Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming paying customers, or otherwise. The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from taking the actions you desire them to take.
A conversion is the general term for a visitor completing a goal you’ve set for your website. Goals come in many shapes and sizes. If you use your website to sell products, the primary goal (known as the macro-conversion) is for the user to make a purchase. There are smaller conversions that can happen before a user completes a macro-conversion, such as signing up to receive emails. These are called micro-conversions.
Examples of micro-conversions:
Your site’s conversion rate is the number of times a user completes a goal divided by your site traffic. If a user can convert in each visit (such as by buying a product), divide the number of conversions by the number of sessions (the number of unique times a user came to your site). If you sell a subscription, divide the number of conversions by the number of users.
Conversion rate optimization happens after the visitor makes it to your site. This is different from conversion optimization for SEO or paid ads which focuses on who clicks through to your site from the organic search results, how many clicks you get, and which keywords are driving traffic.
Imagine you own an ecommerce site — Wampum Wobotics. A user could make a new purchase each session. We want to optimize so they make as many purchases as possible. If a user visited the site three times, that would be three sessions — and three opportunities to convert.
Let’s take a closer look at your user’s three sessions and how they behaved:
To figure out your conversion rate, we would take the number of unique purchase orders and divide it by the total number of sessions.
For your imaginary user, they converted two out of three times they came to the site:
To find out the conversion rate for your site, you’ll look at all unique orders divided the total number of sessions.
Now imagine you owned a second site — Wampum’s Monthly Gear Box. Your site sells a subscription for a monthly delivery of wobot parts. A user could come back multiple times, but once they purchase a subscription, they won’t convert again.
Let’s look at an example user’s behavior:
Your user here can’t convert each time they visit the site. So instead of looking at the number of sessions, we need to measure conversion success by the number of visitors:
To figure out your website’s conversion rate, we would take the number of unique orders and divide it by the number of unique users.
While not necessarily directly related to attracting organic website traffic or ranking on a search engine results page (SERP), conversion rate optimization has distinct benefits for SEO. Those include:
To optimize for conversion rates, you have to know where, what to optimize, and who to optimize for. This information is the cornerstone to successful CRO strategies.
If you don’t gather data, then you’re left making changes based on gut feelings alone. Guts are awesome! But making decisions on just gut feelings instead of rooting assumptions in data can be a waste of time and money.
This method, also known as quantitative data analysis, gives you hard numbers behind how people behave on your site. Start with a solid web analytics platform, such as Google Analytics. Next, add tracking for your conversions.
Using analytics based CRO can answer important questions about how users engage with your site. Quantitative analysis provides information like:
This information will let you know where to focus your efforts. By putting your effort into the pages most engaged with and valuable to your users, you’ll see the largest impact.
Doing your quantitative analysis first is especially valuable if you have a large site with diverse content as it lets you know, from a numbers perspective, where to focus your efforts. But now that you know how users interact with your site, you can investigate the “why” behind their behavior.
This people-focused method, known as qualitative data analysis, is more subjective. You’ll need the quantitative data discussed above to identify who you should be asking. You can’t optimize for all users, so optimize for your ideal user — that is, the user it’s most important to have as a customer.
Ways to get this data:
Qualitative analysis helps optimize for conversions by providing information about users such as:
There are certain things that raw data alone can’t tell you about what brought a user to your site or how to make their experience better. But when you combine this information with your analytics data, you can gain a much better understanding of the pages on your site that present the best opportunities to optimize and engage the audience you’d like to target.
This comes in many forms. Some not-so-effective CRO methods include:
All these examples have something in common: they’re not data-based and might as well be random shots in the dark. It’s better to spend the time gathering and analyzing the data so you can create meaningful tests based on clear insights. Nobody loves running tests that fail.
Would you like Sapient eCommerce to help in your CRO efforts? Our CRO services have been carefully developed over the years, helping our clients convert more of their target audience than ever before through features like:
We do everything to optimize your website so that you can convert at a higher rate than ever before.
It’s time to bring in the experts at Sapient eCommerce.
Optimize your webpages to drive potential customers to the content and features that matter and start getting the results your business needs.
Connect with us to find out how we can help your pages attract an avalanche of new leads and increase your sales.
Let’s Grow Your Business!
Pack-Timco was a struggling legacy HVAC company when Sapient eCommerce was hired by Amy Jimenez to redesign their ineffectual website. We developed a transparent and highly communicative relationship that would see them through their rebrand and aggressive growth strategy.
Sapient eCommerce and Pack-Timco found common ground in a commitment to quality and performance. We doubled down on communication to ensure everyone on the Pack-Timco team understood our time-proven methodology, custom website design/development best practices, and which metrics measured progress toward their goals.
Today, Pack-Timco is the state’s leading HVAC Engineering company with 60 total employees across all of its locations and generates $10.13 million in sales (USD).
Our optimization strategies ensure your website generates conversions and real results you can measure.
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Not all searches entered into Google or other search engines are equal. There are several important categories of searches that Internet users perform. In this article we focus on:
We will discuss several stages your audience will move through as they progress from general interest to a specific preference and finally to a resolution of their needs. We will also see how several key search types aligned with audience intent and how you can utilize your knowledge of your audience to better drive the right traffic to your website. The best way to get inside the heads of searchers and figure out the types of queries they are using is to look at the stages of search and buyer intent throughout these stages.
This may change a little because a user isn’t always looking to buy something but the path and process will be similar. Users will start with a broad topic and gradually refine their search terms to be more specific as they discover exactly what they want. At the beginning of the purchase path, Organic Search helps customers gain awareness of your brand product or service. At this beginning stage, your potential customer has identified a need and is seeking a resolution. Let’s use an example potential customer to illustrate the search process.
