The Future of Digital Is Here and It Is Targeted

Here at SEMPO we’ve been thinking a lot this month about how digital has evolved so far this year and how we expect it to continue to evolve over the second half of 2014. There are many angles from which we could write about the topic—from Matt Cutts’ statements on the changing nature of guest posting, to Google’s de-emphasis of Google +, to the penalization of content networks and more.

With this article I want to focus on one specific way in which digital is changing, specifically, how we target and address our audiences.

The graphic below is from SEMPO’s State of Search research study. The ‘peaks’ in each section represent where marketers are developing a keyword strategy based on the position in the buying cycle of their audience. Although the degrees to which this is occurring vary widely based on the activity, the presence of the peaks—and the inclusion of the question in SEMPO’s annual report for the first time—reflect a mindset shift for marketers towards a more targeted approach in addressing their audience.SEMPO_Future of Digital

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2014, what we are witnessing is the next step in the maturation of digital marketing. Carried by the renewed focus on content marketing, digital is evolving from the old ‘cast one wide net and see what lands’ to the new ‘cast multiple focused nets’ with a clearer expectation of not only what will land, but what will drive the prospect to the next step in the buying cycle, culminating in a conversion event.

The ‘multiple nets’ approach applies not only to content focused on speaking to your audience based on their specific needs based on their position in the buying cycle, but it applies to evolving from speaking to a broad ‘audience,’ to speaking to individual personas who each have their own unique pain points, desires, and motivations for evaluating your product or service.

Oracle Study Foreshadows the Future

In the same way the ‘peaks’ in the graphic above portend the writing on the wall when it comes to a shift from ‘broad’ targeting to ‘specific’ targeting, the chart below from an Oracle/Eloqua study foreshadows a coming shift to specific targeting.

Nearly half of marketers surveyed say they are in the process of learning to align content with strategy and better map it to the buyer’s journey. The fact that this group–those ‘learning to align content’–is the largest group of all respondents shows that change is one that is occurring now. Yes, respondents to an Oracle survey likely skew to the enterprise, but changes in the enterprise often foreshadow coming to mid-market and SMB’s and this is a case where all digital marketers should be aware of what’s coming.

SEMPO_Future of Digital 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does it Mean for You?

Certainly there’s no expectation that you transition overnight from broad to targeted digital marketing. But you can start thinking about who the personas are that you are addressing, what their pain points are, and how you might better map your content and SEO efforts to target them. If you do so, you are likely to find that better targeted content results in higher click-through, consumption, and conversions.

How Optimizing Video Can Lead to Traffic and Conversions

What’s the second largest search engine behind Google?

Bing? No.

Yahoo? No.

AOL? No.

The correct answer, of course, is YouTube, which processes more than 3 billion searches each month. Additionally, since November 2011, YouTube video results are embedded into Google search results. Try typing “psy Gangnam style” into Google, and the first four results, ahead of Wikipedia, Facebook, and Billboard, are YouTube videos. (Psy’s Gangnam Style, incidentally, is the most watched video of all time with nearly 2 billion views as of February 10, 2014. Thus, it seems logical for search marketers to think beyond Google and Bing. Search strategies must include all aspects of digital marketing, including video. Let’s examine the key strategies for optimizing your video content.

1.  Choose the most relevant content for your business – Context is equally important in video optimization as it is in search optimization.  A simple tutorial on how to use your product is a great video for product marketers. Hosting a webinar that conveys your expertise on a particular subject is a great choice for service marketers. Remember, consumers like video because it gives them a better understanding of your product or service. It aids in the decision-making process. As you develop your script, put yourself in the mind of the searcher. Include phrases that are searched on often.

2.  Select a keyword relevant title for your video – The title of your video is like a PPC ad. Its purpose is to gain a click-through. Choose a title that is relevant to the content of your video, but exciting and engaging enough to get that coveted click-through. Your title should include a key phrase that your research determined to be the most relevant search phrase for your desired action.

3.  Include tags – Tags are keywords and phrases that provide the YouTube search engine with clues as to what your video is about. Think of them as hashtags for your videos. List your most relevant tags first, as order does play a factor in YouTube’s algorithm. Be as specific as possible so you can limit the amount of competition for your video. What makes your video unique? Try to include the same keywords you included in your video’s title.

4.  Write a keyword-rich description – Make sure you use the same relevant keyword phrases that you included in your title and tags. This consistency will go a long way towards establishing the relevancy that is so important to both Google and YouTube. Be thorough and comprehensive. So many video creators cut corners when developing their video’s description, but you can really give yourself an edge if you provide YouTube visitors with an in-depth description.

5.  Upload a transcript – Uploading a transcript to YouTube is an easy way to ensure your targeted keywords are interpreted correctly by the search engines. Simply create a .txt file of your video’s script, and upload it to YouTube via the Video Manager section of your YouTube account. When you name the .txt file, use the search term you’re optimizing for in your .txt file’s name. Additionally, by uploading a transcript, you automatically enable YouTube’s captions.

