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  • Optimizing WordPress For Google Knowledge Graph

    Monday, May 9, 2016 by

    Optimizing WordPress for Google Knowledge Graph

    Google continuously updates their search results to provide a better experience for the searcher. Recent algorithm changes have been moving towards a greater understanding of what the user is intending to search for. This is a step towards Google’s complete understanding of the user, rather than simply matching the exact keywords that were typed into the search bar.

    Google is attempting to provide the user with smarter and more relational search results. The knowledge graph feature is an extension of this. Below we highlight what the knowledge graph actually is and how you can better optimize it to improve your search engine traffic.

    What is The Knowledge Graph?

    The knowledge graph is a database that collects millions of different data points that relate to keyword data and the search intent behind those keywords. The knowledge graph then takes all of this information and creates a quick reference of information about and related to the desired search.

    The knowledge graph will appear different based upon what you searched for.

    Let’s look at a few examples below:

    This is a common result when searching for keywords that’ll give you a list of people.Google Knowledge Graph Image Carousel

    The single result will usually take and summarize one of the articles that Google deems the most relevant and valuable.Google Knowledge Graph

    The sidebar result will pull all of the relevant information on a specific person or company.

    Google Knowledge Graph Sidebar

    Can I Optimize for the Knowledge Graph?

    As we mentioned above the knowledge graph is a way for Google to showcase the most relevant and useful information in a way that provides the best experience for the searcher.

    In order to optimize your content and website for the knowledge graph you need to give Google indicators of what your site is about, while creating very high-quality and relevant information for your readers.

    Since the long-term goal of Google is to give the searchers exactly what they want, it’s a smart move to position your content strategy to do the exact same thing.

    1. Write for Human Readers First

    No longer can you afford to simply write to appease the search engines. You must write in order to entertain, educate, and delight your readers. The more you can solve your readers’ problems the more useful and authoritative your website will become.

    When creating content that’s based upon certain keywords, ask yourself why the user would type that keyword. Determine their reasons for typing that specific keyword and tailor your content around completely answering that question for them.

    2. Include SEO Elements to “Tip Off” Search Engine Crawlers

    There’s no way your content is going to make it into the knowledge graph, or even rank at all, if you don’t utilize certain indicators to tell the search engine crawlers what your website is about. Some of the main ways to do this are:

    • Include your target keyword within your headline and subheadings
    • Add your keyword to your meta description
    • Integrate it (and related keywords) into your content in ways that don’t impact the readability of the article

    3. Focus on the User Experience of Your Content

    User experience means a lot these days. If your site has all of the content your reader is looking for, yet makes it hard to find that content, or is hard to read, then you won’t be receiving any favorable rankings.

    Focus on what it’s like for a reader to consume the content across your website. Optimize and improve this experience by using a readable font, adding more whitespace, making your content more readable, and including relevant links to supplement the information.

    The overarching goal of the knowledge graph is to provide the right search results to visitors without making them dig around for it. By answering the right questions, creating useful content, and providing a good user experience you’ll be creating content that’s in alignment with the future of Google’s search engine rankings.

  • 10 Tips to Writing Web Copy that Attracts Visitors and Drives Sales

    Tuesday, May 3, 2016 by

    10 Tips to Writing Web Copy that Attracts Visitors and Drives Sales

    A good website should perform critical functions for its company, brand, or entrepreneur. This includes telling potential customers what product or service you are offering, why you are different (better!) than the competition, and giving them an easy way to purchase from you - or at least ask further questions. Behind the scenes, properly written websites boost your search engine ranking, act as the hub of your social media wheel, and establish you as a credible expert in your field.

    However, unfortunately websites are often poorly written, presenting visitors with a mismatch of endless paragraphs, random photos and graphics, and an overall confusing layout.  This undoubtedly causes them to abandon the page in favor of the next competitor’s.

