SEO and social: 1 + 1 = 3

Columnist Eric Enge recaps a session from SMX West detailing fresh ideas for how search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing can work together to produce results.

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[Live Webinar] Customer data: new strategies to keep it fresh and accurate

Join data experts David M. Raab and John Hurley as they describe how Radius and its clients built a network of B2B business and contact information, and how you can create a new data source with unprecedented freshness, accuracy, and coverage. Attend this webinar and learn: how to measure – and...

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Poor Sitewide Conversion Rates? Focus on Page-Specific Conversion Funnels

An important metric in any marketer’s dashboard is sitewide conversion rate. Of course, that broad metric alone can be misleading. Though most marketers typically segment their data by traffic source (e.g. organic search, Facebook ads, affiliate traffic, etc.), another way to analyze the data is by tracking page-specific conversion funnels.

For instance, when customers land on a certain product page, are they then 20% likely to complete a purchase? If so, is that a better product-page conversion rate than your average product-pages? Should you be driving more traffic to that SKU? Also, are there pages that visitors interact with that drive no conversions at all?

If so, then perhaps it’s worth figuring out how you can redirect that traffic to other pages that may be able to better convert those visitors. Or you might want to consider removing that page entirely since it may offer little to no value to your audience.

Below, I’ll outline a three-part guide for capitalizing on page-specific conversion rates.

1. How to Determine Page-Specific Conversion Rates

Before you can calculate page-specific conversion rates, you need to set goals within your Google Analytics account that track specific activity. Of course, there are multiple ways to qualify a conversion. A few common examples are:

  • Account creation
  • Email subscription
  • eBook download
  • Order purchase

Once this is done, you can then segment your data to get a firmer understanding of how well certain pages perform. Below are step-by-step instructions for how this is done within Google Analytics.

When you enter your analytics dashboard, find the left panel and click Behavior to expand the section. Under that, select Site Content followed by Landing Pages. This allows you to review broad stats about each of your website’s individual pages.

behavior-landing-pages-google-analytics

Next, above the main graph in the middle of your dashboard, choose Goal Set 1. This will allow you to start analyzing page activity against conversions.

google-analytics-goal-set-1

By default, the listed pages should be sorted by Sessions volume, with the highest trafficked pages showing first. A quick scan of the top 25 or 50 most visited pages and their respective conversion rates will give you an idea of which ones may need further improvement (particularly, URLs that receive a ton of visitors but few conversions).

landing-pages-sessions

Another important way to sort the data is by Goal Conversion Rate. This will help you identify the pages that have unusually high conversion rates, which you may draw copy, design and style inspiration from to improve your higher-trafficked but lower-converting pages.

subscribed-to-mailing-list-goal-google-analytics

To ensure you identify conversion rate optimization opportunities worth pursuing and are analyzing statistically significant data, you should consider applying filters that explicitly include pages from targeted sections of your website or omit ones that may muddy your results. To do that, you must find the small link that reads advanced to expand the menu. Then, you can set multiple rules to filter your findings. Afterwards, remember to click the Apply button at the bottom of the menu.

exclude-landing-pages-include-sessions-google-analytics

This tells Google Analytics to provide a manicured report featuring only the pages you need for this analysis.

2. How to Take Advantage of High-Converting Pages

Once you’ve identified which pages convert the most traffic, a few ways businesses can capitalize on those pages include:

  • Directing more internal traffic (from other pages) to those pages. This would mean strategic internal linking or careful changes to site navigation. In an effort to grow your business, you will want to strategically guide any visitors your site receives to webpages that engage them and are more likely to facilitate a conversion.
  • Driving more organic and paid marketing site visits to those high-converting pages. To do that organically, marketers must work to actively improve the SEO of those pages and direct earned media traffic to them too. To accomplish this through paid channels requires brands to buy ads that send visitors to those pages.
  • Mimicking the design, style and value proposition offered on those pages to optimize the rest of your website. Clearly, you have done something right with those particular pages which help encourage conversions on your website. So, as a marketer, it would be wise to try and identify the key elements that make those pages so engaging. This would allow you to replicate that experience across other pages that do not support your end goals.

