Month: August 2019

How to Track Outbound Link Clicks with Google Tag Manager

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Users come and go and knowing where they exit can be just as important as where they went it. Knowing what links users click brings valuable data on user behavior on your website. This will give you, as a webmaster, ideas on ideal locations to place links and anchor texts that will draw them to click. This can be helpful especially if you participate in affiliate programs or you want users to land on your social media pages and other specific websites.

Six years ago, I wrote an article about How to Track Outbound Links using Google Analytics. Unfortunately, that won’t work anymore today as it uses the old Google Analytics Tracking code (ga.js) and the best alternative way to do this right now is to use Google Tag Manager.

Google Tag Manager might be intimidating to use but it is one of the most useful tools for SEOs. It can help you in organizing all tracking codes that you place on your website in one place. If you want to unlock one of the secrets on how users behave in your website, Google Tag Manager can help.

In this blog post, I’ll be showing the step by step procedure of setting up outbound link tracking using Google Tag Manager. Take note that you need to set-up Google Analytics with your Google Tag Manager Account for you to see the data.Log in To Your Google Tag Manager Account

1. Log in to Your Google Tag Manager Account

If you haven’t set up Google Tag Manager, I highly recommend you follow this Google Tutorial: Setup and install Google Tag Manager.

2. Go to Variables and Click New Under User-Defined Variables

3. Select Auto-Event Variable Under Variable Type

You should also name the variable to something like Outbound Links Variable so it won’t cause confusion when you set up other variables for other tracking. Under the 2nd Variable Type selection, select Element URL and under Component Type select Host Name. Save your variable.

 

4. Go to Triggers and Create a New One

Name it Outbound Links Trigger or whichever you prefer.

5. Select Click – Just Links Under Trigger Type

Make sure to select the Wait for Tags and Check Validation boxes. For Wait for Tags, leave it at default (2,000 milliseconds).

5.1 Under Check Validation, select Page URL, matches RegEx, and the symbols :* (colon and asterisk).

5.2. Under This trigger fires on, select Some Link Clicks and on the following boxes select Click URL, does not contain, and your domain name. This is to avoid triggers when people click links on your website’s pages that will land inside your website.

6. Go to Tags and Click New

7. Under Tag Configuration Select Google Analytics: Universal Analytics

7.1. For Track Type, select Event

7.2. For Category, enter Outbound Link

7.3. For Action, enter Click

7.4. For Label, click the plus sign and select Click URL

7.5. If you want to set a value for each click (maybe for affiliate links), you could set it under Value.

7.6. Select True under Non-Interaction Hit

8. For Triggering, select the Trigger that you Created Earlier

9. Save the Tag and Click Preview Mode

After you’ve entered preview mode, open a new tab and go to your website. A small window should appear below and it will show you the summary of the tags that fired on that page. 

Try opening another page or a blog post that has links to other websites. Click one link and go back to your site. In the Google Tag manager window, you should see under Summary that the Outbound Links Trigger that you created fired.

Viewing it in Google Analytics

To view the data, go to your Google Analytics account and in the sidebar click Events under Behavior. If you want to see the specific pages where people clicked an outbound link, go to Pages.

Click the page you want to see and click Event Category and  Event Action until you reach the list of outbound links that users clicked on your website.

 

 

Key Takeaway

Setting up outbound links tracking with Google Tag Manager can be done in less than 30 minutes and the results can be surprising. The data you can get from this process can be useful as a marketer or as an SEO. This can help in unlocking the key to user behavior on your website leading to better content and linking strategies.

How to Track Outbound Link Clicks with Google Tag Manager was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

The Marketer as Philosopher: 3 ways to achieve excellence in yourself and in your marketing

“A great marketer is a customer philosopher.”

— Flint McGlaughlin, Founding Director, MECLABS Institute

(This article was originally published in the MarketingExperiments email newsletter.)

The internet is full of
resources trying to help marketers with the mechanics of their job, but very
few are focused on the marketer as a person
and the unique experience you have every day in your work.

In this session, Flint McGlaughlin
aims to help marketers re-envision their role. He wants you to understand what
you are capable of doing with your marketing expertise so that you not only
produce a new level of results for your organization, but add meaning to your
work.

Why? Because we see marketing abused. Many people think marketing is just talking people into buying things, pushing them to do something. But true marketing helps people make the right decision. So the marketer must escape the negative connotation of the role and embrace the power of marketing as a force for positive change in our world.

Watch the video and get inspired to start your day with purpose. And if you’re in a hurry, here are some key points in the video: [

  • The importance of having a methodology over a list of tips (2:12)
  • Headline optimization (7:08)
  • Form optimization (12:35)
  • The power of marketing as a positive force for change in the world (17:19)
  • The marketer as customer philosopher (28:08 )
  • Beware of de-emphasizing people as technology increases in marketing. (35:15)
  • Experience a Quick Win Intensive with MECLABS to become a better marketer (45:25)
  • Live optimization (47:45)

You can follow along with
this FREE infographic:

How To Create a Model of Your Customer’s Mind


Related Resources

Landing Page Optimization: How Aetna’s HealthSpire startup generated 638% more leads for its call center

The Zen of Headline Writing

The Marketer as Philosopher: 40 Brief Reflections on the Power of Your Value Proposition

Quick Win Intensive: Get MECLABS scientists to help you find the fastest way to drive a major revenue increase

The Marketer as Philosopher: 3 ways to achieve excellence in yourself and in your marketing was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Enjoy SearchLove London with some VIP treatment

The countdown to SearchLove London 2019 is on. Taking place on the 14th & 15th of October,  we have 16 awesome speakers gracing the stage including Rand Fishkin, Marie Haynes, Will Critchlow, Jes Scholz, three community speakers and more.

Maybe this is going to be your first SearchLove, or maybe you are excited to be returning. Either way, we want you to know this year’s VIP experience is going to be the best yet. 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS YEAR’S SPEAKERS AND BOOK YOUR VIP TICKET

VIP Dinner in the iconic Gherkin

This year’s VIP dinner is being hosted in a private dining room in the iconic Gherkin building, we even have access to the stunning viewing gallery for 360 views of beautiful London town. 