    It’s not that business people can’t write well, it’s more so that they don’t know how to write website copy very well – a totally different animal. When designing a website and writing copy, it’s best to keep the AIDA strategy in mind, an acronym that stands for:

    A – Attract Attention

    I – Trigger Interest

    D – Create a Strong Desire

    A – Call to Action

    So let’s take a look at 10 methods to write clear, engaging, and persuasive web copy that customers will gravitate towards:

    1. Use concise text

    If visitors to your website see a vast amount of text in paragraph form, they’ll automatically tune out. Use short words, short sentences, and even shorter paragraphs. As a good rule of thumb, write your web copy and then cut the word count in half, and then in half again.

    2. Make sure your site is easy to scan

    When it comes to websites (and social media or just about anything online), people want to scan – not read. Research proves that only 16% of web visitors read text word for word and 79% just scan. So break up text with headers, subheaders, numbered lists, bullet points, and even different fonts to make the information easily digestible in chunks.

    3. The secret behind writing amazing headlines

    Since most people just scan your copy and site, creating compelling headlines is paramount. There is an art to it, but studies show that headlines with numbers (10 Ways To Write Great Headlines), those that promise to solve a problem or provide a benefit, play on words or common phrases, or use the tactic of negative knowledge (5 Things You Need To Know So You Don’t Get Audited By The IRS) perform best.

    In fact, a recent study shows that changing general headlines to something more specific and informational improves conversions by 41%.

    4. Eliminate fluff

    Use clear, no-frills language. Avoid the temptation to fill your copy with adverbs and adjectives. Always write in the active voice and have a professional editor review your copy.

    5. Be clear about what you’re offering people

    When someone goes to your web page, they should know within seconds exactly what it is you’re offering, what it will do for them, and your unique value or special offer.

    Along those lines, your web copy should always highlight a clear call-to-action, which simply and definitely leads them to the next step. It could be entering their email to get a free report, signing up for a product test, or any number of other special offers.

    6. Ask people what they want

    One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is that they talk to their audience, not with their audience. Any good website should include opportunities for visitors to offer their needs, desires, and feedback. You can do this with surveys, questions, and pop-ups that give them some sort of incentive to share their opinion.

    7. Create a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section

    Instead of going on and on about your product or service in paragraph form, create a detailed FAQ section, categorized by potential customer questions, and clickable so it’s easy to navigate.

    8. Focus on how your business can benefit your customers

    Business people are so passionate about their own products or services that they tend to start listing all of the great features, but that’s either irrelevant to the consumer or downright boring. Instead, translate each of those features into a proper benefit for the consumer. Show how you can solve their problems, help them achieve their goals, and make their lives better; you’ve then surely created compelling web copy.

    9. When is the right time to bring up price?

    The time to introduce the topic of money or price is a delicate dance. You don’t want to list your price tag prominently because that could turn off visitors who are only looking for price and don’t understand the value, and that can make you appear money-grubbing. You also don’t want to bury information about price on back pages or you can be perceived as deceitful. To solve this, list price on secondary product or services pages, have a PRICING button on your main menu, and always list several packages or options for different financial commitments.

    10. Be human

    People want to engage with a real person, not a robot or a faceless corporation. Tell your story, show your passion, and feel free to write in a familiar voice – just as long as you stay clear, concise, and always appropriate.

    Before you even start planning out your website and begin work on your copy, you should map out your target demographic, identify exactly whom your ideal customer is, and write copy that revolves around their interests, lifestyle, and solving their problems.

    With these tips in mind, take the time to pull up your website and look at it objectively. You probably don’t need to rewrite all of your site’s copy, but by implementing these practices you’ll likely begin to notice a spike in your numbers – and profits.

    Speaking of being human, here at HostGator we're known for our award-winning 24/7/365 customer support. We'll help you get your website up and running, every step of the way. Click here to get started.

  • 4 Hidden Gems in Google Analytics

    Monday, May 2, 2016 by

    4 Hidden Gems in Google Analytics

    Have you been trying to figure out how you can improve your website? It’s nearly impossible to create a higher converting or more valuable website if you only operate on guesswork alone. To truly take your website to the next level you need to be tracking and collecting valuable website data.