Knowing which pages convert traffic better empowers marketers to create higher-converting user funnels.

3. What to do About Low-Converting Pages

Another consequence of this analysis is the discovery that many of your webpages do little to facilitate conversions. Naturally, you may ask yourself:

  • What value do these pages offer?
  • Could we improve their conversion rates?
  • Could we still take advantage of the traffic they receive?
  • Are they worth keeping and maintaining?

With that in mind, here are four things you can do with your lowest-converting pages:

  • Keep them. First, decide what the primary purpose of each of your webpages are. The privacy page, for instance, is there almost entirely out of legal obligation. Your knowledge base and help desk may be available just to serve as educational guides. These examples and more may be worth keeping since conversions are not their primary — or even secondary — metric for success. As long as they manage to offer some value to users, these types of pages may be worth holding onto.
  • Optimize them. For more conversion-oriented pages, such as landing pages and product pages, you will want to invest resources in optimizing them to facilitate more conversions, and lower their bounce and exit rates. You may do this through a series of A/B tests and by mimicking the copy, design and style of your higher-converting webpages.
  • Redirect incoming traffic. You will almost certainly find a handful of high-traffic pages with paltry conversion rates. Unfortunately, many of them may be difficult to optimize given their primary purpose such as your “About” page (which provides a brief summary of the brand, its values and the people behind it). So, rather than aim to optimize them for conversions, redesign these pages to direct their incoming visitors to higher-converting pages. Consider adding call-to-actions (CTAs) that encourage page visitors to click onto other sections of your website that may facilitate a better customer journey and a higher likelihood of conversion. There are exceptions though: your users’ “Account” pages (which are primarily used as part of the post-purchase experience, where users may only be visiting to track shipping details, review past orders or leave a customer review) should be left alone since these users do not need to be “converted” again.
  • Get rid of them. The sobering truth is that not all of your webpages are worth hosting. In fact, an audit of your page-specific conversion rates may help you uncover webpages that might not be properly representative of your brand. Rather, they may be a distraction to visitors and a detriment to the user experience. You may be better off without these pages. Of course, removing content should be a last resort. Before you commit to getting rid of certain pages, find out if there are other ways having them may benefit you. For instance, some pages generate strong organic traffic and have hundreds of inbound links; removal may lead to a loss in overall domain authority for SEO and would be ill-advised. Other pages are informational, such as FAQs (frequently asked questions), or are part of the post-purchase experience and are aimed at delivering a seamless customer experience.

Conclusion

To grow your business, sometimes you have to think outside of the box and approach problems unconventionally. An analysis of page-specific conversions can help marketers analyze their buyer funnels more in-depth. It also enables them to discover powerful solutions to bottlenecks and roadblocks along the customer’s journey.

If your overall end-to-end conversion metrics are failing you (and you’re limited on design, engineering and CRO resources), you’ll want to identify areas within your current website experience that are already highly engaging to customers and use that information to your advantage. So if you have a poor sitewide conversion rate, consider reviewing the effectiveness of your page-specific conversion funnels. You might find just what you need to drastically improve your marketing performance.

About the Author: Danny Wong is a digital marketer and writer. As Conversio’s resident Tale Spinner, he authors in-depth guides that teach Ecommerce store owners ways to manage, grow and scale their business. To benchmark your page conversion rates against your peers, check out our 2016 Product Page Conversion Rates Report.

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3 Proofreading Pointers, So Your Writing Isn’t Shared for the Wrong Reason

"Want to know how I find and correct errors in my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?" – Stefanie Flaxman

Whenever someone questions the importance of proofreading, my go-to response is:

“Pubic relations is quite different from public relations.”

We all sometimes make a typo that omits or changes a letter in a word. A typo like that is difficult to spot when the mistake is still an actual word (or words). Just last week, I wrote “head lice” instead of “headline.” Again, two completely different things.

But I have an effective proofreading process that helps me find and correct errors before they are published. (Except, of course, when the error is a joke.)

Do you want to know techniques I use on my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?