6.  Create a video sitemapGoogle Webmaster Tools provides simple instructions on how to create a video sitemap.

Each entry must contain the following pieces of data:

1. Title
2. Description
3. Play page URL
4. Thumbnail URL
5. Video file location or player URL

It is recommended that you host your video on YouTube and embed the YouTube video on your own site.

Optimizing video is a process, and like traditional SEO, will reap tremendous benefits to your business or your client’s business when followed correctly.

 

 

Talent Acquisition and Job Hunting Beyond LinkedIn

According to the 2013 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruiting efforts, while 78% of them have made a hire through social media. Thus, it makes sense for recruiters and job hunters alike to utilize social media.

For Job Hunters

1. Review privacy settings – Let’s face it, some of us say EXACTLY what we feel when on Facebook or Twitter. If your posts are in any way controversial, you may want to review your privacy settings to make sure your posts are viewed by friends only. Recent surveys suggest that nearly 40% of employers have prescreened potential hires. Though most are looking to see if candidates are a good fit with their company’s culture, you don’t want to lose a great opportunity because of a misguided Facebook post or tweet.

2. Let your network know you’re job seeking – Facebook and Twitter are first and foremost networking vehicles, allowing you to communicate with a broad group of people quickly. Don’t be shy. It is essential for job seekers to let their networks know they’re in the job market. Tell them the location, industry, and job title you are seeking as well as any other pertinent details that your network can pass along about you. 

3. “Like” or “follow” any prospective employer’s social media platforms — More and more employers are posting jobs on their social media pages. Make sure you are aware of any potential openings at your target employers. Search for Facebook pages or Twitter accounts devoted specifically to jobs. Many major companies, including Google, Disney, and Microsoft, now have dedicated jobs’ accounts. And, if you can determine the hiring manager of a potential job, their Facebook or Twitter page could give you a sense of their managerial style. Use this knowledge to your advantage during an interview.

4. Use groups and hashtags to your advantage – Whether on Facebook or Twitter, get involved in the conversation. If you become a known contributor in your areas of interest and expertise, you may come across a hiring manager who is seeking the talents you possess. Use your Twitter account as a bridge to your personal blog, portfolio, or resume to provide more details about your knowledge and skills.

For Recruiters

1. Show up in organic search – With so many candidates using search and social media in their job search, make sure your Facebook and Twitter pages are optimized. Fill out category, topic, and description sections of your Facebook and Twitter profiles, using terms related to jobs and positions you are looking to fill.

2. Create groups – Whether they are location, industry, or position based, groups are a great way to find individuals who are like-minded and interested in your company.

3. Leverage your employees – Ask employees to tweet or post jobs in their department or location. Chances are good that they have someone in their network seeking employment.

4. Tell everyone how great you are – Retweet when employees and customers say great things about you. Everyone wants to work for great companies doing great things.

5. Engage with candidates – If you are able to make the process as personal as possible, prospective employees are more likely to become actual employees.

Do you have a tip for fellow job hunters or recruiters? Share in the comments below:

Using Search for Talent Acquisition: How to Get Your Job Openings in Front of the Right Candidates

It’s January – a time when businesses focus on the year ahead. They determine what resources they’ll need to meet their objectives, and thus, hiring is heavy, and competition for talent is fierce.

We typically think of search as a medium for customer acquisition, but it is also widely used by candidates searching for jobs. Similar to the approach we take for customer acquisition, search for talent acquisition involves optimization and distribution.

Build a keyword list
The first step in getting your jobs in front of the right candidates via search is to develop your keyword list. Your list should include:

1. Personal attributes of ideal candidates
2. Key performance indicators and success metrics of the most successful people in the position
3. Reasons candidates would want to work for your company (perks that make you stand out)

Put yourself in the mind of the job seeker. What terms will they be looking for when searching for the ideal job? Be as specific as possible by using appropriate industry jargon to help eliminate fringe candidates, and to give you the best chance for receiving resumes from the most ideal candidates.

Write a job description that is compelling, unique, and shareable
If we’ve learned anything as search marketing professionals, it is that content is king. That content comes in many forms. Treat your job descriptions as you would your product descriptions. Include as many of your relevant keywords as possible, write compelling descriptions that catch the reader’s eye, and include audio or video to give your job description some personality. A small audio snippet from a hiring manager or company executive gives a candidate a sense of what to expect if he were to work at your company. It also gives your description a personality and gives readers a reason to like, share, repost. Your goal is to have a candidate say “this job is me,” or “I know someone perfect for this job.”

Create unique landing pages with optimized URLs for each job description
Just as it is vital when creating product and other website pages, so too is it vital to create unique landing pages for your job descriptions. As with any piece of optimized content, your URL should have plain English phrases using the position title. For example, http://www.jobsite.com/jobs/online-marketing-manager-job-description would be a preferred URL for your online marketing manager job descriptions.

Establish links to your job description from relevant sites
Where do your candidates search for jobs? An easy way to determine this is to do a general search for the position you are seeking and see what comes up. Most likely, the top sites are general job boards, industry-specific job boards, associations, colleges, newspapers, and more often, social media. Make sure you link to your job description from as many high volume sites as possible to give your site relevant link authority.

