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Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

The Psychology of the Searcher: How knowing how our prospects search can help us to optimize our campaigns

July 27th, 2015 4 comments

As marketers, most of us are familiar with the basics of search engine optimization, and how we can leverage certain industry-specific keywords and headlines in order to increase page visibility for our target audience.

Without a robust understanding of how prospects are actually interacting with search engines, how can we be confident that our SEO strategies are grounded in reality, rather than based on hunches or our own individual search biases?

Blue Nile Research recently carried out a study to discover how real customers are actually searching the Internet. How long are their queries? What form do they take? Are there universal patterns in the way that people search?

For this study, a sample of randomly selected test subjects were asked to search for solutions to three routine scenarios:

  • A technical problem (broken coffee pot)
  • A health issue (injured ankle)
  • An ecommerce scenario (buying a new laptop)

When testing was complete and researchers aggregated all of the search queries, the most interesting finding wasn’t that one search pattern outperformed another. Rather, researchers were fascinated to find that few underlying patterns existed at all in the search data.

Instead of there being a learned, established protocol for the way people search, the search terms, length and form that subjects used appear to be the intimate expression of the individual human that created it.

It seems that, just as our genetic makeup is unique to each of us individually, so is the way in which we choose to search the Internet.

 

Key Findings

When analyzing the data, Blue Nile found that subjects were split evenly in terms of searching in short fragments (“sore ankle”) versus fully-formed terms (“causes of sore ankle”). This suggests that users are equally predisposed toward either speed of search (fragments) or depth of search (more specific terms).

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SEO Marketing: Adding value without risking search rank

February 16th, 2015 3 comments

It’s common knowledge that search engine optimization (SEO) often plays a major role in how companies group their key terms, whether they be in the headline or in the bottom of a page.

This practice can also lead some companies to avoid testing certain areas of their site in order to maintain page rank.

However, there is one area where company value can easily utilized without risking online ranking. Here’s a recent experiment where we tested one minor change in an SEO headline and achieved a significant lift in conversion.

The MECLABS’ Research Partner wanted to concentrate on headline testing for one of their high-ranking SEO pages but had a few stipulations on how the headline copy could be laid out.

To avoid any ranking pitfalls, we went over various value points for the Research Partner to find the best way to incorporate value without damaging any SEO rankings if any treatment were to outperform the control (the existing high-ranking page.)

After careful review of the partner’s various value points, we found that the partner had a price guarantee that presented good value to potential customers.

For the experiment, the copy for the treatments had to be worded carefully as to not interfere with key search terms. To keep in line with the partner’s SEO parameters, we developed logos depicting the price guarantee alongside headlines that featured the word “guaranteed” and mixed them with the key search terms used in the headline.

The main rule that had to be followed when putting the treatments together was that the first two words of the existing headline had to remain where they were to keep search ranking in place. The following logos were placed next to the headline to express company value:

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Website Optimization: Testing your navigation

September 11th, 2014 No comments

As we are testing our websites, we often focus on homepages, landing pages and funnels. These are the pages that “move the needle” and get results. However, there is one aspect of many sites that goes unnoticed by optimizers — the site navigation.

Site navigation is important because it gets your visitors where they need to be. Also, it’s usually one of the static elements of your site.

The navigation is visible on all of your pages and is often the one constant throughout the website.

It simply makes sense to focus your efforts on such a high visibility area that has such a great impact on your customers’ experience.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What can I test in my navigation?”

To answer that question, I’ve constructed a short guide to help you start optimizing your navigation.

Potential navigation testing opportunities include:

  • Changing link names that may be confusing
  • Optimizing subcopy (if you give details in your navigation)
  • Changing hierarchies or organizations
  • Adding or deleting links
  • Optimizing visual features (icons)
  • Optimizing navigation indicators (hover and click functionality, lines, highlights, etc.)

 

Begin with goals and objectives 

It’s important to have clearly defined goals and objectives when testing your navigation.

While you want your site navigation to drive conversions, you should always remember that this is ultimately a tool for your site visitors.

It should guide them where they need to go in a clear, concise manner. So how do you measure your navigation’s success? What would be your primary KPI? In many tests, our KPIs are conversions or clickthroughs. However, much more thought must go into defining navigation KPIs.