Let’s say Edward decides he needs a computer, but he doesn’t know what kind. Like most people, he turns to Google and enters the keywords best computers to buy. Looking through the search engine results; Edward quickly realizes that this search is too broad. To get the best results, he will need to refine his preferences and evaluate specific types of computers. Edward decides he would like a laptop instead of a desktop computer, so he refines his search to the best laptop to buy his results. He is shown a huge variety of different laptops and realizes he needs to narrow down his choices. There are different laptops for different uses. Some people use laptops for school. Others use laptops for gaming or graphic design. In this example, Edward decides he wants a gaming laptop, so he looks up gaming laptop reviews to help him decide on a specific choice. After reading reviews, Edward has decided on a specific laptop brand and model he wants.
Occasionally, your potential customers will seek the best prices, the highest quality products, or the service provider or merchant with the best online reputation. In our example, Edward has narrowed his search and is homing in on the best gaming laptop based on customer reviews as well as the best vendor from whom to make the purchase.
Edward is now in the purchase stage and searches for a specific laptop brand and model number.
So – your potential customers start with 1) general awareness of what you were looking for. They then 2) evaluate those choices and develop a specific preference. 3) They look into that preference and 4) decide and move on to the Purchase or Resolution Stage.
Having an Organic presence (via Organic SEO) is useful in all stages of the cycle but is more useful the closer you get to the actual purchase phase. You generally don’t need a lot of visibility during the initial stage of awareness, although it can be beneficial to have a brand presence here, so users recognize your brand or website later. It can be helpful to have organic visibility in both the evaluation and preference intent phase because the user may decide to convert and remember your site.
The purchase phase can be very beneficial to SEO visibility because this is where the user is actively looking to buy a product, hire a service provider, or perform a specific action. Their query means they do not have a specific site in mind for their purchase. If your site has visibility during this stage, you have a greater chance of attracting and converting users.
In addition to the stages of a search, you have specific types of search queries. Each type of search query has a different intent associated with it. These types of queries are navigational, informational, and transactional.
The first type of query is known as a navigational query. In this case, the user has a specific website in mind. Perhaps they have spent some time on a specific website in the past and enjoyed that site’s content. In this type of query, they search for the website or brand name directly and visit the brand’s website. Let’s use Adidas as an example. The high brand focus means that users are looking for your brand by exact name and will be more engaged with your website usually resulting in higher conversion rates.
Note: You should be constantly aware of your brand being mentioned on search engines results pages and social media platforms. A negative story about your brand may influence potential customers’ decision to visit your site let alone convert and make a purchase. You should also note that brand searches can pull up your Twitter account and your latest tweets. It’s important to ensure that your social media team always maintains brand focus on social channels and posts regularly.
With these types of searches, people are looking to get a bit more information about a topic or to make an informed decision before making a purchase or hiring a service provider. This is the middle stage of the buying funnel. An example would be someone searching for reviews while looking to hire a local general contractor to install an HVAC system. Note that during this stage, users are more likely to notice suggested search queries. These are queries people have typed into Google when searching for a general contractor or a gaming laptop. When potential customers see the list of suggested queries, it may change the query they use. You can use suggested queries to generate potential content ideas for your website.
At this point, browsers are ready to make a purchase. They lean heavily on Google to provide the results they need for their search query. At this stage, your potential customer has decided to purchase a specific gaming laptop or hire a particular general contractor after reviewing all relevant information.
Note that not all transactional queries have to result in an actual transaction. Someone could be trying to sign up for a newsletter or create a free account. These are also steps along the road to becoming a paying customer.
These three types of queries are closely aligned with the stages of search and are great for ensuring that you are targeting the right keywords to match the searcher intent of your target audience and generating conversions
Choosing the right keywords for your website is not as daunting as you might think. All it requires is some reverse engineering. The whole point of keyword research is to uncover the keywords your potential customers will use when searching Google for your products or services and why. There is a psychology behind an online search. Once you understand it, you’ll be able to attract more traffic to your site by selecting the most appropriate keywords for your website based on competitiveness and relevance.
When implementing an SEO strategy your main function is to understand how people are searching online for your products or services, what they are looking for, and how to best deliver that information to them. It absolutely does not matter how beautiful or cutting edge or functional your site may be, unless you have content users are looking for it will do little to help your business.
When selecting keywords keep Searcher Intent in mind. When people search online, they do so for a variety of reasons. They could be shopping or looking for information to solve a problem or learning how to do something. Their purpose affects how they formulate the search query.
In general, people use many different queries when trying to find information about a single subject. For example, say a person wants to learn how to make pottery. He might use the keyword phrase “how to make pottery”. He might also go directly to searching for particular elements of pottery making like “beginner’s pottery wheel”, or “safe places for pottery making”, or “do I need a pottery kiln?”
Every search engine’s primary job is to provide the most relevant pages to an individual’s search query. Your website pages, therefore, should be dedicated to the question a user is asking and include relevant information the user might ask about that topic. If you own a pottery site, you might have a webpage about how to make pottery with other pages dedicated to other beginner-friendly topics linked from this initial page.
It’s good practice to provide answers to a variety of questions around a particular topic. If you have been in business for a while, you already have an idea about the questions people generally ask about your products or services. Providing answers to these questions on your website makes it both rank in the search engines for more broad focus keyword phrases like “how to make pottery” and attracts individuals who search using very specific keywords.
The best practices also apply when building out your website and pages. Say you own a PC Gaming website and want to attract searchers looking for information about games. It would not be at all effective to use keywords like “best games to play”. The word “games” is too broad. It might mean board games, party games, or console games.
