How about we get right to the first few punches?
Your definition of “Social Media” is skewed. Is that a no?
Social media has its roots in 550 B.C with the first hand-delivered letters while social networks did not see the light of day until around mid-1970s. Developed by The Plato System at the University of Illinois, Notes was perhaps the first message-forum app.
Talkomatic and TERM-talk, both of which made up the rest if The Plato System, were perhaps the first instant messaging application and online chat room respectively.
Maybe we ought to call social media social networks to wipe out the confusion. But we digress…
Snapping back from that #throwback, here are more social media fun facts that could make you want to rethink how it would have been of cats and pooches if YouTube didn’t exist. And then some.
This is going to be fun.
The only known life-harboring planet on this side of the universe is home to just over 7.6 billion human beings as of 2018. About 4.6 billion of them are active internet users, and 3.03 billion of those are on social media networks—living pretty much a double life. More like a hexa-life because the average social media network user has signed up to and juggles 5.54 social media accounts.
Despite recent data privacy scuffles at Facebook, the company is currently the largest social media company ever with over 2.167 billion users—just a matter of time before it’s a virtual home to more people than the population of China and India combined. Keep in mind that Facebook owns Instagram (800 million users) and WhatsApp (1.5 billion users).
It’s a social world. The average social media user is spending about 2 hours and 15 minutes on social media per day, which is a 45 minutes’ ramp up from social media time in 2012. YouTube Users stick around the longest averaging 40 minutes per session. In fact, one in three video views (including TV) is watched via YouTube.
Marketers can use that information to decide where to advertise based on how engaged the users are—and are not bouncing around too frequently. In fact, Google (which owns) YouTube now inserts several adverts within videos lasting around 10 minutes and beyond.
The majority of social media users are below the age of 35 years—and even younger for some social media networks such as Instagram (18-29 years) and Snapchat (mostly teens). However, social media users below the age of 28 are twice less likely to engage with a branded post than users between the ages of 55 and 64 years.
Facebook users watch more than 8 billion videos each day. But YouTube easily beats that its over 1.148 trillion views each day and is the second largest search engine. SEOs will want to keep tabs with developments in YouTube SEO and social media search updates, too. Americans spend about 1 hour and 16 minutes watching YouTube video each day. Instagram Stories are twice as popular as Snapchat’s.
More than 3.2 billion images are shared on social media each day. In fact, 87% of the posts shared on Facebook have a photo—although 58% 0f 3,000 marketers surveyed in a Social Media Examiner survey vouch for original written content.
More people trust micro-influencers than they do brands, celebrities, and macro-influencers—although micro-influencers are more engaging too. A micro-influencer generally has an audience of fewer than 100,000 followers, fans, likes or friends. On Twitter, about 91% of the mentions are made by people with less than 500 followers.
Along with email marketing, marketers say influencer marketing is the most effective online acquisition channel ahead of blogs (37%), Facebook (25%) and YouTube (6%). But 74% of marketers are not sure how to conduct an influencer marketing campaign and measure results.
After changing its name from the original Twttr, it kicked its co-founder out. Even after signing up over 1.3 billion accounts, only 328 million are activated per month. Compare that with 270 million fake Facebook accounts. About 44% of account owners left Twitter without ever Twitting. About 391 million Twitter accounts have no followers at all.
Another 500 million visit the Twitter website in a month and not sign up for an account. And the 55-64 age group is the fastest growing on Twitter compared to 45-54 on Facebook and Google+.
LinkedIn has the least active users compared to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. That could mean you may not have as good a participation in polls and surveys than you would on Facebook or Twitter.
But LinkedIn does generate the highest number of leads for businesses than any other social media network. But only about 17% of US small businesses use LinkedIn.
Social media networks follow your online life even if you are not logged in. For example, Facebook follows you everywhere they have a website using a Facebook plugin.
With retargeting marketing catching on to help marketers get back to bounced visitors, cross-platform crawlers can now follow visitors practically anywhere on the web.
Weekends are big on social media posting and sharing. For example, Thursdays and Fridays are particularly engaging times to post text, images, and videos on Facebook—increases engagement by 18%, according to Buffer. Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube users are most active at 11-1 pm and 7-9pm. According to HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella, send consumer-based marketing emails at 6-10 am and 7-10pm when such emails get opened. Send property-related emails at 3-5pm, as well as B2B and holiday promotions at 5-7pm.
Were it not for that 2007 screw up on Yahoo!’s part, Mark Zuckerberg was excited by the idea of selling the then-upcoming social media platform for $1 billion. But when the price plummeted to $850 million, Mark decided to keep it and look at what happened. Facebook is the most endowed of the two and likely to acquire the other.
Social media is a phenomenon never experienced before. The 11 statistics and fun facts discussed here demonstrate just how much is going on in the now trillion-dollar industry. Are taking advantage of the trend?
CVR Marketing in 2020 – How to Really Boost Your Website Conversion Rate
Do you want a proven website conversion rate optimization elements list that works? Here’s how we do it so you can do it, too.
I am no guru in CVR Marketing, I still learn. Every day I do. For the last 20+ years or so. Moreover, as soon as I have some fresh website conversion idea, I test the hypothesis on one of my own websites, and the outcome sometimes is a total surprise. Again and again. I think people are all different, aren’t they?
Over the past years, I’ve gathered insight into the conversion optimization topic, and I think there are some tips that I can give.
Because some things do work most of the time. These are classical elements that will make your website convert better. You will generate more sales, or generate more inquiries, or whatever your conversion goals are, you can benefit from this Article.
