In the digital marketing world, there are two huge marketing endeavors:
Which do you focus on?
These related (yet obviously different) marketing segments often butt heads.
We’ve all seen this happen before with articles that claim that PPC is better than SEO. Or, you’ve probably read posts that try to say that PPC is worthless and SEO will forever be the best marketing tactic for new traffic.
And, of course, there’s the infamous article that you’ve probably read from 100 different sites:
SEO vs. PPC: Which Is Best?
But here’s the truth:
Both are incredible ways to produce results for your business. They simply go about achieving results in different ways.
And depending on your business, one might be better than the other.
But it’s far from universal.
And this virtual battle of marketing tactics is pointless.
In fact, SEOs can learn tons of valuable lessons from PPCs, and vice versa.
In this post, I’ll share with you five different tips that SEOs can learn from PPC managers and how to actionably implement these in your SEO gameplan.
1. Data-informed strategies always win
When it comes to analyzing the success of SEO and PPC with data, SEOs have it worse.
PPC has a very direct and specific goal: close the deal. That’s the case unless you are running PPC campaigns for brand awareness, but that’s a different story.
Generally speaking, PPC is great for driving sales and skipping the traditional funnel.
But with SEO, you need to “warm up” visitors to help them become brand aware and interested before they make a purchase.
That means that there’s a lot less room for data analysis, and understanding the process of your prospects takes tons of effort in comparison to PPC.
You have to analyze their on-site behavior, their receptiveness to lead magnets and emails, their time on site, and how they interacted.
But with PPC, you can simply see if they converted or not and fire up a quick remarketing campaign to bring them back.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy with SEO. It’s harder to focus on specific factors that are impacting your sales.
In PPC, on the other hand, you directly know what you need to focus on: the bottom line.
And to tell you the truth, that’s all that matters in SEO, too.
How did they do it?
They didn’t follow new trends or produce content for the sake of producing content like us SEOs can sometimes do. Instead, they made data a priority.
In the first few stages of the campaign setup, they made data their focal point by using Google Analytics call reports and goal/event tracking:
Next, they starting testing the waters with AdWords and seeing what the data said. For instance, how did traffic and conversions impact their bottom line? What could they do to decrease costs?
A big difference here between PPCs and SEOs is that SEO often focuses on bringing in more traffic. But what does your data tell you? Is your conversion rate low?
Maybe you don’t need more traffic. Perhaps you need to focus on increasing conversions from your existing traffic instead.
And that’s exactly what IntuitSolutions did. They decided to “Reduce wasted spend to drive better – not more – traffic.”
Doing so resulted in huge increases in everything from organic to direct traffic:
You might notice a slight drop in paid search traffic, but that’s exactly what they wanted.
PPC isn’t about generating the most traffic for sales. It’s about converting as many as possible and letting the data tell you when to spend more.
While decreasing their traffic by nearly 7%, they increased conversions by 60%.
The data showed that low-quality scores were harming their conversion rates.
Subsequently, they improved them by creating better landing pages, forming better ad groups, and reducing wasted spend.
The data was the only reason they made changes, and they always focused on their bottom line.
It’s easy for SEOs to get caught up in producing more traffic. Trust me — I’m guilty of this every single day.
Instead, listen to the wisdom of PPC managers. They ask, “How can you increase conversions from existing traffic?”
Before running your next campaign, analyze your data to inform your next ten steps. Do you need to increase your conversion rates?
If you do, that might not mean creating more content. It might require you to look for ways to improve your current content or develop new lead magnets instead.
Even though content is the lifeblood of SEO, producing more without a data-based approach won’t move the needle.
2. Never go on autopilot. Always adjust and improve
You’ve just launched a new campaign.
It’s only been a few months, and things are going smoothly. Leads are flowing in, and your content is driving tons of engagement on social media.
So now, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, right?
When it comes to SEO and content marketing, it’s easy to get complacent.
You think that your current wave of leads, traffic, and engagement will stick around for the long haul. You want to keep repeating the same strategy over and over.
You tell yourself, “Just keep blogging and producing more content.”
But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
And PPC managers know this more than anyone.
Why do you think PPC managers run so many different ad groups?
It’s because they’re always adjusting. They are always moving, improving, and learning from every single campaign.
Their strategies never get stale because they don’t repeat the same process over and over.
Sure, they absolutely double down on their big wins. But they don’t ride them out until there’s nothing left.
They simply keep digging for more strategies and new tactics to pursue.
A prime example of this is when PPC managers utilize the search terms report on Google AdWords.
Believe it or not, on AdWords, you aren’t paying for specific keywords.
For example, the latest keyword that you research and bid on isn’t exactly what you’re buying with each click.
You could be bidding on this:
But in reality, you’re paying for these:
These are search terms. They’re related, real keyword searches that differ by match types.
Just bidding on “seo agency” doesn’t mean you only show up for “seo agency.”
And that’s where SEOs can learn from PPC managers. Good PPC managers find the low-hanging fruit and avoid slipping into autopilot.
To avoid getting comfortable, they utilize the search terms report to uncover new ideas for more campaigns.
By looking at the search terms report, they analyze easy wins by finding searches they are showing up for and creating entirely new campaigns around them.
They get specific and dive deep into each one to create individual landing pages and experiences.
Here’s the key takeaway: Always look for new, fresh ideas in your SEO strategy.
Don’t just sit back and blog about your strengths. Find new topics that your customer base is interested in. Don’t get complacent and always look for new mediums to test.
If you’re only blogging, research different formats like video, podcasts, or slideshows.
Look for new ways to create engaging campaigns instead of running the same ones over and over again.
3. Learn the art of writing compelling and click-worthy metadata
If you’ve ever used Google AdWords or written a text-based PPC ad before, you know the struggle.
Cramming all of your important, value-driven data into a limited character space is brutally tough.
You get 30 characters for the first headline, 30 more for the second, and only 80 for your description.
And we all know how frustrating that was. 140 characters were never enough to convey real value that drove customers to take action.
Writing meta descriptions and titles is just like writing new ads on AdWords:
Your entire goal is to convey more value to the searcher to improve your CTR and subsequently your rankings.
And since SEOs don’t do this very often, we can learn a ton from PPC managers who write multiple ads per ad group and keep writing new ones on a daily basis.
They know what formulas, strategies, and quick value lines work to produce better click-through rates on non-branded searches.
This easy-to-follow strategy has led him to find massive success with clients. By following a structure, you consistently repeat the keywords for customers to reassure them that they’re finding what they searched for.
Adding benefits and a CTA helps push them over the edge to click on your ad over the competition.
It’s simple enough to replicate for every single new page you publish, but it’s detailed enough to capture interest with specificity and keywords.
When writing your next meta title and description to accompany your latest content marketing piece, follow this simple yet effective strategy for improving your organic CTR:
Focus on the basics: talk directly to what the user is searching for. Let them know that they are getting exactly what they expect to get based on their search.
In the example above, notice that the focus keyword of the post immediately appears in the title, description, and URL string.
Next, it describes the benefits for the searcher to see:
Getting ideas for your meta descriptions is easy when you look at how amazing many PPC ads are.
Simply Google a keyword that your page or latest blog post covers.
For example, I was recently writing a post about content marketing tips in 2018. But I was struggling to make a compelling meta title and description.
So I wandered over to Google and typed in my long-tail keyword to get some ideas:
And immediately one specific AdWords ad jumped out at me with a brilliant idea:
This ad flips the script and drives massive appeal in an otherwise boring conglomerate of headlines using listicle formats.
Reasons why it’s not working.
It’s simply different than the rest and gives you a better angle/approach to writing your post and your meta description.
Instead of touting XX tips, you can tout XX reasons why it’s not working and how you can fix them for your 2018 content marketing strategy.
PPC ad writers have a unique skill of driving tons of interest in very few characters.
Next time you go to write a meta and title, follow the formula from Johnathan or conduct a few Google searches to find inspiration.
You won’t regret it.
4. Dedicated landing pages drive more conversions
As a diverse marketer, I use both SEO and PPC to my advantage.
I produce tons of content marketing pieces on my blog:
On my podcast:
I use tons of different content marketing mediums to drive traffic.
When it comes to PPC, I am always testing and iterating new ideas. And even when I am not using PPC ads, I am learning from colleagues who are killing the PPC game.
But one specific tactic that I have seen in PPC that works better than any other is dedicated landing pages.
It’s something that is seen only rarely in most SEO and content marketing campaigns I’ve worked on.