It would be more beneficial to use keywords PC Gamers would use like “best PC games” or “desktop games”. Refining even further, you could use “best PC games of the year” or “best PC games of all time” or “best PC games for children” or “best PC games for multiplayers”. These are more specific. The more specific your keywords, the less competitive they become. The less competitive they are the higher your chances of ranking in the search engines for those related queries.
If you’ve written quality content using targeted keywords, users will be very engaged on your website as you are providing exactly what they are looking for. The more engaged a user is the more likely she’ll be to whip out a credit card and make a purchase or jump into her car and drive over to your store or place of business.
While e-commerce can initially seem threatening for commercial and industrial machinery and construction equipment rental companies, dealers, OEMs, and aftermarket supplier partners, it’s a major opportunity to meet their customers where they’re at.
Here’s a dose of reality for anyone who still thinks e-commerce in the construction equipment industry is unnecessary: Contractors today do not shop the way they used to.
And it’s not that it’s changing; it has already changed.
Since 2016, millennials have made up most of the workforce.
Why does that matter? Two main reasons:
1) As digital natives, millennials start their B2B procurement process differently. They begin with an online search, no matter the product or industry.
2) Millennials, the oldest of whom are turning 40 this year, are increasingly the decision-makers in their organizations. According to a Merit study, up to 73% of all B2B buyers are now millennials.
While that can initially seem threatening for construction equipment rental companies, dealers, OEMs, and aftermarket supplier partners, it’s a major opportunity to meet their customers where they’re at, says Jimmy Mansker, global director of e-commerce for CNH Industrial.
“It is really important for us to think about the end customer and how we can help them become more efficient when dealing with equipment repairs and speed up the time to get them back to the job site,” Mansker says.
Construction e-commerce opens up the potential for rental companies and dealers to add value, at a time when supply chain disruptions have compounded costly downtime and fleet manager views about their dealers’ abilities to help them have diminished in the past two years.
Offering online services won’t diminish a distributor’s relationship with their contractor customers, Mansker says. It will enhance it.
“The way we look at e-commerce is changing,” he says. “It’s a service that the customer has come to expect.”
Speeding Up Procurement
The widespread digital shift in B2B buying habits is not only affecting millennials.
According to Google, almost three-quarters of all B2B buyers begin their buying process with a generic search for a type of product. In fact, by the time they reach out to their rental company or dealer, they already have a pretty good idea of what they need.
Research shows that in today’s world of online research, an estimated 70% of the buying decision is made before a customer ever contacts a vendor, regardless of whether it results in an online or offline purchase.
But this does not mean that contractors do not want their rental companies or dealers involved, Mansker says.
“They’re better educated to talk to the dealer,” he says. “The customer still wants the dealer to lead the process — they want the dealer engaged.”
Mansker says contractor customers also want to know pricing, availability and the time it will take to get their parts or equipment, including whether their order can be shipped or picked up at their nearest location on the same day. The more information the rental company or dealer can provide online, the faster the contractor can get to the point of purchase.
“I think everyone’s getting used to faster transactions in your everyday life, whether I’m buying on Amazon, and it takes me three seconds to buy something, or I go to McDonald’s, and they have three different drive-thru lanes,” Mansker says. “Everything that’s being done in retail from a technology perspective is driving that faster transaction expectation.”
The equipment distributor is also in a prime position to provide that information based on their experience and knowledge, because contractors would rather turn to them over one of the industry-agnostic e-commerce giants, such as Amazon and eBay.
“Our advantage over Amazon is related to returns,” Mansker says. “That’s because when a buyer looks up a part, you need the assembly and build information to be able to decide. Amazon doesn’t have that — they have whatever some supplier has told them.”
This is a key area where distributors can differentiate themselves online, he says.
“We are making sure that when we create online experiences for customers, we’re getting them to the equipment or part that they’re looking for and making sure that we’re giving good information,” Mansker says. “But we’re tying it to the dealer, so they always know that their dealer is the ultimate expert and the ultimate solution driver.”
The other major benefit is that e-commerce offers contractors more options.
“It provides OEMs and dealers the opportunity to continue to connect with their end users in the way they want to shop,” Mansker says. “Some contractors prefer the self-service method, and e-commerce gives them that flexibility while allowing them to still engage with their dealer to ensure they get the correct parts and equipment.”
Having an e-commerce presence on multiple online channels, including both brand sites and marketplaces is also important because it provides a more comprehensive service for customers.
Earlier this year, CNH Industrial partnered with Gearflow, the largest parts marketplace built for the construction equipment industry. This partnership will allow CNH and its dealers to better address the needs of their mixed fleet customers, making it easier for them to shop for parts on one platform, while still maintaining the relationships they’ve developed.
“Marketplaces give the end users the ability to simplify purchasing for a job site,” Mansker says. “We are very interested in ways that simplify customers doing business with our dealers and supporting our dealers in doing this.”
Daniele Maggiolini, global head of business development for CNH Industrial, says marketplace participation can help contractors fulfill orders that their dealers may not be able to, due to the age of the machine or availability of inventory. This demonstrates that they care about their customers’ productivity and success, he says.
“We’re focusing on what really matters for our customers, which is their uptime, convenience, and experience,” Maggiolini says. “So, we’re trying to shift our focus from purely being product-based to offering solutions.”
E-commerce can also provide deeper insights into customer buying behavior and fleet maintenance needs, allowing rental companies and dealers to assist contractors more proactively, he says.
“When we look at the value that we bring to our customers and how we want to build a customer-centric approach, first we need to develop a better understanding of our customers,” Maggiolini says.
This includes offering communication and purchasing tools based on customer preference, such as the capability for contractors to text orders or ask questions via instant message.
“These are big pieces on the horizon that can allow dealers to support the end users directly from a website,” Mansker says. “The ability to understand new technology and how it can increase efficiencies on the job site is another huge opportunity.”