You probably spend a ton of time, money and chunks of effort into that search engine optimization strategy and online paid advertising campaigns. Then when you’ve managed to attract more traffic to your website, you discover the site’s bounce rate is out of normality. Alternatively, people gladly come to your web pages, consume the content and quietly leave with no action taken. So if your website as a critical component of your sales and marketing funnels (and it should!), that will hurt.
It is painful to watch helplessly as your increased website visitors leave without as much as starting a conversation with you. Paying more attention to conversion rate optimization can help you find a smarter way to turn departing visitors to your brand’s evangelist and buying customers.
I am here today to show you how most Marketing Agencies Boost Website Conversions For their Clients and Themselves (A Practical Guide, I hope…). As a practicing conversion rate optimization (CRO) professional, I’ll share with you what has worked for our clients and us.
By the end of this guide, it is my aim that you’ll be able to apply the best website conversion rate optimization techniques to your business. However, before that, maybe we ought to start with understanding conversion and why it is vital to both online and offline brands.
Website conversion is the percentage of your website visitors that complete a specific action over the total number of visitors. It’s a simple and straightforward definition.
A good example is the fraction of your visitors that subscribe to your email list. Alternatively, it can be the number of visitors that purchase your product, or order service through the website.
Calculating your website’s conversion rate can offer accurate, data-backed insight into your web pages performance, and measure whether you are accomplishing your conversion goals.
There are macro-conversion and micro-conversion goals.
Macro-conversions describe the primary goal of your website while micro-conversions are actions visitors take along your funnel before they can take the principal or primary action.
Examples of macro-conversion goals include:
Examples of micro-conversion goals include:
The specific action your visitor takes depends on the stage where your potential customer is within your funnels. For example, an e-commerce website’s primary goal is to convert visitors into buying customers. The secondary goal might be cross-selling or up-selling. These two goals are close to the bottom of the funnel. So if your visitors were too early in the funnel, they would most probably not convert. That’s important. If you are trying to close the deal too early, the conversion will suffer. So before even thinking of conversion I advise designing an excellent measurable cross-channel funnel. Then you can start thinking about CRO.
There are many ways for optimizing your web pages for higher conversions. Here is one example that I think deserves its high place.
Credit: CRO Process infographic by Paddy Moogan
Google reported in 2016 that about 76% of local smartphone searchers visit a related local business on the same day.
About 28% of those visits result in a local purchase.
Listing your business in online business directories such as Google My Business (also called Google Maps) is also a good start. Also, since around mid-2015, the online search giant showed “near me” searches increased dramatically. So, clearly, online conversion optimization also matters to offline businesses. You need to optimize the pages in such a way that the local business visitor wants to call you, send an inquiry or just come to talk to you.
Determining what a good conversion rate in CVR Marketing is and what’s not may require you compare what other businesses in your industry get. The benchmark numbers are sometimes hard to get. Here is what I often see (although we’ll discuss this in a few moments below because the average conversion rate by industry is probably not the smarter way to benchmark your website conversions): Most accounts fair between 1% and 5%, averaging out at 2.2-2.7%.
I decided to look beyond my yard and found four more compelling average conversion rate statistics. All of them emphasize what I often see:
WordStream released a report indicating the average landing page conversion rate is around 2.35% for PPC campaigns. After analyzing “thousands” of Google Ads pages for three months, the firm summarized that 3.75% was the average conversion rate in AdWords on the Search network. According to the same report, advertisers can expect a 0.77% average CVR on the Google Display Network (which covers Google’s huge network of apps, websites, videos, and more placements).
Now look closely:
You’ll notice that the top 25 advertisers hit the 5.31% threshold. Look to the far-right and the runaway, top-10% accounts hit average conversion rates of 11.45% and beyond.
The top performers not only hit the sweet 11.45% spot with just their landing pages, they also hit the double-figure across their entire accounts.
However, different industries perform differently-even dramatically so in some case as you can see here:
And it runs deeper.
See the comparison between e-commerce average conversion rate with that of finance sites to get how different the averages can ramp up:
If you want the average conversion rate for landing pages alone, here’s what landing page software firm, Unbounce, found in its own study.
After analyzing 64,284 landing pages it built for its customers, and which generated a total of 74.5 million visits, it found the average conversion rate for landing pages in 2018 is around 3-5.5%.
Note that the 64,000+ landing pages covered 10 different categories; real estate, consulting, vocational learning (job training), business and business services, health, credit/lending, home improvement, travel, higher education, and legal.
MarketingSherpa reported in 2014 that the average conversion rate for online retail stores hovered around 1.4%.
Here is the average conversion rate by product, according to MarketingSherpa:
In 2015, FireClick Index Data ramped up that figure to around 7.2%.
FireClick also showed that multiple-product stores converted higher than niche stores selling only one product. However, that contradicts the firm’s own data that earlier stated specialty sites (7.6%) converted better than multiple-product stores (6.7%).
Invesp awarded the best performer title to Play.google.com with 30% CVR, followed by moviemars.com (22.95%), dollarshaveclub.com (20.00%), 1800contacts.com (18.40%), and 1800flowers.com rounded up the top-5 with 16.90%.
According to Invest internal data, the average conversion rate for affiliate websites is 26% (based on 17 websites). Average lead generation website conversion rates come to around 13% based on the sample of 35 lead generation websites it used.
Wolfgang Digital also reported the average conversion rate for e-commerce websites was 1.6% in 2017. Also, that a majority of online buyers still prefer to buy from a desktop computer, with slightly more Mac users than Windows users making online purchase decisions.
Via Wolfgang Digital
I promised we were going to come back to this, so here comes.