Leverage social networking to get the word out
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 72% of online adults use social networking sites. Networking, whether social or otherwise, is a vital component of the job search. You must be where the candidates are. Many candidates, in fact, may not be active job seekers. Social networking sites are a great way to find passive job seekers who may not be actively searching, but who would welcome a job change. Sites such as LinkedIn, allow you to search for candidates who match the qualifications and experience you are looking for. Other sites, such as BeKnown from Monster, and even Facebook are reaching out to job seekers and recruiters alike, trying to capitalize on the social networking phenomenon. Facebook’s Graph Search allows recruiters to find the skills, education, or experience that fits a particular job opening. Leverage to 100+ million users of these sites to find the ideal candidate.

Search is a built-in component of your marketing mix. It should also be a part of your talent acquisition mix.

 

3 Remarketing for Search Strategies for Success

Remarketing for Search is an amazing product that now allows you to utilize remarketing audiences in search. You can target audiences based around who has or hasn’t visited whatever page of your site that you want through different audience strategies. Combine all the various audience strategies with the various keyword strategies you could employ, and you’ve got yourself quite the list of options! Today, I’ll be showing you three strategies to get you started using Remarketing for Search successfully.

Hopefully you’ve got your site coded with your universal AdWords remarketing tag, so you can build out audiences in AdWords based on URL now. If that’s the case, you should be able to see estimated audience sizes for Google Search based on audiences you’ve already built out. I’ve found when I create new audiences based on URLs, the estimates for audience size are at least there by the next day.

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1. Marketing for Special Seasons/Sales

The first strategy is utilizing special audiences and keyword lists in combination with remarketing for search during special seasonal or sale periods. A perfect example of this is an eCommerce site during Christmas. Think about the product or service you’re advertising during this special season. Think about all the super generic terms you could use to describe your product or service or that people could be searching for that could possibly result in a conversion for you. There’s a good chance you’d never bid on those keywords because they’re so crazy competitive and likely to have low CTR and low conversion rates, right? Well, with Remarketing for Search, you can pre-qualify your audience and actually use these crazy keywords!

Using the example of an eCommerce site during Christmas, you’d want to target keyword lists that are generic for the season and for your items. So, let’s say it’s a site that sells a wide range of gifts. A possible keyword strategy for them would include “Christmas gifts,” “Stocking Stuffers,” etc. These keywords are very high volume in terms of searches and high competition during this time.

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If you pre-qualify your audience for this campaign to be people who have visited your site, you could see great results. They’re already familiar with your brand, so if they hated you before and you make it clear in the ad who you are, they’ll likely choose not to click. But if they were semi-interested before, and choose to click over again, they’re way more likely to buy.

This also allows you to lead to special landing pages. For stocking stuffers, the landing page could be the most popular items under $15, for example.

If you’re familiar with remarketing, then you’re familiar with all the awesome custom combinations you can make to target specific people. The most popular option for this is targeting people who have put something in your cart and not actually purchased it. Also, with this awesome product, you can target multiple audiences and use the bid modification system to change your CPCs for each. It would look like this:

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Here, I am saying that I want to show ads to all people who have visited my site, and I’ve set my CPCs to be appropriate for that size/quality of audience. However, if people have put something in the cart and not purchased it, I consider them more valuable and there are obviously fewer of them, so I want to bid an additional 40% to my max CPC.

2. Use Negative Audiences To Exclude Valueless Traffic

In the first strategy, I talked about how to target audiences with special keyword lists and modify the bids based on the quality of the audience. In this strategy, I’m going to talk about how to use negative audiences through Remarketing for Search to funnel traffic in your account, allowing you to better target and optimize.

Like the eCommerce site at Christmas in the last strategy, I need an example, so I’m going to use a monthly subscription service site. It’s not surprising that this client doesn’t want to pay for clicks when someone is currently a paying member. Before Remarketing for Search, I would have just had to block their brand name and hoped for the best, even though that would leave our brand wide open for competitors to bid on and get top ad position.

However, now, we can develop a strategy that will help out tremendously with this issue! You simply create an audience for the first page your members see after logging in, and then add that as an exclusion to all your search campaigns. This would prevent your ads from showing to anyone who is currently a paying member. That would look like this:

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With this strategy, you can be sure anyone seeing an ad has not logged into your members site in however long you make your cookie live for (I would recommend the max cookie like, here).

This strategy can also work if you’re trying to block people who use a part of your site that doesn’t make you money. Let’s say you have a retail portion to your site, but you also have a careers page. You might want to include an audience that targets your careers page as an exclusion at the campaign level in your branded campaigns. This would prevent any wasted spend where people are searching for your brand just to submit a resume.

3. Include Audiences In Search Campaigns Just For Bid Modifiers

In my first strategy, I went over how to develop special Remarketing for Search campaigns to target special keywords and audience combos. In the second one, I went over how to use negative audiences in your regular search campaigns to increase their value. In this third strategy, I’ll go over how to use targeted audiences in regular search campaigns to create a hybrid search and Remarketing for Search campaign that improves value through allowing bid modification for audiences.