Ultimately, e-commerce strengthens the symbiotic relationship between the equipment distributor and the contractor — the rental company or dealer reinforces its position as an integral partner that the contractor will continue to rely on for years to come.
“Part of the vision for e-commerce is that this is one way we can help dealers keep their service bays full,” Mansker says. “Over time, we can then use e-commerce to create tools to connect end users to the full suite of offerings that dealers have in their locations.”
Source: Karen Scally at Gearflow
For patients seeking information, it is frustrating to land on a website and not be able to find what you’re looking for. Effective dental website navigation makes navigating between pages easy and intuitive.
The content on your website tells the story of your practice and what you have to offer.
When you think of dental websites, the content might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s crucial. Flawless content will make your dental practice appear trustworthy to prospective patients.
52% of digital marketing agencies cite visual images as a very important form of marketing for their customers.
It is essential for trust-requiring businesses (Medical and Mental Health, Insurance, Financial, etc.,) to have quality images that complement the website’s content.
* Professional Headshots with bios
* Photos of your Office
* Photos of your Waiting Room, Exam Room, etc.
One of the most efficacious elements of successful dental websites is high-quality professional images and video. Take original photos and videos if at all possible. Potential patients visiting your website will instantaneously understand more about your level of expertise and types of patients your attract. They will formulate their expectations and decide to book an appointment.
The ultimate benefit of your dental website is that it can convert visitors into patients.
Place prompts such as “Email Us” and “Book an appointment” prominently on every page of your website. It’s beneficial to include a variety of calls-to-action (CTAs) because not everyone wants to call you. Some would rather complete an online form or email.
* 294.15 million smartphone users in the United States.
* 85% of American adults use smartphones.
* 47% of web traffic in the U.S. originated from mobile devices.
* 113 million iPhone users.
Creative Services Pages
Advanced Trust Building – Patient Reviews/Commentaries
Advanced Functionality – Online Scheduler
If your website is not attracting the amount of traffic you’d like, a lack of keyword research and lack of or poorly written and organized Meta Data is the usual suspect.
The first step in driving traffic to your website is to conduct thorough keyword research based on the words used by your ideal customers when they search for your products and/or services. That’s beating a dead horse at this point. However, if you want Google to actually recognize your target keywords and present your website to those potential customers, you must optimize, that is, weave those targeted keywords into your site’s pages and be clever about it.
Meta Data. Think of it as a Table of Contents. When Google wants to know what a webpage is about, they take a read through , crawl, the table of contents in search of keywords that match search queries. Of the three elements of meta data, your title tag is the most important to Google, hence, the most important to everyone who matters. Here’s an example of the connection between a potential customer’s search intent and your title tag.
If someone is in the market for a design/build contractor in Miami, for example, and enters those keywords in a search:
search engines begin to search for websites that contain these keywords within their title tags. After all, what good is a search engine if it doesn’t find what I’m searching for.
Speaking of reading a text, all the best students know how to read quickly and efficiently. They never ever read a textbook straight through. The best ones use the SQ3R method or one similar to it. They read the title, then go through reading “Headings” and “Subheadings” to understand the structure and purpose of the text. Google is an excellent reader. Think of the H1 heading tag as you would the heading of a chapter in a textbook and the H2 as an important but subordinate subheading ( there’s also H3, H4, H5, H6, etc., but they are pretty insignificant as far a search engines are concerned). The H1 and H2 headings should be on each page of a website. They serve as the title of the page visible to both search engines and visitors. They inform both Google and visitors about the purpose and structure of the page. It makes sense, therefore, to “naturally” wrap these headers tags in the same keywords used in the title tag. It adds a flow factor to the reading.
A friendly reminder – one size does not fit all. You do not optimize a website. You optimize each page of the site. Each page should have its own distinct title tag, header tags, and meta description. If they do not, the site is perfectly positioned to get dinged in the head by Google for duplicate content, a BIG no-no. We must agree. Who enjoys reading the same content over and again?
Finally, Meta Descriptions, shh! It’s a secret. Meta descriptions cannot be seen on a website page or within a browser. It appears in search results under the title tag and URL. A meta description is the block of text that describes the content visitors will find on the corresponding webpage.
The keywords included in meta descriptions, those BOLDED, are not ranking factors. They do, however, match the keywords used by users in their search query. They can, therefore, be used to direct traffic to your website thereby increasing your site’s click through rate (CTR), another important Google ranking factor.
It’s all about delivering value to the people who visit your website in search of information, services, or products. They are all looking for answers to solve an existing problem. Your job is to present valuable information that answers the call. If your site enhances the viewer’s experience, even just with heading tags and meta descriptions, this will lead to positive results for your company, the user, and the search engines.
By optimizing keywords into your website pages, it sends a signal to Google letting it know that your content is relevant, valuable, and trustworthy.
Final note, promise: If you do not write your own meta tags, Google will write them for you. They’re excellent readers but no so hot when it comes to writing.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the practice of acquiring links to your website from other websites. In SEO, these links are called backlinks. Getting backlinks from high-quality sites can pass authority to your site, as well as help you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
According to Google, an important part of identifying what pages are relevant and trustworthy is “understanding if other prominent websites link or refer to the content.”
Because of this, it’s important to consider link building when building an SEO strategy.
Say you have a great piece of content, but your website is fairly new and hasn’t earned much authority yet. Getting links from other trustworthy websites is a great way to help Google see your site as more authoritative.
Backlinks are essentially votes of confidence for your site.
And because pages with more backlinks often rank higher, it’s essential to:
Since link building takes effort, starting the process of link building sooner rather than later will give you a bigger advantage over competitors and bring great benefits to your website in the long run.
The best way to boost your authority through link building is to earn backlinks from credible, high-quality websites. If you have tons of backlinks but they are from spammy, irrelevant sites, they probably won’t help you rank any better.
