The philosophy of management that inspired us

The following excerpt is from our in-house onboarding flow for new team members. We are publishing it as a series of articles, which we’re calling The Infinite Manager. The series describes the unconventional operating system that has enabled our small…

The following excerpt is from our in-house onboarding flow for new team members. We are publishing it as a series of articles, which we’re calling The Infinite Manager. The series describes the unconventional operating system that has enabled our small team to have such an impact on the web’s leading companies. In part 1, we explained why Meetings Managers […]

The Infinite Manager series

An unconventional way to manage your company We made the unusual decision to publish an extract from our in-house onboarding flow, which all new team members follow when they join us. It received so much positive feedback we have since published more, …

An unconventional way to manage your company We made the unusual decision to publish an extract from our in-house onboarding flow, which all new team members follow when they join us. It received so much positive feedback we have since published more, as a mini-series, which we’re calling The Infinite Manager. The articles describe the […]

Does Your A/B Test Pass the Sample Ratio Mismatch Check?

Most, if not all successful online businesses nowadays rely on one or more systems for conducting A/B tests in order to inform business decisions ranging from simple website or advertising campaign interventions to complex product and business model ch…

Most, if not all successful online businesses nowadays rely on one or more systems for conducting A/B tests in order to inform business decisions ranging from simple website or advertising campaign interventions to complex product and business model changes. While testing might have become a prerequisite for releasing the tiniest of changes, one type of […] Read More...

Brainfluence Now Has An Italian Translation

Roger Dooley’s book Brainfluence has just been released in an Italian translation.
The post Brainfluence Now Has An Italian Translation appeared first on Neuromarketing.

Brainfluence in Italian - Neuromarketing in Pratica

Roger Dooley's book Brainfluence has just been released in an Italian translation.

The post Brainfluence Now Has An Italian Translation appeared first on Neuromarketing.

November ’19: Digital Campaigning, Facebook’s Guide for Embracing Experimentation, Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation, and more!

Welcome back to another edition of the Widerfunnel Experimentation News Roundup! These are the headlines that caught our attention over…Read blog postabout:November ’19: Digital Campaigning, Facebook’s Guide for Embracing Experimentation,…

Welcome back to another edition of the Widerfunnel Experimentation News Roundup! These are the headlines that caught our attention over...Read blog postabout:November ’19: Digital Campaigning, Facebook’s Guide for Embracing Experimentation, Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation, and more!

The post November ’19: Digital Campaigning, Facebook’s Guide for Embracing Experimentation, Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation, and more! appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

Why Content Quality Matters for Your eCommerce Website

Do you want to keep the traffic from search engines coming to your eCommerce website? Competing search results along with Google’s periodic updates can cause organic traffic and corresponding sales to go down: The image above shows the year-to-year difference in clicks for search queries on a “money page” that was getting traffic and driving

Do you want to keep the traffic from search engines coming to your eCommerce website?

Competing search results along with Google’s periodic updates can cause organic traffic and corresponding sales to go down:

Organic traffic took a big dip from August of 2018 to August of 2019.

The image above shows the year-to-year difference in clicks for search queries on a “money page” that was getting traffic and driving sales for one of our eCommerce clients.

Overall, this page took a 38% hit to the traffic it was getting from these queries in August 2019 compared to August 2018. Revenue from the products it linked to followed suit.

That’s why the questions we’re answering today are:

  • How do you keep valuable content assets driving traffic from search engines?
  • How do you recover if your content loses its search engine rankings?

In past posts, we’ve outlined:

In this post, we’ll outline how to help the best content on your eCommerce site continue to “sell while you sleep”… and what to do if things drop off.

Note: We specialize in helping eCommerce businesses to automate more of their sales through SEO, PPC, and CRO. If you want us to drive more traffic and sales to your store, get in touch.

Why Organic eCommerce Sales Drop When Traffic Drops

When your best content loses its search engine equity, so do the product pages that the content links to.

Those specific products, in turn, don’t pass on as much link equity to the additional products that they link to.

Search engine optimization (SEO) can often be a “survival of the fittest” of competing websites vying to rank at the top of Google for potentially valuable search queries.

At the same time, Google is always experimenting with new ways to feature the pages that they think are most relevant for a given search. We see them do this all the time.

To illustrate, Google used to look like this, with purely organic results:

Old Google search results for "how to make a volcano science experiment".

Today, here is what the top of the search engine results page for this query actually looks like with Google’s “rich snippets”:

Old Google search results for "how to make a volcano science experiment" (rich snippets are now included).