Average conversion rate benchmarking can be misleading.
From the actual experience of helping my clients optimize their website conversions, there is not a standard benchmark since every firm is different.
WordStream’s data also shows this, indicating dramatic differences between a top-performing industry like finance and e-commerce, the average performer according to its study.
Moreover, the number you hit will depend on several aspects:
– Type of service/product you offer
– A device used (desktop, mobile, tablet)
– Product cost or average order value
– Traffic source (social, search, referral, etc.)
– The platform used (Mac, Windows, IOS, Android, etc.), and more
So, how can you convert more browsers to buyers on your website in 2018?
Here are the techniques I use and have successfully implemented for our clients for some time now.
Not only the page load speed is a search engine ranking factor, it is also a visitor retention parameter. While most sites take up to 6 seconds to load, the best site speed is below 2 seconds. A 1-second delay in site loading hurts your opportunity to convert a visitor by 7%. Slow-loading websites perform poorly in search engine ranking pages (SERPs) too.
That extends to website responsiveness, with responsive and mobile-friendly websites taking top honors, according to my own observation and A/B tests.
How your pages look matter a whole lot. How they feel to the visitor matters even more.
Check the numbers:
An important aspect that often falls under usability is cluttering. However, reducing the number of options on a page to just a few important ones can also fire up your conversion optimization strategy in all cylinders, according to Hick’s Law.
And be sure to use the Rule of Thirds in your website design layout to attract your visitors’ attention on the primary call-to-action.
Content is still king.
Also, content design is a thing. Not only will you benefit from producing long-form content that addresses your target audience’s pain points and offers solutions, but you’ll also want to make it scannable and easy to digest for readers.
With online attention spans plummeting meteorically, you’ll want to design content (infographics, images, video, and text posts) in ways that your target audience resonates with.
You’ll want to:
– Clearly layout your unique selling proposition and value proposition
– Explain why the visitor should trust you
– Also, answer frequently asked questions right on the website (preferably on a dedicated page or on your homepage).
Testing. Testing. Testing.
Few companies are consistently testing their conversion optimization tools. About 61% of companies conduct less than 5 tests in a month to be precise.
A/B/X testing is so important, a throng of companies have used the trial-error-improve route to improve conversions, according to an Econsultancy finding. Hiring an A/B testing expert can go a long way in ensuring you double sales from increased website conversions.
The thing to keep in mind with contact forms is to keep them short and sweet. No one wants to fill out a full-on questionnaire in one dive. You can do better by starting with only three filling fields.
Need more information from the visitor?
Create a next-step form with another three fields, and so on. You want to make your visitors feel like less work is required from them. You want to cut the commitment to the minimum possible.
Be sure to make it easy for visitors to convert by showing call-to-action buttons on all pages. Adding one in the header and below your sales copy is especially effective.
Also, if you are in Europe or America, do place your most important forms on the top-left or in the mid-left section of your website layout, where readers are most likely to see it since most people read from left to right.
I’ve seen increased conversions when setting up a chat service on a client’s website such that it pops up almost immediately the website loads. You have only about 8 seconds to make contact before a guest likely leaves.
The video makes your business seem more human compared to blocks of plain text and static images. Using quality photos can get you 94% more views, according to SkyWord. Jeff Lenney, CRO and Affiliate Marketing Expert, agrees with us. Want shares and downloads? Provide quality infographics. Best of all, though, be sure to have smiling human faces on your website pages. People trust people, friendly people. Faces increase familiarity and a dose of human touch to the page and overall website. And nothing is as big a conversion rate optimization element than earning visitors trust. But PLEASE avoid the free lifeless business’y stock images. Will you? Pleeeeease??! … Thank you! Ok, let’s move on now.
Everyone loves a good gift. Offers giveaways that resonate with your target audience in return for their email addresses to grow your mailing list for future campaigns.
The CRO process can paint an accurate picture of how visitors move through your site, what actions they take, and what issues stop them along that funnel so you can fix them to improve your conversion rate. Improving your website conversion can help generate more sales, build a solid email list, and increase customer loyalty.
However, a pattern I notice with many businesses is they are not sure where to begin or what to do next to increase conversions. To turn that around, you can use the eight tried-and-tested conversion rate optimization techniques discussed here to make a difference.
Another thing to keep in mind is you are likely to see small but gradual improvements and not necessarily disruptive boosts at a time – unless the website is in a dire situation as it is now. The key is to consistently use A/B/X testing to find out what works best for your specific audience. Do not change more than one variable at a time though. Otherwise, you won’t know what works and what doesn’t.
Over to you now.
About the Author
Dennis Dubner is the founder and CEO of a Swiss-based marketing strategy consulting firm and a digital agency SONDORA SA. He has an insatiable hunger to help businesses design and execute marketing strategies, align Marketing and Sales with sound, data-backed and actionable advice. With over 20 years of experience to boost, he continues to help businesses of all sizes improve their marketing, sales, and business development worldwide.Win Loss Analysis – Best Marketing Practices for 2020
It’s a scenario you probably know well. You’ve finally closed the deal, the immediate future looks great for your business and the entire team is in the mood to celebrate. You’ve hit your targets ahead of time, you’re looking at a decent period with zero uncertainty ahead and your confidence is sky-high.
But here’s the thing – tomorrow is a new day, with new targets to assign and new challenges to face. The question being, what can you do to repeat this all-around success going forwards?
In my experience, this is where many businesses go wrong. They ride the wave of a recent big success, which is fine, but they ride it way too long. Assumptions are made based on immediate successes and insufficient effort is made to encourage history to repeat itself.