There are many ways to acquire backlinks, including:
We’ll get into specific strategies shortly.
But keep in mind that backlinks aren’t everything—first and foremost, you should focus on creating useful, high-quality content.
When investigating ways to improve your rank, harnessing the power of link building can be a challenge for beginners and experienced professionals alike. However, it can be one of your most powerful tools for organic success.
When planning your link building strategy, it’s important to know the different types of links.
The most important types of links to know are below.
Nofollow links are typically used when you want to link to another website but don’t want to tell Google to crawl that site.
To designate a link as a nofollow link, you’ll need to add the attribute rel=”nofollow” into the link’s code. Nofollow links will inform Google that the link shouldn’t pass PageRank.
The nofollow link is helpful for two reasons:
Keep in mind, nofollow links don’t pass authority directly. However, they still can provide you with brand recognition and referral traffic.
Follow links, on the other hand, are regular links with attributes that would inform Google the link should pass PageRank.
You would use a follow link if you wanted to:
In short: Follow links signal to Google to crawl a website while nofollow links don’t. PageRank is the metric that helps Google monitor if a link is giving another website points or not.
Utilizing user-generated links as a tactic for link building is not the ideal route when you’re looking to up your SEO strategy. In the past, Google penalized those who tried user-generated linking.
User-generated links are sometimes created by you with the intent to promote your own work. They are also generally lower in quality than other link building methods that Google prefers.
Some examples of links from users include:
Links from these sources won’t hurt your site, but it’s generally not a good idea to spend time on this strategy since these types of links probably won’t pass any authority.
Natural links occur more organically from readers who come across your website including a link on their blog or website without being asked. With this link type, you don’t ask other webmasters or users to give you a backlink.
Most natural links don’t live in sponsored or paid content and are also without tracking parameters. They are usually added within another blogger’s or webmaster’s content with the intent to provide value to their readers.
This means you are more likely to see natural links in videos, blog posts, images, and other product listings on someone’s website.
Having a natural link back to your website is by all means considered a “good link” and has been dubbed one of the safest link building techniques. Natural links are also one of the best and most efficient ways to promote your blog or your website.
Outreach can take a lot of time and effort with little reward but can be more effective with the right tools.
If you are interested in getting a backlink from a particular website you know could help boost your website or page’s authority, chances are you will need to contact the website owner directly to make it happen.
But before you start requesting backlinks from all over the internet, keep a few things in mind:
To find prospects and manage your campaign, you can use a Link Building Tool.
Link Building Tool let you add prospects to your campaign and organize your outreach efforts.
Manual link building refers to placing links yourself, whether that’s in a blog comment, on, a guest post on another site, or in a press release.
When adding links yourself, you’re typically in complete control of the outcome of the tactics, as opposed to relying on a journalist or other third party to link to your site.
That is precisely why these tactics are often known as “manual link building.” But keep in mind—links you are in control of usually aren’t the highest quality.
In the eyes of Google, any links that are not editorially placed are manipulative. You can manually add links editorially with intention, but it’s important not to spam links or add them randomly.
So, there’s no need to be afraid of manually adding links as long as it’s done thoughtfully.
This method of link building can drive benefits such as referral traffic or help to position you as a thought leader. It can also help you build your brand by interacting with users within your niche.
However, adding links on your own will not directly give you a significant competitive advantage. As with quick-win tactics, a strategy based around traditional link building is likely to be one that competitors can easily copy.
To gain a true competitive advantage through links, you should adopt a strategy that will allow you to earn editorially placed links.
Link earning requires a great amount of effort but gives the highest reward. So, be prepared to invest time and resources into earning links. In doing so, you will land links that competitors will struggle to replicate.
And let’s not forget that Google has been telling us for years, as part of their Webmaster Guidelines, that:
The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community.
Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.
Google Webmaster Guidelines (Link Schemes)
When you earn a link, a third party actively decides to link to your website, meaning they are linking because they have a reason to. This adds value to their content and your site as a result.
You can use the Backlink Analytics tool to get an idea of what your competitors’ backlink profiles look like. Navigate to the Competitors tab to start your research and use this information to find opportunities for your own site.
Next, plug in a competitor into the tool to view the following:
Backlink Analytics Competitors Report
Now for the fun part. There are many methods for proper link building, but some will prove more successful than most.
Below is a variety of methods for building healthy backlinks from quality websites.
Linkable assets are pieces of content meant to attract links. A common type of linkable asset is an infographic—it’s a good strategy to present original research as a graphic to those in your niche.
Additionally, creating linkable assets is a great way to build brand awareness and garner social media attention.
Infographics are about 30 times more likely to be read than a full article, so creating accompanying linkable assets can close the gap for those who don’t want to read your full piece of content.
Present original research in easily digestible infographics to encourage backlinks and shares.
And you don’t need to be an expert graphic designer to create linkable assets. Even if you’re starting out or don’t have the budget for creative, you can use customizable templates from sites like PicMonkey or Canva.
Linkable assets are also a gateway for referral traffic—when shared on social media, your content may reach further audiences.
Speaking of which, let’s pivot to social media as a link building strategy.
An easy way to start building backlinks posting your content on social media. And once you’re armed with graphics and linkable assets, your chances of earning backlinks is likely to increase.
But don’t forget to be active on social media outside of sharing new posts, or you’ll be missing out on countless opportunities to spread brand awareness.
Even if you’re new to social media, you can get started easily:
One way to encourage engagement with your users is to use polls as a conversation starter. It’s also a win-win, as it’s a way you can conduct audience research.
These are all good practices for increasing brand visibility on social media, which can lead to increased authority and possible backlinks.
You can also optimize your social media profiles and ensure they include the link make sure they link to your site in their bios.