    There are numerous ways you can optimize your website based upon collecting website and user data. One of the most effective and easy-to-use tools is Google Analytics. This free tool can give you tons of valuable data. However, even those who do use this tool only end up getting basic traffic reports.

    Below we’ll show you four different ways to you can use Google Analytics to greatly improve your website and conversion rates.

    Let’s get to it.

    1. Do Continuous Testing

    Google Content Experiments is a tool within the analytics platform that allows you to test varying aspect of your website to see which changes will improve your conversion rates.

    Split-testing is the only way to know for sure which changes will tangibly improve your website. To run a content experiment navigate to the section of your analytics dashboard via Behavior>Experiments, as shown below:

    Google Analytics Content Experiments

    Then, name the experiment, create an objective, and set up the area of your website you’d like to test.

    Common elements you’ll want to test include:

    • Your headlines

    • The size and color of your CTA/CTA buttons

    • Landing page copy

    • Overall page verbiage

    • Font-size

    Make sure that when you’re running a test you only test for a single variable at a given time.

    2. Know What Devices Readers Are Using

    It’s important to know which devices your users are utilizing to access your website. For instance, if most visitors are using their iPads to view your site, yet you know your site performs poorly on this screen size, then fixing your site will lead to an increase in user experience.

    This data can be found within the Audience>Mobile>Overview section of your analytics dashboard.

    Google Analytics Device Overview

    Take note of any devices or screen resolutions that are the most commonly used, and make sure your website performs well across these. Remember, most user preferences are shifting towards mobile. This might not be true for your market, but it is true for most.

    3. Measure Site Speed

    Site speed can effectively kill your conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction. Most users will expect your site to load quickly, so it’s important to decrease your overall website loading speeds.

    To pinpoint any slow loading pages navigate to Behavior>Site Speed>Page Timings. This will give you an idea of any underperforming pages.

    Google Analytics Page Timings

    To find suggestions that will help you improve your overall loading speeds navigate to Behavior>Site Speed>Speed Suggestions.

    Google Analytics Site Speed Suggestions

    This is a great place to start optimizing your website. Slow loading websites don’t do anyone any favors.

    4. Pinpoint Any Traffic Leaks

    Do you know which pages of your website are losing the most traffic?

    Most sites have traffic funnels, where a user will enter at one point, go through a funnel, and hopefully get converted into a new lead. However, there are usually holes in your site that will cause a user to exit the funnel. It’s important to diagnose these, so you can patch them.

    To find traffic leaks navigate to Behavior>Site Content>Exit Pages. Look for any pages that have a very high exit rate. These are the pages you’ll want to spend some time figuring out why people are leaving the page in such high numbers.

    Google Analytics Exit Pages

    Google Analytics can be an extremely powerful tool to unlock the potential of your website, if it’s used effectively. The hidden gems we showcased above are the just starting point to creating an analytics strategy that gets you results.

    What’s your favorite way to use Google Analytics? Please share in the comments below.

    Screenshots provided by Jeremy Jensen

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  • The ABCs of Creating An A/B Test With Google Content Experiments

    Thursday, April 21, 2016 by
    The ABCs of Creating An A/B Test With Google Content Experiments Which of these two calls-to-action would be more successful when placed on one of your website’s pages? “Want to learn more? Click here!” “Limited-time offer – click here now!” Think that’s an easy one to answer? Actually, it’s just a rhetorical question; there’s no correct answer. For example, a reader just being introduced to a product might respond better to the first option offering more information, while another who’s already been pre-sold might jump on the second choice. Different audiences will respond to content in very different ways. In fact, there’s no legitimate way to determine which one would be “more successful” until you define “success.” Is it total number of sales? Gross income? ROI? Size of the email list you’ve built? You have to specify the goal you’re trying to accomplish before you can judge “success.” Choosing between calls-to-action is difficult enough. It’s even harder when you’re trying to decide between two different versions of an entire page. That’s when A/B testing becomes imperative. And thankfully, Google Analytics now makes it easy to create an A/B test for your content, with Google Experiments.

