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  • SEO Website Redesign – A Guaranteed Checklist on How to Not Lose Your Rankings

    An SEO website redesign is not a walk in the park, and it could easily become an SEO disaster if you don’t do it right. Any change you make to your website’s redesign can cause traffic loss and make your current site not so very “search engine ranking” friendly.   Maybe you want to switch […]

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SEO Website Redesign – A Guaranteed Checklist on How to Not Lose Your Rankings

An SEO website redesign is not a walk in the park, and it could easily become an SEO disaster if you don’t do it right. Any change you make to your website’s redesign can cause traffic loss and make your current site not so very “search engine ranking” friendly.

 

Maybe you want to switch to https, you want to go international, or maybe you just want to start a rebranding strategy. Whatever you do, you want your link juice, rankings and traffic to remain the same. And, when you’ve put a lot of SEO effort into your site, you wouldn’t want all that hard work to be in vain, would you?

 

And because we know how much our beloved cognitivies treasure their work, we came up with a list of the exact steps you should follow for a successful SEO website redesign. To get the full SEO website redesign checklist, click on the button below. You will get a Step-by-Step Checklist Spreadsheet you can fill up for successful rankings and traffic and why not, for great SEO strategies.

 

website redesign SEO

 

You might be tempted to say: “Do I really need to worry that much about my site redesign? Will it really affect my rankings and traffic? As long as I have great web developers, awesome onpage optimization, I did lots of SEO audits and I have a shipshape content marketing; what can go wrong within a simple website relaunch?”

 

If this kind of thoughts crosses your mind, I invite you to take a look at the screenshots below, documented by Glenn Gabes in a related post.

 

website redesign traffic

 

Makes you wonder, right? We don’t want to scare you and make you run away from any form of online marketing; we just want to make you aware of the attention you need to treat the website redesign SEO process. Below you can find the full list of steps you need to take for a successful redesign or migration.

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

 

PRE-LAUNCH

  1. Have a Temporary Dev URL
  2. Create a New Robots.txt File
  3. Benchmark Current Search Engine Metrics
  4. Check If Your Server Supports the New Design
  5. Crawl the Old Site and Audit It
  6. Make a List of Your Backlinks
  7. Check for Blank / Doorway Pages
  8. Check for Remaining Template Pages
  9. Avoid Deleting Old Content
  10. Keyword Mapping/Remapping
  11. One Topic/Keyword per Page
  12. Proofread Your Content
  13. Search Engine Friendly URLs
  14. Verify Previously Owned Domain
  15. 301 URL Mapping (Prepare a Redirect List)
  16. Add/Update All HTML Annotations
  17. Check External/Internal Linking
  18. Prepare an Old and a New Sitemap
  19. Check Mobile Compatibility
  20. Check Pagespeed Insights
  21. Check Image Size
  22. Consider AMP and Instant Articles
  23. Check Microdata Implementation (or Consider Adding It)
  24. Check Cookie Law
  25. Check Legal Compliance Pages
  26. Check Contact and About Pages
  27. Check the 404 Page
  28. Remove Meta Keywords
  29. Share Buttons
  30. Subscribe Buttons

LAUNCH

  1. Visually Inspect (Test) Your New Site
  2. Get a Warning Message Ready
  3. Set Up a Monitoring Plan
  4. Tracking Codes Placement/Remplacement
  5. Set Analytics Goals
  6. The Time You Launch
  7. Post the New Version
  8. Remove Password
  9. Check Robots.txt
  10. Set Up the 301 Redirects (Without Domain Change)
  11. Set Up the 301 Redirects (with Domain Change)
  12. Review Search Console Settings
  13. Disavow Files
  14. Reindex Site from Search Console
  15. Annotate the Site Launch in Google Analytics

POST LAUNCH

  1. Check Search Console Errors
  2. Crawl the New Site and Audit It
  3. Compare the Results
  4. Check Your Server Logs
  5. Update Social Media Website URL
  6. Match Social Media Designs with the Website
  7. Monitor Your Website Thoroughly
  8. Check Number of Pages Indexed
  9. Make Sure All Wanted Pages Are Indexable
  10. Monitor the Cache Date of Indexed URLs
  11. Clean Up New Domain
  12. Update Backlinks
  13. Check and Compare Search Traffic
  14. Compare Your SEO Visibility

Conclusion

PRE LAUNCH

1. Have a Temporary Dev URL

First thing on the SEO redesign checklist is to create a temporary development URL. A temporary development URL can save you in the pre-launch phase. If you don’t want to risk getting your site indexed, you should develop a site on a different URL, like a subdomain. Make sure you protect it by using a password. If your site already got indexed, there’s no reason to block it anymore. When it’s ready, change the domain to the “real” URL and go live.

Temporary development URL

You can set a subdomain to work on. In the cPanel of your Web Host Manager find Subdomains, and add a subdomain. A new folder will be created, and you will be able to upload your work via FTP or the cPanel built in File Manager. To password protect it, find the option Password Protect Directories, select your Subdomain folder and add a password. When trying to access the URL, a login popup will show up in your browser.

2. Create a New Robots.txt File

Secondly on the pre-launch SEO checklist, you need to create a new robots.txt file.

 

A robots.txt file is essential in the pre-launch phase because it gives instructions to web robots about your site. You have to place this code in the top-level directory of your web server to block the robots from getting information: User-agent: * Disallow: / The “User-agent: *” means it is applied to all robots and “Disallow: /” means they cannot visit any pages on the site. There are cases when the robots can ignore the robots.txt file. They could scan your website for security vulnerabilities. So don’t try to hide information. Other examples for creating your robots.txt file based on how much access you offer:

  • Allow all robots complete access:

User-agent: * Disallow:

  • Exclude all robots from a part of the server:

User-agent: * Disallow: /cgi-bin/ Disallow: /tmp/ Disallow: /junk/

  • Exclude a single robot:

User-agent: SingleBot Disallow: /

  • Allow a single robot

User-agent: Google Disallow: User-agent: * Disallow: /

  • Exclude all files except one

User-agent: * Disallow: /~john/folder/

  • Or disallow all disallowed pages:

User-agent: * Disallow: /~john/cars.html Disallow: /~john/bicycles.htm 

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

3. Benchmark Current Search Engine Metrics

A lot of SEO specialists make website audits before any major change. It is recommended to benchmark your current performance process in order not to lose SEO efforts. You can compare your engine metrics with the data before and after you launch your site. Google Analytics gives you the possibility to compare your data with the industry best performance. If you can’t see your benchmark data, you should enable this feature. First, you need to Sign into your account, then select Admin tab, click account settings (under Account), select Benchmarking checkbox and then save. After you follow all the steps, you can see a Benchmarking Dashboard similar to the next screenshot:

Analytics Bechmarking

You can extract and visualize the following metrics from Google:

 

  • Analytics in the Benchmarking section:
  • Sessions (i.e. number of sessions);
  • % New Sessions;
  • New Sessions (i.e. number of sessions from new users);
  • Pages / Session;
  • Avg. Session Duration;
  • Bounce Rate.

4. Check If Your Server Supports the New Design

Checking if your server supports the news design implies a functionality testing in software and hardware. A software testing is used to check whether the application performs or not according to the design specifications. A hardware testing involves the verification of the composition of the actual hardware components of the server.

Functionality testing in software certifies that the core applications are fully functional after localization.

In the process of website redesign, when you change your website from a server to another one with different specifications you should keep your website in testing mode until you see the tasks work properly without any errors: the core applications respond to requests, the shop orders and sending/receiving emails run without a problem. For example, most redesigns include new plugins like Woocommerce (for WordPress) which requires more PHP memory. Make sure your server can handle it.

5. Crawl the Old Site and Audit It

In the pre-launch phase, you should start an audit of your old site architecture to get the full picture of how your site’s structure looks like. You can make a website audit using lots of tools. A few examples you can find here. Before making a redesign or a migration, you need to crawl your site to gather all the metadata and URLs to identify the required adjustments. Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler that can analyze, audit and review your website from an SEO perspective. A free option is combining Screaming Frog with Xenu Link Sleuth. Xenu only checks for broken links, but you can upload the list of links to Screaming Frog, which offers unlimited crawling when a list of URLs is provided. To finish this step – Crawling and Making a website audit – you should take the next actions:

  • Fix broken links: You need to check your broken internal and external inbound links and then fix them all.
  • Check important SEO elements: Check to see if you have missing title tags, meta descriptions, image alt descriptions
  • Use unique titles: All your meta descriptions, headings and title tags must be unique, so verify them and fix those which are duplicated.

6. Make a List of Your Backlinks

Your inbound links are valuable; they bring visitors to your site and help you to rank better in SERP. Creating a list with these links would act as a backup. It will be very useful because you can keep a record of your backlinks. If you change your domain, you will see only the backlinks you receive after the launching phase. Make an account on CognitiveSEO tool to see your links. Below you have a screenshot from the tool with the backlinks for a site.

Backlinks list CognitiveSEO

You can see the table in the InBound Link Analysis dashboard. Besides the head columns you can see in the picture (links status, link anchor text, link influence, web page type), you can choose from a large list which other features and metrics to analyze. At the bottom of the list, you have the Export to CSV option. Click it to download the list of your current backlinks.

7. Check for Blank / Doorway Pages

You can use crawling software to see if you have blank pages. Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool is a great example. It is not OK to have blank pages, but sometimes this happens, especially when you create a URL structure in CMS, such as WordPress. The doorway pages are a black hat SEO technique (that can destroy your current SEO efforts), but there are cases when that happens without your consent. For example, if you have a site that offers services to a worldwide market and you have a Service page with the same content for each city you risk falling into a trap. The pages that have similar content and the only element that’s different is the name of the city (such as “/services/new-york”, “/services/chicago”, “/services/miami”) should be changed, preferably compiled into a single page where users can select their city from a drop-down.

8. Check for Remaining Template Pages

There are lots of situations when the owner of a site saw a template on the web and wanted exactly that one. All those preset templates have their unique structure, with elements you could use and elements you could not. If, by mistake, you used a template of this kind and had other templates left they could easily mix and pass unnoticed along other pages. If you don’t want that to happen to you, please check your website for remaining template pages. Even though you didn’t notice them, the search engines will.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

9. Avoid Deleting Old Content

Old content shouldn’t be deleted. Everybody wrote content at some point that could use a little improvement in the present. Online, you can find lots of blog posts that are out the date. Instead of deleting old content, the best thing you could do now is to improve it. You can even find ways to repurpose your content. Content is a core element for SEO, and if you delete pieces of your content, you could end up with a blog that has content from one or two years ago. It’s like you would delete all the history you gathered. Not to mention that the backlinks you have received for that content will lead to broken links. And as top content can be a great link building strategy and could do great to organic search, you wouldn’t want to loose all of it, do you?

Old blog posts or articles should stay where they are.

Make use of your old content. It is easier to improve the content you already have than to write completely new content, find a proper keyword to rank for and optimize it.

10. Keyword Mapping/Remapping

A keyword mapping is a way of organizing your keywords. You can create a keyword map by yourself. Take a look at the picture below to see an example of a keyword map:

Keyword Map

Source: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/KeywordMap.jpg

First, make a list with of 100 high ranking pages and place them in a spreadsheet. After that, write the core keyword for each article and the monthly searches volume (you will find that in Keyword Planner). Then you need to make a research for possible keywords for each page. Write the monthly searches volume for each keyword. It will be a starting point if you want to make improvements, assign keywords to pages and make historical optimization in the future. It is recommended to do that to verify your keyword strategy. You should check the keywords in high ranking articles for better search visibility and also you should take into consideration local search as well. 

11. One Topic/Keyword per Page

For increasing your ranking in SERP, you need to optimize each article for a keyword. Your ranking depends on its authority and relevancy. The authority gives strengths to the article, and the relevancy is based on the pages you optimized for one keyword. If your landing page, site content, and links correspond to your keyword, then that page is relevant. Check every page to see if you’ve defined a core keyword for each piece of content. Make sure you focus your content on a single keyword and its variation to do semantic content optimization. Make sure your pages don’t address more than one topic/keyword per page, otherwise the authority for the respective keyword will be diluted.

12. Proofread Your Content

If you want to do things in a professional way you should always proofread your content. Proofreading might be an exhausting job but it is better to spend a few extra hours to make sure you haven’t written something that could quickly turn into a fiasco. Along the way, you can use tools to make the process easier. Grammarly is a tool you can use to check grammar errors or any other writing flaws. It has a plagiarism detector, too.

Words are a powerful tool if you know to combine them in a smart way.

13. Search Engine Friendly URLs

You need to check your URLs to verify if you’ve included query parameters in the URL structure. This is an example of a URL with dynamic queries:

URL-structure-query-parameter

Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-4ZilHEohMHE/Vpot9PAXBvI/AAAAAAAADE8/_31afn0kcRU/s1600/url-structure-query-parameter-2.jpg

It is hard for the Googlebot to understand what the URL is about. It might be difficult for the visitors to save it or use it as a source. On top of all that, it is not aesthetic. Take the next tips to improve your URL structure and make it more search engine friendly:

  • use dashes (-) instead or underscores (_);
  • make it shorter;
  • use the keyword.

14. Verify Previously Owned Domain

Another important step on the prelaunch website redesign SEO checklist is to do a thorough check up if you have purchased an expired domain or simply a previously owned domain. There are some important additional steps you should take.

 

First, you should transfer Search Console ownership. You need to log in the Search Console with a Gmail address and then add a website property. Then you will need to follow the same instructions as you did when you verified your first site ownership. After that, you’ll receive all the data. The second thing you need to do is to check the backlink profile of the previous domain. As I mention before, you can use the cognitiveSEO inBound Link Analysis tool to verify the backlink profile of the new domain. In the tool, you can see the natural and unnatural links. Do a thorough check of the unnatural links to see if they are relevant to the site or not. Then delete the ones that are harmful. In case the domain is entirely new, it is not necessary to verify your backlink profile. If it’s an expired domain previously owned by someone else, it is recommended to verify your backlink profile. Check the next screenshot from the tool to see where you can find the unnatural link detection:

Unnatural Link Detection

The third thing you should do is to take action against a spammy backlink profile. You shouldn’t close the tool just yet. Enter the Unnatural Links Navigator, filter the links to see only the ones with unnatural and suspect label. Check the next screenshot from the tool to see how the unnatural detector displays information for each link:

Suspect links example

If you received this message: “This site has a highly unnatural link profile, and it’s likely to be already penalized by Google. You should use the Link Navigator to mark the unnatural links for Disavow or removal” you have found a highly unnatural link profile. Then you can prepare a disavow file right from the tool to submit it to Google. You can choose to keep some links that are marked as unnatural if you know they are natural. Make sure you reclassify them as natural. You can also start manually trying to remove the spam links by outreaching to the linking websites and asking them to remove the link. This is a time-consuming process, and it will be reminded in the Post-launch section. If this is the case, we strongly recommend choosing another domain. The last action you need to take is to clear any previous URL removals. In case the site you’ve purchased had a previous owner you need to check if there aren’t any URL removals left. Everyone has an “about me” or a “contact us” page. You should pay attention to those pages, in particular. Log in the Search Console and go to the URL Removal tool. You can see in the below picture an example of a URL removal.