Another helpful tactic is ensuring you tag brands and people of influence in your content when you talk about them. If they practice social listening, there is a good chance they will share the post or the link you shared on social media, which will help you generate a backlink from a profile other than your own.
Google’s Matt Cutts announced the death of guest blogging in 2014, but is it really dead?
That’s a complex answer. The old way of guest blogging is certainly dead; it wouldn’t be a good idea to publish content on any sites that have low authority and have no relevance to your business just to get backlinks.
However, guest blogging can be a good way to earn links if done strategically.
While it’s not the most scalable tactic, it could be beneficial to partner with a company in your industry to perform a case study or present the results of joint research.
If you get requests from people charging for guest posts on their site, this is an immediate red flag. Google is far too advanced to fall for these tactics these days, so it’s best to run in the other direction.
If you do see a good opportunity for a partnership for a case study, start by reaching out directly to the site owner and pitch your idea. Outreach for guest posts may not always pan out, but it can lead to increased traffics and backlinks when done right.
Even if you don’t have the time to create new content, broken link building allows you to capitalize on content that’s already on your site.
Search for broken external links on sites within your niche and reach out with a recommended piece of content from your site they can replace it with.
Start by navigating to Backlink Analytics and input a competitor’s domain.
Head to the Indexed Pages report and check “Broken Pages” on the left hand side.
This shows you what broken pages on a particular site have backlinks pointing at them.
From here, find similar pages on your site and reach out to specific sites within your field.
Many businesses find themselves mentioned in the press from time to time, with some natural references and others coming about as a result of your PR team’s efforts.
It’s not uncommon for this coverage to have no link and to just be a brand mention, but it is often easy to see this turned into a link with only minimal effort. The hard work of securing coverage in the first place has already been done.
You can find brand mentions using the Brand Monitoring tool to receive notifications whenever someone mentions you but hasn’t linked to your site.
This tactic is nothing more than adopting and replicating the same link building strategy as competitors who are winning in the world of link building. We offer an in-depth guide on reverse engineering competitors’ backlinks, but we’ll get into the basics here.
Start by navigating to any Backlink Gap tool, and entering your domain and at least one of your competitors’ domains.
In the below example, you’ll see arrows pointing at the number of backlinks for competitor sites you aren’t getting backlinks from. Click the arrow to find specific sites.
If you find opportunities to pursue, click the blue “Start Outreach” button to add your findings to the Link Building tool.
If you can analyze what a competitor is doing well with their link building strategy, then you can use that same strategy to your advantage. You can also improve their strategy by filling in missed opportunities for acquiring backlinks.
Looking at competitors’ strategies may also help you discover how content similar to yours is performing in your niche market.
While it’s important to search for new link building opportunities, it can also be helpful to keep an eye out for for previous backlinks you earned but lost.
Head to a Backlink Analytics tool and click on the Backlinks report.
Select “Lost” above the list of backlinks and view the results. You can view the site you lost the backlink from as well as when you first received the link and when you lost it.
Keep in mind that sometimes you lose links because the page that linked to you was removed.
If the backlink was lost to page rewrites, you can politely reach out and suggest a spot in the content where they can place the link. Bonus points if you’ve recently updated the page with new information, as this can make the request more compelling.
There are plenty more link building strategies to pursue, and we encourage you to try a few! We surveyed 850 SEO experts, and below you can see what they thought were the most effective ways to gain backlinks.
850 SEO professionals were surveyed, and here’s what they think are the best link building strategies.
So how can you tell the difference between a good link and a bad link?
There are five ways you will be able to tell whether the link is a good link or not.
Links should come from websites with content closely related to your own website’s topic. This helps to ensure you are building the right links.
When prospecting for link opportunities, get into the mindset by asking whether you would still pursue it if Google didn’t exist or use links as part of its algorithm.
If the answer is yes, this usually means it is from a topically related website where your audience hangs out online. If you would answer no, it is a good indication that the link isn’t relevant to your business.
There are several ways to check the trustworthiness of a website when auditing the quality of a backlink, including:
Usually, if the site has been around a long time, generates a healthy amount of traffic each month, is active on social media, and has elements that indicate it’s a secure site, this is likely a good link.
Where you place your links is important as well as it can directly influence the visibility and performance of the link itself.
The best placements for links are in the upper body of your content.
Users are more likely to see links at the top of the page when they first land as opposed to the footer, which they may or may not reach. Try to avoid placing links in sidebars, the lower body of content, and the footer.
Authority score helps to measure how impactful a website or a domain’s links are. In most cases, the higher the weightage of your website’s Authority Score, the more trusted your domain is presumed to be.
The closer your score is to 100, on a scale of 1 to 100, the better it is. Link impact as your domain continues to grow is also based on the niche of your site.
You can check your website’s Authority Score with a Backlink Analytics tool. In addition, you can see the scores of referring domains to see how beneficial these links are to your website.
Anchor text is the text used to link from one page to another.
While anchor text is used to help give readers context to a specific page or site, Google’s algorithm utilizes anchor text to indicate what a page is about and, therefore, can help to influence rankings.
However, Google’s guidelines state optimized anchor text (with main target keywords or commercial terms) violates their guidelines, and excessive use is a known contributor towards manual actions being applied.
Your link profile should contain a natural mix, with no apparent spike of links using optimized anchor text.
We’re all here to please Google’s algorithm so we can claim the top spot in the SERPs. Unfortunately, some tactics that afford you quick wins may seem nice at first, but they could negatively impact your site in the long run.
Here are some of the things you should avoid doing when link building.
Despite being a clear violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and a tactic that is defined as a link scheme, paid link building is still relatively common because it guarantees results (at first).