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E-commerce Marketing: 5 takeaways from ROI Revolution Retail Traffic Summit

May 1st, 2014 5 comments

Over the past two days, I’ve been at ROI Revolution Retail Traffic Summit in Atlanta. For those of you unfamiliar with ROI Revolution, it is an agency concentrated in e-commerce, specializing in paid search, shopping feeds and a few other goodies. This MarketingExperiments Blog post features a few takeaways from the event to help inspire your e-commerce marketing efforts. But, before we dive into the takeaways, I want to give a special thanks (and full disclosure) to ROI Revolution for inviting MarketingExperiments to cover the event.

 

Big success starts with big thinking

After the first day, ROI Revolution invited attendees to the Georgia Aquarium for a networking event. Seeing the huge whale sharks reminded marketers to aspire to be the bigger fish online. As Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, and featured speaker at the event, said, to be like Amazon, or in this case, the big fish, marketers need to think like the big fish.

 

Takeaway #1. Be where your customers are

Nicole Premo, Partner Education Manager, Shopping & Emerging Ads, Google, opened the event with her session, “Google Goes Shopping: Building a Search Experience for Today’s Shopper.”

According to a Neilsen study, 67% of people in the U.S. own a smartphone. With this increased connection to e-commerce, while the methods in which people make purchasing decisions have evolved, there is one aspect Nicole said would arguably never change.

“Remember, people are fundamentally the same. Shoppers are driven by core economic considerations. They are looking for a product that has a value proposition that matches to what [they] care about,” Nicole said.

What has changed, however, is how they gather information and make the decision to buy. There are more moments to shop than ever before, as 82% of people use smartphones to browse product information while in store.

Retailers have had to adapt quickly and engage with consumers at that single moment of inspiration. With inspiration everywhere, and with rapidly evolving technology, shopping has “become incredibly casual.”

Nicole’s advice really boils down to this: Having an effective mobile strategy in place is key to being where your customers are at all times.

 

Takeaway #2. Leverage data for more personalized targeting

“Age, demographics, gender, where they are, how long they stay on the site, where did they come from, did they abandon – these are not insights for the sake of insights. These insights should inform your online strategy to build actionable customer segments,” said Bob Dillon, Director of Agency Sales, Google.

Bob also talked about the importance of converting qualified customers with display advertising. Locating those potential customers who placed a product into a cart and retargeting with them with display ads is a great place to start.

“Finding that person who left, you want to find them and re-engage with creative that is a product they looked at,” Bob explained.

 

Takeaway #3. Develop an offline tactic to drive online conversion

Although the main place of conversion in e-commerce is in an online shopping experience, some marketers have discovered offline methods that not only help to drive online traffic, but also achieve strong revenue. During a panel discussion, John Lynch, CEO, Show Me Cables, revealed how his company takes customer relationship management offline with its own unique ranking system.

John’s team measures customers’ online body language and profiles it offline to reach them more effectively. For example, each customer receives a score based on their number of site visits, what pages they viewed on the site, and their email open and interaction metrics.

Starting with an online transaction, the team then researches the customer using a third-party platform to rank them according to their internal system. Finally, the customer receives a phone call.

“This is what we do to hit the right customer at the right time,” John said.

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Web Optimization: Traffic without conversion doesn’t matter

April 3rd, 2014 No comments

At Web Optimization Summit 2014 in New York City, Michael Aagaard, Founder, ContentVerve.com, will present, “How, When and Why Minor Changes Have a Major Impact on Conversions,” based on four years of research and dozens of case studies.

To provide you with a few quick test ideas, we reached across the miles to Copenhagen, Denmark, and interviewed Michael from our studios here in Jacksonville, Fla.

In this video interview, Michael discussed:

  • Why he’s so passionate about conversion optimization (and why you should be, too)
  • A pop-up test that generated 142% more newsletter signups
  • The one-word change of call-to-action button copy that consistently produces results (in several languages)

 

Below is a full transcript of our interview if you would prefer to read instead of watch or listen.

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Marketing Research: Average conversion rates

March 19th, 2012 13 comments

Jon Powell and I recently spoke on a Cisco webinar and were asked that ever-popular question — what is the average conversion rate?

Here’s the answer — 8.2%. You can stop reading the blog post right now.

In all seriousness, I wish I could give such a simple answer. However, the truth is much more complex. We’ll take a look at some average conversion rates in just a moment, but first let me suggest you use this data with caution. And here’s why …

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