June 26th, 2012 @ // No Comments
More than one third of the languages currently spoken on this planet may become extinct in the next 100 years. Google is partnering with the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity in an attempt to save thousands of languages in at least some form. It’s called the Endangered Language Project, and for anyone who cares about words and ideas, it’s worth a look.
You can check out the Endangered Language Project at its web site. Personally, I had no idea that more than 7,000 languages are spoken throughout the world – and more than 3,000 could die in just three or four generations. That’s really sad. Any translator will tell you that there are some words that don’t translate well between languages. Every language reflects the culture that uses it; an entire perspective on the world and what’s important is woven into the words that people use. Every time we lose a language, we lose a point of view…forever.
On its website, the Endangered Languages Project expresses this fact even more strongly. “The disappearance of a language means the loss of valuable scientific and cultural information, comparable to the loss of a species,” it notes. Google and the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity hope to reverse or at least slow down this loss. The collaborative project is trying to develop a comprehensive database of at-risk languages that includes important statistics, high quality audio recordings of language samples, and more.
Users can browse the site either by using the search engine in the upper right hand corner or clicking on the world map. Colored dots reveal locations where endangered languages are spoken; a language can be “at risk,” “endangered,” “severely endangered,” or “vitality unknown.” There are apparently levels within these main four; for example, on the page for each language, you might find terms like “threatened” or “critically endangered” (that last was used for a language that had only a few elderly speakers). Some languages listed might have a million or more native speakers; others may have thirty or less.
Clicking on the dots on the world map brings up the name of the language; click on the name brings you to a page about the language that includes the number of native speakers worldwide, language meta data (such as other names it goes by, its classification, variants, etc). You might also learn the language’s “context of usage,” which will let you know where it is used and how much support there is for its continued usage. If available, you may also hear audio or see video of the language being spoken. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a few songs in the endangered language as well. Or you might find a botanist explaining how certain plants are used in that culture (the Koro language features such samples).
As you’d expect for a collaborative project, it’s set up so that others can contribute samples; Google may be overseeing it to start with, but hopes to put it entirely into the hands of linguistic experts, educational organizations, and others with an interest in preserving endangered languages. You can check out Google’s blog post for more information about this project.
June 26th, 2012 @ // No Comments
There have been multiple articles that have discussed the value and opportunities that content marketing brings to SEO – from organically building external links and ranking for more long tail keywords, to establishing a community and building brand awareness. As the SEO industry slowly moves away from manual linkbuilding and adapts a more long-term and forward-thinking approach (whether it be forced as a result of recent aggressive Google algorithm updates or because as an industry, we’re starting to seek a sustainable methodology to establish authority), the challenge is in figuring out how to set up a proper framework that would help our community develop a content strategy for all websites.
Image courtesy of SEOmoz
The goal of this post is to show the SEO community how to start thinking about how to develop a cohesive and integrated long-term content strategy (and not just one-off linkbait pieces). It won’t be easy and definitely will not result in immediate returns, but if the goal is to build a sustainable and authoritative site in the long-term, the upfront costs can be justified. To show you the steps of how to create a content strategy, I’ve chosen what might be a seemingly “boring” industry (and an industry I knew very little about prior to writing this post), tires, to demonstrate how a content strategy is possible for all industries and all sites, and how a little research can go a long way.
Image courtesy of Distilled
As an industry, we already have a very good idea of how people in general use the Internet. However, if I were to do a content strategy specifically tailored around the tire industry, I would want to understand how the core demographic for tires is utilizing the Internet.
For example, the type of questions we want to learn about tire shoppers could be:
We also want to understand what the industry landscape looks like.
And more about your specific tire company.
As well as, what does your current customer base look like?
All this information helps you as an SEO garner a much deeper understanding about the tire business, which will be fundamentally important in determining the type of content to produce.
Following the background research on the tire industry, it’s also worth speaking directly to individuals who you know are very knowledgeable about the tire industry – their insight can ultimately help you develop different personas to target. Let’s say hypothetically, you own a tire company and through this research realized that street racers was a target demographic you could develop content for. Through the research, you’ve learned that the majority of street racers are:
You want to start locating and having conversations with people who fit this demographic or, at the very least, have access and knowledge about this demographic. This will provide you with the type of insight that will help you develop content street racers would be interested in or will provide you with the opportunity to interact and potentially, influence street racers.
