Tag Archive | "Might"

Tinder Co-Founder: Siri Might Become a Matchmaker Soon

Tinder Co-Founder Sean Rad, in an interview on stage at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, said that he thinks that as the technology of AI advances that Siri might become a matchmaker soon:

I think the future looks nothing like what you see right now. A lot of people talk about AI and its ability to create new insights and new data, but I actually like to think about AI and its ability to create better user experiences. I’ll give you a simple picture of what I where I think not just Tinder is headed but a lot of different applications are headed. I think Siri might become a matchmaker soon.

Tinder has made it being exceptionally simpler and easier to connect with people. This is partially because it introduces a new way to double opt-in and partially because behind the scenes there’s a lot that we’re doing with AI in ensuring that we show you the best possible matches, but you could see how it could get even easier.

One day because the system is so smart in knowing the users and knowing what you want, one day Siri might say… hey Sean, there’s someone a mile away who you find attractive and we were pretty sure she finds you attractive and you both happen to like Coldplay and they’re playing in town next week. Do you want to get a coffee and if you like each other go? Siri might then create that transaction or might actually make that introduction like a traditional matchmaker.

You sort of see that as technology gets better, technology starts to disappear in our lives and starts to become a little more fluid with our daily behaviors and that creates exciting new possibilities.

What About AI-Powered Bots Making Matches? I hope not, I think that’s a scary existence. You don’t want to take the humanity out of technology.

The post Tinder Co-Founder: Siri Might Become a Matchmaker Soon appeared first on WebProNews.

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My Five Greatest Mistakes as A Leader: 30 years of painful data (that might help you)

For the leader, sometimes the most important data is derived from a source that evades our metrics platforms. Indeed, such data can only be gleaned through brutal self-confrontation.
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6 CRO Mistakes You Might Be Making (And How to Fix Them)

Posted by lkolowich

You just ran what you thought was a really promising conversion test. In an effort to raise the number of visitors that convert into demo requests on your product pages, you test an attractive new redesign on one of your pages using a good ol’ A/B test. Half of the people who visit that page see the original product page design, and half see the new, attractive design.

You run the test for an entire month, and as you expected, conversions are up — from 2% to 10%. Boy, do you feel great! You take these results to your boss and advise that, based on your findings, all product pages should be moved over to your redesign. She gives you the go-ahead.

But when you roll out the new design, you notice the number of demo requests goes down. You wonder if it’s seasonality, so you wait a few more months. That’s when you start to notice MRR is decreasing, too. What gives?

Turns out, you didn’t test that page long enough for results to be statistically significant. Because that product page only saw 50 views per day, you would’ve needed to wait until over 150,000 people viewed the page before you could achieve a 95% confidence level — which would take over eight years to accomplish. Because you failed to calculate those numbers correctly, your company is losing business.

A risky business

Miscalculating sample size is just one of the many CRO mistakes marketers make in the CRO space. It’s easy for marketers to trick themselves into thinking they’re improving their marketing, when in fact, they’re leading their business down a dangerous path by basing tests on incomplete research, small sample sizes, and so on.

But remember: The primary goal of CRO is to find the truth. Basing a critical decision on faulty assumptions and tests lacking statistical significance won’t get you there.

To help save you time and overcome that steep learning curve, here are some of the most common mistakes marketers make with conversion rate optimization. As you test and tweak and fine-tune your marketing, keep these mistakes in mind, and keep learning.


6 CRO mistakes you might be making

1) You think of CRO as mostly A/B testing.

Equating A/B testing with CRO is like calling a square a rectangle. While A/B testing is a type of CRO, it’s just one tool of many. A/B testing only covers testing a single variable against another to see which performs better, while CRO includes all manner of testing methodologies, all with the goal of leading your website visitors to take a desired action.

If you think you’re “doing CRO” just by A/B testing everything, you’re not being very smart about your testing. There are plenty of occasions where A/B testing isn’t helpful at all — for example, if your sample size isn’t large enough to collect the proper amount of data. Does the webpage you want to test get only a few hundred visits per month? Then it could take months to round up enough traffic to achieve statistical significance.

If you A/B test a page with low traffic and then decide six weeks down the line that you want to stop the test, then that’s your prerogative — but your test results won’t be based on anything scientific.

A/B testing is a great place to start with your CRO education, but it’s important to educate yourself on many different testing methodologies so you aren’t restricting yourself. For example, if you want to see a major lift in conversions on a webpage in only a few weeks, try making multiple, radical changes instead of testing one variable at a time. Take Weather.com, for example: They changed many different variables on one of their landing pages all at once, including the page design, headline, navigation, and more. The result? A whopping 225% increase in conversions.

2) You don’t provide context for your conversion rates.

When you read that line about the 225% lift in conversions on Weather.com, did you wonder what I meant by “conversions?”

If you did, then you’re thinking like a CRO.

Conversion rates can measure any number of things: purchases, leads, prospects, subscribers, users — it all depends on the goal of the page. Just saying “we saw a huge increase in conversions” doesn’t mean much if you don’t provide people with what the conversion means. In the case of Weather.com, I was referring specifically to trial subscriptions: Weather.com saw a 225% increase in trial subscriptions on that page. Now the meaning of that conversion rate increase is a lot more clear.

But even stating the metric isn’t telling the whole story. When exactly was that test run? Different days of the week and of the month can yield very different conversion rates.

conversion-rate-fluctuation.png

For that reason, even if your test achieves 98% significance after three days, you still need to run that test for the rest of the full week because of how different conversion rate can be on different days. Same goes for months: Don’t run a test during the holiday-heavy month of December and expect the results to be the same as if you’d run it for the month of March. Seasonality will affect your conversion rate.

Other things that can have a major impact on conversion rate? Device type is one. Visitors might be willing to fill out that longer form on desktop, but are mobile visitors converting at the same rate? Better investigate. Channel is another: Be wary of reporting “average” conversion rates. If some channels have much higher conversion rates than others, you should consider treating the channels differently.

Finally, remember that conversion rate isn’t the most important metric for your business. It’s important that your conversions are leading to revenue for the company. If you made your product free, I’ll bet your conversion rates would skyrocket — but you wouldn’t be making any money, would you? Conversion rate doesn’t always tell you whether your business is doing better than it was. Be careful that you aren’t thinking of conversions in a vacuum so you don’t steer off-course.

3) You don’t really understand the statistics.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started learning CRO was thinking I could rely on what I remembered from my college statistics courses to run conversion tests. Just because you’re running experiments does not make you a scientist.

Statistics is the backbone of CRO, and if you don’t understand it inside and out, then you won’t be able to run proper tests and could seriously derail your marketing efforts.

What if you stop your test too early because you didn’t wait to achieve 98% statistical significance? After all, isn’t 90% good enough?

No, and here’s why: Think of statistical significance like placing a bet. Are you really willing to bet on 90% odds on your test results? Running a test to 90% significance and then declaring a winner is like saying, “I’m 90% sure this is the right design and I’m willing to bet everything on it.” It’s just not good enough.

If you’re in need of a statistics refresh, don’t panic. It’ll take discipline and practice, but it’ll make you into a much better marketer — and it’ll make your testing methodology much, much tighter. Start by reading this Moz post by Craig Bradford, which covers sample size, statistical significance, confidence intervals, and percentage change.

4) You don’t experiment on pages or campaigns that are already doing well.

