The 2020 Keyword Research Guide for SEO

My Post - 2020-01-24T113650.066.pngThis guide is intended to teach you how to do in-depth and meaningful keyword research.

Good keyword research allows you to uncover the terms, phrases, questions, and answers that are important to your users or customers AND important to achieving your goals, whether they are getting more pageviews, capturing leads, or selling products and services. Keyword research sets you up for building effective strategies for improving or expanding your content to acquire higher rankings, and to rank on a wider variety of terms, to ultimately drive more relevant organic traffic to your site.

1. What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of finding all of the possible search engine queries which may be relevant to your business and your customers. Keyword research includes not only finding these keywords but also sorting and prioritizing them into logical, related groups, which can then inform how you might change existing pages on your site or create new content.

Why Keyword Research Is (Still) Important for SEO

While some SEOs may argue that keywords are no longer important or won’t be essential in the future, they are still crucial not only for search engine rankings but for understanding the search intent behind a given query. As long as people search using the search engines by typing a query into a search box or making a voice query on an “assistant”, it will be crucial to understand the following:

  • What those queries are.
  • How important they are to your business.
  • How you might create the best content to answer the intent of the query.

Even as search trends change, if people are looking for an answer to “something”, keywords will continue to matter.

Old school “individual” keywords and optimizing a single page for a single keyword has certainly gone by the wayside. However, using groups of related keywords, and examining their relative popularity, can not only give you insights into opportunities to drive more organic traffic to your site but can also help you understand the overall intent of your potential users. This information can help you better satisfy those intents not only through optimizing your website but potentially optimizing your product selection, navigation, UI, etc.

Understanding Keyword Themes (Groups of Related Keywords)

Some may refer to groups of related keywords as topics or themes, but at heart, they are groups of individual keywords that signal a similar need or intent by a searcher. As such, keyword research should never be left as simply a list of keywords, but rather used to form various segments of interrelated keywords.

A single topic or theme might lend itself to a single piece of content that can answer all of the needs within that topic, and thus a single page is “optimized” for the entire group of keywords. Or, the topic may be broad enough to signal that you should have an entire section of your website with many pieces of content targeted at answering the user intents.

For example, if you were writing a post about “how to fry an egg”, one single article might satisfy the intent for all the keywords around that “theme”. Example:

  • How to fry an egg
  • How to cook a sunny side up egg
  • How to cook an egg over medium
  • How to fry an egg for a sandwich
  • How to fry an egg in the microwave
  • How to fry an egg over easy
  • How to fry an egg over hard
  • How to fry an egg over medium
  • How to fry an egg sunny side up
  • How to fry an egg with oil
  • How to fry an egg without oil

If you had a group of keywords or a theme around “what caused the decline and fall of the Roman Empire,” all of the intents around that theme of keywords are unlikely to be satisfied by a single piece of content and would likely require a much larger body of content.

Keyword/Query Trends

Some SEOs argue that individual “head” keywords aren’t going to matter anymore because of voice search —which leads to long, natural language search queries. Search queries, in general, are becoming much longer, in part due to voice search.

But, that doesn’t mean that shorter “head” keywords can’t form the basis for starting your keyword research and helping to uncover many longer-tail keyword variants.

This is partly because, at least for now, there really is no separate voice search results or database.

Google, for instance, simply returns essentially the same results for a voice query as if you had typed that exact query into the search box on the Google web interface or search app. For many of these long longtail queries, Google is simply going to parse out the most important terms in the query and return the results for that.

For instance, someone may search for “Hey Google, what are the best running shoes for a person who has flat feet?”. Looking at Google search results, it is easy to see that Google returns the exact same result set for that query as it does for “best running shoes flat feet.”  – Read more

What Is Geofencing? Everything You Need to Know About Location-Based Marketing

My Post - 2020-01-22T113525.623.pngWith the growth of mobile phone usage (worldwide penetration is expected to reach 63.4 percent by the end of 2019), mobile marketing has been growing by leaps and bounds.
More recently, marketers have taken full advantage of its capabilities with geofencing, an incredibly powerful way to harness the power of location based marketing.

While using geofencing for advertising is not a new concept, nor is it simply limited to mobile (more on that later), its popularity has grown along with the rise of smartphone users. (It’s estimated that are more than 5 billion smartphone users today.)

What Exactly is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a location-based service in which an app or other software program uses radio frequency identification (RFID), Wi-Fi, GPS, or cellular data to trigger a targeted marketing action (such as a text, email, social media advertisement, app notification) when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits a virtual geographic boundary, known as a geofence.

