How to Build an Email Funnel That Closes Sales Quickly

Don’t let the term “email funnel” scare you.

It’s much easier than you think. It’s true that if you’re new to building funnels, you might feel slow as molasses at first.

But once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Don’t believe me?

Just keep reading. By the end of this post, you’ll be fully capable of building effective email funnels that generate sales.TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is an email funnel?

Simply put, an email funnel is a path or route you build over email for potential customers to travel from their first interaction with your business to the last step on the journey where they convert.

That route could look something like this:

From social media > blog post > email newsletter > autoresponders > conversions.

But “conversions,” when it comes to email funnels, doesn’t always mean sales. You can create your email funnel to either convert subscribers into customers (sales), convert them into attendees for an event, or convert them for something else that’s not sales related.

Essentially, this means there are two major types of email funnels:

  1. Email sales funnels
  2. Email marketing funnels

When you’re building an email funnel to ultimately convert subscribers into sales, you’re essentially building an email sales funnel

But if you’re building it to convert your email contacts into event attendees or any other non-sales results, then — for the most part — you’re building an email marketing funnel.

However, since most business owners and marketers build funnels for sales, that’s what we’ll be focusing on in this guide.

Do email funnels actually work?

“Email funnels,” as a term, has become an everyday word for business owners, marketers, and salespeople. 

And when anything becomes part of common language this way, it is tempting to start to think that it’s just hype and not a genuinely valuable tool.

But that’s not the case with email funnels; they actually work.

GetResponse customers are a living-proof of this.

Take Alex Terrier, jazz musician and a music teacher offering online music courses who gets 19% email signup rate with his content.

Or Landcafe, an online store created out of the love of travel and coffee, offering artisanal coffee beans, who get 54% of their sales from their educational email campaign.

If that’s not enough, just do a quick Google search for “email sales funnel case study” and see how many businesses have gotten their entire success from sales funnels they built over email.

Now, let’s dive right in and create your own email funnel success story.

Author’s note: You can build your email funnel from scratch using GetResponse’s Conversion Funnel.

How to create an email sales funnel that actually sells

You automatically create an email sales funnel when you:

  1. Start a campaign or create a content piece to collect the emails of your potential customers.
  2. Build relationships with people on your list by emailing them helpful content consistently — without being annoying, of course.
  3. Send prospects a series of emails to sell them on an offer.
  4. Close sales, making it easy for customers to buy.

String these four things together and you have a working email sales funnel.

But let’s explore these four funnel elements more deeply so you can learn how to best use each of them to build high-converting funnels.

1. Collect the emails of actual potential customers

The emails you collect will determine the success of your email funnel.

It’s possible to collect 100,000 emails and get few to zero sales when you eventually try to sell them your product or service. Know why this can happen? There are several reasons, but a major one is that those 100k emails you got came from people who weren’t your potential customers. – Read more

Make every marketing dollar count with attribution and lift measurement

Understanding how each media touchpoint contributes to your goals can mean the difference between marketing that drives business growth and marketing that fails to deliver. To make every dollar count, you need tools that help you learn how people are responding to your ads, so you can take action to improve your results.

Today, we’re announcing improvements to Attribution in Google Ads including coverage for YouTube ads and a significant expansion in the availability of data-driven attribution. We’re also sharing updates to our lift measurement solutions including a new way to measure incremental conversions and an accelerated time frame so you get results even faster.

Measure more of your Google media

Attribution in Google Ads helps you understand the paths people take to complete conversions. It awards credit for conversions to different ads, clicks, and factors along the way, so you can focus your investments on the media having the biggest impact on results.

Earlier this year, we launched a new look for attribution reports to help you get important insights faster. And with more people turning to YouTube as we spend more time at home, we added YouTube to attribution reports, to help you better understand the role video plays in your customer’s path to purchase.

fuboTV, a live TV streaming platform that includes sports, news, network television and movies, used attribution reports to understand how customers interact with their YouTube and Search ads before converting. They saw that for every conversion YouTube drove directly, it assisted 2 more conversions on Search. “These insights helped us see the full value of video. This enabled us to start thinking about YouTube and Search media in one view and take into account blended cost-per-acquisition goals that more accurately reflect the total impact of our ads at driving conversions,” said Antonio Armenino, Search and Display Lead at fuboTV.

YouTube ads in attribution reports is now in beta. Eligible advertisers will be able to opt-in within the Measurement > Attribution section of Google Ads to see YouTube ads in the Top Paths, Assisted Conversions and Path Metrics reports, alongside Search and Shopping ads. And to give advertisers a more holistic view of Google media, we’re also adding Display ads to attribution reports in the coming months.