Just because something is doing well doesn’t mean you should just leave it be. Often, it’s these marketing assets that have the highest potential to perform even better when optimized. Some of our biggest CRO wins here at HubSpot have come from assets that were already performing well.

I’ll give you two examples.

The first comes from a project run by Pam Vaughan on HubSpot’s web strategy team, called “historical optimization.” The project involved updating and republishing old blog posts to generate more traffic and leads.

But this didn’t mean updating just any old blog posts; it meant updating the blog posts that were already the most influential in generating traffic and leads. In her attribution analysis, Pam made two surprising discoveries:

  • 76% of our monthly blog views came from “old” posts (in other words, posts published prior to that month).
  • 92% of our monthly blog leads also came from “old” posts.

Why? Because these were the blog posts that had slowly built up search authority and were ranking on search engines like Google. They were generating a ton of organic traffic month after month after month.

The goal of the project, then, was to figure out: a) how to get more leads from our high-traffic but low-converting blog posts; and b) how to get more traffic to our high-converting posts. By optimizing these already high-performing posts for traffic and conversions, we more than doubled the number of monthly leads generated by the old posts we’ve optimized.

hubspot-conversion-increase-chart.jpg

Another example? In the last few weeks, Nick Barrasso from our marketing acquisition team did a leads audit of our blog. He discovered that some of our best-performing blog posts for traffic were actually leading readers to some of our worst-performing offers.

To give a lead conversion lift to 50 of these high-traffic, low-converting posts, Nick conducted a test in which he replaced each post’s primary call-to-action with a call-to-action leading visitors to an offer that was most tightly aligned with the post’s topic and had the highest submission rate. After one week, these posts generated 100% more leads than average.

The bottom line is this: Don’t focus solely on optimizing marketing assets that need the most work. Many times, you’ll find that the lowest-hanging fruit are pages that are already performing well for traffic and/or leads and, when optimized even further, can result in much bigger lifts.

5) You base your CRO tests on tactics instead of research.

When it comes to CRO, process is everything. Remove your ego and assumptions from the equation, stop relying on individual tactics to optimize your marketing, and instead take a systematic approach to CRO.

Your CRO process should always start with research. In fact, conducting research should be the step you spend the most time on. Why? Because the research and analysis you do in this step will lead you to the problems — and it’s only when you know where the problems lie that you can come up with a hypothesis for overcoming them.

Remember that test I just talked about that doubled leads for 50 top HubSpot blog posts in a week? Nick didn’t just wake up one day and realize our high-traffic blog posts might be leading to low-performing offers. He discovered this only by doing hours and hours of research into our lead gen strategy from the blog.

Paddy Moogan wrote a great post on Moz on where to look for data in the research stage. What does your sales process look like, for example? Have you ever reviewed the full funnel? “Try to find where the most common drop-off points are and take a deeper dive into why,” he suggests.

Here’s an (oversimplified) overview of what a CRO process should look like:

  • Step 1: Do your research.
  • Step 2: Form and validate your hypothesis.
  • Step 3: Establish your control, and create a treatment.
  • Step 4: Conduct the experiment.
  • Step 5: Analyze your experiment data.
  • Step 6: Conduct a follow-up experiment.

As you go through these steps, be sure you’re recording your hypothesis, test methodology, success criteria, and analysis in a replicable way. My team at HubSpot uses the template below, which was inspired by content from Brian Balfour’s online Reforge Growth programs. We’ve created an editable version in Google Sheets here that you can copy and customize yourself.

hubspot-experiment-template.png

Don’t forget the last step in the process: Conduct a follow-up experiment. What can you refine for your next test? How can you make improvements?

6) You give up after a “failed” test.

One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten around CRO is this: “A test doesn’t ‘fail’ unless something breaks. You either get the result you want, or you learned something.”

It came from Sam Woods, a growth marketer, CRO, and copywriter at HubSpot, after I used the word “fail” a few too many times after months of unsuccessful tests on a single landing page.

test-doesnt-fail.png

What he taught me was a major part of the CRO mindset: Don’t give up after the first test. (Or the second, or the third.) Instead, approach every test systematically and objectively, putting aside your previous assumptions and any hope that the results would swing one way or the other.

As Peep Laja said, “Genuine CROs are always willing to change their minds.” Learn from tests that didn’t go the way you expected, use them to tweak your hypothesis, and then iterate, iterate, iterate.

I hope this list has inspired you to double down on your CRO skills and take a more systematic approach to your experiments. Mastering conversion rate optimization comes with a steep learning curve — and there’s really no cutting corners. You can save a whole lot of time (and money) by avoiding the mistakes I outlined above.

Have you ever made any of these CRO mistakes? Do you have any CRO mistakes to add to the list? Tell us about your experiences and ideas in the comments.

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Two Vital Elements that Might Be Missing from Your Content (and Precisely Where to Add Them)

"We all dream of making such an impact on people that they share our ideas far and wide." – Kelly Exeter

It’s taken you more than 10 hours to write a blog post.

You’ve researched the topic to the nth degree. You’ve edited it to within an inch of its life.

Now it’s time to get it out into the world!

You excitedly press Publish, and … even days later … crickets.

Heartbreaking, right?

We all like to think that the amount of effort we invest in creating a piece of content directly correlates to how deeply it resonates with readers. But, experience has repeatedly shown this is not the case.

So, what’s the deciding factor if it’s not effort?

Luck? Timing? Skill?

Yes, the factors above do play a part. But, more often than not, it comes down to these two elements:

  1. If your content doesn’t hook readers in the first few sentences, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of it is, you’ve lost them.
  2. If you don’t clearly communicate your idea, readers may lose interest after your introduction because they don’t have an incentive to keep reading.

So, how do we write both a strong hook and a strong idea? That’s what I’m going to break down for you today.

What’s a hook?

A hook is a narrative technique that operates exactly as it sounds.

It’s information so interesting that it hooks the reader’s attention, and they feel compelled to see what comes next. So, they keep reading.

The hook works in tandem with the headline; the headline delivers the reader to the first lines of an article, and then the hook in those first few lines launches the reader deeper into the piece of content.

What’s the idea?

The dictionary definition of an “idea” is:

“A thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.”

That neatly sums up what we’re trying to do when we write anything. We want to share a thought, make a suggestion and/or inspire people to take a certain action.

Why is your content’s idea so crucial?

Because your idea drives the payoff the reader will get from continuing to read your article.

That payoff can be:

  • Laughing from your humor
  • Learning new information
  • Taking meaningful action that will help them reach their goals

The idea forms the backbone of your article that leads to a positive outcome for both you and your readers.

We all dream of making such an impact on people that they share our ideas far and wide.

If the people reading your words aren’t inspired to share them with their friends, there’s a ceiling on the number of people you can reach.

Where things can go wrong for your idea

It might be easy to think of an idea for a piece of content, but when we actually sit down to write:

  1. We discover we don’t have as much to say about the idea as we first thought.
  2. We start writing about one idea, but then introduce another halfway through.

In both of these situations, if we publish that content, the reader may be left feeling either bewildered or cheated at the end. Not ideal.

How do you get super clear on your idea?

My favorite technique is to initially write a very literal headline.

Why?

Because it forces you to identify the exact promise you’re making to the reader.

If you can’t identify your promise, then you’re not going to be able to deliver a payoff.