A simple example of geofencing is when a young woman walks near a Sephora retailer at the mall and receives an app notification that says: “Today only! Buy 1 lipstick, get 1 free!”

You can track a consumer’s location through GPS, Bluetooth, and beacons, and there are three ways to utilize this technology for targeting consumers: geotargeting, geofencing and beaconing.

Whereas geofencing is focused on delivering targeted advertising to desktop users based on their location, and beaconing is focused on transmitting targeted messages and information to nearby mobile devices, geofencing is focused on the virtual perimeter you build around a specific geographic location to deliver targeted messaging.

There are many types of alerts you can send when a user enters a geofence. The more popular types include text messages, in-app notifications and social media ads.

Geofences can be set up on mobile, tablet, and even desktop devices anywhere in the world. Geofencing can be configured to target a certain place (such as the mall mentioned above), a demographic market area, a business category (e.g., restaurants), a brand location (say, all the Sephoras worldwide), a city, or a state.

Geofencing Statistics
For obvious reasons, geofencing can produce incredible results for marketers looking to roll out hyper-targeted, location-based marketing. But don’t just take our word for it:

  • Mobile ads with geofencing have double the click-through rate.
  • Geofencing is compatible with 92% of smartphones.
  • The average consumer spends 5 hours a day on their mobile device.
  • 71% of consumers prefer a personalized ad experience.
  • 3 out of 4 consumers complete an action after receiving a message when approaching a specific location
  • 53% of shoppers visited a retailer after receiving a location-based message

Main Benefits of Geofencing
What is it about geofencing that gets marketer’s excited and how can it help your marketing efforts? Here are the major benefits:

Better Targeting
With the ability to hyper-target prospects you’ll not only be able to reach folks at the right time and at the right place but be able to engage them with messaging that is relevant and timely.

By targeting folks in a specific geographic area, and filtering that area by specific targeting criteria, you’re much more likely to engage your prospects. Using the Sephora example above: a marketer would not send out the “lipstick” messaging to any Jane, Dick or Harry that walked by, rather would have targeted that ad to a specific demographic.

Spend Effectiveness
When your advertising is hyper-targeted, and sent at the right time and right place, your engagement numbers go up. With geofencing, you’re spending marketing dollars on prospects that are most likely to take action, and spending less money on those that are not.

Improved Data Collection
Once geofencing is implemented you’ll get access to a ton of insightful data metrics such as insights on which brick and mortars are performing better, which target segment has higher engagement, traffic patterns (when people are in/near your locations), stay durations, and messaging effectiveness.

By combining this collected information with online activity, purchase information and web browsing behaviors a business can improve the user experience, increase engagement, and better understand user behavior. This same information can also be used to target folks who have previously visited certain locations, to create customized follow-up messaging. – Read more

Nine Things To Know About Google Analytics

My Post - 2020-01-21T145501.291.pngOf all the business analytics tools used today, the most popular one is Google Analytics, which is a data-tracking tool offered by Google. If you’re a business owner looking to optimize and better understand how visitors use your website, here are some things you should know about Google Analytics and how to make it work for your business.

1. Google Analytics is free.

There are no subscription or monthly fees for the standard version. More features are included with the paid version, but they really aren’t necessary for running a small business. When your business has grown, you can simply upgrade when you have more resources available.

2. It’s easy to set up.

There’s minimal technical know-how involved to get started. You just sign in with an existing Google account and follow the instructions. You will be asked to provide basic information, such as your website and domain name. Lastly, you will need to add a tracking code to your website’s code for Google Analytics to start capturing data.

3. There are five reporting options.

The ABCs of Google Analytics include Audience, Behavior and Conversions. These reports provide an overview of who your visitors are, what they do on your site, and what activities they complete. The other two reports are Real-Time and Acquisition, which show real-time activity on the website, as well as how traffic reaches it.

The Audience report allows you to confirm and/or discover how well your marketing is working from different standpoints. The report can confirm if visitors are coming to your website from a specific location you are marketing to, or help you make further discoveries about new locations to put forth efforts toward. Also, if the goal of your website is to have repeat visitors, data within these reports can confirm the percentage of returning visitors to your website as a key performance indicator (KPI).

4. Google Analytics helps improve website usability.

With data on user behavior, you can better understand how visitors use your website. For example, you can identify the types of content potential customers look for, as well as gain insight into how they navigate your site and the pages from which visitors exit. All of this information can help you modify website navigation and improve overall site performance.

