Month: January 2020

150 Experiments on the Call-to-Action: Six psychological conditions that hinder our results

“What you ask me to do is important, but when you ask me to do it has more bearing on whether I choose to comply or not.”

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director & CEO, MECLABS Institute

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

One of the fastest ways to increase your performance is to improve your call-to-action. We did a meta-analysis of 150 of our experiments to determine 6 cognitive conditions that can hurt conversion.

In this video, Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute, talks about three of those negative conditions the customer experiences when seeing a call-to-action. He shows you how to improve your CTA by lining it up more logically with your page visitors’ sequence of thought.

This session is loaded with practical case studies and examples, both good and bad, to help you avoid common CTA errors and give you ideas for your own webpages.

If you would like your own webpage diagnosed on one of our upcoming YouTube Live sessions, you can send your website info through this form, and we’ll try to fit it in.

If you would like to receive more detailed advice from a MECLABS conversion marketing expert via a video conference, visit our Quick Win Consult page to learn more.

Here are some key points in the video:

1:14 Which CTA won?

6:54 Key principle #1 – CTA is more than a button, it is …

9:23 Key principle #2 – CTA depends upon the context of …

10:27 6 negative conditions the customer experiences when they see a call-to-action

11:21 Cognitive condition #1: Apathy, and the root cause

13:12 Condition #1’s solution can be found in this case study: Defence contractor

18:00 Condition #2: Negative surprise and its root causes

19:42 Condition #2’s solution can be found in these case studies …

26:32 Two flawed “asks”

27:20 Here’s a checklist you can use on your webpages with criteria for a good CTA, and Condition 3: Too many choices.

29:38 The solution can be found in these case studies …

Related Resources

Effective CTAs: How the thought sequence of a call-to-action affects landing page performance

The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design

Call-to-Action Optimization: 132% increase in clickthrough from changing four simple words

Marketing 101: What is above the fold?

Get our latest research delivered straight to your email inbox. Subscribe here.


“In my 3 departments, I am responsible for promoting our 10+ conferences annually, 3 magazines, several newsletters, video, an annual forecast, keeping our website fresh, book publication, and coordinating closely with our lobbying presence in Washington, D.C. Time is always squeezed. That’s why I love MECLABS email. I know from the subject line if I need to read it (I usually do), and I know the material is sourced from great research. MECLABS gives me the best chance to keep up with the best thinking in communications.” 

— Rich Jefferson 
AMERICAN FOUNDRY SOCIETY

150 Experiments on the Call-to-Action: Six psychological conditions that hinder our results was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Featured Snippet Update: Deduplication and Other Info You Need to Know

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Features-Snippet-DeDuplication-Update_What-You-Need-to-Know

Featured Snippets, also known as rank zero, is one of the coveted spots in the search engine results pages. It allows your content to directly reach the users even without them clicking on your URL listing. Of course, featured snippets have been controversial to the zero-click issue with Google, but it’s undeniable that they pose a sense of usefulness for the users. However, Google recently updated the way they display a featured snippet’s URL listing. Is it good or bad?

Featured Snippet DeDuplication Update

Danny Sullivan twitter screenshot

Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, announced on Twitter that once a URL is displayed as the featured snippet for a query, the URL listing for that page is automatically removed from the first page for decluttering and efficiency purposes.

What happens to the URL listing is that it gets transferred to the succeeding page. However, our listings that reached rank zero were mostly moved to rank 11 (rank 1, page 2). An important thing to note is that this does not apply when your page’s image is used for the featured snippet. Here’s an example:

Image in featured snippet screenshot

In the example above, SEO Hacker’s image is used for the featured snippet. However, when we check the list of URLs in the search results, our page is still ranking number 1. So, we can safely assume that only the page where the snippet’s content is lifted from is the one that gets removed from the first page.

The primary reason for this is because the images do not have a search listing. This means that they’re not “clutter” on the first page. This update is strictly for featured only; other features like the people also ask box are not included.  

Another feature of the update that’s important to note is that before the update, there were 11 net listings and 10 unique when there was a featured snippet for the query. However, now that the update has been rolled out, even if there is a featured snippet for a query, there will only be 10 unique and net listings. 

Recent Update for Right Side Featured Snippets

barong for women Google Search

Google is currently on-the-move to transfer right-side featured snippets to be inline with the other search results. This is why, a few days ago, they stopped deduplicated the results for queries that have a right-side featured snippet. The screenshot above had the URL listing removed from the first page after the deduplication update, but a few days ago, the URL listing came back even if the page had the featured snippet position. 

Losing the Featured Snippet

Most of the reactions I saw regarding the featured snippet deduplication update involved people asking the negative implications of losing their URL listing on the first page of the search results. Since there will always be times where a user prefers to click on a URL listing instead of the featured snippet – especially if the featured snippet was unable to answer the user’s query. 

So, webmasters and SEOs asked what happens if they lose the featured snippet spot. Danny Sullivan confirmed that when the URL loses featured snippet, the deduplication ends and the page goes back to its original position since it was originally on the first page, to begin with.

This means that it’s up to you, as the webmaster/SEO, to adjust your current strategy if you still want the rank zero spot or not. I suggest you experiment with what works and what doesn’t since not all featured snippets lead to success. I’ve experienced having reached rank zero but we still did not experience any increase in traffic whatsoever, so I suggest you try it out for yourself.

Key Takeaway

To reiterate, here are the important features for the deduplication update:

  • URL Listing for featured snippet will be removed from the first page
  • The Featured Snippet Update is applied globally
  • The page where the image used in the featured snippet will not be deduplicated
  • Being moved to rank 11 (rank 1, page 2) isn’t guaranteed
  • Other search results features are not affected
  • Right-side featured snippets will be moved to be in line with the URL listings

Again, test out things so you can have a firmer grasp on this update for you to adapt accordingly. What do you think about this update? Comment it down below!

Featured Snippet Update: Deduplication and Other Info You Need to Know was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Start Getting Organic Traffic to Your Blog

Writing a blog that no one ever reads is the internet equivalent of throwing a party, where half the people who’ve marked themselves as attending on Facebook don’t turn up. 

That moment when you log into Google Analytics and see that your posts have had three visitors in the past month, and two of them were you, is exactly like watching the hummus you decided to make from scratch (that’s a thing) remain untouched by the four guests that come to your house; two of whom are already claiming they’ve got another birthday party to go to and are making for the door.

There are two questions here. The first is whether Facebook RSVPs can ever be an accurate way of knowing how many people are actually coming to your event (absolutely not). And the second: what’s stopping people turning up? 

Let’s now transfer this clunky metaphor to the marketing world and get to the point of this post: why is no one turning up to read the content on your blog?

We’ve all seen brand and company blogs that lean too far towards being salesy, unrelatable and self-serving. They answer the company’s needs (here’s why you should buy hummus!) rather than those of potential readers (how do I make hummus from scratch?) – and the amount of organic traffic they get suffers as a result.

Which is why getting people to arrive on your blog requires planning, research, and having a bit of a clear out. And a lot of this needs to happen before anything even goes live. 

