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A Look Back at a Great 2017: 5 Major Moz Product Investments and a Sneak Peek Into 2018

Posted by adamf

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already past. We entered the year with big ambitions and we’ve made some great strides. As has become tradition, I’ve compiled a rundown of some of the most interesting updates that you may have seen (or missed) this past year. We’ve intentionally focused on significant product updates, but I’ve also shared a little about some newer programs that provide value for customers in different ways.

TL;DR, here are some of the larger and more interesting additions to Moz in 2017:

  1. Keywords by Site: Keyword Explorer adds site-based keyword research and competitive intelligence
  2. Site Crawl V2: Overhauled Site Crawl for better auditing and workflow
  3. Major investments in infrastructure: Better performance and resilience across the Moz toolset
  4. New instructor-led training programs: Targeted classes to level-up your SEO knowledge
  5. Customer Success: Custom walkthroughs to help you get the most out of Moz
  6. Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast keeps you up to date on the latest industry topics and trends

Big updates

This year and last, we’ve been spending a disproportionate focus on releasing large infrastructural improvements, new datasets, and foundational product updates. We feel these are crucial elements that serve the core needs of SEOs and will fuel frequent improvements and iterations for years to come.

To kick things off, I wanted to share some details about two big updates from 2017.


1) Keywords by Site: Leveling up keyword research and intelligence

Rank tracking provides useful benchmarks and insights for specific, targeted keywords, but you can’t track all of the keywords that are relevant to you. Sometimes you need a broader look at how visible your sites (and your competitors’ sites) are in Google results.

We built Keywords by Site to provide this powerful view into your Google presence. This brand-new dataset in Moz significantly extends Keyword Explorer and improves the quality of results in many other areas throughout Moz Pro. Our US corpus currently includes 40 million Google SERPs updated every two weeks, and allows you to do the following:

See how visible your site is in Google results

This view not only shows how authoritative a site is from a linking perspective, but also shows how prominent a site is in Google search results.

Compare your ranking prominence to your competitors

Compare up to three sites to get a feel for their relative scale of visibility and keyword ranking overlap. Click on any section in the Venn diagram to view the keywords that fall into that section.

Dig deep: Sort, filter, and find opportunities, then stash them in keyword lists

For example, let’s say you’re looking to determine which pages or content on your site might only require a little nudge to garner meaningful search visibility and traffic. Run a report for your site in Keyword Explorer and then use the filters to quickly hone in on these opportunities:

Our focus on data quality

We’ve made a few decisions to help ensure the freshness and accuracy of our keyword corpus. These extend the cost and work to maintain this dataset, but we feel they make a discernible difference in quality.

  • We recollect all of our keyword data every 2 weeks. This means that the results you see are more recent and more similar to the results on the day that you’re researching.
  • We cycle up to 15 million of our keywords out on a monthly basis. This means that as new keywords or terms trend up in popularity, we add them to our corpus, replacing terms that are no longer getting much search volume.

A few improvements we’ve made since launch:

  • Keyword recommendations in your campaigns (tracked sites) are much improved and now backed by our keyword corpus.
  • These keyword suggestions are also included in your weekly insights, suggesting new keywords worth tracking and pages worth optimizing.
  • Coming very soon: We’re also on the cusp of launching keyword corpuses for the UK, Canada, and Australia. Stay tuned.

A few resources to help you get more from Keywords by Site:

Try out Keywords by Site!


2) Site Crawl V2: Big enhancements to site crawling and auditing

Another significant project we completed in 2017 was a complete rewrite of our aging Site Crawler. In short, our new crawler is faster, more reliable, can crawl more pages, and surfaces more issues. We’ve also made some enhancements to the workflow, to make regular crawls more customizable and easy to manage. Here are a few highlights:

Week-over-week crawl comparisons

Our new crawler keeps tabs on what happened in your previous crawl to show you which specific issues are no longer present, and which are brand new.

Ignore (to hide) individual issues or whole issue types

This feature was added in response to a bunch of customer requests. While Moz does its best to call out the issues and priorities that apply to most sites, not all sites or SEOs have the same needs. For example, if you regularly noindex a big portion of your site, you don’t need us to keep reminding you that you’ve applied noindex to a huge number of pages. If you don’t want them showing your reports, just ignore individual issues or the entire issue type.

Another workflow improvement we added was the ability to mark an issue as fixed. This allows you to get it out of your way until the next crawl runs and verifies the fix.

All Pages view with improved sorting and filtering

If you’re prioritizing across a large number of pages or trying to track down an issue in a certain area of your site, you can now sort all pages crawled by Issue Count, Page Authority, or Crawl Depth. You can also filter to show, for instance, all pages in the /blog section of my site that are redirects, and have a crawl issue.