The second element of the project requires conducting an in-depth competitive analysis on the competitors and seek answers to the following questions:
It’s also worth ensuring that your own site’s metrics and analytics tracking is properly set up, which can be used to measure growth, traffic, and conversions.
Tire Industry Example:
For instance, in the tire industry, it’s clear that the dominant player in the industry is Tire Rack.
What has been Tire Rack’s competitive advantage?
Many of these articles talk about Tire Rack’s video driving tests. For example, their Winter/Snow vs. All-Season vs. Summer Tires video has generated over 440,000 views. Their YouTube channel has over 1,000+ subscribers and over 2 million views.
They also have a back story, an army veteran who opened up shop in 1979 and made customer service/educating consumers his number one priority. The family-owned business now has 3 generations working at the shop. On top of it all, their price points are competitive with all major tire retailers.
However, it appears that the site targets the general consumer, meaning there is opportunity for other tire sites to develop content around different target personas, such as speed racers or truckers to name a few.
Using all of the above research, determine how you would differentiate your site from your competitors.
Image Courtesy of SEOmoz
At the same time, you also must consider the internal resources that you have access to – what type of content could you more easily create based on the resources you have available? The reality is that often times, dependencies are involved – whether it be departmental approval for different forms of content or budget constraints. These all need to be taken into consideration when compiling a long-term content strategy.
Finally, define your goals – is it to develop content for your target audience? The integration of different marketing teams to build value? Develop a deeper understanding of your target audience? Become an authority in a specific space? All of the above?
What is the vision for investing this much effort/budget/time?
Tire Industry Example:
Let’s say I wanted to target the street racer demographic. Based on my understanding of the target demographic, street racers would likely be interested in:
Image courtesy of YouTube
I’ve included links to the best examples I could find. Clearly videos are a huge hit and have an enormous audience, but there isn’t a single channel dominating street racing videos. The street racing forum is relatively active and I honestly could not find good examples of comparison charts on different racing tires or even a single linkworthy site of street racing resources. Clearly, there is an opportunity for a company who might be interested in targeting the street racing demographic to become the online authority of street racing.
Before investing the time and budget to create a piece of content, first properly outreach and make sure that there is an audience who is willing to share this piece of content. Ideally this would be to sites that have the same audience/personas that you are trying to target. Take a look at social media for potential engagement opportunities (please read and apply Wil Reynold’s “Stalking for Links”), search industry news, and reading the content that your competitors are creating.
Tire Industry Example:
If I were targeting the street racer demographic, I’d be very involved on the street racer forum, as well as other car forums that are active. Though this is a long-term strategy, ultimately, building relationships with these individuals is worthwhile.
Image courtesy of Honda-Tech
I’d also build relationships with street racers who have a large following on Twitter for the very same reason.
Image Courtesy of Followerwonk
Through investing in these relationships, not only will you be able to build relationships with influencers, you’ll also gain a big picture understanding of the common questions street racers ask and thus, have insider knowledge of the type of content that will prove to be successful in helping to build your own following.
Now that we’ve conducted the market research for our industry, identified target personas, determined the type of content we could create, and initiated relationships with potential prospects that would share our content, the next step is to create the actual content.
We have to:
Once outreach has been conducted on the content piece, we want to take the time to properly evaluate the metrics and draw conclusions. Overtime, you can measure a variety of metrics like:
Based on the results of the content piece, the next steps are to iterate, test, and repeat with the purpose of ultimately building a following and a brand.
The purpose of this post was to help you develop a long-term content strategy framework for your site. The reality is that there is no “boring” industry and all industries have the ability to build a passionate community because ultimately, the Internet has become a source for all forms of knowledge. The difficulty is in finding these individuals, reaching out to them, and building content that they would read, enjoy, and share. The value of placing emphasis on long-term returns is that at some point, it doesn’t matter what the next Google update looks like, if your site saw a change in rankings, or even how many external backlinks you’ve built. What matters, is that you’ve built something that has garnered a loyal following, a dedicated community, and something you can be proud of.
June 26th, 2012 @ // No Comments
You are missing out on extra sales! So, my awesome team at SEOgadget have crafted up a handy infographic for you on how get started in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO, and that’s “optimisation” over here in the UK) to get the best ROI from your hard earned traffic.
We’ve developed and applied this methodology to help struggling businesses out of financially difficult situations all the way to adding hundreds of thousands of pounds of revenue, per day, to become some of our largest clients.