The organic results shown above are actually down on the page. This is because there is a larger variety of result-types Google is using in addition to the old-fashioned organic rankings. 

Including:

  • Featured Snippets (like recipes and step-by-step lists)
  • Knowledge panel
  • Local pack results
  • “People Also Ask” questions
  • Paid ads
  • Images
  • And Video content

One of our clients saw traffic drop several times due to Google’s updates like these.

Even though their strategic content maintained its organic rank at position 0 AND position 1 (the “top” of Google’s organic results), the traffic to their money page went down between August 2018 – August 2019.

Organic traffic took a big dip from August of 2018 to August of 2019.

Queries hidden.

Searching Query 1 in Google, we saw several things pushing their top-ranking strategic content further down:

  • A Google Ad for a product
  • A “People Also Ask” section
  • A video carousel section

These rich snippets dramatically reduced the number of people going to the client’s ranking content. This was correlated with lower revenue from the products that page links to.

While we have a general traffic drop checklist, how do we fix this specific situation of a traffic drop on quality content, and get more sales flowing back?

How to Help Your Best eCommerce Content Recover

There are three SEO remedies we recommend to reclaim valuable traffic that was lost due to a rankings drop like this:

#1: Reclaim Real Estate for the Page in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

To do this, improving the on-page SEO and technical SEO for the content and overall website can help Google rediscover their relevance. Sometimes, doing this can even land your content in place of the rich snippets that knocked yours down the page in the first place.

To help your content reclaim real estate in the SERPs and help the likelihood of it appearing as a rich result:

  1. Add schema markup to create structured data where possible, as it makes your existing search listings visually stand out more. This could include the following types of markup:
  • Local business
  • Site navigation
  • Logo
  • Q&A
  • How-to
  • Product
  • Rating & Review
  • Article
  • Author

…the list goes on!

Google is more likely to pick up on structured data and use it as a rich result. You can test a webpage for missing markup with Google Search Console’s Rich Results Test.

  1. Outside of using markup, claim space in the other new organic sections by optimizing your page’s content toward them.

To do this: Structure your content in a featured snippet or people also ask-“friendly” way.

This usually means being clear in your formatting by making the page structured with headers, bullet points, numbered lists, and clean/concise questions/answers.

Tip: To see what Google “likes” to feature:

  • Search Google for the keyword you are targeting with your content
  • Look at the rich results that come up and any questions in the “People Also Ask” box
  • Incorporate similar content to the page, such as a similar definition or a recipe that showed up as the rich result, and add a Q&A section comprised of the questions in the “People Also Ask” box. (Similar in terms of topic and length: not identical to the competitor’s content, as this opens up the possibility of a penalty.)

Improving your website’s quality through on-page and technical SEO can help maintain it against SEO traffic drops. We have several other guides to help with optimizing your eCommerce website’s content:

  1. Finally, if you can’t beat the organic content to reclaim your real estate organically: pay to beat the competition using Paid Ads.

PPC can help your website to reclaim real estate in the SERPs with more certainty than the above strategies.

However, this strategy depends on several variables (your business, the ad targets, and the competitive landscape) and it might not be viable if the competition can outspend you.

If the ROI is possible from Google Ads, then paying to reclaim the lost real estate is a viable option. Often, though, it’s hard to compete when other eCommerce brands can outspend yours for a term.

#2: Do a Better Job Linking to Products from Existing Content

In our experience, interlinking across your own site (or across multiple owned sites) is one of the most overlooked SEO activities.

Chances are, there are other pages on your site getting traffic.

Can you link to relevant products in your store from that other existing content that drives visitors?

#3: Create More Content That Links to More Products

Should your store start publishing strategic content? Yes.

We highly recommend consistent content creation to:

  1. Create additional assets that can engage potential customers in organic and paid audiences
  2. Help improve the domain authority (the overall quality in terms of SEO) of your website through additional links.

We often recommend adding copy to product descriptions on product pages as well as to category pages to help with their overall quality. That said, we also see their revenue suffer when the quality content that links to them does.

We’ve found that applying inbound marketing tactics for eCommerce companies including the creation of high-quality content at scale can drive revenue without direct sales from product and category pages.

Why eCommerce Stores Can Benefit from Creating More Quality Content

What is quality content?

In general, quality content means pages that meet their stated purpose and satisfy someone who finds them in a search engine.

When it comes to product and category pages, “quality” usually means adding more comprehensive, helpful detail to them. The best content for eCommerce websites in terms of quality typically aren’t your product and category pages because online stores tend to leave these pages undetailed.