Usually, people are simply directed to a blog post and funneled into a form on the blog post in the form of a CTA. I’m guilty of it too:
Most of us are. We try to turn that inbound organic traffic into subscribers with a few simple calls to action.
And it works some of the time.
But it could be a lot better.
And that’s where dedicated landing pages come into play.
They are necessary when using PPC for traffic and leads because they help to create specificity and a great user experience, leading to better quality scores.
Landing page experience is a huge piece of the quality score:
You can see this common tactic used by testing a simple search on your own.
For instance, when searching for social marketing tools, I clicked on one of the first ads from Falcon.io, showing me a landing page that was clearly created for this campaign:
It’s a dedicated landing page that even highlights the keyword I was searching for, which lets me know that I got exactly what I wanted to find with their products.
Now that’s specificity. And specificity is king.
When conducting your next content marketing campaign for organic traffic, try driving traffic to dedicated landing pages with your calls to action.
For example, if you want people to sign up for a webinar, don’t just provide a form.
Send them to a personalized, specific landing page you create just for that sole purpose of webinar signups:
Create better experiences for your new organic traffic that will keep them around and coming back for more.
PPC managers know how to create dedicated landing pages. Simply driving homepage traffic doesn’t cut it, even in SEO.
Every keyword search is different and packs different forms of intent. Ensure that your landing pages meet those needs each time and never settle for generic pages.
It also helps to segment landing pages by keyword intent. Depending on each stage of the funnel that a searcher is in, the landing page can be vastly different even when discussing the same product:
Top-of-the-funnel or new traffic that hasn’t visited your site before is not likely to convert on a high-risk item yet.
They won’t buy your full product or service, but they might sign up for an email list or your webinar.
So you can tailor your landing pages to that specific intent.
If your content is lower in the funnel and talks about buying products or services, your CTA landing pages should focus on driving home a final sale or speaking directly with a closing sales rep.
The critical thing that SEOs can learn from PPCs for landing pages is specificity. Create dedicated pages and watch your conversions skyrocket.
5. Test more than you are comfortable with
Depending on the platform you use for PPC, testing is easy. You can flip the proverbial switch and test multiple ads in just seconds.
For example, on Facebook, you can split test your ads by checking off a box:
And on AdWords, you simply create multiple ads per ad group and run them evenly to see which performs best:
In fact, Google actually recommends this, stating that “every ad group should have at least three quality ads. That way, the system can optimize your performance, and you can check your performance data to learn what message resonates best with your audience.”
Essentially, it’s built-in A/B testing.
Testing is popular in PPC but often isn’t in content marketing circles.
Personally, I get hesitant to test and edit old blog posts for fear of messing up their rankings and losing traffic. Or fear of trying to fix something that isn’t broken.
Plus, A/B testing off platforms and on your own site often takes expensive outside tools or third-party services to run them for you.
But testing really does work and PPC managers are the best at it because real dollars and their bottom line are directly at stake with every single test.
One of the easiest things to start testing that PPC managers test daily is their marketing copy.
Writing multiple ads per day to test different value propositions that can inform their next campaign.
Instead of changing your value proposition for a product or service, test multiple to find which resonates best.
A great tool that I like to use for this headline and value proposition testing is the Thrive Themes Headline Optimizer plugin:
With the headline optimizer, you can test variations on your content and show multiple headlines to different audiences.
During the test, the optimizer will compile the data for you directly on the page itself, allowing you to analyze engagement and headline success or failure:
Using the three specific factors of CTR, time-on-site, and scroll-depth, the optimizer will determine which headline sparks the most interest.
These are the types of tests that PPC managers run daily and can easily be done by SEOs, but often are ignored due to fear of losing rankings or messing with content.
You can even start your own AdWords campaign with just a few dollars a day and test different ads.
If they work, double down on their success and implement the copy back into your content marketing pieces.
The options are endless for testing. Don’t be scared to test. If it fails, you’ve learned what doesn’t work and can avoid it in the future.
Digital/online marketing is a diverse mix of different tactics.
Two of the most infamous ones are PPC and SEO, but they often butt heads. They clash, producing big comparisons on which one is better and which is worse.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Both excel in their own respects, and each group can learn tons of valuable lessons from the other.
When it comes to SEOs, you can learn a boatload of tips from PPC managers.
For instance, data-informed strategies always win. Naturally, PPC managers are swimming in metrics, and they only make changes or iterations based on data.
They don’t go on autopilot or assume that their strategy will continue to work. They actively search for new campaign ideas daily.
When it comes to copywriting for improving your CTR, there is no better to teach you than an active PPC manager who creates dozens of new ads every single day. They’ve truly mastered the fine art of compelling copy with small character limits.
To match that, start using dedicated landing pages for your campaigns. Don’t rely on your homepage or just a blog post to get the job done.
Lastly, test more than you feel comfortable testing.
Both PPCs and SEOs can learn from each other. Implement these tips in your SEO strategy moving forward for even more success.
What are some critical lessons you have learned from different marketing specialties/subsets?
The post 5 Marketing Tips That SEOs Can Learn From PPC Managers appeared first on Neil Patel.
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Posted by rjonesx.
We spend a lot of time discussing SEO tactics, but in a constantly changing industry, one thing that deserves more attention are the tactics agencies should employ in order to see success. From confidently raising your prices to knowing when to say no, Moz’s own Russ Jones covers four essential success tactics that’ll ultimately increase your bottom line in today’s edition of Whiteboard Friday.
Howdy, Moz fans. I am Russ Jones, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for my first Whiteboard Friday. I am Principal Search Scientist here at Moz. But before coming to Moz, for the 10 years prior to that, I was the Chief Technology Officer of a small SEO agency back in North Carolina. So I have a strong passion for agencies and consultants who are on the ground doing the work, helping websites rank better and helping build businesses.
So what I wanted to do today was spend a little bit of time talking about the lessons that I learned at an agency that admittedly I only learned through trial and error. But before we even go further, I just wanted to thank the folks at Hive Digital who I learned so much from, Jeff and Jake and Malcolm and Ryan, because the team effort over time is what ended up building an agency. Any agency that succeeds knows that that’s part of it. So we’ll start with that thank-you.
But what I really want to get into is that we spend a lot of time talking about SEO tactics, but not really about how to succeed in an industry that changes rapidly, in which there’s almost no certification, and where it can be difficult to explain to customers exactly how they’re going to be successful with what you offer. So what I’m going to do is break down four really important rules that I learned over the course of that 10 years. We’re going to go through each one of them as quickly as possible, but at the same time, hopefully you’ll walk away with some good ideas. Some of these are ones that it might at first feel a little bit awkward, but just follow me.
1. Raise prices
The first rule, number one in Let’s Make Money is raise your prices. Now, I remember quite clearly two years in to my job at Hive Digital — it was called Virante then — and we were talking about raising prices. We were just looking at our customers, saying to ourselves, “There’s no way they can afford it.” But then luckily we had the foresight that there was more to raising prices than just charging your customers more.
How it benefits old customers
The first thing that just hit us automatically was… “Well, with our old customers, we can just discount them. It’s not that bad. We’re in the same place as we always were.” But then it occurred to us, “Wait, wait, wait. If we discount our customers, then we’re actually increasing our perceived value.” Our existing customers now think, “Hey, they’re actually selling something better that’s more expensive, but I’m getting a deal,” and by offering them that deal because of their loyalty, you engender more loyalty. So it can actually be good for old customers.
How it benefits new customers
Now, for new customers, once again, same sort of situation. You’ve increased the perceived value. So your customers who come to you think, “Oh, this company is professional. This company is willing to invest. This company is interested in providing the highest quality of services.” In reality, because you’ve raised prices, you can. You can spend more time and money on each customer and actually do a better job. The third part is, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If they say no, you offer them the discount. You’re back where you started. You’re in the same position that you were before.
How it benefits your workers
Now, here’s where it really matters — your employees, your workers. If you are offering bottom line prices, you can’t offer them raises, you can’t offer them training, you can’t hire them help, or you can’t get better workers. But if you do, if you raise prices, the whole ecosystem that is your agency will do better.
How it improves your resources
Finally, and most importantly, which we’ll talk a little bit more later, is that you can finally tool up. You can get the resources and capital that you need to actually succeed. I drew this kind of out.
If we have a graph of quality of services that you offer and the price that you sell at, most agencies think that they’re offering great quality at a little price, but the reality is you’re probably down here. You’re probably under-selling your services and, because of that, you can’t offer the best that you can.
You should be up here. You should be offering higher quality, your experts who spend time all day studying this, and raising prices allows you to do that.