A hypothetical data point that can be used to make a website usability decision would be the bounce rate of entrance pages into the website for core content (not blogs). If the bounce rate for these entrance pages is above 70%, has a low average session duration and results in no conversions for the session, that can be an indication the page is not properly engaging a visitor to explore the website further and ultimately result in an outreach conversion.

5. It identifies devices used to access websites.

GA also gathers data regarding the types of devices used to access your website. If the data shows that many of your visitors use mobile devices to reach your site, take steps to ensure that it is mobile-responsive and user-friendly.

6. Google Analytics can help to optimize online campaigns.

GA tracks information about the location, profile and behavior of your visitors. Such data can help identify your user segment, which enables you to modify your content marketing, promotions and offers to match your target market.

Segments can be used to home in on specific traffic sessions that resulted in a conversion or other KPI metrics. As a result, you can reverse-engineer this data to see what traffic mediums or locations most commonly occur for conversions and leverage those data points. For example, you may want to initially cast a wide net with different types of paid advertisements, but you can later determine which mediums perform best. Then you can cut ties or reduce spending with the channels that are unsuccessful and put more spending toward the paid channels that work.

7. Google Analytics has a campaign tracking feature.

Google Analytics shows how your marketing efforts are working. You can identify how your emails, social media messages or paid ad placements are performing. It enables you to measure campaigns and identify those that actually convert to customer engagement. – Read more

How to Leverage First-Party Data to Boost PPC Performance

My Post - 2020-01-20T171311.896.pngMost experts believe that the future of PPC will revolve around:

  • An expanded use of automation.
  • More advanced audience targeting.

PPC practitioners now have a decreasing amount of control over accounts as Google pushes increased use of automation under their Smart Bidding umbrella.

With greater control of PPC accounts now being handed over to machines to manage, the need to incorporate valuable first-party data to feed machine learning has never been greater.

Here we outline how exactly first-party data can be used to power PPC campaigns and improve results.

What is First-Party Data?

First-party data is the data you’ve collected directly on your own audience. This data is typically collected through marketing activities such as:

  • Events.
  • Email subscriptions.
  • Resource downloads.
  • Form submissions.
  • Any data collected through web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics.

The issue with first-party data is that it’s often spread across disparate platforms and rarely connected and used as a single source of truth.

For example, a company may collect website user behavior data in a web analytics platform and customer data in a CRM system. Very rarely do companies connect these data sources effectively.

As a first step, integrating your key data sources is necessary if you want to use more of that valuable first-party data for PPC optimization.

Luckily, there are some tried and tested methods of linking up CRM data with Google Analytics before feeding this data back into Google Ads for optimization purposes.

1. Integrate Data Sources with Google Analytics

Google Analytics tracks standard online conversion data by default. However, it does not report on:

  • The outcome of a conversation a prospect may have with your sales team, whether a phone call has resulted in a sale.
  • The value of any leads your sales team may convert once an lead has been generated by your website or app.

The kind of data needed for more accurate PPC decision making includes measures such as:

  • The total sale value of all leads generated.
  • Lead to sale conversion rate.
  • Lead scoring data.

The idea here is that this data can then be tracked back to a lead that originated from your website.

Most CRM systems will have the ability to add user ID labels, which is the key to feeding your customer data back into Google Analytics. You can read more about the different options to achieve this here.

By far, the easiest option (that is the option that requires the least manual development input) is leaning on one of the many data connector tools that have pre-built methods of feeding CRM data back into Google Analytics in just a few clicks.

As an example, GA connector works with most major CRM systems including Salesforce and Hubspot to link CRM in to Google Analytics relatively easily.

The result is a set of custom goals that you can use in your Google Ads account based on actions that occur away from your website after an initial conversion has been generated.

How to Leverage First-Party Data to Boost PPC Performance

Of course, you’ll need to ensure that you link your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts to ensure these conversions are accessible in Google Ads before you’re able to use them to influence PPC performance.

2. Set Accurate Targets & Bids

First-party data can be used to set more accurate targets for Google’s machine learning-based bid strategies under their Smart Bidding umbrella.

With mixed results reported so far and paired back controls for PPC practitioners, Smart Bidding has certainly divided opinion across the industry since rolling out.

That said, Google is able to analyze 70 million signals in under 100 milliseconds. So if you feed Google the right data, technically their Smart Bidding software has the ability to outperform even the most advanced account setups and Google Ads script combinations.