We believe there are two paths to Conversion Rate Optimization. When we see companies fail in CRO, it’s because they’ve adopted random testing, guesswork, “best practice” changes and most fundamentally, they’ve chosen to avoid proper testing. We call this the bad path (queue Darth Vader’s Death March Theme…).
To get good at driving real change, you’ve got to define a CRO methodology. The real trick to improving your conversion is pretty simple: identify, and target the core barriers to conversion and then, scientifically test the changes. This is the good path (queue The Star Wars Force Theme) and the path that we advocate for all inbound marketers to follow…
Check out our beautiful step-by-step guide in glorious technicolor. Would you like to see it in even more super-glorious HTML-O-Vision?
a data-cke-saved-href=”https://seogadget.co.uk/conversion-rate-optimisation/” href=”https://seogadget.co.uk/conversion-rate-optimisation/”img data-cke-saved-src=”http://cdnext.seomoz.org/1340399351_2d1692d14db762fffc739ecb426a5b4f.jpg” src=”http://cdnext.seomoz.org/1340399351_2d1692d14db762fffc739ecb426a5b4f.jpg” alt=”The SEOGadget guide to Conversion Rate Optimisation – Infographic” title=”The SEOGadget guide to Conversion Rate Optimisation – Infographic” width=”630″ //abr/a data-cke-saved-href=”http://seogadget.co.uk/conversion-rate-optimisation/” href=”http://seogadget.co.uk/conversion-rate-optimisation/”A CRO infographic by SEOgadget.co.uk/a, read the a data-cke-saved-href=”http://www.seomoz.org/blog/seogadget-guide-conversion-rate-optimization” href=”http://www.seomoz.org/blog/seogadget-guide-conversion-rate-optimization”full guide on SEOmoz/a
Just think of CRO as detective work. It’s a lot like using a fine comb to pick off the weak points in your site’s conversion funnel, while building on its strengths. At the heart of conversion rate optimization is the notion of removing barriers to conversion. These are the forces stopping your site from converting visitors into sales.
Barriers to conversion can include usability errors, weak persuasive techniques and often, page relevancy issues. By learning about your customer’s objections – “barriers to conversion” you’re addressing the real reasons why people don’t convert. The most important part: CRO is a scientific process of diagnosis, hypothesis and testing. Why bother guessing when there are tools to really help you learn about your customers?
Let’s say you own a store on the high street. You’re keen to increase your sales, so you paint the front door a different colour. That’ll improve things, right? Of course not! You’re not addressing the real reasons why customers aren’t buying your stuff.
The same applies to websites, changing the colour of your buttons will have no effect if people find your website lacking in credibility. Targeting the root cause with security logos and social proof (for example, reviews, accreditations, and association) is a much better solution.
So, here’s how we do it at the GadgetPlex:
Setup your funnels and analyse the points where your users enter, until the point they exit. Try to identify the “missing links” or barriers to conversion. Find out where they abandon and create benchmarks for improvement. Tools such as Google Analytics, Omniture and Kissmetrics are great for creating conversion funnels. If you rely on phone conversions then tracking phone calls is pretty important. Tools such as Adinsight and Mongoose Metrics are pretty comprehensive at phone tracking.
Find out what’s actually happening when people land on your site, analyse what they do, what keywords they discovered you for and where they land. Obviously, tools such as Google Analytics are great at telling you this, but think about digging deeper. What browsers are your visitors using? What screen resolutions are most popular?
Usability tools such as ClickTale are also great for funnels and their form analytics reveal where users drop off along your forms. CrazyEgg is another simple and effective tool that we use for click density analysis. Usability testing tools such as Usertesting and Whatusersdo are a great way to see videos of people using your site and where they hit conversion barriers. Ethnio is handy at recruiting your own site visitors to participate in usability tasks.
To identify barriers to conversion, you’ve got to build up a profile of people’s objections and opinions.
Tools such as Kissinsights (Bought out by Catchfree, who are awesome), Pop-Survey, Kampyle are really good for page level surveys and pretty simple to setup. Live chat tools such Olark and LivePerson are useful for dealing with user problems instantly. Other survey tools such as 4Q survey, Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo are really useful at discovering what your users are saying.
When it comes to using these tools we’ve found that all you really need is one question. Allow users to really express themselves by asking them an open-ended question. Acquire their email address (optional) for those that want their feedback to be responded to. Collecting an email address and promising a follow up really improves response rates, which allows you solve any objections early on.
If we know our target then the objective becomes easier. Study your website and understand your customers.