So if you’re wondering how to get organic traffic to your blog, here are some steps to follow. Done right, it’ll increase visits over time, build your company’s reputation as an authority on topics within your niche, and help your site’s SEO as a result. 

(Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee it’ll also make people come to your party).

1. Audit your existing content

This is the necessary bit of cleaning before you invite people over.

Except in this scenario, you’re using a big spreadsheet to work out what needs to stay, and what needs to go. My colleague Ben has helpfully created a content audit template which makes life a lot easier, so take a look at that before you get started. But I’ll go through some basics below.

Hopefully, you’ll already have Google Analytics running on your blog, so head to 

Behaviour > Site content > All pages 

…and change the date range to at least the last year. This should bring up a list of all your blog posts, and the traffic they’ve received over that time. Export it. You’re going to use this list to find out what blog posts are already getting traffic, and which ones aren’t. 

You might also want to check other metrics on these posts, like whether they’ve got any backlinks – because that might also inform what content you want to keep. To do this, you could combine backlinks detected in Google Search Console with data from either Ahrefs or Majestic.  

Then, starting with the highest to lowest traffic, one by one, go through each of the posts in terms of content and note/look out for the following:

  • What posts are getting consistent traffic? 
  • Which posts have seasonal spikes in traffic
  • Which posts get no traffic at all
  • Are there any popular topics/themes/categories

Make a note to fix:

  • Outdated content 
  • Broken images
  • Strange formatting
  • Broken links

And ultimately against each one, mark whether to:

  • Keep it 
  • Keep it, but update/repurpose it
  • Delete it completely
  • Delete it + redirect to a more useful post

By the end of this stage, you’ll have a list of actions to go through to help your existing content work harder. 

2. Keyword research

Next, you need to find out which topics it makes sense for your brand to be writing about in the future. And within that, the specific terms people are actually actively searching for. 

Spoiler alert: it might not directly relate to whatever you sell. 

There are a number of tools you can use to do this (free and paid) – and we’ll go into those in a future post. But essentially, it’ll involve using tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush and Keyword Planner to identify:

  • Relevant search terms within your niche
  • Their monthly search volumes
  • What your competitors are writing about 
  • Seasonal trends where traffic might spike

And once you’ve got a list of search terms to write content around, it’s time to start turning these into long tail ideas for evergreen blog posts. It’s these that, little by little, will build up traffic to your blog over time. 

3. Brainstorm topic ideas 

Your keyword research will leave you with a list of questions or informational non-branded terms and their search volumes, and an idea of when they peak. 

But the tricky bit is turning those terms into useful, relevant blog post ideas that fit neatly into a content calendar and align with your brand’s demographic. Remember, your aim here is to answer queries, become an authority on a particular topic, and provide relevant information. 

No one wants to come to a party and have the host do a hard sell. 

To rank in the SERPs, the posts will need to be detailed and well researched – so keep your business’ expertise in mind when you’re coming up with ideas. Don’t be afraid to go niche. 

Again, you might want to use some tools here to help you. Sites like Answer the Public can give you suggestions, or ‘People also ask’ on the Google SERPs. 

Let’s take an example: you’re a hotel brand, and your keyword research says that “things to do in London” is a good, high volume keyword to target. 

But it’s also a highly competitive term. So perhaps there’s a better way to narrow things down even more:

What other things dictate someone’s need for a hotel in London?

  • Time of year / seasonality
  • Specific interests, activities or events
  • Location: particular areas/boroughs

Your list of potential blog post ideas could a bit like this:

  • Things to do in London when it’s raining 
  • Baby-friendly museums in London
  • Where to take mum for her birthday in London

Do this until you’ve built out a big list of blog post ideas covering all the different topic areas you identified in your keyword research. Next step: plan it out. 

4. Plan out the content

Once you’ve got a huge list of blog post ideas and an idea of when their search volumes peak, use a content calendar to plan out what you’re publishing month by month. Here’s a useful guide to creating a content calendar which you can feed these organic traffic posts into.

When you’re planning out your content, consider:

  • Resource and time: to stand a chance of ranking, these posts will be comprehensive, well researched, and detailed (more on that next)
  • Posts will need to be written and published before the search volume peaks
  • Aim to publish at least 4 weeks beforehand, e.g. a post about Halloween outfit ideas would need to be published around mid September to catch the upward tick

5. Research the competition

Ok, let’s see what’s happening at that party. Not yours; no one’s at yours. The other, better one your guests are off to instead. You do some digging, and find out that party’s got a proper DJ and a decent sound system, while you’re putting your iPhone speaker in a wine glass. Where would you rather be?

Basically, before you start writing: know what you’re up against.

Take the blog post title you want to rank for (e.g. “things to do in London when it’s raining”), Google it, and see who and what is already ranking.

  • Format: are they numbered listicles (if so, how many ideas do they list?), long form pieces, or step-by-step guides? 
  • How recent is the article? 
  • Who currently has the featured snippet and what could increase your chances of getting the top spot? 
  • What’s the word count? How many items are they listing?

Remember: depending on your niche, your blog content competitors might not be your direct business competitors. 

So, Booking.com might be your competition when you’re selling hotels in London, but when you’re informing people about things to do in London, you could be up against established authorities like Time Out, travel magazines, or tourist boards. This gives you an idea of how detailed and well researched your post needs to be to compete.

Once you’ve got an idea of what your blog post needs to include, write a strong brief. 

5. Training for copywriters

Unless you’re working for one of the media outlets above, the chances are you don’t have a team of journalists working in-house.

And as I said, depending on your niche and industry, your competition might be lifestyle publications staffed by journalists.

The shift to writing more editorial-style content can be tricky if you’re working with in-house copywriters who are used to writing quite short, salesy product-focused copy. 

Depending on the competition, these evergreen, organic traffic driving posts are going to need to be more than 500 words of generic fluff. It’ll require research, sometimes resulting in upwards of 1,000 words, to be able to compete with whatever’s ranking on page 1. 

So if you don’t have the expertise in-house, consider where you might be able to get it. 

  • Who in your company can add expertise? 
  • Can you interview them and shape their answers into a post? 
  • Do you have the budget to source external freelance resource? 
  • Can you invest in basic SEO training for your copywriting team to help them along?

If you’re stuck, here’s a post on how to write high quality content to get you started.

7. Optimise, optimise, optimise

Before you publish, there’s a last bit of admin. Here are some things to check:

  • Whether you’re linking to other relevant blog posts (internally or externally)
  • If you’ve included a call to action at the end of the post
  • Whether your titles and meta descriptions are optimised for search (if you’re using WordPress, a plugin like Yoast allows you to specify different titles and descriptions for search and social)
  • Avoid putting dates in the URL (i.e. best-things-to-do-London-winter-2019) so you can update the same post next year without it looking out of date
  • Images are consistently named, spaced and formatted, the file sizes are low 

8. And last but not least, keep it updated

Kind of like getting people to turn up to your party, having an organic content strategy requires planning and work along the way.