Data-driven attribution is now available to more advertisers

Data-driven attribution (DDA) is a type of attribution model that uses Google’s machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each ad interaction along the consumer journey. Trained on and validated against incrementality experiments, data-driven attribution gives credit based on the incremental impact of your ads. It continuously analyzes unique conversion patterns, comparing the paths of customers who completed a desired action against those who did not, to determine the most effective touchpoints for each business. DDA is our recommended attribution model because the constantly updating, machine learning-based approach ensures you are always getting accurate results that account for the latest changes in consumer behavior.

DDA requires a certain volume of data in order for us to build a precise model, but to make DDA available to more advertisers, we’re lowering the data requirements for eligibility. With this change, each conversion action in your Google Ads account that has at least 3,000 ad interactions and at least 300 conversions within 30 days will be eligible for DDA. This is possible due to ongoing improvements to the machine learning algorithms we use to train data-driven attribution models, so we can do more with less data without sacrificing precision.

Use full-funnel lift measurement to validate and implement findings

Attribution is best for day-to-day, always-on measurement and is effective for setting ad budgets and informing bid strategies on a campaign or channel level. Businesses that are prepared to move beyond DDA can use randomized controlled experiments—also known as incrementality or lift—to set channel-level budgets or to optimize future campaigns.

For years, marketers have used Brand Lift and Search Lift to measure the impact of YouTube ads on perceptions and behaviors throughout the consumer journey, from brand awareness to purchase intent, and lift in organic searches on Google and YouTube. Today, we’re announcing that Conversion Lift is now available in beta. Conversion Lift measures the impact of your YouTube ads on driving user actions, such as website visits, sign ups, purchases and other types of conversions.

Each of Google’s lift measurement tools use best-in-class methodology to ensure accuracy and precision, and that no additional costs are incurred to run these experiments. In addition to delivering accurate, full-funnel measurement, we’re making changes to our lift measurement tools so you get results even faster.

For Brand Lift, we recently launched accelerated flights so you can get the brand perception metrics you care about sooner, with the ability to re-measure over time. We’re also reporting Search Lift and Conversion Lift results as soon as they become available, with flexible study durations and integrated daily reporting, so you can see changes more frequently and over time. Last, you can now run Brand Lift, Search Lift and Conversion Lift measurement on the same campaign, so you can get fast, actionable results across the entire consumer journey. – Read more

19 Must-Have Tools To Begin Your CRO Journey

A website is a home to many actions. Button clicks, form fills, purchases, and many more events collectively constitute engagement and conversions. Experience managers tend to look at these actions from both macro (site-wide) and micro (visitor level) lenses to understand their visitors and map their business’s overall conversion rate.

But there’s a problem.

Even though experience managers make sure to take every bit of information into account to analyze their business performance, many often don’t use the right conversion rate optimization tools, leaving room for flaws and glitches to breed. To avoid such hiccups, we’ve created a list of highly recommended CRO tools based on each conversion rate optimization stage to effectively enhance your website and business’s performance.

Before you add any CRO tool to your arsenal, evaluate them for the following carefully. 

How to choose the right CRO tools?

GDPR compliance

Since you’re engaging with visitor data at each stage, it’s essential to ensure that your data collection tools must be GDPR compliant.

Integrations

To avoid data silos when using multiple data analytics tools, ensure that the tool has ‘integrations’ with other tools you use or open APIs to build custom integrations. This helps prevent data duplication, confusion, and related uncertainties.

Security

If you plan to install supporting CRO software on your website, ensure the tool doesn’t get breached, especially when running experiments. Your CRO tools must be safe and secure to use. Single sign-ons, multi-step logins, etc. help ensure security. Check your CRO tool under consideration for these critical features. 

A multi-user friendly dashboard:

When selecting a CRO tool, make sure it offers an integrated dashboard where mapping your experiments and other activities is easy. A user-friendly dashboard also allows cross-team collaboration, which is a building block in CRO. 

After evaluating the tools, let’s now look at some must-have CRO tools based on different conversion rate optimization stages. 

List of some must-have CRO tools

The research stage

When it comes to conducting research, multiple CRO tools exist that help map both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data tools, such as web analytics, offer insights into what’s happening on your site. Qualitative tools such as heatmaps, scrollmaps, surveys, and the like give context to why it’s happening.

Mentioned below are some of the best CRO research tools you can use to collect necessary visitor data to form data-backed hypotheses for your CRO test campaigns.   

Google Analytics

Google Analytics[1] is one of the best web analytics tools that tracks website traffic and user activities, such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, and more in real-time, across various site pages. It also offers additional information such as traffic source(s), visitor location and demographics, page performance, and conversions. You can use its premium version, Google Analytics 360, to unlock more in-depth insights. 