Speak to sales staff to learn the likely barriers they face when they sell and use the site. Your sales team deal with customers every day and uncover objections and seek to solve them in order to close the deal. The first time we did this we were surprised at just how useful this can be for exposing problems on your site.
Become a secret shopper and create scenarios i.e. rude customer vs. extremely polite vs. technically challenging – test how your staff deal with each scenario.
Finally, try actually phoning your own customer service number and see what happens. Test your customer services aggressively, as they can be the difference between retention and people going to your competitors. A 5% increase in retention can have an uplift of around 25 – 85% in profitability (Treytl 2002).
It’s all about wheeling and dealing, discovering those hidden gems within your company and using them to grow sales.
When you apply for a job and have to send a CV or fill out an application, the employer knows nothing about you other than what is on that piece of paper or application (unless they’ve checked you out on Facebook). If you don’t sell yourself and mention all of your achievements, they won’t easily learn about you. The same rule applies for websites.
If you have loads of testimonials and expert reviews but don’t shout about it, then how will your potential customers know? Treat your website users like they’re the employer and impress them, tell them why they should buy, making the value proposition crystal clear.
Study your website carefully and consider what you’re missing. For example, showing expert reviews, customer reviews, testimonials, or even taking the time to build a community (just look at SEOmoz for inspiration).
Prospecting is really about selling your site to your users and using clever mechanisms to grow conversion rate and sales.
There are so many ways to strengthen your AOV, which Fabian covered beautifully in this blog post.
As an AOV strategy, bundles work amazingly and it doesn’t even matter if you’re not strictly a retailer. Look at Unbounce for inspiration. They offer conversion bundles on their products joined with offerings from other companies which is a clever technique to offer a cost saving and acquire additional sales.
(Unbounce use “conversion bundles” as way to boost AOV and get more leads)
SEOmoz have a Pro Perks store (check it out).
Not all competition is competition, strategic partnerships can be a great way to grow and gain maximum exposure especially for start-ups.
As soon as you’ve got a plan, list and prioritise the main conversion killers and derive solutions on how to fix it and increase conversion.
We use tools such as Balsamiq and Cacoo to wireframe the solutions and then prepare hypotheses for testing. Test scientifically, the most important thing to take away from testing is to learn what works and what doesn’t and to keep building structurally to increase conversion rate. No guesswork!
We love this quote because it really captures what testing is all about, forget about guesswork, opinion and egos (think: HIPPO) and instead, test your variations accurately.
We primarily use Google Website Optimiser (which is now becoming content experiments) and Visual Website Optimiser. There’s loads of split testing and multivariate software. But remember: it’s not the testing tool that increases your conversion it’s the ideas you put into it.
What we’ve learnt is don’t test too many things, instead create a clear structured hypothesis. Attach CrazyEgg or ClickTale to your variations to monitor the difference in click density and interaction between your pages. If you’re optimising forms then applying ClickTale to your variation pages is really useful.
Try running page level surveys on the variations and original page, ask the same question, and monitor the difference. Always test your variations in multiple browsers. Browsershots are pretty good for this. For mobile testing we use Mobile Moxie’s excellent phone emulator, which is really handy at testing across different phone operating systems and platforms.
Review your test, analyse the analytics, click density and form analytics (ClickTale) and compare it to the original page, check the difference.
Tracking AOV and revenue is so important when testing. Structure your follow up tests and build on your success, or failure. Failure doesn’t always mean the test was wrong, it means the original is doing something really well, so learn and iterate. Apply your winning test candidates to other pages on the site (we always like to test these usually via a multi-page multivariate test), and then consider applying your learnings to other media channels such as magazines, adverts and brochure ware.
Repeat the process and keep building successful tests. Each time you test and find winning variations, you build up a portfolio of increases. Conversion rate optimization is an iterative process, which builds on the success of the previous test.
Follow this methodology and it will be extremely hard not to increase your site conversion. That’s how to get more happy customers and more happy customers equals more bang for your buck.
I hope you enjoyed our epic guide! Do check out the full HTML version of our infographic – and, in the meantime I’d love to hear how you’re working CRO into the inbound marketing process! I’d like to say a special thanks to Fabian for his hard work on making sure this post happened, follow him on Twitter here!
June 26th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Given the guarantee that Google will continually tweak their algorithms, the best way to handle potential impacts is to prepare. Being proactive and anticipating Google’s next move helps protect rankings and your online presence.