Once you’ve written your literal headline and confirmed you know the exact idea you want to communicate, you’ll use that to:

  • Determine whether you actually have enough material to deliver a payoff for the reader.
  • Edit tightly to ensure you do so.

Here are three examples of literal headlines that sum up the article’s payoff.

When you click through to each of the posts above, you’ll see the actual headline is different from the literal headline I’ve identified.

That’s because your headline needs to hook the reader’s interest without giving away the payoff. If you deliver the payoff in the headline, there’s generally no need for someone to read the whole article.

Struggling to write a literal headline? That means you don’t have a good handle on the idea you’re trying to communicate.

Here are three examples of categories that can help you craft a strong idea … and then we’ll get into writing your hook.

1. Counterintuitive

This is where you take conventional wisdom and turn it upside down.

We all know a balanced diet made up of a variety of foods is ideal, so when someone tells us they ate nothing but potatoes for a year and lost a large amount of weight along the way, that gets our attention.

2. Practical and actionable

Telling people “If you’re organized, your life will be so much easier” is yawn-worthy. Everyone knows that.

Showing them the way you organize your life so that they can learn your tips? That’s far more powerful.

3. Contrarian

When everyone’s telling us not to do a certain thing, having someone tell us we should is incredibly refreshing.

It’s also the kind of thing we tend to share because it’s “ammunition” that justifies our choice to take a path less travelled.

How to write a great hook

One of the most common things I do as an editor is delete the first two paragraphs of articles sent to me.

Introductions are difficult to write, but:

If you’ve written 400+ words of an introduction, there’s a solid chance there’s a decent hook sitting somewhere around the 200-word mark.

Remember, your hook doesn’t need to be the most interesting thing anyone’s ever read; it just needs to be interesting enough to keep the person reading.

Here are five of my favorite hook techniques, with examples:

Hook #1: Ask a question

Humans are drawn to questions for a few reasons. One reason is that we’re inherently competitive.

When someone asks us a question, we’re compelled to first answer it and then find out if our answer is correct. If you don’t have an answer to a question, but someone suggests they do, that’s an even stronger hook.

Here’s an example of Sonia Simone leveraging this:

Headline: The #1 Conversion Killer in Your Copy (and How to Beat It)

Hook: What makes people almost buy? What makes them get most of the way there and then drop out of your shopping cart at the last second?

If you have a website with a shopping cart, I defy you to stop reading the article after those first two lines.

Hook #2: Focus on the reader

This is probably the easiest hook to create. By using the words “You,” “You’re” or “Your” in your introduction, you directly address the reader.

Take this example from Alexandra Franzen:

Headline: This one’s for you

Hook: Your inbox is full of ego-rattling rejection emails, but you’re emailing 10 more literary agents today. … Your podcast has exactly three fans (and two are your parents), but you’re posting a new episode every single week, nonetheless.

The reason this hook works so well is because the reader now feels they’re part of the article’s story. This creates a strong need to know how that story ends.

Hook #3: Add dialogue

Who likes listening in on other people’s conversations?

We all do. We can’t help it. When an article starts with dialogue, we’re quickly hooked because we’re getting all the pleasure of eavesdropping, without the guilt.

Here’s an example from Jerod Morris:

Headline: Why Your Greatest Asset May Be Slowly Eroding (and How You Can Rebuild It)

Hook: “Why are we sending this email to this list again?” Kim asked. I was incredulous. “Umm, because we never sent it a first time,” I thought to myself. Still, before responding, I decided to check. Glad I did.

This hook combines both spoken and inner dialogue. The latter of which is next-level intriguing because it gives the reader access to the writer’s inner thoughts.

Why was Jerod “glad he checked?” We have to know.

Hook #4: Make a big statement

This is where a writer makes a “big call” — usually in both their headline and their opening line. It’s effective because it makes people think, “Really? What have you got to back that up?”

It’s a favorite technique of Penelope Trunk:

Headline: Living up to your potential is BS

Hook: The idea that we somehow have a certain amount of potential that we must live up to is a complete crock.

The reason this hook is so effective is because it captures the attention of people from both sides of the argument.

People who agree with the sentiment want to find out why they’re “right” in thinking so. People who disagree? They read on because they want to rebut.

Big statements are not for the faint-hearted. If you don’t want to engage in robust conversation about the ideas you’ve expressed in a post, stay away from this one.

Hook #5: Tell a story

If you present information in a story format, people immediately pay attention. Using a story as a hook, however, is a pro skill.

You can’t kick off with just any story; it has to be relevant. For an ongoing master class in this technique, simply follow Bernadette Jiwa.

Here’s a recent example from her blog:

Headline: The Unchanging Nature Of Business

Hook: It’s a cool November day in 2014, and a young couple pause on a suburban street to snap a selfie with an iPhone 5C.

Why does the above statement hook you? Because you want to discover the link between the headline and a young couple taking a selfie.

Let’s recap

I’ve covered a bit of ground, so let’s touch on the key points again.

  1. If you don’t hook readers at the beginning of your article, they’re more likely to move on to a different piece of content.
  2. If you can’t summarize the idea of your article in a “literal” headline, then you don’t have a firm grasp of what you’re trying to communicate — and you’ll fail to deliver a payoff for the reader.

Where to go from here?

A simple exercise I urge you to do regularly is: pay attention to the articles that you read all the way to the end and share.

Study them by identifying:

  • The hooks the author used to get you reading.
  • The hooks the author used to keep you reading. (For example, subheadings also function as hooks.)
  • The underlying ideas. (Write literal headlines once you’ve identified those ideas.)
  • What moved you to share those articles?

When you understand the writing techniques that work well on you, you can use them in your own writing to ensure that if you put a lot of time and energy into creating a piece of content, then it will get the attention it deserves.

The post Two Vital Elements that Might Be Missing from Your Content (and Precisely Where to Add Them) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Introducing Progressive Web Apps: What They Might Mean for Your Website and SEO

Posted by petewailes

Progressive Web Apps. Ah yes, those things that Google would have you believe are a combination of Ghandi and Dumbledore, come to save the world from the terror that is the Painfully Slow WebsiteTM.

But what actually makes a PWA? Should you have one? And if you create one, how will you make sure it ranks? Well, read on to find out…

What’s a PWA?

Given as that Google came up with the term, I thought we’d kick off with their definition:

“A Progressive Web App uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience.”
Progressive Web Apps

The really exciting thing about PWAs: they could make app development less necessary. Your mobile website becomes your app. Speaking to some of my colleagues at Builtvisible, this seemed to be a point of interesting discussion: do brands need an app and a website, or a PWA?

Fleshing this out a little, this means we’d expect things like push notifications, background sync, the site/app working offline, having a certain look/design to feel like a native application, and being able to be set on the device home screen.

These are things we traditionally haven’t had available to us on the web. But thanks to new browsers supporting more and more of the HTML5 spec and advances in JavaScript, we can start to create some of this functionality. On the whole, Progressive Web Apps are:

Progressive
Work for every user, regardless of browser choice because they’re built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
Responsive
Fit any form factor: desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever is next.
Connectivity independent
Enhanced with service workers to work offline or on low quality networks.
App-like
Feel like an app to the user with app-style interactions and navigation because they’re built on the app shell model.
Fresh
Always up-to-date thanks to the service worker update process.
Safe
Served via HTTPS to prevent snooping and ensure content hasn’t been tampered with.
Discoverable
Are identifiable as “applications” thanks to W3C manifests and service worker registration scope allowing search engines to find them.
Re-engageable
Make re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.
Installable
Allow users to “keep” apps they find most useful on their home screen without the hassle of an app store.
Linkable
Easily share via URL and not require complex installation.