As an agency that has invested in testing Smart Bidding heavily in the past year, we at Hallam have achieved the most success for our clients by feeding Smart Bidding with first-party data.

Google offers Smart Bidding strategies including:

To ensure these automated bidding strategies are set up based on accurate targets, you can use first-party data to carry out post-campaign analysis before refining your Smart Bidding targets.

For example, for a fuel card supplier, we can now track lifetime value of a customer based on the number of liters drawn on a fuel card (tracked through a CRM system and fed back into Google Analytics via user ID attribute).

How to Leverage First-Party Data to Boost PPC Performance

Instead of basing CPA / ROAS targets on data reported from standard website conversions, by linking CRM data with Google Analytics, you’ll be able to:

  • Use a similar post-campaign analysis to review performance.
  • Set smart bidding targets at a level that more accurately reflects the impact of PPC activity on a business’s bottom line.

– Read more

6 Types of User Behavior to Track on Your Website & the Tools to Do It

My Post - 2020-01-20T170351.928.pngWe work hard in our roles whether in SEO, paid search, or other aspects of digital and broader marketing trying to get people to our websites.

Websites are focal points for our messaging and getting our audiences to take key actions that we can monetize.

While large brands and marketing firms often have roles and teams that are responsible for the performance of websites, once a visitor enters them through to the final goal or conversion, that’s not the reality for most of us.

Most of us have to rely on our own tools and abilities to monitor user behavior on our sites with the goal of finding ways to improve moving users through the funnel to ultimately get to our conversion goals.

Or, worse yet, we’re leaving that up to chance as we’re already overloaded working on driving organic and paid traffic to our sites to keep the top of the funnel full.

Regardless of where we find ourselves, there are distinct categories of user behavior and we can dig into and specific tools to make our lives easier working to evaluate and improve each of them.

1. User Experience

User experience (UX) is probably the broadest category of user behavior and it could be argued that all user behavior is impacted by it.

It can be difficult to track and measure and often requires collaboration between designers, developers, and marketers if you or your team don’t have a specific role for it.

Behavior to Track

  • In-page clicks & mouse movement
  • Scroll depth
  • User navigation patterns
  • Live visitors
  • Recordings
  • Site speed

How to Get the Data

There are great tools on the market that give us the depth and quality of information that Google Analytics lacks.

We can watch individual visitors live as they navigate through our sites or recordings of their sessions with tools like Lucky Orange, Crazy Egg, and Hotjar.

We also have the ability to review aggregated data and visualizations of how deep visitors scroll, where their mouse pointer goes on the screen, how much time they spend on pages, and much more.

There’s a lot to be gained in these third-party tools beyond what GA can provide and it is important to look at both together to get a complete picture of user experience.

What to Do with the Data

With in-page user experience data you can make decisions that will:

  • Help retain visitors on pages.
  • Ensure they see the content you want them to.
  • Learn how to improve navigation flow to nudge them along to the next page or call to action.

Understanding how users actually use the site versus how you planned or wanted them to is a critical aspect to know and interpret from the data you can collect in user experience tools.

2. Content Performance

Content is fuel for marketing.

It is the foundation and reason why someone comes to our sites.

It’s also what they engage with, whether they spend hours and dozens of visits to our site or if they are coming to a single landing page and converting.

Behavior to Track

  • Popularity
  • Sharing
  • Engagement
  • Bounces & Exits

How to Get the Data

Google Analytics is a great direct source of content performance data.

With it we can filter and track which pages are most popular, which search terms (if we have configured GA to see site search data) are being searched, frequency and repeat visits, and what content has the most bounces and exits.

By default, most of these metrics are tracked in GA and we simply have to drill down and filter our way to seeing each layer and meaningful data point.

What to Do with the Data

When we have data showing us what content is getting the most engagement within the site, how people are getting to the content, and what they are doing when they consume it and move to a next step, we can further shape and refine our content strategies.

This includes blog content and impacts the editorial calendar. It also can spell out changes for evergreen content about products or services.

Coupling the content data with the UX data noted previously, we can paint a picture of how we should format our content into sections, pages, sub-pages, and make it as consumable as possible.

3. Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversions are defined by us. They are what we want our site visitors to do.

Whether it is an ecommerce transaction, a lead form submission, or certain subsets of engagement goals, we are typically measuring performance toward a goal.

Optimizing the number of conversions per the number of visits is key to make sure the site is performing at as well as it could and should.