Walk the line

I’ve witnessed two different attitudes when it comes to how people feel about typos.

Some find them unacceptable and a reason to stop reading a publication. Others aren’t bothered by them at all and don’t understand why anyone would make an effort to prevent them.

I’m sure you’re not surprised that my outlook falls in the middle between those two extremes. I walk the line.

It’s a bit excessive to call a website “untrustworthy” if there is a typo in a piece of content or if an author doesn’t strictly follow grammar rules, but publishing your writing with a number of mistakes isn’t wise either. It can even lead to customer service headaches.

Established publications might be able to “get away with” occasional typos. Their audiences (for the most part) will be forgiving.

But if your website isn’t well-known and trusted yet, you want to demonstrate that you treat your content with care and aim to create the best possible experience for your readers.

Try one of the three methods below when you’re ready to polish your writing before you publish it.

1. Peek-a-boo proofreading

For this first method, you’ll need an opaque object that you don’t mind holding while you proofread.

It could be a note card, your phone, a slab of smoky quartz … whatever is handy and near your desk. Speaking of “handy,” your hand also works as this “object,” if nothing else feels right.

Start at the beginning of your text and cover the second word with the object so that you only concentrate on the first word in the document. Once you make sure it’s the correct word, surrounded by the correct punctuation if any is needed, shift your focus to the second word and cover the third word with the object.

When you’re satisfied with the second word, cover the fourth word with the object, review the third word, and repeat until you reach the end of your draft.

Blocking out the next word in your text forces you to slow down and examine your writing with a critical eye.

Names of companies, products, and people will stand out so that you can fact-check them. You’ll also be able to quickly see if you’ve accidentally left out a word, repeated a word, or chosen the wrong word.

2. Deep-tissue “word” massage

The tool I use for this method is a Rainmaker Platform pen I got at one of our company meetings. (You can buy the Platform, but I don’t think we sell the pen.)

I like proofreading with this retractable pen because when the ink cartridge is inside the external frame, a spongy material becomes the tip of the pen. The spongy part can make contact with my computer screen without scratching it.

You can use an eraser on the end of a pencil, a cotton swab, or another pointed object that is soft.

Start at the beginning of your text and physically underline each word with your soft, pointed object as you proofread. My pen actually touches my screen and presses into it as I observe each letter and word.

You don’t need to spend more than a few seconds on each word — just enough time to give it your full attention.

You’ll be able to easily spot “you’re/your/you” and “their/they’re/there” mistakes. Focusing on each letter of a word also helps you notice if you’ve accidentally made a word plural when it is supposed to be singular, or vice versa.

3. My all-time favorite proofreading technique, using one of the tips above

After I edit and proofread an article, the review process still feels a little incomplete — mistakes could be hiding in the content.

So, the technique I use as a final step before publishing is reading from the last sentence to the first sentence.

No matter how many times you’ve already reviewed an article, proofreading in this way helps you, at the very least, identify weaknesses you may have overlooked while editing.

During this stage, I sometimes notice a word has been overused or a lot of sentences begin with the same word. I’ll then vary the language so the text is more interesting.

You’ll also often find legitimate mistakes, such as:

  • The incorrect use of an apostrophe
  • The misinterpretation of a phrase, such as “beckon call” rather than “beck and call”
  • Subtle typos, such as “top” instead of “stop” or “in” instead of “it”

Read from the end to the beginning with either of the methods above to give every detail of your content extra special attention. Your job is to verify the accuracy of the words and phrases you present to your audience.

The luxury of digital content

When I discovered content marketing, I loved the concept but didn’t think it was something I could do.

Writing on a regular basis seemed like an impossible goal. Since I’m an editor, I thought an accidental writing mistake would tarnish my reputation. I couldn’t risk it.

Do you see what was really going on?

I was lacking confidence at the time. A confident person feels good about the work they’ve carefully produced and realizes mistakes still sometimes happen anyway.

With digital content on your own site, it’s especially easy to make corrections and move on.

So now that you’re equipped with smart ways to proofread, what are you going to publish today?

Image source: Joshua Ness via Unsplash.

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