Source: Your First Progressive Web App (Google)

It’s worth taking a moment to unpack the “app-like” part of that. Fundamentally, there are two parts to a PWA: service workers (which we’ll come to in a minute), and application shell architecture. Google defines this as:

…the minimal HTML, CSS, and JavaScript powering a user interface. The application shell should:

  • load fast
  • be cached
  • dynamically display content

An application shell is the secret to reliably good performance. Think of your app’s shell like the bundle of code you’d publish to an app store if you were building a native app. It’s the load needed to get off the ground, but might not be the whole story. It keeps your UI local and pulls in content dynamically through an API.
Instant Loading Web Apps with an Application Shell Architecture

This method of loading content allows for incredibly fast perceived speed. We are able to get something that looks like our site in front of a user almost instantly, just without any content. The page will then go and fetch the content and all’s well. Obviously, if we actually did things this way in the real world, we’d run in to SEO issues pretty quickly, but we’ll address that later too.

If then, at their core, a Progressive Web App is just a website served in a clever way with extra features for loading stuff, why would we want one?

The use case

Let me be clear before I get into this: for most people, a PWA is something you don’t need. That’s important enough that it bares repeating, so I’ll repeat it:

You probably don’t need a PWA.

The reason for this is that most websites don’t need to be able to behave like an app. This isn’t to say that there’s no benefit to having the things that PWA functionality can bring, but for many sites, the benefits don’t outweigh the time it takes to implement the functionality at the moment.

When should you look at a PWA then? Well, let’s look at a checklist of things that may indicate that you do need one…

Signs a PWA may be appropriate

You have:

  • Content that regularly updates, such as stock tickers, rapidly changing prices or inventory levels, or other real-time data
  • A chat or comms platform, requiring real-time updates and push notifications for new items coming in
  • An audience likely to pull data and then browse it offline, such as a news app or a blog publishing many articles a day
  • A site with regularly updated content which users may check in to several times a day
  • Users who are mostly using a supported browser

In short, you have something beyond a normal website, with interactive or time-sensitive components, or rapidly released or updated content. A good example is the Google Weather PWA:

If you’re running a normal site, with a blog that maybe updates every day or two, or even less frequently, then whilst it might be nice to have a site that acts as a PWA, there’s probably more useful things you can be doing with your time for your business.

How they work

So, you have something that would benefit from this sort of functionality, but need to know how these things work. Welcome to the wonder that is the service worker.

Service workers can be thought of as a proxy that sits between your website and the browser. It calls for intercept of things you ask the browser to do, and hijacking of the responses given back. That means we can do things like, for example, hold a copy of data requested, so when it’s asked for again, we can serve it straight back (this is called caching). This means we can fetch data once, then replay it a thousand times without having to fetch it again. Think of it like a musician recording an album — it means they don’t have to play a concert every time you want to listen to their music. Same thing, but with network data.

If you want a more thorough explanation of service workers, check out this moderately technical talk given by Jake Archibald from Google.

What service workers can do

Service workers fundamentally exist to deliver extra features, which have not been available to browsers until now. These includes things like:

  • Push notifications, for telling a user that something has happened, such as receiving a new message, or that the page they’re viewing has been updated
  • Background sync, for updating data while a user isn’t using the page/site
  • Offline caching, to allow a for an experience where a user still may be able to access some functionality of a site while offline
  • Handling geolocation or other device hardware-querying data (such as device gyrpscope data)
  • Pre-fetching data a user will soon require, such as images further down a page

It’s planned that in the future, they’ll be able to do even more than they currently can. For now though, these are the sorts of features you’ll be able to make use of. Obviously these mostly load data via AJAX, once the app is already loaded.

What are the SEO implications?

So you’re sold on Progressive Web Apps. But if you create one, how will you make sure it ranks? As with any new front-end technology, there are always implications for your SEO visibility. But don’t panic; the potential issues you’ll encounter with a PWA have been solved before by SEOs who have worked on JavaScript-heavy websites. For a primer on that, take a look at this article on JS SEO.

There are a few issues you may encounter if you’re going to have a site that makes use of application shell architecture. Firstly, it’s pretty much required that you’re going to be using some form of JS framework or view library, like Angular or React. If this is the case, you’re going to want to take a look at some Angular.JS or React SEO advice. If you’re using something else, the short version is you’ll need to be pre-rendering pages on the server, then picking up with your application when it’s loaded. This enables you to have all the good things these tools give you, whilst also serving something Google et al can understand. Despite their recent advice that they’re getting good at rendering this sort of application, we still see plenty of examples in the wild of them flailing horribly when they crawl heavy JS stuff.

Assuming you’re in the world of clever JS front-end technologies, to make sure you do things the PWA way, you’ll also need to be delivering the CSS and JS required to make the page work along with the HTML. Not just including script tags with the <code>src attribute, but the whole file, inline.

Obviously, this means you’re going to increase the size of the page you’re sending down the wire, but it has the upside of meaning that the page will load instantly. More than that, though, with all the JS (required for pick-up) and CSS (required to make sense of the design) delivered immediately, the browser will be able to render your content and deliver something that looks correct and works straightaway.

Again, as we’re going to be using service workers to cache content once it’s arrived, this shouldn’t have too much of an impact. We can also cache all the CSS and JS external files required separately, and load them from the cache store rather than fetching them every time. This does make it very slightly more likely that the PWA will fail on the first time that a user tries to request your site, but you can still handle this case gracefully with an error message or default content, and re-try on the next page view.

There are other potential issues people can run in to, as well. The Washington Post, for example, built a PWA version of their site, but it only works on a mobile device. Obviously, that means the site can be crawled nicely by Google’s mobile bots, but not the desktop ones. It’s important to respect the P part of the acronym — the website should enable features that a user can make use of, but still work in a normal manner for those who are using browsers that don’t support them. It’s about enhancing functionality progressively, not demanding that people upgrade their browser.

The only slightly tricky thing with all of this is that it requires that, for best experience, you design your application for offline-first experiences. How that’s done is referenced in Jake’s talk above. The only issue with going down that route: you’re only serving content once someone’s arrived at your site and waited long enough to load everything. Obviously, in the case of Google, that’s not going to work well. So here’s what I’d suggest…

Rather than just sending your application shell, and then using AJAX to request content on load, and then picking up, use this workflow instead:

  • User arrives at site
  • Site sends back the application shell (the minimum HTML, JS, and CSS to make everything work immediately), along with…
  • …the content AJAX response, pre-loaded as state for the application
  • The application loads that immediately, and then picks up the front end.

Adding in the data required means that, on load, we don’t have to make an AJAX call to get the initial data required. Instead, we can bundle that in too, so we get something that can render content instantly as well.

As an example of this, let’s think of a weather app. Now, the basic model would be that we send the user all the content to show a basic version of our app, but not the data to say what the weather is. In this modified version, we also send along what today’s weather is, but for any subsequent data request, we then go to the server with an AJAX call.