Cost/month – Free

VWO Insights 

VWO Insights is a popular and must-have user behavior research product for CRO professionals. It helps understand customer behavior through heatmaps, session recordings, on-page surveys, and more. The qualitative user behavioral data you get from VWO Insights helps form thorough hypotheses for your CRO roadmap.

Cost/month: Growth Plan:$169/month for 10,000 visitors; $247/month for 30,000 visitors; $310/month for 50,000 visitors. Custom pricing for Pro and Enterprise Plan.

Heap Analytics

Heap Analytics[2] is another qualitative data gathering tool that captures visitor interactions, including clicks, form submits, and transactions, and helps identify behaviors and marketing channels that convert the most. Heap also has a clean data analytics dashboard that’s quite handy and easy-to-use. When using the tool, you don’t have to create additional ‘events’ to track basic website interactions, as in Google Analytics.

Cost/month: Three comprehensive plans, including Free, Growth, and Enterprise. Only custom pricing is available.

Mixpanel

If Google Analytics sheds light on what’s exactly happening on your website, Mixpanel[3] helps you see who did what. With visitor behavior tracking, you also get the advantage of viewing specific insights into which set of website visitors have entered your sales funnel, which ones are bouncing off, and so on.

Mixpanel also offers an additional second data channel to compare numbers against Google, as it’s never a good idea to trust one tool for all analytical data blindly. 

Cost/month: $0 for 1000 visitors; $174 for 5000 visitors; $304 for 10,000 visitors; $524 for 20,000 visitors. Custom pricing for 20,000+ visitors.Read more

How Does Google Shopping Work?

One in five shoppers starts their product search on Google. This makes Google second only to Amazon when it comes to product searches—and gives sellers a great opportunity.

Google Shopping is the umbrella term covering the different tools and programs that Google provides to help online stores reach shoppers. But how does Google Shopping actually work?

This guide will demystify the ecosystem that is Google Shopping and help you navigate the various programs and opportunities Google offers your business.

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping refers both to Google’s comparison shopping network and to their advertising platform. Since the same term is used to refer to both, it can get a little confusing. Here’s how it works:

Google Shopping: The Comparison Shopping Engine

When we refer to Google Shopping, we’re actually talking about two interconnected platforms. One is Google’s comparison shopping engine (CSE).

Googles comparison shopping engine, Google ShoppingGoogle’s comparison shopping engine.

Here, shoppers can search for any product and compare prices and models from various sellers. From a product listing, shoppers can click through to the merchant website. Or they can check out directly on Google if the product is eligible for Buy with Google. This feature lets shoppers complete the entire purchase process without ever leaving Google Shopping.

Essentially, this part of Google Shopping works as a product research and discovery hub, with many tools and features available to smooth the path to purchase.

Google Shopping: The Advertising Platform

The other side of Google Shopping is the search engine’s advertising platform.

Google Shopping ads appearing in the right hand corner of search resultsGoogle Shopping ads appearing on the Google search results page.

Shopping ads display product details—image(s), star ratings, promotions, local availability, and more—to customers across Google domains. These ads appear on relevant searches on Google, as well as relevant pages on partner sites and Google properties like YouTube and Gmail.

Google Shopping ads uses a cost-per-click (CPC) model (also known as pay per click), which makes it an affordable way to drive traffic to your store. Since you decide how much you pay when a shopper clicks on your ad, you can optimize your advertising strategy to maintain low costs while driving sales. The ad platform also provides you with a lot of control over when and where your ads appear (more on that later).

Organic search traffic takes a lot of time, effort, and luck to build, especially for ecommerce. Google Shopping gives you a shortcut to reaching relevant shoppers with your product all across the internet.

How to Set Up Google Shopping

There are two steps you must take before you can use any Google Shopping program.

First, you must sign up for a Merchant Center account. The Merchant Center is the beating heart of Google Shopping. This is where you’ll add and manage your products, set up tools and programs, and track product performance.

Screenshot of the Google Merchant Center dashboardMerchant Center allows you to add products, manage tools, and track performance.

Signing up for Merchant Center is very easy—all you have to do is enter some basic information about your business.

Once your account is created, you’ll need to verify your website. You can do this in one of two ways: through an existing Google product installed on your website (such as Search Console or Analytics) or by adding a specific tag to your website’s code. This allows Google to ensure the store belongs to you.

Once you’ve verified your website, you’ll have access to all the features of Merchant Center. Your next step is to add your products. The video below provides a rundown on how to do this.