Remove URL in Search Console

Source: http://www.seoofblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/paste-your-url.png

15. 301 URL Mapping (Prepare a Redirect List)

This is by far the most important step of the redesign. If your pages suffered URL structure changes, i.e. from .html to non .html or if you removed “_”, write them down in a spreadsheet. You can see an example of a spreadsheet of this kind in the next picture:

URL mapping

Source: https://disqus-cloudfront.s3.amazonaws.com/docs/spreadsheet-example.png

One column should contain the old URL, and the next one should contain the new, updated URL. An example of a tool that can help you with this is textmechanic.co to assist you in rewriting and sorting the URLs. You can do it in the .htaccess file, but there are also plugins for CMS such as WordPress. Don’t mix up 301 with canonical tags, as they are different things. Another example of a tool where you can do URL mapping is the one offered by Hubspot. To finish this step you need to follow the next actions:

  • Write the 301 redirects: In case some of the URLs have changed, write the 301 redirect, from the old to the new version. If your website has a new domain, you have to note your redirects. Be careful to the chain redirects.
  • Prioritize the URLs: Start with your most valuable URLs. The most important ones are those with the higher traffic. Enter Google Analytics into the Behaviour section, and then you will see All pages. There is a list of the most accessed pages. You can order the list by Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, and other metrics.
  • Use a CMS if possible: CMS stands for content management system. WordPress, Joomla or Blogger are just a few examples of CMS. It is easier to write and to make changes. Also, a CMS provides an easy way to to get a listing of all URLs that host site content. If you have WordPress, you can install Simple 301 Redirects plugin to make the process easier.
  • Check URLs in server log: Check your server logs for URLs that were visited at least once recently.
  • Include static content URLs: The URLs need to be redirected in the same way as all the other content on the site. Make sure you redirect all the content you have on the old site, whether it is about the pictures, video, pdf or JS files. All your static content must be redirected.
  • Don’t forget deleted pages: If you’ve deleted irrelevant pages from the old website, you should redirect them to the most relevant content on the new website, so you won’t lose the backlinks and the traffic you gain from that page. In case you don’t find a relevant correspondent, go for the home page. Don’t redirect them to irrelevant locations. You risk losing traffic if the visitors don’t see something similar to the original content. If you have grouped up 3 old pages into a single more complex piece of content, then you should redirect all 3 old URLs to the new one.
  • Update internal URLs: for your files and images. Change the old URLs for all the files you had on the old site with new URLs. Make use of the URL mapping generated earlier to help you to find and update the links.

16. Add/Update All HTML Annotations

HTML annotations or HTML tags are used as a special form of syntactic metadata in the source code. Java annotations are used for classes, methods, variables, parameters and packages. Updating your HTML annotations is an important aspect in the pre-launch phase or your new website because you help Google to understand your site better. Update all HTML annotations in the URLs or Sitemaps, for every page. To complete this step, you need to:

  • Add/update rel=”canonical” tag: Each URL should have a self-referencing canonical tag, maybe except for the Homepage. Also, if you have more pages that target the same keywords, you should tell the search engines which one of them you prefer to be shown in the SERPs using rel=”canonical”. For example, you have a product page for T-shirts of different colors, and the page has statically generated content. For each color, you will have a web page with the same product and the same content. You should use the “rel=canonical” tag to tell Google which one to show in the SERPs.
  • Add/update rel=”alternate”: You should use the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”xyz” tag to show you the right language or regional URL in the search results. Add/update the language annotations if your website contains multilingual or multinational pages.

There are three examples of situations when you should use the tag. If you have a user-generated content, you can keep the main content in a single language and translate the template (navigation and footer area). You can use the tag in case your content has a few regional variations. For example, you have your content in the English-language and target the US, GB, and Ireland. Also, you can use the language annotation when your site is fully translated.

  • Add/update mobile annotation: If you don’t have a responsive website design, but a mobile version on a separate subdomain (m.example.com) instead, you should use the link rel=”alternate” media=”handheld” tag. Add the link rel=”alternate” tag on the desktop page to point to the corresponding mobile URL to help Google identify the location of your site’s mobile pages. Facebook uses this tag; m.facebook.com is the URL for mobile.
  • Add/update rel=”prev/next”: You can use the rel=”prev/next” link tag to show the relationship between component URLs in a paginated series. For example, if you want to show Google you have related pages it’s best to use this tool. Let’s say you write three articles, on 10th of November, 1st of December and 20th of December 2016. The tag tells Google that the blog post you wrote on 1st of December has the previous post on 10th of November and the next one on 20th of December 2016.

17. Check External/Internal Linking

Matt Cutts, Google’s former head of the web spam, quoted in the Google guidelines that a page shouldn’t have more that 100 links. Though the 100-link limit has never been a penalty situation, it is recommended you keep the number of the links on a page under 100. It is a good practice example, it doesn’t mean to avoid SEO. The pages with more than 100 links won’t be penalized or de-indexed. Instead, Google starts to ignore links after a certain point, and the links that pass the 100-barrier won’t pass domain authority. Does the Homepage have more than 100 outgoing links? Consider cutting down. Also, take note that pages with more internal links pointing to them are considered to be more valuable in a website by search engines. Try linking to the important ones more often, but keep it relevant.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

18. Prepare an Old and a New Sitemap

If you completely changed domains, it’s recommended to submit both the old sitemap and an updated one to the Search Console immediately after you redesign your website, so that Google can easily identify the redirects. You will help search engines to crawl and index your website faster.

19. Check Mobile Compatibility

A website that is mobile compatible means that it is an HTML based website that does not contain Flash content, and it adjusts the width of its elements to the width of the screen it is displayed on. If your site looks exactly the same on mobile as it does on a desktop, and you have to scroll left and right to view parts of the page, then it’s most probably not optimized for mobile devices. Use the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google to see if your site meets the requirement. If you see a result similar with the one from the next picture, you are safe.

Page is mobile-friendly

If not, you need to make your website mobile compatible.

20. Check PageSpeed Insights

The PageSpeed Insights is a tool created by Google to help webmasters to improve their website performance. The tool offers suggestions to make pages faster, by analyzing the content from the web page. You should use the PageSpeed Insights by Google to identify and fix as many errors as possible. Below you can example of the results for an analyzed website:

Speed Test Example

The tool gives a score out of 100 after it analyzes the content of a web page. Another tool that offers insights about the page load speed is WooRank.

21. Check Image Size

In many cases, redesigns include bigger, nicer images, which usually take a lot of space. If most of your images exceed 100kb, it will make your website load a lot more slowly. Also, it will take up your available hosting plan monthly traffic much more quickly. Remember that all images should contain a descriptive alt tag. There are numerous ways to compress your images. You can use online tools to compress the pictures before you upload them to your site. Or you can install a plugin on your website if you’re using a CMS platform, such as WordPress or Blogger. The beautiful part of the plugin is that you have the possibility to compress the pictures individually or in bulk.

22. Consider AMP and Instant Articles

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an elegant and a simple way to create a second version of your page, without all the extra stuff found on the desktop version. The AMP is recommended for web pages that don’t use custom JavaScript, and it’s mostly static. You can better optimize your website for mobile browsers and apps. On top of all, the web pages created using AMP will render fast. Instant articles is a mobile publishing format that enables news publishers to deliver interactive content. Facebook instant articles will preload the websites in the background on the Facebook app, so when users click a link, the site appears to be loading instantly. It will give you a peak advantage over your competitors on mobile browsers and the Facebook app. This is a bigger step, and it requires a larger amount of time to implement.

23. Check Microdata Implementation (or Consider Adding It)

Microdata is more useful for an eCommerce or a recipes website, but it’s also useful to have it on all types of websites. There is currently no way of mass testing this as Google doesn’t provide any API key for the tool, but you can check the format, and make sure it’s the same pattern on every page. You could implement your microdata by following the markup HTML available at schema.org. You will ensure high-quality user experience for those who view your ads. The microdata enables two shopping features, according to the Google Merchant Center Help:

  • Automatic item updates;
  • Google Sheets Merchant Center add-on.

24. Check Cookie Law

The cookie law is a piece of privacy legislation that requires visitors’ consent to store information on their browser. A cookie will save login information for you and offer you personalized webpages based on your behavior on a site. Below you will see an example of a cookie warning message:

Cookie notification

Check if you have installed the cookie warning message. It should be clearly displayed at the top or bottom of the page, right as you enter the website.

25. Check Legal Compliance Pages

Internet laws are designed to protect the users. You don’t want to find yourself in breach of the regulations. The downside is you won’t be able to advertise if you don’t have legal pages. Google requires you to display legal pages for using its services such as Analytics’ software (as you can see in the picture below), Google AdSense, Google Adwords.

Policy requirements for Google Analytics

Terms of use, privacy policy, affiliate commissions disclosure are just a few examples of legal compliance pages.

26. Check Contact and About Pages

NAP citations (Name, Address, Phone Number) must be correctly displayed on your site. Besides the fact that having NAP citations on your website shows your business is legitimate, it will help you for local SEO optimization. You can also add microdata to the NAP format for an even greater impact. Make sure your contact forms are working, and the about page is present. You will, therefore, avoid any manual penalties. The lack of a contact page with an address, a functional contact form, and a phone number is a warning sign for manual reviewers.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

27. Check the 404 Page

Google recommends you to create a useful 404 page. If the visitors get lost sometimes or access links that are no longer available they will see a 404 error message. You should use that situation as an opportunity on your redirect strategy and redirect them to another page in your website. Otherwise, you risk losing them. A personalized 404 page can minimize the bounce rate. An example of a customized 404 page can be seen in the next picture:

error-404-james-bot-cognitive-seo

Create a good looking 404 page. There are many options. Funny, professional, or even lead capture 404 page.

28. Remove Meta Keywords

Google and Yahoo do not use meta keywords as a ranking factor anymore. Google has declared them obsolete for ranking purposes since 2009. Bing, on the other side, penalizes your website if you stuff meta keywords. You could lose your rankings because Bing sees it as a spam signal. You may use them on eCommerce websites for internal search purposes (Google Search Appliance), but otherwise, you can just remove them, as they won’t be of much use.

29. Share Buttons

Social share buttons are important for your social media strategy as they play an important role in driving traffic to the site. They could easily increase awareness and boost your posts. The good news is that they are extremely versatile and can be incorporated in different unique ways. You could place them on top of your article, on the left or right side or at the bottom of the post. It’s entirely your decision. You can choose where to place them depending on your website’s design (or your web designer’s preferences), but actual references show the placement is vital. Maybe the most effective social buttons are those which allow readers to pin images as they go. If they are placed at the bottom, some readers will never make it there and may never see the share buttons. You need to place them in a way that the user does not need to leave what he is reading.

social-sharing-buttons

Source: https://socialmediaweek.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/social-sharing-buttons.jpg

Make sure your content can be shared very easily on the social media platforms most suited for your niche. You can promote your content and reach your audience quickly.

30. Subscribe Buttons

Can users easily subscribe to your posts on your blog? How about your top pages or any other landing pages? Having subscribe buttons is a significant way to create leads. Make sure the buttons work. Otherwise, you will lose your subscribers, and there could be some that you can reach only by email. Check your subscribe buttons and make a test to be sure everything works smoothly.

LAUNCH

31. Visually Inspect (Test) Your New Site

When you design a website, you need to think about accessibility. Is your site accessible to a color blind person? Are all of your scripts cooperating? If you visually inspect your new site, you will spot mistakes such as wrong spacing, different fonts, wrong color, wrong image width and so on. Adobe Dreamweaver CC has a tool that you can use to test functionalities on your site and get a full report on any errors that it may find. Visually inspecting your new site is an essential step you’ve probably done it at least ten times already. Now do it again!

32. Get a Warning Message Ready

“Coming soon” messages are used for various types of sites and industries. When launching a site, there are lots of aspects you need to test and verify; getting a warning message ready is one them. You wouldn’t want to lose your visitors because they can’t access your site and don’t understand why, would you? Below you can see an example of a coming soon design with a counter:

Ticker-coming-soon

There are lots of ways to create beautiful “coming soon” messages on your landing page. Another example you can see below:

Cooming soon website Just in case something goes wrong and your website launch takes longer than expected, you should have a warning message ready to let your users know you’re redesigning the website for a better experience.

33. Set Up a Monitoring Plan

To see where you stand and to set up objectives you need to have a monitoring plan. Would you like to know which are the most visited pages? What are the best driving traffic sources? Set your metrics and keep tracking them in order to see the improvements you’re making. Use the cognitiveSEO tool to monitor the website’s rankings. Use Analytics to monitor and see if and where the traffic drops or increases, and what your bounce rates have to say. Use Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics to see the performance you have on those social media platforms.

34. Tracking Codes Placement/Remplacement

To keep tracking metrics and statistical data, you need to connect your new site with different services such as Search Console, Tag Manager, Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools. You can install the Tag Assistant in your browser to see if you placed your codes correctly on your site. Insert the third party tracking software codes. Consider upgrading to Google Tag Manager and Universal Analytics. The most important tracking codes you need to place on your website are:

  • Search Console: Follow the guidelines you will find in the tool to place the code on your site to receive data in the tool.
  • Analytics/Tag Manager: Set up and verify Analytics. After you created the account, you need to wait up to 24 hours for data to appear in your reports. We recommend using Google Tag Manager and Universal Analytics instead.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools: There are three ways to install the code and fewer steps to register your site with Bing, as compared to Google.

35. Set Analytics Goals

You can see maximum 20 goals per reporting view. If you want to track more, you need to create another view for that property. You can’t delete a goal, but you can stop it from tracking. You can create a goal as a contact form, a request for an offer, a subscription for a product, a subscription to the newsletter, downloads, video plays and purchases. It’s a good thing to have goals because you can track your ROI. In the next picture you can see how to set up your goals:

Analytics Goals example

Set the new goals for the website, add to cart, purchase, etc. You need to do this now to ensure the tracking starts as soon as the site is live.