The night before the conference VIP ticket holders will attend a three-course dinner with this year’s speakers, sponsors and fellow VIPs. This is your opportunity to have direct access to some of the smartest digital marketers in the world. Feel free to ask them almost anything.

We sell an extremely limited number of these tickets and have just 10 remaining for  SearchLove London 2019.

SearchLove London returns to The Brewery

The Brewery has been our London conference home for over five years now. Our delegates, speakers and staff always give us rave reviews about this venue, and we are excited to be heading back there. Situated in the heart of London, the Brewery is easy to get to (just a short walk from Liverpool Street, Moorgate and Barbican), and offers plenty of nearby places to stay during the conference. 

The venue itself is a stunning 18th-century brewery that has been recast as an events space and offers us an impressive location to host a conference. 

Your VIP package includes videos of the conference to share with your team

First, there are the obvious parts, you get your two-day ticket to join us at the conference, and exclusive access to videos of all the talks are thrown in for you to watch back in the office.

Socialise with speakers and attendees

Yes, we know you’re attending the conference to pick up tips and tricks. But the experience of a conference can often be based on the people you meet as well. SearchLove London is attended by around 350-400 people each year, and our aim is to help you find like-minded people so that you can build friendships for years to come

Did you know that one in three of our attendees come to the conference alone? To help get everyone socialising we arrange plenty of opportunities during and after the conference to get to know people. We have breakfasts starting at 8 am to chat over coffee, topic tables during lunchtime, and chilled-out evening drinks to discuss the day’s sessions (this year we’ve added non-alcoholic cocktails to the menu).

Of course, during the conference, our staff will also be around to say hello and help with those ice-breaking conversations.

If you have any questions about the conference say hello in the comments below or drop us an email via events@distilled.net. See you there!

Find out more about this year’s speakers and book your VIP ticket

Enjoy SearchLove London with some VIP treatment was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Myth Busted: Site Traffic a Ranking Factor?

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Cover Photo - Is Site Traffic a Ranking Factor

Site traffic being a ranking factor is what most SEO beginners and some intermediate SEOs believe to be true. I can’t blame them since I even believed it when I was just starting in SEO. But what’s the truth? Does site traffic not affect our site’s rankings as Google says? Or is there something deeper at play? Let’s find out.

Google’s Statement

In a recent post by Barry Schwartz, Google revealed in a Twitter thread that site traffic isn’t a ranking factor. 

Google Webmasters Twitter Screenshot

So site traffic isn’t a ranking factor as per Google. But here’s the thing: there’s a lot of data-driven studies in our industry that says otherwise.

Data-driven Studies

Studies from leading and reputable sources in the SEO industry point to one thing. There’s a certain correlation with having high direct traffic (most notable) to how high a site’s Google rankings are. There are also studies that show other types of traffic, most notably referral traffic, and it’s correlation with higher Google rankings. Here’s a snippet from the SEMrush study:

SEMRUSH study on ranking factors screenshot

Do note that these studies about ranking factors were published at different times and some of them are not recent anymore. However, the data they showed still plays a role in determining how we should treat traffic value and its correlation with our site’s rankings. Nonetheless, here are some useful studies that can help you understand Google’s ranking factors:

  1. SEMRush’s Ranking Factors 2.0
  2. Backlinko’s Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2019)
  3. CognitiveSEO’s research on how traffic affects SEO

SEO Hacker’s Data

Here’s the thing, I always take whatever Google says with a grain of salt. Some of them may be true, some of them may be more than meets the eye. So, I cross-referenced the correlation with having high-traffic with rankings using some of my more successful blog posts and here’s what I got:

The data for one of SEO Hacker’s best-performing articles, What are Meta Tags and why are they important? :

SEO Hacker Meta Tags data screenshot

And here’s the number of keywords it ranks for (using Ahrefs):

SEO Hacker Meta Tags ahrefs data

A simple article about meta tags that has around 3

4k traffic for a year ranks for 1.3K keywords in a variety of countries. This specific article is ranking for 65 different keywords on the first page of Google SERPs. Here’s another high-performing article:

SEO Hacker Google Plus data screenshot

Here’s the keyword data:

SEO Hacker Google Plus Ahrefs data

This is a less-performing article than the first example but here’s the difference: With fewer backlinks, less referring domains, less traffic, this article ranks for more keywords than the first one while ranking for 75 keywords in the first page of Google SERPs. If you’re curious, this is an article I published when Google+ was shutting down

What I think about Site Traffic as a Ranking Factor

So, why did I show you those two examples? It’s simple. I firmly believe that whatever your site’s traffic number is, it will always be just a consequential effect of your SEO efforts. Us SEOs and webmasters can’t directly affect the majority of our site’s traffic but our indirect actions can increase it over time. 

The two examples above just goes to show that even if a page in your site garners a lot of traffic, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be your best page in terms of rankings for different sets of keywords. What matters most is you, having the right content that satisfies the user’s intent. The difference between the two articles I used as examples is that the first one served as a more general overview of meta tags and why they were important for SEO. Meanwhile, the second example tackled the deeper implications of Google+’ shut down. So, for whoever searches for Google+’ shut down, the content I wrote can satisfy the user’s search for information about the particular event more than the first one. 

Key Takeaway

SEO is a game of experimentation and finding what works best and what doesn’t. Don’t always focus on factors that could otherwise distract you from the real problem/solution. My advice is for you to take a step back, analyze the pain points of, not just your page, but also the users. Think about what they want to see if you were in their shoes and start to write about that. Traffic is an important benchmark on knowing if what you did works, but it’s not the endpoint of your SEO efforts. Increasing visibility also means that traffic is soon to come, so set your priorities straight and never stop experimenting. Any questions? Comment them down below!

Myth Busted: Site Traffic a Ranking Factor? was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

75 Mobile Statistics to Get You Amped for 2020

Mobile

More people are on mobile than ever before, and the numbers aren’t going anywhere but up.

Statistically, at least half of the people reading this article are doing it from their phone.

Every time we take a ride on a bus or a train, we witness a sea of phones lighting up the faces of commuters.

But how pervasive are they, really?

And how are they affecting your marketing strategy?