Additionally, the path leading immediately up to a conversion is important.

When we have prospects ready to inquire or buy, we need to get out of their way and make it easy to do. The steps directly leading to conversions have to be measured.

Behavior to Track

  • Funnel
  • Checkout process
  • Variable testing
  • Form testing

How to Get the Data

There are several great tools to help with CRO.

These range from Google Analytics to UX tools (e.g., Lucky Orange) to variable testing tools (e.g., Optimizely).

With these tools we can gain insight into how people go through our defined conversion funnels like checkout or form submission processes.

We can also perform variable testing and see how different forms, content, and pages perform.

There’s power in gaining insights into what form field causes users to bail from a conversion process or what page is tripping them up in checking out. – Read more

SEO in 2020: What Role Do Keywords Play?

My Post - 2020-01-20T122505.216.pngIt’s 2020, and SEO professionals who’ve been at it for a while will know just how much has changed in the past decade.

In 2010, we still hadn’t been hit with Panda or Hummingbird or RankBrain or BERT, and many of us still thought “SEO content” was a matter of:

  • Adding our target keyword and its close variants in the content X times.
  • Making sure to add that keyword to all the magic places like your title tag, meta description, H1, etc.
  • Writing at least X words because that’s the magic length for rankings.

But Google’s algorithm has matured.

We know now (or we should) that getting our content ranked isn’t a matter of tricking Google by stuffing keywords in all the right places. It’s about providing an exceptional experience to searchers.

So how exactly should we be using keywords?

To answer that, we’ll need to take a step back and address what it really means to write content for search.

What Is SEO Content?

SEO content is content written for the purpose of ranking in search engines. That term, however, has fallen out of favor with many SEO professionals.

That’s because “SEO content” implies content written for search engines rather than humans, and that’s not good.

Why?

Because Google’s algorithm is a programmatic representation of the searcher.

If the algorithm is trying to model what a human visitor would pick as the best result, the answer to “how to rank” is to do what’s best for searchers.

So if that’s the kind of content Google wants to rank, then the way to write “SEO content” is just to write in a way that people will enjoy – right?

Not quite. There’s a bit more to it than that.

How Do I Make Content SEO Friendly?

SEO-friendly content is content that answers the intent of the searcher’s question clearly and comprehensively, and has a high degree of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

Let’s break that down.

Content That Answers the Intent of the Searcher’s Question

“SEO friendly” content is content that, first and foremost, answers a searcher’s question.

This means that the topic of the page itself will be dictated by the questions your audience is asking.

This also means that not all content is relevant for a search audience. Some content is written for thought leadership or to break news (new ideas = no existing search demand). Other content is written to attract social engagement.

We write content for many different purposes, so we shouldn’t expect every single one of our pages to rank well in search engines.

That means adding search audience-focused topics to your editorial calendar, rather than attempting to sprinkle keywords onto all your pages, many of which weren’t written for a search audience in the first place.

Content That’s Clear & Comprehensive

When you ask a question, do you prefer getting an answer that’s convoluted, vague, and clunky? Or direct, specific, and straightforward?

It’s a no-brainer, right? Google thinks so too.

But it isn’t as shiny and exciting to talk about grammar and diction. I think most SEO professionals would rather talk about topics like natural language processing.

But even the most meticulously researched brief can be ruined by content that doesn’t read well, so this stuff matters.

Don’t underestimate the power of tools like Microsoft Word’s “Grammar & Refinements” settings that can help you:

  • Replace complex words with simpler ones.
  • Swap wordiness for conciseness.
  • Go from passive to active voice.

…and much more.

Google also values content that’s comprehensive. Just take a look at what they say in their quality rater guidelines:

The Highest rating may be justified for pages with a satisfying or comprehensive amount of very high-quality main content.

Or on their Webmasters Blog:

Q: What counts as a high-quality site?

A: You can answer “yes” to “Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?”

Be thorough and be clear when you’re answering your search audience’s questions. – Read more

Not Using Landing Pages in Your Ecommerce Email Marketing? Here’s Why You Should

My Post - 2020-01-20T124507.628.pngWe’ve all had it happen. You meticulously craft an ecommerce email campaign that’s gonna help you sell a ton of products. You build a beautiful HTML template, write engaging copy, and A/B test your subject line. You implement an obvious and compelling call to action.

And after all that work, the landing page that your email directs folks to has a high bounce rate—or worse, a low conversion rate.

What gives?