Earning links is hard work, and there is no denying that. Even manual link building and the wealth of quick-win tactics available still require effort to see results.
These kinds of links are considered toxic backlinks, and it’s best to avoid actively pursuing these.
These days, you don’t have to worry as much if you have unwanted backlinks pointing toward your site so long as you didn’t actually participate in a link building scheme.
However, the Backlink Audit tool to keep an eye on any toxic backlinks pointing your way and even look at individual toxic markers that contribute to a link’s overall possible toxicity.
Some things to remember:
There are, of course, a couple of exceptions to the rules:
As a general rule, using paid links purely to help increase your rankings should be a no-go.
If you resort to risky tactics, you risk having toxic links in your backlink profile that could get you a Google penalty and negatively affect your rankings.
It’s not unusual for it to take months, or even years, to recover from a penalty, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The success of a link building campaign depends on the goals of your campaign. It’s important to understand the metrics that should be considered when setting these goals.
It’s not a great idea focus on the raw numbers of links built as you will find that this sacrifices quality. And, you need to be using competitor insights to determine the link gap between you and others and make sure you are building the correct links that increase your rankings.
But when looking at metrics, you want to consider using one or more of the following:
You may also want to consider goals such as brand exposure, links, and placements on certain publications, referral traffic, and more. It is all about measuring those things that matter to you as a business.
So you know what to do and what not to do when it comes to link building. Now all you need are the tools. Fortunately, there are four powerful tools available at Sapient eCommerce that help our clients build healthy link building strategies.
The four tools are:
You can learn more about these features by scheduling an initial discovery consultation HERE.
Like any other aspect of SEO, you will need to put in the work consistently. While link building feels like more effort is required than most SEO strategies, it will be rewarding in the end and last for the long term.
With enough persistence in implementing your link building tactics, over time, your website may improve so much that you won’t need to work as hard for links. Instead, you can focus on developing great content that other websites and brands will want to link to.
Need help? Contact us: Link Building Strategy
SOURCE: OLGA ANDRIENKO/Semrush
How do you determine which strategic keywords to target in your website’s content, and how so you craft that content to satisfy both users and search engines?
The power of keyword research lies in better understanding your target market and how they are searching for your content, services, or products.
Keyword research provides you with specific search data that can help you answer questions like:
In this article you’ll learn about tools and strategies for uncovering that information, as well as tactics that’ll help you avoid keyword research foibles and build strong content. Once you uncover how your target audience is searching for your content, you begin to uncover a whole new world of strategic SEO!
Before you can help your business grow through search engine optimization, you first have to fully understand who your customers are.
This is where corners are often cut. Too many people bypass this crucial planning step because keyword research takes time, and why spend the time when you already know what you want to rank for?
The answer is that what you want to rank for and what your audience actually wants are often two wildly different things. Focusing on your audience and then using keyword data to hone those insights will make for much more successful campaigns than focusing on arbitrary keywords.
Here’s an example. Frankie & Jo’s (a Seattle-based vegan, gluten-free ice cream shop) has heard about SEO and wants help improving how and how often they show up in organic search results. In order to help them, an SEO agency would first need to understand a little more about their customers. To do so, one might ask questions such as:
And finally — here’s the kicker — how can we help provide the best content about ice cream to cultivate a community and fulfill what all those people are searching for? Asking these questions is a crucial planning step that will guide keyword research and help craft better content.
You may have a way of describing what you do, but how does your audience search for the product, service, or information you provide? Answering this question is a crucial first step in the keyword research process.
You likely have a few keywords in mind that you would like to rank for. These will be things like your products, services, or other topics your website addresses, and they are great seed keywords for your research, so start there! You can enter those keywords into a keyword research tool to discover average monthly search volume and similar keywords. We’ll get into search volume in greater depth in the next section, but during the discovery phase, it can help you determine which variations of your keywords are most popular amongst searchers.
Once you enter in your seed keywords into a keyword research tool, you will begin to discover other keywords, common questions, and topics for your content that you might have otherwise missed.
Let’s use the example of a florist that specializes in weddings.
Typing “wedding” and “florist” into a keyword research tool, you may discover highly relevant, highly searched for related terms such as:
In the process of discovering relevant keywords for your content, you will likely notice that the search volume of those keywords varies greatly. While you definitely want to target terms that your audience is searching for, in some cases, it may be more advantageous to target terms with lower search volume because they’re far less competitive.
Since both high- and low-competition keywords can be advantageous for your website, learning more about search volume can help you prioritize keywords and pick the ones that will give your website the biggest strategic advantage.
It’s important to note that entire websites don’t rank for keywords — <em>pages</em> do. With big brands, we often see the homepage ranking for many keywords, but for most websites this isn’t usually the case. Many websites receive more organic traffic to pages other than the homepage, which is why it’s so important to diversify your website’s pages by optimizing each for uniquely valuable keywords.
The higher the search volume for a given keyword or keyword phrase, the more work is typically required to achieve higher rankings. This is often referred to as keyword difficulty and occasionally incorporates SERP features; for example, if many SERP features (like featured snippets, knowledge graph, carousels, etc.) are clogging up a keyword’s result page, difficulty will increase. Big brands often take up the top 10 results for high-volume keywords, so if you’re just starting out on the web and going after the same keywords, the uphill battle for ranking can take years of effort.
Typically, the higher the search volume, the greater the competition and effort required to achieve organic ranking success. Go too low, though, and you risk not drawing any searchers to your site. In many cases, it may be most advantageous to target highly specific, lower competition search terms. In SEO, we call those long-tail keywords.
It would be great to rank #1 for the keyword “shoes”… or would it?