With this feature, you have the ability to layer any remarketing audience in with any search campaign. The difference between a strictly Remarketing for Search campaign and this hybrid version is the difference between targeting options for “bid only” and “target and bid.” In the “bid only” mode, you’re telling Google the bid modification you’d like for that audience, but telling it to continue showing to the general search audience for the keywords in that campaign as well. Here’s an example:

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In this case, I’ve decided that people who have visited my sales page are more valuable than the general search audience, so I’d like to increase my CPCs by 20% for them. This allows me to set CPCs that are appropriate for the general search audience, but set specific ones for any remarketing audience I’d like, in accordance to their value/quality.

In theory, if you are cool with people who have been to your site clicking on your ads, you could utilize this strategy in all your search accounts.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.

Battle for conversion

When you have managed to attract traffic to your website, the next problem arises: how to lead visitors to the goals which we want them to complete, in other words – how to convert inbound traffic into sales.

In this article you will find a review of several tools which could be used to increase the conversion and make users happy J.

The process of conversion improvement consists of several stages. Each of them is equally important as the information obtained from the previous stage is used for the next one.

It’s not difficult to increase the conversion

You just need to:

  • understand website goals.
    Website goals may be of two types, at least – transitional and final. What final goal means is clear: for online store it could be purchase, for Groupon – sign up, and so forth. But on the path to this goal some transitional goals may exist.Important. Your goals and goals of your users are not always the same. Fancy dress and simple process of purchase are not synonyms. Think as a user, even as an inexperienced one.For example, users may want to fly to Thailand, others’ dream destination is Paris or Barcelona – they look for tickets many times, compare hotels, but make purchase only after several months. In this case the path from transitional goal to final is really long and this chain should be tracked.
  • define entry points and their distinction.
    Users which arrived from the organic search and frequent buyers may require different information from the service.
  • consider all possible paths from entry point to the goal.

But it is not possible you may say! That is why it is required to define the most important paths and make them as easy as possible.

  • be flexible, monitor and experiment
    The most interesting part – on this stage the first three stages are run on circles, while you collect the information and study the results.

 

Tools review: how to track and adjust the process

So let’s say you are analyzing the website with information about air tickets. The main goals are: the search on site, newsletter sing up, and the most important, but suspended in time goal – air ticket purchase.  This feature – suspended goals – became available not so long ago, and it is really great option.

After we have set up the goals, we need to gather the initial conversion statistics – it will be out starting point. Depending on goals number as well as visit and transaction frequency, the initial data could be collected in a few hours or several weeks.

Setup goals may not only help evaluate the efficiency, but detect the website problems as well. For example, thanks to conversion report, you may find out that JS doesn’t work properly and half of users are not able to reach the goal.

When initial data is finally at our disposal we can start out. Let’s look at the tools which may help us in this.

We will begin with Yandex.Metrica
Yandex. Metrica offers several marvelous tools for in-page analysis thanks to which you can understand what prevents the user from reaching the target page.

Form analysis – one of the major tools used by online stores and service-based companies with unusual registration process. The instrument shows how many users began filling in the form, how many of them did to the completion and where majority abandoned the process. Excellent feature that helps create forms for people indeed.

Link map – allow you to see where in fact users click, what interests them and how they use the navigation.

Scroll map you will find out in seconds till what length the page “works”. The more content in blind zone, the more you will have to change.

Click path analysis – gives you insight on how user arrives at your website, where he goes then and how close he is to the final point when he quits the process.
The tools mentioned above fit the best for static analysis, meaning that before making such analysis, you will have to gather enough data for long period of time – week or month.
Click map without additional settings is convenient to apply for such pages as the main page. But what to do if your website has lots of pages of similar type but with different URLs, and you would like to see the overall picture of users’ behavior?  This is where urlFilter comes handy. With the help of this filter you can group several pages into one. For example, if you wish to group all the pages in the search on site you will have to write the following piece of code:
yaCounter.clickmap({

urlFilter: function(urlOrig) {

var url = window.location.pathname.toLowerCase(),

prefix = ‘http://’ + window.location.host;

if (url.substr(0, 8) === ‘/search/’) {

return prefix + url.substr(0, 11);

}

// other groups

// …

return urlOrig;

}

});
In the report you will see these pages with full URLs, but when you will view the map, the result will be common for all the pages.

Webvisor – a unique and free of charge function in Yandex.Metrica. Some time ago Webvisor was a separate product, but in 2010 Yandex purchased the code along with the team and starting from 2011 this functionality is a part of Metrica tools.

Webvisor allows to view users’ activity in motion, it records their actions – clicks, filling in the forms, moving mouse (it is a separate and fun bonus which indicates that user was bored and needed some useful information to entertain)  – and then plays it for you as a video.

Webvisor comes into play if there is a page which users steadily leave and you need to find out why they can’t continue the path and reach the goal.

Now let’s talk about Google Analytics
These days Google is transforming Analytics from just statistical instrument into A/B tests and usability experiments platform.  You will find an enormous functionality there.

Universal Analytics is a Google Analytics future. Not all the features in Universal Analytics work properly at the moment, as they are in beta version, but, no doubt, they offer great functionality. New Analytics version works faster, offers wider limits, allows sending queries from backend, and so on. Besides, new opportunities of Google Analytics will be implemented only in Universal version.
We are interested in Conversions section.

