Experts always say you’re doing search engine optimization (SEO) all wrong.Continue reading “Why SEO Cannot Produce Guaranteed Results”
Keywords are on the way out.
No, I’m not saying search engine optimization (SEO) is no longer relevant. As long as search engines exist, SEO must remain a fixture in your brand’s digital marketing strategy. What I am saying is that the relevance of single-word search terms is fading fast.Continue reading “Why Key Phrases, not Keywords, Are Important in SEO”
Keyword research is only the first step in search engine optimization. It’s an important foundation, don’t get me wrong. At the same time, just as no site metric exists in a vacuum, keywords lose a lot of value if you understand nothing about the people typing them.
In short, you know what searches bring people to your site, but do you know why?
Let’s say someone types in the search term ‘Tonka.’ Are they looking to buy a toy truck? To read about the Tonka brand? To research the 1958 Disney movie? To learn more about rocket fuel?
Without further information, you simply cannot know. But you need to. Understanding search intent is critical to optimizing your site, and crucial if you want to provide your audience with the best experience possible.
Let’s start with an overview of the different types of search intent.
Learn, Locate, Purchase, Research: 4 Types of Search Intent
According to SEO firm Yoast, all searches fall into one of the following categories.
- Informational queries are entered by users who are looking for information of some kind. This could include information on the weather, current events, marketing tutorials, and so on. These users have a specific question and are looking for a specific answer.
- Navigational queries are entered by users who are looking for a specific website. It’s usually not worthwhile trying to rank high on a navigational query – it either happens organically, or your site isn’t what people are looking for.
- Transactional queries are entered with the intent to purchase in the immediate future. They usually include keywords like “buy” or “purchase.”
- Commercial/Investigative queries sort of blend transactional and informational. These are people who plan to purchase in the near future but want to learn more before they do. They’re looking for reviews, for advice on which product is the best, etc.
Why People Search: Understanding User Intent on Your Website
Now that you know the different types of search intent, the next order of business is figuring out which of them drives traffic to your website. The good news is that you likely already have all the data you need for this. All you really need to do is read between the lines.
First, consider the type of page that’s receiving search traffic. A product listing is probably going to draw in users with either transactional or investigative intent. A blog post or white paper on the other hand will draw in users who’ve entered informational queries.
It may also be worthwhile to examine the search engine results page. What ads are displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)? What is the nature of the other sites that have ranked? Take a bit of time to study, and try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s entered the keyword or keyphrase, and ask yourself: what are they looking for, and how do the results meet that need?
That is, after all, what nearly every Google algorithm update to date has been about – establishing a better understanding of user intent, and better meeting user needs.
Per SEMRush, you should also pay particularly close attention to the following search features:
- Informational: Live results, knowledge cards, tweets, top stories, featured snippets, videos
- Commercial: People also ask, shopping, reviews, videos, knowledge panel, featured snippet lists
- Transactional: Paid product panels, paid knowledge panel additions, shopping, knowledge panels, reviews, images
Finally, take a look at how people are engaging with your content. An abnormally high bounce rate could indicate that your content doesn’t quite mesh with what people are looking for. Again, though, don’t measure bounce rate in isolation.
A thought leadership post, for example, might have a high bounce rate coupled with high time on the page. Sure, you ideally want people to respond to your call to action. But many of them will probably read the piece, find that it fits their needs, and move on.Continue reading “How to Understand What Brings People to Your Website”
After a quick Google search, a user visits one of the first websites the search engine suggests. After spending only a few minutes on the website’s landing page, they close their browser tab and navigate elsewhere. This is what’s known, in search terms, as a bounce.Continue reading “How to Prevent Your Site From Having a Negative Bounce Rate”
Per research by ecommerce analytics firm SaleCycle, the average global rate of shopping cart abandonment across all industries in Q1 2018 was nearly 76 percent. Even more shockingly, that figure represents nearly a 2 percent decrease from 2017’s statistics. Upsetting, isn’t it?
It’s long been known that shopping cart abandonment is one of the leading drains on ecommerce revenue. Any business that can recapture even a fraction of these “lost” sales could arguably be considered a success. It’s not especially surprising, then, that there are so many tactics and techniques on the web that claim to help you do just that such as:
- Reminder emails
- Coupons and special offers
- Complex, feature-rich customer engagement platforms
These are all valuable. They’re all things you should be looking into. But they also won’t save you if your shopping cart is fundamentally broken.