Recrawl to verify fixes

Moz’s crawler monitors your site by crawling it every week. But if you’ve made some changes and want to verify them, you can now recrawl your site in between regular weekly crawls instead of waiting for the next crawl the start.

Seven new issues checked and tracked

These include such favorites as detecting Thin Content, Redirect Chains, and Slow Pages. While we were at it, we revamped duplicate page detection and improved the UI to help you better analyze clusters of duplicate content and figure out which page should be canonical.

A few resources to help you get more from Site Crawl:


3) Major investments in infrastructure for performance and resilience

You may not have directly noticed many of the updates we’ve made this year. We made some significant investments in Moz Pro and Moz Local to make them faster, more reliable, and allow us to build new features more quickly. But here are a few tangible manifestations of these efforts:

“Infinite” history on organic Moz Pro search traffic reports

Okay, infinite is a bit of a stretch, but we used to only show the last 12 months or weeks of data. Now we’ll show data from the very inception of a campaign, broken down by weeks or months. This is made possible by an updated architecture that makes full historical data easy to surface and present in the application. It also allows for custom access to selected date ranges.

Also worth noting is that the new visualization shows how many different pages were receiving organic search traffic in context with total organic search traffic. This can help you figure out whether traffic increase was due to improved rankings across many pages, or just a spike in organic traffic for one or a few pages.

More timely and reliable access to Moz Local data at all scales

As Moz Local has brought on more and bigger customers with large numbers of locations, the team discovered a need to bolster systems for speed and reliability. A completely rebuilt scheduling system and improved core location data systems help ensure all of your data is collected and easy to access when you need it.

Improved local data distribution

Moz Local distributes your location data through myriad partners, each of which have their own formats and interfaces. The Local team updated and fine-tuned those third-party connections to improve the quality of the data and speed of distribution.


4) New instructor-led training programs: Never stop learning

Not all of our improvements this year have shown up in the product. Another investment we’ve made is in training. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for this over the years and are finally delivering. Brian Childs, our trainer extraordinaire, has built this program from the ground up. It includes:

  • Boot camps to build up core skills
  • Advanced Seminars to dig into more intensive topics
  • Custom Training for businesses that want a more tailored approach

We have even more ambitious plans for 2018, so if training interests you, check out all of our training offerings here.


5) Customer Success: Helping customers get the most out of Moz

Our customer success program took off this year and has one core purpose: to help customers get maximum value from Moz. Whether you’re a long-time customer looking to explore new features or you’re brand new to Moz and figuring out how to get started, our success team offers product webinars every week, as well as one-on-one product walkthroughs tailored to your needs, interests, and experience level.

The US members of our customer success team hone their skills at a local chocolate factory (Not pictured: our fantastic team members in the UK, Australia, and Dubai)

If you want to learn more about Moz Pro, check out a webinar or schedule a walkthrough.


Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast made its debut

Okay, this really strays from product news, but another fun project that’s been gaining momentum is MozPod. This came about as a side passion project by our ever-ambitious head trainer. Lord knows that SEO and digital marketing are fast-moving and ever-changing; to help you keep up on hot topics and new developments, we’ve started the Mozpod. This podcast covers a range of topics, drawing from the brains of key folks in the industry. With topics ranging from structured data and app store optimization to machine learning and even blockchain, there’s always something interesting to learn about. If you’ve got an idea for an episode or a topic you’d like to hear about, submit it here.

Join Brian every week for a new topic and guest:


What’s next?

We have a lot planned for 2018 — probably way too much. But one thing I can promise is that it won’t be a dull year. I prefer not to get too specific about projects that we’ve not yet started, but here are a few things already in the works:

  • A significant upgrade to our link data and toolset
  • On-demand Site Crawl
  • Added keyword research corpuses for the UK, Australia, and Canada
  • Expanded distribution channels for local to include Facebook, Waze, and Uber
  • More measurement and analytics features around local rankings, categories, & keywords
  • Verticalized solutions to address specific local search needs in the restaurant, hospitality, financial, legal, & medical sectors

On top of these and many other features we’re considering, we also plan to make it a lot easier for you to use our products. Right now, we know it can be a bit disjointed within and between products. We plan to change that.

We’ve also waited too long to solve for some specific needs of our agency customers. We’re prioritizing some key projects that’ll make their jobs easier and their relationships with Moz more valuable.


Thank you!