We recommend starting with adding content to product and category pages such as additional copy, pictures, and videos) to make them really high quality.

After product and category pages are optimized, layer in quality “strategic content” (e.g. articles). When people in the SEO industry talk about “strategic content,” they really mean successful or effective content that achieves a goal. For example:

  • It drives traffic, links and engagement
  • Ranks in Google’s search engine
  • Creates desire for your product or services
  • And/or it leads people to key conversion pages (like a lead gen form or product/category page)

Internally, we refer to quality content as “strategic content” because it strategically meets one or more of these goals. There is also “big content” like comprehensive guides that we refer to as “cornerstone content” and “keystone content” because they are longer than an average article. 

We recommend creating both types as “big content” can be supported by smaller pieces of strategic content (for example: strategic content that drives people to the big content where they convert).

Quality content gets inbound links naturally in ways that products do not. Links are a huge data source for Google about what different websites and pages are about, and to what degree they are relevant to someone’s search query.

In our experience, one type of content that gets a lot of inbound links is “How-To” content.

Why “How-To” Content = Quality Content for eCommerce Websites

“How-To” content (usually an instructional guide, infographic, or video) teaches your target audience something they didn’t know related to your industry.

It’s best to create content that is directly related to your eCommerce business.

An online cookware store might post a video and/or recipe using ingredients or cookware that you sell. An auto parts website may have installation and use guides for specific parts.

This type of content provides the perfect opportunity to add internal links to your product and category pages: driving relevant traffic from that quality content to your product pages where they can convert.

Plus, by teaching your audience and helping to solve their problems (i.e. the questions they are searching in Google), you position your store as an authority on the topic and build lasting trust with your customers.

Conclusion

While many of the eCommerce brands we help tend to focus on paid marketing, the most profitable stores we see often grow with the complementary combination of paid media and search engine optimization.

SEO doesn’t just help to drive more traffic to your products through internal linking. Google evaluates content quality for their ads. Adding and optimizing targeted content on eCommerce websites can help the conversion rate and efficiency of PPC like Google Ads.

We know that eCommerce content marketing can be a large task. We would welcome the opportunity to apply our eCommerce marketing expertise toward growth-focused content creation, copywriting, and SEO for your online store.

If you want to direct more people to your products or services, and help preserve your website’s discoverability against competitors and Google updates, please get in touch.

The Aesthetic-Accessibility Paradox

Every interface has a subset of users that make up the majority and minority. The majority of users usually have normal vision, while the minority have some form of visual impairment.

Every interface has a subset of users that make up the majority and minority. The majority of users usually have normal vision, while the minority have some form of visual impairment.

There’s a big difference between what normal visioned users see versus what color blind and low vision users see. These users tend to experience blurry text and faint elements when text size and color contrast are too low.

The goal of accessibility is to meet the needs of the minority because they’re often forgotten. But what happens when meeting the needs of the minority ends up failing the needs of the majority? This issue occurs when the interface is made too accessible and isn’t balanced with aesthetics.

Aesthetic Vs. Accessible

In general, the more accessible an interface is, the less aesthetic appeal it has. Highly accessible interfaces are easier on the eyes of the visually impaired, but harsher on the eyes of the normal visioned. On the flip side, highly aesthetic interfaces are easier on the eyes of the normal visioned, but harsher on the eyes of the visually impaired.

This aesthetic-accessibility paradox is what designers struggle with when they design interfaces. The challenge is to meet the needs of both the majority and the minority. However, if you veer too far into one extreme, you’ll alienate a subset of your users. Most people don’t want to alienate the minority. But alienating the majority of your users is just as bad as alienating the minority.

Below are two forms that illustrate this concept. One form is AAA compliant and accessible to all visually impaired users. The other is not accessible at all but appeals to normal visioned users.

highly-aesthetic-accessible

For the normal visioned, the aesthetic form is easy on the eyes, while the accessible form is harsh. However, for the visually impaired, the accessible form is easier on the eyes, while the aesthetic form is harsher. Which form should you use?

The correct answer is neither because neither form respects the aesthetic-accessibility paradox. They are designed toward opposite ends of the spectrum, which will either alienate the majority or minority.