    What Is A/B Testing?

    Even if you’re not familiar with the concept of A/B content testing, it’s simple to understand. Let’s say you’re considering changing one of your website’s pages (call it “content A”) and have written an alternate version of the page (call it “content B”) that you think might convert better with your visitors. If you show half of your traffic “content A” and half of your traffic “content B,” and then measure the results (remember, you need to define your goal in advance) – you’ll be able to tell which page works better and whether you should make a permanent change. You might think that anything that sounds so easy must be difficult or expensive to implement. It was, once upon a time, and there are still a number of complicated and costly in-house software programs you can use for A/B testing and much more sophisticated analysis. However, there are now a number of web-based solutions which will let you do A/B content experiments, from the inexpensive Optimizely (which has a simple-to-use WYSIWYG interface) to the well-known and much pricier KISSmetrics (which lets you dive deeply into a massive pool of data). For standard A/B content testing, though, you can’t beat the Experiments system that’s built into Google Analytics. That’s partly because it’s surprisingly full-featured, partly because it’s not too difficult to set up – and mostly because it’s absolutely free. Let’s look at how it works.

    How To Create an A/B Content Test With Google: The Preliminaries

    We’ll assume that you already have a Google Analytics account and that the code is installed on your website. If not, go ahead and set it up. We’ll wait. Welcome back! You probably think that we’re going to dive right into setting up an A/B content test, but that’s getting ahead of things; you wouldn’t pull out a recipe and start baking unless you knew you had all of the ingredients you needed on hand, and we’re going to do the same thing here: ingredients first. To start, make sure you have your “B content” – the page that you want to test against your current page – ready to go and posted on your website, with the URL readily available so you can cut and paste when you need it. (You can actually test up to twelve pages at one time in the Google Analytics Experiments tool, but for now, it’s easier to discuss A/B testing than A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/I/J/K/L testing.) If you’re going to test click-thrus to another page, have that URL available as well. Next, decide exactly what you’ll be using as your criterion for success; most will want to maximize revenue or transactions, but some may want to track the time spent on the page, ad clicks, or another metric. It’s important to make this decision before setting up your test. Finally be sure that your Google Analytics tracking code is posted on both pages that you’ll be testing. How To Create an A/B Content Test With Google: The Experiment OK, let’s get started. Open your Analytics control panel, where you’ll select the “reporting” tab, then look in the left-side navigation bar for the “Behavior” section, and click on “Experiments” underneath it. Click the “START EXPERIMENTING” button on the next page, and you’re ready to set up your A/B test on the screen that opens. (If for some reason there’s already an experiment set up in your account, click on “Create experiment” to start a new test.) The “Create a new experiment” screen will open.
    1. Enter whatever name you’d like to use for the test in the “Name for this experiment” field; make it something unique that will be easy to recognize later because your test will be running for weeks or months, and you may want to create other experiments in the meantime.