Now, raising prices is only part one. The second thing is discipline, and I am really horrible about this. The reality is that I’m the kind of guy who looks for the latest and greatest and just jumps into it, but schedule matters. As hard as it is to admit it, I learned this from the CPC folks because they know that they have to stay on top of it every day of the week.
Well, here’s something that we kind of came up with as I was leaving the company, and that was to set all of our customers as much as possible into a schedule.
Annually: we would handle keywords and competitors doing complete analysis.
Semi-annually: Twice a year, we would do content analysis. What should you be writing about? What’s changed in your industry? What are different keywords that you might be able to target now given additional resources?
Quarterly: You need to be looking at links. It’s just a big enough issue that you’ve got to look at it every couple of months, a complete link analysis.
Monthly: You should be looking at your crawls. Moz will do that every week for you, but you should give your customers an idea, over the course of a month, what’s changed.
Weekly: You should be doing rankings
But there are three things that, when you do all of these types of analysis, you need to keep in mind. Each one of them is a…
Hours for consulting
This might seem like a little bit of overkill. But of course, if one of these comes back and nothing changed, you don’t need to do the phone call, but each one of these represents additional money in your pocket and importantly better service for your customers.
It might seem hard to believe that when you go to a customer and you tell them, “Look, nothing’s changed,” that you’re actually giving them value, but the truth is that if you go to the dentist and he tells you, you don’t have a cavity, that’s good news. You shouldn’t say to yourself at the end of the day, “Why’d I go to the dentist in the first place?” You should say, “I’m so glad I went to the dentist.” By that same positive outlook, you should be selling to your customers over and over and over again, hoping to give them the clarity they need to succeed.
3. Tool up!
So number three, you’re going to see this a lot in my videos because I just love SEO tools, but you’ve got to tool up. Once you’ve raised prices and you’re making more money with your customers, you actually can. Tools are superpowers. Tools allow you to do things that humans just can’t do. Like I can’t figure out the link graph on my own. I need tools to do it. But tools can do so much more than just auditing existing clients. For example, they can give you…
You can use tools to find opportunities.Take for example the tools within Moz and you want to find other car dealerships in the area that are really good and have an opportunity to rank, but aren’t doing as well as they should be in SERPs. You want to do this because you’ve already serviced successfully a different car dealership. Well, tools like Moz can do that. You don’t just have to use Moz to help your clients. You can use them to help yourself.
Nobody walks into a sales call blind. You know who the website is. So you just start with a great pre-audit.
Which means you make more money quicker. If you can do your keyword analysis annually in half the time because you have the right tool for it, then you’re going to make far more money and be able to serve more customers.
This one is just mind-blowingly simple. It’s bulk pricing. Every tool out there, the more you buy from them, the lower the price is. I remember at my old company sitting down at one point and recognizing that every customer that came in the door would need to spend about $1,000 on individual accounts to match what they were getting through us by being able to take advantage of the bulk discounts that we were getting as an agency by buying these seats on behalf of all of our customers.
So tell your clients when you’re talking to them on the phone, in the pitch be like, “Look, we use Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, SEMrush,” list off all of the competitors. “We do Screaming Frog.” Just name them all and say, “If you wanted to go out and just get the data yourself from these tools, it would cost you more than we’re actually charging you.” The tools can sell themselves. You are saving them money.
4. Just say NO
Now, the last section, real quickly, are the things you’ve just got to learn to say no to. One of them has a little nuance to it. There’s going to be some bite back in the comments, I’m pretty sure, but I want to be careful with it.
No month-to-month contracts
The first thing to say no to is month-to-month contracts.
If a customer comes to you and they say, “Look, we want to do SEO, but we want to be able to cancel every 30 days.” the reality is this. They’re not interested in investing in SEO. They’re interested in dabbling in SEO. They’re interested in experimenting with SEO. Well, that’s not going to succeed. It’s only going to take one competitor or two who actually invest in it to beat them out, and when they beat them out, you’re going to look bad and they’re going to cancel their account with you. So sit down with them and explain to them that it is a long-term strategy and it’s just not worth it to your company to bring on customers who aren’t interested in investing in SEO. Say it politely, but just turn it away.
Don’t turn anything away
Now, notice that my next thing is don’t turn anything away. So here’s something careful. Here’s the nuance. It’s really important to learn to fire clients who are bad for your business, where you’re losing money on them or they’re just impolite, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn them away. You just need to turn them in the right direction. That right direction might be tools themselves. You can say, “Look, you don’t really need our consulting hours. You should go use these tools.” Or you can turn them to other fledgling businesses, friends you have in the industry who might be struggling at this time.
I’ll tell you a quick example. We don’t have much time, but many, many years ago, we had a client that came to us. At our old company, we had a couple of rules about who we would work with. We chose not to work in the adult industry. But at the time, I had a friend in the industry. He lived outside of the United States, and he had fallen on hard times. He literally had his business taken away from him via a series of just really unscrupulous events. I picked up the phone and gave him a call. I didn’t turn away the customer. I turned them over to this individual.
That very next year, he had ended up landing a new job at the top of one of the largest gambling organizations in the world. Well, frankly, they weren’t on our list of people we couldn’t work with. We landed the largest contract in the history of our company at that time, and it set our company straight for an entire year. It was just because instead of turning away the client, we turned them to a different direction. So you’ve got to say no to turning away everybody. They are opportunities. They might not be your opportunity, but they’re someone’s.
No service creep
The last one is service creep. Oh, man, this one is hard. A customer comes up to you and they list off three things that you offer that they want, and then they say, “Oh, yeah, we need social media management.” Somebody else comes up to you, three things you want to offer, and they say, “Oh yeah, we need you to write content,” and that’s not something you do. You’ve just got to not do that. You’ve got to learn to shave off services that you can’t offer. Instead, turn them over to people who can do them and do them very well.
What you’re going to end up doing in your conversation, your sales pitch is, “Look, I’m going to be honest with you. We are great at some things, but this isn’t our cup of tea. We know someone who’s really great at it.” That honesty, that candidness is just going to give them such a better relationship with you, and it’s going to build a stronger relationship with those other specialty companies who are going to send business your way. So it’s really important to learn to say no to say no service creep.
Well, anyway, there’s a lot that we went over there. I hope it wasn’t too much too fast, but hopefully we can talk more about it in the comments. I look forward to seeing you there. Thanks.
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Posted by MiriamEllis
I’ve advocated the use of Google’s owner response review feature since it first rolled out in 2010. This vital vehicle defends brand reputation and revenue, offering companies a means of transforming dissatisfied consumers into satisfied ones, supporting retention so that less has to be spent on new customer acquisition. I consider review responses to be a core customer service responsibility. Yet, eight years into the existence of this feature, marketing forums are still filled with entry-level questions like:
Should I respond to reviews?
Should I respond to positive reviews?
How should I respond to negative reviews?
Over the years, I’ve seen different local SEO consultants reply in differing degrees to these common threads, but as of May 11, 2018, both agencies and brands woke to a new day: the day on which Google announced it would be emailing notifications like this to consumers when a business responds to their reviews, prompting them to view the reply.
Surveys indicate that well over 50% of consumers already expect responses within days of reviewing a business. With Google’s rollout, we can assume that this number is about to rise.
Why is this noteworthy news? I’ll explain exactly that in this post, plus demo how Moz Local can be a significant help to owners and marketers in succeeding in this new environment.
When “extra” becomes “expected”
In the past, owner responses may have felt like something extra a business could do to improve management of its reputation. Perhaps a company you’re marketing has been making the effort to respond to negative reviews, at the very least, but you’ve let replying to positive reviews slide. Or maybe you respond to reviews when you can get around to it, with days or weeks transpiring between consumer feedback and brand reaction.
Google’s announcement is important for two key reasons:
1) It signals that Google is turning reviews into a truly interactive feature, in keeping with so much else they’ve rolled out to the Knowledge Panel in recent times. Like booking buttons and Google Questions & Answers, notifications of owner responses are Google’s latest step towards making Knowledge Panels transactional platforms instead of static data entities. Every new feature brings us that much closer to Google positioning itself between providers and patrons for as many transactional moments as possible.
2) It signals a major turning point in consumer expectations. In the past, reviewers have left responses from motives of “having their say,” whether that’s to praise a business, warn fellow consumers, or simply document their experiences.
Now, imagine a patron who writes a negative review of two different restaurants he dined at for Sunday lunch and dinner. On Monday, he opens his email to find a Google notification that Restaurant A has left an owner response sincerely apologizing and reasonably explaining why service was unusually slow that weekend, but that Restaurant B is meeting his complaint about a rude waiter with dead air.