Basically, you have three options for adding products to Merchant Center:

  • Upload each product manually. With this option, Google guides you step-by-step through manually adding product details. This can be effective if you only have a few products, but it’s time-consuming if you have a large catalog.
  • Create a product feedYou can either do this in Google Sheets or upload an existing product feed in spreadsheet format.This spreadsheet will contain all the key details about your products and act as a database for Merchant Center.
  • Sync your product feed from another sourceScheduled fetches and the Merchant Center Content API are two ways to automatically grab your product data from existing databases (either on your website or with a third-party service like Sellbrite). If you want to really hit the “easy” button, Sellbrite removes the complexity of uploading products to Google, by integrating with Google’s Content API. This allows merchants to easily manage which products they want available on Google from within our apps.

This product data will power everything else on Google Shopping, such as where your listings and ads appear and what details are displayed. Be sure to follow best practices for structuring your product data. Most importantly, be thorough! The more details you include, the easier it will be for shoppers to find you.

Once you’re set up in Merchant Center, it’s time to start selling and promoting your products through Google’s many Shopping channels.

To learn more about setting up Google Shopping, check out our step-by-step guide.

How the Google Shopping Ecosystem Works

Once you’re set up in Merchant Center, you’ll have access to a number of programs. Think of these programs as parts of an ecosystem. They have individual functions and benefits, but, when used together, they enhance your collective Google Shopping performance.

Most of these programs are free to use, and all of them are designed to help you attract traffic and increase conversions. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

Surfaces Across Google

This program makes your product listings eligible to show up across Google properties, such as Search, Shopping, Images, and Lens. While Search and Shopping are certainly the most lucrative of these properties, Google continues to experiment and expand their product listing placements.

Example of Google Shopping ads appearing in Google ImagesExample of product listings displayed on a Google Image search, via Surfaces Across Google.

It should also be noted that Surfaces Across Google is a prerequisite for Shopping Actions—one of the best Google Shopping programs available (more on that later).

Surfaces Across Google is easy to set up and completely free to use. In Merchant Center, go to the Growth tab. There, you’ll see the option to enroll in Surfaces Across Google.

You’ll need to upload your product data (as well as tax and shipping information), but you can use your existing product feed for this. Once you’ve completed this step, your products will be eligible to appear on searches across Google. – Read more

12 Important SEO KPIs You Should Track

The Importance of Properly Tracking KPIs

Goals and KPIs are among the most important parts of your SEO strategy, yet one of the most commonly overlooked areas.

Without KPIs, you will not be able to effectively track your campaign’s progress and ensure that your efforts are paying off or determine if you are on the right track towards success.

It is no hidden secret that SEO takes time to deliver results and returns, but by setting KPIs (key performance indicators), you can be in a better position to demonstrate the impact that your strategy is having on business.

They can also help you to manage expectations with other stakeholders. SEO KPIs should form the basis of your strategy and act as a way to both measure and report on success and progression, but you need to know what you should be measuring. 

In the guide below, I will help you understand the most important KPIs you should be using.

Specifically, we will cover:

  • 12 SEO KPIs You Need To Track
    • 1. ROI
    • 2. Conversions (Sales and Leads)
    • 3. Organic Visibility
    • 4. Organic Sessions
    • 5. Branded vs. Non-Branded Traffic
    • 6. Keyword Rankings
    • 7. Backlinks
    • 8. Organic CTR
    • 9. Bounce Rate
    • 10. Average Time on Page
    • 11. Coverage Issues
    • 12. PageSpeed

12 SEO KPIs You Need To Track

It can be confusing to know which KPIs you should be tracking to see a regular snapshot of how your SEO campaign is progressing, so we have rounded up 12 that we think are essential to keep a close eye on.

These are metrics that give you an overall view of how your efforts are paying off, allowing you to demonstrate the impact you are having while also spotting any issues before they turn into problems. 

1. ROI

For almost every business, an SEO strategy’s ultimate goal is to drive a return on investment. And whether that is an investment into an in-house team and resources or an agency, that means seeing more money back than you spend.

Tracking ROI from your SEO activities is crucial for the simple reason that it is the best measure of success that there is — more money in the bank than you are spending. But remember that it can take time to see an ROI, often six to 12 months or more. 

Know where your ROI target is, and you can measure your performance against this on a regular basis, understanding and reporting on how it is improving.

You can measure ROI based upon your investment into SEO, and the revenue returned from the channel. 

2. Conversions (Sales and Leads)

While a financial return is the overarching KPI that many businesses work to, it inevitably takes time to see returns. And for that reason, you shouldn’t rely on ROI alone. 

Measuring and tracking organic conversions (either sales, leads, or both depending on your business’s set up) is a solid way to demonstrate success. After all, an increase in organic conversions can easily be attributed to your efforts. 

