the pandemic, social media platforms have to face a number of accusations. One of the most important accusations was the spread of false information. 

Banned misinformation from the platform

Twitter condemned any spread of misleading information on its platform. As the platform entertains millions of users, the spread of misinformation was creating panic among the users and misleading them regarding the seriousness of the Pandemic. At last, the microblogging platform got updated and any information that was verified as false or manipulative gets instantly deleted. Much like Facebook, the platform began to promote information by verifying it from credible sources. Whether it’s about the global healthcare spending statistic or the count of infected patients around the world, the accurate numbers began to spread. 

Twitter tweet

Source: Twitter Safety Status

Among the prominent aspects been observed to banning the content involved untrue information about the affected ones, reasons that triggered the virus claims about specific religious groups or communities getting prone to the disease, racism, and discrimination. Anything related to these aspects gets deleted and banned in an instant. 

Apart from this, Twitter authorities also informed about efforts being taken to automate the removal of abusive and manipulated posts. With the help of machine learning, the platform gets scrutinize and any content that can cause harm to an individual gets restricted to share or post. In the following words, the authorities made their claim about the updates, “As we’ve said on many occasions, our approach to protecting the public conversation is never static. That’s particularly relevant in these unprecedented times. We intend to review our thinking daily and will ensure we’re sharing updates here on any new clarifications to our rules or major changes to how we’re enforcing them,” 

Twitter Donates a million dollars to support journalism during the pandemic

Just when the news about banning misleading information on Twitter was making the headlines, Twitter released a new update about its contribution. The platform is donating a million dollars to two organizations The International Women’s Media Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists to report authentic news about the COVID-19 pandemic. It proves to be a great step in keeping the world safe from the pandemic any guiding more and more people about ways to prevent getting affected. The journalist will shed light on all the stories that can prove to be helpful in fighting the outbreak. 

As journalists are playing a major role in getting into the government and healthcare sectors and scooping out authentic and rich information about the Coronavirus, it’s imperative to appreciate and help them. Journalists all around the world are among the front line warriors to defeat the pandemic and making it easier for people like us to get the updates. Considering their efforts, Twitter stepped forward to support them and help them in gathering news more efficiently 

Best Twitter accounts to follow during the pandemic

Twitter can help you out in many ways to overcome the stress of the isolation or to pas days of being quarantined. To those who are looking for authentic accounts to grab information and updated about the pandemic, they must follow the below-listed accounts.  

The accounts of Dr. Sylvie Briandand of Dr. Kate Lovett who share the most authentic updates about the pandemic and steps to prevent it. 

Twitter accounts to follow during pandemic

If you want to seek professional advice about the common health issues you are experiencing you can get the updates from the account of David Juurlink. He explains and talks about the symptoms and ways to prevent them. 

Apart from all of these accounts, the organizations are also contributing to connecting with the people. You can also opt for the U.S. FDA Twitter handle.

Twitter accounts to follow US NDA

If you want to kill your time, you can find some great entertaining accounts as well. Like the one of Tret Andrew who is literally sharing his day’s updates with the followers connecting with them after every few hours. Or you can tune in to the house party session of Z THE DOM and stir more fun to your day.  

Wrap up  

Whether it’s about Twitter or any other platform, efforts are being made to prevent the Coronavirus outbreak and guide people to stay calm and prepared to handle any healthcare urgency. With such unparalleled efforts of every platform and organization, the world will soon be free from the havocs of this COVID-19 pandemic.  

The post How Twitter is contributing to support masses during the Coronavirus outbreak appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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5 Common Objections to SEO (& How to Respond) – Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KameronJenkins

With marketing budgets taking a hit under the economic strain of COVID-19, advocating for the value SEO can bring to a struggling business is a new take on an old battle. This popular Whiteboard Friday episode by Kameron Jenkins covers five common objections you’ll hear to SEO and how to counter them with smart, researched, fact-based responses — an important skill to brush up on now more than ever.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and today we’re going to be going through five common objections to SEO and how to respond. Now I know, if you’re watching this and you’re an SEO, you have faced some of these very objections before and probably a lot of others.