Before I go, I just want to thank you all for sharing your support, suggestions, and critical feedback. We strive to build the best SEO data and platform for our diverse and passionate customers. We could not succeed without you. If you’d like to be a part of making Moz a better platform, please let us know. We often reach out to customers and community members for feedback and insight, so if you’re the type who likes to participate in user research studies, customer interviews, beta tests, or surveys, please volunteer here.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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Google debuts giant new look for Local Inventory Ad product search in Knowledge Panels

A search bar and multiple product listings are part of the update.

The post Google debuts giant new look for Local Inventory Ad product search in Knowledge Panels appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Identify Your E-commerce Product Page Keywords Using MozBar

Posted by BrianChilds

A common challenge when doing SEO for e-commerce sites is deciding how to choose keywords for product pages. When it comes to e-commerce in particular, there’s always that question on a page-by-page basis of “Which keyword is right for this page?” Especially for existing sites that need an SEO update, finding time to do page-specific keyword research can be burdensome. But product pages deserve every ounce of SEO they can get. Today, I’ll show you a way to make your e-commerce product page keyword research a lot easier.

My secret weapon?

MozBar.

By the end of this post, you’ll discover how you can easily:

  • Look at the results for keywords related to your topic and get a sense of which words deliver the most similar results
  • Get a sense for how search engines might see your term versus others
  • Find related topics that deliver similar results, note those words, and then use them on your page
  • Save time identifying what represents a good keyword and whether the results match your expectations

Let me show you how.

What makes a good SEO e-commerce keyword?

Since e-commerce pages often have direct competition from other websites, you need to go above and beyond when it comes to optimization. You’ll want to make sure you take into consideration not only the search intent of your desired customer, but also verify that the keyword you choose is actually delivering similar results in the SERP. When people search for products, you want to measure how narrow you have to go before a search result page starts displaying products similar to what you have.

For this example, I’ll use an e-commerce site that sells macbook and car decals. Think of all the different variants of those two broad search terms. There are 12 different subcategories of car decals alone.

One category is family decals, which allows a person to pick and choose amongst individual icons to create a customized family to display on the back of your minivan.

For this family decal segment, there are dozens of different individual product pages, so the goal is to make sure we optimize not just for a broad term like “car decal” but for a more nuanced term like “family car decal.” And then for the products themselves, dig into modifying terms relevant to the features.

Use MozBar to save time researching SEO e-commerce keywords

A common way to figure out what’s showing up for a search term is to just run a search query. But when you have thousands of pages, this can take forever.

This is where the MozBar Page Optimization feature really helps you get the job done. It allows you to stay on the website to do analysis without jumping between tabs to run search queries.

Let’s go through the steps.

1. First, of course, download the MozBar extension for Google Chrome (I’ll wait).

2. Next, go to your product page and activate your MozBar extension by selecting the icon until it turns blue (there are three statuses, FYI — on, DA mode, and off).

mozbarmode.gif

3. Then, select the Page Optimization icon near the top-left of your browser window. The icon looks like a little page with a circle in the corner:

4. A small text box window will appear. You’ll want to have a list of terms ready to go, so if you haven’t done your keyword research yet, head over to Keyword Explorer and use the “Suggestions” tool to get some preliminary ideas. I usually enter a broad category-level keyword, then select “Optimize”:

mozbaroptimize.gif

In addition to all the normal great stuff that MozBar provides, such as Domain Authority and Page Authority, the Page Optimization tool also gives you a quick overview of how well this individual page is optimized for the term you’re researching. This is similar to the information you’d get in the Moz Pro Campaign tools, but here you can see it for any page without having to have Moz open in another tab.

5. Once you’ve entered your search term, select the “On-Page Content Suggestions” tab:

The On-Page Content Suggestions tab shows you a list of keywords that the search engines typically associate with the term you entered. Think of this as other planets in the same constellation as the keyword you entered. You can use these generally to understand what additional words to put on your page, but you can also use them to identify the target keyword for the page overall.

Here’s where this gets awesome. Prepare to shave minutes off of your normal workflow.

Aligning search intent with e-commerce keywords

Starting with your highest-value products, navigate to the product page, open up MozBar, enter in your broad target keyword for the associated category, and then select the On-Page Content Suggestions tab.

Then, look for the keywords from the list that appear most aligned with your specific product. In this example, we’re looking at a family car decal product that exists in a broader category of car decals.

The question to ask is: Which keyword displays products that are most similar to your product?

If you can find results that align closely with your product, then you can understand something about how search engines are interpreting the term and have a higher chance of optimizing for the right keywords.