“So, Restaurant A cares about me, and Restaurant B couldn’t care less,” the consumer is left to conclude, creating an emotional memory that could inform whether he’s ever willing to give either business a second chance in the future.
Just one experience of receiving an owner response notification will set the rules of the game from here on out, making all future businesses that fail to respond seem inaccessible, neglectful, and even uncaring. It’s the difference between reviewers narrating their experiences from random motives, and leaving feedback with the expectation of being heard and answered.
I will go so far as to predict that Google’s announcement ups the game for all review platforms, because it will make owner responses to consumer sentiment an expected, rather than extra, effort.
The burden is on brands
Because no intelligent business would believe it can succeed in modern commerce while appearing unreachable or unconcerned, Google’s announcement calls for a priority shift. For brands large and small, it may not be an easy one, but it should look something like this:
Negative reviews are now direct cries for help to our business; we will respond with whatever help we can give within X number of hours or days upon receipt
Positive reviews are now thank-you notes directly to our company; we will respond with gratitude within X number of hours or days upon receipt
Defining X is going to have to depend on the resources of your organization, but in an environment in which consumers expect your reply, the task of responding must now be moved from the back burner to a hotter spot on the stovetop. Statistics differ in past assessments of consumer expectations of response times:
In 2016, GetFiveStars found that 15.6% of consumers expected a reply with 1–3 hours, and 68.3% expected a reply within 1–3 days of leaving a review.
In 2017, RevLocal found that 52% of consumers expected responses within 7 days.
Overall, 30% of survey respondents told BrightLocal in 2017 that owner responses were a factor they looked at in judging a business.
My own expectation is that all of these numbers will now rise as a result of Google’s new function, meaning that the safest bet will be the fastest possible response. If resources are limited, I recommend prioritizing negative sentiment, aiming for a reply within hours rather than days as the best hope of winning back a customer. “Thank yous” for positive sentiment can likely wait for a couple of days, if absolutely necessary.
It’s inspiring to know that a recent Location3 study found that brands which do a good job of responding to reviews saw an average conversion rate of 13.9%, versus lackluster responders whose conversion rate was 10.4%. Depending on what you sell, those 3.5 points could be financially significant! But it’s not always easy to be optimally responsive.
If your business is small, accelerating response times can feel like a burden because of lack of people resources. If your business is a large, multi-location enterprise, the burden may lie in organizing awareness of hundreds of incoming reviews in a day, as well as keeping track of which reviews have been responded to and which haven’t.
The good news is…
Moz Local can help
The screenshot, above, is taken from the Moz Local dashboard. If you’re a customer, just log into your Moz Local account and go to your review section. From the “sources” section, choose “Google” — you’ll see the option to filter your reviews by “replied” and “not replied.” You’ll instantly be able to see which reviews you haven’t yet responded to. From there, simply use the in-dashboard feature that enables you to respond to your (or your clients’) reviews, without having to head over to your GMB dashboard or log into a variety of different clients’ GMB dashboards. So easy!
I highly recommend that all our awesome customers do this today and be sure you’ve responded to all of your most recent reviews. And, in the future, if you’re working your way through a stack of new, incoming Google reviews, this function should make it a great deal easier to keep organized about which ones you’ve checked off and which ones are still awaiting your response. I sincerely hope this function makes your work more efficient!
Need some help setting the right review response tone?
Please check out Mastering the Owner Response to the Quintet of Google My Business Reviews, which I published in 2016 to advocate responsiveness. It will walk you through these typical types of reviews you’ll be receiving:
“I love you!”
“I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
“There was hair in my taco…”
“I’m actually your competitor!”
“I’m citing illegal stuff.”
The one update I’d make to the advice in the above piece, given Google’s rollout of the new notification function, would be to increase the number of positive reviews to which you’re responding. In 2016, I suggested that enterprises managing hundreds of locations should aim to express gratitude for at least 10% of favorable reviews. In 2018, I’d say reply with thanks to as many of these as you possibly can. Why? Because reviews are now becoming more transactional than ever, and if a customer says, “I like you,” it’s only polite to say, “Thanks!”. As more customers begin to expect responsiveness, failure to acknowledge praise could feel uncaring.
I would also suggest that responses to negative reviews more strongly feature a plea to the customer to contact the business so that things can be “made right.” GetFiveStars co-founder, Mike Blumenthal, is hoping that Google might one day create a private channel for brands and consumers to resolve complaints, but until that happens, definitely keep in mind that:
The new email alerts will ensure that more customers realize you’ve responded to their negative sentiment.
If, while “making things right” in the public response, you also urge the unhappy customer to let you make things “more right” in person, you will enhance your chances of retaining him.
If you are able to publicly or privately resolve a complaint, the customer may feel inspired to amend his review and raise your star rating; over time, more customers doing this could significantly improve your conversions and, possibly, your local search rankings.
All potential customers who see your active responses to complaints will understand that your policies are consumer-friendly, which should increase the likelihood of them choosing your business for transactions.
One of the most interesting aspects I’m considering as of the rollout of response notifications is whether it may ultimately impact the tone of reviews themselves. In the past, some reviewers have given way to excesses in their sentiment, writing about companies in the ugliest possible language… language I’ve always wanted to hope they wouldn’t use face-to-face with other human beings at the place of business. I’m wondering now if knowing there’s a very good chance that companies are responding to feedback could lessen the instances of consumers taking wild, often anonymous potshots at brands and create a more real-world, conversational environment.
In other words, instead of: “You overcharged me $3 for a soda and I know it’s because you’re [expletive] scammers, liars, crooks!!! Everyone beware of this company!!!”
We might see: “Hey guys, I just noticed a $3 overcharge on my receipt. I’m not too happy about this.”
The former scenario is honestly embarrassing. Trying to make someone feel better when they’ve just called you a thief feels a bit ridiculous and depressing. But the latter scenario is, at least, situation-appropriate instead of blown out of all proportion, creating an opening for you and your company to respond well and foster loyalty.
I can’t guarantee that reviewers will tone it down a bit if they feel more certain of being heard, but I’m hoping it will go that way in more and more cases.
What do you think? How will Google’s new function impact the businesses you market and the reviewers you serve? Please share your take and your tips with our community!
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Despite content marketing’s golden child status, SEO remains one of the most important factors in ranking websites on Google.
According to a Hubshout survey of small to midsize digital marketing agencies, 32% of agencies reported that SEO as a service generates the most revenue for them.
But as technology advances and search engines continue to evolve and adapt their algorithms, it can be difficult even for veteran SEOs to keep up.
This means you could be overlooking significant SEO value on your site.
In other words, if you’re missing key SEO strategies, you could cost your business some serious revenue.
Not interested in flushing money down the toilet?
I didn’t think so.
Implement these four SEO hacks to skyrocket your rankings and put money in the bank.
1. Increase page speed by compressing images
Images are one of the biggest culprits to slow loading times.
In fact, on average, images make up 68% of a web page’s total weight.
But even though many people know that page speed is an important SEO ranking factor, when it comes to optimization, the image size is often overlooked.
One of the reasons for this is because if you are loading (and reloading) your website on your own computer or mobile device, the page has likely been cached.
A web cache temporarily stores the data on a web page to reduce server lag (aka page speed).
In other words, once a page has been loaded and cached, the server will provide the cached version to save time when you return later on to bring up the site.
While caching once a week is a good idea if you want to increase fetched response time, it can inadvertently give SEOs the impression that their website is loading faster than it actually is.
If you aren’t checking page speed from an outside computer or with a page loading measuring tool, you may not notice that your images are causing delays on the user’s end.
And when 53% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load, that is a mistake you can’t afford.
Bottom line: If your images are slowing your loading time — even by a second — you could be frustrating users and increasing your bounce rate (two important SEO ranking factors).
Luckily, this is a simple fix.
To improve loading times and increase user satisfaction and retention rates, first, you’ll need to evaluate your page speeds, then resize problem images.
Evaluate your page speeds
There are many free tools you can use to test your page speeds.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is great for not only measuring loading time for both mobile and desktop but also identifying the causes of any speed delays, including images.
If images are contributing to page lag, PageSpeed Insights will build a list of which images you need to optimize.
When optimizing your pages, it’s important to take a special interest in making them mobile-friendly.
Since the rollout of Google’s mobile-first index, websites that are mobile-friendly will rank higher than those that aren’t optimized.
Based on this analysis, Target’s landing page has an average speed of around 2.2s and good optimization at 88/100.
While this isn’t a perfect score on PageSpeed Insights, it’s pretty close. And, with minor tweaks to the images, they could see a spike in page speed.