It could be that your emails are writing checks your click-through destination can’t cash. If you send out a 15% off promotion for dog treats and link your audience to someplace with no mention of the discount, visitors are gonna be confused—and they’ll lose interest in a hurry.

Bottom line: Failing to match the messaging in your email with the copy and visuals on your landing page will hurt your conversion rate.

Maybe you already know it’s a problem, but you feel like you don’t have the resources to pair all of your offers with campaign-specific pages. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Here’s why you need to match your emails to your landing pages in your next ecommerce campaign, and how you can do it really, really well.


The Real Reasons Your Email Subscribers Aren’t Buying

Let’s be honest. Sometimes in marketing, you can get away with doing less—and that’s a problem.

Email marketing offers some of the best ROI in the business. When you’ve already got someone’s email address, you can expect them to open 14% of the emails you send, with click-through rates just under 7% overall. Estimates suggest that there’s $44 of revenue generated for every dollar spent on email marketing.

With stats like these, you can just half-butt your ecomm email promotions and still do pretty good, right?

Not exactly. If your emails are paired with landing pages that have high bounce rates or low conversion rates, you’re not just leaving money on the table—you’re also bombarding your potential customers with marketing that just doesn’t resonate.

Here are some of the common reasons email promos underperform:

1. Your storefront product page isn’t enough

Data indicates the average bounce rate is 9%, even with load times of less than two seconds. If you’ve seen higher bounce rates on the destination page of your email promos, it might be that you’re not linking to a relevant enough page in the first place.

Your online store’s product pages are specific no-no’s for this purpose. They’re often short, lack details mentioned in your email, and don’t create a consistent experience from click to click.

2. You’ve got too many escape routes

Another problem with your online store’s product pages is that it’s too easy for customers to get distracted and leave. Think about all of the escape routes: website menus, product navigation, highlighted deals that have nothing to do with your email.

Your ecommerce landing page needs to be built as a distraction-free, conversion-optimized funnel. Always encourage your customers to go forward, not sideways.

3. You’re a victim of the paradox of choice

Even if you cut down on the escape routes, too many options can lead to fewer conversions. As Barry Schwartz explains in his book, The Paradox of Choice: “What we don’t realize is that the very option of being allowed to change our minds seems to increase the chances that we will change our minds.”

The same is true for your visitors. Landing pages with just one call to action have been shown to have 2% higher conversion rates than those with five or more.

4. Your landing page is trying to do too much

When your landing pages are more specific, you can get away with using fewer words. You may also find that it’s better for your conversion rates: landing pages with less copy tend to outperform pages with too much copy at a rate of 14% to 11%. – Read more

Everything You Need to Know About Google Lead Form Extensions

My Post - 2020-01-17T123446.337.pngRecent data shows that mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop:

low mobile conversion rates

To combat this situation Google introduced the newest addition to mobile search ads — lead form extensions. The ad type is similar to LinkedIn lead gen form ads and Facebook lead ads in terms of the lead capture process.

So, do lead form extensions, like the rest of Google’s extensions, help with conversions or do they have shortcomings similar to LinkedIn and Facebook? Today’s post will examine what Google lead form extensions are and if they help advertisers maximize campaign results instead of sending prospects to dedicated post-click pages.

What are Google lead form extensions?

Lead form extensions help you immediately capture user information when they search for your company, products, or services on Google. The extension was created to replace the need for directing prospects to a post-click page to convert.

Ads that use the extension show a form beneath the search ad on mobile and tablet devices which allows prospects to enter their contact information directly in the ad’s popup form:

Google lead form extensions example

It is currently in beta and isn’t available to all advertisers yet, but to check if your business is eligible, go to this link.

How do lead form extensions work?

They simplify the process of collecting user information by placing forms within the ad and allowing prospects to commit to your offer instantly. Moreover, when a user sees an ad while they’re signed into their Google account, they can tap the CTA and reach a Google-hosted form already pre-populated with their information. This sequence makes the lead capture process possible with a single tap.

From their initial Google search to form submission, it only takes a few seconds for prospects to connect with your business. For advertisers, creating the lead form extensions also takes just a few seconds, click the “Ads and Extensions” tab on your search ad account. If your account has access to the beta version, clicking on the blue “+” will give you the drop-down menu with the lead form extension:

Google lead form extensions selection

The extension allows you to select what information you want to collect from prospects, including the following fields:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Postal code

Along with the form fields, these are the CTA button copy options:

  • Get offer
  • Subscribe
  • Download
  • Apply now
  • Book now
  • Contact us
  • Get quote
  • Sign up

The platform allows advertisers to add a background image to appear as the lead form screen, with recommended dimensions 1200 x 628 and an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. You can also create a form submission message, usually a thank-you note, that prospects see the after they’ve submitted the form.