The result of which, as you can imagine, tends to be a disappointment.
If you fall on the more proactive side of the spectrum, what should you be doing to make things happen again and again?
The answer – conducting a win/loss analysis could help steer things in the right direction.
Carrying out a win/loss analysis (aka post-decision interviews) gives you the opportunity to replicate your biggest successes indefinitely. It’s also just as important for generating key insights as to why you didn’t hit your targets, helping guide your subsequent decisions and actions accordingly.
Win/loss analysis is one of the many options on the table for repeating your successes, but it’s a highly effective and measurable method.
At its core, a win/loss analysis provides the opportunity to assess your business and its performance from the perspective of your customers. It delivers a detailed overview of your points of appeal, areas for improvement and the reasons why you won or lost. Rather than assuming you know what contributed to your recent success or failure, you go directly to your customers and request their feedback.
Interviews can be carried out via various channels, but I’ve noted the most helpful insights are generated by in-person discussions or telephone conversations. Postal or email surveys are an option but don’t provide the opportunity to dig deeper than the base questions you ask. You can even ask a third-party to handle things on your behalf, but then you can’t be sure they’ll probe as deeply or specifically as you would personally.
By ensuring you (or your team) contact customers directly, you access a number of key benefits such as:
You’ll still produce helpful data through traditional questionnaires and surveys, but I strongly recommend at least some in-person interviews where possible.
The primary benefit of a win/loss analysis is the unique customer-first perspective it provides of your successes and failures. A strong and on-going sales strategy is mandatory for the consistent performance of your organization. A win/loss analysis provides the opportunity to gather, analyze and retain the kind of priceless data that can help improve success rates and identify areas of weakness.
In fact, there’s no more effective way of getting to know your business from the perspective of its customers than through win/loss analysis.
Specifically, win/loss analysis delivers such key insights as:
These are just a few of the insights you’ll gain access to by performing an effective win/loss analysis. Ultimately, the data you collect can be used as the basis for your on-going marketing and PR strategy.
The benefits of win/loss analysis are therefore clear, but what’s the best way of getting started?
It’s worth remembering that the data you collect will only be as useful as the collection method allows. Hence, it’s useful to view the win/loss analysis interview process in three specific stages:
In the wake of success or failure, you’ll first need to pen a robust interview strategy with your sales and marketing team, with the input of your customer service heads. Consider the questions you’ll be asking, who will carry out the interviews and how they will be performed. I recommend planning for interviews that last around 30 minutes, though allow extra time in instances where further probing is necessary. Make things as easy and comfortable as possible for the interviewee, which will encourage their participation and help maintain their interest.
Don’t be afraid to go off-script during the interview if you feel additional or modified questions could prove helpful. It’s also important to conduct the interview as objectively as possible, allowing as little emotion as you can to affect your approach. The customer should be reminded of the importance of their honesty, irrespective of how their thoughts and opinions differ from those of the interviewer. Stick with the timetable you assign as strictly as possible, in order to avoid frustrating the interviewee.
The data collected during each interview should be reviewed and analyzed with equal importance. Rather than searching for findings that correlate with your own beliefs, you need to consider every viewpoint and experience carefully. It’s also important to thank each participant after the event for their contribution to the project.
Post-decision interviews shouldn’t be conducted only in the wake of major wins or losses. Instead, they should form an integral part of your core sales, marketing, and customer service strategy. At least, if you prioritize continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.
There are, however, some ground rules that should be followed to make the most of every win/loss analysis carried out. Looking ahead to the remaining months of 2019, the following represent the most important best-practice guidelines to gain maximum value from your post-decision interviews:
Your findings will be skewed if you speak to a disproportionate number of satisfied or dissatisfied customers. You can only expect to achieve clear and balanced insights if you ensure both sides are represented equally. It’s also worth remembering that every interview represents an invaluable opportunity to get a disenchanted customer back on board with whatever it is you do.
As a general rule of thumb, try to ensure your interviews are carried out no more than two months (or eight weeks) following the event or action. The more time that passes, the more inaccuracies and inconsistencies may find their way into the participants’ accounts. It can also be useful to gauge the emotional responses of your customers to your brand, which will be at their rawest and strongest immediately after the event.
Consider the information you’re most interested in collecting and work backward to establish the questions you’ll need to ask. To what extent did you satisfy the customer? Which of your competitors were also in contention? Why did they choose you? What would it take to keep them coming back? Why didn’t you win their business? What would they change about the experience? What advice could they offer you? What were their perceptions of your representatives? What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
If impartiality is to be achieved, the interview must take place in a non-sales environment with zero pressure and with no hint of a sales pitch. Effective post-decision interviews can help get disenchanting customers back on board, but this should never be your priority. Salesmanship and marketing talk has no place in the mix – the same also applying to your own personal feelings and emotions.
If you simply cannot guarantee 100% objectivity and impartiality with your own representatives, you may need to consider hiring a third party. This may be the only way of achieving a true non-sales environment for the interviews, ensuring the results aren’t skewed by your own biased views, opinions, and objectives. Outsourcing can bring its own unique challenges into the mix but does at least guarantee neutrality and objectivity on the part of the interviewer.
Contextual free-form answers should be encouraged to determine how each customer feels about your business and your offer. However, it can also be very difficult (or even impossible) to compile and analyze this kind of data. It’s therefore useful to create fixed metrics for customers’ responses – such as asking them to gauge their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. Or perhaps determine the extent to which an issue is a priority for them – not at all, low, medium, high, very high etc. This will assist with the aggregation and analysis of the data you collect.