GTMetrix is another page speed tool that will help you identify problem areas.
The tool will uncover each of the problems that your site has and recommend tips to help you fix each of them.
And it goes a bit more in-depth than PageSpeed Insights.
If you have any images causing slow loading times, they’ll be listed here.
RankPay utilized GTmetrix page speed reports to reduce their bounce rate by 20% and increase their page speed by 20%.
As you can see, it’s worth the time and effort to analyze and fix your page speed issues. It will not only help you rank better in the SERPs, but also improve the UX experience.
Compress problem images
Once you’ve evaluated your page speed, the next step is to analyze what elements are bringing your page speed down.
And, large image sizes are usually a major culprit in slowing down websites.
Remember: smaller images = faster page speeds.
If you’re using Photoshop, Lightroom, or a similar tool, you want to make sure your images are 1,500 pixels in width or less.
The key here is to balance image quality with file size.
The goal is to use the smallest file size possible while maintaining acceptable image quality.
There are several image file types to use, but the most common are JPG and PNG.
Below is an example of what a JPG looks like not compressed vs. compressed. The original, untouched image was 2.06MB.
Here this image has low compression. This preserves the quality of the image but also doesn’t shrink the overall file size much.
A web page shouldn’t be more than 1-2 MB in weight. While compressing the image did shrink it from the original size, 590 KB is still a significant portion of the page’s optimal weight.
On the other hand, it’s possible to do too much compression.
When the image is highly compressed, the size becomes much more manageable at 68KB.
But the quality stinks.
You want to strike a compression note that is just right.
In this case, the best level of compression on the image is somewhere in the middle. This allows us to maintain the quality while significantly reducing file size (and associated page speed).
If you’re not a Photoshop guru (or don’t want to shell out the cash for an Adobe Suite monthly subscription), I recommend using a compression tool like TinyPNG.
TinyPNG lets you resize up to 20 PNG or JPG images for free. Simply drag and drop your files onto their page and they’ll do the work for you.
If you need more files, there is also a Pro upgrade starting at just $25 for a single-user yearly subscription.
2. Improve CTR with Google Search Console
When was the last time you reviewed your meta descriptions?
Or, attempted to clean up ugly URLs?
While CTR isn’t a proven ranking factor, improving your organic CTR will help boost your organic rankings.
Back in 2009, the head of Google’s webspam, Matt Cutts, answered questions related to CTR on YouTube:
“It doesn’t really matter how often you show up. It matters how often you get clicked on and then how often you … convert those to whatever you really want (sales, purchases, subscriptions)… Do spend some time looking at your title, your URL, and your snippet that Google generates, and see if you can find ways to improve that and make it better for users because then they’re more likely to click. You’ll get more visitors, you’ll get a better return on your investment.”
Still want more proof?
A local auto parts company increased their click-through rate by 20% and got 30% more organic clicks.
Another B2B software company went from 35,000 organic visits per month to 225,000 organic visits per month by increasing their CTR.
Increasing CTRs means better rankings, more traffic, and increased brand awareness. To increase CTRs, use Google Search Console to guide your next steps.
Update underperforming pages
Before you can identify what pages you should update, you need to get a baseline CTR.
To find this, log in to Google Search Console > Status > Performance.
In the example above, the average CTR is 5.6%. Now that you have this average, you can begin to uncover what content needs to be updated.
Within the same report on Google Search Console, make sure Total Clicks, Total Impressions, and Average CTR are checked. Then, Pages at the bottom.
Here you should have a list of top performing pages.
To discover pages that need to be updated, click the arrow button to flip the CTR. You should have a list of your underperforming pages.
Next, scroll through your underperforming pages to find pages with high impressions and low clicks.
This will give you insight into what pages are showing up in the SERPs, but not receiving clicks.
Things like this tell me I need to review the keyword strategy, meta description, and overall content of this specific page.
This strategy works. Just look at how Siege Media took one client from zero to 100,000 visitors.
And, how Bill Hunt reworked Absolut’s meta descriptions based on user intent to improve the CTR from 1.69% to 14.81% in just 45 days.
While this may seem like a lot of extra work to optimize pages you thought were already performing well, it will pay off in the end.
3. Use linkless mentions to build ranking value
Yes, you read that right.
Though it goes against traditional understanding of SEO, link building without links is becoming a key part of ranking strategy.
Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, said during his keynote at Brighton SEO:
“If you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the Internet — and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that. Then you are doing great.”
The idea is that brands that garner a lot of mentions, both in social media and on websites and long-form content, are trusted and therefore authoritative in search engines’ eyes.
While this ranking strategy has flown under the radar a bit, both Google and Bing have indicated that linkless brand mentions factor into how the search engines measure authority and quality.
In fact, Duane Forrester, former senior product manager at Bing noted back in 2016 that Bing had already:
“figured out context and sentiment of tone, and how to associate mentions without a link. As the volume grows and trustworthiness of this mention is known, you’ll get a bump in rankings…”
But Bing isn’t the only one showing us their hand.
Google references linkless mentions as “implied links” in their patent:
And it makes sense.
For years, word-of-mouth marketing and social shares have made and broken brands.
It’s no wonder that search engines are using this social capital as a key indicator of consumer trust and confidence.
How to track linkless mentions
If you’re not already tracking brand mentions through a rep management campaign, you’ll need to use a tool to monitor the web for you.
There are a variety of options, such as Awario or SEMrush.
Let’s take a look at Awario.
Awario is a monitoring tool that lets you track the conversation around your brand (as well as competitors’ brands) on the web in real-time.
To get started, create an account with your preferred email. (There’s a two-week free trial before you select a paid plan).
Once you create your account, set up a campaign (or project) to monitor brand mentions.
Awario will ask you to input the keywords you wish to track.
For example, let’s say you want to track Photoshop mentions.
So I’ll enter “Adobe Photoshop” into the field.
Once you’re done adding keywords to your campaign, Awario takes you to a dashboard that gives you an at-a-glance look at your current monitors.
As you can see here, Awario collects data on:
The number of total mentions for that keyword
Sentiment (i.e., whether the mentions are negative or positive)
The reach those mentions have
Who the top influencers are that have mentioned your keywords
Where mentions are coming from in the world
What languages are represented in the conversation
Additionally, you can filter the data to see mentions from specific platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
This information helps you track where your brand or product is trending as well as how well it stacks up against competitors.
Awario’s Sentiment metric is a particularly useful datapoint to measure because it allows you to gauge the overall health of your brand’s reputation (i.e., is it viewed more or less favorably).
In fact, at last year’s State of Search event, Google’s Gary Illyes noted that Google uses sentiment analysis to evaluate off-site sentiment to inform their rankings.
This means that tracking linkless brand mentions and their associated sentiment can give SEOs an advantage over marketers who fail to track implied links.
How to use linkless mentions to optimize search rankings
Once you have a brand monitoring tool in your arsenal, it’s time to use the information you glean to direct campaigns that will build your online rankings and authority.
Fortunately, many of the strategies for linkless mentions will be the same as your traditional link building campaigns.
For example, let’s say you’re tracking your brand mentions and notice a recent negative review published on Yelp.
What can you do?
Well, when 68% of consumers will form an opinion about your local business after reading just 1-6 online reviews, you need to make every review (and response) count.
How you should respond depends on the review, but here are a few good rules of thumb from ReviewTrackers:
Resolve issues and provide solutions.
Reinforce the positive experiences the customer mentions.
Give a sincere apology as needed.
For instance, take this review from a disappointed customer flying JetBlue.
The TV screens were out in his row for the duration of the flight.
When he notified JetBlue via Twitter, JetBlue responded quickly to apologize and resolve the issue by offering a $15 credit to everyone in that row.
Keep in mind that responding to reviews and participating in conversations is not only a chance to say the right thing but to establish your brand’s voice.
Even though you’re communicating virtually, use these opportunities to show your brand’s human side.
In other words, don’t be a robot.
Whether you’re replying to a negative or positive comment, be personable.
Take JetBlue’s lead.
As SEO expands into brand management, you’ll notice a lot of overlap between teams in your marketing department.
SEO is no longer just about building backlinks and writing keyword-rich landing page copy.
Instead, off-page SEO is becoming just as important as on-page SEO.
To be successful, you’ll need to collaborate with rep managers, content marketers, social media marketers, and even your customer service team to execute a strong, cohesive campaign.
4. Optimize your content for voice search
Images aren’t the only places you can squeeze out more SEO value.