This means we still deliver content that Google et al can index, without possible issues from our AJAX calls failing. From Google and the user’s perspective, we’re just delivering a very high-performance initial load, then registering service workers to give faster experiences for every subsequent page and possibly extra functionality. In the case of a weather app, that might mean pre-fetching tomorrow’s weather each day at midnight, or notifying the user if it’s going to rain, for example.

Going further

If you’re interested in learning more about PWAs, I highly recommend reading this guide to PWAs by Addy Osmani (a Google Chrome engineer), and then putting together a very basic working example, like the train one Jake mentions in his YouTube talk referenced earlier. If you’re interested in that, I recommend Jake’s Udacity course on creating a PWA available here.

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eBay goes AMP, sign it might break out past news?

eBay adopting AMP for their transactional based site may signal that Google may push out AMP well beyond article and news oriented content.

The post eBay goes AMP, sign it might break out past news? appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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10 Features Unique To Bing Ads That You Might Not Know About

On the Bing Ads blog this week Marta Turek from Mediative spotlighted several features offered in Bing Ads that are not available in Google AdWords. Most PPC practitioners spend more time in AdWords than Bing Ads, so it can be hard to keep up with the different features offered in Bing Ads. AdWords…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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Why You Might Be Losing Rankings to Pages with Fewer Links, Worse Targeting, and Poor Content

Posted by randfish

Most of us have a pretty good sense for the best ways to improve our search rankings, including earning links, targeting the people who search for us, and making sure our sites contain high-quality content. Sometimes, though, we get outranked by sites that clearly have work to do in these areas. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains some of the reasons why that might happen to you.









For reference, here’s a still image of this week’s whiteboard:

Video Transcription

Howdy Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week, I want to address a question that comes up all the time. I get so much email about this. So many people asking in Q&A, the Moz Q&A, about:

“Why am I losing rankings to a site or page that has fewer links, worse keyword targeting, and/or poor content?” It’s usually some combination of these. A lot of times it’s fewer links and poor content, or they’re not targeting a keyword at all, and their content’s terrible. “Why are they outranking me?”

I want to try and address why that might be happening for you, because it’s such a common theme. I think, as SEOs and marketers, we’re trained to look at the data. We look at who’s ranking for chicken coops, and we see these three results, and we go and check. Okay, how many links does this site have? How many links does the page have? What’s the page authority? What’s the domain authority? What does the anchor text look like? Is it an exact match domain, and maybe it’s getting some domain biasing from that, or those kind of things. And then, when we don’t see one of those patterns that we’re accustomed to, we go, “Why is that happening? What’s going on there? I don’t understand why I’m seeing this page outrank my page.” So I’m going to try and address those.

First off, let’s understand the basics of what’s going on in rankings, because there are multiple things. First off, domain based features. So it could be that MNN, which I think is Mother Nature Network maybe it has a very powerful domain, or not as powerful a domain, in terms of domain authority and trust and those kind of things.

There are page based features. This is like the content of the page and the keywords that it’s targeting and how it’s doing that, as well as the content experience on the page and the links that are coming to the page. The individual URL, not the domain broadly.

Then there are listing based features, meaning: Have they done a good job of making this a very compelling thing for a user to click? We’ve certainly seen examples of where making a more compelling snippet has actually boosted people’s rankings as more people click it, and Google is seeing that searcher behavior, and now they’re saying, “Oh well, if so many people like this result and they’re scrolling down to find it, then we should probably be bumping it up.”

Of course, there are secondary benefits to that, which is the more people who click your listing, the more people you get exposed to, and the more links you can earn, and all those kinds of second order benefits.

But it’s not just these things, or it is these things, but it’s also a bunch of different inputs that can be affecting these, and so I’m going to walk you through some of those.

What I really like asking is, “When we’re being outranked, where do we have weaknesses that the other listings have strengths?” I think this is a common way of going about this, but it’s not always numeric. It’s not always quantitative. Sometimes it’s qualitative, and sometimes you have to ask yourself tough questions.

Do I have a poor listing or a poor snippet? Is this something where, out of all the listings on here, someone would want to click mine more than anything else? That’s a copywriting challenge, it’s a creativity challenge, and it’s a empathy challenge. We want to be inside people’s heads. If we were to go and get a room full of a hundred people who performed a search for chicken coops, and we asked them, “What would make you click on a listing? What would inspire you to say, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to see.’”
A lot of time it might be something like this.

If you’re being outranked in this search result by Mother Nature Network, and you’re going, “But I actually sell chicken coops, they don’t,” think about how compelling it is to say, “Oh eight awesome urban chicken coops.”

Well, given population trends and how chicken coops are rising, it’s very possible that lots of people who live in cities and dense urban areas are searching for chicken coops right now. So this kind of an article, that’s inspiring and interesting to them, might be better than what I’ve got, which is chicken coop designs or backyard chicken coops, those kinds of things. Maybe that’s what’s going on, and we need to have a real conversation about who those people are, what they’re searching for, and whether we’re providing something that’s really compelling for them to click on.

Likewise the brand and domain. People have a hard time hearing this, and for any of you out there who are consultants, or agencies, or are a marketer who joined an organization, you know that there’s nothing harder than going to your boss, or your board, or the client and saying, “Your baby is just ugly. Nobody likes your brand, and people don’t enjoy interacting with it, and they don’t have a positive association with it. We’re going to have to change that if we want to move the needle on any of these other tactics.”

This is true in social. It’s true in content creation, and content marketing. It’s true in SEO for sure, and remember that brand bias is one of the strongest signals. A lot of people say, when surveyed and when they do tests, that the domain name, the brand is what biases their click, and they might click on something lower if it has a better brand association for them.

Likewise user experience and design. One of the most fascinating case studies, and unfortunately I can’t talk about fully, transparently, because this is an interaction that I had with someone who did not give me permission to disclose it. It’s a big brand. It’s a brand that you’ve heard of, a site that you’ve heard of, and they had this experience where their user experience changed at one point, and they made a conscious decision to change it. It was providing sort of a worse experience for people coming to them for search results, but they were getting a higher conversion rate as a result of how they changed the experience, and Google just dropped them way down. Their search traffic cratered and fell off a cliff. They had anticipated that they would be hurt by it a little, but certainly not this much, and that’s speaks to the quality of user experience that you’re providing.

If Google sees lots of people go and visit your page and then come right back to the search results and click on someone else, that’s a really bad signal for them. So if you’re not answering that query and doing a great job from the landing page of delivering value, Google sees that. Whether you’re using Google Analytics or not, they see it from people coming back to the search result and clearly being unsatisfied, clicking other listings more frequently than they do when they click on someone else’s result first. That tells Google you’re not the right match, and so you want to make sure that you’re delivering that sort of user experience.

Another thing that I see sometimes is people saying, “I have more links, for more linking root domains to my page than they do.” Okay, but let’s examine a bunch of things about citations, and I don’t just mean direct links. I also mean mentions, brand mentions and brand association mentions, and I also mean things like social shares and social mentions, because remember these are all being taken into account, either as a first order direct impact or a second order effect.

So I like to ask about quality. Are those coming from high quality sites?
Are those references high quality? Are they really saying this is a good place to go for this? Remember, Google has started using things like sentiment tracking and sentiment analysis to determine are people really pissed off at this brand? If so, that’s not actually a mention that I want to make them rank higher.

I’m looking at quantity and that’s certainly something that all of us can track pretty easily.