To see which pages are ranking for a given suggested keyword, simply select the “See top ranking URLs” dropdown. It will display the URL and rank position of sites delivering content similar to your initial target search term:

mozpartopurl.gif

Using this example, you can interpret that “family stickers” definitely delivers results closely aligned with this product. Note that this correlates to the blue “Relevance” bar associated with that suggested keyword.

Make a note of the terms that are providing highly aligned search results pages, and then move onto the next product page. Once you have your list compiled, you’ll be able to be more selective and informed with your page optimization choices.

I hope you find this e-commerce keyword trick helpful. Let me know in the comments section of this article!

Bonus tip for making your life easy:

When doing this kind of research, I recommend saving yourself some time down the road by copying the URLs that show up in the On-Page Content Suggestions tab into a new spreadsheet or document. You can compile and research these URLs later using Open Site Explorer.

When it comes time to think about building links to my optimized pages, you’ll have a ready list of competitors to analyze. Look at their Inbound Links, Top Pages, and Anchor Text in Open Site Explorer in order to create a list of potential linking sites and content ideas.

Get started with MozBar for Chrome

If you’re interested in more keyword research strategies, consider signing up for a Keyword Research Workshop in the Moz Training site. For a deeper dive on MozBar, sign up for our January 24 webinar!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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SearchCap: Google top searches, Cortana with Harman Kardon & image product schema

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google top searches, Cortana with Harman Kardon & image product schema appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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New Moz Local Product Packages Are Coming in November

Posted by dudleycarr

We’ve been working behind the scenes to make Moz Local serve your needs better than ever. It’s not quite ready yet, but we just can’t hold it in any longer — we had to give you a teaser of what we’re planning.

Moz Local has grown tremendously over the past 2.5 years. Our initial $ 84 Listing Distribution offering pioneered the use of data aggregators to bring new efficiency and value to local businesses and agencies. We followed that with Search Insights, which added Local SEO analytics that gave businesses insight into how their location data performed in local searches.

The changes we’re making now will help all of our customers — local businesses, enterprise brands, and our agency partners — get the most out of Moz Local by delivering greater business value.

We’ll provide that value by making Moz Local available in 3 different packages:

Moz Local Essential

For the majority of our local business customers who have a single to dozens of locations, Moz Local Essential is our base-level Active Location Data Management and Reputation Monitoring solution. At $ 99 per year, this new entry-level offering adds Reputation Monitoring, the ability to monitor the latest reviews of your business locations on the most popular review sites, all from one place — while remaining priced at less than 50% of the leading competition.

Moz Local Professional

For Enterprise brands and agencies that need an enterprise-class solution to manage at scale (hundreds to thousands of business locations), Moz Local Professional includes everything in the Essential package — plus Local SEO Analytics to analyze results and make informed decisions that improve local marketing performance, and SEO expertise and support from the Moz Local customer success team.

Moz Local Premium

For Enterprise brands and agencies that have a higher level of business need, Moz Local Premium includes everything in the Professional package — plus all of the advantages that Moz Local has to offer made available via the Moz Local API, and augmented with the full suite of organic SEO tools from Moz.

At all levels, we continue to ensure that Moz Local is the industry’s most effective location data management solution. And as the global leader in SEO software, we’re committed to bringing the power of SEO and location analytics to your increasingly complex local marketing challenges, whether you’re a brand or an agency.

We’re busy putting the finishing touches on these new offerings, but we just couldn’t wait to tell you. On November 17th, we’ll share full details about each of our packages, features, and pricing.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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Tips for Crowdfunding a New Product (Or Your Entire Business), with Khierstyn Ross

un-khierstyn-ross

As you likely know, crowdfunding is a way to raise money for a project or venture by pulling contributions from a large number of people, usually online. In 2015 alone, crowdfunding generated an estimated over $ 34 billion (USD) worldwide.

You may not know, however, that the first instance of online crowdfunding dates way back to 1997, when fans underwrote an entire U.S. tour for the British rock group Marillion — raising $ 60,000 in donations via a fan-based internet campaign.

Even I developed our first product by selling something that didn’t yet exist in 2007 — going from zero to six figures in a week — almost two years before Kickstarter was founded. Both are examples of how having an existing audience is the key ingredient for getting people to invest in your ideas.

Now we do have Kickstarter, Indigogo, GoFundMe, and scores of niche crowdfunding platforms. This leads people to make the mistake that these platforms provide the audience, and entrepreneurs just bring that great idea.

Nope, same as it ever was — your existing audience is still crucial to amplify the benefits of a crowdfunding platform, and your audience must be developed first. Today we’re chatting with Khierstyn Ross, who helps entrepreneurs start early, putting into place the necessary ingredients for a successful crowdfunding campaign, and she happily shares her expertise with the Unemployable audience.