With the advancement of Siri, Google Assistant, and other smart AI systems, voice search has become increasingly common among mobile users.
In fact, as many as 40% of online adults use voice search at least once per day.
Some estimates are putting voice search at over one billion queries a month, and more than 50 million voice-activated devices were in circulation as of January 2018.
And voice search is just starting to take off. At least 20% of mobile searches are now voice searches.
This shift in the way users use and interact with search engines will inevitably affect SEO tactics.
Fortunately, for now, most of the strategies for regular SEO also apply to voice search optimization — but not all.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, including voice search optimization is a must.
How do search engines rank voice search results?
The first place to look to answer this question is Google. To understand how and where to optimize, you have to understand what Google is ranking.
Typically, Google voice search results tend to favor concise answers.
You can see in Google’s voice search rater guidelines that the emphasis is placed on how well the content meets the user’s need and whether or not it does so clearly and concisely.
These two goals are defined as “Needs Met” and “Speech Quality.”
Voice search rater guidelines: needs met
You can see above that the highest rated responses are those that fully (but concisely) answer the query.
In fact, Backlinko conducted a study of 10,000 voice search results and found that the average voice search answer is only 29 words.
Voice search rater guidelines: speech quality
Not only is Google looking for brief answers, but it also prefers easy-to-read content.
This means simple sentence structure and vocabulary. The average Google voice search result is written at a 9th-grade level.
So save the exposition for your great American novel.
How to optimize for voice search ranking factors
Based on the information above, you have to focus on content that is direct and clear.
An FAQ section is the most natural place to build out relevant answers to voice searches because FAQs contain direct questions with brief answers.
But you can also add questions to your landing pages to direct more voice searches to your site.
Sherry Bonelli, BrightLocal’s local search evangelist, says to “focus on those long-tail+ conversational keywords,” for FAQ pages.
The goal is to group common questions together on one page for natural-sounding questions and answers.
Another option would be to create long-form blog posts that answer a specific long-tail conversational keyword question.
The average word count for a results page is 2,312 words.
This doesn’t mean that the content length itself is a ranking factor for voice search. However, with long-form content comes greater opportunities to include relevant search terms.
This is likely why there is a high correlation between longer content and voice search results.
Capitalize on this trend by building out rich long-form content surrounding a central keyword topic.
MakeSpace jumped 65 positions in one day by creating long-form content.
And, MrGarageDoor.com went from zero to over 2,400 visits per month from creating long-form blog content.
The goal is to provide answers to questions your users are asking.
If you have a page full of content that doesn’t address what your users actually want to know, then it isn’t doing you any good.
SEO has a basic premise: build links and authority to rank in SERPs.
But with ever-changing algorithms, competing data, and hundreds of tools, strategies, and approaches, it’s easy to see how an SEO can get lost in the to-do lists.
I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.
Since SEO has a significant impact on business revenue, digital marketers can’t afford to overlook any strategies that provide added SEO value.
Optimize your image sizes to boost page speeds. Resize them as needed.
Add descriptive image file names to your images so that Google ranks them for keywords, too.
Use linkless mentions to build your ranking value.
Finally, be sure to optimize your site for voice search.
Though some of these hacks may seem deceptively simple, their combined value can have a profound effect on your overall rankings.
Be smart. Don’t let these SEO hacks pass you by.
What SEO strategies have you used to improve rankings?
The post 4 SEO Ideas You Overlooked That Will Skyrocket Your Rankings appeared first on Neil Patel.
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Google Analytics is a staple in every experienced digital marketer’s set of tools.
That’s primarily because it provides a wealth of data, covering virtually everything you might want to know about how visitors interact with your site.
But it’s only useful to your business if you can use that data to draw actionable conclusions about your audience.
One of the best ways to do that is by using the Cohort Analysis report in Google Analytics.
The Cohort Analysis report tells you how well your website is performing. And, it gives you in-depth insights into user behavior on your site.
If you’re unfamiliar with this report, you’re not alone.
Cohort Analysis is an underrated report but one that analyzes trends and patterns in user behavior to help you understand who is converting and who is not.
What is a cohort analysis?
To understand what a cohort analysis is, it’s necessary to define a “cohort” first.
This term refers to a subset of people grouped together because of a shared value.
Google defines it as a group of users who share a common characteristic, identified by an Analytics dimension.
A cohort analysis, then, is the process of analyzing the behavior of groups of users.
You can compare groups to one another and look for differences and trends.
If you identify any patterns, it can help you determine which changes and behavioral differences led to different results.
To be clear, this process is not unique to digital marketing. You can run a cohort analysis to compare many different types of groups.
In fact, the term originates from medical studies, in which researchers compare groups of people like smokers and non-smokers to identify differences between the two.
When it comes to your site, however, the cohort possibilities are limited to the data you can collect from your visitors while they browse.
For example, cohorts in Google Analytics are grouped based on Acquisition Date, or the users’ first visit to your site.
And this cohort type can be extremely helpful in giving context to data.
Analyzing specific segments, instead of your audience as a whole, will give you a clearer idea of what makes a great customer for your business.
A cohort analysis also goes beyond basic data points to suggest the reasons for changes in your site visitors’ behavior.
As a result, comparing cohorts can help you learn more about what influences specific behaviors and the impact your marketing campaigns and strategies have.
For example, when the children’s online clothing store Spearmint LOVE wanted to identify trends on their site, they created several cohort analysis reports based on first purchase date.
Using this analysis, they were able to determine how long the average visitor would continue to return to their site, as well as the average time between purchases.
They also used this insight to break their cohorts into “custom windows” based on the different purchasing behaviors of moms during pregnancy and the first few years of their children’s lives.
This way, they could more accurately predict what the cohorts’ next purchase might be, then base their ad campaign content and timing on those predictions.
And while this was only one of several strategies Spearmint LOVE used to improve their marketing, the end result was 991% YoY growth from 2015 to 2016.
How to run a cohort analysis in Google Analytics
Running a cohort analysis in Google Analytics is a fairly simple process.
Under the Audience Tab, select Cohort Analysis.
By default, the main dashboard for this report will show a graph with your site’s Acquisition Date cohorts by User Retention.
In this case, Day 0 represents each user’s first visit to your site, and the subsequent days show whether they returned.
If you notice a decline in this chart, don’t be alarmed.
Cohorts inevitably drop over time as users stop returning to your site.
Maintaining a steady flow of return visitors is challenging for even the most experienced marketers — so don’t be surprised if this number gradually declines for most of your cohorts.
Below this chart, the report will also display a table showing your site’s user retention, divided into groups based on the date of users’ first visits.
In this case, each row represents a different cohort of users by Acquisition Date.
If you notice that any rows show significantly different retention rates from the rest, this can be a great starting point for analysis.
This is especially true if you run any major marketing campaigns.
For example, a high-performing cohort can indicate that the campaign you ran that day was particularly effective at attracting engaged traffic.
Then, at the top of this dashboard, you can adjust the data included in your report.
Right now, the only Cohort Type available is Acquisition Date or the date of a user’s first visit to your site.
But you can adjust the Cohort Size to reflect groups of users by day, week, or month.
This is especially helpful if you launch and run new campaigns on a timeline that meets one of these durations.
Next, you can choose from a few different metrics by which to analyze your cohort.
The default metric is user retention, which shows the percentage of a cohort that returns on subsequent days following their original visit.
If one of your primary goals is increasing your overall traffic and maintaining a steady flow of return visitors, this report can be extremely helpful.
But for most site owners, the next two sets provide more valuable insights as they relate to the actions a user takes beyond simply visiting your site.
The “Per User” set of metrics will show the average number of actions each member of a cohort took on your site, including:
Goal Completions per user
Pageviews per user
Session Duration per user
Sessions per user
Transactions per user
So instead of analyzing your cohorts based on whether they consistently return to your site, you can focus on the actions that have an impact on your most important goals.
The next set of metrics is similar, but instead of showing an average per user, it will show the total for the metric of your choice, including:
Finally, you can adjust the date range of your report to include data from the previous week, two weeks, three weeks, or month.
The range you choose depends on the scope of data you want to analyze, as well as the size of your cohort.
After all, one week may provide plenty of data if your cohorts are broken down by day, but you’ll need to select a larger date range for any larger cohorts.
So, that’s the basic process of accessing data for a particular cohort on your site.
But how is this information valuable?
1. Use additional segments to learn more about your audience
The fact that the current setup only allows you to create cohorts based on Acquisition Date may seem like a limitation.
Fortunately, you can use additional segments to segment your data further. In fact, Analytics currently allows for up to four segments in the cohort analysis report.