It’s wonderful to deal with keywords that have 50,000 searches a month, or even 5,000 searches a month, but in reality, these popular search terms only make up a fraction of all searches performed on the web. In fact, keywords with very high search volumes may even indicate ambiguous intent, which, if you target these terms, it could put you at risk for drawing visitors to your site whose goals don’t match the content your page provides.
Does the searcher want to know the nutritional value of pizza? Order a pizza? Find a restaurant to take their family? Google doesn’t know, so they offer these features to help you refine. Targeting “pizza” means that you’re likely casting too wide a net.
If you’re searching for “pizza,” Google thinks you may also be interested in “cheese.” They’re not wrong…
Was your intent to find a pizza place for lunch? The “Discover more places” SERP feature has that covered.
The remaining 75% lie in the “chunky middle” and “long tail” of search.
Don’t underestimate these less popular keywords. Long tail keywords with lower search volume often convert better because searchers are more specific and intentional in their searches. For example, a person searching for “shoes” is probably just browsing. On the other hand, someone searching for “best price red women’s size 7 running shoe” practically has their wallet out!
Sapient eCommerce can show you which keywords your pages are ranking for, their search volume, difficulty, and more.
Now that you’ve discovered relevant search terms for your site and their corresponding search volumes, you can get even more strategic by looking at your competitors and figuring out how searches might differ by season or location.
You’ll likely compile a lot of keywords. How do you know which to tackle first? It could be a good idea to prioritize high-volume keywords that your competitors are not currently ranking for. On the flip side, you could also see which keywords from your list your competitors are already ranking for and prioritize those. The former is great when you want to take advantage of your competitors’ missed opportunities, while the latter is an aggressive strategy that sets you up to compete for keywords your competitors are already performing well for.
Knowing about seasonal trends can be advantageous in setting a content strategy. For example, if you know that “Christmas box” starts to spike in October through December in the United Kingdom, you can prepare content months in advance and give it a big push around those months.
You can more strategically target a specific location by narrowing down your keyword research to specific towns, counties, or states in the Google Keyword Planner (https://ads.google.com/home/#!/), or evaluate “interest by subregion” in Google Trends (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US). Geo-specific research can help make your content more relevant to your target audience. For example, you might find out that in Texas, the preferred term for a large truck is “big rig,” while in New York, “tractor trailer” is the preferred terminology.
We have previously covered SERP features. That background is going to help us understand how searchers want to consume information for a particular keyword. The format in which Google chooses to display search results depends on intent, and every query has a unique one. Google describes these intents in their Quality Rater Guidelines
as either “know” (find information), “do” (accomplish a goal), “website” (find a specific website), or “visit-in-person” (visit a local business).
While there are thousands of possible search types, let’s take a closer look at five major categories of intent:
2. Navigational queries: The searcher wants to go to a particular place on the Internet, such as Facebook or the homepage of the NFL.
3. Transactional queries: The searcher wants to do something, such as buy a plane ticket or listen to a song.
4. Commercial investigation: The searcher wants to compare products and find the best one for their specific needs.
5. Local queries: The searcher wants to find something locally, such as a nearby coffee shop, doctor, or music venue.
An important step in the keyword research process is surveying the SERP landscape for the keyword you want to target in order to get a better gauge of searcher intent. If you want to know what type of content your target audience wants, look to the SERPs!
Google has closely evaluated the behavior of trillions of searches in an attempt to provide the most desired content for each specific keyword search.
Take the search “dresses,” for example:
By the shopping carousel, you can infer that Google has determined many people who search for “dresses” want to shop for dresses online.
There is also a Local Pack feature for this keyword, indicating Google’s desire to help searchers who may be looking for local dress retailers.
If the query is ambiguous, Google will also sometimes include the “refine by” feature to help searchers specify what they’re looking for further. By doing so, the search engine can provide results that better help the searcher accomplish their task.
Google has a wide array of result types it can serve up depending on the query, so if you’re going to target a keyword, look to the SERP to understand what type of content you need to create.
How much value would a keyword add to your website? These tools can help you answer that question, so they’d make great additions to your keyword research arsenal:
Input a keyword in Keyword Explorer and get information like monthly search volume and SERP features (like local packs or featured snippets) that are ranking for that term. The tool extracts accurate search volume data by using live clickstream data.
Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner has historically been the most common starting point for SEO keyword research. However, Keyword Planner does restrict search volume data by lumping keywords together into large search volume range buckets.
Google’s keyword trend tool is great for finding seasonal keyword fluctuations. For example, “funny Halloween costume ideas” will peak in the weeks before Halloween.
This free tool populates commonly searched for questions around a specific keyword. Bonus! You can use this tool in tandem with another free tool, Keywords Everywhere, to prioritize ATP’s suggestions by search volume.
Provides some really neat competitive keyword data.
Now you know how to uncover what your target audience is searching for and how often. The next step is learning to craft pages in a way that users will love and search engines can understand. It’s called On-Site Optimization.
Source: Britney Muller at Moz
When analyzing companies that rank highly in Internet Searches it becomes obvious that they are not only liked by Google but also by their target audience.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing. Each business has to have a different approach depending on the consumer behavior in your particular industry. One important take-home message is that companies in all industries get more traffic organically via SEO and Social Media than from paid search via Pay Per Click (PPC) and Google Ads.
Website Traffic Volume (the volume of users visiting a website) is driven by a mix of different Intent Keywords. How many people visit your website will depend on the website’s purpose, the visitors’ own goals, and the way in which they discovered the site.
When creating content for your website and blog, target keywords with low difficulty and high volume instead of attempting to rank for highly competitive keywords that may be out of reach or that would take a very long time to rank for.
Finally, remember it’s a two-step process: increasing website traffic does not mean you are making sales. Your traffic has to be directed to well-designed pages that deliver an enjoyable user experience that provide valuable content. That is, each page on your website has to be fully optimized.