36. The Time You Launch

Before you take any decision, you need to think about your audience. When is your site getting the most traffic? Avoid launching the new web design at the peak hours. Preferably launch it after midnight, in the time zone where most of you traffic comes from. Also, launch it when you’re sure you’ve tested the elements on the website.

37. Post the New Version

You’ve made it so far. Take a deep breath. The site speed is good, you are in Google’s index and grace; you have everything set up from ALT text to redirects.  Yet, once you’ve used local installation, a subfolder, a subdomain or an entire domain for your test site, you need to start moving the site to the live version. Consider breaking it into smaller steps/sections if the website is very large.

38. Remove Password

Don’t forget to remove the password you’ve set for the development version of the website in the pre launch phase for a correct SEO website redesign. This will allow users and crawlers to access your new website.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

39. Check Robots.txt

Update and check the robots.txt file to make sure it blocks the parts you don’t want to be crawled and that it doesn’t block search engine spiders from crawling important pages on your website. You can test your robots.txt with the robots.txt Tester by Google. Choose a verified property from Search Console. Then you will be redirected to your account to see if there are errors or warnings. In case you don’t have errors, the dashboard will look similar to the one from the next picture:

robots.txt Tester

40. Set up the 301 Redirects (Without Domain Change)

You don’t want to lose all the traffic from the old domain, do you? Migrating site without using redirects is a big SEO mistake. Make sure you set up all the 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones. There are a few things you need to check before you finish this step:

  • Place the 301 redirect codes: Set the 301 redirect to each modified URL to point exactly to the new version of it. This way, any old URL that you forgot to update will be redirected.
  • Submit sitemap XML to Google: Submit the new Sitemap to the Search Console so that Google updates the pages. It will automatically identify the redirects. Any traffic you will be getting from Search Engines to the old link will be redirected as well. Google will probably identify the new URLs without the sitemap, but by submitting it, you will help to speed up the process.
  • Submit sitemap to Bing: Just as you submitted the sitemap to Google, you should submit it to Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Check orphan pages 404: Deleted pages should return a 404 error message. Make sure orphaned URLs correctly return a 404 or a 410 error response code. If not, fix them. A good practice on this matter is to personalize a 404 page to be in harmony with the whole site/brand.
  • Check relevancy: When you have an entirely new domain, you should also verify the information from each redirected URL. The old unused URLs must be redirected to relevant locations. If you have pages on the new site that are similar to some of the old site, it is simpler to make the redirect. In case you don’t have something similar you should redirect the old URLs to homepage, instead of a 404 page. Never redirect to irrelevant locations.
  • Keep the redirects: Try to keep the redirects for as long as possible, and consider keeping them forever. You can’t be sure when Google’s Crawler finishes the job.

41. Set Up the 301 Redirects (with Domain Change)

If you completely changed your website and won’t be using the same domain, you should redirect the root domain, and each page accordingly. Check the next steps to be sure you’ve set up the 301 redirects correctly:

  • Set up the redirect codes: Set up server-side redirects (301-redirect directives) from your old URLs to the new ones. The change of address tool won’t function properly without this.
  • WWW or non-WWW: Verify the preferred version of your new domain (www vs. non-www). If you have checked http://example.com but instead want to use http://www.example.com, it will not appear in the list until you verify it.
  • Submit a change of address: Submit a Change of Address in the Search Console for the old website (in the old site Search Console, click the gear icon top right). The Change of Address Tool won’t work if you haven’t set the 301 redirects properly. You can see in the next picture what are the steps you need to follow to do this:

  Google-Search-Console-Change-address  

  • Submit sitemaps to Google: Submit both the old and the new Sitemaps previously prepared to the Search Console (on the destination/new site Search Console). In the tool, you will see all the submitted sitemaps and the sitemaps you’ve submitted (as displayed in the next screenshot)

 

Google Sitemaps-listing

Source: https://yoast-mercury.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2015/02/gwt-sitemaps-listing-550×461.png

  • Submit sitemap to Bing: Submit the new sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools. Look at the next screenshot to see where to submit the file in Bing Webmaster Tools:

  Bing Sitemaps-listing  

  • Check for broken links: Check for broken links (internal links, file attachments and images). Use Screaming Frog SEO spider for this. Download the software for free in the lite form.
  • Check for broken CSS/JS: Check for broken CSS and JS file URLs.
  • Keep the redirects: Try to keep the redirects for as long as possible, and consider keeping them forever. You will need ownership of the old domain as well. Selling it means compromising all the old backlinks, unless you manually reach to each and every webmaster, asking them to replace the old domain with the new domain.

42. Review Search Console Settings

Search Console is a great tool to use for your website. Set up or update all the new configurations in the Search Console. To finish this step, you should take the next actions:

  • Set URL Parameters: Use URL parameters to remove any unwanted duplicate links from the search engine created by search parameters such as “/?term=searchterm”. You should be able to find these parameters in the crawl. If you already blocked them from robots.txt or other PHP rules, then they won’t be crawled.

If you see this message in Search Console you are safe: “Currently GoogleBot is not experiencing problems with coverage of your site, so you don’t need to configure URL parameters.” Maile Ohye, a member of Google’s webmaster support team, explains in the next video how to configure URL Parameters in Google Webmaster Tools.

 

 

  • Set Geotargeting: Set up International Targeting so that you can target specific countries if you wish to do so. For that, you need to place the hreflang tags on your site. If you instead are doing the redesign and plan to target a global audience, select Unlisted in the drop-down list of the Site Settings page.

The hreflang tags are important, and they allow you to designate the language version for a particular market. In the next video, Bill Hunt, the President of Back Azimuth Consulting explains how to use hreflang correctly. For example, if you have a multilingual site, the tag tells the search engines which version of your website to display based on the country of the user.

 

 

  • Check crawl limits: Make sure there are no crawl limits so that Googlebot can freely crawl all your URLs. As you can see in the next picture, you have to check the “Let Google optimize for my site” instead of “limit Google’s maximum crawl rate”.

  Site-settings-search-console

43. Disavow Files

There are numerous situations when you need to upload the disavow file. In case you’ve uploaded a disavow file to the old site, you need to upload it to the new site. Also, if you have purchased a new domain and found out its link profile is spammy, upload the disavow file generated previously in the Pre launch section. With the CognitiveSEO you can send the file right from the tool and evaluate each link.

44. Reindex Site from Search Console

What you probably want now is to be indexed by Google and have all your organic traffic and SEO rankings in a safe place. And since you changed your domain you should reindex it. You can do that from your Search Console account. Go to Menu at Crawl > Fetch as Google, enter the domain and click fetch. After the site is found, click on Request Indexing. Check the captcha and click Go. Below you have a screenshot from the tool:

Webmaster Tools Fetch as Google

45. Annotate the Site Launch in Google Analytics

Use annotations in the Google Analytics to mark the website redesign launch. This way you can easily remember in the future when the redesign took place. In the next picture, you will see how to add annotation in Google Analytics on any report you’d like to display information based on the big change on your website.

Google Analytics Annotations

The example above is a site with a new design. Choose the date for when you launched your new website and started tracking the data.

POST-LAUNCH

46. Check Search Console Errors

Verify the messages from Search Console to see if you received something new. Check each section of the menu and see if everything is ok, if you have errors or any other warnings you need to take care of. It is recommended to make an overview after you launch your site because you might find errors that hadn’t appeared until then. Watch them and fix them as they come out.

47. Crawl the New Site and Audit It

A couple of months in, crawl the new site to see if you fixed all the issues. Just like in the pre-launch phase, you need to make an audit for your new site. Use tools like cognitiveSEO or, Moz, Woorank and even Google Search Console to generate substantial data. Good luck in the next steps in your SEO website redesign!

48. Compare the Results

After the website audit, you should compare the number of indexed links, and the results. The number of pages crawled should be identical to the old site, considering you haven’t deleted or added any content. Look for any unfixed errors such as missing titles, descriptions, alt tags, etc.

49. Check Your Server Logs

Check your server logs to identify broken pages. You can easily spot traffic that flows to 404 pages. To verify if you have server logs errors on your website you need to open your web browser and connect to your hosting account’s cPanel, then scroll down the page until you locate the “Logs” section. Check the “Error Log” icon and see the error messages.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

50. Update Social Media Website URL

If you changed your domain, you should quickly update your website’s new link in the short description section about your business on social media. You can also try to redirect some of your most popular posts if they are still getting likes/shares/views.

51. Match Social Media Designs with the Website

Consider redesigning your social media covers and profile pictures, so they match the new website. If any of your followers accesses the internet site through your social media, they expect to see something similar. This might affect bounce rate. You can change the profile picture and top banner or custom welcome page (if you have something like that) to correspond to the new design of your website. This rule applies to the ads design and other images you use on social media, as well.

52. Monitor Your Website Thoroughly

For the next two months at least, monitor your website. Notice if you see improvements in the bounce rate, conversion rate, and time spent on the website. Test elements on your site, check links, check pages, the subscription form. If you have an e-commerce website, you need to see if the ordering and payment process work smoothly.

53. Check Number of Pages Indexed

You can type site:yourdomain.com in Google to see how many of your URLs have been indexed. Below you can see an example:

Number of Pages Indexed Google

The number of results you see in Google is pretty accurate.

54. Make Sure All Wanted Pages Are Indexable

Check to see if there are any particular noindex settings on important pages using the crawl you did. If you have the noindex tag on your pages, it will block search engine web crawlers from indexing a page on your site. The tag is placed in the section and it looks like this: Noindex code or Noindex code Google

55. Monitor the Cache Date of Indexed URLs

Use the cache:yourdomain.com operator to find this information. You will see a version of your site. If the cache data is frequently updated, it means that Googlebot likes your website. If the cache date is very old, there might be indexing problems. Make sure you did all the steps in the previous sections.

56. Clean Up New Domain

If you found in the pre-launch checklist that the new domain has unwanted backlinks from the previous owner, consider manually cleaning them. It is a process that will take you some time, but if you really want that domain, you must clean off all the unnatural links because they will harm your site. Sign in the cognitiveSEO tool to verify your backlink profile and spot the links.

57. Update Backlinks

If you went through URL changes or changed your domain, consider replacing some of the most important backlinks from pointing to the old URL/domain, to pointing to the new URL/domain. The 301 redirects will still pass the link value, but updating them will help you to monitor your backlinks more easily in the future. To do this, you can use the list generated by the cognitiveSEO Tool in the pre-launch checklist.

58. Check and Compare Search Traffic

How much search traffic do you have compared with the previous version of your site? Use your Analytics and Search Console data to compare the results. In case you changed the domain, it is mandatory to have the data exported in the pre-launch phase into a CVS file and compare it with the data you have now. In case you didn’t change your domain you can compare your data straight from Google Analytics. See the picture below to understand how:

Google analytics compare data example

Select a period before the launch and then select a period after the launch to see the differences. You can compare data in Search Console, too. See the next screenshot to understand where you can choose the option to compare data:

Search Console compare data

You can choose to compare the data for any period you’d like.

59. Compare Your SEO Visibility

Check your SEO Visibility for drops or gains. Use the cognitiveSEO tool to monitor your SEO Visibility evolution. Below you have a screenshot from the tool with the SEO visibility graph:

SEO Visibility

This metric helps you to easily identify market trends and digital marketing strategies, regardless if they are part of some marketing automation approach or any other. The SEO visibility is calculated based on millions of keywords that are tracked in Google, their importance and traffic volume and all the ups and downs can be easily correlated with Google’s algorithms updates. 

 

Conclusion

 

You need to bear in mind that redesigning your website is a big move and it is more than just changing a few colors. It implies a whole sort of technicalities, from domain names, duplicated content, xml sitemap, Google algorithms, redirects chains, thin content, speed and performance to most common seo mistakes like h1 tags or title and meta description.

 

You should always save the data before the big website redesign launch and after to compare and spot the eventual major SEO errors. And even if your website goes live and everything is a great SEO success, before drinking from the victory champagne, take another look to make sure that everything is OK and that your “newly” existing site doesn’t lose search engine rankings.

 

At the end of the day, we all know it’s not about just the search engine optimization, Google and Bing and their algorithms. A proper redesign or migration should be made for the  aspiration of all business: the users’satisfaction. At the end we all know it’s not about just the search engine optimization, Google and Bing and their algorithms. A proper redesign or migration should be made for the final aspiration of all business: the users’satisfaction. And to provide the best results for your users, we warmly recommend you downloading the complete website redesign checklist and, when it’s the case, use some SEO tools to help you out.  This website redesign checklist is not a beginner’s guide, yet, it can easily be used by people from the industry, from nubs to SEO pros or anyone who doesn’t want their SEO traffic dropped. The website redesign SEO checklist includes three major phases: before you launch the new site, the moments while you are updating your website and the monitoring steps afterwards.  

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

The post SEO Website Redesign – A Guaranteed Checklist on How to Not Lose Your Rankings appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Love People, And Use Things

Laughing mother

This weekend just gone saw the annual Family Day holiday in most of Canada. A government-endorsed public holiday, Family Day was created to “…celebrate the importance of families and family life to people and their communities.”

It’s one of the many reasons I love my adopted home (I moved here from the UK in 2006) – after all, how many countries actually offer a paid day off to spend with your family and celebrate family life?

Especially in today’s work climate, where the family can take a back seat to long hours and long commutes, as people go where the work is and that’s not always close to home.

So, yes, Family Day is a welcome respite from the overwhelms of everyday life.

Over the weekend, I took the time to watch Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix.

This is something I’d been wanting to watch for a while since I’ve definitely seen a change in how I look at life and what’s truly important in it.

Living Deliberately

As my young family has grown (my son will be 7 years old soon, my daughter just turned 5), and I’ve seen close friends suffer deeply personal losses, my priorities have changed immensely.

Whereas I used to be all about online chatter and was a heavy user of Twitter and Google+ back in the day, now I don’t use either channel.

Instead, I limit my online use to Facebook, where I can stay connected to close friends and friends that are a little further away geographically, and this blog right here.

Instead of seeking some self-important validation through online “followers”, I want to foster deeper, more meaningful connections that offer more than just vacuous soundbites and so-called social proof.

In short, I want to live a deliberate life that has meaning in at least 90% of all that I do (hey, there’s always room for non-essential video game fun!).

Love People, and Use Things

As I watched the Minimalism documentary, so much of it connected with this mindset change.

The realization that we buy into a template of a life that isn’t really ours – the cars, the electronics, the big house full of unused products, the pressure of meeting a deadline that won’t mean the end of the world if missed.