Conducting win/loss analysis once every year or so won’t tell you a great deal about your business. By the time your next interviews are carried out, you’ve already lost the opportunity to act on the prior project’s findings. Instead, it’s a good idea to conduct post-decision interviews on a quarterly basis at least. Compare and contrast each project’s findings with the last, taking every opportunity to act on your findings the moment they’re gathered.
As far as your customers are concerned, the thoughts and opinions they share are 100% factual. Hence, they’re the only thoughts and opinions you should be listening to. Irrespective of how the information you gather mar contradict your deepest-set thoughts and beliefs, this is the information you need to trust. However objective you think you are, nobody can provide more honest and objective insights than your customers themselves. Trust their opinions, consider their suggestions and act upon their feedback.
Above all else, you need to get out of the habit of viewing post-decision interviews as an optional extra. Win/loss analysis should be considered mandatory – a key strategy that forms the core of your on-going sales, marketing, and customer satisfaction strategy.
From a digital marketer’s perspective, I personally believe there is a no richer or more valuable source of data than that obtained through strategic win/loss analysis. Whether you succeed or fail, your customers can provide all the information you’ll need to move on with even greater strength and confidence.
Your digital marketing goal may be to enhance your brand’s image, boost your reputation, generate leads, enhance conversion rates, appeal to a new/wider market or any number of combined objectives. Across the board, you can only hope to succeed if you know exactly what’s working and what isn’t from the perspective of your customers. Which digital channels do they prefer? What would they change about the UX or customer journey? What’s their preferred customer support channel? Is your current digital marketing mix working?
Otherwise, you could be basing your decisions on incomplete and potentially flawed information, along with your own non-objective insights. A digital marketing strategy based on factual evidence and honest customer opinions will always perform better than a campaign built around assumptions.
Most businesses have the means and the resources necessary to conduct detailed win/loss analysis. More importantly, going directly to your customers for advice and insights simply makes sense.
Nevertheless, evidence suggests comparatively few show any real priority to post-decision interviews. Which is unfortunate, given their potential to produce invaluable data for near-limitless business-wide benefits.
Irrespective of the time and effort the project may entail, the results can and will justify your investment. It’s simply a case of adopting a carefully structured approach, in accordance with the practices and general guidelines outlined above.What Does SEO Stand For?
Here is the deal: SEO is a big deal. And it has been for the last decade or so. If you own any piece of internet real estates like a website, blog, YouTube channel, or an app, you’ve heard of SEO. But, what does SEO stand for?
This post is not another “What is SEO. SEO helps you rank well” type of guide.
You are in the right place if you are not only searching for an advanced SEO meaning but also want to discover what you can do now to increase organic traffic to your website, or another online asset.
The initials SEO stand for Search Engine Optimization.
We’ll break that down further. Shall we?
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use algorithms to present the most relevant information to the searcher.
The internet is a massive, global library. When you want to find information on the internet, you are more likely than not to fire up your internet browser and type in what you are looking for. Sound familiar?
Say you want to learn how to start a business blog or how to create a niche blog on WordPress. What words, phrases or questions would you type into the Google Search box?
Here is an all too familiar example:
Notice the first three search results are online advertisements (Google AdWords). But they are right on the money because they are relevant answers to your question.
So, what’s that got to do with search engine optimization in 2019 and beyond?
SEO is all about making your content visible to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. Search engines, in turn, make it easy for people searching for information online to find relevant, helpful, and genuine information on different digital platforms.
Search engines do this by ranking websites ideally in order of how relevant, helpful and genuine the content they contain is.
The words, phrases, and questions a searcher types into a search engine box are collectively referred to as keywords.
The likes of Google search engine use keywords to help web browsers like you and I find the best information as fast as possible. Not to oversimplify it, the thinking is if the content of an online platform uses the same words, phrases and questions searchers are typing into search boxes, then that content is likely to give the latter satisfactory answers.
The combined mix of keywords and need for user satisfaction invented Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs).
Here’s another familiar sight:
An example of a Google search engine result page (SERP).
SERPs are a big deal for businesses and marketers, and here’s why.
The higher up a SERP your website ranks, the more visitors you’ll get. In fact, websites that rank on the first page of Google search results take 92% of all traffic, according to Chitika.
Google web pages
Ranking on the second page of Google search results will see you get about 5% of the traffic. And it gets worse from there.
SEO helps you rank on the top pages of search results so you can be visible to your target audience. And you already know that buyers buy what they know exists.
Here’s the most interesting bit:
Improving your website ranking to number one on Google will help you fetch 33% of all traffic. Number two gets about 18%. And if you rank on page two of Google, you are likely to fetch only about 1.1% of visitors.
These visitors are also referred to as traffic. And the more traffic you get, the higher your chances of encouraging the visitors to consider your call-to-action.
Studies show providing useful content establishes you as an authority in your industry; that you know your stuff, and the visitor can trust you to help them learn to solve the problem they are looking for online.
By providing the information they need, you can further provide calls-to-action visitors can take to get more answers to their question. For example, in the SERP screenshot above:
The first result is a WordPress ad inviting you to create a blog with them. The second is about Udemy, an online platform where you can learn new skills—which is what the search query is asking to learn: how to create a blog on WordPress. The next screenshot shows other sites that can teach you what you are looking to learn.
Poor SEO techniques can have you buried in, for instance, a position 3 of Page 9 of a SERP, where not many people are looking. Proper SEO techniques, on the flip side, can have you attracting free traffic to your website in the tens of thousands of targeted visitors.