It’s not a short term plan. It can take a good few months for a blog post to start getting organic traffic, and you might find you need to revisit the posts every so often to keep them updated and relevant.

So once you’ve written a post, keep a calendar note for seasonal posts that can be updated each year / as appropriate instead of creating new ones. 

That’s just an overview of the steps you need to take, and we’ll be going into more details in future guides. 

If you’ve got any questions in the meantime, or are wondering why your blog isn’t getting the organic traffic you think it should, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. 

How to Start Getting Organic Traffic to Your Blog was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Netpeak Spider 3.5 SEO Tool: Updates Overview

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Netpeak Spider 3.5

As an SEO strategist, it would do us well to have great tools at our disposal. I have previously talked about Netpeak and I must say that their tool updates are worth mentioning especially with something as big as this. The importance of crawl budget and domain crawling for SEO is momentous, with the fast-paced digital world requiring us to be vigilant especially for onsite optimization.

Hreflang is one thing that you should pay attention to even if you are operating a site that currently has no other versions because you have to think big. What if your business can branch out to another country? It’s best to be prepared.

This is one of the reasons why the Netpeak Spider 3.5 update is something you need to check out. We’ll cover three big changes and explain how to configure these features in the crawler and get the most out of them.

Hreflang Analysis

This feature will be useful for specialists that work with multilingual websites. If you deal with a lot of hreflangs, you probably have some kind of headache. Even John Mueller suggested that hreflangs is one of the most complex aspects of SEO.

So in the latest update, Netpeak Software team has implemented a comprehensive hreflang analysis. To turn it on, go to the ‘Advanced’ tab of the settings and tick on the ‘Hreflang’ checkbox. Once you tick it, Netpeak Spider will crawl all the links from the hreflang attributes and include them to the main table.

As an example of how it works, we’ll analyze an apple.com website because they have a lot of hreflangs. Go to the Parameters tab in the sidebar and turn on hreflang parameters in the ‘Head Tags’ group. Spider collects this data from the web pages and adds them to the table as usual.

site analysis

Based on this data, you can spot nine new issues. For example, hreflangs inconsistent with the language code in confirmation URLs, which means that the target URL’s language code is not consistent with the language code of incoming hreflang links. The spider will show you this issue and eight more of them. And if you want to get all the data at once without filtering by a specific issue, you can export extra-large reports with all hreflang URLs and hreflang summary.

hreflang checking

Multi-Domain Crawling

The next feature is multi-domain crawling. Previously if you wanted to crawl through several websites, you could crawl them one by one. Still, it took time to perform this task. Starting with Netpeak Spider 3.5, all users that have a PRO plan will be able to crawl a lot of domains within one project.

Add several domains to the table (from the clipboard, different files, or just enter manually) and then go to the settings → General tab → Enable multi-domain crawling. Netpeak Spider will crawl all the domains that you have added to the deepest parts of them.

multi-domain-crawling

For example, there are 24 domains we crawled, and we got 800 thousand pages in total. It can be actually used for finding all the broken links in trusted domains to perform broken link building. Or maybe you want to look for some kind of dropped domains: in this case, you can find all the external links from these websites, and then export them to Netpeak Checker and find out when they expire.

Or if you’re looking for contact details, from now, you can crawl all the websites’ pages in Netpeak Spider, then transfer these URLs to Netpeak Checker, and use contact details finder there to get all the emails and phone numbers.

Multi-domain crawling is a feature for real pros, that’s why Netpeak Software team has added it to the PRO plan of the Netpeak Spider.

Integration with Yandex.Metrica

The third feature is integration with Yandex.Metrica. It’s a very popular analytics system for websites in Eastern European countries. By the way, Netpeak Spider is the only desktop SEO tool that is integrated with it. This feature works pretty much the same as Google Analytics integration.

To use it, you should go to the Yandex.Metrica tab, add your Yandex account, and start getting data for the necessary segment, date range, or device. Oh, and there is no sampling, so you can get full information about the visitors, conversions and so on for any period of time.

yandex metrica parameters

Based on this data, you can spot three issues:

  1. Max bounce rate
  2. Compliant pages without traffic
  3. Non-compliant pages with traffic

There are also some diagrams on the dashboard of the app, and reports on the Overview tab, where you can find all the pages that either got or didn’t get traffic. You can also get this report in PDF format for documentation purposes.

Key Takeaway

The Netpeak Spider tool has got three new big features: comprehensive hreflangs analysis, multi-domain crawling, and integration with Yandex.Metrica.

We would also like to invite you to try Netpeak Spider yourself as well (use free 14-day trial), and here’s a handy promo code for 10% off: seohacker.

Netpeak Spider 3.5 SEO Tool: Updates Overview was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Product Search and Learning about New Product Lines

It’s interesting seeing patents from Google that focus on ecommerce topics. The last one I recall had Google distinguishing between products and accessories for those products in search results. I wrote about it in Ranking Search Results and Product Queries.

New Product Lines in Product Search

A new patent from Google is about when new products appear in existing product lines, like a laptop that comes with more Ram or a bigger hard drive, or a camera with a zoom lens that it didn’t have before.

This patent is about determining in product search whether a query is looking for a particular product line, from within a specific brand.

Searchers frequently search for products offered for sale. Google is trying to understand the intent behind shopping-related search queries.

For Google to be able to do that well, it has to understand different aspects of product categories. This can include such things as:

  • Whether a product as an association with a brand
  • Whether a product is in a specific product line

The patent tells us it is essential to detect terms designating product lines from within product queries from searchers.

That includes associating detected product line terms along with their corresponding brands, to let Google keep up with new product lines and retiring product lines soon after changes occur.

Under the new Google patent is a process aimed at determining product lines from product search queries:

  • A product query might be classified to identify a product category
  • A brand may be identified for the product query
  • The brand may be chosen from a list of known brands for the product category

Unknown Product Lines

The patent tells us that unknown product line terms may be identified within a product query.

A metric may indicate how well the unknown product line terms correspond to an actual product line within the brand.

The metric may be compared to a specified threshold. The unknown product line terms may be designated as a new product line of the brand if the metric compares to the specified threshold.

A product search may be performed using the product query. Product search results may be returned according to the product search.

This product lines patent can be found at:

Detecting product lines within product search queries
Inventors: Ritendra Datta
Assignee: GOOGLE LLC
US Patent: 10,394,816
Granted: August 27, 2019
Filed: December 27, 2012

Abstract

Systems and methods can determine product lines product searches.

One or more computing devices can receive a product query of search terms. The product query may be classified to identify a product category. A brand may be identified for the product query. The brand may be selected from a list of known brands for the product category.

One or more unknown product line terms may be identified within the product query. A metric may be computed to indicate how well the unknown product line terms correspond to an actual product line within the brand. The metric may be compared to a specified threshold. The unknown product line terms may be designated as a new product line of the brand if the metric favorably compares to the specified threshold. A product search may be performed on the product query. Product search results may be returned according to the product search.

High Precision Query Classifiers

This patent shows Google trying to identify new products and product lines, so it can distinguish them from older product lines.