    2. “Objective for this experiment” is the most difficult area of this screen. It’s where you’ll be identifying the criterion for success you decided upon in the last section. There will be existing choices in the “Select a metric” drop-down menu like Adsense (to measure impressions or clicks), Ecommerce (to measure revenue or transactions), and Site Usage (to measure metrics like time spent on site or average number of page views). If you want to use an Ecommerce metric, you’ll need to have Ecommerce reporting enabled in your main Analytics setting and the correct JavaScript added to your pages. You can get exact instructions about this in the Ecommerce section of your Analytics dashboard.
    You can also create your own goal, such as click-thrus to a new page or number of video views, by clicking “Create a new objective.” The easiest way to set this up is to select “custom” on the first page that comes up, enter a name for the goal and select its type (Destination, Duration, Pages or Event) on the second page, enter the relevant destination page or event (the one you have ready to cut and paste) and an optional monetary value per click or sale on the third page, then click “Save goal.” Click back to the “Objective for this experiment” page and you’re all set. Don’t worry, this is actually a lot easier than it might sound.
    1. The next choice on this screen is “Percentage of traffic to experiment.” This selects how much of the traffic to your site will see the original page and how many will see your “B content” page – but there’s one tricky thing to consider. With this drop-down, you’re choosing what percentage of visitors will be participating in the test, not how many visitors will see each version of the page. That means that if you choose 50%, you’re not deciding that 50% of visitors will see “A” and 50% will see “B.” You’re deciding that 50% will see “A” by default (the normal page they’d view) and 50% will be entered into the A/B experiment – so 75% of your visitors will end up seeing “A” (50% + 25%) and 25% will see “B.” Bear this in mind when making your selection.
    One other note: if your alternate page is very different than the original, you may want to limit the percentage of visitors participating in the experiment in order to minimize potential revenue or conversion losses. You can always increase the percentage in the middle of the experiment if things are going well.
    1. The “Email notification” choice is self-evident.
    1. “Advanced options” has one important selection you must make. Checking “Distribute traffic evenly across all variations” will ensure that each of your pages continues to receive an equal amount of test traffic. If it’s not enabled, Analytics will automatically start sending more traffic to the page that’s performing better. The former will give you a test that’s standardized across the testing period, while the latter will start maximizing performance as the test proceeds while still rendering accurate results. There are two other advanced options you can consider: “Set a minimum time the experiment will run” will prevent Google from naming a “winner” too soon, and “Set a confidence threshold” allows you to decide how decisive a measurement you want before Google declares one page better than the other.
    Allow yourself a sigh of relief. It now gets much easier. After you’ve saved your changes, the next screen is “Configure your experiment.” This is where you copy and paste the URLs for the “A content” and “B content” pages; click “Save Changes” and you’ll be shown the experiment code for the A/B test. Copy it and paste it onto the “A” page, right below the <head> tag near the top, then click “Save Changes” again. If you’ve done everything right, Google will validate the code and tell you that you’re all set – or if there’s a problem, you’ll be shown the errors which need to be corrected. In rare cases, Analytics won’t be able to find the code on a complicated page or a web server whose settings prevent it. If this happens and you’re sure you haven’t made any mistakes, don’t worry about the validation. Click “Start Experiment” and off you go. (You can also choose to “Save for later” if you’re thinking about making changes.)