This is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure you’ve faced a ton of other objections, whether you’re talking to a potential client, maybe you’re talking to your friend or your family member. A lot of people have misunderstandings about SEO and that causes them to object to wanting to invest in it. So I thought I’d go through some of the ones that I hear the most and how I tend to respond in those situations. Hopefully, you’ll find that helpful.

1. “[Other channel] drives more traffic/conversions, so it’s better.”

Let’s dive in. The number one objection I hear a lot of the time is this other channel, whether that be PPC, social, whatever, drives more traffic or conversions, therefore it’s better than SEO. I want to respond a few different ways depending. 

Success follows investment

So the number one thing I would usually say is that don’t forget that success follows investment.

So if you are investing a lot of time and money and talent into your PPC or social and you’re not really doing much with organic, you’re kind of just letting it go, usually that means, yeah, that other channel is going to be a lot more successful. So just keep that in mind. It’s not inherently successful or not. It kind of reflects the effort you’re putting into it.

Every channel serves a different purpose

Number two, I would say that every channel serves a different purpose. You’re not going to expect social media to drive conversions a lot of the time, because a lot of the time social is for engagement. It’s for more top of the funnel. It’s for more audience development. SEO, a lot of the time that lives at your top and mid-funnel efforts. It can convert, but not always.

So just keep that in mind. Every channel serves a different purpose. 

Assists vs last click only

The last thing I would say, kind of dovetailing off of that, is that assists versus last click only I know is a debate when it comes to attribution. But just keep in mind that when SEO and organic search doesn’t convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually assists in the process. So look at your assisted conversions and see how SEO is contributing.

2. “SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads.”



The number two objection I usually hear is SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads. To that, I would respond with a question. 

What SERPs are you looking at? 

It really depends on what you’re querying. If you’re only looking at those bottom funnel, high cost per click, your money keywords, absolutely those are monetized.

Those are going to be heavily monetized, because those are at the bottom of the funnel. So if you’re only ever looking at that, you might be pessimistic when it comes to your SEO. You might not be thinking that SEO has any kind of value, because organic search, those organic results are pushed down really low when you’re looking at those bottom funnel terms. So I think these two pieces of research are really interesting to look at in tandem when it comes to a response to this question.

I think this was put out sometime last year by Varn Research, and it said that 60% of people, when they see ads on the search results, they don’t even recognize that they’re ads. That’s actually probably higher now that Google changed it from green to black and it kind of blends in a little bit better with the rest of it. But then this data from Jumpshot says that only about 2% to 3% of all search clicks go to PPC.

So how can these things coexist? Well, they can coexist because the vast majority of searches don’t trigger ads. A lot more searches are informational and navigational more so than commercial. 

People research before buying

So just keep in mind that people are doing a lot of research before buying.

A lot of times they’re looking to learn more information. They’re looking to compare. Keep in mind your buyer’s entire journey, their entire funnel and focus on that. Don’t just focus on the bottom of the funnel, because you will get discouraged when it comes to SEO if you’re only looking there. 

Better together

Also, they’re just better together. There are a lot of studies that show that PPC and SEO are more effective when they’re both shown on the search results together for a single company.

I’m thinking of one by Seer, they did right now, that showed the CTR is higher for both when they’re on the page together. So just keep that in mind. 

3. “Organic drives traffic, just not the right kind.”

The number three objection I hear a lot is that organic drives traffic, just not the right kind of traffic. People usually mean a few different things when they say that. 

Branded vs non-branded

Number one, they could mean that organic drives traffic, but it’s usually just branded traffic anyway.

It’s just people who know about us already, and they’re searching our business name and they’re finding us. That could be true. But again, that’s probably because you’re not investing in SEO, not because SEO is not valuable. I would also say that a lot of times this is pretty easily debunked. A lot of times inadvertently people are ranking for non-branded terms that they didn’t even know they were ranking for.