This resource gives you 75 recent mobile statistics, organized into four categories:

Table of Contents (Click to Navigate to Each Mobile Statistics Category)

  • Mobile Usage (Including Mobile vs. Desktop) Statistics
  • Mobile Advertising & Marketing Statistics
  • Mobile Purchase Behavior Statistics
  • Mobile Social Media Usage Statistics

Mobile Usage (Including Mobile vs. Desktop) Statistics

Before we dive into how mobile usage may be affecting your business’ marketing, advertising, or social media efforts, it’s worth learning exactly how pervasive mobile really is in the world today.

These 20 statistics examine global mobile adoption and internet usage as well as what all those people are doing with their time.

  • In 2019 there are 5.11 billion unique mobile users globally, that’s up 100 million since last year. (Source)
  • There are estimated to be 10 billion mobile devices currently in use (that means multiple mobile phones per person). (Source)
  • There are 14 million jobs which are directly tied to the mobile device industry. (Source)
  • 81% of Americans own a mobile device, up 35% from 2011. That’s 265 million people. (Source)
  • That compares to 765.1 million active mobile internet users in China (only 55% of their population). (Source)

(Source)

  • American adults spent, on average, 3 hours and 23 minutes per day on their mobile phones in 2018. (Source)
  • 47% of American mobile device users say “they couldn’t live” without their devices. (We hope that’s hyperbole). (Source)
  • That said, 66% of mobile users are (in some way) addicted to their phones, with 6% showing signs of nomophobia. (Source)
  • 71% sleep with or next to their mobile phone, and 75% use their mobile phones in the toilet. (Source)
  • 20% of people say they would rather go without shoes for a week than their phones. (Source)
  • 55.1 million internet users accessed the internet exclusively through their mobile phone, a 10.6% growth year-on-year. (Source)
  • Mobile devices make up 42% of total time spent online. (Source)
  • 58% of all website visitors accessed that website from a mobile phone in 2018. (Source)
  • Email is the most popular internet activity from a mobile device, with 59% of mobile users engaging in it. (Source)

Here are the most popular activities for mobile users (dark blue is mobile, light blue is tablet)

(Source)

  • 52% of total time spent on the internet is from mobile devices. (Source)
  • More than 50% of all YouTube views come from mobile devices. (Source)
  • More 18-14-year-olds in America are watching YouTube during prime time (just on their phones) than are watching the top 10 prime-time shows combined. (Source)
  • 89% of mobile media time is spent on apps, with only 11% spent on websites. (Source)
  • Mobile apps have better engagement rates than websites (even mobile-optimized website). (Source)
  • Consumers are estimated to download more than 258 million apps by 2022. (Source)
  • There are 20 million registered developers addressing the 500 million weekly visitors to Apple’s App Store. Unofficial estimates for Android put it higher than Apple. (Source)
  • The top three mobile apps used by millennials are Amazon, Gmail, and Facebook. (Source)
  • If a page doesn’t load in less than three seconds, 53% of mobile users will abandon it (bounce). (Source)
  • Mobile travel apps (from AirBnb to Uber) reached 85.8% penetration in 2018. (Source)

Mobile Advertising & Marketing Statistics

Now that you have a better understanding of just how massive mobile usage is around the world, and a grip on what we’re doing with them, let’s take a look at how mobile affects your advertising and marketing efforts.

Mobile Advertising Statistics

  • 63% of all digital ad revenue in 2018 came from mobile advertising. (Source)
  • 92% of Facebook’s advertising revenue (making up the mass majority of its total revenue) comes from mobile (Source)
  • In 2018, mobile Google Search Ad spend grew 38% year over year, while desktop spend grew only 21%. (Source)
  • The cost-per-click for mobile ads is 24% less than that of desktop ad campaigns, and they have a 40% higher CTR. (Source)

Below is an example from a business looking to pivot their online advertising strategy.

They poured money into mobile search advertising to see if the CPC was more affordable.

Here are their results:

(Source)

  • In Q4 of 2018, there was a 12% lift to total online Google search ad conversions from mobile devices – approximately twice that of desktop search. (Source)
  • 55% of Google search ad clicks came from mobile devices in Q4 2017 (but only 14% of Bing ad clicks). (Source)
  • Results from an eye-tracking study showed that YouTube mobile ads receive 83% of viewer attention while TV ads receive only 45%. (Source)
  • The same study showed that TV viewers were more than twice as likely to multitask during an ad break than YouTube ad viewers. (26% vs. 12%). (Source)
  • In Q4 of 2018, 83% of all Facebook ad spend went to ads served on mobile devices. (Source)
  • Location-based (that means mobile) advertising can be 20x more effective than regular, generic, banner ads. (Source)

Mobile Marketing Statistics

  • 51% of prospective consumers say they use their mobile phones or tablets to discover new brands and research products. (Source)
  • 80% of mobile users are more likely to purchase from businesses with sites or apps that address their questions from their phones. (Source)
  • A positive mobile experience with a brand will make 89% of people more likely to recommend that brand. (Source)
  • A negative mobile experience, on the other hand, makes people 60% less likely to purchase from that brand ever again. (Source)
  • Mobile access problems are the #1 reason for 40% of users to visit a competitor’s website. (Source)
  • Since 2018, the average mobile conversion rates have gone up 64% when compared to the average desktop conversion rate. (Source)
  • Mobile video viewing hit 1.87 billion in 2018, an 11.7% increase from 2017. (Source)
  • 75% of all email opens occurred on a mobile phone (in the US). In contrast, only 29% of email opens occur on desktop. There is an even more drastic difference for people aged 18-24:

(Source)

  • Despite 75% of their prospective customers opening email on their phones, only 39% of companies use mobile-responsive email templates. (Source)
  • Mobile sales are responsible for more than 40% of revenue, on average, according to leading B2B organizations. (Source)

Mobile Purchase Behavior Statistics

So now you understand how mobile usage affects your advertising and marketing strategy, but are mobile users buying?

And, if they are, how are they using their mobile devices, and what’s impacting their purchase decisions?