By buying into this template, we ignore the most important template of all – us, and the world we inhabit.

Things take import over people, and we begin to use each other to rise to an invisible dais that we feel makes us more complete. In short, we use people to get more things.

Yet, as one of many wonderful quotes from the documentary share,

…we need to love people and use things. Because the opposite of that never works.

Think about that. “Love people and use things.”

It’s not a hard concept and yet it’s such a powerful one if we take the time to buy into it, and take action to make it happen each day, with every interaction we have.

  • Build up, instead of dragging down
  • Use technology to speak with, not dictate to
  • Smile instead of an angry look
  • Surround yourself with meaning, not meanness.

Things are material objects that more often than not simply foster immaterial needs.

The most valuable things are the ones that make our lives simpler so we have more time to connect to the things and experiences that truly matter, and lead a more deliberate life.

“Love people, and use things. Because the opposite of that never works.”

Wise words, indeed.

The Ballad of Safe, Potential and Already There

There were three businessmen walking down a long and winding road. No-one knew how all three came to be on the road at the same time, but there they were.

Their names were Safe, Potential and Already There.

Safe (as his name suggests) was happy to be wherever there was room for him. He followed the coat tails of Potential and Already There and often stopped to admire the view, then run to catch up with his two friends later, out of breath and giddy just for being around others.

Potential was a strange one. He always seemed intense and was forever taking notes of his surroundings, and testing new directions out to see if there were other areas the road might lead. Safe wasn’t too keen on Potential – he just seemed too erratic.

Already There didn’t care for either of his traveling colleagues – he accepted that sometimes you have to put up with company, but that was a bearable annoyance when you knew where you were and now you were just enjoying the surroundings.

A Fellow Traveler

As they walked along the road, they came across another traveler, whose name turned out to be Innovation.

He looked tired and worn out, and as the three travelers approached Innovation, Already There took command (being the most senior). “Hello, there – you look troubled. What ails you?”

Innovation looked at the three and replied, “I’m tired. For many years, I’ve traveled various roads and met some amazing people. But now I feel my traveling is coming to an end, and it’s time for me to retire. The world is a different place from when I was in it a lot.”

The three travelers looked at Innovation, and each took a turn to answer.

Safe was first. “It’s probably a good idea. I’m sure you’ve had some great adventures along the way, but from the looks of you, you wouldn’t last another day without dropping from exhaustion. Take your rest and be happy for what you’ve achieved.”

Already There spoke next. “I don’t know why you’re upset. The world is a wonderful place when you sit back and enjoy it. I found my happy place a long time ago, and look how content I am. Come, let me show you my home and you can relax there and watch the world go by.”

Old is New

Potential was the last to speak. He looked at both Safe and Already There, then back to Innovation, and smiled. “These two men speak wise words. The world is a wonderful place to sit back and enjoy. But how long would that last?

“Without new ideas, we’d soon become bored. Without challenges, we’d soon become lazy. Without breaking molds, everything would look the same. We’d be traveling on roads with people we are either leaving behind or about to overtake, as opposed to walking together on paths to ideas.

“I’m not sure where I’m headed; I know it won’t be a Safe journey and I sure as heck am nowhere near Already There when it comes to where I want to be. But then that’s probably why I’m called Potential,” he finished with a wink.

Innovation looked at all three and smiled a smile that lit up his face in a way that at least two of the three travelers wouldn’t have thought possible when they first saw him.

“Potential,” he said, “you remind me of me when I was younger. You’re right – Innovation isn’t Safe. Innovation isn’t accepting what’s Already There. Innovation is about taking the Safe and Already There and seeking its Potential for improvement. Maybe the world isn’t ready to see the end of Innovation just yet.”

And with that, he joined Potential and they continued walking and laughing, leaving Safe and Already There behind, shaking their heads and thinking there sure are some strange people in the world today.

Then again, isn’t everything strange until its Potential has been unlocked..?

This is a chapter from my Parables of Business ebook, helping businesses understand how old wisdom can help shape new mindsets. You can learn more about the book, and grab your own copy, here for just $0.99.

Poor Marketing Data Costs Online Businesses $611 Billion Per Year

The data quality subject is often neglected, and poor quality business data constitutes a significant cost factor for many online companies. And, although there is much content that claims that the costs of poor data quality are significant, only very few articles are written on how to identify, categorize and measure such costs. In the following article we are going to present how poor quality data can affect your business, why is this happening and how can you prevent wasting time and money due to poor data.

 

It’s going to be an in-depth geeky research and we advise you to keep your pen and notebook nearby and load yourself with plenty of coffee.

 

Poor Marketing Data Costs Online Businesses $611 Billion Per Year

 

With no further introduction, allow us to present you the main subject we are going to tackle in the following lines:

 

  1. Is Poor Data Really Affecting Your Online Business?
  2. Drowning in Dirty Data? It’s Time to Sink or Swim
  3. Poor Understanding of the Digital Marketing Environment 
  4. Faulty Methodology Being Used to Collect Digital Marketing Data
  5. Data That Cannot Be Translated Into Conversion
  6. Conclusion

 

Is Poor Data Really Affecting Your Business?

 

The development of information technology during the last decades has enabled organizations to collect and store enormous amounts of data. However, as the data volumes increase, so does the complexity of managing them. Since larger and more complex information resources are being collected and managed in organizations today, this means that the risk of poor data quality increases, as the studies show.  Data management, data governance, data profiling and data warehouse could be the salvation for any business and not just snake oil. 

 

Poor quality data can imply a multitude of negative consequences in a company.

 

Below you can read just some of them:

 

  • negative economic and social impacts on an organization
  • less customer satisfaction
  • increased running costs associated
  • inefficient decision-making processes
  • lower performance (of the business overall but also lowered employee job satisfaction)
  • increased operational costs
  • difficulties in building trust in the company data
  • + many others

 

In the image below you can easily see that there are not only direct costs we are talking about but hidden costs as well. Therefore, when creating your digital marketing strategy, have in mind the chart below before overlooking the data quality you are working on.

 

poor seo data

Source: jiem.org

Drowning in Dirty Data? It’s Time to Sink or Swim

 

95% of new products introduced each year fail.

And yes, this statistic has much to do with the data accuracy; or with the poor marketing data quality. A McKinsey & Company study from a couple of years ago revealed that research is a crucial part of a company’s survival.

80% of top performers did their research, while only 40% of the bottom performers did. 

Still, that’s a lot of research done by the bottom performers. Of course, just because they do research doesn’t automatically mean they do good research.

Trying to do research is not enough if you’re not going to be thorough about it.

If you are still not convinced of the importance of having good accurate data, before running any sort of campaign, be it email marketing, SEO or mail automation, take a look at these researched stats below: 

 

  • $ 611 bn per year is lost in the US by poorly targeted digital marketing campaigns

 

  • Bad data is the number one cause of CRM system failure

 

  • Organisations typically overestimate the quality of their data and underestimate the cost of errors

 

  • Less than 50% of companies claim to be very confident in the quality of their data

 

  • 33% of projects often fail due to poor data

 

There are many ways in which research can lead to poor marketing data quality, but let’s look and go in-depth with just 3 particular instances. Taking a close look and understanding them will help us identify how to prevent losing resources (time, money, people). Each of the three instances will be exhaustively detailed below.

 

  1. Poor Understanding of The Digital Marketing Environment 

 

  1. Faulty Methodology Being Used to Collect Digital Marketing Data

 

  1. Data That Cannot Be Translated Into Action

1. Poor Understanding of the Digital Marketing Environment

 

Google Trends is a pocket of gold and you might already know this. Yet, even having this instrument at your disposal, the secret stands in how you use it.  Yes, you’ll find a lot of data to help you see what’s trending to stay on top of your competitors. It’s a real-time search data to gauge consumer search behaviors over time. But what happens when you don’t use it properly or when you don’t “read” the the data correctly? Let’s say we are interested in the image search for the digital marketing techniques vs tactics. As we take a look at the screenshot below, we might be inclined to say that the “digital marketing techniques” are of higher interest. 

 

Google Trends

 

Yet, as mentioned before, I was going for the image search; and even if the techniques seems to be of more interest on the general search, when it comes to image search, I should probably go with tactics. Conducting research is not enough but properly understanding the environment is the key. 

 

google trends image

 

On the following line we are going to offer you some nice case studies of poor understanding of the environment and customer needs, based on three dimensions: depth, context and match.

 

A) No Depth

 

Companies have certainly come a long way from assuming they know what’s best for the consumer to trying to find out what the consumer actually wants. But even when they feign interest, things can go wrong if it’s not genuine or thorough enough.

 

Some instances are downright hilarious, like McDonald’s 2005 campaign, where it tried to emulate the youth hip lingo only for it to backfire horribly. Knowing that a certain group (young people) like something (their own jargon) doesn’t mean that the group will like any version of it, especially if it doesn’t fit or sounds like your dad trying to be “cool” and “with it.”

 

McDonalds 2005 campaign

 

When McDonalds’ ad reads “Double Cheesburger? I’d hit it – I’m a dollar menu guy,” it becomes obviously painful they have no idea what they’re saying and they just try to sound knowledgeable (here you can find the “urban” definition of I’d hit it). And if there’s something worse than not fitting in, it has to be trying to fit in and failing. If you’re not with the cool kids, but you’re ok with that, you might still have a chance to earn respect.

If you’re not with the cool kids, but you’re desperate to get in, that’s when you’re doomed. Superficiality is definitely a mark of poor research.

Some similar misunderstanding of how youth works plagued McDonalds several years later. They tried to make something happen and “go viral” when they started sharing success stories using the “McDStories” hashtag. This turned out to be another failure – not only in consumer understanding, but also in technology understanding. The “McDStories” hashtag was soon reappropriated by random dissatisfied customers who decided to share their own stories. Only their recollections weren’t nearly as nice and flattering as the company’s. This particular example is extremely prescient to SEO, because it highlights the dangers of trying to manufacture goodwill. Something in the level of awareness of consumers and the technology tools they have at hand makes rebellion and irony very likely reactions to trend setting from the outside.

B) No Context

Market research matters. And poor data leads to poor business decisions. But you probably know that already. 

Even when you do research thoroughly, you can still wrong your customers by not asking the right questions.

 

The classic example here is that of New Coke.

 

It wasn’t that their research was poor in itself: they had evidence that strongly suggested the taste was the leading cause of their market decline. They also had 200,000 blind product taste tests where more than half of respondents preferred the taste of the New Coke over both the “classic” Coke and Pepsi. So all the science was rightfully pointing them towards introducing the New Coke. Which they eventually did, with disastrous results. There was public outcry and the company ended up giving up the new formula and reverting to the classic one.

 

So what went wrong? Was it the consequences of poor data? The same thing, really: they didn’t fully understand their customers (although in a slightly different way than McDonalds). Coke’s mistake was to treat their customers as living in a vaccum, as consumers of soda, as opposed to consumers of Coke, specifically.

Blind tests are a very good instrument to use in general – except when you don’t want your respondets to be blind to their options.

 

So try to think about things not just in terms of functionality, but also brand recognition and emotional attachment.

 

It might very well be that your website’s design is outdated or boring. And the research reveals that youngsters are usually attracted to shiny, slick things. But maybe your particular type of outdated and boring is what works for your users. Data governance and information management are highly important; yet, so is data profiling. 

Try to keep a certain perspective on things and make sure you ask the right questions about your consumers.

C) No Match

 

Other times, it could be more of a mismatch problem between companies and customers. Inadequate market research is a major reason why business strategies fail and the source of poor data. If you want to develop your brand, one of the most important things that you should establish is a reliable marketing research system. Customers will buy or not a product for a certain reason. And it is essential for the future of your company to understand what this reason is.

 

What drives your customers? What sends them away? What makes them continue with your services?

 

And the answer to all of these is just under your nose. Your sales and support team. They are a goldmine. Just think about it; what better way to find exactly what your users want if not from them directly, with no intermediates, no fancy feedbacks, just straightforward accurate data you can make use of. It depends, of course, on how you “master” data and how you make use of it. If, for instance, someone is asking you for a new feature you don’t have; yes, it’s frustrating as you might get dozens of similar mails. Yet, make use of them, exploit them and win customers (and therefore money). Take a look at the screenshot below and notice all the missed opportunities. 

 

Source: helpscout.net

Source: helpscout.net

 

Through all its efforts, a company/business/website is trying to find a way to best reach its audience. Some efforts are sort of an “indirect” contact with the public through online content but there are also some others which are in direct contact. A discussion with the sales and support team might be a great opportunity for you to better understand your audience’s needs or challenges and adapt your strategy accordingly. 

 

If you’ve never thought of your support team as a research tool, then you might be missing a lot.

 

Yet, let me present you what a mismatch between companies and customers can lead to through an interesting case study from the brand association area.  Only by looking at the screenshot below you can forsee the association issues between Tesco products and a fine wine production line. 

 

tesco and yalumba wine

 

Yalumba, an Australian wine company was selling well into the UK through Tesco and relying heavily on their association with that supermarket chain, confident of their success because of the successful association. However, they began to be squeezed on margins, so had a close look at what was happening with Tesco, and were astounded at what they found.

 

They discovered that their brand was being marketed by Tesco as a commodity – offered on promotion and regarded by consumers as a good wine, but nothing special because it was generally offered at a special price. Their market research discovered that their brand was not considered good enough for special occasions because it was a Tesco promotional wine. Great they did a market research after all yet, a bit too late. 

 

It was not the consumers’ wine of choice, and there was little connection between the consumer and the brand. This is a classic commodity trap, causing margin pressure, and not sustainable on the longer term. The company had created this problem of a commodity trap caused by poor research and a link between brand loyalty and promotions that led to an expectation of lower price and hence, ultimately, unsustainable low margins for Yalumba.

2. Faulty Methodology Being Used to Collect Digital Marketing Data 

 

On this chapter we are going to tackle the loaded choices and questions issues but until then we are going to talk a bit about how a faulty methodology can lead you to a wrong track. And it doesn’t have to be on a large scale but even on a minimal research that you are doing. Let’s say that we are interested in the “restaurants” niche in Brasil. And we want to see everything that is out there on the web written on “restaurants” in the South American country. I use Brand Mentions for that and as you can see in the image below. 

 

BM restaurants

 

That’s indeed an impressive number of mentions. Yet, the initial search was done using the word I was targeting in english, “restaurants”. Will the search of the same word but in Portugese would make a difference? It sure does. A lot of difference. Therefore, even when doing a simple search you should always keep in mind the methodology if you want accurate data. 