The form specs

When creating your lead form extension, you must adhere to these specs:

  • Business name: 30 characters
  • Headline: 30 characters
  • Description: 200 characters

Apart from allowing advertisers to collect leads from within the ads, the Google extension also has the following advantages.

Pros of lead form extensions

The extension allows you to bypass sending users to another page and get their contact information instantly. Plus, you can add a link to your website in the submission message in case prospects want to find out more about the offer or your brand.

Google also provides you with two options to reach out to the prospects who have submitted their information:

  1. Download leads as a CSV: The “download leads” link allows you to get the contact information from each lead form extension. However, Google will only store leads for 30 days, so you’ll need to download these leads often.
  2. Set up a webhook integration: You can also enter the new leads directly into a CRM. To do this, you need to add a webhook URL and key to your lead form extension. Once everything is integrated, you’ll be able to send test data to view testing stats and results.

Although the extension seems like a godsend for lead generation, they have a number of disadvantages.

Cons of lead form extensions

Before you go all-in on this new extension, consider the following as they relate to your campaigns:

  • They are only available on mobile: Lead form extensions are only eligible for mobile search campaigns.
  • Extensions can only be applied at the campaign level: You cannot create lead form extensions at the account level or ad group level.
  • Your industry might not be eligible for the extension: Some sensitive industries (such as healthcare) will not be able to collect personal information with lead form extensions. For a full list of restrictions for the extensions, visit this page.
  • Google has strict data collection policies: The personal information you collect with lead form extensions must comply with your company’s provided privacy policy, Google’s data collection policies, and the local legal requirements of your users.
  • Limited form field options: Unlike your post-click page’s form where you decide which information you want to collect, Google currently allows very little customization with form fields. You can only ask for the user’s name, email, phone number, and zip code.
  • You miss out on a personalized introduction: Convincing prospects to click the CTA button on a pre-filled form seems easy. However, you miss out on properly introducing them to your brand. They might have clicked your ad, but would they convert if they don’t know all the details they wanted. This is what your personalized post-click experience provides.
  • You don’t have access to useful user data: When prospects don’t land on your post-click page you can’t see how your visitors would have interacted with the page, making you miss out on useful analytics data, potential ad revenue, and other branding opportunities.

Google lead form extensions seem like a quick and easy way to collect leads; however, the quality of leads collected will not be nearly as high as a personalized post-click experience. A well-designed personalized page experience can achieve exactly what Google lead form extensions can. Plus, a dedicated page gives prospects a better introduction to the offer and your brand while giving them relevant offer details, which helps them make an informed decision. – Read more

 

10 Essential On-Page SEO Factors You Need to Know

My Post - 2020-01-17T121406.221.pngSucceeding in organic search today requires optimizing for a combination of factors that search engines consider important – technical, on-page and off-page.

Over the years, we’ve seen increased focus toward off-page techniques – such as link building – and other technical elements.

But the reality is, off-page SEO won’t do much good if you don’t pay attention to the fundamentals – on-page SEO.

Smart SEO practitioners know that on-page optimization should be constantly prioritized.

And because the search landscape is ever-evolving, it’s important to make sure your on-page SEO knowledge is up to date.

In this post, we will cover what on-page SEO is, why it matters, and 10 of the most important on-page SEO considerations today.

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) refers to the practice of optimizing web pages to improve a website’s search engine rankings and earn organic traffic.

In addition to publishing relevant, high-quality content, on-page SEO includes optimizing your headlines, HTML tags (title, meta, and header), and images. It also means making sure your website has a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

It takes into account various aspects of the webpage that, when added together, will improve your website’s visibility in the search results.

Why On-Page SEO Is Important

On-page SEO is important because it helps search engines understand your website and its content, as well as identify whether it is relevant to a searcher’s query.

As search engines become more sophisticated, there is a greater focus toward relevance and semantics in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google, with its plethora of complex algorithms, is now much better at:

  • Understanding what users are actually searching for when they type a query.
  • Delivering search results that meet user intent (informational, shopping, navigational).

Adapting to this development is essential, and you can do it by ensuring that your website and its content – both what is visible to users on your webpages (i.e., text, images, video, or audio) and elements that are only visible to search engines (i.e., HTML tags, structured data) – are well-optimized according to the latest best practices.