Interestingly, Google is looking at search queries to identify products and product lines. As the patent tells us:

Product lines associated with product brands may be determined from analyzing the received product search queries.

The patent refers to a “high-precision query classifier,” which is the first time I have seen that mentioned anywhere at all.

How does a “high precision query classifier” work?

As described in this patent:

  • A search query may be automatically mapped to a product category
  • A list of known brands within the product category may be used to identify terms within the product query specifying the product brand
  • Similarly, a list of known category attributes may be used to identify terms within the product query specifying attributes of the product being searched
  • Attributes of Products

    Product Attributes

    The patent provides some examples of attributes for products:

  • A number of megapixels for digital cameras
  • An amount of RAM memory for laptop computers
  • A number of cylinders for a motor vehicle

Product Query Forms

We are told that the forms that a product query may take may vary a bit, but we are provided with some examples.

A product query could take the form “[B] [PL] [A].”

In such a query form, one or more terms [B] may indicate a brand that is a known brand within a list of known product brands, and one or more terms [A] may indicate attributes that are known attributes of the category. One or more unknown terms [PL] may then be identified as a potential new product line. Such an identification may be strengthened where [PL] is in a form associated with product lines. The identification may also be strengthened where [PL] is found with brand [B] frequently over time within various product queries. The identification may be further strengthened where the terms [PL] are infrequently, or never, found with brands other than the brand [B] throughout many product queries over time.

A metric is calculated by comparing what might be the attributes of products from a new product line, with attributes of a actual product line associated with a brand.

This metric may consider the number of unique product queries containing the terms [PL] having the correct structure and/or category along with the extent to which [B] dominates among every query that has a brand preceding [PL].

Why would Google be looking at Queries to learn about new product lines from brands instead of from product pages that describe the attributes of products?

Identifying Product Lines

How this identification process may work:

  • Software for product line resolution may identify product lines associated with brands for product categories determined by the query classifier
  • Product line resolution may use a category attribute dictionary and a product brand dictionary to establish pairings between brands and product lines
  • The product query and the determined brands and product lines may then be provided to a product search engine
  • The product search engine may then provide search results to the searcher
  • The query classifier may map the product query to a product category
  • Product line resolution can use product category information with the category attribute dictionary and the product brand dictionary to identify terms from the product query about specific product lines relate to product lines
  • The unknown terms identified by the product line resolution module for a category may be fed back into the category attribute dictionary as attributes for that category
  • Each identified product line may also be related to a particular brand listed in the product brand dictionary
  • The product brand dictionary can provide a list of known brands within various product categories
  • The known brands may be used to determine and resolve terms associated with product lines within each brand
  • The product line terms may then be used to identify a potential new product line

The identification of a new product line may be strengthened:

  • When unknown terms information is in a form associated with product lines
  • Where the unknown terms are found with a brand frequently over time within various product queries
  • Where the unknown terms are infrequently, or never, found with brands other than the brand identified throughout many products queries over time

Identifying When Unknown Terms Maybe in a form associated with product lines

Here are some observations about the form of product lines:

  • Product line terms generally start with a letter
  • Product lines generally contain few or no numbers (differentiating product line terms from model numbers or serial numbers
  • Product lines may be related to a category or a brand (One brand may generally have single word product lines while a second brand may use two word product lines where the first word relates to performance and the second word is a three-digit number

These kinds of patterns or forms about product lines could be used to associate unknown terms within a product query as product line terms.

Using a Category Attribute Dictionary to Resolve Product Line Terms within Product Queries

The category attribute dictionary can provide a dictionary of attributes associated with various product categories and brands.

Terms from the category attribute dictionary may be used to resolving product line terms within the product query.

When unknown terms are often found within product queries along with brand information, those unknown terms could be seen as product line terms associated with a specific brand. When known attribute terms are found in the category attribute dictionary to be consistent with brand [B] or the category associated with the product query by the query classifier.

Product Query Processing

The patent includes this flowchart to describe the process behind the product search patent:

Where does Google Learn about product lines?

The patent doesn’t mention product schema, or merchant product feeds. It does tell us that it is getting a lot of information about product lines from searcher’s queries.

Google also collects information about products and product attributes from web sites that sell those products, in addition to looking at product queries, as described in this patent.

Collecting such information from site owners may be the starting source of much information found in the product and category dictionaries and product attribute categories that are mentioned in this patent.

The process of updating information about products and product lines from product queries from searchers is a way to crowdsource information about products from searchers and get an idea of how much interest there might be in specific products.

It is quite possible that Google can learn a lot about products from product data feeds that merchants submit to Google. Google is trying to get merchants to submit product feeds even if they don’t use paid product search, to make those products visible in more places on Google in Surfaces across Google as described on this Google Support page: Show your products on Surfaces Across Google.

We saw that Google is using product feed information to help it distinguish between product pages and accessory pages for those products as I wrote about in the blog post I linked to at the start of this post.

Google also describes product markup on their developers page Product. Google tells site owners that they should include that markup for their products because:

Product markup enables a badge on the image in mobile image search results, which can encourage more users to click your content.

By collecting information about products from product feeds, Product Schema, product web pages, and product queries from searchers Google is collecting a lot of data about products, which could enable it to be pretty good at providing answers to product queries, and to understand when new product lines are launched.


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Google Product Search and Learning about New Product Lines was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Optimize for Google News

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If you own a news website and you’re looking to grow your traffic and reach more users, Google News is the place to be. Google News is a news aggregator by Google that was launched in 2002 and by 2013, the platform has more than 50,000 verified news sources and receives 6 billion visits per month.

What Google News does is collate news articles from its list of verified websites and serves it to users based on their interests and location. It is available in more than 60 regions and 35 languages. Through Google News, users are able to access fresh local and worldwide news. Users can also customize the content that they can see by setting up their interests.

Since the platform is accessible worldwide and has a prominent number of users, Google News can boost the traffic of a news website by a significant amount. However, publishers would have to follow Google’s set of criteria for them to get their content visible in Google News. It’s difficult but it’s not impossible.

The good news is, now you don’t have to submit an application to Google anymore and wait for your verification. All you have to do is to adhere to Google New’s content policies. Here’s what you need to know.

Website Should be a News Site

This is pretty obvious but it is important to reiterate. For content to appear on Google News, it has to come from a pure news website. Businesses or companies who put a “News” section that functions as a blog is not eligible to appear in Google news.

Publish Original and Timely Content

Plagiarism will heavily hurt the chances of a news website to appear in Google News. Publishers should still play within the rules of Journalism. Content should also be fresh especially if you are writing about current events. 

Be Transparent on your Sources

Articles should clearly state the date and author. The name of the publication and the company should also be visible on the website. News articles that label sources as anonymous will not be considered as credible sources. E-A-T is a huge factor here since Google only wants reliable sources on the platform. Clearly indicating information about writers and the background of the company is a good indication of authority.

Submit your Website in Google News Publisher Center

While you don’t have to sign up on any platform, submitting your website in Google News Publisher Center provides a number of benefits. The Google News Publisher Center was launched in 2019 to allow news publishers to customize their content preferences in Google News.