 

BM restaurants portugese

 

Below you will find some very interesting case studies based on some common faulty methodology. 

 

A) Loaded Questions

 

How you phrase the questions and how much (or how little) information you decide to provide your respondents can make all the difference.

 

For instance, in the image below, which line is longer? If you bear with us until the end of the chapter you will find out the answer if you don’t know it already. 

 

muller-lyer

 

Giving them too little information can obviously skew their ability to give a useful answer. But it turns out that giving too much information can have the same effect. In his post on market research failures, Philip Graves provides two excellent examples of this phenomenon at work:

 

1. One is of a bank-related survey, where people are first asked if they have changed their bank lately and second if they are happy with their bank. While this line of questioning doesn’t necessarily provide unwanted information, it does create it implicitly in the mind of the respondent.

 

Just imagine: if you’ve answered “No” to the question about changing banks, once you get the second question, your brain is tempted to give an answer that is coherent with the answer to the first question. You can’t answer “No” to the second question, or else your answer to the first question would seem weird in retrospect. Have you changed your bank lately? No! Are you happy with your bank? The “Yes” comes automatically almost. Why would you not change your bank if you’re unhappy?

 

But of course, that’s not something you can do on the spot. What you can do on the spot, however, is find an answer that is consistent with the previous one, which, in this case, is “Yes.” You haven’t changed your bank because your are happy with it. There doesn’t need to be a causal link between the two, but the two answers are easier to accept if there is. We like order, symmetry and harmony.

 

When conducting a research, make sure the questions are consistent, logical and easy to understand. 

 

2. The other example in Graves’ article is more glaring. In a survey that asked “As the world’s highest paid cabin staff, should BA cabin crew go on strike?” 97% of respondents said “No.” To nobody’s surprise, we should add. This a classic example of a loaded question. The way it is worded makes it very unlikely that someone might say “Yes,” since we’re talking about the world’s highest paid cabin staff. In fact, the mechanism at work here is very similar to the previous one – it’s just more explicit. Our brains find it hard to hold two opposing views, so we try to adjust one of them to fit the other.

 

It’s like asking: being the best tool in the digital marketing with 80% success rate, do you think that the pros should choose us?

 

In this case, the two implicit views at work are “people who are well-paid should be happy with their work” and “people who are happy with their work shouldn’t go on strikes.” Or, to further reduce them to equation-like mantras, “money = satisfaction” and “satisfaction ⇏ manifesting dissatisfaction.”

 

think fast think slow

 

This kind of thinking – of which we are often not aware – is something that Nobel laureate Daniel Kaheman talks about at length in his “Thinking, Fast and Slow” book. It’s easier and faster to think in terms of simple equations and binary relationships between things, so we usually do. We are also prone to take the path of least resistance, so depending on how the question is phrased, we are more likely to give the answer that requires the least mental effort.

 

Just like in the case of the lines from the image above; even if you know, at a cognitive level that the lines are equal, you still have the tendency to consider the first one as being longer. 

 

Phrasing questions in a survey is such hard work.

B) Loaded Choices

 

Loaded questions are just one example of asking the right questions in the wrong way.

 

An inherent bias in the language you use can also have a significant effect on the answers you get.

 

For instance, there is a huge difference between asking people “How satisfied are you?” and “How dissatisfied are you?” even when the answer options are exactly the same (for instance: “Very safisfied,” “Satisfied,” “Rather satisfied,” “Rather dissatisfied,” “Dissatisfied,” “Very dissatisfied”). Priming can have a very strong effect even if people don’t realize they are susceptible to it and even when they downright deny it.

 

dissatisfaction

 

But getting the question right isn’t enough – you have to also get the choices right. Have open-ended questions and you might get answers that aren’t comparable and end up not being useful.

 

Have closed-ended questions and you might end up not including some very relevant answers, which in turn will force respondents to provide answers that do not represent them.

 

Even if you go for a mixed approach, you can still mess up by not making the choices comparable or symmetrical at both ends.

 

Let’s say that you are asked about your assessment of a mailing automation service and the options were: “Excellent,” “Very good,” “Good,” Very poor,” “Disastrous.” If you were just mildly dissatisfied with the service you received, you’re not likely to signal that because unless you’re up in arms about it, there’s no answer that fits your level of dissatisfaction. And even if you were seriously dissatisfied, you’d more likely go for “Very poor” than for anything else, because “disastrous” is generally a very rare occurrence. Moreover, the fact that there are 3 positive options and only 2 negative ones makes the least positive option (which is still quite positive) appear as more of a middle-ground than it should. So, if you’re just slightly dissatisfied, you are more likely to keep it to yourself and choose “Good” rather than choose “Very poor.” This is, obviously, an exaggerated example, but there are plenty, more subtle – but equally problematic – research design flaws out there.

3. Data That Cannot Be Translated Into Conversion

 

Here we are talking about useless data actually. Not quality issues, inaccurate data, business process, data managements, cost associated or process quality issues like we’ve discussed so far.  We’ve concluded by now that the quality of online data is a major concern—not only for the market research industry but also for business leaders who rely on accurate data to make decisions. 

 

Sometimes companies are so focused on the mousetrap they tend to lose touch with the emotions and needs of the people they actually work for: consumers.

 

Let’s say for instance that you are planning on boosting your website through SEO. And one day you realize that you have around 3 million links. That’s amazing, right? A few more and you are catching Microsoft’s link profile. Yet, is there anything you can do with this info alone? The 3 million links? Not really. You need to correlate it with the number of referring domains (which in our case is incredibly low reported to the high amount of links), the link influence, their naturalness, etc. Otherwise, there is no much use in having just the number of links. You cannot set up a strategy based on it nor take a digital marketing decision. 

 

cognitiveSEO site explorer

 

Yet, these things happen to the big guys as well. Let’s take Google Glasses for instance.  Not even 2 years have passed from the great launch and the producers announced that they are discontinuing the product. Didn’t Google have the means to conduct a proper research? Of course they did. Then what happened? 

 

What did they overlook?  Everything, some would say. Well, not quite everything but it’s clear that they made use of the data they had but not in an efficient way (we can say that these are still consequences of poor data). After researches, the producer came up with one conclusion: if high tech can be shrunk to fit in the hand, as with smartphones and tablets, and have such a great success, then why not shrunk technology to be close to a part of the human body? And their market research sample seemed thrilled about the idea. This was the info they’ve provided to the company. The product is created, it gets launch and no glory at all. Even more, it unceremoniously fails within months.  So what happened? Was it the consequences of poor data? The producers made their potential customers’ dreams come true; why did they not sell?

 

Privacy and price concerns alienated much of the public—and the fact Google released early copies only to rich geeks in the west coast, thereby branding the product as elitist instead of the “affordable luxury” philosophy. Even if they had a lot of data, it was quite useless.  According to CNN, before launch, Google didn’t anticipate that few would want to pay (or could afford) $1,500 to parade in public with a device slung around their eyes that others might perceive as either a threat to others’ privacy or a pretentious geeky gadget.

“Google’s fast retreat exposes the most fundamental sin that companies make with the “build it and they will come” approach. It’s a process that tech companies rely on, referred to as public beta testing.”

 

There are blind spots in marketing research that are costly and variables that no market research studies can predict.

Conclusion

 

Bad data can lead to bad analysis, which can lead to bad business decisions, some really bad revenue and not only. The first step is made. If you are aware of poor data quality impact today, it will not affect your business tomorrow. One should always be aware that bad data has long time consequences not only on your overall data management but also on all your future business decisions. 

The post Poor Marketing Data Costs Online Businesses $611 Billion Per Year appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Timeline: What to Do When Your Blog Goes Down

blog downtimeWhen your website or blog goes down it can be pretty frustrating while also having consequences over the short and long term. Yuck.

And while it is not the end of the world, it can be a little bit scary if you rely on your blog for an income.

When a site goes offline there is a sequence of events that take place and, depending on how you manage them, annoying consequences that follow.

Let’s take a very basic look at those events and what to do in that kind of situation so that you can hit the ground running.

A general timeline of a crashed blog

Here is a quick example timeline of what can happen when a website or blog goes down, and what you might want to be doing at each stage of the process. This could vary a lot depending on your situation, so I’ll try to keep it as general as possible.

1. Notification

The first thing is usually that someone lets you know that your blog is down. This might happen on Twitter or you might get an email from a reader who was trying to access the site. If you run a very professional setup you might even get a notification from your server or a monitoring service like Sucuri.

What to do here:
At this stage you’ll want to get to a computer so you can begin researching what’s happening. Try not to panic.

2. Identification

The next step is that you will need to try and figure out whether your site is actually down and, if it is, what is causing the problem. For example, is it a server issue, a hack of some kind, an issue with a plugin, etc.?

What to do here:
The first step is to check Down For Everyone to see if it’s just you. Then the next step is to email or call your web host and notify them of the problem. Your support staff is always the first point of call.

3. Resolution/Non-resolution

At this stage your problem will either be resolved as being some simple error or temporary server downtime. If not you will need to move on to the next stage.

What to do here:
If your problem was resolved you can move on the section about prevention and backups, if your problem wasn’t resolved you’ll need to investigate further.

4. Further investigation

Sometimes your web host will not be able to resolve the issue if it is a more specialized problem that involves your WordPress theme, plugins, or some malware that is present on your blog. Often they will be able to identify the issue but not want to attempt to repair it due to the possibility of making it worse.

What to do here:
Here you want to engage a systems admin expert or a service like Sucuri that can look deeper into the issue. This will generally involve giving them access to your server so it’s best to go with a reputable person/company. Ask for a report and quote.

5. Outside effects become noticeable

Sometime around this stage you will probably start to notice some effects of the downtime. For example, you will see a notification in Google search or Webmaster Tools that there is a security threat on your site, or you’ll start to notice your Google rankings changing/dropping in response to the server no longer being reachable. Keep an eye on your important backlinks as well. If you throw a 404 error for too long there’s a chance that the linking site will change to someone else.

What to do here:
At this point you might want to publicly acknowledge that there is an issue by posting to your social media accounts and advising readers what is happening and how they can help. Here’s a good example of how to do it.

6. Start researching alternatives

Unfortunately, if your issue is not resolved quickly it might mean that a more complicated solution is necessary. For example, you might need to migrate your domain name and/or website to a new host due to some issue with the current one.

What to do here:
Start looking around Google for people who have had similar problems to this and seeing what pith advice they have. Start emailing other providers to find out about the migration process should that be necessary. Look for staff who might be able to help you re-build any damaged or broken bits.

7. Final resolution

Some point in here the damn thing will be fixed and you’ll wonder why you got into Internet business in the first place. You’ll also experience some pretty great relief.

What to do here:
You can do this but also move on to the next step.

8. Put in place future protections and backups

If you didn’t have them in place initially, an event like this will really motivate you to start thinking about how to prevent future incidents. This involves better server set ups, security protocols, backups, monitoring, etc.

What to do here:
Make regular backups. My Blog Tyrant server makes a full server back up every two days, and once a week sends a full copy to a completely separate server as a secondary backup. Harden your website’s security using measures like these. Talk to your server staff about improvements that can be made or pay an independent expert for an audit.

Has your blog ever crashed?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if your blog has ever crashed and how you dealt with the situation. What steps did you take and how effective were they? What tips or steps would you say should absolutely be added to the article above? Please leave a message below.

I Want to Live in a World…

Where “fake news” isn’t a defense mechanism.

Where families aren’t torn apart in broad daylight as a statement of power.

Where acceptance isn’t based on religion, colour, gender or sexuality.

Where fear isn’t a tactic used by men in power to prey on the weak.

Where lies are not the new truth.

Where women aren’t silenced on the democractic floor for daring to call out bad people.

Where children aren’t afraid to go to school because their parents may not be there when they get home.

Where our elected officials put people before power, rights before riches.

Where discussing world events, as opposed to petty trash-talking, is the Presidential norm.

Where a stranger is not someone to fear, but a friend yet to know.

It’s not too much to ask for. Is it?

Sorry, Tobias Lutke, But Shopify Shouldn’t Be Hosting Breitbart

Or at least not for the reasons you give…

So, over on Medium, there’s a post from Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke regarding his company’s hosting of the Breitbart e-commerce store.

(If you’re unaware of both companies, Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce solutions on the web, and Breitbart is a right-wing propaganda site disguised as journalism)

In the post, Lütke addresses recent criticism (10,000 emails, tweets and messages and counting) of his company’s decision to continue to allow Breitbart to sell products online using the Shopify solution.

From the piece:

When we kick off a merchant, we’re asserting our own moral code as the superior one. But who gets to define that moral code? Where would it begin and end?

Products are a form of speech, and free speech must be fiercely protected, even if we disagree with some of the voices.

To further support that second statement, Lütke links to a quote by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and their defense of unsavoury characters because of their belief in free speech.

ACLU free speech

For full context, Lütke’s post can be found here.

While I completely agree that free speech shouldn’t be deterred, and support any company for that, in this case, I don’t think Lütke’s reasons to host Breitbart falls under free speech per se.

Free Speech and the Profit Equation

As I mentioned at the start of this post, Breitbart is using the Shopify e-commerce solution to sell products ranging from t-shirts to coffee mugs and more.

The revenue from these sales, as well as the advertising space they sell, goes back into funding the Breitbart publication. A publication that has continuously published incendiary articles like,

  • Planned Parenthood’s Body Count Under Cecile Richards is Up to Half a Holocaust (2015)
  • Suck It Up, Buttercups: Dangerous Faggot Tour Returns to Colleges in September (2016)
  • The Solution to Online Harassment is Simple: Women Should Log Off (2016)
  • Young Muslims in the West Are a Ticking Time Bomb, Increasingly Sympathizing With Radicals, Terror (2016)

These articles, and others like them, have seen Breitbart rise as a publication that is strongly anti-Semitic, anti-women, anti-immigrant and anti-nonwhites.

All funded by any revenue that Breitbart makes, including the sales from its Shopify store.

Going back to Lütke’s statement, while I understand the thinking behind it and why he said it, here’s where I think it’s different from simply protecting free speech.

Free speech is exactly that — free. And, as such, anyone can say anything, whether you agree with it or not (besides, there are actually legal restrictions on what you can say and how it’s treated).

But Breitbart isn’t just in the free speech category. They’re selling products that result in revenue and profit for the organization, which then allows them to further their alt-right agenda and misogynistic, racist, xenophobic lies.

While defending the right to free speech is one thing, allowing profits to power hate is something completely different.

That’s where Shopify needs to take a look at who they power, and what that says. Looking at the comments under Lütke’s post, many would agree.