    How To Create an A/B Content Test With Google: The Results

    Once everything is set up your A/B experiment will start right away, and after a day or two you’ll begin seeing results which can be viewed in your Experiments list. The main window will show the test’s status, major details and the number of visits the pages have received; if you click on the experiment’s name, you be taken to a more detailed window. There you can see a wealth of information in table and graph form, based on the goal you selected when the test was set up. This can include the percentage of users who accomplished the goal, and the numerical or monetary value of their goal completion, if applicable. You’ll be able to tell how well each page is doing, see comparisons between page performance, and even Google’s estimate of the probability that the new page will outperform the old one by the time testing is complete. If you allow the A/B test to run to its normal completion, you will see one of three possible status reports:
    1. Ended (Time limit reached), which means the experiment ran for three months (or the time period that you chose during set up) without a clear winner.
    2. Ended (No winner), which means there was no statistically significant difference between the performance of the two pages.
    3. Ended (Winner found), which we probably don’t have to explain. The winning page will be identified on the data page, along with all of the specifics.

    FAQ

    Here are a few frequently asked questions about the use of Google Experiments for A/B testing – and their answers. Q: Should I start making changes to my site if I see an early trend in my reports? A: No. It can take several weeks for traffic to stabilize and reliable trends to emerge; even if the numbers look overwhelming, Google won’t declare a winner for at least two weeks to allow data to stabilize. Q: Is it a good idea to test more than two pages at once? A: It can be, but bear in mind that additional variations will mean that a lot more traffic will be needed to draw reliable conclusions, since visitors will be divided between all of the tested pages. More traffic requires more time, so be prepared to wait longer for results. Q: Should I consider a “multi-armed bandit” experiment? A: For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it refers to the “Distribute traffic evenly across all variations” option discussed during the set up of your experiment. You’ll remember that if you don’t choose this option, Analytics will begin diverting more traffic to the better-performing page over time, which is known as the “multi-armed bandit” approach (named after a hypothetical slot machine experiment). While this may seem counter-intuitive to proper testing procedures, there are advanced mathematical models showing that this approach is not only statistically accurate but more efficient, so you get results more quickly while maximizing performance. If you trust the science more than your gut, it’s a good alternative. Q: Should I run more than one experiment at the same time? A: As we’ve mentioned you can up to twelve concurrently, but be aware that as you run more and more tests, they can start interacting and produce results which are difficult to analyze. You can try it, but it’s safer to run just one or two at a time unless you’re sure they won’t conflict. Q: Can you run a Google Experiment with pages that serve dynamic content? A: Not if the content is served by means of permalink-type URLs. If the pages use query-string parameters, you should be OK.
  • Understanding Why You Simply Need Long Tail Keywords

    Thursday, April 14, 2016 by
    Using Long Tail Keywords For Blogs The long tail is a fairly new concept. Yet, it’s one that should penetrate all of your marketing and branding efforts. The days of marketing to large masses of people are over. No longer are you going to build a company that looks at everyone in the world as a potential customer. Today you’ll find that niche markets are large enough to sustain most companies, and can also be incredibly profitable, as you’ll be able to offer more customized services and more tailored marketing campaigns. You’ll hear the term long tail get thrown around a lot in SEO circles. This concept can be used in both keyword research and when defining the target market for your business. Below we dive into what long-tail keywords actually are, and the benefits you’ll realize for your business when you implement them into your SEO and marketing strategies.

    What are Long-Tail Keywords?

    The concept of the long tail was first talked about in a book by Chris Anderson, aptly titled The Long Tail. Essentially, it stated that in the case of businesses (especially online businesses), smaller and emerging markets are easier to compete in, but also have lower levels of competition. It goes on to state that there exists a demand for almost every single niche, with the advent of the Internet. Even though the markets for these long-tail keywords will be much smaller than the larger market keywords there will still be a large enough audience to sustain your business. More specialized businesses and niche products can also charge a premium for their services as well, so you can make the same amount of money with less clients or products sold.

    The Benefits of Long-Tail Keywords

    When it comes to search engine optimization it can be much more difficult to rank for very high traffic general keywords. For instance, “weight loss” is a near impossible term to rank for, but “weight loss for young post-pregnant women” will be much easier to rank for, and still has a large enough market to sustain a business.

    Faster Rankings

    Like we alluded to above, it’s much easier to rank for keyword terms that have less competition. Most big market keywords will already be dominated by very authoritative websites that have aged domains, great backlinks, and quality content. It’s going to be very difficult to outcompete these keywords. Long-tail keywords will inherently have less competition. That means they’ll be easier to rank for, especially when your goal is to become the go-to resource on the topic. That means less money, time, and energy will be invested in rankings and more time can be spent improving and expanding your business.

    Higher Chance of Conversion

    The traffic you’re going to be getting to your website will be much more targeted and more likely to be interested in what you’re selling. The more specific the keyword the user is typing, the greater your chances of this person becoming a subscriber or customer, as long as you offer the exact solution they’re looking for. If your company specializes in “green smoothies recipes for body builders,” and you rank for that keyword and related keywords, then there’s a higher chance that people searching for that keyword will be an exact customer match.

    Make Your Marketing Much Easier

    Focusing on more niche and long-tail markets means that you’ll have a greater understanding of the specific customer you’re selling to. Instead of trying to make guesses about the segment of a larger market you’re trying to reach. You’ll have a very deep understanding of your customer. This makes it much easier to tailor your marketing to a very specific individual, rather than watering it down to reach the masses and end up appealing to no one. If you want to start or grow a business it’s extremely important to have an understanding of the long-tail and what it means for your keyword research and your overall marketing and brand. The tips above are a great place to start.
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