Variety, this is one that’s tough for people. What they see is hey everyone out there is linking to me. Well, are they all exactly the same kind of stuff? Like no news sites are linking to you. No blogs are linking to you. No social shares are coming to you, but a bunch of small business websites that use your widget on their page, maybe you’ve got some sort of a tracking widget or you have a WordPress plugin, or something like that, but there’s no variety. Everything that links to you is of one particular kind, and years ago, this tactic totally worked. Now it’s much tougher. If you don’t have that broad sentiment of lots of people saying nice things and lots of kinds of people saying good things about you and linking to you, it can be tougher to win.

Also acceleration rate. Sometimes I see folks who have a really strong site, a really strong page, and they’re seeing someone with only a few links, who’s relatively new popping up, and they’re go, “What’s going on here? How are they getting so far ahead of me?” The answer often times is well, their acceleration rate is higher. You’re growing links at sort of this rate, and they’re growing links at this rate, and even though you might be up here in terms of links, and they’re way down here in terms of links, that growth rate is something that’s taken into account, especially if it’s coming fast and furious, because it suggests to Google this is really interesting right now. Lots of people might be interested in this today, this week, this month.

Next, I look at content quality and usefulness. When I’m addressing that, I want to know does the content address the searcher’s intent? One of the challenges that people have a lot of time is when they’ve got commercial products especially. So, for example, let’s say that you are selling backyard chicken coops. Your competing with folks like Williams-Sonoma and BackyardChickens.com, and you see content outranking you. You’ve got to be realizing, oh there’s a lot of people who are not looking to buy this product, but are merely interested in set up and design and learning more about it. Can I offer that educational, or resource-based, or news-based, or just design based type of content as well? Should I be blogging about this in addition to having my commercial page about it, and maybe both of those can help me perform better in the search results.

Does the content provide great or unique value than anyone else? I actually did a whole Whiteboard Friday on providing unique value. I’ll let you guys watch that one. That’s a pretty good Whiteboard Friday on this particular topic. But it could be the case that even though you’ve got a great page, with great pictures, great video, how to set up, all this good stuff, it’s not unique. There are seven other people in the top ten who do almost exactly do the same thing, and you’re not providing unique value. You need to stand out. You have to be the exception to the rule if you want to outperform, and that’s often why you see stuff that looks like it doesn’t have the metrics to perform doing so well.

Last thing, ask a little bit about results biasing. Remember that if you’re doing a search, if I’m doing a search from Seattle, Washington, I might see a lot of Seattle-based and local companies in here, even if it’s not the maps and local results, because that local impact, Google knows where I’m coming from, where my IP address is. If I’m using a mobile device, they know nearly exact where I am. That kind of biasing can hurt. So I like to append. You can do a search that appends something, like &gl equals your country code, onto a search that you uses say .co.uk. So I might go Google.co.uk?search=chicken+coops&gl=us, and now I’ve said put me in the UK. No wait, put me in the back in the U.S., and now there’s no localization, and I can see what the national, sort of geographic picture is, the non geo-biased results. If it’s geo-biasing that’s going on, it’s really going to be very, very hard to compete in those geo markets unless, you have a local presence in that market, and for a lot of searches, that’s what Google’s doing, and the best you can hope for is be the national brand that performs somewhere in here.

Also, look for mobile biasing. Remember that Google has said recently that they will discount or not rank you as well if your site doesn’t perform quickly, have responsive designs, do well on mobile devices. So that might mean that if you’re seeing a large amount of mobile searches, be careful, that’s something you definitely need to test.

And finally verticals. Sometimes Google sees that, hey, when people are searching for a particular keyword phrase, they really want video. They really want news. They really want images. If your page doesn’t have some of those features, you might not perform well even in the normal search results. Video snippets a lot of the time can help folks to perform in those types of results.

So these are all questions you can use to ask yourself in that case scenario where the numbers just aren’t lining up. I really like using Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool, which has this advanced SERPs analysis, does this big kind of Excel spreadsheet layout of oh yeah, this is every metric about every kind of thing possible or imaginable, and now I can really get into those numbers. if you’re seeing those numbers not matching up, this is a next good step to go through, check mark by check mark, and figure out why you might not be performing.

All right everyone. Hope you enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to the comments, and we’ll see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Why You Might Be Losing Rankings to Pages with Fewer Links, Worse Targeting, and Poor Content

Posted by randfish

Most of us have a pretty good sense for the best ways to improve our search rankings, including earning links, targeting the people who search for us, and making sure our sites contain high-quality content. Sometimes, though, we get outranked by sites that clearly have work to do in these areas. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains some of the reasons why that might happen to you.









For reference, here’s a still image of this week’s whiteboard:

Video Transcription

Howdy Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week, I want to address a question that comes up all the time. I get so much email about this. So many people asking in Q&A, the Moz Q&A, about:

“Why am I losing rankings to a site or page that has fewer links, worse keyword targeting, and/or poor content?” It’s usually some combination of these. A lot of times it’s fewer links and poor content, or they’re not targeting a keyword at all, and their content’s terrible. “Why are they outranking me?”

I want to try and address why that might be happening for you, because it’s such a common theme. I think, as SEOs and marketers, we’re trained to look at the data. We look at who’s ranking for chicken coops, and we see these three results, and we go and check. Okay, how many links does this site have? How many links does the page have? What’s the page authority? What’s the domain authority? What does the anchor text look like? Is it an exact match domain, and maybe it’s getting some domain biasing from that, or those kind of things. And then, when we don’t see one of those patterns that we’re accustomed to, we go, “Why is that happening? What’s going on there? I don’t understand why I’m seeing this page outrank my page.” So I’m going to try and address those.

First off, let’s understand the basics of what’s going on in rankings, because there are multiple things. First off, domain based features. So it could be that MNN, which I think is Mother Nature Network maybe it has a very powerful domain, or not as powerful a domain, in terms of domain authority and trust and those kind of things.

There are page based features. This is like the content of the page and the keywords that it’s targeting and how it’s doing that, as well as the content experience on the page and the links that are coming to the page. The individual URL, not the domain broadly.

Then there are listing based features, meaning: Have they done a good job of making this a very compelling thing for a user to click? We’ve certainly seen examples of where making a more compelling snippet has actually boosted people’s rankings as more people click it, and Google is seeing that searcher behavior, and now they’re saying, “Oh well, if so many people like this result and they’re scrolling down to find it, then we should probably be bumping it up.”

Of course, there are secondary benefits to that, which is the more people who click your listing, the more people you get exposed to, and the more links you can earn, and all those kinds of second order benefits.

But it’s not just these things, or it is these things, but it’s also a bunch of different inputs that can be affecting these, and so I’m going to walk you through some of those.

What I really like asking is, “When we’re being outranked, where do we have weaknesses that the other listings have strengths?” I think this is a common way of going about this, but it’s not always numeric. It’s not always quantitative. Sometimes it’s qualitative, and sometimes you have to ask yourself tough questions.

Do I have a poor listing or a poor snippet? Is this something where, out of all the listings on here, someone would want to click mine more than anything else? That’s a copywriting challenge, it’s a creativity challenge, and it’s a empathy challenge. We want to be inside people’s heads. If we were to go and get a room full of a hundred people who performed a search for chicken coops, and we asked them, “What would make you click on a listing? What would inspire you to say, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to see.’”
A lot of time it might be something like this.