So go into Google Search Console, look at their non-branded queries and see what’s driving impressions and clicks to the website. 

Assists are important too

Number two, again, just to say this one more time, assists are important too. They play a part in the eventual conversion or purchase. So even if organic drives traffic that doesn’t convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually plays a role.

It can be highly qualified

Number three, it can be highly qualified. Again, this is that following the investment thing. If you are actually paying attention to your audience, you know the ways they search, how they search, what terms they search for, what’s important to your brand, then you can bring in really highly qualified traffic that’s more inclined to convert if you’re paying attention and being strategic with your SEO.

4. “SEO takes too long”

Moving on to number four, that objection I hear is SEO takes too long. That’s honestly one of the most common objections you hear about SEO. 

SEO is not a growth hack

In response to that, I would say it’s not a growth hack. A lot of people who are really antsy about SEO and like “why isn’t it working right now” are really looking for those instant results.

They want a tactic they can sprinkle on their website for instant whatever they want. Usually it’s conversions and revenue and growth. I would say it’s not a growth hack. If you’re looking at it that way, it’s going to disappoint you. 

Methodology + time = growth

But I will say that SEO is more methodology than tactic. It’s something that should be ingrained and embedded into everything you do so that over time, when it’s baked into everything you’re doing, you’re going to achieve sustained growth.

So that’s how I respond to that one. 

5. “You can’t measure the ROI.”

Number five, the last one and probably one of the most frustrating, I’m sure this is not exclusive to SEO. I know social hears it a lot. You can’t measure the ROI, therefore I don’t want to invest in it, because I don’t have proof that I’m getting a return on this investment. So people kind of tend to mean, I think, two things when they say this.

A) Predicting ROI

Number one, they really want to be able to predict ROI before they even dive in. They want assurances that if I invest in this, I’m going to get X in return, which there are a lot of, I think, problems with that inherently, but there are some ways you can get close to gauging what you’re going to get for your efforts. So what I would do in this situation is use your own website’s data to build yourself a click-through rate curve so that you know the click-through rate at your various rank positions.

By knowing that and combining that with the search volume of a keyword or a phrase that you want to go after, you can multiply the two and just say, “Hey, here’s the expected traffic we will get if you will let me work on improving our rank position from 9 to 2 or 1” or whatever that is. So there are ways to estimate and get close.

A lot of times, when you do improve, you’re focusing on improving one term, you’re likely going to get a lot more traffic than what you’re estimating because you tend to end up ranking for so many more longer tail keywords that bring in a lot of additional search volume. So you’re probably going to even underestimate when you do this. But that’s one way you can predict ROI. 

B) Measuring ROI



Number two here, measuring ROI is a lot of times what people want to be doing.

They want to be able to prove that what they’re doing is beneficial in terms of revenue. So one way to do this is to get the lifetime value of the customer, multiply that by the close rate so that you can have a goal value. Now if you turn on your conversions and set up your goals in Google Analytics, which you I think should be doing, this assumes that you’re not an e-commerce site.

There’s different tracking for that, but a similar type of methodology applies. If you apply these things, you can have a goal value. So that way, when people convert on your site, you start to rack up the actual dollar value, the estimated dollar value that whatever channel is producing. So you can go to your source/medium report and see Google organic and see how many conversions it’s producing and how much value.

This same thing applies if you go to your assisted conversions report. You can see how much value is in there as well. I think that’s really beneficial just to be able to show people like, “Look, it is generating revenue.My SEO that’s getting you organic search traffic is generating value and real dollars and cents for you.” So those are some of the most common objections that I hear.

I want to know what are some of the ones that you hear too. So pop those in the comments. Let me know the objections you hear a lot of the time and include how you’re either struggling to respond or find the right response to people or something that you found works as a response. Share that with us. We’d all love to know. Let’s make SEO better and something that people understand a lot better. So that’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday.

Come back again next week for another one.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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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