A truly accessible and aesthetic interface falls somewhere in the middle. Below is the form that respects the aesthetic-accessibility paradox. The color hues, contrasts, font sizes, and weights are AA compliant and balanced to meet the needs of both user groups. The result is an interface that’s easy on the eyes for nearly everyone.

balanced-aesthetic-accessibility

The Majority of the Minority

Why isn’t an interface that’s balanced with aesthetics and accessibility easy on the eyes for everyone? Within the subset of the minority, there’s another majority and minority. The majority of the minority are users who don’t have extreme visual impairments and will be able to use a balanced design. However, the minority of the minority have extreme visual impairments that’ll still cause them issues.

majority-minority-accessibility

Designing for the smallest minority will make your design accessible to users with extreme visual impairments. However, your design will alienate normal visioned users who make up the majority of your base. For this reason, the best design is a balanced one that satisfies the largest minority.

What about the needs of the smallest minority? Most users with extreme visual impairments use screen readers that provide high contrast modes. These high contrast modes allow them to use interfaces that have low contrast. It’s not necessary to design for the minority of the minority, but rather the majority of the minority. Designing for the largest minority means making your interface AA compliant.

Local High Contrast Mode

Sometimes a highly aesthetic or highly accessible interface is required based on the nature of a project. There’s a way you can provide users with these presentations without alienating any of your audience.

If you want to maintain a highly aesthetic design, you should provide a local high contrast mode on your interface. A local high contrast mode is a toggle button on the page that allows users to enhance the contrast of text and elements. On the other hand, if you want to provide users with a highly accessible design, make your high contrast mode AAA compliant.

However, the challenge is getting users to notice and use it. Make sure it’s visually prominent, or they’ll overlook it. The example below shows a button for high contrast mode, but it’s in an obscure form and location. If you decide to implement a local high contrast mode, follow these requirements.

local-high-contrast-mode

The Importance of Aesthetics

Accessibility extremists tend to discount aesthetics. They believe an interface should be as accessible as possible for the minority without considering how it affects the average user. These extremists need to understand and respect the aesthetic-accessibility paradox before demanding the highest degree of accessibility.

Aesthetics isn’t a subjective and trivial attribute used for ornamentation. It serves an important purpose in the user experience. It determines whether users trust your app, perceive it as valuable, or are satisfied using it. In other words, aesthetics affects user engagement and conversion rate. Discounting it is not only bad for users, but bad for business.

Striking a Balance

Balancing aesthetics and accessibility isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for a great user experience. The cross-section of the aesthetic-accessibility spectrum is the balance point for designing interfaces that satisfy the most users. Avoid designing at the extreme ends of the spectrum and respect the aesthetic-accessibility paradox.

aesthetic-accessibility-paradox

Being mindful of this paradox will help you make design choices that include the visually impaired, without excluding the normal visioned. When you’re designing for a wide range of people, extremism toward either an aesthetic or accessible direction is not the best approach. Finding the middle ground is the best way to reach and satisfy as many users as possible.

Salesforce names Microsoft Azure as public cloud provider for Marketing Cloud

The expanded partnership between Salesforce and Microsoft also includes plans for new integrations to connect its Sales and Service clouds with Microsoft Teams.

The post Salesforce names Microsoft Azure as public cloud provider for Marketing Cloud appeared first on Marketing Land.

Microsoft and Salesforce have announced plans to expand their strategic partnership through the migration of Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud to Microsoft Azure. The move is anticipated to allow Salesforce to optimize Marketing Cloud performance to meet increasing customer demands.

In order to support their joint customers using Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Teams, Salesforce will also build new integrations for its Sales and Service clouds with Teams. The integrations will allow sales and service users to access Salesforce records directly in Teams, and is expected to go live in late 2020.

Why we should care

Moving Salesforce Marketing Cloud to Azure will allow the company’s customers to benefit from Azure’s infrastructure which will help brands manage data security, privacy and compliance requirements on a global scale.

The integration between the widely-used Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Teams can be expected to drive further collaboration across sales and service teams by increasing accessibility to data directly within the Teams app. Salesforce and Microsoft customers – like Marriott International – will be able to take advantage of improved collaboration and greater efficiency through the strategic partnership.

“Marriott has more than 7,200 properties spanning 134 countries and territories, so driving efficiency and collaboration is critical,” said Brian King, global officer, digital, distribution, revenue strategy and global sales, Marriott International. “The combination of Salesforce and Microsoft enables our teams to work better together to enhance the guest experience at every touchpoint.”

More on the news

  • By bringing its Marketing Cloud to Azure, Salesforce joins over 95% of Fortune 500 companies using the Azure infrastructure, which covers the most global regions of any cloud provider.
  • “In a world where every company is becoming a digital company, we want to enable every customer and partner to build experiences on our leading platform,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “By bringing together the power of Azure and Microsoft Teams with Salesforce, our aim is to help businesses harness the power of Microsoft Cloud to better serve customers.”