The mobile statistics below cover purchase behavior:

  • In 2018, mobile devices were used in over 33% (or more than $1 trillion) of U.S. consumer purchases at some point in the buying process (research, price comparisons, and purchases). (Source)
  • A 2017 study found that 46% of respondents prefer to use their mobile devices for the entire buying process. (Source)
  • In the last six months, 79% of mobile device users have made a purchase online using that mobile device. (Source)
  • Users may spend 59% of their time on mobile, but only 15% of online purchases are made from their mobile devices. This means your prospective customers may be researching on mobile, but still buying on desktop or in-person. (Source)
  • 73% of consumers will leave a poorly-designed mobile site to a competitor’s site that makes purchasing easier. (Source)
  • 66% of mobile users say they are more likely to buy from businesses with mobile sites or apps that personalize based on their location. (Source)
  • There was 150% growth between 2015 and 2017 on mobile in searches ending with “to avoid.”  There was 80% growth in searches for “is X worth it,” a 55% increase in searches for “ideas” and a 150% increase in searches for shopping lists. (Source)

(Source)

  • Most mobile buying experiences includes approximately six visits to an app or mobile site, and at least three categories like search, shopping, or social. (Source)
  • 46% of mobile shopping experiences include at least one switch between mobile site and the desktop site. (Source)
  • 80% of brick-and-mortar shoppers use their mobile devices at some point in the buying process (for instance, to see if your in-store price matches what they can find online). (Source)
  • 70% of mobile users say they have bought something in-store that they researched using their mobile device. (Source)
  • Delaying your website visitor’s experience of your site by even a single second can drop conversion rates by 7%. (Source)
  • 77% of all traffic on Shopify’s stores came through mobile devices in In Q3 of 2018. (Source)
  • 69% of consumers aren’t willing to use mobile in-store payments, citing security concerns and a lack of perceived benefits as the primary reasons. (Source)
  • Approximately 40% of all e-commerce purchases made in the 2018 holiday season were made on a mobile device. (Source)
  • 94% of online shoppers still prefer other forms of payment, compared to mobile wallets. (Source)

Mobile Social Media Usage Statistics

It’s clear from the statistics above that mobile devices are having a massive influence on how we buy (both online and off).

But when we’re not buying, what are we doing?

After all, American adults are spending 3 hours and 23 minutes per day on their mobile phones.

They can’t be buying shoes the entire time, can they?

No, they’re on social media.

You probably expected that…

Here are the most important statistics to know about mobile social media usage:

  • 91% of all social media users access social platforms from mobile devices. (Source)
  • Out of 3.499 billion total social media users, 3.429 billion accessed a social media platform from their mobile devices. (Source)
  • 51.7% of American social media users will exclusively access social media platforms from their mobile devices in 2019. (Source)
  • 80% of the total amount of time we on social media sites occurs from mobile devices (Source)
  • Mobile social media usage has penetrated 70% into the Eastern Asian populations, compared to 61% penetration in North America. (Source)
  • In the UK, there are 39 million mobile social media users as of January 2019.
  • Users scrolling through Instagram in an internet minute hit 347,222 in 2019. (Source)
  • Instagram’s mobile reach has penetrated 46% into the U.S. (Source)
  • Instagram users are 70% more likely to make an online purchase (any online purchase, not just via Instagram) on their mobile devices than non-users. (Source)
  • Instagram users are the most likely social media platform users to say they use social media to research brands and products (at 44%). (Source)
  • 83% of Instagram users say the platform helps them discover new products or services, and 80% say it helps them decide whether to buy. (Source)
  • Facebook Messenger is the most downloaded Android app in the US (as of March 2019), with 4.65 million downloads:

(Source)

  • 60 billion messages are sent through Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp every single day. (Source)
  • 60% of LinkedIn traffic comes through mobile devices. (Source)
  • 47% of American internet users prefer to use Facebook for its news feed feature, while in comparison only 6% stated similar preferences in use for Instagram (though that could be a reflection of platform usage):

(Source)

Conclusion

Now you know what all those people on the bus or train are doing.

Increasingly, we live our lives through our phones. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad is up to you.

But as a marketer or advertiser, (or just a citizen of the world) it’s essential to know how pervasive mobile phones are in our day-to-day.

We spend three and a half hours on them every day of the week – checking email, scrolling through Facebook, researching products, catching up with friends, and sharing our lives with our online communities.

Hopefully these 66 mobile statistics have given you a better understanding of the influence of mobile devices and (for marketers) how they can be leveraged to drive business success.

75 Mobile Statistics to Get You Amped for 2020 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Wireframe a Landing Page: 6 steps

After watching The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design (Part 1), a MarketingExperiments reader commented and asked …

“What type of
information/content do you provide your designers with to create those initial
wireframes? When Flint was showing Meghan’s wireframes and talking about web
design in general, it felt like content would fill in the wireframe instead of
creating content and then creating wireframe for that content.”

And really, that spurts a bigger question — how do you wireframe a landing page? Here is a rough look at a process we use for our own websites at MECLABS Institute (MarketingSherpa.com, MarketingExperiments.com, and MECLABS.com). It’s not set in stone, it can vary based on the project, but I hope it gives you a few ideas for improving your own process.

(This article was originally published in the MarketingExperiments email newsletter.)

Step #1: Meet to
discuss the objective

Before anything is created, Meghan begins with a meeting
about the page’s objective.

“I often don’t have the specific content beforehand. But I
don’t need it. The more important thing to begin with is the objective,” Meghan
Brown, Graphic Designer, MECLABS Institute, said. “Even without specific content,
you know that there’s going to be a headline, images, call to action, etc. So
you design the layout based on the elements talked about from the objective
meeting.”

If you’re a marketer working with a designer on a landing
page or website, here are some questions you should answer in the objective
meeting:

  • Who is the ideal customer?
  • What is the conversion goal?
  • What is the process-level value proposition? What other value propositions should be communicated on the page?
  • Who are your top competitors? (Observe their websites.)
  • Are there any examples of landing pages and websites you like? Don’t like?
  • What website will it go on?
  • Are there any brand guidelines?
  • Any specific functionality considerations?
  • How many pages are needed in the customer flow (e.g., a landing page with a thank you page, a five-page microsite, etc.)?
  • What elements need to go on the page (e.g., video, form, approximate amount of copy, etc.)?
  • When is the deadline?