SEO marketing is a set of activities that involve using search engine optimization methods to help you boost your online visibility as a brand.
And what are these methods?
A web searcher (visitor) will click on your site from the SERP when they think you provide the best value for their time. Again, by providing high-quality content; relevant, helpful, and genuine content.
One of the most powerful SEO methods to implement for business is using geographical location; targeting searchers in a specific area.
What is local SEO?
What that means…
…whether you are a local brick-and-mortar business or digital brand, you can benefit from becoming visible to potential customers in your area (or target area).
By using keywords your local target audience would use to find a product or service similar to yours, you can direct local online visitors to your local business—whether online or through foot traffic.
Courtesy of Blue Corona
A robust local SEO strategy will involve listing your business on Google My Business. If you are a brick and mortar with a verified address, you can list. But if you take services to your clientele, you’ll want to register as a service area business; carpenter, plumber, cleaner, courier, and so on.
Source: Google My Business
This is a good example of letting prospects know where to find you, what you offer locally, and whether they can reach you when they want to buy from you. You can also use online business directories like YellowPages, FourSquare, and Bing Places for Business.
Remember, you are not listing your business based on the market you serve, but where you are located. You can use a professional local SEO expert to help you set up your GMB mini-website and local SEO strategy if you need expert guidance.
Let’s take an example.
Searching “hotels in Lugano Switzerland” gives:
Example of a Google local 3-pack listing via GMB
Potential customers can use this to find the best hotels in Lugano based on price, proximity, customer reviews, open hours, menu, description, nearby attractions, hotel class, discounts, amenities, directions, and so on.
In fact, a Moz Study showed while 44% of local searchers click on the local 3-pack listing, only about 8% search for more information past it. They get what they want. Fast.
All that information has to do with optimizing a hotel’s local SEO. It is about providing the information they need when they need it to decide their next action.
There is more. If you like to see some great ways to improve the organic traffic from the Local-Based Keywords to your web pages please read our blog post here.
As the name suggests, national SEO is about targeting a nationwide audience with that nation’s keywords.
National SEO is similar to local SEO in that you’ll want to target potential customers that are looking for products or services based in a specific area. It’s also based on localization optimization.
Only this time on a national scale as opposed to the neighborhood, city, county approach used in local search marketing.
Instead, you can target keywords and on-page SEO techniques (such as Maps) based on your state or country.
With International SEO, you’d be looking to appeal to regional and global audiences. That means your SEO needs to use keywords that encourage anyone from anywhere to find your business online.
This SEO strategy is ideal for companies that serve global markets. Otherwise, it would be a waste of resources to market locally sold products or services to a worldwide audience that is unlikely to ever buy from you.
So, how do you do that?
By optimizing your website pages for relevant keywords to your intended global audience.
So when someone is trying to understand what does SEO stand for, it is crucial to learn the process of website optimization.
Clearly, the importance of SEO to business cannot be understated. But how do you know what people are searching for online so you can use similar phrases in your SEO strategy and content marketing campaigns?
How do you attract traffic to your site using keywords? How do you know which keywords to use and which ones to leave out of your plan? What makes one SEO strategy more effective than the other?
You chose the wrong keywords you waste a lot of resources, including time.
Simply, it is about finding out the words, questions, phrases, sayings, and more your target audience are using to find the relevant information to search query (and related products, services, or a combination of both)?
By understanding the terms and related terms potential customers enter into search engines to find relevant products and services, you can strategically inject similar terms into your content, so it is easily discoverable by the very people looking for it.
Keyword research is to search engine optimization what fuel is to fire.
You can go at it manually.
You can search on online platforms such as reviews sites, online forums, and social media channels. You’d be seeking to find how potential customers discuss, describe, word, phrase, and even lament about your industry niche.
Also, you can pick some time-relevant, popular and effective keywords from the bottom of Google’s SERP pages in the “Searches Related to…” section free of charge.
Google’s free keyword research tool
But this can be a lengthy process. And even the best SEO companies take time to gather actionable, long-term keywords.
Alternatively, you can use online search tools to almost automate your search, get suggested keywords and volume data for each keyword. Some of the best keyword research tools include:
Still, if you prefer to hire an SEO expert to do the search and integrate results into your SEO strategy on your behalf, that is okay too.
Whichever way you choose, you’ll want to be keen about using the keywords you find. Because how you use them matters a lot.
A particularly important portion of SEO and search marketing is to be precise on longtail keywords vs. short-tail keywords.
And what are long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords?
A Long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that typically comprises of three or more words. Short-tail keywords have less than three words and are broad in their target. Long-tail keywords generally are smaller search volume and less competitive phrases. So if you find it difficult to rank for “dental clinic Leeds” you’d rather choose a long-tail keyword “the teeth whitening dental clinic in Leeds”.
Let’s take an example:
If you entered the keyword “shirts” into a web search engine or an e-commerce search tool, you’d get a massive catalog of shirt results—from Hawaiian shirts to formal shirts.
Would that be satisfactory?
Not when you want to find formal cotton shirts.
Now picture your target market. If a web searcher is looking for shirts, it likely means they are yet to be specific enough to make a purchase decision.
On the other hand, a web searcher that types “official cotton shirts” is advanced in the buyer journey.
They already are aware of the kind of shirts they need. So a long-tail searcher is also much more likely to convert faster. This is a prospect not a lead, a potential customer who is actually looking to make a purchase—not learn what you do.
It gets deeper.
For example, you can use specific LSI keywords to target specific segments.
By using an LSI such as “best notebooks under $650” is likely to connect with potential notebook buyers who are on a budget and need a right mix of quality components, stable performance, and at an affordable price.