In the Google News Publisher Center, publishers can control their branding and how they appear in Google News. You can add basic information about your publication and upload logos, images, and videos.

The Google News Publisher Center allows you to submit your content directly instead of waiting for Google bots to crawl your website. You can submit your content via feeds, URLs, or videos.

Another great feature of Google News Publisher Center is that you can monetize your content through the platform. You can integrate your Google AdSense account or create a pricing structure like paid subscriptions.

There are many more benefits that you could explore in the platform. It’s free and easy to use and utilizing it well can significantly boost the traffic you can get from Google News.

What Not to Do in Google news

The Google News Content Policy is heavily against sexually explicit content, violence, hateful content, medical advice, illegal activities, harassment, and deceptive content.

Having content that would fall into any of these categories is similar to receiving a penalty in the Google search results.

Key Takeaway

Google News is a great platform for users and they are doing a good job in making sure the platform is clean and credible. While it is difficult to get content into it, the benefits heavily outweigh the challenges. News publishers whether big or small can benefit greatly from the traffic Google News can bring.

How to Optimize for Google News was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Podcasts App and Making Podcasts Easier to Find

Podcasts Can Be Hard to Find

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. They can be fun to listen to while doing chores around the house, like watering plants, washing dishes, cooking meals, and cleaning up. There are podcasts on many different subjects that I am interested in. A good number about Search Engine Optimization.

Someone asked me If I had seen any patents about podcasts on Twitter recently. I hadn’t at the time and I told them that. A patent application later appeared on January 9, 2020. I returned to the tweet where I replied that I hadn’t seen any, and tweeted that I had found a new one, and would be writing about it. This is that post.

I am not the only one listening more to podcasts. Techcrunch from last year had an article about the growth of audiences for podcasts: After a Breakout Year: looking ahead to the future of Podcasting.

It seems Google noticed this trend and has worked on making podcasts easier to find in search results and by releasing a Google Podcasts app.

Google Tries to Make Podcasts Easier to Find

At the Google Blog, the Keyword, a post last August from Sack Reneay-Wedeen, Product Manager at Google Podcasts, called: Press play: Find and listen to podcast episodes on Search

If you produce a podcast or are looking for one to listen to, you may find this article from last autumn helpful: Google will start surfacing individual podcast episodes in search results.

It tells us that:

Google is taking the next step in making podcasts easier to find. The company will now surface individual podcast episodes in search results, so if someone searches for a show about a niche topic or an interview with a specific person, Google will show them potential podcast episodes that fit their query.

In Google Search Help is a page about finding Podcasts titled Listen to podcasts with Google Podcasts

There are also Google Developer pages about how to submit your Podcasts for them to be found using Google at this page: Google Podcasts, which offer guidelines, management of podcasts information, and troubleshooting for Google Podcasts.

The Google Play Music Help pages offer information about using that service to subscribe and listen to podcasts.

There are also Google Podcast Publisher Tools, which allows you to submit your podcast to be found on the Google Podcasts App, and preview your podcast as it would appear there.

The Google Podcasts App is at: Google Podcasts: Discover free & trending podcasts

How the New Podcast Patent Application Ranks Shows and Episodes

The new Google patent application covers “identifying, curating, and presenting audio content.” That includes audio such as radio stations and podcasts.

The application starts out with this statement:

Many people enjoy listening to audio content, such as by tuning to a radio show or subscribing to a podcast and playing a podcast episode. For example, people may enjoy listening to such audio content during a commute between home and work, while exercising, etc. In some cases, people may have difficulty identifying specific content that they would enjoy listening to, such as specific shows or episodes that align with their interests. Additionally, in some cases, people may have difficulty finding shows or episodes that are of a duration that is convenient for them to listen to, such as a duration that aligns with a duration of a commute.

It focuses on solving a specific problem – people being unable to identify and listen to audio content.

The method this patent uncovers for presenting audio content includes:

  • Seeing categories of audio content
  • Being able to select one of those categories
  • Seeing shows based upon that selected category
  • Being able to select from the shows in that category
  • Seeing episodes from those shows
  • Being able to select from an episode, and seeing the duration of playing time for each show
  • Ranking the episodes
  • Seeing the episodes in order of ranking.

Rankings are based on a likelihood that a searcher might enjoy the episodes being ranked.

The episodes can also be shown based upon a measure of popularity.

The episodes may also be shown based upon how relevant they might be to a searcher.

The identification of a group of candidate episodes is based on an RSS feed associated with shows in the subset of shows.

The patent application about podcasts at Google is:

Methods, Systems, and Media for Identifying, Curating, and Presenting Audio Content
Inventors Jeannette Gatlin, Manish Gaudi
Applicants Google LLC
Publication Number 20200012476
Filed: July 3, 2019
Publication Date January 9, 2020

The methods described in the patent cover podcasts and can apply to other types of audio content, such as:

  • Music
  • Radio shows
  • Any other suitable type of audio content
  • Television shows
  • Videos
  • Movies
  • Any other suitable type of video content

The patent describes a number of techniques that podcasts are found with.

A group of candidate shows are selected, such as podcast episodes using factors like:

  • Popularity
  • Inclusion of evergreen content relevant to a listener
  • Related to categories or topics that are of interest to a particular user

Recommendations of shows look at whether a show:

  1. Is associated with episodic content or serial content.
  2. Typically includes evergreen content (e.g., content that is generally relevant at a future time) or whether the show will become irrelevant at a predetermined future time
  3. Is likely to include news-related content based on whether a tag or keyword associated with the show includes “news.”
  4. Has tags indicating categories or topics associated with the show.
  5. Has tags indicating controversial content, such as mature language, related to particular topics, and/or any other suitable type of controversial content
  6. Has previously assigned categories or topics associated with a show that are accurate.
  7. Has episodes likely to include advertisements (e.g., pre-roll advertisements, interstitial advertisements, and/or any other suitable types of advertisements).
  8. Has episodes that are likely to include standalone segments that can be viewed or listened to individually without viewing the rest of an episode of the show.
  9. Has episodes often with an opening monologue.
  10. Has episodes featuring an interview in the middle part of an episode.
  11. Features episodic content instead of serial content, so it does not require viewing or listening to one episode before another.
  12. is limited in relevance based on a date (after the fact).

Human evaluators can identify episode based upon features such as:

  • General popularity
  • Good audio quality
  • Associated with particularly accurate keywords or categories
  • Any other suitable manner

Some podcasts may have a standalone segment within an episode that may feature:

  • A monologue
  • An interview
  • Any other suitable standalone segment
  • That standalone segment could be trimmed as a new episode and included to be selected with the other episodes.

    Blacklisted Content

    Episodes that are deemed too long in duration could be blacklisted or deemed not suitable for selection as a candidate episode.

    An episode that contains adult-oriented content may be blacklisted from being presented to a user during daytime hours based on parental controls.

    An episode containing a particular type of content may be blacklisted from being presented to a user during weekdays based on user preferences (e.g., particular topics for presentation on the weekdays as opposed to particular topics for presentation on the weekends).