In short, the best way to reduce shopping cart abandonment by far is to determine why people are abandoning their carts. Here are three reasons.
Your Checkout Process Leaves a lot to be Desired
Your customers should not have to jump through hoops just to purchase your products. While it’s perfectly acceptable to encourage registration to purchase a product, it’s inadvisable to require it. Focus on making the case for why people should register an account on your website, or give them the opportunity to do so post purchase.
It’s also worthwhile to examine your checkout process for any unnecessary complexity. At most, you should require payment and shipping information, and keep it to as few fields as possible. Additionally, the fewer pages a prospective purchaser has to go through the better. You might also consider including a progress indicator so customers know how much more they need to do before their purchase is complete.
Finally, make sure your shopping cart and your website are both fully compatible with mobile devices. A growing percentage of ecommerce purchases are now made via smartphones and tablets. Failure to account for those purchases effectively means you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
There are too Many Hidden Costs
One of the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment, according to a 2018 survey by ecommerce marketing firm Barilliance, involves shipping costs. It’s safe to say that most people when making a purchase online expect to pay at least a nominal delivery fee. However, if you load up every single purchase on your storefront with unexpected, hidden costs, people are going to ditch your checkout process in droves.
Your best bet here is to include the expected delivery costs on each of your product listings. That way, no one will be taken aback when a product ends up costing significantly more than expected. It’s also advisable to make an effort to reduce your shipping costs. The less a customer has to spend on delivery, the better.
You Haven’t Bothered With Security
Last but certainly not least, if your site isn’t using SSL, then you’re doing ecommerce wrong. We’re living in an era of data breaches and privacy violations, in which consumers are more cognizant of their data than ever before. If they suspect that your checkout process is insecure, they aren’t going to proceed with it, simple as that.
Want to learn more about search engine optimization (SEO)? You should. Knowledge of SEO might not be as critical as it used to be, but it’s still one of the core pillars of success on the web.
So whether you’re establishing foundational SEO skills or shoring up existing knowledge, it’s always worthwhile to learn more. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to teach yourself more if you’re willing to put in the effort. Here’s what we suggest.
Read a Guide
There is a wealth of high-quality, comprehensive guides on search engine optimization on the web. Of these, The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, published by Moz, is probably the best. It covers more or less everything you need to know, starting with the absolute basics.
If the Moz piece is a bit too much to digest, you could also check out Neil Patel’s SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide. Although it’s not quite as comprehensive as Moz’s piece, it still gives you all the information necessary to get started with basic SEO. Plus, Patel himself is a pretty big name in digital marketing, referred to by many as one of the web’s top influencers.
Finally, there’s also Search Engine Journal’s Complete Guide to SEO. Updated annually, this one’s a bit more advanced. It also covers emerging trends and techniques in the SEO space.
Try a Few Tools
Although studying should definitely be your first step, you can also learn a lot just by fiddling around in the dashboard of an SEO tool. The Google Search Console is probably the best place to start here. You can use it completely free of charge, and it provides you with all the basic information you need to understand in order to measure your SEO efforts.
These are not the only tools available to you if you’re looking to learn SEO. Ahrefs is one of the highest-quality search engine optimization platforms on the web, providing more or less everything you could possibly need to get your SEO to an acceptable level. And if you’re on WordPress, Yoast SEO is an excellent plugin to explore.
Learn by Doing
Ultimately, the best way to acquire SEO knowledge is by applying it in the real world. After reading through an SEO guide of your choice and exploring an SEO tool or two, take what you’ve learned and use it to optimize your website. It will probably be difficult at first.
To be truly successful, you must be capable of learning from failure and not just your own. Paying attention to what the people around you are doing wrong is a great way to avoid making those mistakes yourself.Continue reading “5 of the Greatest Marketing Fails of 2019 (So Far)”
Keywords and topics are at the core of search engine optimization. They are the foundation of all successful content on the web. Without them, you cannot engage in search engine marketing and you also cannot create content that has value.Continue reading “How to Determine Which SEO Keywords Are Best”
I’d like to start today’s piece with a very simple question. When’s the last time you audited your search engine optimization tactics? When’s the last time you checked your site for SEO issues?Continue reading “How to Audit Your Site for SEO Integrity”
Not everyone is a writer. Not everyone has the time to maintain a blog and update it consistently with fresh, original content. And that’s okay.