If you’re being outranked in this search result by Mother Nature Network, and you’re going, “But I actually sell chicken coops, they don’t,” think about how compelling it is to say, “Oh eight awesome urban chicken coops.”

Well, given population trends and how chicken coops are rising, it’s very possible that lots of people who live in cities and dense urban areas are searching for chicken coops right now. So this kind of an article, that’s inspiring and interesting to them, might be better than what I’ve got, which is chicken coop designs or backyard chicken coops, those kinds of things. Maybe that’s what’s going on, and we need to have a real conversation about who those people are, what they’re searching for, and whether we’re providing something that’s really compelling for them to click on.

Likewise the brand and domain. People have a hard time hearing this, and for any of you out there who are consultants, or agencies, or are a marketer who joined an organization, you know that there’s nothing harder than going to your boss, or your board, or the client and saying, “Your baby is just ugly. Nobody likes your brand, and people don’t enjoy interacting with it, and they don’t have a positive association with it. We’re going to have to change that if we want to move the needle on any of these other tactics.”

This is true in social. It’s true in content creation, and content marketing. It’s true in SEO for sure, and remember that brand bias is one of the strongest signals. A lot of people say, when surveyed and when they do tests, that the domain name, the brand is what biases their click, and they might click on something lower if it has a better brand association for them.

Likewise user experience and design. One of the most fascinating case studies, and unfortunately I can’t talk about fully, transparently, because this is an interaction that I had with someone who did not give me permission to disclose it. It’s a big brand. It’s a brand that you’ve heard of, a site that you’ve heard of, and they had this experience where their user experience changed at one point, and they made a conscious decision to change it. It was providing sort of a worse experience for people coming to them for search results, but they were getting a higher conversion rate as a result of how they changed the experience, and Google just dropped them way down. Their search traffic cratered and fell off a cliff. They had anticipated that they would be hurt by it a little, but certainly not this much, and that’s speaks to the quality of user experience that you’re providing.

If Google sees lots of people go and visit your page and then come right back to the search results and click on someone else, that’s a really bad signal for them. So if you’re not answering that query and doing a great job from the landing page of delivering value, Google sees that. Whether you’re using Google Analytics or not, they see it from people coming back to the search result and clearly being unsatisfied, clicking other listings more frequently than they do when they click on someone else’s result first. That tells Google you’re not the right match, and so you want to make sure that you’re delivering that sort of user experience.

Another thing that I see sometimes is people saying, “I have more links, for more linking root domains to my page than they do.” Okay, but let’s examine a bunch of things about citations, and I don’t just mean direct links. I also mean mentions, brand mentions and brand association mentions, and I also mean things like social shares and social mentions, because remember these are all being taken into account, either as a first order direct impact or a second order effect.

So I like to ask about quality. Are those coming from high quality sites?
Are those references high quality? Are they really saying this is a good place to go for this? Remember, Google has started using things like sentiment tracking and sentiment analysis to determine are people really pissed off at this brand? If so, that’s not actually a mention that I want to make them rank higher.

I’m looking at quantity and that’s certainly something that all of us can track pretty easily.

Variety, this is one that’s tough for people. What they see is hey everyone out there is linking to me. Well, are they all exactly the same kind of stuff? Like no news sites are linking to you. No blogs are linking to you. No social shares are coming to you, but a bunch of small business websites that use your widget on their page, maybe you’ve got some sort of a tracking widget or you have a WordPress plugin, or something like that, but there’s no variety. Everything that links to you is of one particular kind, and years ago, this tactic totally worked. Now it’s much tougher. If you don’t have that broad sentiment of lots of people saying nice things and lots of kinds of people saying good things about you and linking to you, it can be tougher to win.

Also acceleration rate. Sometimes I see folks who have a really strong site, a really strong page, and they’re seeing someone with only a few links, who’s relatively new popping up, and they’re go, “What’s going on here? How are they getting so far ahead of me?” The answer often times is well, their acceleration rate is higher. You’re growing links at sort of this rate, and they’re growing links at this rate, and even though you might be up here in terms of links, and they’re way down here in terms of links, that growth rate is something that’s taken into account, especially if it’s coming fast and furious, because it suggests to Google this is really interesting right now. Lots of people might be interested in this today, this week, this month.

Next, I look at content quality and usefulness. When I’m addressing that, I want to know does the content address the searcher’s intent? One of the challenges that people have a lot of time is when they’ve got commercial products especially. So, for example, let’s say that you are selling backyard chicken coops. Your competing with folks like Williams-Sonoma and BackyardChickens.com, and you see content outranking you. You’ve got to be realizing, oh there’s a lot of people who are not looking to buy this product, but are merely interested in set up and design and learning more about it. Can I offer that educational, or resource-based, or news-based, or just design based type of content as well? Should I be blogging about this in addition to having my commercial page about it, and maybe both of those can help me perform better in the search results.

Does the content provide great or unique value than anyone else? I actually did a whole Whiteboard Friday on providing unique value. I’ll let you guys watch that one. That’s a pretty good Whiteboard Friday on this particular topic. But it could be the case that even though you’ve got a great page, with great pictures, great video, how to set up, all this good stuff, it’s not unique. There are seven other people in the top ten who do almost exactly do the same thing, and you’re not providing unique value. You need to stand out. You have to be the exception to the rule if you want to outperform, and that’s often why you see stuff that looks like it doesn’t have the metrics to perform doing so well.

Last thing, ask a little bit about results biasing. Remember that if you’re doing a search, if I’m doing a search from Seattle, Washington, I might see a lot of Seattle-based and local companies in here, even if it’s not the maps and local results, because that local impact, Google knows where I’m coming from, where my IP address is. If I’m using a mobile device, they know nearly exact where I am. That kind of biasing can hurt. So I like to append. You can do a search that appends something, like &gl equals your country code, onto a search that you uses say .co.uk. So I might go Google.co.uk?search=chicken+coops&gl=us, and now I’ve said put me in the UK. No wait, put me in the back in the U.S., and now there’s no localization, and I can see what the national, sort of geographic picture is, the non geo-biased results. If it’s geo-biasing that’s going on, it’s really going to be very, very hard to compete in those geo markets unless, you have a local presence in that market, and for a lot of searches, that’s what Google’s doing, and the best you can hope for is be the national brand that performs somewhere in here.

Also, look for mobile biasing. Remember that Google has said recently that they will discount or not rank you as well if your site doesn’t perform quickly, have responsive designs, do well on mobile devices. So that might mean that if you’re seeing a large amount of mobile searches, be careful, that’s something you definitely need to test.

And finally verticals. Sometimes Google sees that, hey, when people are searching for a particular keyword phrase, they really want video. They really want news. They really want images. If your page doesn’t have some of those features, you might not perform well even in the normal search results. Video snippets a lot of the time can help folks to perform in those types of results.

So these are all questions you can use to ask yourself in that case scenario where the numbers just aren’t lining up. I really like using Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool, which has this advanced SERPs analysis, does this big kind of Excel spreadsheet layout of oh yeah, this is every metric about every kind of thing possible or imaginable, and now I can really get into those numbers. if you’re seeing those numbers not matching up, this is a next good step to go through, check mark by check mark, and figure out why you might not be performing.

All right everyone. Hope you enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to the comments, and we’ll see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Why You Might Want to Do SEO on Someone Else’s Site – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

OK, we know what you're all saying. You're saying, "But…why would I want to help someone else rank for my brand?" Stick with us, though. You can leverage the strength and authority of other sites to help increase the authority of your own site.

This week, Rand discusses this theory and shares a few reasons why (along with examples of how) you should work SEO on someone else's page to help yourself.

Have you tried this tactic before? How did it work out? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Video Transcription

"Howdy SEOmoz fans. Welcome to this special Thanksgiving edition of Whiteboard Friday. As you can see, today I'm dressed in my fancy pants clothing. Today is actually the What the Fancy Wednesday at SEOmoz. It's the first time we're ever doing it. Joel, who's behind the camera, I know you can't see him, look really hard. If you turn around behind you, that's where he is. He's also wearing a tie. Lots of people at the Moz offices are dressed lovely. But it's eclectic lovely, which is why I'm wearing a green sport coat and a pink tie and all that kind of stuff. All right. And the beard is back, thank goodness. It was rough going without it for a couple weeks there. Whoo, that was hard times.

This week on Whiteboard Friday I wanted to talk a little bit about why you might want to do SEO on somebody else's site. This might seem a little bit strange, because in SEO we learn very early on that putting all of your content on one domain, putting all of your links to that domain, doing all of your SEO work on a single domain is much, much better than spreading out your efforts, not just from an effort and protocol perspective, but also from a rankings perspective, because of domain authority, because of how domains and an individual sub-domain inherits domain authority and link metrics and all these kinds of tings,

But weirdly enough there are some cases when it might make great sense to do SEO on somebody else's site. Now the classic example that you'll always hear is reputation management., meaning I want to control the search results for my brand name or my brand names because I don't want anybody else getting in there or saying something bad about me or having the ability to draw away my traffic.

But actually there are some other big ones. Let's start with number one. I like to say don't just reputation manage, meaning don't just control the fact that there's no bad stuff on there. If there are great things that are being written about you or your company or your brand or your product, make sure they rank well.

For example, imagine I have opened Rand's Fancy Pants Shop. It's quite possible. Who knows, maybe the career here at Moz won't work out. I've got Rand's Fancy Pants on Twitter, my Facebook page, and that kind of stuff. But what if The Seattle Weekly or the Stranger or The Seattle Times wrote an article calling Rand's Fancy Pants the best men's shop in the city? It might not rank very well normally, naturally because they probably aren't doing a great job at SEO. But me getting that independent press piece to rank highly for my brand name will probably actually improve my conversion rate and make more people want to come site and buy from me and come to my shop and all these kinds of things.

If you have positive press out there or if you're going to start generating some and get it to rank well for your brand name, that's even better than reputation management. That's reputation improvement.

Number two, you can leverage the domain authority of other websites. Now, I don't just mean this from the perspective to help put links back to you. I mean there might be search results where you say to yourself, "Boy, you know what? These keywords are just too darn competitive. I'm too early stage. My site doesn't have that much authority. It's going to be hard." A lot of times it's hard to get people to link to your site, but it can be much easier when you're independently requesting links or pointing links to a third party site that happens to have some interesting content that you might have controlled or uploaded or those kinds of things.

So there are great places to do this. If you're throwing an event and you happen to use good branding for the keywords you want to target for that event, places like Eventbrite can be amazing. For pages that you might want to control around specific campaigns or specific products, you could have a specific Twitter or Facebook page that you have that is earning all of those social signals as well as the rankings. Remember Twitter, in particular, Google just loves to rank Twitter pages for brand names.

SlideShare, putting content on SlideShare, you can control everything about that page, the text content that's on there, that's the content from the slide. The comments you get to control. You control the URL and the title. So you've got a lot of control on SlideShare, and if you can make that SlideShare do well, perform well, it will go to the front page of SlideShare, which means it gets a lot of links and attention and awareness from SlideShare internally that can help boost it up. I've seen SlideShare URLs ranking for all sorts of highly competitive phrases.

Google+, I've noticed that a lot of Google+ threads, individual threads that are public rank quite well and they're improving and improving as Google+ gets more and more domain authority of its own. What this means for you is use that title element on a Google+ thread. If you start some text and you surround it with the asterisk or star character, that will become bolded. That becomes kind of the title of the post. Then you can have URLs that you put in there. You can upload images there. You can put video and share video inside of Google+. All those opportunities.

YouTube same thing. Quora same story. You can start conversation threads, questions. Individual responses to questions get their own URL. Forum threads at forums you might find and guest posts. I particularly wanted to call out guest posts because guest posts is a great opportunity where you see that there might be someone who's ranking particularly well in your niche, has a lot of domain authority, has a popular blog, and rather than trying to get a link, which is what a lot of guest posts expect, you can say, "I don't want a link. I just want to write a great post for you."

Your real goal is to have that post rank, to have that post rank well and be associated with your name and your brand name. You're not even going after a link. When you're not, you seem less selfish and sort of have much more opportunity to do these kinds of things. Obviously, you're going to have to write a great post if you want it to rank well.

Number three, this one is a little bit of a chain effect, and this is kind of an old school SEO tactic, but something that still works. It actually started out in the spam world, where essentially black hat spammers would have a legitimate page that was linking to them and they'd point a bunch of crappy, low quality links to the page linking to them, rather than to their own site, essentially bolstering up the strength of the page that was linking over so that if those links got banned or penalized, it wouldn't impact their site. It would only impact the site linking to them.

This is sort of keep things that might harm you one step away from yourself. But this actually works very well in the totally white hat SEO world as well. If you've got a great link from a source, and especially if Google's not crawling it or they haven't crawled it yet or that link doesn't appear to have had much impact, you might want to point some links at it to help that page gain some extra authority, particularly if it's on a powerful domain, but you're feeling like, man, it's just not getting the credit, what I would normally expect it to provide to me, you can pump that page up.

I've got an article that The New York Times wrote years ago literally about facial hair trimming styles or something, and I had done a blog post about this years ago. They link over to SEOmoz. But it wasn't particularly valuable. So over the years, every once in a while I'll throw out, "Oh yeah, I was mentioned in The New York Times once here. It was kind of a weird article." But that's actually improved the value of that link coming from the NYT coming back over to SEOmoz.

Then fourth and finally, you can control bigger portions of SERP real estate. If there's a ranking that you particularly say, "Man, I'm ranking number two, number three, or I'm ranking number one and I'm getting great traffic. This is highly converting traffic. People come back again and again. They subscribe. This is wonderful traffic. I wish I could get more people from this."

This leveraging some other domains, leveraging SEO on other people's sites that reference or point to you can be a great way to kind of own more of the search engine real estate that shows up, and this can be done not just with standard search results, but think about videos, think about articles that include rel=author, any type of rich results that they're mixing in there, not just rich snippets, but vertical types of results. So location style results or news style results, you can enhance the rankability of other pages on other people's sites that reference you in order to control more of the real estate for a key phrase or term.

All right everyone. This is going to be wonderful. You're all going to go out. I hope you had a great turkey day, by the way. I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving for our friends here in the States, and for those of you overseas, we love to give thanks around this holiday in the U.S. and hopefully you have a lot to be thankful for as well. Of course, now you can go and link build to lots of other people and optimize other people's websites, and they'll be very thankful for that of course too.

All right everyone. Take care. We will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday."

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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