Due to their specificity, long-tail keywords are also easier to rank for than short-tail keywords.
In fact, long-tail keywords are ideal for small businesses SEO strategies because not only are most small businesses niche by nature but also because long-tail keywords have less keyword competition hence low keyword difficulty.
Large businesses (which have big SEO budgets to spend) tend to rank much better for shorter keywords, making it tough for smaller companies to rank well. And it can take years for the latter to break into the first pages of Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc.
Now that the time issue’s come up, how long does it take to rank at the top of SERPs?
The answer is…
There are literally hundreds of search ranking factors that come into play when creating a sound SEO strategy and in implementing one.
A more complex one is to do with keyword matrices. The combination of various, relevant keywords, including long-tail and short-tail keywords is also known as practicing Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keyword optimization.
LSI is about using a combination of keywords in contextual format and optimizing how they relate. For example, keywords like “dog”, “puppy”, and “breed” relate to the same context.
Link building is another influential ranking factor worth implementing.
Warning! Please be careful with link building because Google penalizes over-optimized websites with unnatural links. Your content needs to be so good that other websites start referring to your webpage to help the searcher get all the relevant answers. That is a natural link building technique and gives Google a strong signal that your webpage deserves a higher ranking. But if you buy spammy links, then it’s almost a guarantee that your website is going to be banned or penalized (Google called such action “a manual action”). Google’s algorithm is very advanced nowadays.
So to answer a question on how much time does it take to rank a webpage or a website we’d say it really depends on your website quality and on the competition. The SEO industry pretty much agrees that a website owner needs to be patient and work hard on natural optimization. On average, some good positive results can be achieved within 4-8 month unless you are up against the competitor that has been optimizing the web pages professionally for years.
But to avoid turning this SEO guide into a book, the most important search engine optimization stages can come down to three, which we’ll discuss here.
Let’s break each down, shall we?
It is not as mind-boggling tough as it reads.
Technical SEO is all about the search engine optimization aspects that do not involve content or links. So, no keyword density, keyword difficult, and long-tail keywords to deal here.
But what does technical SEO involve?
Here are the major factors to keep in mind:
These are just some of the most important technical SEO factors to look out for.
What is on-page SEO?
The term refers to all the tasks you can do on your website to rank higher on search engine results.
Such factors include:
Ensuring your site nails these search engine ranking factors is the first step to boosting the visibility of site online.
However, there is one MAJOR factor that has been increasing with lightning speed in importance – USER EXPERIENCE and USER BEHAVIOR. You absolutely must make sure your web page provides a great user experience so the website visitor does get all the answers to their query. If they don’t, they move from your website and keep on reading on your competitor’s website. If they stay longer on your competitor’s website than on yours, move to other relevant and engaging web pages on that rival’s website, it’s a matter of short time for Google to place your competitor higher in search results than your web page. It’s a simple concept. Write better content, provide a better user experience, and you’ll be rewarded with more online visibility by Google.
The next step is to execute your off-page SEO strategy.
So, what is the meaning of off-page SEO?
Contrary to on-page SEO techniques, off-page SEO involves all the things you can do directly off your site to rank high up the SERPs.
Some of the best off-page SEO ranking factors include:
Therefore, the answer to how long it takes to rank on top of Google is it takes as much time as you and your SEO professionals can get technical, on-page and off-page SEO factors in order.
White hat SEO techniques are the legitimate SEO methods to use to rank high in search results. They include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO best practices—as discussed in the above section.
Blackhat SEO techniques, on the other hand, violate Google Guidelines because they involve manipulation of the ranking algorithm. Black Hat techniques can lead to website penalization or even de-indexation from Google Search.
It is important to keep track of white hat vs black hat ranking techniques by occasionally conducting a thorough SEO audit of your site.
Because white hat methods do change to black hat approaches, you might find your site penalized for a mistake you didn’t even realize you were making.
To be safe and safeguard your ranking, even when the latest Google updates strike, you’ll want to avoid using black hat SEO methods and rely on white hat SEO principals instead.
But what if you need to rank fast?
What if you need to outrank your competition to stay in business? What can you do to boost your visibility fast and tidy?
Search marketing could help you boost your digital marketing campaign.
Search marketing leverages both paid and unpaid online advertising to promote a site and get traffic to your web pages. SM branches further into Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Organic Search.
Primarily, SEM involves using pay-pay-click (PPC) advertising to increase a site’s visibility faster compared to using organic methodologies (organic keywords and link building methods over some time).
And what if you want to learn SEO on your own, so you can practice search marketing on your own sites? You can tap the best SEO tips from the best in the field.
This question is frequently asked by the business owners and marketing executives. According to Forbes, every business needs to invest in the SEO – in-house or on professional external SEO agency or a consultant. An amount of USD 1,000 per month is a recommended bare minimum for a small business. Large organizations spend millions on SEO monthly.
The most dominant search engine on the planet receives over 2 billion monthly searches. Want to keep ahead of all the latest Google Search algorithm updates and more? For example, get some tips & tricks and learn how Google Search Console works from the horse’s mouth by following the Google Blog.
The platform brings together keyword research, backlinking, content and technical SEO in one place. Ahrefs is recognized as one of the most advanced tools by SEO community.
Rand Fishkin and team create educative blogs, videos and hold weekly podcasts to share their SEO and link building strategies with a solid following—which gets what it deserves.
Brian Dean is one of the most influential figures in SEO. He is particularly celebrated for inventing the Skyscraper Technique of white hat link building.
Recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top digital marketers in the world right now, Neil teaches both simple and advanced methods to increase website traffic. Neil provides great tips for those starting their SEO journey.
The former webspam team head at Google has a wealth of Google, SEO and gadgets’ wisdom to share on his blog.
Or perhaps you preferred a more strategic, step-by-step and guided SEO tutorial or SEO agency to help you along?
Search engine optimization is a sophisticated and highly technical internet marketing strategy. But it is worth every effort. You can attract high-quality traffic to your website with almost zero financial strains compared to other methods.
What if you had a professional SEO service at your disposal?
As a Sondora SA client, you can get all the search marketing hacks you need to attract more business. You can focus on serving your customers instead of tweaking 301 redirects on edge.
You’ll have a full-fledged team of professionals on call.
Here is how our SEO project team looks like:
You’ll get a complete SEO audit done to reveal what is hurting your search engine ranking. And have them corrected to help you increase your visibility among other benefits for your business.
About the Author:
Matteo Iannelli is the Digital Marketing Manager at SONDORA MARKETING. He has been optimizing clients’ websites locally, nationally and internationally for over ten years. Matteo is always on the toe to create another most-proud-client-moment—like when the team helped a client skyrocket his e-commerce website traffic from 100 visitors to 15,000 visitors per month. After a thorough SEO audit and research that focused on buying intent keywords, it took only 12 weeks to start ranking for multiple significant keywords.GDPR: Making Modern Privacy Much Secured
GDPR is a way to strengthen data security for everyone in the EU. The benefits of the regulation help address personal data exportation outside the EU as well, as long as the individual originally resides in the EU.
This modern program aims to provide private control for every data that an EU citizen and resident owns. It also simplifies the regulations that international businesses needed to follow as GDPR unifies these international businesses within the EU. The regulation will replace the Data Protection Directive of 1995 once it becomes enforceable on May 25, 2018. Thus, non-compliance with the regulation will cause huge costs to the companies.
GDPR was nothing more than a proposal six years ago, on January 25, 2012. An orientation vote for its approval was held on October 21, 2013 – with the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs who held the vote.
On December 15, 2015, negotiations between the European Council, Commission and Parliament began in order to push the implementation of the program. Its positive outcome has finally set things in motion for its adoption. But still, it would go a lot of procedures.
Eventually, the GDPR was adopted by the European Parliament on April 14, 2016, as an effort to replace the Data Protection Directive of 1995 since the former regulation was too outdated. This year, its implementation shall apply from May 25.
The GDPR is a promising regulation that will surely make data comfortable enough to become a part of every EU citizen’s lifestyle. It was proposed in the first place to resolve the concerns of the public over information privacy – knowing that the internet was still brand new to a lot of people in 2012. It was proposed just in time when the internet became an extended establishment for businesses and when consumers began to exploit the advantages of e-commerce and online marketing. Over time, data breaching has gotten stronger, and that can compromise a lot of information to a lot of people.
Nowadays, data usage is very valuable. Banks, government and parliament agencies, as well as many businesses have transitioned on the internet for its convenient and user-friendly features. Hackers nowadays can possibly steal high-profile data from businesses and other offices through the use of computers and phones.
An RSA survey has proven this fact. It was able to conclude that consumers are scared about the lack of protection in the data they provide. RSA was able to conduct a survey of 7,500 consumers/respondents in France, UK, Italy, Germany, and the USA. 80 percent of the respondents said that financial data is a huge concern, next to stolen banking data (e.g. credit card information). Lost security information such as passwords and other identity data such as licenses and passports are also cited as concerns for 76 percent of the surveyed respondents. It also noted that 62% of the respondents said that they will blame the company and banks for lost data. Thus, it will also affect government offices for stolen identity if the data regulation is as weak as the one implemented in 1995.
The lack of trust in some neglectful companies has also caused consumers to make their own strategies. The survey also indicated that 41% of the respondents are willing to falsify data when signing up for online services. Unwanted marketing and reselling of data is the root concern of this response from the consumers. 27% of the US respondents even mentioned boycotting a company or employer if data protection is neglected.
Every Precious Data Will Be Protected
Based on the results, the GDPR could be a huge requirement in our modern era in providing data security. The GDPR is well-prepared as it can protect private data such as the following:
The GDPR will also affect all companies who collect personal information within the EU. This even includes employers. Thus, all of these types of businesses must comply with its requirements and rules. Otherwise, legal sanctions will be implemented. The following criteria can help a business become more accepted by the new regulation:
The GDPR contains several roles that ensure its compliance. Staff such as the data controller, processor, and protection officer are the ones that will regulate the companies.
A data controller will be monitoring if outside contractors will comply with the regulation. Data processors will be internal staff that will observe, maintain and processes personal records and outsourcing companies who will also handle the personal data. The GDPR will hold the processors as liable for any breaches and non-compliance. Additionally, the company and a data processing party such have a cloud service can also gain liability as well.
A DPO will be designated to oversee the security being done to the collected personal data. All companies under GDPR will require a DPO when processing large amounts of data. However, some public services such as law enforcement can gain an exemption due to very sensitive information.
GDPR is truly beneficial in this modern world not just for the citizens, but for businesses as they can also get their data misused. The regulation places equal liability on data controllers and processors.
Note: Third-party processors who are also not in compliance will need to comply with the regulation.
You can also say that GDPR is stricter than the old data regulation. But that’s just the way it is since data regulation never got an update for more than two decades. However, one thing is for sure: data usage is very valuable. That’s why this regulation was proposed in the first place. Once again, all these will be implemented by May 25, 2018. Thus, companies should prepare their requirements while there still some days left.