The last three ones (Reverse Goal Path, Funnel Visuzlization и Goal Flow) allow to see the overall picture of what is going on the website even for really large projects.

If additionally to this features you will set up events, you will be able to receive the picture of how user navigates through your website.

For example, Goal Flow report gives you a visual picture of how visitors arrived at your website and reached the goal, and whether they took the path you expected them to or there was another funnel.

Now let’s talk about the most advanced and cool Google Analytics functionality – ability to transmit events from server and tracking them offline!

For example, the same website offering information about air tickets, doesn’t sell anything itself – the purchase is completed on third-party website, so we can’t track the event as are not able to place tracking code there. With the time we receive sales data, but it is still unclear, what source contributed the most.

Google helps everyone who has transaction offline solve this problem.

Google unified the interface responsible for the interaction with analytics servers. All the queries come to URL www.google-analytics.com/collect and acquire the same set of parameters, regardless whether we use backend-e or frontend-e. The one distinction is that in js-e we have at our disposal already finished and useful function with the help of which we can send any events:

// connecting analytics.js

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXX-Y’);

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘label’, value);
On the server side thought the whole query is sent as POST payload, coded in form-urlencoded

POST /collect HTTP/1.1
Host: www.google-analytics.com

v=1
&tid=UA-XXXX-Y
&cid=555
&t=event
&ec=category
&ea=action
&el=label
&ev=value
You may notice the additional parameter cid — client ID. This is also a new opportunity in Universal Analytics. If before only Analytics could define what a visitor is, now we can manually specify our ID.
Here is the official documentation to help anyone, who would like to try offline tracking out.

This method could be applied for conferences, shops, concerts. You just give the users unique coupons and then check in Google Analytics events whether the user has made the purchase.
Working on conversion improvement could be an endless process. Once there is new chapter on the website, new functionality or special offer, it is time to start working towards better usability, higher conversion and website simplicity.

If you are already using offline analytics from Google, please tell us about this in the comments below!

 

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.

How Important Is a Mobile-Optimized Site for Your Business?

Mobile-optimized websites are no longer a luxury, but a necessity. If you want to stay relevant and attractive to your visitors, you need to provide them with easier access through their various devices.

If you have a website, the good news is that your business is accessible from any device. The problem is that your site may look very bad if it’s not mobile-optimized, which will create poor user experience and lead to low CRO. While over 50% of people surfing the Internet use their mobile devices to do so, only 21% of all website are mobile-friendly.

The trend to mobile is unstoppable, and Google is constantly pushing the creation of mobile websites. It won’t be surprising if this friendly graphic turns into a ranking factor in the near future.

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It is obvious that the growing trend is to think of mobile first and desktop second. This is a hard thing to accept, but all programmers can already see the trend and thus are beginning to apply the change to their work.

“Google programmers are doing work on mobile application first because they are better apps and that’s what top programmers what to develop” –Eric Schmidt. Google Chairman

We really need to shift now to start thinking about building mobile first. This is an even bigger shift than the PC revolution” – Kevin Lynch CTO Adobe

The future of the web is mobile design. There is new device every day, and more and more we find ourselves reaching out to our mobile devices to use the internet.

The Importance of a Mobile-Optimized Website

Wherever you go, you undoubtedly see people on all kinds of mobile devices surfing the web. Over half of Americans who have cell phones use their phone to surf the web, so there are clear benefits that highlight the importance of these features. One of the greatest benefits is that mobile-optimized websites provide a better user experience and increase usability, which should be the ultimate end goal aside from increasing a company’s ROI.

It has been deemed a best practice to have a mobile-optimized website, and Google itself recommends the practice of using responsive web design. New websites that are in development should design with mobile in mind, and existing websites should seriously consider optimizing for mobile use. Here’s an inside look at each type of mobile website optimization:

Mobile Design

There are two types of mobile design. The first type consists of an original website and a sub domain dedicated for the mobile version: www.example.com and m.example.com. Can you guess which one is the mobile version? In this form of mobile design, “m.” prefaces the original URL and visitors are redirected to the mobile version when they access the website from a tablet or smartphone. The mobile website is a sub domain, which makes it completely different website than the main one. The mobile version of the website is created specifically to be used on mobile devices, and it usually offers a link with the option to use the regular site instead. This is the old way of doing mobile design and is not the best option available today. Some downfalls include the risk of duplicate content, multiple URLs, and updates have to be done both on the regular and mobile version.

s2The second form of mobile design is a website that has multiple CSS files (or only one with multiple options for screen size). In this situation, the server determines which type of device is being used, and then it can pull up the specific CSS for a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet. This is the best way to do mobile design. It requires a little more work but it is well worth it.

The difference between the two is that in the first one, there are two completely different websites with different CSS, template, and layout, and in the second, it is the same website but just with three different templates to respond to three types of devices. Both styles of mobile design exist specifically for the purpose of simplifying and enhancing website access on mobile devices.