    Ranking of Candidate Episodes

    Ranking can be based upon:

  • Popularity
  • Likelihood of enjoyment
  • Previous listening history
  • Relevance to previously listen to content
  • Audio quality
  • Reviewed by human evaluators

The patent tells us that this process can rank the subset of the candidate episodes in any suitable manner and based on any suitable information.

It can be based on a popularity metric associated with a show corresponding to each episode and/or based on a popularity metric associated with the episode.

That popularity metric may also be based on any suitable information or combination of information, such as:

  • A number of subscriptions to the show
  • A number of times a show and/or an episode has been downloaded to a user device
  • A number of times links to a show have been shared (e.g., on a social networking service, and/or in any other suitable manner)
  • Any other suitable information indicating popularity.

This process can also rank the subset of the candidate episodes based on a likelihood that a particular user of a user device will enjoy the episode.

That likelihood can be based on previous listening history, such as:

  • How relevant a category or topic of the episode is to categories/topics of previously listened to episodes (Is it associated with a show the user has previously listened to?)
  • A number of times the user has previously listened to other episodes associated with the show
  • Any other suitable information related to listening history

This process can also rank candidate episodes based on the audio quality of each episode.

Alternatively, this process may also rank candidate episodes based on whether each episode has been identified by a human evaluator, and episodes that have been identified by human evaluators are ranked higher than other episodes.

A combined episode score might be based upon a score from:

  • A trusted listener
  • The audio quality
  • The content quality
  • The popularity of the show from which the episode originates

Takeaways

This patent appears to focus primarily upon how podcasts might be ranked on the Google Podcasts App, rather than in Google search results.

The podcasts app isn’t as well known as some of the other places to get podcasts such as iTunes.

I am curious about how many podcasts are being found in search results. I’ve been linking to ones that I’ve been a guest in from the about page on this site, and that helps many of them show up in Google SERPs on a search for my name.

I guess making podcasts easier to find in search results can be similar to making images easier to find, by the text on the page that they are hosted upon, and the links to that page as well.

SEO Industry Podcasts

making podcasts easier to find with Google SEO Podcases

I thought it might be appropriate if I ended this post with a number of SEO Podcasts.

I’ve been a guest on a number of podcasts, and have been involved in a couple over the past few years. I’ve also been listening to some, with some frequency, and have been listening to more, both about SEO and other topics as well. I decided to list some of the ones that I have either been a guest on, or have listened to a few times. They are in no particular order

Experts On The Wire Podcast

Hosted by Dan Shure. Dan interviews different guests every week about different aspects of SEO and Digital Marketing. I’ve been on a couple of podcasts with Dan and enjoyed answering questions that he has asked, and have listened to him interview others on the show as well.

Search News You Can Use – SEO Podcast with Marie Haynes

A Weekly podcast about Google Algorithm updates, and news and articles from the digital marketing industry. This is a good way to keep informed about what is happening in SEO.

Webcology

Jim Hedger and Dave Davies have been running this podcast for a few years, and I’ve been a guest on it about 4-5 times. They discuss a lot of current industry news and invite guests to the show to talk about those. My last guest appearance was with David Harry, where we talked about what we thought were the most interesting search-related patents of the last year.

The Search Engine Journal Show!

Danny Goodwin, Brent Csutoras, Greg Finn and Loren Baker take turns hosting and talking with guests from the world of SEO. No two SEOs do things exactly the same way, and learning about the differences in what they do can be interesting.

Edge of the Web Podcast

Erin Sparks hosts a weekly show about Internet Marketing, and he takes an investigative approach to this show, asking some in-depth questions. He asks some interesting questions.

Search Talk Live Digital Marketing Podcast

Hosted by Robert O’Haver, Matt Weber, and Michelle Stinson Ross. They offer “Expert Advice on SEO and SEM. I had fun talking with these guys – I just listened half of my last appearance on the show.

The Recipe For SEO Success Show

Kate Toon is the host of this show, and she focuses on actionable tips and suggestions from guests on doing digital marketing.

Last Week in Local

Hosted by Mike Blumenthal, Carrie Hill, and Mary Bowling. They often discuss news and articles that focus on local search, but also discuss topics that have a broader impact on sites such as image optimization.

#AEO is SEO Podcast

This is hosted by Jason Barnard. The “AEO” in the title is “Answer Engine Optimization” and Jason has been attending conferences to give him a chance to interview people for his podcast. The last time we did a show it was in a bakery across the street from my hotel in a suburb of Paris, talking about Entities at Google.

Connecting the Digital Dots

Martha van Berkel is the host of this show and is one of the people behind Schemaapp. She and I talked about featured snippets.

Search Engine Roundtable Vlog

Barry Schwartz runs Search Engine Roundtable, which is originally based upon the roundtable in tales of King Author that knights would sit at. In this VLOG, he visits people where they work, and asks them questions about what they do. It’s fun seeing where people are from and learning more about them.

Bill and Ammon’s Bogus Hangout

This is a weekly conversation between a number of SEOs having discussions, often about marketing and SEO, but sometimes veering off into different topics. It takes inspiration from early days of SEO where conferences such as Pubcon were often meetups in bars, with people sharing stories about what they had been doing. I am one of the hosts, and recently I’ve been joined by Doc Sheldon, Terry van Horne, Zara Altair, and Steve Gerencser.

Page 2 Podcast

Hosted by Jacob Stoops and Jeff Louella. They have guests join them from the world of SEO, and they ask them about their origin stories as SEOs. They have added a news section to the show as well,

Deep Crawl’s Open Dialogue

These shows feature interviews with some really sharp and interesting SEOs and provide details on tips and techniques involving digital marketing and technical SEO.

SEO Training Dojo

With David Harry, and Terry van Horne. The Dojo is a center for training and learning SEO. It often includes guests who have been sharing ideas and approaches about SEO for years.


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Google Podcasts App and Making Podcasts Easier to Find was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Shopping: Good or Bad for E-commerce?

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What-is-Google-Shopping-and-How-to-Use-it

The rise of online shopping has paved the way for businesses to start e-commerce website which catered to a more immense market that’s not limited to the area where their business is located in. From clothing to home accessories and furnishings, the usefulness of online shopping can never be understated but it can also overwhelm most consumers with the multitude available in the online market. This is where Google comes in.

In a recent post on their blog, they announce that they’ll be rolling out Google Shopping on mobile in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Google Shopping?

It’s one of Google’s services that enable webmasters and marketers to display their products inside Google Shopping’s massive list that users/consumers can use to search for, compare, and directly buy their desired product from the website of their choice.