Just be sure to know the conversion benchmark before you began working on a campaign; otherwise, you will find it harder to showcase the increase from what was already being generated.

A recommendation is to take an average of conversions generated in the three months before your campaign began and use this as a benchmark for measuring growth. 

You can track conversions in Google Analytics, measuring goals for lead conversions and the eCommerce report to track sales by channel. 

3. Organic Visibility

Coming back to the point that it takes time to see financial returns from SEO, one solid KPI that you can track and measure to show consistent growth is organic visibility. And you can measure and report on this in two ways.

First, showcasing growth in impressions from Google Search Console.

This is the perfect way to show continued growth in visibility, given that impressions show the searches that your site was visible for, even if they didn’t result in clicks. Typically, that is because you see an increase in ranked keywords, but these aren’t in traffic driving positions (yet).

Either way, an increase in impressions shows an increase in organic visibility and a great measure of continued growth. 

You can also show an increase in organic visibility by looking at keyword trends on the Organic Research tool in SEMrush, where you can see how your visibility has changed for all indexed keywords, including those in lower positions. 

4. Organic Sessions

Growth in organic impressions should result in an increase in organic sessions, and this is where you can start to demonstrate a real impact from your SEO strategy.

Once your efforts are taking effect, one of the key metrics that you will see an impact on is organic sessions (traffic).

Impressions result in traffic, and traffic turns into conversions; and when you look at it this way, seeing an increase in organic sessions is the point at which you truly start to notice an improvement in your SEO ROI.

Measuring organic sessions is really simple to measure in Google Analytics. But, for the purpose of tracking SEO KPIs, we recommend focusing on data from Google Search Console, as this will allow you to exclude brand searches and view organic clicks for non-branded terms in isolation.

This is important to ensure your data isn’t being skewed by brand activities that are driving an increase in branded searches.

To do this, head to the Performance report and hit the +New button at the top of your screen where you can choose to filter out your brand by choosing ‘Queries not containing.’ Enter your brand name (and variations of), and you will see how non-branded traffic is performing.

A key thing to pay attention to when analyzing organic sessions is seasonality, making sure you are comparing Year on Year rather than Month on Month to compare like for like and accounting for any seasonal fluctuation in demand. 

To do this, hit the date bubble at the top of your screen, choose ‘compare’, and select your preferential period.

5. Branded vs. Non-Branded Traffic

While you want to exclude branded searches to analyze the true impact of your efforts on organic traffic, another key measure of success and progression is a shift in the percentage split of non-branded traffic that your site is receiving.

Branded traffic is usually driven either by previous knowledge of a business or a recommendation from someone else. Maybe a searcher has seen your ads on social, seen your latest PR campaign, or even met you at an event. What’s important to note here is that the searcher already knew about you.

While that clearly means one marketing channel is working well, this usually isn’t going to be traffic that you can attribute directly to your SEO activities.

Non-branded traffic is usually people searching for keywords around your products or services that you rank prominently for. In other words, traffic from searchers who probably weren’t familiar with your business before they saw you ranked on the SERPs.

And you should be measuring the split of branded vs. non-branded traffic, something that you can easily see using the SEMrush organic research tool:

6. Keyword Rankings

While keyword rankings maybe aren’t as important as some of the other metrics mentioned here, they certainly have their use, and we strongly recommend that you track how your main target keywords are ranking on the SERPs.

If we look back even five years, rankings were how pretty much any SEO campaign’s success was measured.

So then, what changed? Semantic search

In the past, most businesses tracked a handful of keywords and hinged their strategy’s success on that; the reality is that nowadays, a single page of content can rank for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of different keywords. And that is not forgetting personalized search — meaning that different searchers can see different results for some queries.

Let’s look at an example of different keywords. The Organic Research tool will let you see keywords a page ranks for. – Read more

How to create a sales funnel for your online business

No matter how talented you are, making a living as a creator goes beyond the quality of your work. It’s all about keeping your pipeline full of qualified clients or customers so that you have consistent income coming in.

Unfortunately, a lot of marketing advice fails when it comes to driving consistent leads to your inbox:

  • Endlessly produce content and put it out there, just hoping that people see your value and buy from you
  • Cold-pitch your target audience, spending lots of time on prospects who won’t convert
  • Create ads for your products and services without a strategy, spending empty dollars for no return

But what if we told you you could develop a proven method for taking strangers from “no idea who you are” to excited paying customers?

You can. It’s called a sales funnel. And in this article, we’re sharing how you can create one for your online business.

What is a sales funnel?

The phrase “sales funnel” sounds complicated, but it’s not. Simply put, a sales funnel is the process that people must go through to become your customer or client, from the time they first “notice” your business to the instant they become a paying customer.

For online creators, the bulk of the sales funnel often takes place through email. But your sales funnel can also take place on a website or sales page, through a webinar, or through some combination of each of these.

Why is a sales funnel important for creators?

A sales funnel may seem like a fancy marketing tool for big corporations. But as you’ll see, in practice, creating a sales funnel is incredibly easy and effective for small businesses, too.

Here’s why sales funnels are the best-kept secret of successful creators:

Puts you in the driver’s seat of your marketing

You may think of your customers as the people who are buying from you already or who are about to buy from you. That is, customers who are already aware of their problem and are actively looking for the very solution you offer.

But there is a whole other world of potential customers out there who will eventually be ready to buy from you…. Just not yet.

These customers need to be nurtured. In other words, they have the potential to become awesome paying customers but something has to happen first: They need to be helped to understand why they need your product or service and get prepared to pay the cost.

This is the job a sales funnel does. With a sales funnel, you’re no longer waiting passively to be found by the few people who are already aware of their problem and looking for a solution. Instead, you’re actively turning a wide swath of ordinary people into amazing customers.

This active approach to marketing and sales is what leads to that holy grail of a full pipeline of qualified customers. These customers started off not knowing why they needed your product or service, and now they’re ready and willing to buy from you.

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Ensures you don’t waste time with bad-fit customers

A sales funnel does the work of educating your customers for you. Done well, your sales funnel will help the right customers self-select for your service or products.

This means that by the time you have to engage personally with potential customers, such as on a sales call, they’re far more likely to be a good fit for what you offer. No more wasting time on sales calls, emails, and messages with bad-fit customers! – Read more

3 Types of Pillar Page (and How They Help With Ranking)

What Is a Pillar Page?

In effect, a pillar page is a hub or basis on which the cluster pages are built. It provides a comprehensive overview of a topic but leaves room for more detailed coverage of the topic in the cluster pages, which typically focus on a particular aspect of the topic, often a keyword.

For example, a pillar content page on SEO might briefly touch on technical SEO and then link to a cluster page that goes far more in-depth on the topic. 

Pillar pages are often longer than typical blog posts (usually 2,000 words or more) because they touch on all parts of a topic. Pillar and cluster pages link back to each other, but if the pillar page design does its job right, it becomes an authoritative source that attracts many external links.

The Benefits of Pillar and Cluster Pages Include: 

  • Increased engagement: Well-organized content makes it very user-friendly for viewers, driving up engagement. 
  • Longer session durations: Because the pillar-cluster pages are interlinked, this arrangement tends to keep visitors on the site longer, driving up engagement and page views.
  • Provide better signals to Google: Because pillar and cluster page groupings are so well organized, it is easy for Google to determine their subject matter and rank them. Badly organized webpages tend to be poorly ranked by Google, so content organized by topic pillars and clusters tends to get rewarded with higher rankings.

Comprehensive pillar pages are one of the most effective ways to create content that appeals to search engine algorithms and targets audiences with authoritative information.

Next, we will explain some of the main types of content pillar pages. Keep in mind that the divisions between these categories are not absolute, so some pillar pages might have elements of each.

1. The “Guide” Pillar Page

As its name suggests, a “guide” pillar page strives to be the ultimate authority on a subject. It could be a 101 guide for beginners or something more sophisticated aimed at a specific industry segment. A guide or an “ultimate guide” serves to establish your authority in a field or subject matter, builds your brand, and helps establish trust with a particular audience.

The guide pillar page gives a comprehensive overview of a topic that makes it an authoritative destination for those interested in the subject. It also links to related cluster pages that expand knowledge on particular aspects of the topic, often related to a specific keyword.

A timely and well-conceived guide pillar page can garner a lot of attention, boost website traffic, attract backlinks, and nurture an audience who can be converted into subscribers or paying customers.

Some good “guide” pillar page examples include:

The Ultimate Guide to Remote Meetings in 2020

image.png

A strong topic for pillar pages tends to be evergreen, and one example is remote work. Slack decided to create a useful guide for its users with “The Ultimate Guide to Remote Meetings.” 

There is a lot on this page that makes it a great pillar, particularly when understanding what the reader can expect and the navigation. At the top of the page, there is a note about how long it will take the reader to get through the content and a few bullets that emphasize best practices for remote meetings. 

There are also a lot of interactive elements throughout the piece to help keep the reader engaged. For instance, the floating navigation bar allows the reader to quickly jump from one section to the next. The page includes a video that shows a remote meeting in action.

 Slack’s internal linking strategy for the pillar page directs readers to topic clusters that include more tips for remote work and specific benefits to using Slack. 

Brand Awareness: Nearly Everything You Need to Know

Typeform is a Barcelona-based online software as a service (SaaS) company specializing in online form building and online surveys. It also has a series of well-designed, visually attractive pillar pages devoted to brand awareness, like this one

A navigation menu off to the side makes it easy to navigate the long scrolling page of information on brand awareness basics — tracking your brand awareness, kick-starting your brand awareness, and measuring your brand awareness — and offers some parting words of advice.

The page has many links to related resources, including external and more internal links toward the end of the page.

Typeform’s internal linking strategy for this pillar page links to other resources in their blog and pages with their service offerings — specifically templates that potential customers can use. 

2. The “What Is” Pillar Page

A very typical query made by people is, “What is …” They hear about something interesting, controversial, or timely and want to learn more.

  • “What is programmatic advertising?”
  • “What is herd immunity?”
  • “What is Kubernetes?”

To tap into this desire to learn more, a pillar page can serve as a definitive examination of a subject — a highly useful stand-alone resource that links to related cluster pages and develops aspects of the subject in greater detail. In many ways, it is authoritative, like a guide page.

If you develop a page that matches a widespread interest (“I have heard something about this a couple of times and want to learn more,” or “I have always wanted to know more about this”) and build a case for its importance, you have created a great way to drive organic traffic to your site. The traffic becomes a top-of-the-funnel flow that eventually can be won over as valued customers with the right conversion strategy.

Here are a couple of examples of “what is” pillar pages that do their jobs: – Read more

How Will Google Ads Limiting Search Terms Affect Account Managers?

Google Ads has started informing advertisers that they will begin limiting search term reports, due to privacy concerns. 

Google’s Statement:

“In order to maintain our standards of privacy and strengthen our protections around user data, we have made changes to our Search Terms Report to only include terms that a significant number of users searched for. We’re continuing to invest in new and efficient ways to share insights that enable advertisers to make critical business decisions,” (Per Search Engine Land)

What Does This Mean?

Now, the one word in this statement that will stick out to every PPC marketer is, “significant”. 

I’m assuming what the word “significant” means that we will no longer be seeing search terms with one impression and one click as we have become accustomed to. Now, the question I, and I assume most of us, will be pondering is what is the line of significance?

Is it 5 impressions? 
Is it 50 impressions?
Is it 100 impressions?
Or even more? 

We will have to wait and see what this “significant” means, and learn to adjust. 

How Will This Affect Our Accounts?

Many brands do not have large monthly Google Ads budgets, where 50 clicks on unqualified queries can really damage month-over-month performance. For larger brands, running many campaigns with broad match modified keywords, those unqualified queries can add up to a significant cost. Now, add the issue of not knowing exactly which queries are driving the wasted spend. Suddenly, account management might be more difficult moving forward.

Coming from the point of view of a brand, we are an entity paying to advertise on Google’s search engine, as a medium to; 

  1. Drive traffic to my domain and sell a product, or our information
  2. Collect data on those who interacted with my ads, so that I may optimize my advertising strategy to searchers who are interested in the product or information that my business provides.

All of us account managers have opened up a search query report, and said, “how did this get here?”, then immediately added said term to our negative keyword list. 

We work in Pay Per Click marketing, and now we must accept paying for clicks without always knowing what the searcher typed into the Google search bar?

How Does This Affect SEM As A Whole?

This update is creating a significantly more difficult advertising environment, for advertisers who must provide our brands with a tightly aligned list of successful keywords and negative keywords.

That said, this change is being made in the name of privacy. I believe we all stand for more control of our personal information. I also believe that it would behoove Google to provide their customers (us) transparent information regarding our purchases (or clicks).

This change comes in a wave of many other similar changes over the last year that give advertisers less control over what queries can and will trigger our ads. This will push the importance of managing our negative keyword lists to one of our top priorities. – Read more

Mobile-First Indexing Explained: What You Need to Know

Google has been working on mobile-first indexing for some time, developed in response to the drastic shift in the way people search (and browse) the web, and the widespread adoption of mobile devices in pretty much every part of our lives.

It is safe to say that we now live and work in a truly mobile-first world.

The first announcement that Google was moving away from their algorithms typically looking at the desktop version of a site towards a mobile-first approach came in 2016.

At the time, Google announced that:

Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.

But between 2016 and today, we have seen an almost full shift by Google to mobile-first indexing

By March 2021, Google will have switched ALL websites from desktop-first to mobile-first indexing, having been through a transitional period of moving sites over when their systems recognized that they were ready to do so. 

Any new websites launched after July 2019 automatically went to mobile-first indexing, but some existing sites have yet to be moved over. 