As you add new segments, each one will appear in a new table below the “All Sessions” table.
For example, you can dig deeper into your cohort analysis by segmenting mobile traffic vs. all traffic.
And, you’ll receive a comparison chart like this.
And, if you scroll down to the columns, you can see the data for the individual cohorts.
This report shows that 3.98% of the 125,499 desktop users who signed up the week of April 1 – April 7 came back on Week 1, 2.41% came back on Week 2, 2.05% on Week 3.
And, when you compare that to mobile, you’ll see that desktop is still retaining users better than mobile.
But beyond the pre-set options, you can also apply any custom segments you’ve created in Analytics.
This means you can use the cohort analysis report to access data on sets of users you’ve already identified as valuable for your site.
For example, below you can see a comparison between a site’s visitors who signed up for a free trial and those who downloaded a whitepaper.
Regardless of the segments you use, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any that perform significantly differently from the “All Sessions” report.
This will help you identify groups of users that differ from the average user’s behavior, either in positive or negative ways.
If a group performs better, by returning to your site at higher rates for instance, then you’ll want to dig into the potential causes for that difference.
Then, you can use this insight to replicate that behavior across other segments of your traffic.
2. Gauge responses to short-term marketing efforts
The cohort analysis report can also be helpful for analyzing how your audience responds to short-term marketing efforts, like email campaigns.
With each email you send, you reach a slightly different set of users — and monitoring the behavior of the users you reach as a result can be a great way to gauge your success.
As long as you use UTM tracking for your campaigns, you can do this by creating a new segment within the cohort analysis report, and selecting “Traffic Sources” from the left column.
Enter your campaign’s parameters, then compare this segment to your site’s overall traffic.
So, for example, if you run an email campaign for three days offering a 25% discount, you can track the behavior of users who used the discount during this period.
If the users you reached with your campaign performed better for your target metric, this is a solid indicator that it was effective in reaching the kind of traffic and customers you want.
3. Learn about e-commerce shopping habits
One of the best features of the Cohort Analysis report is the inclusion of e-commerce-specific data, including revenue per user, transactions per user, total revenue.
Looking at transactions per user by acquisition date can show the average amount of time it takes for a user to make a purchase.
In the following report, for example, purchases spiked five days after the acquisition date.
Of course, it’s important to consider factors that could’ve caused this spike, like a promotion or remarketing campaign.
But this data can give you a stronger understanding of your audience’s purchasing behavior and the average time it takes them to make a decision.
You can also take things a step further by cross-referencing this data with the Lifetime Value (LTV) report.
For example, let’s say you notice in a cohort analysis that over the span of a 12-week campaign, you saw significant drop-offs in user retention in weeks five and 11.
You can hop over to the LTV report for the same time frame, then determine if there are any channels or campaigns seeing the same low-performing weeks.
To access this data, select LifeTime Value from the Audience menu.
Then, you’ll need to decide which metric you want to use to determine the value of your users. For e-commerce sites, this will likely be revenue per user.
Then, you can sort your data by acquisition channel, source, medium, or campaign.
This can give you an idea of which channels you need to improve to eliminate drop-offs in site performance and increase your user retention and revenue.
4. Use annotations to monitor impact
As you analyze your cohort reports, it’s essential to keep in mind any factors that could be impacting the data you see.
Fortunately, you can make annotations to keep track of these factors and easily see the dates of specific events, campaigns, and site changes.
For example, the following chart shows three significant events for a company’s marketing efforts.
In this case, it shows the date on which the agency had an article published on a third-party platform.
A few days later, they saw a significant jump in traffic.
And while this could be confusing while looking at the cohort analysis report alone, the annotation ensures that users looking at this data don’t forget to consider that significant factor and analyze the data accordingly.
5. Save reports for your most important cohorts
If you plan to use the Cohort Analysis feature frequently, saving your reports is an excellent way to save time.
It also ensures that you’re consistently looking at the same data sets so that you don’t draw any inaccurate conclusions simply because a setting in your report is slightly different.
You can save a report by clicking the “Save” button at the top of your dashboard and creating a name.
This will keep all customizations intact, including advanced segments, secondary dimensions, and sorting — so that the next time you want to use the cohort analysis feature, you won’t need to waste any time recreating your data set.
Drawing actionable conclusions from Google Analytics data can be challenging, even for experienced marketers.
The amount of data the platform provides is extremely valuable — but the sheer volume can make it difficult to sort through the noise and find the metrics you can use to improve your site’s performance.
So if you’re looking for a way to segment your data into more manageable chunks, the cohort analysis feature is a great way to focus in on specific subsets of your audience.
You can use it to learn more about segments you’ve already created and see how their behavior differs from other segments, as well as your site’s traffic as a whole.
It’s also useful for gauging responses to specific campaigns, learning more about e-commerce shoppers’ behavior, and monitoring the impact of any other significant events related to your business.
And considering how underutilized this report is, you can consider it your secret weapon for analyzing your site’s performance and gaining the kind of insight that your competitors might be missing out on.
How do you use the Cohort Analysis report for your site?
The post How to Run a Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics to Better Segment Your Traffic appeared first on Neil Patel.
Read more: neilpatel.com
I received an email from a reader named John asking a fairly common question.
So instead of just replying to him personally (which I did as well) I’ve decided to write the answer up as a post so anyone reading can benefit.
John asked “What Are The Most Profitable Niches For Affiliate Marketing?”
It’s one of those questions that is kind of tricky to answer as almost any niche that has a lot of buyers and affiliate products to sell can be insanely profitable if done correctly.
However we will look at 3 different ‘niche types’ in this post which are VERY profitable for affiliate marketing purposes…
Here’s What You’ll Learn:
The 3 main evergreen markets that are always profitable so you never waste your time on unprofitable affiliate niches.
Why passion and hobby based niches make such great niches.
High payout niches that pay you up to $5,000 commission and have low refund rates.
Why promoting high end offers is no more hard work than promoting a $7 ebook and yet brings in much more profit.
To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…
Get Laid, Paid & Live Forever?
If you’re ever wondering if a niche that’s not listed here is profitable just ask yourself this question…
“Is this niche about someone getting laid, paid or trying to live forever?”
What do I mean by that?
Basically, the most lucrative markets that are evergreen and always profitable are ones involving dating / romance / relationships (laid), wealth / money / jobs / finance (paid) or health / fitness / illness (living forever).
Because that’s something that EVERY ONE on the planet wants, including you and me.
So if it falls into the laid, paid or live forever category you can bet it’s profitable.
1. The Big and Always Profitable Evergreen Markets: Health, Wealth and Romance
These markets are evergreen and profitable and forever will be.
The health market includes niches such as diets and weight loss, embarrassing problems, quit smoking and medical issues to name but a few.
EuroMonitor report that the health and wellness industry will be worth $1 trillion globally in 2017.
We found out the Nootropics industry (smart drugs for brain function) was worth over $1 trillion too.
And Diabetes.org report that over $322 billion is spent in America on it every year.
Meaning there’s a lot of money around for the taking, if you’re willing to help these people get fit and healthy.
Or keep scrolling for more health niches…
The niches in health never slow down as people are always looking for the next best thing for fat loss, health improvement and much more.
Here are some more examples….
And there are some good reasons to get involved with the health niche as you’ll see below…
Health Affiliate Programs
Silver Blade Brands (Male Enhancers): 40% commissions with lifetime cookies.
Bodybuilding.com (Bodybuilding Supplements): 15% commissions with 9 day cookies.
Nutracash (Supplements and male enhancers): Commissions range based on products and sales
Panic Away (Panic Attacks and Anxiety Disorders): 41$ Per Sale
(RELATED: Learn how to profit from affiliate marketing with step by step blueprints and execution plans in NicheHacks Insider)
Reasons To Get Involved In Health Niches
Products and information can cost up to hundreds of dollars and some even cost thousands and up (think treadmills and machines).
This is a market that has many niches with passionate people who put health first so you can expect big spenders.
Many health niches are ongoing, so that means repeat purchases are going to be made.
Now let’s look at the MONEY niches…
Wealth covers internet marketing, Forex, gambling, lottery, jobs and employment, affiliate marketing, multi level marketing, business opportunities and more.
The online business industry in the UK alone is worth £100bn according to The Guardian, that’s twice as large as the hotel and restaurant industry.
Then the gambling industry is worth over $35.5 billion US dollars according to StatisticsBrain.
And the Forex industry trades over $5.1 trillion per day according to Wiki.
Are you beginning to see how lucrative some of these can be?