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Some advantages:

– The most aesthetically pleasing
– More user friendly
– Only one URL
– Easy to maintain

Responsive Template Design

Responsive template design is the most common approach, although it is not necessarily the best. It is popular because it is often the easiest. It allows a website to be accessible on all devices, regardless of screen size, without CCS changes or additions. Responsive design uses a single template, and the CSS can “sense” the size of the screen so that it can adjust the elements of the page to fit in a cascading manor. It takes the modules with the highest priority and places them first, with the rest of the modules following in order of priority. By default, the modules on the top left are the most important while those on the bottom right are the least important. That way, when a user is scrolling down on a responsive design website, they will see the most important features of the website first. In this sense, responsive design is a “one size fits all” solution, but that doesn’t mean that it is the best solution. Here are the pros and cons:

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Pros

– High user experience and navigation from mobile to desktop.
– Consistent content and easier to update the website.
– Easier with stats – no need to split traffic between two versions of your website.
– Only one URL.

Cons

– New to SEO and might need some fine tuning before we see the optimal result on responsive templates.
– Responsive design could make a website load slower as it adjusts to the appropriate screen size.
– Responsive websites are more complex to code.
– Responsive design is one size fits all, which is usually reflected in the final look of your website.

Successful Brands that Optimized

There are many brands that have successfully employed one of the above options.

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Sun Maid, Gateway Bank, and Caribou Coffee have all implemented interactive, interesting, and appealing designs for mobile use. Each of them is different in the features offered. For example, the Sun Maid and Caribou Coffee websites look similar with the menu options, but Caribou Coffee’s website has a convenient slider that switches between pictures on the home page, revealing their latest specials and offers.

Overall, a website that has been optimized for mobile use is the best option for increasing brand awareness. Mobile-optimized websites are designed to deliver faster downloading and browsing speeds, plus they are more cost effective than developing an app. In addition, companies that optimize their websites for mobile use have a competitive advantage when compared to their competitors who do not optimize.

 

10 Tips to Creating Engaging, Optimized Content

Compelling website content is the key to engaging with your audience. It needs be unique, shareable, and useful for the reader, as well as optimized to help attract/influence search engines… Let’s go back to the basics with 10 tips to writing engaging, optimized content:

1. Headline – When it comes to creating content, a headline needs to be compelling. Why? Simply because it is the first thing readers look at. When trying to write a headline, keep in mind that it should draw in readers and give them (and search engines) a very concise idea of what your content will be about.

2. Show and Tell – Write your article as if you were writing your English papers back in college. Back up your points with reliable sources (links when possible) as this will make your content more credible. Also consider using graphics to reinforce key points (see below for more on this).

3. The 5 W’s – Try to answer the “who, what, when, where, and why” questions as concisely as possible. When each of these questions are answered, your content becomes more useful and more likely to be shared.

4. KISS (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) – Most of the time, content that is to the point keeps readers interested and more likely to read through the whole article; put away those thesauruses and avoid using jargon!

5. Meta Description – Like the headline, the meta description is what search engines use in their results listing to let your readers know exactly what your content is about. Try to be as specific as possible so as to capture your reader’s attention.

6. Optimize with Keywords – A very easy way for your content to be easily searched and receive higher traffic is by implementing the use of keywords. Focus on a single keyword or keyword phrase for each piece of content. Include several “natural/conversational” keyword mentions but don’t overdo it. Remember, it’s always quality over quantity.

7. Images – Like keywords, images are what draw readers to your content. Remember, search engine bots don’t see pictures, so be sure to optimize your images. This can be done by including a descriptive file name, alt text, and a caption for your images.

8. Summary – As a conclusion to your content, always recap what you are trying to say in the article. For some readers, the conclusion is where they draw most of the information, or at least tidbits of the information.  It’s also a good place to encourage feedback from your readers.

9. Revision – When you believe you have finished writing your article, think again. Always revise and edit until you cannot revise anymore. Then don’t be afraid to make more changes to the content if it’s not getting the readership you expected.

10. Social Sharing – Finally, include social sharing features on each page of your website. When people share your content through social, it can help your website rankings.

Try out different tips to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Always experiment until you’ve come to the right recipe for drawing readers to your website.

Do you have a tip for writing engaging, optimized content? Share in the comments below:

How to Develop a Robust Mobile Strategy

You wake up to the alarm on your phone. Then you quickly check the weather forecast for the day from your weather app. While standing in line for the elevator at work, you get caught up on world news through Twitter. When it’s time for lunch, you don’t feel like walking down the street, so you order takeout from your favorite restaurant through their app. As you are about to leave work, you get an alert about a traffic accident. Now you know to take an alternate route. After a long day, you’re not sure what to eat for dinner, so you find a new recipe with a quick search. All in a day’s work for your mobile device.

If this is how you are using your mobile device, you better believe your customers are using it the same way.

Mobile is no longer an option; it is a way of life. According to StatCounter, mobile devices now drive almost 20% of all global internet traffic. Google recently confirmed that sites without optimized mobile experiences won’t rank as high in their search results. And if you want Google to like your business, you better start with some mobile initiatives.

Most consumers are not only using mobile devices for search but they are starting with mobile devices for search. 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. This isn’t just when they don’t have access to a computer; this is when consumers are at home, on the couch, with friends, or travelling. To be straightforward, if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you are losing out.