That last comment, in particular, could be especially pertinent as this all plays out.

Given the amount of push-back in the U.S. at the moment on Trump and his Cabinet (especially Steve Bannon), is Shopify running the risk of losing more customers than they do in gaining support for their perception of protecting free speech?

Time will tell, as it usually does.

But choosing not to do business with Breitbart isn’t denying them free speech – it’s simply saying use another vendor, and this is covered in Shopify’s own Terms of Service.

That’s a basic business message.

Enabling the continued production of hate and ignorance via profits from a storefront your company powers?

That’s another message altogether – one that the free speech argument just doesn’t gel with, and one that will be interesting to watch unfold in the weeks and months ahead.

7 Strategies To Attract More Blog Readers

Blogging is still one of the most effective ways of having your voice heard, promoting your brand, building your audience, and even growing your own business. Not to mention it’s an incredibly fun way to pass your time. Also, there are so many different niches you can explore with blogging and find people who are interested in what you have to say.

The most popular niche is usually IT, and you will find plenty of blogs on modern technology with no surprise, because being tech-savvy these days is just as important as being literate. And then, there are health, fitness, education, and fashion blogs, which are always at the top in terms of visits and social media shares.

So what is their secret? Well, let’s find out. Here are 7 strategies professional bloggers use to attract more blog readers.

1. Guest Posting

This is one of the most effective blogging strategies, especially if you are a new to the world of blogging. Popular bloggers like Neil Patel, despite reaping all the benefits that come with being successful, are often under pressure to keep on producing great content on a regular basis, and if you reach out to them and offer to create amazing new content for their blog for free, in exchange for a link, they will more than likely jump at a chance to collaborate with you. By publishing your post on a different platform, you are exposing yourself to an entirely new audience, which will inevitably drive more traffic to your own blog.

2. Share Your Content Multiple Times

Of course you’re going to share your content multiple times, because there are so many different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or even Tumblr, where you can share a link to your new post and attract readers.

However, we are talking about sharing your content on the same platform more than once. For instance, you can invite your followers on Twitter to check out your new post, and then remind them several hours later. Then remind them again tomorrow, next week, and even a month later.

They will have a chance to catch up in case they have missed it the first time around.

3. Repurpose Your Old Content

According to the Australian Writings team, who are experts on writing stunning content, creating something new and fresh is not the only way to grow your readership.

  • Your old content can be just as effective, if presented in a different form.
  • You can turn shorter posts into an eye-catching infographic, your longer pillar posts into podcasts, or how-to articles into video tutorials.
  • You can even gather your best posts and create an ebook.

Some of your content won’t receive the attention it deserves, whether it’s because you didn’t have a bigger audience at the time, or because you haven’t gotten the format right. This is your chance to make it shine again, and save some time in the process.

4. Restructure Your Posts

You can also make use of your existing posts to attract new readers, without having to change them drastically. Try breathing new life into them by tweaking their structure. For instance, break those huge blocks of text into smaller paragraphs, each one with a catchy and intriguing subheading.

These days, people scan the content for something that might catch their eye, so make it easier on them. Also, make your posts readable, both in visual terms and in terms of substance. Also, you can make it more appealing by optimizing your website’s performance, and introducing responsive design, thus attracting mobile users.

5. Reach Out to Influencers

Reaching out to experts and influencers in your niche is a complex task, but it’s well-worth the effort. Once you are sure you have a killer post on your hands, get in touch and ask them if they would like to contribute to it with a quote, for example.

Since you probably can’t offer them money, you can give them your product for free, or share a link to their website. On the other hand, in case they decide to share a link to your post with their readers, you can expect to receive a ton of traffic, some much-needed exposure, and a huge boost to your authority in the niche.

6. Write a Better Headline 

About 80% of the people will read the article simply based on how much they like the headline, which makes sense, because you would be more likely to check out a shop which has a nice window, right?

Writing a great headline is an art, because the best one manage to let the reader know what they will find inside, and how they will benefit from it, while appealing to their emotions. For instance, headlines like “22 Fresh Tips to Grow Your Audience Today”, or “10 Unexpected Reasons Why Online Businesses Fail” let the reader know what they will be getting.

Also, the first one promises a clear benefit which they can experience almost immediately. The second one appeals to their emotions, because nobody wants to see their business crash. If it is difficult for you to come up with great headline ideas, you should check out these 7 effective writing techniques for modern professionals, which will make this process easier for any blogger.

7. Optimize Your Content for Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are great, because they tell you all about your readers’ intents, as well as what sort of content you should create and which needs you should meet. Also, if you do your research right, there is very little competition there, and according to this article from Search Engine Journal,  you can boost your organic traffic by 78%. And all you really need are Google Autosuggest and Google Keyword Planner. The former will tell you which long-tail keywords your readers are looking for, while the latter will provide you with an insight into how much competition there is for each keyword. You can also check out user-generated content on forums to find even more long-tail keywords.

Conclusion

Blogging can be both lucrative and fun. But, regardless of great your content is, it’s not going to be of much use if nobody is reading it. It is all about your readers, because that’s who you’re creating the content for. This is why you should also take the time to figure out the best ways to reach them, and we hope this post will help you do that.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from Jessica Freeman. Jessica is a freelance writer. She is interested in traveling and online learning. She enjoys writing on education, technology innovations, and blogging tendencies. Find out more about Jessica’s work by visiting her blog http://topwritingtips.com.au/ where she provide excellent writing tips for blog for students. You can also follow her on Facebook andGoogle+.

The post 7 Strategies To Attract More Blog Readers appeared first on BlogPress.


7 Strategies To Attract More Blog Readers was first posted on February 8, 2017 at 1:33 pm.

40 Most Effective Digital Marketing Tactics and Techniques in 2017

Everybody wants to have the possibility of choice, but the paradox is that no one wants to be some random “one” in a crowd of a hundred. With this need of any digital marketer in mind, we’ve thought of giving you the opportunity of being just that marketer who stands out. The new year of H2H (human-to-human) approach is here and we should focusing our attention to build meaningful relationships with audiences in a creative way. After extensive research, we’ve put together a list with the top efficient digital marketing tactics and techniques, backed by some great case studies.

effective digital marketing strategies cognitiveSEO

 

Below you can find the most effective 40 digital marketing tactics and techniques for a kickass start in 2017:

I. Content Marketing

  1. Use First Person in Call to Actions & Get 90% Increase in Click Through Rate
  2. Boost traffic by 300% While Using Editorial Calendars
  3. Use Content Syndication & Get a Constant Traffic of 250,000 Unique Visitors
  4. Promote Your Business with SlideShare to Drive 20% More Organic Traffic
  5. Sales Growth with 185% by Offering Highly Qualitative Case Studies

II. Search Marketing

  1. Build a Network of Partner Websites to Get Influence on the SERP and Jump up to 30+ Positions
  2. Rank Higher on Review Sites to Have an Average 18% Uplift in Sales
  3. Be Part of the 90% of Marketers Who Saw a Significant Increase in ROI by Taking Advantage of Trends for Traffic Generation
  4. Gain a Higher Advantage in Front of Your Competitors with AMP Receiving 40% Organic Traffic from the Whole Site Traffic
  5. Write on Medium to Get Awarness Through 6.2 Million Pageviews

III. Social Media Marketing

  1. Develop a Facebook Customized Page Tab and Engage 40% of Fans
  2. Write Valuable Content on Linkedin Pulse and win up to 1,900 Social Shares in 30 Days
  3. Use Reddit to Grow Your Business & Generate $6,188 in 3 Months
  4. Target the Online Communities and Hit 10.000 Monthly Unique Visitors
  5. Get Social Influence to Receive Higher Rankings by 15%

IV. Email Marketing

  1. Design a Smart Automated Reactivation Campaign and Boost Sales by 164%
  2. Get Personalized Emails to See an Average 19% Increase in Sales
  3. Reduce Friction and Increase by 100% Your Email Sign-Up Rate
  4. Use Segmentation to Increase Deliverability & Experience 141% Increase in Revenue per Campaign
  5. Increase Your Email Open Rate by 33% with a Subject Line That Triggers Curiosity

V. PPC & Paid Advertising

  1. Collaborate with Influencers to Write About Your Product to Generate Over $300.000 in 3 Months
  2. Have an Integrated Approach about Paid Promotion on Social Media
  3. Increase CTR with 64% in PPC Ads with Site-Links Extentions
  4. Use Emotion Triggers in Headline Ads to Get 6x Above Average CTR
  5. See a 32% Return on Investment for a Promoted Twitter Account

VI. Marketing Automation

  1. Set up Automated Behavioral Triggered Emails to get 71% Higher Open Rates
  2. Collect Customer Data Through a Transparent and Unique System to Gain Trust of  44% of Customers
  3. Make use of retargeting & Experience a 400% Increase On ROI
  4. Develop a Lead Scoring System to Generate 50% More Sales at Half of Costs
  5. Get More Social Exposure Through the Social Media Automation

VII. Online PR

  1. Encourage Brand Lovers to Support You Against Trolls
  2. Built a Strong Customer Following & Get Free Endorsement
  3. Gain Free Media to Get Everyone Talk About You on News and Get 5 Million Views on YouTube
  4. Create Fascinating Video Content to Attract Native Customers & Increase the Conversion Rate by 80%
  5. Use Webinars to Gain 16,394 new leads

VIII. Affiliate Marketing

  1. Start Running an Affiliate Program to Monetize Your Website & Get Extra $4500 Monthly Profit
  2. Generate Product Order Increase by 9.8% Through Voucher and Reward Sites
  3. Map out the Affiliates’ Value to Increase the Long Haul Share by 19%
  4. Reach Over 60% Social Engagement and Advocacy for the Brand with Respected Influencers Through an Affiliate Program
  5. Implement a Publisher Strategy to See a Monthly Revenue Growth Rate of 177%

 

1. Use First Person in Call to Actions & Get 90% Increase in Click Through Rate

To have a persuasive call to action you must know your audience and what its triggers are. For example, millennials are very critical since they’ve grown up fast-forwarding through commercials and online advertising.

 

An effective digital tactic is to correlate the call to action with the visual component (if there is any), have a compelling verb (to entice you to take action), communicate value (what you are offering) and create a sense of urgency. You should use ”get your free e-book” instead of “download” or “get free quote” instead of “submit” and so on.

 

A call to action is a great way to make the user take action and persuade them into taking the action you want without letting them know that on a conscious level. You should have a call to action message on your landing page, newsletters, emails.

 

Below you can see an example of an effective and branded call to action button from a landing page:

call to action button

Michael Aagard from Unbounce made A/B test on the payment page. The results showed that changing the button text from the second person to the first person brought an increase in the number of prospects that clicked the button. As you can see in the next picture, there were two buttons, one saying “Start YOUR free 30-day trial” and the other “Start MY free 30-day trial”; for the second one, he saw a 90% increase in click through rate.

Call to action a b test

Source: http://unbounce.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

On the same research, it was discovered that using the first person instead of the second person on a payment page brought 24.95% more payment.

2. Boost traffic by 300% While Using Editorial Calendars

New content appears daily. You must bring something fresh every time. Investing in social media, sales funnel, conversion rate optimization, customer relationships, marketing budgets, web analytics; they are all keywords that pops in your head all the time. Yet, which are the most effective tactics one should use?

Scheduling your blog posts is mandatory, especially if you work with multiples copywriters. Make sure your marketing plan includes an editorial calendar for improving your results. Creating an editorial calendar is easier than you think. There are lots of apps that can help you with that. Meistertask is a mind mapping app you could use to drag and drop tasks for each participant and create an editorial calendar easily. Below you can see a screenshot with an editorial calendar created in Meistertask:

 

Editorial Calendar

Source: https://www.meistertask.com

 

Trello gives us another digital marketing technique example you could use to create editorial campaigns. CoSchedule has a Content Marketing Calendar component. They used a process that helped them to increase traffic by 299%. Follow the next steps to achieve similar results:

 

  • have a broad goal behind your calendar;
  • set metrics to measure your goal;
  • find your baseline performance of an average month for that metric;
  • establish smart objectives for each blog post from your calendar;
  • find out how many blog posts you’ll need to meet your aspirational goal;

3. Use Content Syndication & Get a Constant Traffic of 250,000 Unique Visitors

Content syndication is the process of publishing your content on third party sites. You need to find authoritative publications. The idea behind is to drive more engagement for your content. Outbrain and Taboola power your content on their marketing channel. Once you republish your article on a big site like those two, you are exposed to a new audience and could reach a higher traffic.

 

James Clear used this digital marketing tactic and built an email list of more than 100,000 with a  constant traffic of 250,000 unique visitors per month on the blog. He republished a blog post on Lifehacker and got almost 99k views as you can see in the next photo. Quick tip: If you have an account on Google Analytics you can easily track your performance and see how many unique visitors you have.

 

Content Syndication

4. Promote Your Business with SlideShare to Drive 20% More Organic Traffic

Slideshare is the largest marketing platform for sharing presentations and it’s best suited for B2B companies. Didit Marketing, an advertising agency from New York, conducted a study showing that SlideShare gets 500% more traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.

Promote Your Business with SlideShare

An important fact you need to keep in mind is that SlideShare received billions of viewers every month and it’s a great way to connect with different specialists and find quality information in a friendly format.

 

Ana Hoffman, blogger at Traffic Generation Cafe, conducted a study showing how she received from 0 to 243,000 views in 30 days on Slideshare. The fun part is that you don’t need entirely new content to do a presentation, you can work through your old content displayed in a visual form to be easy to read.

 

20% of the SlideShare visitors come directly from Google. The rest come from social media and other SlideShare presentations. Always keep on eye on your metrics from Google Aalytics to see how are you performing in terms of organic traffic, paid traffic, visitors and so on.

5. Sales Growth with 185% by Offering Highly Qualitative Case Studies

Smart and effective digital tactics are a gold mine. Case studies as well. Not to mention the conversion optimization rates you can get with them.  Case studies have a huge potential to grow traffic, sales, and revenue if you offer quality results and show your product brings value. The Content Marketing Institute conducted a research where they saw that 63% of UK marketers believe that case studies are an effective digital marketing tactic. Case studies are the fifth most popular marketing tactic used out of 12, after social media, newsletters, blogs and blog posts.

 

Neil Patel, one of the top 10 marketers according to Forbes, conducted a study to see the influence of the use of case studies on his own site. He witnessed a growth in his revenue by 185%.  