The post Salesforce names Microsoft Azure as public cloud provider for Marketing Cloud appeared first on Marketing Land.

Are You Mobile-Optimized or Mobile-Awesome?

Weird fact about me – while I am of average height, I have tiny, below-average hands. Because of my tiny hands I was super reluctant to upgrade my tiny phone, so until the last few weeks I was still living my best life with my 4” screen iPhone 5. When your phone is that tiny… Read More

The post Are You Mobile-Optimized or Mobile-Awesome? appeared first on Bound.

Weird fact about me – while I am of average height, I have tiny, below-average hands. Because of my tiny hands I was super reluctant to upgrade my tiny phone, so until the last few weeks I was still living my best life with my 4” screen iPhone 5. When your phone is that tiny it becomes really clear really fast when websites aren’t optimizing well for mobile.

Which brings up a good question: what does it really mean to “optimize” for mobile? For a lot of websites it simply means nothing breaks when viewed on a phone. You would think “not breaking” should be the bare minimum, but I have been on plenty of websites where everything from the hero image to a form fill is in fact “broken” and either cannot be viewed or cannot be used on my mobile phone.

Of course, “not breaking” is still a pretty low standard to set for such a large chunk of your audience. While the percentage of mobile visitors will always vary by site, in 2019 we’re seeing an average of 64% of travel & tourism website visitors using mobile devices. 

If you want to create the best mobile experience for your visitors, why not use personalization? Here are 5 examples of ways you can use personalization to create a better website for mobile visitors without having to recreate the entire website wheel.

Changing the Copy

A giant block of text on mobile? Ain’t nobody got time for that! A lot of times mobile optimizing means that the text technically fits on the screen. And that’s it. But we can do better than that! You can create a better experience overall by shortening the copy for mobile. 

Think about your homepage hero, for example. If you overlay copy over an image, it will always take up a large portion of the image space, even when using smaller text. If you try and make it much smaller you run the risk of no one being able to read your copy. Create a cleaner mobile version by shortening or removing an element such as the subhead text, so that mobile visitors can still get the full effect of the image. Or, consider setting up a different template on mobile where the text moves below the image instead of appearing over it.

Changing the copy can also mean changing the call to action text. Mobile visitors are more likely to click on a visitor guide “view” call to action over one that says “download.” 

Changing the Content

Wide, sweeping landscape images are beautiful. On desktop. 

On mobile, wide images can get tricky. If you keep the same image ratio on mobile your image can become very, very small. If your website automatically crops the image to create a taller version, you might end up with a completely different point of view:

Instead of a mobile-optimized version of the image, use personalization to show a completely different image that better fits the story you want to tell on mobile.

Prioritizing the Right Content

That big, long intro text is really nice for your desktop visitors since they can still see other elements further down on the screen, but maybe you have articles or user generated images you think would appeal more to your mobile visitors. Using personalization to make sure the best mobile content is visible before scrolling can keep mobile visitors better engaged. This could mean rearranging content or using an overlay campaign to grab your mobile visitors attention right away.

Using Different Forms

Think about your formfill pages for a minute. How you would feel trying to fill them out on a phone. Are there 10 required fields before they can sign up for your newsletter? Are there several dropdowns they need to try and scroll through? Are there tiny checkboxes close together that might make it hard for them to indicate the right interest?

These are all issues that can easily dissuade a mobile visitor from completing a form. If you have a shorter, mobile-friendly form, you can use personalization to promote it strictly to mobile visitors who abandoned the original form page. Alternatively, you can direct them to the short form when they first click your call to action instead of showing them the long form at all. 

Using Different Overlay Content

With mobile visitors making up over half of your website sessions, of course you still want to target them to promote your key goals. However, even when sized for a mobile screen, a fly-in can still create a larger than desired impact, more akin to using a modal. If you want to create a less disruptive experience on mobile, considering using banner campaigns instead. Mobile visitors can easily choose to either interact with a banner or ignore and continue scrolling.

 

Personalization is all about creating the best website experience for a group of visitors, and at the end of the day your mobile visitors are just another one of those groups! Looking for more ideas of how to better personalize for mobile? Contact your designated Customer Success Manager or reach out to here to discuss more!

The post Are You Mobile-Optimized or Mobile-Awesome? appeared first on Bound.