Additionally, you can’t simply ignore on-page SEO because you have more control when optimizing for on-site elements – as opposed to off-page SEO that consists of external signals (i.e., backlinks).

If you put effort into on-page strategies, you’ll see a boost in traffic and a rise in your search presence.

This guide will walk you through the most important elements of on-page SEO.

Paying close attention to these 10 areas will help improve your content and authority – and increase your rankings, traffic, and conversions.

1. E-A-T

E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, is the framework that Google raters use to assess content creators, webpages, and websites as a whole.

Google has always put a premium on high-quality content. It wants to make sure that sites producing high-quality content are rewarded with better rankings and sites that create low-quality content get less visibility.

There is a clear relationship between what Google considers high-quality content and what appears in the search results.

Call it correlation or causation – whatever it is, E-A-T is somehow playing a role in Google’s organic search results. Which means E-A-T must be a consideration in your SEO strategy.

2. Title Tag

The title tag, an HTML tag that exists in the head section of each webpage, provides an initial cue or context as to what the topical subject matter is of the respective page it is on.

It is featured prominently in the search engine results pages (typically used as the clickable link) as well as in the browser window.

The title tag by itself has little impact on organic rankings, this why it’s sometimes overlooked.

That said, missing, duplicate, and poorly written title tags can all negatively impact your SEO results, so make sure you’re optimizing for this element.

3. Meta Description

Since the early days of SEO, meta descriptions have been an important optimization point.

Meta descriptions, meta tags that provide a description of what the page is about, are often displayed in the SERPs underneath the title of the page.

While Google maintains that meta descriptions don’t help with rankings, there is anecdotal evidence that indirect attributes of better descriptions do help. – Read more

The True Definition of Product Landing Pages & Why You Need Them to Generate Conversions

My Post (100).pngPost-click landing pages are versatile. They can be used across industries, teams, and services to convert people on a particular offer.

But their usefulness doesn’t end there. While it’s rarely considered, products need their own landing pages too.

Known as product landing pages, these are the choice of companies that rely on paid advertising. And if you have a product, and you’re advertising without a post-click landing page, you’re leaving revenue on the table.

What is a product landing page?

A product landing page is a post-click page created specifically to convince a visitor to convert on a product-related offer. Design-wise, it’s similar a traditional landing page. It features conversion-centric elements, like a magnetic headline, benefit-oriented copy, hero images, social proof and more, to compel visitors to click the CTA button. The only thing that makes it different from other landing pages is that it is used specifically by companies that sell products.

How are product pages different from product landing pages?

Like product landing pages, product detail pages feature images and details about a product, complete with a call-to-action button. However, they are not designed specifically for conversion.

Example: Insightly CRM product page

product landing page Insightly CRM

It’s clear the goal of this page is to compel visitors to click the call-to-action button “request demo.” It features benefit-oriented copy, a hero shot, an explainer video, etc.

Unlike a true product landing page, though, this page contains a mass of distractions. There are many links the visitor can click to abandon the page: a full navigation menu, links to other products, a footer, social media icons, etc. Each of these links is a potential page exit that competes with the primary call-to-action.

Example: Insightly CRM product landing page

product landing page Insightly CRM

Notice how it has no navigation in the header or links in the content. The only way off the page is through the call-to-action button. The only goal is to convert the visitor on this one product.

Without numerous distractions, this page keeps its visitors focused on evaluating the CRM product. They can’t leave the page to another product page, or the homepage, or about page, or any other page unless it’s through the call-to-action button.

One link off the page, one conversion goal. This is known as maintaining a conversion ratio of 1:1, which is ideal for converting visitors. When it’s out of balance — meaning there are numerous places to click, or several different goals — you get a page like a product page, which isn’t ideal for conversion.

Why both product pages and product landing pages are necessary

Just because they’re designed differently doesn’t mean one of these pages is better than the other. Comparing the two is a little like comparing a blog post to a pricing page. They’re meant for two different purposes, and both are crucial in different areas of your marketing.

The product page

Even if they specialize in one particular product, many companies sell more than one: add-ons, upgrades, alternatives, etc. And the way those products are accessed depends on the customer.

Let’s consider the user experience of a first-time visitor to the Synthesio website:

Synthesio product page

Synthesio provides brands and agencies with social media intelligence products. Through a recommendation from a contact, imagine this prospect has navigated here to evaluate those products. – Read more