6. Build a Network of Partner Websites to Get Influence on the SERP and Jump up to 30+ Positions

Brand mentions on well-known publications are important and hard to get. They could lift you up in ranking on the search engines for the right keyword phrases and you could improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. Usually, startups collaborate with content marketing specialists or firms because some of them don’t have the budget for a full-time person. Building a network of partner websites for a short period of time is an effective digital marketing technique to bring awareness and traffic to your site. The profile of the website could include publications, edu websites, web directory, blogs, forums, e-commerce and so on.

 

OutreachMama employed a study to see the results after their partnership with publisher Companies like Forbes and Huffington Post. In only 2 months they received 350 total backlinks from over 100 domains. Besides that, they saw a natural increase in their backlink profile.  

Link Visibility Outreachmama

www.outreachmama.com

 

In the second month of the partnership, they saw that they money keywords jumped up to 30 positions in the search engine result page.

7. Rank Higher on Review Sites to Have an Average 18% Uplift in Sales

9 out of 10 people look at online product reviews before they make a purchase decision. According to BrightLocal, 72% of Consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more. Other 88% say they trust customer reviews as must as personal recommendations.

Trustworthyness from Customer Reviews

Source: http://searchengineland.com

 

Reevoo discovered through an in-house case study that online reviews bring an average 18% uplift in sales. In 2015, US  e-commerce sales were about $341.7 billion showing an increase of almost 15% over 2014.

U.S. e-commerce growth

Source: http://images.internetretailer.com

 

With a continuous growth in e-commerce sale, customer reviews (all reviews, not necessary the ones coming from some ideal customers) are a major factor, an efficient trigger and quite essential tools nowadays for e-commerce websites.

8. Be Part of the 90% of Marketers Who Saw a Significant Increase in ROI by Taking Advantage of Trends for Traffic Generation

Google Trends is a pocket of gold. You’ll find a lot of data to help you to generate content and see what’s trending to stay on top of your competitors. The particularity of this tool is that you’ll find real-time search data or help to gauge consumer search behaviors over time. Below you can see a screenshot from Google Trends with searches for 3 holidays: Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Google Trends

You need to keep your eyes open for the marketing trends that will come. The marketing trends that will dominate 2017 include the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, live streaming video, visual storytelling, native advertising, marketing automation, influencer marketing, mobile marketing.

 

In 2016, video content was very popular and still is. Fire Brand proved that following trends can bring growth. The results showed that 90% of marketers have noticed significant increase in Return on Investment (ROI) through video content.

9. Gain a Higher Advantage in Front of Your Competitors with AMP Receiving 40% Organic Traffic from the Whole Site Traffic

AMP is a simpler and easier way to built light-weight web pages with static content that loads faster on mobile devices, due to its technology. The project is based on AMP HTML, new open framework built of existing web technologies.

 

The pages with an AMP version see a 2% higher CTR, which translates to more clicks, as you can see in the next screenshot.

ctr-example2-amp-pages

Source: https://www.2dogsdesign.com

 

AMP version has 40% of all the traffic for a page. It is an utterly amazing improvement for many sites because the content renders faster. The project comes to the rescue for a  large number of publishers.

10. Write on Medium to Get Awareness Through 6.2 Million Pageviews

Medium is a network built out for people from people and offers a new kind of content – publishing, and social media synergy. Every day, there are newly published articles that could get you over 45,000 views.

 

Publishers can see 3 stats graphs on Medium for 30 days, minutes read, views and visitors. Ali Mese, startup marketer at GrowthSupply.com, created a report with the statistic for his best traffic-generator article. For an article of about 1,000-1,500 words, he received over 4 million pageviews and 144,920 followers on Medium as you can see in the next picture.

 

Views on Medium

Source: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com

 

For a global audience, it’s best to publish your piece of content on Sunday at 0:00 GMT, because people look forward to reading something new as the week starts. To give it a kick, you should use an A/B emailing test sent at different hours to see which hour has the best open rate.

11. Develop a Facebook Customized Page Tab to Engage 40% of Fans

Investing in social media is a must. Yet, don’t know if you knew that a customized page tab gives you the advantage to offer exclusive information to fans. A personalized page tab can be used to promote registration for upcoming events, to bring fans to your website, to promote an app or a contest, create a content library, feature customers reviews or case studies and so on.

 

 Socially Stacked demonstrated that a customized page for a discount can influence the engagement for that page. In the end, 42% fans liked the page to get a coupon or discount. On the same side, a case study by Wildfire Interactive showed that a Facebook coupon-based page tab  received the highest engagement rates beside giveaways, sweepstakes, trivia Contests, Sweepstakes, Contest essays, photo contest, coupons, and video contest as you can see in the next graph.

Wildfire Interactive graph

12. Write Valuable Content on Linkedin Pulse and win up to 1,900 Social Shares in 30 Days

LinkedIn Pulse is a professional self-publishing platform. At first, everyone could write and publish content without any approval. Currently, it is composed of 500 selected experts.  According to Kapko, LinkedIn Pulse “lies somewhere between blog and social network”. Authors add a number of 50,000 articles on the platform every week.

 

Brian Lang, blogger at Small Business Ideas, conducted quite an interesting study on 300 posts featured on LinkedIn Pulse. Most articles from Pulse were about careers (42%), then about business (15%) and self improvement (9.33%) and other (33.67%) which includes technology, sales & marketing, current events, and productivity.

 

On average, the articles from Pulse got 1,843 social shares, and only 10% had less than 500 social shares, which leaves almost 90% with more than 500 social shares. If you are featured on LinkedIn Pulse, it can bring you a good amount of social exposure. From now on, writing on Linkedin Plan should be a part of your marketing plan.

13. Use Reddit to Grow Your Business & Generate $6,188 in 3 Months

Reddit is a community that has been growing since 2005. Here you can meet people with similar interests. It’s a place where you could follow news in a thread categorized in “hot”, ”new”, ”rising”, ”controversial”, ”top”, ”gilded”, ”wiki” and “promoted”. The nice part is you could follow lots of subreddits depending on the industry you’re interested. There were numerous cases when different stories from Reddit became famous and gained many upvotes.

 

 If you choose to post a link instead of a text you can link to your business and bring visitors to your website. Scott Keyes is an example of best practice in this case. He is a reporter for Think Progress and founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. He turned an obsession with cheap plane tickets into a $1 million business in under 2 years. In 3 months he managed to make $6,188 only by posting on Reddit. According to what he said, his posting got him 1,000 free subscribers and 250+ premium subscribers.

14. Target the Online Communities and Hit 10.000 Monthly Unique Visitors

Online communities are a great way to grow your online presence and to catch insights. Being apart of an online community has its perks. Being around by people with similar interests and exchanging knowledge is a good way to develop yourself and the company you are working at.

 

 The best online marketing communities you need to join are LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, Slack, GrowthHackers and, Inbound.org, ordered in chronological order. A good example of using the last two comes from Grow and Convert. The company was born when Devesh Khanal and Benji Hyam met a few years ago. Since they launched their site, they were active in online marketing communities, Devesh Khanal on GrowthHackers, on the one side, and Benji Hyam on Inbound.org, on the other side.

 

They set up a goal of bringing 40,000 monthly unique visitors in 30 days. As you can see in the next picture it is not quite like that, but they were able to bring more visitors from online communities than from organic searches. That is a good start!

 

Online Communities website traffic

15. Get Social Influence to Receive Higher Rankings by 15%

There is a lot of fuss around the subject about the importance of social signals in rankings. We already know that investing in social media is an effective digital tactic that can help out with the conversion rate optimization. Moz study says that Google doesn’t use social share counts directly in its algorithm. Neil Patel, on the other hand, claims that there might be a connection between social shares and rankings as you can see in the next screenshot from a Quick Sprout gifographic.

Giphografic Social Signals

 

A huge lift of almost 15% in rankings was the result of an increase of 100 Google Plus followers for a business page. Facebook brought a 6,9% increase in ranking from 70 shares and 50 likes. Lastly, 50 Tweets lift rankings with only 2,88%.

16. Design a Smart Automated Reactivation Campaign and Boost Sales by 164%

Each business makes its own format for newsletters, but designing a segmentation for customers that interacted with the site is a guaranteed path to lift the reactivation of inactive subscribers.   

 

The email marketing platform PostUp created an in-house case study for one of their clients to convert inactive subscribers. They built up an automated reactivation campaign and succeeded in boosting email-related sales by 164%. This is a great example of improving the conversion optimization of your inactive subscribers. 

 

Eventful created a new approach to automated reactivation campaign where emails included recommended news based on the previous behavior of the users. Below, you can see an example of an email from them:

Recommended news

Source: https://assets.econsultancy.com

 

This campaign was a success. The recommendation performer alert produces 15% median open rate, 3% median click rate and the spike was a 400% increase in reactivation rates.

17. Get Personalized Emails to See an Average of a 19% Increase in Sales

Over the years there have been numerous studies showing that email marketing is the most effective digital marketing tactic for lead nurturing in your digital strategy. Personalized emails are more efficient than non-personalized emails and can bring relevant results. Personalized emails are based on a more in-depth research and understanding of customer behavior and marketing trends. Most important of all, it requires you to know your buyer persona to deliver relevant information.

 

You can see a comparison between segmentation and personalization below:

Segmentation vs personalization

Source: http://blog.revampcrm.com

Dropbox uses personalized emails. See an example of this kind below:

Address the Message with Just One Representative Person in Mind

 

According to a study from CMO.com, marketers who use personalized email see an average 19% increase in sale. Personalized emails have a 600% conversion rate, but the sad part is that only 30% of brands can use them.

18. Reduce Friction and Increase by 100% Your Email Sign-Up Rate

In marketing, friction means everything that slows down the process of a user to convert. The ideal marketing planning is not to have friction at all, but since that’s almost impossible, it’s best to have less friction so you could convert your leads easily.

 

The news company Quartz leads a research by reducing friction in email sign-ups. The changes they made to the sign-up process was to simplify it by using only an email address for subscription and moving to double opt-in (the user had to click on a link in the first email they received to activate subscription) to opt-out. When visitors want to subscribe, they go to a new landing page.

 

The results were quite satisfying; the daily subscriber rate has doubled. You can see a screenshot of their growth below:

 

Quartz subscriber growth

Source: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com

 

Besides that, Quartz increased the number of people who subscribed on the weekend, when the activity was very week.

19. Use Segmentation to Increase Deliverability & Experience 141% Increase in Revenue per Campaign

If you aren’t able to use segmentation to target your audience, you won’t succeed in writing relevant subject lines. You can use segmentation based on interests, location behavior consumption, mobile marketing, keyword phrases, lifestyle or other factors.

 

Lyrics discovered that 4 out of 10 marketers who used segmentation experienced a higher open rate, 3 out of 10 marketers saw a lower unsubscribe rate and 2 out of 10 experienced better deliverability and greater revenue. Below, you can see the graph with all the segmentation results from the research.

Email list segmentation results

Source: http://www.emailonacid.com

 

Another research worth mentioning is the Johnny Cupcakes emailing campaign. within their digital marketing technique they used a segmentation for gender, customers interests, brand preferences and media habits and for the first time ran a product launch campaign with different emails for men and women. See below a screenshot of the email sent to women:

Johnny Cupcakes segmentation campaign

Source: http://content.marketingsherpa.com

 

After they analyzed the results, they saw an increase of 42% in CTR, of 123% in conversion rate and 141% in revenue per campaign. These are quite some results for such small improvement.  

 

Make sure you use segmentation in your digital marketing strategy.

20. Increase Your Email Open Rate by 33% with a Subject Line That Triggers Curiosity

Your subject lines are everything when you’re thinking about the email open rates. Everything comes from there. The call to action from the subject line must be relevant to your audience. Before you send the message to your list, think you’re sending the message to one person, someone you know. Keep in mind that your message shouldn’t be cold, no matter the industry you’re in.

 

A study from Informz shows how important a subject line is. 33% of email recipients open email are based on the subject line alone.

 

Make sure you are concise, you don’t use buzzwords and test.

21. Collaborate with Influencers to Write About Your Product to Generate Over $300.000 in 3 Months

To create and maintain an online presence you must be one step ahead of the game and reach people.And influencer marketing can be of a real help in this situation. To create buzz in the online media, you should use influencers to help you to promote your business. A creative campaign with influencers was realized by Neil Patel, online marketing consultant. He spent $57,000 to models who posted a picture on Instagram with the message “Who is Neil Patel” and the hashtag #whoisneilpatel and earned $332,640 in three months.

 

This is just an example of a picture posted during the campaign:

Neil Patel Influencer campaign model

 

Another example of influencers comes from people from your field of interest, specialists and experts in your industry. Another example of influencer marketing would be to use specialists from your field of interest, and experts in your industry.

22. Have an Integrated Approach about Paid Promotion on Social Media

Even though paid promotion is a digital marketing tactic used by numerous businesses, not everyone knows how to do it right. Having a large promotional budget is not a guarantee of success. The key is to address the right audience and engage with it.

 

In the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report from Content Marketing Institute, you can see that 51% of B2B marketers say social ads are an effective paid advertising method.

Content Marketing Institute Social ads results

47% of B2B marketers consider that promoted posts are also effective, as you can see in the picture above. The results show that more and more marketers consider paid promotion on social media a must. You should focus your attention on your paid social campaigns since those efforts could see high returns, as expressed in the example above. To keep up, digital specialists should look for new ways of investing in social platforms to reach new audiences.

 

To get yourself ahead of the game you could start taking an interest in mobility marketing if you’re using mobile advertising. Mobility is a way of fulfilling customer’s needs to get tasks done on the move. Let’s take Facebook as an example. Has it ever happened to you to visit a new city and receive notifications in the app with recommendations of places to visit and restaurants where you could eat near you? Connecting with the user on the go through an mobile app is a great way to push them down the funnel.

23. Increase CTR with 64% in PPC Ads with Site-Links Extentions

Site-links extensions are a path to lead visitors to specific pages from your website directly from a PPC ad. They look something like this:

Adwords-extensions-sitelinks-nike

Source: https://lseo.com

 

PPC Hero did an experiment to see the results after they added site links to their paid search ad. They saw an improvement; their CTR grew up from 1.16% to 1.9%. Only by adding site links, the CTR experiences an increase of 64%. Below, you can see the results before adding the site links and after adding them.

Pre-vs-Post-Sitelinks Results

Source: http://www.ppchero.com

 

The case study also showed that there are situations where the site links have a lower CTR compared with the headline of the ad, but the CPA has a lower value. Even if the site links don’t get clicks near as much as the headlines, they do produce additional CTR and conversions.

24. Use Emotion Triggers in Headline Ads to Get 6x Above Average CTR

Either we are talking about a headline from a blog post, a newspaper, a book, a billboard, a PPC ad or a newsletter, headlines have a decisive impact whether the piece of content gets clicked or not.