Here are 4 tips to develop a robust mobile strategy:

1. Know Your Business and Know Your Consumers

It may seem like a no brainer, but the first step in developing a mobile strategy is starting with self-reflection. Determine the key aspects of your business and what consumers need from your brand. For instance, analyze the mobile visitor’s behavior on the current site. What pages are they requesting? Where are most of the mobile visitors dropping? Once you know what they need and what you want to get across, you can begin to cultivate a plan of action.

2. Create a Mobile Website

Consumers expect to easily be able to view a company website through their mobile device. One of the best options recommended by Google for a mobile-optimized website is responsive web design in which the website responds to the device your customer uses. This means one website with a layout that varies depending on whether your customer is on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Without a mobile-optimized website, customers can become frustrated and annoyed by the enlarging, scrolling, and unnecessary clicking they may have to do. A mobile-optimized website allows consumers to find the information they need quickly. Create a layout that highlights key points your consumers will want to find – location, phone number, hours, sales, or specials.

You will also want to optimize your mobile pages for organic search. Google recommends focusing on rendering above-the-fold content to users in one second or less while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the background. Web pages that render quickly will rank better than those that have a long load time. Another consideration for the web developer is to avoid common configuration mistakes that affect rankings in a Google search. These mistakes include unplayable videos, faulty redirects, and app download interstitials.

3. Understand and Develop PPC ads

Mobile PPC ads are based on four main factors:

Position –  Because screen sizes on smartphones are smaller than desktops, it is extremely important for advertisers to bid more aggressively for the first two positions on the search page results. If you don’t come up in the first 2 positions, your ads will be shown at the bottom of the first screen, or worst, pushed to the second page, increasing the chance of not being seen.

Keywords – Generally, mobile searches include more misspellings and shorter phrases than those performed on desktop computers. If budget allows, keep this in mind and bid on commonly misspelled brand and related terms.

Individuality – Write ads that are tailored specifically for mobile users. Potential customers performing searches on mobile devices want to find information quickly and be able to navigate the site easily as possible. Mobile accessible discounts, promotional codes, or sales alerts that are triggered by location encourage users to utilize a business’ mobile site or app.

Extensions – When possible, ads should take advantage of call extensions. If your business has a phone number, you can easily include a “Call” button in your ad or on your website that allows the searcher the option to call your business right then and there. Remember, 52% of users have called a business after searching.

4. Incorporate Social Media

Social media and a mobile strategy go together like peanut butter and jelly. This is where you can really engage your consumers to use all the mobile strategies you’ve been working on. Offer mobile-friendly coupons, start a loyalty program that requires customers to “check-in” to earn rewards, or go big and create an app designed precisely for the needs of your customers. Encourage your customers to continue to use the app/mobile device to drive engagement and build brand loyalty.

70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour. Can you imagine what that number will be like in the next year? The next two years? Consumers expect a mobile strategy. However, don’t jump into creating it without a plan. It’s important to make your mobile strategy memorable and creative but most importantly useful. Don’t forget about the “real world” aspects and how mobile will be incorporated. Developing a strategy to serve your customers, creating a mobile-optimized website, utilizing mobile ads, and incorporating social media are four main ways to ensure your business will be ready for 2014 and most importantly, ready to serve your customers.

Battle for Conversion

When you have managed to attract traffic to your website, the next problem arises: how to lead visitors to the goals we want them to complete; in other words – how to convert inbound traffic into sales.

In this article you will find a review of several tools that can be used to increase the conversion and make users happy.

The process of conversion improvement consists of several stages. Each of them is equally important as the information obtained from the previous stage is used for the next one.

It’s not difficult to increase the conversion

You just need to:

Understand website goals – Website goals may be of two types, at least – transitional and final. What final goal means is clear: for online stores, it could be purchase; for Groupon, sign up; and so forth. But on the path to this goal, some transitional goals may exist.

Important. Your goals and the goals of your users are not always the same. Fancy dress and simple process of purchase are not synonyms. Think as a user, even as an inexperienced one.

For example, some users may want to fly to Thailand; others’ dream destination is Paris or Barcelona. They look for tickets many times and compare hotels, but they make a purchase only after several months. In this case, the path from transitional goal to final is really long, and this chain should be tracked.

Define entry points and their distinction – Users who arrived from the organic search and frequent buyers may require different information from the service.

Consider all possible paths from entry point to the goal – But it is not possible you may say! That is why it is required to define the most important paths and make them as easy as possible.

Be flexible, monitor, and experiment – The most interesting part – on this stage the first three stages are run on circles, while you collect the information and study the results.

Tools review: how to track and adjust the process

So let’s say you are analyzing the website with information about air tickets. The main goals are: the search on site, newsletter sign up, and, the most important but suspended in time goal – air ticket purchase. This feature – suspended goals – became available not so long ago, and it is really great option.

After we have set up the goals, we need to gather the initial conversion statistics – it will be our starting point. Depending on goals number as well as visit and transaction frequency, the initial data could be collected in a few hours or over several weeks.