“Talking about the objective is the most important part. A
key question designers will have as they concept layouts is how much time do they
have to work on these wireframes. I can whip something up in two days and it’ll
do the job, or I can spend a couple of weeks intensely focused on a bigger
project and be creative with the designs. It all depends on the business needs,”
Meghan said.

Step #2: Create pencil
sketch wireframes of the landing page in a notebook

In my early days as a copywriter, I used to concept with an
art director who would draw those ideas up on paper. We used to call them
“markers,” and that’s all they were, really. An idea drawn up on an oversize
sheet of paper with a bold, black magic marker.

You could tell I was on deadline for a campaign because the
walls of my office and my art director’s office would be littered with these
crudely drawn comps taped all over our walls.

Yes, we did have computers. QuarkXPress. Adobe Photoshop and
Illustrator. But we didn’t start there. We started with the idea— essentially,
the minimum viable communication of the idea.

So I love seeing Meghan walk around the office with her
pencil sketches of landing pages. I can’t help but think that something is lost
when we jump too quickly into execution and technology. Despite all the great
new marketing technology, it’s just a tool. Marketers win with better ideas.

After the objective meeting, Meghan creates low-fidelity
wireframes by doing basic sketches in her notebook.

“It’s faster for me to get my ideas down,” she said.

She lays out multiple ideas side by side — usually about
three if she is time boxing herself — making sure each one is categorically
different. For example, one might put more emphasis on the headline, one might
put more emphasis on a hero image, another might lead with a product image with
a headline and bullet points. “Most of the time, I get my bad ideas out first,
and then it leads to better ideas. I don’t want to start by going directly to a
program like [Adobe] Photoshop with a bad idea, sink the time in, and then have
to start all over,” Meghan said.

She usually only wireframes mobile pages at this point. “I start
with mobile because there is less space to work with, and it’s easier to
transfer content from mobile to desktop versus the other way around.  I draw wireframes for tablet and desktop only
if I have the time; otherwise, I just skip this part for later,” she said.

Step #3: Review ideas

Once she has settled on the general concepts in her
notebook, she creates much larger and a little more detailed versions to
present, using a pencil and a large pad.

Since these are still just pencil drawings, they are clear
ways to communicate the idea quickly.

The goal at this stage is to collaborate with stakeholders and decision-makers in a way that makes revisions and optionality easy. In fact, instead of redrawing the wireframes, sometimes Meghan simply adds sticky notes with new ideas to the pencil-drawn wireframes.

This is also an easy way to play with ideas and vet them out
further by giving greater clarity and specificity to what it would take to
execute the landing page or website.

For one, this helps developers get a better idea of what a
marketing director wants to build, to give a more accurate estimate of what it
would take to build that landing page, checkout flow, or website.

But beyond that, when an idea for an overall product or service is at play, it can help to sketch out a landing page for it — ideally, in combination with a competitive analysis — to get an early understanding of what the offering would be from the customer’s perspective and if it really sticks out in the marketplace. If this early workup instills confidence in the marketing and product development team, they may decide to invest in a value proposition workshop next to begin bringing the product to market.

Step #4: Create
high-fidelity wireframe on a computer

Once the entire team has buy-in on which of the three concepts
they want to move forward with and they’ve decided on any changes to that
direction, Meghan goes to the computer to make a high-fidelity wireframe using
a tool like Adobe XD. (Another tool you might want to consider, used by other
members of our team, is Axure RP.) At this point, she’ll make the single concept
in three sizes — mobile, tablet, and desktop.

“It’s halfway to an actual design. The goal at this stage is
to get the layout down and make room for copy,” she said.

To the original question from a MarketingExperiments reader,
this is where the actual content of the page comes into play. “This is the
stage where I start demanding copy and content — images, videos, icons,
everything. It’s hard to go further without it because you’ll have to adjust
the layout a lot based on copy length, number of testimonials, number of
images, etc. So the sooner I have the content, the faster the wireframe gets
done,” Meghan told me.

There is another round of collaboration, approval and
feedback at this stage.

Step #5: Make the comps
on a computer

After two levels of collaboration, Meghan is now investing
the time in creating a full comp of the landing page. After getting images and
editing them in Adobe Photoshop, she uses Adobe XD to create an interactive
prototype with real branding, images, colors, copy and whatever other content
is necessary.

She still collaborates though, making sure to get feedback
and buy-in along the way so she doesn’t waste time getting too far down the
road in one direction and get off base from what others on the team are
thinking.

“I get three rounds of feedback at this stage. I fully comp the
mobile version and get feedback. Then tablet, then desktop. It may seem like it
takes more time to stop for feedback, but I’ve found it actually saves time to
get feedback after creating each comp,” she said.

Below is an example for the comps of an ecommerce flow on desktop. You can see the final page here, and how close at this stage the final comp is to the page.

Step #6: Give full
design to the developer(s)

After the feedback, Meghan makes the final rounds of changes
and creates final files to give to the developer(s) — grouping together the
assets and elements a developer would need to build the page, making sure all
the images are the optimal sizes and resolution for web design on different
device types, and providing the CSS slices.

That is an entirely different topic, and if you’re looking for information on the technical aspects of website redesigns, you can find it here.

The main thing for the designer and marketer to be concerned
about at this stage is a fidelity review. Don’t just hand it to the developer
and walk away. Do the final designed pages accurately reflect what the team was
trying to make? On all device sizes?

And now, a few caveats

Caveat #1: Is one version
of a landing page enough?

For simplicity’s sake, this article focuses on wireframing
and designing a single landing page. If you engage in A/B testing for
conversion optimization, it may be the landing page you test against the
control.

But if you don’t have a control and want to engage in
testing, you would want to create at least two (if not more) landing pages to
test as treatments. You can follow the same process, just multiply the number
of options and pages created.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at creating an A/B test here.

Caveat #2: Not every
landing page requires this intense work

I don’t want you to think every page we create has this
intense of a process. Or even a wireframe at all.

For example, for some landing pages, we’ve created a template in Instapage that we reuse. Here’s an example.

In fact, if you don’t have design and development resources
while you’re starting out, this might be the best option for you. “For
marketers doing it for themselves, use a tool like Instapage, or another
webpage builder. It saves you so much time,” Meghan advised.