Google Shopping was formerly known as Froogle back in the early 2000s which served as their products search engine which was changed into a paid search product advertising closely related to Google Ads in the early 2010s. However, they decided to bring back the free product search just recently. Google Shopping is also optimized to be filtered by category, prices can be compared from different shops, and reviews for this particular product is also displayed in the Google Shopping product page. This is what it looks like on mobile:

Jacket shopping

Image from Google

That’s the example used by Google, but when I used my phone to check, here’s what it looks like:

Google Shopping Products Feed Screenshot

See the difference? Since the new Google Shopping roll out is only released in the U.S., I believe it will take some time for other countries to use this feature. My current feed in Google Shopping also had a small Sponsored icon on the top-right and when clicked on, shows this prompt which informs us that the feed I’m seeing is all ads:

How to Put Up Your Products on Google Shopping

Putting up your products on Google Shopping is easy enough since you only need to set up product feeds on Google Merchant Center and incorporate apply the corresponding structured data markup to your product pages. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Set up your Google Merchant Account
  • Choose the “Surfaces across Google” when you reach the “Choose the programs that fit your objectives” page

Google merchant center set up page screenshot

  • After setting up your account, you’ll be taken to the overview page of Google Merchant Center where you’ll be notified that you have a pending task for Surfaces across Google. Click on the “Continue” button to proceed.
  • You’ll be taken to the Surfaces across Google information set-up page. Click on the “Add product data” part to start filling up your product feed. Click the “+” sign on the “Primary feeds” part to start.
  • From there, you can now set-up your product feed! It’s as easy as that.

product feed set up page screenshot

Is Google Shopping Good or Bad?

Here’s the thing: I’ve mentioned that online shopping can be overwhelming for the average consumer – especially if a multitude of products are displayed at one time. However, with Google Shopping, business owners/webmasters are stuck between choosing to lessen their prices to make their products more attractive to the users that see it while still ensuring that they gain a decent profit from putting up their products in Google Shopping. 

Since there’s now a free option for Google Shopping, I recommend you put up your products there. You have nothing to lose except the time you consume when you put your products on Google Merchant Center, so this is good for e-commerce webmasters and business owners. 

However, if you want to avail the paid version, you’ll have to outbid other competitors just for you to gain upper spots in the Google Shopping feed. In hindsight, this sounds good, but if you sell products on a particular niche that isn’t searched for that much, ROI might be a little difficult to gain back.

Key Takeaway

Google Shopping has its good and bad sides, but what I recommend for webmasters is to try out the free version first and check if you’re satisfied with the results. Or if you have the money to try out the paid version, go ahead. Let the results speak for the usefulness of Google Shopping. 

In my honest opinion, Google Shopping is a massive help for the users, but does this affect the current zero-click searches issue? We’ll have to find out eventually since users still need to buy the products they want from the business’ website. What do you think of Google Shopping? Do you have experience in using this particular Google service? Let me know in the comments below!

Google Shopping: Good or Bad for E-commerce? was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Unlocking the Power of Incentive: Three keys to mastering perceived value differential

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

The use of incentives is one of the most effective ways to counter friction and anxiety, therefore it can have a significant impact on conversion. But if you are currently using an incentive and it’s not having a major impact, you’re probably not using the right one — or your presentation is lacking.

In this video replay, Flint McGlaughlin not only gives messaging strategies for presenting incentives but also explains how you can identify the best incentive for your offer by using the MECLABS Perceived Value Differential Heuristic. He explains how to apply it with step-by-step instructions and examples.

PVD = Vp — C$n

“PVD” = Perceived Value Differential

“Vp” = Perceived Value of incentive

“C$n” = Net delivered Cost of incentive

Watch the video to learn how you can combine customer psychology with the power of PVD, rigorous testing and a smart set of hypotheses around incentives to maximize response rates, generate more leads and increase sales.

Here are some key points in the video:

  • 4:53 Case study – Choosing the best Amazon gift card incentive
  • 8:15 Case study – Online people search company addresses cart abandonment issue with incentive
  • 16:33 The MECLABS Conversion Index
  • 19:25 Key Principle #1 The objective of an incentive
  • 25:37 Key Principle #2 Test your incentive
  • 26:10 Key Principle #3 The ideal incentive has three components
  • 27:49 Perceived Value Differential: 3 principles
  • 36:32 Four ways to improve the presentation of the incentive
  • 42:44 A step-by-step example of how to do a PVD calculation

Related Resources

MECLABS Landing Page Optimization Online Course – This on-demand course teaches more about incentive, PVD and ROI

Customer-First Marketing Strategy: The highest of the five levels of marketing maturity

Digital Marketing: 3 test ideas to optimize your incentive offers

Finding the Ideal Incentive

Unlocking the Power of Incentive: Three keys to mastering perceived value differential was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Improve Organic Click-Through Rates in 2020

SEO

If you’ve put any thought or research into the SEO of your business website, you’ve likely encountered the idea of “Organic Click-Through Rate,” or oCTR.

Your business’ click-through rate is often a metric associated with pay-per-click advertising efforts like those available from Google AdWords.

However, organic click-through rates are also a common discussion topic when you’re trying to improve your ranking in organic search results.

If you want to get noticed, you have to improve your organic CTR. 

But to do that, you have to first understand what an organic click-through rate is, why it is essential, and what outside factors impact it. Once you know all of that, you can adequately increase your organic CTR and bring your business before the eyes of the masses.

This article will cover it all.

What is an Organic click-through Rate?

A lot of people talk about organic click-through rate, but many don’t truly understand what it is and what it represents.

The organic click-through rate of a website is a ratio that determines the number of users clicking on an organic listing of your business.

Technically, organic click-through rates include any links to your website (social media, directories, etc). For the purposes of this article, though, we’ll be talking about the primary source of organic traffic: your business’ click-through rate from search.

When you appear on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page), your business has received an impression. An impression is counted whether your business’ link is clicked on or not.

So, how many clicks you’ve received divided by the number of impressions you get gives you your organic click-through rate.

Let’s say you run a plumbing website and received 5,000 SERP impressions in a month.

Of those impressions, you’ve gotten 1000 clicks. We divide 1000 by 5,000 to get 0.20. That means this plumber’s organic click-through rate from SERP is 20%.

Organic click-through rates are, ultimately, the reason that investing in SEO is as valuable as it is:

Statistically, the number one result on a SERP has an average organic click-through rate of 31.7%. That number one spot is 10 times more likely to receive a click compared to a link in the number seven spot:

(Image Source)

Why is Organic Click-through Rate So Important?

Your organic CTR is one of the most critical metrics for your business’ success. By knowing your organic click-through rate, you’re determining the value of your SERP ranking.

Determining that value helps you figure out a budget for SEO and create a plan with well-defined goals.

It can help you determine an estimate for your organic web traffic as you look into the future. A strong understanding of your organic click-through rate can determine the estimated loss you could see if your site were to drop several spaces in the SERP.

If you’re the number one ranked link for a term, you have an understanding of what your organic click-through rate looks like at that position. As such, you can accurately gauge the loss of traffic you’d see if your rank were to fall, and how much you should invest to keep yourself there.

Setting Your Marketing Budget

Organic CTR allows you to set realistic expectations around your site.

This includes the all-important return on investment, or ROI. If you can set a realistic expectation for conversions based on the organic click-through rate of your SEO goal, you can determine how much profit you’ll be able to bring in once you’ve reached that peak. As such, you’ll be able to estimate your marketing budget accurately.

The goal of any marketing campaign is to bring in more money than you spent on marketing outreach. By having a strong estimate of the profits generated by your goal, you can select a marketing venture that fits within that budget and gives you the most substantial chance for a return.

It should be noted that knowing your organic click-through rate does not give you a quality indicator as to what your traffic will look like as compared to the number of conversions that you see. For that, you’ll have to determine your average conversion rate.

What Is Your Conversion Rate?

Your conversion rate shows how many visitors that came through your site made a purchase or took some form of action.

Google Analytics can be an excellent tool for this. If you know that you have a typical conversion rate of 2.3%, you can accurately predict profitability as your organic click-through rate rises and falls.

Let’s say your website currently ranks at position 6 for a specific term, and you’ve got a 3.4% organic CTR. You’ve determined that taking the top spot will see your organic click-through rate increase by 10 times. That puts you at 34% once you achieve your goal ranking.

If you have 1,000 impressions in a week at position 6, you’re looking at 34 clicks. With a conversion rate of 2.3%, you see barely any conversions.

Now, let’s say you’ve taken the number one spot. With 1,000 impressions, you’re getting 340 clicks with your 34% organic click-through rate. You still have the same conversion rate of 2.3%. However, whereas you once got practically no conversions, you’re now averaging 7.8 conversions per week — just from that one SERP.

Organic Click-Through Rate is More Important Than Ever

As Google’s search engine continues to evolve, the organic click-through rate becomes more important and harder to improve. Fewer organic clicks are coming through Google now because of paid ads run through Google AdWords and advanced SERP features like featured snippets and the local 3-pack.

That’s why it’s important to utilize tools that will grade your website’s organic click-through rate, such as Higher Visibility’s new, Free SEO Click-Through Rate Grader.

What Factors Impact Your Organic Click-Through Rate?

Now that you understand the organic CTR and its importance, it’s time to discuss the factors that can make it rise or fall. Once you have a mastery of that concept, it will be easier to drive positive movement.

The News Cycle

Our first example is, unfortunately, something that lies outside of your direct control.

The organic click-through rate of your site can be impacted if news articles hinder the search terms you’re trying to rank for.

Let’s say you sell hamburgers, and there’s a huge recall of ground beef. People searching for the generic hamburger search term might find that news articles about the recall are populating the first page over business sites like yours.

While this can be a frustrating setback, it is temporary. Once the news cycle ends, these articles become less relevant and your click-through rate should bounce back once the current event has ended.

Branded Keywords

When you’re trying to rank for a keyword, consider something branded over something more generic. A branded keyword will always have a higher click-through rate than a generic term because the user is searching for a particular brand.

(Image Source)

In keeping with our earlier example of a hamburger restaurant, the search term hamburger will get fewer clicks than a search term like Big Mac. If you have a burger on your menu that is a great Big Mac alternative, you should be trying to rank for that branded term.

SERP Features

Google has some features that can interfere with your CTR. These features typically pop up before organic search listings and siphon off many clicks.

Featured Snippet

If you’re ranking for a specific question, you might run up against a featured snippet. This is a blurb taken from a high ranking website that seeks to answer the user’s question right on the SERP.

If your site has a blog or seeks to answer specific queries, it’s a good idea to try and rank for a featured snippet.

Local 3-Pack

Local businesses can rank for a local 3-pack, where three businesses are highlighted along with a map before the organic search results.

These specialized results can siphon off clicks from the organic listings, garnering more attention in some cases than even the number one ranked item in the organic results.

Search Intent

Search intent plays a significant role in your placement and, by extension, your CTR.

You should be segmenting your keywords based on user intent. Are people looking for information? Are they looking for specific products? If you understand this, you can better optimize your page and generate more clicks.

Remember, informational searches can generate a featured snippet. Meanwhile, commercial intent keywords typically see a lot of clicks (and local 3-pack listings) as users comparison shop between you and your competitors.

Let’s say you’re an apartment complex looking for new tenants. Commercial intent keywords will benefit you because users looking for an apartment in their area will click around.

User Device

Believe it or not, the device your potential customers use to search on will play a role in determining your click-through rate.

SERPs appear differently on different devices: while mobile searchers are more likely to scroll down the first page, desktop users are more likely to move to a second or third page.

How Do You Increase Your Click-Through Rate?

Understanding the factors that contribute to your CTR can help you increase your ranking and, in turn, your clicks.

Review Current Results

To get where you want to go, you first have to understand where you are. Review your current organic CTR results first to better understand where the shortcomings of your site might be.

You can find your CTR results through the Google Search Console. Just click on Performance and then Search Results Report.

Select the pages you want to get results on and click on total clicks, impressions, and average CTR.

Sorting your results by the number of impressions will show you which pages are your most productive. This is also a great way to identify pages that are not performing well so that you can re-evaluate them.

Research Longtail Keywords

Search phrases with higher word counts are called longtail keywords. They are particularly useful when trying to improve the organic CTR for blog articles.

The inclusion of longtail keywords should be an essential part of any SEO strategy. Integrate longtail keywords to increase the volume of your organic queries and create more opportunities to generate clicks.

Longtail keywords fall into what’s commonly referred to as the SEO funnel:

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Single keywords are useful for the top of the funnel, where generic phrases and broad intent are used by people researching services or products that they’re looking for. Longtail keywords are more useful for the mid-funnel and bottom-funnel when the user is engaged and ready to buy.

Add Impactful Meta Descriptions

The meta description is what shows up in a SERP entry. By creating an engaging, descriptive, and optimized description of your pages, you could tip the click balance in your favor.

Sometimes, a reliable description could garner you clicks over pages that are ranked ahead of you.

Google gives you 160 characters for meta descriptions. Use them all or as close as you can get.

Include Structured Data

Structured data, also known as schema markup, is code that makes it easier for search engines to crawl and display content.

A search engine like Google already knows the “what” of your data. Structured data gives it the “why.” If you have a product listing, Google knows that it’s a product listing. Structured data gives it more specific information on your listing that it can use when determining placement.

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Structured data can be used to create rich snippets on the SERP. A rich snippet includes extra information between a URL and a description. This can include images, ratings, and other information that will catch the eye of a searcher.

Add Images

Images not only increase engagement, but they can get your pages listed in image results on Google. That’s a whole other area in which you can rank and generate clicks.

Remember, your images have to be high quality and relevant to the page, or Google won’t bother with them. Images can also show up in rich snippets.

Provide Descriptive URLs and Titles

Your URL and title tag should say something about what your page is about.

This helps you with SEO placement but also informs potential visitors. If they see something familiar or related to their search in your URL or title, they might be more likely to click, even if you’re not the number one ranked item on the SERP.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the importance of your organic CTR and using that information to improve your standing and clicks can help you achieve greatness in the SEO world.

It’s important to understand where you currently are by using an Organic CTR Tool. That’s the surest way to up your clicks and get noticed in the increasingly crowded search engine atmosphere.

How to Improve Organic Click-Through Rates in 2020 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing