Website redesign mistakes that destroy SEO

My Post7.jpgTo keep up with user preferences, you have to redesign your website now and then. Learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls when you do.

Redesigning a website, whether it’s your own or a client’s, is an essential part of marketing today. It’s essential because technology, trends, and the expectations of users change over time, and if we want to remain competitive, we must keep pace with these changes.

But this task, while essential, also presents certain risks from an SEO perspective. A number of things can go wrong during the process. These issues can potentially cause search engines to no longer view that website as the authoritative answer to relevant queries. In some cases, certain mistakes can even result in penalties.

No one wants that.

So in this article, we’re going to explore some of the common web design mistakes that can destroy SEO. Knowing the potential risks may help you avoid making the kind of mistakes that tank your organic search traffic.

Leaving the development environment crawlable / indexable

People handle development environments in a lot of different ways. Most simply set up a subfolder under their domain. Some may create a domain strictly for development. Then there are those who take the kind of precautions to hide their development environment that would give a CIA agent a warm fuzzy feeling in that empty spot where their heart should be.

I tend to fall into the latter category.

Search engines are generally going to follow links and index the content they find along the way — sometimes even when you explicitly tell them not to. That creates problems because they could index two versions of the same website, potentially causing issues with both content and links.

Because of that, I place as many roadblocks as possible in the way of search engines trying to access my development environment. – Read more

Google Ads – New predefined landing page reports

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There are two new predefined reports coming to the Report Editor: landing pages report and expanded landing pages report.

Both reports have been available in the “Landing pages” page. However, soon you’ll be able to easily manipulate and chart them in the Report Editor, as well as add them to your custom dashboards.

The landing pages report is an improved version of the final URL report, as it contains additional columns:

  • Mobile speed score
  • Mobile-friendly click rate
  • Valid AMP click rate

The expanded landing pages report includes all the same columns as the landing pages report, but also shows the URL users reach after contextual substitutions have been made and custom parameters have been added.

You’ll be able to easily engage with all of your landing page performance data through multi-dimensional tables and charts. For example, you can create a pie chart for conversions segmented by expanded landing pages or landing pages. – read more

Explore product search trends with Shopping Insights

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With the world of commerce at their fingertips, consumers are more curious, more demanding and more impatient than ever before.

As a result, retailers have to anticipate customers’ needs in order to provide the products they’re looking for and plan marketing strategies. In a recent study, we learned that 84 percent of Americans are shopping in any given 48-hour period, in up to six different categories. Whether they’re looking up designer sneakers or DSLR cameras, Google is the first place they go to discover a new brand or product.

Starting today, a new version of our Shopping Insights tool can help you uncover which products and brands are popular, trending up or down, and how these insights vary by regions in the U.S. This new version includes data for more than 55,000 products and 45,000 brands—significantly increasing coverage over the previous version—as well as nearly 5,000 categories. It’s a free tool, available to everyone, that can help you follow trends in your categories.

In addition to more data, we’ve also added several key features to help you inform your strategies.

Compare the popularity of a brand within searches for a category

Nearly nine out of 10 smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online. That’s a huge number of consumers looking to uncover new brands and products. With this new feature, retailers can track the relative popularity of various brands within a category and adjust their strategies accordingly.

For example, the most-searched backpack brands of last 12 months were JanSport, Fjällräven and The North Face, classic brands that have been around for at least 50 years. Searches for the category and all three brands peaked during back-to-school season in 2018, and saw slight growth during the holiday season. – read more

4 steps to finding a true human insight about your audience

Data is important. It can tell you a lot about your target audience, like demographics (18- to 24-year-old urbanites), habits (Gen Z uses social media an average of X times a day), and trends (mobile payments have risen X%).

However, there’s a side of your audience that data alone can’t tap into: what exactly makes human beings, well, human. People in your target audience have desires, wants, needs, fears, emotions, and ideas that can’t be measured with numbers and stats.

By exploring this side of your audience, you can discover a human insight, or a fundamental truth that’s motivating people’s behavior. This insight can help you create and market products and services that fulfill your audience’s needs and desires, and fit into their lives.

Here are four steps you can take to find a genuine human insight and shape your audience strategy.

Step 1: Create an audience sample

Even the narrowest target audience can include different types of people, with each group having its own desires, needs, and emotions. And there’s simply no such thing as a one-size-fits-all human insight.

The first thing you should do is divide your audience into segments and choose one to focus on. For example, a laundry detergent brand could segment its customers into parents, college students, and single city-dwellers, and decide to focus on the parent segment first.

Find a selection of people who represent your segment, called a sample audience. This should include at least 15 people who cover a broad spectrum of your customer segment. The detergent brand might include parents of babies, pre-teens, and teenagers.

Add some “wild cards” in there, too (like a parent whose 30-year-old son has moved back home or a parent with 10 children). They might reveal new ways to use your product or tell you why they won’t use it. – Read more

Understanding The Diversification Of Google Search Results

My Post.jpgIn a 2008 blog post by Moz’s co-founder Rand Fishkin, I read about the diversification of search results regarding their subject area. And today, Google has only expanded its diversification efforts.

It doesn’t matter where you currently are, if you type the word “veterinarian,” “lawyer” or “mechanic” into the search engine — especially when you add a city to the search term (e.g., “New York City Veterinarian,” “Los Angeles lawyer” or “Prague mechanic”) — you will not get links to the websites of the 10 best veterinary clinics, law firms or car repair shops in a given city. Instead, you’ll see results such as Google Maps listings and some business cards pinned to given locations, catalogs of the institutions you’re searching, encyclopedic references or cross-references to various forums where users ask for a particular service in their city.

By diversifying the results, Google increases the chance that you will find what you need, even though you asked for it in general terms.

Responsible For This State Of Affairs Is What I Call ‘Google Results Diversity’

From my perspective, diversification most likely occurs when Google spits out thematically unified search results because it’s not able to respond perfectly to a user’s queries.

In 2014, Google began using featured snippets (extended descriptions of websites) as one of its tactics for search results ranking. Featured snippets were supposed to help display the best answers to users’ inquiries, pulled directly from the specific websites. After an affair with numerous cases of promoting false or inappropriate content (e.g., “women were evil”), Google started working on increasing the number of responses to search results, calling them diverse perspectives.

And in its next step — direct answer — the company has accelerated the delivery of the results one expects, showing an answer at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), similar to the way a voice assistant might provide an answer. – Read More

Beyond the traditional marketing funnel — a new formula for growth

My Post1.jpgGoogle’s President of the Americas Allan Thygesen explains how intent-rich moments are altering the shape of the marketing funnel.

Marketing has always been about driving growth. And the formula for how to drive growth in today’s market has changed.

As marketers, we were taught to master the funnel — a linear customer journey from awareness to consideration to purchase. And using mass media, the key levers to drive growth were reach and frequency. We used demographics to approximate user intent and inform our targeting and creative.

But this model no longer applies to today’s customer journeys. In the last six months, Google looked at thousands of users’ clickstream data from a third-party opt-in panel. We found that no two journeys are exactly alike, and in fact, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all. They look like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses, and more. Digital technology and mobile devices have put people in control. We all now expect an immediate answer in the moments we want to know, go, do, and buy. And all of these intent-rich moments are creating journey shapes as unique as each of us. In many ways, intent is redefining the marketing funnel.

Let me explain. Take the example of Jill, a 25-year-old from Tennessee. She’s shopping for some new makeup after learning from a friend that the products she’s been using for years may be irritating her sensitive skin.

 

Her journey starts off with a flurry of Google searches where she learns that she needs hypoallergenic and aluminum-free products. Then, she quickly narrows her search to a handful of promising brands. Pretty predictable funnel-type behavior, right?

Not quite. She then broadens her search again by looking for “makeup brands without aluminum.” We see Jill’s consideration set expand and narrow several times as she researches brands on Google and watches YouTube videos over the next two months — yes, two months. She’s more undecided than ever.

Jill explored a number of retailers and brand websites over this time period, but ultimately it was Ulta Beauty’s loyalty program “Ultamate Rewards” that won her over. Results from searches for that retailer’s “rewards” and “rewards birthday gift” seal the deal. Her next move? A search for that retailer’s locations. – Read more

Measuring Ad Viewability

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Just because your ad is served on the web or in an app, doesn’t mean it will be seen. Viewability tells you whether an ad had the chance to be seen or not.

What is viewability?

Viewability is a measure of whether or not an ad had a chance to be seen by a user. It helps marketers by providing metrics on the number of times their ads actually appear in front of users.

So why does this matter? If an ad isn’t seen, it can’t have an impact, change perception, or build brand trust. Viewability helps marketers understand campaign effectiveness and allows advertising spend to be allocated to the most valuable media.

56.1% of all ads are not viewable56.1%

Measuring viewability for your ads

What is Active View?

Now that you know more about viewability and its importance to your media plan, how can you measure it?

Google offers Active View — a free, transparent, and effortless solution, accredited by the Media Rating Council, that measures viewable display and video impressions across the web and in apps. Active View is integrated into all of Google’s advertising products, and measures in real time, on an impression-by-impression basis, whether or not an ad was viewable. Each impression is directly measured. No sampling. No extrapolating. – Read more

8 Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Mobile Conversion Rates

My Post.jpgIt’s no surprise, but the number of mobile users continues to grow with each passing year.

The recent survey revealed that 70% of digital media time occurs on mobile devices, and mobile internet users exceeded desktop worldwide.

For this reason, creating a mobile-friendly user experience is a must if you don’t want to lose a chunk of potential customers.

Another way to put it – there’s no time like the present for the online businesses to think harder about increasing mobile conversion rates. However, many businesses think this is a lot more difficult than it actually is.

In this article, I’ll share six super effective tips to boost conversion rates on mobile devices in no time.

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1. Include CTAs

The goal of a mobile site is to attract target audience to take a specific action on the web page whether to buy, subscribe, download, read or share.

A good call-to-action affects the increase of conversions on any device. This is why it is important to include effective CTA buttons whenever necessary. The lack of CTAs can have a low mobile conversion rate.

Your CTA:

  • Should have a clear meaning and represent the action your customers are taking. Use the following proven words like “Sign up for free” , “View demo”, “Join free”, “Learn more”, “Show now”, etc.
  • Clearly reflect the benefits from taking action on the target page
  • Lead to the page of what you promised
  • Create the “thank you” page after a visitor completes a desired action
  • Use A/B testing tools like KissMetrics or Unbounce to experiment with the design of your CTA buttons.
    • Use different shapes, colors and sizes for the buttons

Once you’ve made it, make sure that all of your CTAs work well on your mobile devices to avoid any conversion issues.

Here’s a good example from Law Offices of John Rapillo, using clickable action CTA button:

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2. Optimize mobile SEO

With the launch of Google’s mobile-first index, it becomes essential to optimize your website in order for mobile users can find your content while searching.

This is because having a mobile-responsive website is not enough to improve mobile performance via organic search.

Before optimizing, the first thing you need to check whether your site is mobile-friendly. You can use the Google’s mobile testing tool to see how your site is going on and give you a list of things you should fix if your site doesn’t pass the test.

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Try to avoid intrusive pop-ups on mobile devices as Google penalizes websites that use such kind of advertising. The best way to use pop-ups is integrating as lightly as possible without interrupting user experience on mobile devices.

Adding eye-catching CTA buttons can help you generate traffic and revenue.

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Optimizing content for mobile devices is a must. This includes compelling titles and descriptions. You can use SE Ranking keyword research tool to look for high-performing phrases that generate more mobile traffic for your site.

Google reported that search queries like “near me”, “ nearby” have grown by 34 folds. For local business, it would be key to go for this kind of query.

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Another mobile content tip is to try to use short and simple headlines. Divide content into small paragraphs using bullet points, italics, bold, etc. Make sure you include right name, phone numbers, address and email. Use compatible images, but avoid using too many and large images.

In case you didn’t know, Google gives more preferences to Accelerated Mobile Pages as they help you improve mobile visibility, load faster on mobile devices and get high mobile rankings.

Once you’re prepared for mobile SEO, you should check mobile rankings as they can differ from desktop ones. You can use SE Ranking or other similar tools to track your rankings in mobile searchers with precise accuracy. – Read more

Personalization features now available in Google Optimize

My Post.jpgPeople want compelling and relevant digital content that’s delivered at just the right moment.

That’s why Google Optimize is making changes to help businesses deliver better, more personalized experiences to your customers. Now, in addition to running short-term website experiments with Optimize, you can create custom website experiences that deliver the right message to your customers—every time they visit your site.

Put your experiment results to work

Optimize has always helped you test which version of your site works best for your customers. Now it’s even easier for you to immediately launch the winning version of your site with just a few clicks.

Say you’ve run an A/B test on your site and Optimize has determined the winning version. You can now simply click “DEPLOY LEADER,” and Optimize will re-create the winning version of your site as a new personalization that you can launch to any segment of your customers. If you’re an Optimize 360 customer, you can also specify an Analytics audience you want to reach.

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Once your experiment has ended, you can set the winning version live on your site.

Launch personalized changes from the ground up

You can also create personalized experiences without running a test first. For instance, you might want to offer a special like free shipping to all customers in San Francisco.

Launching a personalization from scratch is now simple in Optimize. First, click the “Create Experience” button and select “Personalization” as the experience type. Using the Optimize Visual Editor, you can add the free shipping offer to your site. Then, select “users located in San Francisco” and launch the personalization. It’s that simple.

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Use the Optimize Visual Editor to make a change on your site and then make it available to any segment of your users.

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Rituals Cosmetics, one of the leading bath and body brands in Europe, has been an early tester of the new personalization features. Now Rituals Cosmetics is able to deliver more than 50 different custom product promotions on their site at once.

“With personalization features in Optimize, we’ve been able to quickly build personalized site experiences at scale. And with the analysis capabilities in Optimize, we’re able to easily measure the impact these experiences are having on our business.”

– Martijn van der Zee, Digital Director, Rituals Cosmetics – Read more

New format for Google Sitelinks shows more site content in search results

My Post.jpgCheck out this new Google search result user interface that looks like featured snippets within Google Sitelinks.

Google is testing, or maybe rolling out, a new feature in the search results that lets you see more content from a web site without having to click to the site.

Instead of showing normal Sitelinks, which are in the screen shot above on the left, you are presented with more detail Sitelinks, which are shown in the screen shot on the right.

How do these new Sitelinks work? When you are shown the new Sitelinks, they are listed under the main search result snippet with arrows down to expand the results. Here is a closer look:

You can expand the number of sitelinks by clicking on “show more” and/or click on a specific sitelink to see more from the web site directly related to that sitelink directly in the Google results:

How can I see this in action? I was able to replicate this myself by searching for [translate api] while in Chrome in incognito mode. I was not able to replicate this in any other browser. I was given a heads up on this by SEMRush on Twitter.

Why does this matter? This may change your click-through rates from Google search. If Google shows more of your content directly in the search results, it is possible that people may click less or even more. It is hard to say how the click-through rate from Google search will be impacted by this. It is a similar argument to the featured snippets in search, which is what these new snippets look like. Some studies said the featured snippets resulted in gains, while others showed losses. – Read more