Related Resources

MECLABS Institute Landing Page Optimization on-demand certification course — Designed to help teach you the science of landing page optimization without the cost of hiring an expensive consultant

Research-Backed Landing Page Templates to Scale Up Your Testing Program

The End of Web Design: Don’t design for the web, design for the mind

How to Wireframe a Landing Page: 6 steps was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

5 Takeaways from Mozcon as Someone with No SEO Experience

This post is written by Ali Howard, who is currently on a three month internship with our US team in Seattle. Before joining Distilled, she worked for Yelp assisting local businesses. She has a degree in International Business from Chapman University with an emphasis on Communication. Ali also loves pugs, ketchup and any baked good. Send questions and thoughts to @alihowardd.


Your first day at work can be a bit intimidating. What do you wear? Who are you going to meet? What do you need to bring? How do you make a good first impression? Now imagine your first day of work happens to coincide with one of the biggest conferences in your industry, and you get to attend. That was my first day as an intern. Cool, right? But also seriously intimidating. Not only was I meeting my team for the first time, but I was also meeting people from digital marketing companies from around the world. 

To be honest, when I was told my first day was going to be at this conference I really did not grasp how massive and *super freaking cool* this digital marketing conference was. I figured, “oh it’s just a conference that happens to be going on the same day I’m starting”, assuming it was just some small local thing. Boy was I wrong! When I walked in on Day 1 and started talking to people, I realized there were attendees from all over the world who flew in specifically to be at MozCon 2019

My first reaction was, “Woah, it’s so cool that I am here with all of these people”. But my immediate second thought was a bit less enthusiastic. It made me a little nervous thinking about how important and well known MozCon is within the SEO industry, an industry I know nothing about. Will I fit in? Will I know what the speakers are even talking about? Those were just a few questions running through my head as I opened my laptop and prepared to take notes. 

Here are my top 5 takeaways from my first MozCon from the perspective of someone who knows very little about SEO:

People connect to a brand that tells a story 

Thinking about my favorite brands, the ones I admire most (and spend the most money on) are the ones that tell a story. I never really understood why until I heard Cassie Gillete’s talk on creating content people remember. As a brand, you should tell a story based on your customer, because at the end of the day, what do people care about most? Themselves. Make your content resonate with your audience by knowing who your audience is, what they want, what they care about, and what problems they have. This will help you build your brand’s voice around the story of your customer.

Main Takeaway: 80% of people remember what they see, only 20% of people remember what they read.

When it comes to content, quality over quantity

One of the topics I found most interesting throughout the conference was content. Coming from a more general background in marketing, this topic is the one I have definitely heard the most about. What I found most interesting (in terms of SEO and content) is how important great content is in order to attract an audience, and keep people coming back to a website. The talk Andy Crestondia gave on content really solidified how important it is to create great content.

Main takeaway: Create original research. Stronger content will benefit you better in the end. 

Voice will not be the end of search

Rand Fishkin’s talk on SEO trends was extremely interesting to hear. As someone who doesn’t know much about SEO, whenever I hear a rumor, or someone say “Voice is the next thing. Search is dead!” I don’t really know enough to form an opinion on that. So hearing Rand give compelling evidence as to why that statement is not the case was really cool to hear. 

Main takeaway: Both mobile and desktop searches are still big, so don’t ignore either.

You need to run tests on your website

An area I had heard about before starting my internship and within marketing was A/B testing. However, it never really made sense to me before listening to Rob Ousbey’s talk on Distilled’s own ODN platform and learned why testing is so important within SEO. What I found most interesting was how some SEO “best practices” (ones people feel like they needed to implement) made no difference to search traffic when tested. 

Main takeaway: Testing and results are unique for each business and website.

Local search varies even within zip codes

Another topic that stood out to me was Joy Hawkin’s presentation on local search, and the level of granularity within a local search. Throughout other speakers, I realized that when accounting for local search, it is not enough to simply account for the city level. You need to go deeper than that because there is a ton of variation within different zip codes in a city. Joy went even further to show that there is also a ton of variance even within the same zip code. 

Main takeaway: Ranking in the local pack can take less than a day

The speakers at MozCon left me curious to learn about all of the exciting SEO insights they spoke about. I definitely am ready to learn how to crawl a website, do some keyword research, test some pages, learn some coding basics, and one day hopefully save my clients tons of money from Wil Reynolds advice. I will never forget that the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google!

Thanks, MozCon for putting together an amazing conference filled with so many amazing industry experts! And many thanks to my company Distilled for allowing me the opportunity to attend. I am so grateful for the experience and so thankful that even as *just an intern* I was given that chance. It was extremely cool telling people where I worked and them knowing tons about Distilled already. If you were not able to make it to MozCon, a number of the speakers are heading to London in October for SearchLove 2019!

5 Takeaways from Mozcon as Someone with No SEO Experience was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Pain Point SEO: Converting Traffic to Leads

Last updated on

Cover Photo Pain Point SEO - Converting Traffic to Leads

Revisit your current keyword strategy and take a look at Pain Point SEO. It is the act of finding customer problems and addressing them through bankable content. At the heart of it all, SEO is all about providing answers for people. However, there are those who make the mistake of thinking that SEO is a popularity contest, banking only on traffic and keyword volume for their research.

Honestly, I find this strategy archaic and unreliable. Keyword volume fluctuates which is why you should not rely on its inconsistency for your SEO efforts. As SEOs always say, content is key. That is how you win in this industry. Yes, traffic is great but aim for more, do not get stuck with it as your endgoal.

SEO coupled with a thorough understanding of the buyer’s journey is what can help you climb to the top and stay there for a very long time. Take a look at how you can achieve this with pain point SEO.

Avoid Traditional Keyword Research

When you get sick, do you ask for medicine or vitamin supplements so you can get rid of your symptoms? It’s most likely the former if you ask people because this is the wisest choice. This is exactly what pain point SEO is about.

It is rooted in addressing the awareness stage in the buyer’s journey so you can promote your business as their source of products or services for the consideration and decision stage. With this, you should also consider assigning a funnel stage per keyword so you can have a clear idea of how you can effectively promote your content based on the buyer’s journey.