Look at these niche ideas…
There are lots of good reasons to get into these niches which I’ll cover in just a second…
Wealth Affiliate Programs
B Passive Income (50% commissions)
Excellerate Associates (20% commissions)
BitBond (50% commissions, 90-day cookies)
SolerInvestment (50% commissions)
And the romance niches are also a good choice which we’re about to uncover below…
Reasons To Get Involved In Wealth Niches
Many wealth niches require people to spend money and products / information can range anywhere from a couple bucks to hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
People are always looking for ways to make money so they will not stop looking, which means ongoing success for you as a marketer.
Many of the wealth niches are expensive and need ongoing purchases as people can be obsessed with getting the most up to date and complete information.
And the romance niches are also a good choice which we’re about to uncover below…
Romance & Dating Niches
Romance obviously refers to online dating, attracting members of the opposite sex, pick up, finding a husband / wife, getting your ex back and many more.
StasticsBrain reports that 49,250,00 people in the USA alone have tried online dating, showing the huge demand.
Marriage Counselling costs up yo $200 an hour on average according to SelfGrowth, which shows just how lucrative it is.
And Neil Strauss sold 2,5 million copies of his “pick up artist” book The Game and he’s just one of thousands of well known “pick up artists” and writers on the subject.
Does this show you how popular and lucrative these niches can be?
Just take some of these other niches for example…
And you know what, there are good reasons below to be in these niches…
Romance Affiliate Programs
Affiliate2day (25% commissions, $8 per lead offer)
David Wygant Dating Coach (50% commissions with recurring income on products)
Cupid (135$ per order)
Sexy Confidence ($99 Average payout per sale)
Kasidie (35% recurring monthly commissions as long as your referral is a member)
(RELATED: Discover the 7+ different affiliate marketing business blueprints in NicheHacks Insider)
Reasons To Get Involved In romance Niches
People are passionate about finding a companion so they are willing to spend constantly to learn the skills required.
Dating is evergreen and is of interest to picking a demographic and marketing to them is all that’s left for you to do.
Plenty of other websites in this market so limitless connections to influencers and traffic for you.
Then check out these niches…
2. Hobby and Activities That People Spend Loads of Money In
Hobbies and activities are also stupidly profitable if you target the ones where the customers have a lot of money to spend on their passion.
When something makes someone feel happy or gives them pleasure they will spend money on it over and over again.
Hobbies, sports, travel and other activities fit into this category perfectly.
Think of expensive activities like golf, sailing, fishing, travel, hunting.
And expensive holidays and travel like cruises, safaris, round the world trip.
Some interesting statistics for you…
Forbes.com report the Golf industry alone is worth $70 billion.
And $22.9+ billion a year is spent on hunting according to HuntingBusinessMarketing.
Both are dwarfed by the online travel booking industry which has online booking revenues of $498bn according to StatisticBrain.
People are forever buying new equipment, tools and gear for their passions.
They need accessories, they are willing to pay for training and guides or things that promise to make them even better at their activity of choice.
They will spend, spend, spend if it makes them feel good and happy.
Endless sub-niches to be explored and no shortage of both digital and physical products available to promote as an affiliate.
Which is why hobby and activities are crazily profitable.
Do you see the potential for you to get involved?
Then keep reading for more ideas…
Examples Of Hobby Niches
Hobby Affiliate Programs
Levenhuk (Telescopes, 20% commissions)
MakerBot (3D Printing, 8% commissions)
Cabela’s Sporting and Hunting (3% commissions)
WoodenWidget (Pay-Per-Sale 30% for each sale you deliver)
NitroTek (10% commissions)
Need proof that some of these weirder hobby niches like Woodwork, Survival and Steampunk are profitable too?
Here it is….
Teds Woodworking (Monthly Woodworking Plans) has consistently been one of the top selling products on Clickbank for years.
CBEngine say it’s the #1 selling product in the Home & Garden category for the past 5 years.
We discussed how SurvivalLife.com does over $1 million dollar in sales EVERY month here.
And there’s 347 products on Clickbank in the Survival niche alone…
Showing there’s a HIGH demand for products in the niche.
That doesn’t count the other 240,000+ on Amazon.
A weird one yet totally popular as we found out here.
And just look at how many products the niche has on Amazon…
Yep, that’s over 200,000 products just on Amazon for this weird niche.
And these products sell too, you can tell by the volume of reviews on Amazon.
And there are more lucrative niches covered below…
3. High Paying Affiliate Products and Services That Pay Up To $5,000
This includes pay day (and most other type of) loans, private jet charter, yacht rental, online casinos, luxury goods such as watches, handbags and jewelry, travel, home design blueprints and an almost endless list of others.
It takes just as much time and effort to promote a $7 eBook as it does a luxury yacht program or private jet charter that pays hundreds to thousands of dollars in commission per sale
And you don’t need to make many sales to make a serious profit.
The refund rate on high end products is much lower than on $7 eBooks too.
People don’t make rash decisions when spending thousands so if they buy something they usually plan to see the purchase through.
People who buy high end goods don’t have money problems so they’ve no problem spending their cash on luxuries.
These are recession proof niches.
Consider watches and jewelry…
There are over 1.2 billion watched sold annually according to StasticBrain.
If you could sell to just 0.1% of that audience, how would that be?
Or payday loans…
The payday loan niche is reported to be worth over 2.2 billion.
That’s just in the UK alone and doesn’t factor in the USA or Global costs, it will be even higher.
With products like pay day loans there’s no shortage of people needing money and those who borrow once are likely to do so again.
If you’re bad with money you’re likely forever bad with money.
People who are bad with money tend to forever be bad with money so they always need help.
Are you seeing the potential here to help them and make money for yourself?
And remember, as we discussed earlier…
The gambling industry is worth over $35.5 billion US dollars according to StatisticsBrain.
Gamblers rarely quit so they’ll be back time and time again to hunt out the new ‘lucky’ casino and grab that new bonus.
And with many casinos paying affiliates a percentage of a players life time losses you continue to get paid month after month.
And look at this interesting niche…
With the home design blueprints (http://www.homeplans.com/ sell PDFs for $1,000+) you’re targeting a luxury niche as only the seriously rich can afford to build a custom house from scratch.
If you’d prefer to follow money over passion then definitely pick a niche that fits into one of the criteria above.
All have endless customers, are high ticket, and are hugely lucrative.
High Paying Affiliate Programs
Finishline Loans ($1000 per customer)
Regal Assets (3% commissions)
Colmex ($1000, 3% each deposit)
(RELATED: Want to learn how to make income with affiliate marketing? Then check out NicheHacks Insider)
Take Action And Pick Your Niche
All of these major markets have near endless sub-niches to be explored and are definitely VERY profitable because people are desperate for solutions to their problems and willing to pay for them.
Most of the consumers are looking for a ‘magic bullet’ (or magic pill in the case of weight loss) and aren’t really willing to put the effort into losing weight for example.
And still for those who are serious about trying not every product will be a good fit for them.
Meaning, either way, they’ll try multiple products before finding the right one.
So they will buy products over and over again from you.
There’s no end of affiliate products to promote both digital and physical either in many of these niches.
So definitely highly profitable as I’m sure you can see.
You could start a blog, create an affiliate site, start an email list or any number of other business models.
Before you go let’s wrap things up below…
(RELATED: Discover how to find the most lucrative affiliate products on the net with NicheHacks Insider)
The big evergreen niches of health, wealth and romance will never be out of demand.
People ALWAYS have problems they want solved and rather than work hard at it they’d prefer to buy a product and hope it performs magic for them.
People will never give up things that make them happy so hobby and activities are always going to be around and there’s always some new equipment or gear to buy that promises to make them better.
You’ll forever have both rich people who have an endless amount of money to spend on high end goods and poor people who are constantly seeking money who turn to loan companies and gambling.
So whilst there’s no 1 niche that is the ‘most profitable’ for affiliate marketing (or any other) purposes if you want to get involved in big money niches then pick one of these three niche types.
Just don’t forget the most lucrative niches that are ALWAYS in demand are the ones that fall into the…
‘Laid, paid and live forever’ categories (relationships, money, health).
So if you’re ever wondering whether a niche is profitable just ask yourself if your idea fits into any of those categories.
Chelsea also wrote a post here on how to find your niche’s best selling products so the possibilities are really endless.
You can also check out our 7 steps to finding your profitable niche.
Hope that answers your question John. Here’s to getting laid, paid and living forever!
To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…
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The post Reader Q&A: What Are The Most Profitable Niches For Affiliate Marketing? appeared first on NicheHacks.
Read more: nichehacks.com