Here are some things we believe will become the central focus of future algorithm updates, how they will affect the industry, and suggestions for keeping up with it all.
The common theme is punishing low quality content. Google has preached that worthwhile content will naturally attract more links, and future algorithms will continue to encourage others to adopt this philosophy. For us, credibility and quality go hand-in-hand. We recommend building a credible business and website by balancing appropriate content development and promotion as well as link-building. Websites who balance optimization practices with a more user-oriented experience will likely be rewarded in the future.
As much as people fear Google updates, if you aren’t trying to take advantage of the system you shouldn’t stress too much. In the end, the same type of websites will be punished by Panda, Penguin, or any other animal in the future—those who try to take shortcuts.
During a recession, companies like Plastyc Inc. give a lot of hope to those suffering financially. Plastyc Inc. created UPside, a reloadable Visa prepaid debit card that mimics the benefits of traditional banking for people with low credit, bad credit and anyone who cannot qualify for a checking account. The thing about the UPside card is it isn’t just the average prepaid plastic.
“We diversify ourselves by what we have to offer, it’s not just a prepaid card,” said Plastyc’s Director of Online Marketing, Riccy Jimenez. “With UPside you can make free deposits, pay bills, write checks and even earn cash back through a rewards program.”
UPside has been available for nearly six years and there are countless current cardholders who are taking advantage of this convenient alternative to checking accounts.
“It’s like a functional checking account. Customers can go online and see what they are spending and even print statements to monitor their monthly spending,” Jimenez said. “It’s a nice alternative for those who are struggling with unemployment or suffering through tough times economically. These cards help people function.”
While competitors include other reloadable prepaid cards, debit cards, and gift cards, UPside stands out because cardholders can do everything necessary for their account online at UPsidecard.com and the company is constantly innovating new services for users.
When it comes to reaching their demographic, Jimenez admitted if the company is not visible online the entire website is useless. The company set out to incorporate search marketing for better brand awareness efforts in order to improve their online presence. Ultimately, the company decided to partner with SEO.com because of its reputation.
One of the company’s main goals for Internet marketing was to improve their natural search rankings, and with SEO.com they have seen success. UPsidecard.com has surged in rankings for all the different search engines and the brand is continually growing more popular.
SEO.com has secured better placement for a number of keywords for Upsidecard.com. In fact, seven keywords for the company now have prime positions on page one of Google’s search results. Even more, an additional six keywords are featured on page two of Google’s search results.
“We’ve only been with SEO.com for nine months and we’ve seen really good results,” said Jimenez.
By earning these positions on the search engines for UPsidecard.com, the company has experienced an increase in website visitors. According to SEO.com, targeted keyword traffic for this site increased by 21 percent and organic site traffic is up 32 percent.
Prior to utilizing search marketing, UPsidecard.com’s online presence was described as poor. Now, UPsidecard.com benefits from more exposure, giving them a competitive edge.
Press releases are a gold mine for attracting high quality links and building site credibility for an SEO campaign. If you already utilize press releases, you might as well get the most out of them to help build your online presence.
By optimizing a press release, you are gaining trusted back links, offering timely content, and providing a way for potential social sharing—everything a search engine uses to determine relevance to rank well in the results.
Optimizing a press release can be simple, and it starts with creating a SEO friendly title. Do this by including a keyword in your title. To maximize the potential of a press release, craft a title that is interesting and “clickable.” Distribution services for press releases also allow you to customize the URL for the release, so implement a keyword here as well.
After you have the title right, use keyword rich anchor text throughout the press release. Don’t use more than two keywords links in a single press release. It is also a good idea to use the most important link at the beginning of the press release.
When it comes to choosing the right keywords to implement, keep in mind that press releases are one of the best places to utilize branded keywords as opposed to blogs. Make sure the keywords and links flow naturally throughout the press release. At the end of your press release, it is recommended you include a keyword in your boiler plate.
Once your press release has been submitted, make sure to follow up with other SEO and social media strategies. Take the time to publish your press release on other outlets and social media platforms to maximize outreach. Your goal should be to get your press release picked up by as many reputable sources as possible so your linked keywords have more credibility to boost your page rankings.
After about two weeks, do an analysis for your press release to measure your efforts. If you follow these simple steps, you should start to get more out of your press releases.
eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit: Chicago; June 24-27, 2012
Conversion Conference: Chicago; June 25-26, 2012
Article source: http://www.seo.com/news/link-seocoms-june-newsletter/