If you are doing traditional keyword strategy, your worksheet will look like this:

keyword research
I’m not saying that you should disregard these figures but keyword volume is not that deep of a metric to address customer pain points. Instead of being focused on the numbers per keyword, why not make a separate spreadsheet where you can take note of the long-tail keywords that can address customer problems.

Of course, in order to answer a question, you have to know how and why your customer is having difficulties. Keyword volume can help you increase traffic but pain point SEO will help you garner leads.

It’s one thing to have many users coming into your site and another to attract them because they NEED to come to your site to address a problem. Find out all the things that can go wrong with your product as well as the negative reviews that your customers are already putting out there, this can help you to your advantage.

To get you started on making a worksheet of long-tail keywords, you can start your research on the problems that your customers are having on:

  1. List of Products/Services
  2. Price
  3. Location
  4. Risks
  5. Urgency
  6. Quality

These long-tail keywords can provide a signal to users that you are aware of their problems and it is also a great way to dominate the SERPs through relevant terms aside from your target keywords. The best way to do this aside from using a keyword research tool is to look at the search engine pages and see what people also search for. At the bottom of the page, lies the potential long-tail keywords that you have to target. Additionally, you should also see the featured snippets of that particular keyword and build your long-tail keywords around them.

long tail keywords

The typical way of getting a keyword list, prioritizing by search volume, then building your content around it is a weak strategy in addressing your customer’s needs. Why not grow and convert with pain point SEO? Generate content from customer pain points and then continuously find keywords centered around them.

This strategy was applied to one of my clients, Topbest, a pest control operator in the Philippines. As people are experiencing their pain points in terms of dengue and mosquito control, we have seen an influx of users who are searching for these terms:

topbest pain point

As a result, people who found their business organically have turned into leads. Because people have a need for pest control in this life-and-death situation, they have flocked to the business to see how they can relieve the symptoms. This is precisely what Pain Point SEO is as a keyword strategy. Traffic into leads, that is what you should be aiming for. If you are mindful of the details, you can see this when you address your client’s pain points and turn these into their favor.

Potential Clients of the Business

To get to the root of customer pain points, you must have a clear idea of what your customer looks like. You have to take note of who they are and what are the probable reasons why they are going to seek out your business. This goes to show that you should strategize Pain Point SEO with these kinds of factors in mind:

research

A clear image of who you are talking to through your SEO content would be your best bet in addressing their needs. Say, for example, you have a real estate business and you are probably targeting those who need to upgrade their homes.

Pain point SEO goes deeper than the obvious prospects, you have to find out if your target market consists of young professionals, retirees, or small families, or something else to that effect. The good thing about this is that this strategy can be constantly rebuilt because you can be confident that it is not stagnant for your efforts.

Together with your prospects, you also have to consider what type of voice you are going to use to relate to them. Your ticket in knowing more about your customers is through social media channels. Look at their feedback through the comment section, take note of their questions, and see what their social media is like.

Search Intent

I cannot stress this enough but search intent does go a long way in helping you attract visitors and leads organically. Once you have a clear mental image of the target market you are addressing, you have to plan how you can highlight your site as their primary source of answers.

To address this, you can make a persona for yourself that will align with the potential clients of your business. So if your target audience is SEO newbies, then you have to be an expert in the field to bridge them to you or you can also sell yourself as another beginner that can help them in educating themselves on this particular field.

This is a great way of highlighting search intent since you now have a hold on how you are going to present your content. Build your keywords around customer pain points and answer them accordingly:

  1. Navigational – site visibility and brand terms that will lead users to the site
  2. Informational – product details, accessories, features, benefits, how your services will attract potential clients
  3. Commercial Investigation – a clear description of the product (color, size, weight, height), reviews, comparisons
  4. Transactional – pricing, purchase information, sales, deals, coupons, discounts

Key Takeaway

Improving customer experience through Pain Point SEO is your best bet for converting that meaty traffic into leads. By being the point person to address potential problems that may arise from products or services, you have the advantage of promoting your brand more effectively.

Gone are the days when you rely on keyword volume to rank. This is the age of SEO when you have to stay competitive, especially with Google’s algorithm updates. In-depth customer research is one way to prevent getting hit by these changes in a negative manner.

What are the other pain points that customers may have? Comment down below!

Pain Point SEO: Converting Traffic to Leads was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Create a Model of Your Customer’s Mind

(This article was originally published in the MarketingExperiments email newsletter.)

Marketer, you know you have a good product. In fact, it’s exceptional. And you need to get this message out to as many people as possible in the most effective way.

So, you have a message you are trying to communicate with prospective customers. But determining exactly how to articulate that message in a way that resonates with your visitors is not easy. But it is EXTREMELY important — because you only have a few seconds to capture their attention before they click away to another page. And then you must be able to sustain interest throughout the entire buy process.

To get your message right, it would certainly help if you could see into the customer’s mind, observing their thought processes while visiting your webpage. Then you could answer these questions: What do they like? What confuses them? What motivates them to even look at your page? What causes them to buy from you? Or NOT buy from you. What is it on your page that made them click away and buy elsewhere?

Since you can’t read minds, you have to develop a customer theory about their thoughts and actions. In other words, you need a predictive model of your prospective customer’s decision process.

In this replay of an interactive YouTube Live session, MECLABS Managing Director Flint McGlaughlin discusses customer theory and how you can achieve an advantage over your competitors by aggregating the results of thorough testing and other methodologies into a cohesive understanding of what matters to your customers and how they make choices.

As you watch the video, you can follow along with this free infographic that illustrates the steps in creating a predictive model of your customer’s mind.

Get the Infographic: How to Create a Model of Your Customer’s Mind


Related Resources

The Marketer as Philosopher: 40 brief reflections on the power of your value proposition

Marketing Swipe File Bundle: Transformative discoveries from 73 valid marketing experiments

A Model of Your Customer’s Mind: 21 charts and tools that have helped capture more than $500 million in (carefully measured) test wins.