Listen to this Episode Now

The post Tips for Crowdfunding a New Product (Or Your Entire Business), with Khierstyn Ross appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Rainmaker Rewind: Launching Your First (or Next) Digital Product

Rainmaker FM rewind

This week on Rainmaker Rewind, Sonia Simone explains the value of launching a digital product and the steps you should take to get moving.

Listen to Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer to discover how digital products can help boost your income and the nitty-gritty of designing your first digital product with your audience in mind.

And, as always, be sure to check out the other great episodes that recently aired on Rainmaker FM.

  1. Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer. Sonia Simone talks about why you should consider launching a digital product and what it can do for your business: Launching Your First (or Next) Digital Product
  2. The Digital Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur and Rainmaker FM host Chris Ducker joins Jerod Morris to discuss going after what you want and building your business: How to Market Like a Magnet and Build Your Personal Brand
  3. Copyblogger FM. Sonia Simone tackles this week’s hottest trend, Pokémon Go, and the growing world of augmented reality: Pokémon Go: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  4. Elsewhere. Glenn Leibowitz of Write With Impact welcomed Brian Clark to his show to chat about the entrepreneur’s journey and building a successful business: Brian Clark on Write With Impact
  5. Hack the Entrepreneur. Jon Nastor interviews Nathan Hirsch about setting goals and organizing priorities when it comes to your business: Prioritizing and Getting Things Done
  6. The Missing Link. Jabez LeBret answers your burning questions about all things LinkedIn: Ask Us Anything (LinkedIn Edition), Part One
  7. The Writer Files. Kelton Reid is back with part two of last week’s interview with neuroscientist Michael Grybko: How Neuroscientist Michael Grybko Defines Writer’s Block: Part Two
  8. Youpreneur. Chris Ducker dives into his personal strategy for facing doubts and how small goals can help you boost confidence: How to Kick The You-Know-What Out of Entrepreneurial Self-Doubt
  9. The Showrunner. Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor discuss the three activities they each regard as priorities in their schedules and share their personal lessons learned while starting and growing numerous podcasts: The Showrunner’s Dilemma
  10. Zero to Book. Pamela Wilson and Jeff Goins navigate the world of designing and printing your self-published book: How to Get Your Book Printed (2 Phenomenal Options, 1 Terrible One)

And, one more thing …

If you want to get Rainmaker Rewind sent straight to your favorite podcast player, subscribe right here on Rainmaker FM.

The post Rainmaker Rewind: Launching Your First (or Next) Digital Product appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to Create Product Pages that Produce the Results You Want

does your product page really work?

Do me a favor, dear content marketer. Type this phrase into Google: “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).”

I’ll wait.

Okay, did you do it? What is the top result?

It should be the product page for Jeff Goins’s ebook on Amazon.

In fact, the first entry should be the Kindle version and the second entry should be the paperback version — both on Amazon.

The third entry should be the author’s own product page dedicated to this book.

So, here’s a question for you: Why do you think Amazon has the top result and not the author’s own product page? Got any guesses?

If not, let me explain.

3 reasons certain product pages dominate in search results

You-are-a-writer

The first reason why Amazon dominates the search term for someone else’s book is the age and authority of the site.

Amazon has been online since 1995 and has established itself as the go-to place for many products, particularly books. Moreover, millions of transactions over the last 11 years have helped establish Amazon as a site that can be trusted.

Jeff is a good guy who’s been killing it for the last five years, but he’s no Amazon.

Second, Amazon’s product page has the most links pointing to it (an affiliate program has something to do with this). How many are we talking about? According to the Majestic SEO tool:

Amazon-Product-Page

Compare that to the product page on Jeff’s website.

Goins-Page

Google interprets all those links to Amazon as a sign that it is the most authoritative page for the search phrase “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).” Granted, Jeff’s page also drives traffic to the Amazon page.

Third, Amazon’s page is loaded with relevant keywords, and those keywords can be found in the:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Editorial reviews
  • Product details (which are lower on the page)
  • Customer reviews (testimonials)

Of course, Google considers many factors when evaluating the content of a web page. But these three factors provide a dramatic boost over other pages about the book, including the one on Jeff’s own website:

  1. Age and authority of a site
  2. Links
  3. Keyword-rich content

The Amazon page is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to buy the book. The product description is rich in tantalizing detail, as are the editorial reviews, which are essentially third-party endorsements. The strong customer reviews are user-generated content.

Each of these features contribute to keyword-rich copy and build trust with a prospect.

While not everyone will read every single line on the page nor sift through every single review (Jeff has 566!), there is more than enough content to present a clear, accurate product description.

Not to mention, the more you tell, the more you raise the perceived value of a product while lowering the prospect’s resistance to buy. Now, pay attention to discover what you can learn from Amazon’s copy to improve your own product pages.

Here’s why this is important

About three or four times a year, I get the privilege of participating in one of our Authority Business Coaching calls, where Pamela Wilson, Sonia Simone, and I evaluate people’s businesses, websites, and (sometimes) product pages.

In addition, I sit on the review committee for our Certified Content Marketer program, where I critique three pieces of content from an applicant — one of which is a landing page.

Product pages and landing pages share a lot of the same features. Over time, I’ve seen detrimental patterns among applicants when it comes to landing page copy, which are also problematic for product pages.

One such pattern is what I call the “short copy trap.” It can happen in any type of content, but many copywriters make this mistake when writing copy for free opt-in content. In other words, copywriters and content marketers fall into this trap when they believe that “free” is enough to convert a prospect.

Our thinking goes something like this: because we understand the value of the headline, introduction copy, three bullet points, and call to action, we assume our visitors have that same knowledge.

But when your prospect visits a landing page that’s light on copy, something entirely different happens. Your prospect examines the copy and assumes that if the copy is thin, then the free content is probably thin, too.

Paid products fall into this trap, too

I’ve also seen this mistake with paid products. Here are two examples we recently evaluated during Authority sessions (both companies gave me permission to use their pages as examples).

Mike Cerio said he wanted to start his own business, but he just wasn’t sure what it would be. Then he decided, “Hey, if I can make it selling bird seed, I can make it selling anything.”

He’s off to a good start, but his product pages could be improved. Here’s one for a premium mix called Woody Worm – Woodpecker Blend.

woody-worm

Mike’s site looks professional and there is a clear image of the product, but you aren’t presented with a reason why you should buy this bird seed over a competitor’s product. All you see are a few sentences on how much your woodpecker is going to enjoy this blend, other types of birds the seed will attract, and the ingredients.

Here are a few questions I have:

  • Do I just put the seeds out and they attract woodpeckers?
  • Do I need a special type of feeder? (If I do, this is a chance to offer me another product)
  • What makes this worth $ 17.88? I’m going to check to see if I can get it cheaper. If I can, why should I pay more?
  • What’s the source of your ingredients? Is there a unique source you use that provides an advantage over the competition?
  • What’s the story behind your blend? Did you get a scientist, ornithologist, or another expert to help you mix it?
  • Where are the reviews?
  • Who has endorsed this product?
  • Has the blend won any awards?

As you can see, this product page offers many opportunities to illustrate why someone would choose Mike’s product over the competition.

For the moment, let’s move on to our next example, Middle Mountain Mead.

rose-mead

The wine market is glutted, so you have to stand out — particularly if you are selling a $ 68 bottle of wine.

In Middle Mountain Mead’s copy, we get a sense of what it takes to make such a wine and when you could use the wine (celebrations, honeymoons, etc.).

Unfortunately, strangers usually don’t care about all the hard work you put into your product … but in this case, the copy tells a story of how this wine evolved. It’s a pretty elaborate maturation process, years in the making. So that’s something special.

But why should potential customers care? Why should they choose this $ 68 mead over a less expensive one?

  • Will it give them prestige? Bragging rights? Help them throw the best parties?
  • Will they feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves? Will they feel like they are trendsetters? That they are making history?
  • Will the mead take them to a new dimension of intoxication?

Ultimately, it comes down to this: Why should we buy wine from this company and not another one?

Later in this article, I’ll summarize how to write product pages that produce the results you want. Next, however, I’m going to focus on one of the most powerful features of effective selling on product pages: stories.

And I’m going to start by talking about another wine merchant.

How to turn the ordinary into the irresistible

Consider Garagiste’s email newsletter.

Jon Rimmerman is the founder of Garagiste, the world’s largest email-based wine business. That line should cause you to pause.

You can sell wine through email? Indeed. Keep in mind, he hasn’t advertised since 1996.

So, what is Rimmerman’s secret? He is the author of one of the most popular email newsletters on wine.

In the latest numbers I could find from 2012, he boasted an email subscriber list of 136,000 and annual sales of $ 30 million. I’m sure his subscriber numbers and sales have grown since then.

And let me be clear on this. Rimmerman sells cases of wine through an email newsletter. Once he procures a new stock, he sits down, writes an email, and hits send.

In this case, his emails are product pages. You purchase through a link to his website. And he never fails to move all the cases. Even at several hundred dollars a case.

What makes his emails so great?

His meandering missives are part salesmanship in print, part trivia junk-drawer on topics like vintage 1960s tube amplifiers or 100k bike rides in the high-hills of France (after two bottles of Beaujolais).

According to a story in The New York Times on Rimmerman:

“Rimmerman has built his reputation by differentiating his tastes from those of other critics, favoring the austere, eccentric and putatively authentic over what you might call the merely delicious.”

Then there are the stories.

Stories about dealing with a flat bicycle tire in the French countryside. Chasing down an elusive contact in a remote European village who simply screams “The Quatre Saison!”

It makes for compelling reading (and compelling wine). Rimmerman sees his purpose as the intermediary for wine visionaries.

Here, he’s talking about a certain Washington state winemaker’s products:

“What I’m trying to uncover is something that is culturally important or of the moment, which this definitely is. This is cutting-edge Washington State winemaking. So, first: Are the wines sound? And then, would people that read everything that I write every day be interested not just for the wine but for the story, the cats, the meth lab, the geologist, the maybe-no-woman-in-his-life. Would they like to kind of taste that story in the bottle.”

Rimmerman feels many wines can be good, even great. But not all wines can boast a history that involves cats, illegal drug production, an EPA agent, and the monk-like dedication to winemaking.

That’s the difference, which unfolds through Rimmerman’s stories.

But just in case I haven’t convinced you of the power of stories to increase the value of a product and actually sell it, let me take you on another journey.

More proof for those skeptical of stories

The quasi-anthropological Significant Objects project started with the hunch that “stories can add measurable value to near-worthless trinkets.”

Journalist Rob Walker and writer Joshua Glenn bought cheap trinkets at thrift stores and garage sales. Then they paired each object with a writer (such as Jonathan Letham or Nicholson Baker) who wrote a fictional story about the object.

A photo of the trinket and the story were then published on eBay.

Let’s look at a Utah Snow Globe. A story about it was written by Blake Butler:

My granddad’s granddad had a box under his bed. If you got to open the box (you had to beg) you would find a little door. The little door had a combination on it that you had to know to get inside the second box, which I did. I had the combination tattooed on my spinemeat when I was four while on a trip to see the circus. The tattoo was free. My granddad’s granddad was very powerful and rich.

You can read the rest of the story here.

This mundane item was originally bought for 99 cents and sold on eBay for $ 59.00.

A silly story increased its value by $ 58.00.

Here’s how some of the other items fared.

Why were people bidding on these insignificant objects on eBay?

Stories.

How to write stories for a product page

The stories you include on your product page don’t have to be linear like Jon Rimmerman’s.

For instance:

  • You can tell one story in the product description and tell several other stories through testimonials.
  • You can tell a story through photographs of the product, like Saddleback Leather (one of Sonia’s favorite places to shop) did for their classic briefcase. And notice the customer photographs.
  • You can tell a story about a unique product-creation process. Each fountain pen in this series by Goulet is hand-torched to get a distinctive look. In other words, each pen is one of a kind.

Check out these resources that will help you write great stories:

Now let’s summarize how to create a product page that produces results.

6 essential qualities every product page needs

A product page that dominates search engine results and makes sales has these six qualities:

  1. Noteworthy age and authority (both the website and the page). This is why it’s important to launch your site as soon as possible. The longer it is online, the more trust it earns.
  2. A growing list of links pointing to the page. One of the best ways to encourage people to link to a product page is through an affiliate program. But if that’s not your cup of tea, then build a product and page that becomes a resource people want to share with others. Each link is another way to drive traffic to your product page.
  3. Keyword-rich copy. As I’ve said before, the more you tell, the more you sell. And all of this content doesn’t have to come from you. You can publish great stories with relevant keywords through testimonials and reviews.
  4. Engaging stories. See above.
  5. A variety of photographs. Encourage customers to share their own photographs to continue the tradition of storytelling through pictures.
  6. A video demonstrating the product’s benefits. You could even interview customers. And don’t forget the transcript! It satisfies those who prefer to read and provides more keyword-rich copy.

These essentials are part of winning product pages whether you sell physical objects, services (consulting), or digital products like software, online courses, or ebooks.

We covered a lot of material today, so let me know if you have any questions. Just drop a note in the comments section below. And while you’re at it, share your favorite product pages. I’d love to hear from you!

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SearchCap: Bing Mobile Test, Yahoo Product Ads & Bing Ads Editor For Mac

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Bing Mobile Test, Yahoo Product Ads & Bing Ads Editor For Mac appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Bundle Like a Boss: How to Put Together Irresistible Product Packages

how to create winning product bundles

Would you like to make more sales — and more money per sale?

Stupid question, I know.

One really simple way to get both is to create an irresistible bundle of products that your audience can’t wait to get their hands on.

Let’s say you’ve created your first minimum viable product. In fact, you’ve done more than that: You’ve been offering digital products for quite a while now.

But you’ve seen other entrepreneurs sell some amazing offerings — big bundles of desirable products. Maybe you’d like to offer your audience something similar, but you’re just not sure where to begin.

Here’s how to get started.

Essential ingredients every winning product bundle needs

Grabbing a few products from your shop and chucking them together doesn’t create an inviting bundle. Buyers will ignore your offer if they don’t want most of your products — even if your price is low.

There are two key ways to create your bundle:

  1. Put together several similar products. Your bundle could be the best 10 seminars from your membership site, four of your ebooks, or six video tutorials.
  2. Put together several different types of products that cover the same topic. For example, if you have an ebook about snail collecting, along with a live seminar you recorded plus several detailed infographics, then that could make a great bundle for all the snail collectors in your audience.

In either case, it helps if most of the products in the bundle have been on sale separately and individually, so you can reference a distinct dollar value for each item — and demonstrate how much money your buyers will save by getting the bundle deal.

Don’t be tempted to simply create a massive bundle that includes everything in your shop — unless there’s a clear correlation between all the products.

(One exception: If you’re closing your shop and taking down all your existing products permanently, a huge bundle of everything could make sense.)

What if I don’t have enough products for a bundle?

If you think you don’t have enough material to create a product bundle, you could:

  • Add more details to an old blog post or podcast. Specifically address the “how” as well as the “why.” You could produce step-by-step instructions or provide real-world examples.
  • Transform existing products into new formats. If you have a bunch of audio seminars, get them transcribed. If you have screenshots explaining a process, consider creating your own video. Different buyers will prefer different formats, so having multiple options raises the perceived value of your bundle.
  • Bundle services with your products. If you offer one-on-one coaching for snail collectors, your bundle could include a 30-minute consultation. Put limits on the services you offer and position them as a “bonus” rather than the core material of the bundle, so you don’t have to raise the price to include them.

Partner with other product creators

You don’t have to create your whole bundle by yourself. Many successful bundles are group efforts. These collaborations work in different ways. For instance, you could:

  • Have one primary creator (you), and request supplementary materials from several others. Someone with an in-depth ebook might be willing to provide an exclusive sample for your bundle if you link to the ebook’s sales page.
  • Get together with a partner who has complementary products to yours. Find items that aren’t in direct competition but appeal to the same audience. An ebook on SEO and one on using Google Analytics might form a cohesive bundle.
  • Create a massive bundle along with a number of other big players in your industry. Only72 does this on a regular basis with packages that appeal to entrepreneurs.

Working with others takes more planning, and possibly presents more of a risk, but it could also mean more reward.

Keep in mind that the quality of other people’s products could affect your reputation. Make sure you know and trust everyone you work with and, if possible, thoroughly review (and try) their products to ensure you’d like to be associated with them.

Package your product bundle for a superior customer experience

You want to put everything in your product bundle together in an easy-to-use way. If you’ve only ever sold individual products before, you might find this requires a bit more work.

While you could just shove all of your digital files into a single zip file, that’s not going to create a great experience for buyers.

Instead, consider one or more of these options:

  • Use subfolders for individual products that contain multiple files, so each folder is easy to navigate. I’ve even seen bundles that used HTML to create a mini, offline site that buyers could use to easily navigate around the bundle.
  • Include a Quick-Start Guide that helps orient buyers and suggests the best ways to start engaging with the package. It could include directions about the correct order to approach the material. For instance, your customer should first read the ebook and then listen to the audio content.
  • Create a password-protected page on your website that has all the product files. I find that a small number of buyers have problems unzipping files, and so it’s best to point people to a page where they can download files at their leisure.

Don’t forget to pay attention to file names, too; make them clear and self-explanatory. A cryptic acronym plus a version number won’t help your buyers much.

Create the right digital product bundle for the right audience

What products could you pull together into a really useful bundle right now?

What might you need to add (either by creating it yourself or by bringing someone else on board)?

Start getting your plan together now — you might just surprise yourself with how close you are to producing and selling an irresistible bundle.

Share your digital product package ideas with us over on LinkedIn …

About the Author: Ali Luke runs Writers’ Huddle, a community/teaching site for all writers, with monthly seminars, in-depth ecourses, supportive forums, and more. It only opens to new members a couple of times a year, so if you think you might be interested, check it out now.

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