And, while many of you will have had your sites crawled by a smartphone Googlebot for some time, it is something that every SEO and digital marketer now needs to be paying close attention to. 

Over the coming months, Google will be 100% mobile-first, and that means you need to make sure you understand what this means and how to optimize for it.

And in this guide, we will help you to do just that, specifically looking at:

What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile isn’t going anywhere, and, as of 2019, a staggering 63% of US search traffic originated from a mobile device. This means that a website’s mobile version is the one that should take preference, and Google acknowledges this with mobile-first indexing.

While it might sound complex, mobile-first indexing is actually pretty simple to get your head around.

Google themselves refer to it by saying:

Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

In the past, Googlebot primarily used a website’s desktop version to determine a page’s relevance to a search query, but this has since shifted to mobile variants.

And for many businesses, this won’t cause any issues as the site that is served to mobile users is a responsive version of the desktop site, with no other changes to the actual content that’s served. But if a website serves different desktop and mobile versions, there are things that need to be considered.

If you are still one of the few businesses that don’t have a mobile-friendly website (sadly, there are still a few of these that exist), you can expect to see a negative impact on your search rankings across both mobile and desktop searches. 

A well thought out mobile-friendly website could drive a noticeable increase in organic visibility.

But even if you don’t think it is something that you need to worry about, it still pays to understand what mobile-first indexing is and how it works, as well as the considerations you need to be making, not just now, but in the future, too.

A 2019 study revealed that “only 13% of websites get to retain the exact same position across devices,” showcasing in itself the importance of getting your site’s mobile experience and search-engine-friendliness right. 

In simple terms, mobile-first indexing means that Google’s algorithms are using the content from your site’s mobile site when ranking your pages on the SERPs. – Read more

Google Analytics Goals: How to Analyze Customer Journey Goals

Using Google Analytics to track your marketing? Want more insight into the customer journey?

In this article, you’ll find a useful framework to set up your Google Analytics goals and learn how to analyze what is and isn’t working with your marketing.

To learn how to analyze customer journey goals in Google Analytics, read the article below for an easy-to-follow walkthrough or watch this video:

3 Types of Google Analytics Goals for the Customer Journey

Before we jump into Google Analytics to figure out which goals are working and which aren’t, it’s important to talk about what you should set for a goal in the first place.

As an example, I’m going to walk you through a customer journey in my business. It’s a specific path that customers follow to purchase a training program, which ends on a thank-you page that says, “Great, you’ve got this added, so check your email in a few minutes for the login details.” That’s a perfect idea for a goal.

My guess is you probably have goals that are set up in a similar way because what you’re measuring for is when people complete the customer journey. But let me ask you a question: “Is that the entire journey?” The answer is obviously no; it’s just when they’ve completed the journey. And while that’s an important goal to set up, it’s not the only type of goal.

What happens before the journey? People first have to become aware of the offer—the training program in this case—so you have to set up a goal when that stage happens.

So we now have an awareness goal when they come to the offer page and a completion goal when they hit that thank-you page but there’s one more type of goal—an engagement goal. It’s when they engage along with the process.

When somebody first comes to your offer page, they’re aware of the fact that they’re on a particular page and could purchase the offer. In other words, they’re aware of the product.

You then continue to measure by setting goals to see if they’re engaging along the way. The engagement step in this example is when they land on the cart.

And finally, you have the goal that you’re probably already familiar with—the completion goal. This is when people complete the process that you want them to complete.

The model that I’ve just described is the one I want you to be able to use in your own measurement because it will tell you a story of where in the customer journey you’re losing people.

Note: This article assumes you know how to properly set up a goal in Google Analytics. Read this article for step-by-step instructions.

Now let’s dive into Google Analytics to look at some awareness, engagement, and completion goals that are already set up.

#1: Evaluate Awareness Goals in Google Analytics

My favorite report for understanding how goals are working—or how they’re not—is the source/medium report. To access this report in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.

screenshot of google analytics menu option of source/medium under all traffic under acquisition

This report shows you the goals you’ve set up and the results you’re bringing in by traffic source. This is great because you’re already halfway there; you at least have some idea what’s working.

Now let’s dig into some goals. Returning to the earlier example of the training program, we’ll start with the awareness goal of the offer page. Select this goal from the Conversions drop-down menu on the right side of the source/medium report.

screenshot of google analytics offer page awareness goals with the conversions menu highlighted with goal 13: wmp - 1- offer page noted

Now you can see all of the different traffic sources coming in and how many of those actually result in somebody seeing this offer. What are those traffic sources doing for your business?

In the report below, you can see that there are 55 total completions and Google organic is really effective in making people aware of this offer.

Read more