 

Brainstorming for compelling headlines is mandatory. Copyblogger said that on average, 8 out of 10 people read the headline, and the rest 2 out of 10 read the rest.

 

Larry Kim, founder WordStream, saw that using negative emotional triggers in a PPC ad can score impressive results. By using the hero/villain persona to express anger/revenge, the next ad got 6x above average CTR.

This_ad_gets_6x_above_average_CTR

Source: http://blog.ezanga.com

If you use fear, you could see a 125% increase in appointments booked, and 170% increase in call volumes. See the paid search ad used for this experiment below:

The_new_ad_Breast_Cancer_Screening

Source: http://blog.ezanga.com

 

Wordstream offers a free version of the tool Adwords Performance Grader to see how your ads are performing. You can use it to make a test before the changes you make in Google AdWords and after, based on the recommendations you receive.

25. See a 32% Return on Investment for a Promoted Twitter Account

Nowadays, everyone knows about Twitter. If you want to run an advertising campaign on Twitter, there are three ways to do it: promoted trends, promoted accounts and promoted tweets.

 

 Hubspot, inbound marketing pioneer, wanted to find a more effective way to:

  • generate new leads;
  • engage existing followers;
  • grow the sales conversion rate;
  • improve ROI.

 

The solution was to use the promoted accounts advertising type from Twitter to target B2B decision-marketing users that are interested in marketing subjects. To deliver better results, the campaign included promoted tweets with a specific call to action such as webinar invitations, free e-books. After the campaign had ended, it resulted in 150% increase sales, 46% lower cost-per-read and 32% ROI.   

 

Reaching new customers with Twitter promoted accounts is an effective digital marketing technique indeed.

26. Set Up Automated Behavioral Triggered Emails to Get 71% Higher Open Rates

For an email to be effective, marketers knew that emails see a better open rate if they follow the behavior of the users on the website.

 

According to Unbounce, automated behavioral emails are triggered by multiple events:

  • a user abandoning the products from their cart;
  • a subscriber becoming inactive;
  • a subscriber purchasing a product that needs a replenishment.

 

See an example of this kind below:

Automated-Behavioral-Triggered-Emails

 

Emails that use automated behavioral triggers have 71% higher open rates and 102% higher clicks than non-triggered emails.

This technique delivers value because it’s sent in the moment of utmost relevance and needs to your prospect. 39% of marketers say “automatically sending emails based on triggers” is the most effective technique for having a higher email engagement.

27. Collect Customer Data Through a Transparent and Unique System to Gain Trust of 44% of Customers

Along the years, studies reported a decrease in the visitors’ level of trust in brands and companies. Edelman Trust Barometer showed that 44% of customers express trust in business, which is almost a half of the audience.

 

When you can demonstrate how the data you gather is kept secure, you’ll see improvements. State of the Data Nation showed that a clear privacy policy (43%) earns consumer trust.

 

Informatica surveyed 2,000 UK adults and found out that almost 6 out of 10 people are concerned about the use of the personal information they shared with brands. Another interesting result from Informatica shows 7 out of 9 people admitted they were cautious with the information they share with brands.

 

Thread, U.K. online personal styling service for men and women, has a unique and transparent system of collecting customer data. Now it is available only for men. After you enter the site you select menswear:

Thread website

They use this system to offer custom product to help your stylist find the best clothes for you, such as which trouser fits you like or how open are you to try more daring clothes or how much you usually spend on clothes and other specific questions.

Thread Collect Customer Data

 

In the end, you’ll be asked to leave your email address for further actions.

28. Make use of retargeting & Experience a 400% Increase On ROI

The retargeting method is used when you want to convert a user after entering the site. The process is quite easy; the user comes to your site, a cookie is set to their browsers. Afterward, you can track him to show him ads on the website he’s visiting. Based on the activity he had on your site you can deliver specific display ads. Below you can see the most effective types of retargeting:

7-types-of-effective-retargeting

Source: http://thumbnails-visually.netdna-ssl.com

 

Niche Hacks tried retargeting pixel to send visitors back to the email opt-in page. They converted 51,54% of all retargeted visitors into new subscribers, even though the ads were basic, landing page was basic, the stock images were simple. Basically, everything was average. In spite of all of this, they converted quite a large number of people.

 

American Apparel used Perfect Audience platform on Facebook retargeting and saw a 400% increase in ROI, converted new customers and increased the revenue.

29. Develop a Lead Scoring System to Generate 50% More Sales at Half of Costs

Lead Scoring is a system where every company can rank prospects according to a scale based on the value they represent for that company. Lead scoring can be implemented in numerous marketing automated platforms. For example, you can to assign a value to social media interactions or specific website behavior. Based on the results, you can see which lead must be pushed down the funnel or contacted directly by a sales representative. It the sales department wants to perform, it is recommended to use lead scoring. If not, it might lose significant leads, waste money, and other opportunities to convert them.

 

Studies revealed that companies with well-put lead nurturing system see 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost. Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study showed that 68% of successful marketers say lead scoring is the most effective method to improve the revenue contribution from lead nurturing.

30. Get More Social Exposure Through the Social Media Automation

As the name says it, social media automation means using tools to automate the social marketing process by making your account stay active without manual posting and monitoring. On January 2016, We are Social said that 31% of world’s population (7.395 billion) were active social media users. With such a large audience you can’t stay up all night to make sure you post at the current local time when there is a peak of your audience. The automation appears at a time of need to make things easier.

 

A unique approach to the automation process on social media platforms happened in 2012 when Barack Obama’s social campaign used the Dashboard. It was an online registration platform where volunteers could make an account to support Obama’s candidacy. Everybody with an email address could register and see news, political and election events. Through that platform, Obama’s team collected data about the activity of the volunteers such as phone calls, donations, and tasks. Afterward, it was very easy for the team to target only the volunteers that were interested. The results of the automation process were remarkable not to mention that in the end, Obama became president. Great digital marketing technique, isn’t it?

31. Encourage Brand Lovers to Support You Against Trolls

Brand lovers are those who play the role of brand advocates and define the term evangelism marketing. They are highly satisfied customers and identify themselves with the brand. They are an asset because they promote the brand waiting for nothing in return. McKinsey and Company say 70% of purchase experiences are based on how the customer feels. It is bloody important to provide value and customer fulfillment.

 

Besides the fact that brand lovers will make sure to tell everyone your product is the best, they will support you against trolls. Nowadays, people on social platforms are very critical, and a single wrong comment or tweet can ruin you. Some haters and trolls can make your life a living hell on the social media. But, thank God for brand advocates!

 

OldNavy, an American retailer, got socially trolled. The company tweeted an upcoming sale with an interracial couple image, and then a group of racist people started posting negative tweets about the brand with hashtags #whitegenocide and #miscegenation. Before the team from Old Navy began to respond, some advocates of the brand started supporting the company by posting their own pictures with interracial couples they have in the family. In times of crisis, it is best to have your brand lovers that can make a powerful statement.

32. Built a Strong Customer Following & Get Free Endorsement

Millennials are a socially conscious generation. Embracing a cause might be just the answer you’re looking for if your brand addresses the Y generations. If they believe in a cause, they are willing to pay more and even a premium price. Knowing they give something for a better cause makes them feel valuable.

 

The shoe brand TOMS created a campaign based on a cause that brought endorsement from celebrities and famous people. They created a new concept ‘One Day without shoes’, meaning that for each purchased pair of shoes, another pair goes to a child in need. People from all over the Globe started a word of mouth campaign and even walk without shoes the whole day.

 

Charlize Theron became a strong supporter of the cause, alongside a lot of other celebrities, such as Lenny Kravitz, Chaske Spence and Julia Jones from Twilight, Dawn Olivieri from the Vampire Diaries, plus Cheryl Tiegs, Gillian Zinser, Jason Mraz, Tara Mercurio and Lacey Chabert, Thomas Jane, Matisyahu, Living Things and Tory Burch.

33. Gain Free Media to Get Everyone Talk About You on News and Get 5 Million Views on YouTube

Earned media or free media is a term that describes all the publicity that is not paid but rather gained through promotional efforts. Earned media happens when you make people talk about your brand no matter where it appears. Earned media happens after you make smart and creative ads or involved in successful real marketing actions, created impactful events and so on.    

 

Avon used a digital marketing tactic that generated massive amounts of earned media. “Choose Beautiful” reached over 5 million of views on YouTube and the term <Dove ‘choose beautiful’> received more than a million entries on Google. Hundreds of media outlets covered the video; numerous news websites claimed that “proves beauty is a choice”.

Dove-Choose-Beautiful

Source: http://delamanoconvenezuela.com

 

The ad received a lot of free media. Ad Age named it the best advertising campaign of the 21st century. People started to talk about it on Buzzfeed saying “Not everyone is beautiful and that is perfectly okay”. Some of them were encouraging the message “I find it odd that people disapprove of an ad whose whole purpose was to get women to all realize that they were beautiful”.

 

The psychologist Nancy Etcoff and self-esteem expert Dr. Tara Cousineau, together with Dove, created a toolkit named “Mindful Me” designed to help women manage thoughts and feelings in order to offer them the confidence to feel beautiful.

 

Send a powerful message to your audience and then expect to gain free media.

34. Create Fascinating Video Content to Attract Native Customers & Increase the Conversion Rate by 80%

Video content started to gain a lot of attention in the past few years. Almost 1 billion  unique monthly visitors are on YouTube, 130 million on Vimeo, 100 million on Dailymotion, 45 million on LiveLeak and 42 million on Vine. That is a lot of viewers! Let’s not forget the social video part, 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook, and 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter. In 2013, Instagram introduced videos in addition to photos and more than 5 million videos were shared in the first 24 hours. Video consumption on Instagram has increased by 40% in 2016.

 

According to Hyperfine Media, 90% of users say that product videos are helping them in the decision process and almost 40% of online consumer trust video ads as you can see in next infographic.

video-marketing-statistics-infographic

Source: http://www.hyperfinemedia.co.uk

 

Most recent studies show that a video placed on the landing page can increase conversion rate by 80%. 96% of B2B companies use videos in their marketing campaign, and 73% say this improved their ROI.

35. Use Webinars to Gain 16,394 new leads

Organizing webinars can produce juicy content. They are great to deliver useful content to your readers and engage with them. Practically you can give a presentation to them and then discuss to see their main points. This is a great way to receive hot information, smart insights and see what topics you can debate on the blog in order to push the leads down the funnel.

 

Basically you need a microphone, a PC/laptop, and you’re set. Then use a service like AnyMeeting or GoToWebinar to connect with your viewers.

 

Webinars are such and effective digital marketing technique that could bring you 518,399 visitors and 16,394 leads from 77 webinars as KISSmetrics experienced. Neil Patel, founder at KISSmetrics, estimated that those webinars generated $1,638,000.

36. Start Running an Affiliate Program to Monetize Your Website & Get Extra $4500 Monthly Profit

There are upsides and downsides of an affiliate program in your digital strategy. The upside of this marketing technique is that it can generate high revenue and the downside is that it doesn’t work for all kinds of business.

 

For example, the popular web hosting service Bluehost gets new customers through its affiliates. Shopify uses an affiliate program that rewards its affiliates with $2,400 per sale.

 

A study from NichePie by Luqman Khan shows how you can generate a monthly profit of $4,500 in 4 months. See the statistics in the next screenshot.

Profit from an affiliate program

Source: http://nichepie.com

 

He posted 8 articles and 1 infographic and received 14,206 unique visitors in 4 months.

37. Generate Product Order Increase by 9.8% Through Voucher and Reward Sites

In 2015, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released the Online Performance Marketing study showing that 57% of product orders were through voucher and reward sites. Thomas Cook, one of the world’s leading leisure travel, developed a campaign based on the use of voucher codes to encourage users to buy online tickets. They wanted to keep the cost-per-order (CPO) lower than £65. As a result, the orders increased by 9.8% while the CPO decreased, thus keeping it under £65.

38. Map out the Affiliates’ Value to Increase the Long Haul Share by 19%

Thomas Cook Airlines has a long activity in the affiliate marketing area, and this led the company to always improve their marketing strategy. They learned that knowing the values of their affiliates is highly important. One of their affiliate campaigns had the next objectives:

  • minimize the average cost-per-sale (CPS);
  • increase the number of long-haul bookings (meaning the bookings for travelers that last a long period of time);

 

A way to do that was to map out the affiliate’s value. For that, all the bookings from 2014 were analyzed to see the path to conversion for each affiliate. This helped the company to discover the CPS and the contribution brought by each affiliate. The results were quite impressive: they kept the average CPS below 2% of revenue and reduced the cost-per-click by 73% while increasing the long haul share by 19%. On top of that, they sold thousands of seats from routes that weren’t performing well at all.

39. Reach Over 60% Social Engagement and Advocacy for the Brand with Respected Influencers Through an Affiliate Program

The affiliate agency Schaaf-PartnerCentric conducted an in-house study based on REACH (Relations, Exposure, Advocacy, Connection, Hype) program that provides customized outreach and guarantees placement on influencer websites for a boutique fashion retailer. The client has proposed to increase the exposure and advocacy within a short period of time with the help of influencers.

 

The campaign raised 63% social engagement in the first week after the big launch. Instagram saw the highest engagement, with 92% of the social interactions. Pinterest increased up to 6% social interactions.

40. Implement a Publisher Strategy to See a Monthly Revenue Growth Rate of 177%

Cost Plus World Market is a furniture store that implemented a publisher campaign through an affiliate program. The online retailer has been in the furniture market for almost 30 years now and has had more than 100 brands and thousands of products. They implemented a publisher program with the help of Schaaf-PartnerCentric team. Only after 90 days, the company’s results were highly visible. The monthly traffic increased by 100.7%, the monthly sales increased by 257%, and the monthly revenue grew by 177%.

Conclusion

Creating engaging content with relevant data and juicy tips will always be effective. Let’s face it – we crave creativity. Creativity in all forms: for making your business better, for getting everyone to talk about you, for inspiring others, for earning free advertising, for becoming an asset in your industry. If you follow some of the digital marketing tactics and techniques from the list we’ve created, you should see improvements shortly.

 

Create a list of the most important digital marketing tactics for you. Chose those that are easy for you to implement, and then take action. Embrace the fact that you need to make changes to deliver higher CTR, higher open rate, revenue growth, higher conversion rate, more unique daily viewers, more leads and so on.

 

Good luck! Maybe you will be the next case study for an effective digital marketing technique.

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