Setting up goals may not only help evaluate the efficiency but detect website problems as well. For example, thanks to the conversion report, you may find out that JS doesn’t work properly and half of users are not able to reach the goal.

When initial data is at our disposal we can start out. Let’s look at the tools that can help us in this.

We will begin with Yandex.Metrica

Yandex. Metrica offers several marvelous tools for in-page analysis that you can use to understand what prevents the user from reaching the target page.sempo blog xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Form analysis – one of the major tools used by online stores and service-based companies with unusual registration process. The instrument shows how many users began filling in the form, how many of them did so to completion, and where the majority abandoned the process. Excellent feature that helps create forms for people indeed.

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Link map – allow you to see where users click, what interests them, and how they use the navigation.

Scroll map – you will find out in seconds to what length the page “works.” The more content in the blind zone, the more you will have to change.

Click path analysis – gives you insights into how a user arrives at your website, where he goes then, and how close he is to the final point when he quits the process.

The tools mentioned above work best for static analysis, meaning that before making such analysis, you will have to gather enough data for a long period of time – week or month.

Click map without additional settings is convenient to apply for such pages as the main page. But what to do if your website has lots of pages of similar type but with different URLs, and you would like to see the overall picture of users’ behavior? This is where urlFilter comes in handy. With the help of this filter, you can group several pages into one. For example, if you wish to group all the pages in the search on site, you will have to write the following piece of code:

yaCounter.clickmap({
urlFilter: function(urlOrig) {
var url = window.location.pathname.toLowerCase(),
prefix = ‘http://’ + window.location.host;
if (url.substr(0, 8) === ‘/search/’) {
return prefix + url.substr(0, 11);
}
// other groups
// …
return urlOrig;
}
});

In the report, you will see those pages with full URLs, but when you view the map, the result will be common for all the pages.

Webvisor – a unique, free-of-charge function in Yandex.Metrica. Some time ago, Webvisor was a separate product, but in 2010, Yandex purchased the code along with the team, and since 2011, this functionality is a part of Metrica tools.

Webvisor allows viewing users’ activity in motion. It records their actions – clicks, filling in the forms, moving mouse (it is a separate and fun bonus that indicates that user was bored and needed some useful information to entertain) – and then plays it for you as a video.

Webvisor comes into play if there is a page that users steadily leave, and you need to find out why they can’t or don’t continue the path and reach the goal.

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Now let’s talk about Google Analytics

These days Google is transforming Analytics from just a statistical instrument into A/B tests and usability experiments platform. You will find an enormous functionality there.

Universal Analytics is a Google Analytics feature. Not all the features in Universal Analytics work properly at the moment, as they are in beta version, but, no doubt, they offer great functionality. The new Analytics version works faster, offers wider limits, allows sending queries from the backend, and so on. Besides, new opportunities of Google Analytics will be implemented only in the Universal version.

We are interested in the Conversions section.

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The last three Conversion Goals – Reverse Goal Path, Funnel Visualization, and Goal Flow – allow you to see the overall picture of what is going on the website even for really large projects.

If additionally to this features you will set up events, you will be able to receive the picture of how user navigates through your website.

For example, Goal Flow report gives you a visual picture of how visitors arrived at your website and reached the goal, and whether they took the path you expected or if there was another funnel.

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Now let’s talk about the most advanced and cool Google Analytics functionality – ability to transmit events from server and tracking them offline!

For example, the same website offering information about air tickets doesn’t sell anything itself – the purchase is completed on a third-party website, so we can’t track the event as we are not able to place tracking code there. In time, we receive sales data, but it is still unclear as to what source contributed the most.

Google helps everyone who has transactions offline solve this problem.

Google unified the interface responsible for the interaction with analytics servers. All the queries come to URL www.google-analytics.com/collect and acquire the same set of parameters, regardless of whether we use backend-e or frontend-e. The one distinction is that in js-e we have at our disposal already finished and useful function with the help of which we can send any events:

// connecting analytics.js
ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXX-Y’);
ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘label’, value);

On the server side, though, the whole query is sent as POST payload, coded in form-urlencoded

POST /collect HTTP/1.1
Host: www.google-analytics.com

v=1
&tid=UA-XXXX-Y
&cid=555
&t=event
&ec=category
&ea=action
&el=label
&ev=value

You may notice the additional parameter cid — client ID. This is also a new opportunity in Universal Analytics. If before, only Analytics could define what a visitor is, now we can manually specify our ID.

Here is the official documentation to help anyone who would like to try offline tracking.

This method could be applied for conferences, shops, concerts. You just give the users unique coupons and then check in Google Analytics events whether the user has made the purchase.

Working on conversion improvement could be an endless process. Once there is a new chapter on the website, new functionality or special offer, it is time to start working toward better usability, higher conversion, and website simplicity.

If you are already using offline analytics from Google, please tell us about this in the comments below!

Roman Viliavin, Partner at Promodo SEM Company.

Unconventional Thinker and candidate master of chess. Roman has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2005 and is the moving spirit of the company. Participant and speaker of all major events in SEO business. Roman has successfully completed dozens of projects and gladly shares his experience with SEO community via articles and various online and offline publications. Follow Roman on Twitter and Facebook.