How to Create a Model of Your Customer’s Mind was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Augmented Search Queries Using Knowledge Graph Information

Last year, I wrote a post called Quality Scores for Queries: Structured Data, Synthetic Queries and Augmentation Queries, which told us that Google may look at query logs and structured data (table data and schema data) related to a site to create augmentation queries, and evaluate information about searches for those comparing them to original queries for pages from that site, and if the results of the augmentation queries do well in evaluations compared to the original query results, searchers may see search results that are a combination of results from the original queries and the augmentation queries.

Around the time that patent was granted to Google another patent that talks about augmented search queries was also granted to Google, and is worth talking about at the same time with the patent I wrote about last year. It takes the concept of adding results from augmented search queries together with original search results, but it has a different way of coming up with augmented search queries, This newer patent that I am writing about starts off by telling us what the patent is about:

This disclosure relates generally to providing search results in response to a search query containing an entity reference. Search engines receive search queries containing a reference to a person, such as a person’s name. Results to these queries are often times not sufficiently organized, not comprehensive enough, or otherwise not presented in a useful way.

Augmentation from the first patent means possibly providing additional information in search results based upon additional query information from query logs or structured data from a site. Under this new patent, augmentation comes from recognizing that an entity exists in a query, and providing some additional information in search results based upon that entity.

This patent is interesting to me because it takes an older type of search – where a query returns pages in response to the keywords typed into a search box, with a newer type of search, where an entity is identified in a query, and knowledge information about that entity is reviewed to create possible augmentation queries that could be combined with the results of the original query.

The process behind this patent can be described in this way:

In some implementations, a system receives a search query containing an entity reference, such as a person’s name, that corresponds to one or more distinct entities. The system provides a set of results, where each result is associated with at least one of the distinct entities. The system uses the set of results to identify attributes of the entity and uses the identified attributes to generate additional, augmented search queries associated with the entity. The system updates the set of results based on one or more of these augmented search queries.

A summary of that process can be described as:

  1. Receiving a search query associated with an entity reference, wherein the entity reference corresponds to one or more distinct entities.
  2. Providing a set of results for the search query where the set of results distinguishes between distinct entities.
  3. Identifying one or more attributes of at least one entity of the one or more distinct entities based at least in part on the set of results.
  4. Generating one or more additional search queries based on the search query, the at least one entity, and the one or more attributes.
  5. Receiving an input selecting at least one of the one or more additional search queries and providing an updated set of results based on the selected one or more additional search queries, where the updated set of results comprises at least one result not in the set of results.

The step of generating one or more additional search queries means ranking the identified one or more attributes and generating one or more additional search queries based on the search query, the at least one entity, the one or more attributes, and the ranking.

That ranking can be based on the frequency of occurrence.
The ranking can also be based on a location of each of the one or more attributes with respect to at least one entity in the set of results.

augmented-search-queries-Planet-of-the-apes-matt-damon.jpg

This process can identify two different entities in a query. For instance, there were two versions of the Movie, the Planet of the Apes. One was released in 1968, and the other was released in 2001. They had different actors in them, and the second was considered a reboot of the first.

When results are generated in instances where there may be more than one entity involved, the search queries provided may distinguish between the distinct entities. They may identify one or more attributes of at least one entity of the one or more distinct entities based at least in part on the set of results. Augmented search queries may be generated for “one or more additional search queries based on the search query, the at least one entity, and the one or more attributes.”

This patent can be found at:

Providing search results using augmented search queries
Inventors: Emily Moxley and Sean Liu
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 10,055,462
Granted: August 21, 2018
Filed: March 15, 2013

Abstract

Methods and systems are provided for updating a set of results. In some implementations, a search query associated with an entity reference is received. The entity reference corresponds to one or more distinct entities. A set of results for the search query is provided, and the set of results distinguishes between distinct entities. One or more attributes for at least one entity of the one or more distinct entities are identified based at least in part on the set of results. One or more additional search queries are identified based on the search query, the at least one entity, and the one or more attributes. An input selecting at least one of the additional search queries is received. An updated set of results is provided based on the selected additional search queries. The updated set of results comprises at least one result not in the set of results.

Some Additional Information About How Augmented Search Queries are Found and Used

A couple of quick definitions from the patent:

Entity Reference – refers to an identifier that corresponds to one or more distinct entities.

Entity – refers to a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well defined, and distinguishable.

This patent is all about augmenting a set of query results by providing more information about entities that may appear in a query:

An entity reference may correspond to more than one distinct entity. An entity reference may be a person’s name, and corresponding entities may include distinct people who share the referenced name.

This process is broader than queries involving people. We are given a list in the patent that it includes, and it covers, “a person, place, item, idea, topic, abstract concept, concrete element, other suitable thing, or any combination thereof.”

And when an entity reference appears in a query, it may cover a number of entities, for example, a query that refers to John Adams could be referring to:

  • John Adams the Second President
  • John Quincy Adams the Sixth President
  • John Adams the artist

Entity attributesIn addition to having an entity in an entity reference in a query, we may see a mention of an attribute for that entity, which is “any feature or characteristic associated with an entity that the system may identify based on the set of results.” For the John Adams entity reference, we may also see attributes included in search results, such as [second president], [Abigail Adams], and [Alien and Sedition Acts].

entity selection box

It sounds like an entity selection box could be shown that allows a searcher to identify which entity they might like to see results about, so when there is an entity in a query such as John Adams, and there are at least three different John Adams that could be included in augmented search results, there may be clickable hyperlinks for entities for a searcher to select or deselect which entity they might be interested in seeing more about.

Augmanted Search Queries with Entities Pocess Takeaways

When an original query includes and entity reference in it, Google may allow searchers to identify which entity they are interested in, and possibly attributes associated with that entity. This really brings the knowledge graph to search, using it to augment queries in such a manner. A flowchart from the patent illustrates this process in a way that was worth including in this post:

augmented search queries flowchart

The patent provides a very detailed example of how a search that includes entity information about a royal wedding in England might be surfaced using this augmented search query approach. That may not be a query that I might perform, but I could imagine some that I would like to try out. I could envision some queries involving sports and movies and business. If you own a business, and it is not in Google’s knowledge graph you may end up missing out on being included in results from augmented search queries.


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Augmented Search Queries Using Knowledge Graph Information was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing