Conversion rate is a powerful measurement tool that provides valuable insight into the behavior of your website’s visitors. Calculating the conversion rate -- the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action -- can be highly beneficial in determining how effective your website is in accomplishing your business goals. Whether the goal of each webpage on your site is a click on a product page, a newsletter sign-up, or a purchase, monitoring your conversion rate(s) and implementing strategies aimed at increasing conversion will provide greater value to your business.

According to the 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report by CXL, last year, over 90% of marketing optimization professionals across various industries responded to a survey stating that the priority of conversion optimization remained the same or increased compared to the year before.  

Don’t let your website fall behind.

Below, we have determined five optimization strategies that are essential to maintaining and increasing your website’s conversion rate(s):

1.  Make it easy for your customers to buy.

We have all arrived at a store looking to buy something but found ourselves lost, whether it was in the process of searching for a product, a price tag, or even the checkout.  Often, customers who find themselves in this situation give up and leave the store.  

Just as it can be difficult for customers to navigate a store without a sales associate, your website’s visitors are online without anyone on your team to guide them.  Ensure that your website is simple to navigate at every point in the visitor’s journey.

We cannot overstate the importance of a simple landing page, a clear page navigation system, and an easy conversion process (checkout, sign-up, registration, etc), all geared toward your visitor’s optimal website journey.

2.  Tell a compelling story.

Have an abundance of content on your website appealing to your target audience, and have little else.  Understanding what is important to your audience’s experience on your site is vital, because it is now harder than ever to hold people’s attention online. 

According to a series of studies generated by researchers from the Journal of Behaviour and Information Technology, it takes a mere 50 milliseconds, or .05 seconds, for website visitors to form an opinion about a webpage.  Make sure that your audience’s first .05 seconds on the site include the graphics and content that most appeals to them.

3.  Utilize user-generated content.

Millennials have the highest purchasing power of any generation today.  Due to the vast amount of information-sharing that occurs on social media, millennials have come to value social proof when making a purchase or using a new product or service.  

Facilitate trust with your website’s visitors by embedding your social media pages into your website and by highlighting customer reviews from social media platforms and other external sites.  Not including this information on your site gives visitors a reason to leave and find this information elsewhere. Keep users on your website and one step closer to conversion.

4.  Prevent technical difficulties.

Few things are more frustrating than the endless spinning cycle of a loading icon.

Slow website speed, a device unfriendly/incompatible user-interface, and low-quality, pixelated media are all valid reasons for dissatisfaction for online browsers.

Just as typos and misspellings are seen as unprofessional, a website with technical difficulties can be equally distasteful, and makes a difference in how your website is perceived by visitors.  

In fact, 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less.  40% abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds.

5.  Experiment.

Once your website receives adequate traffic, you are able to perform split tests and other experiments.  Split tests measure the performance of two different versions of a web page (control group, experimental group) for website visitors.  Make adjustments to what most appeals to site visitors and ultimately optimize the conversion rates of each page.

Using Google Content Experiments and Google Analytics, your company can measure the performance of similar web pages in many different experiments to scientifically optimize conversion rates.

The sooner you start experimenting on your website, the faster that you can implement the most optimal solutions and start achieving higher conversion rates.

Using conversion rate and other advanced data analysis tools, Relevance Advisors can take your business even further.  Please reach out and let us know how we can help improve your website’s needs this summer.

Google AdWords remains the "number 1" choice for most advertisers and brands looking to quickly and effectively promote their products or services on the ever-so-competitive web.

Here’s why: Google display campaigns reach 90% of global internet users. And on an average, buyers who have seen display ads are 155% more likely to search for the respective brand.

In addition, businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google AdWords. And AdWords generates highest ROI amongst all online advertising channels.

But here’s the BIG CHALLENGE: For long, advertisers have been faced with the challenge of getting their ads in front of specific, targeted audience.

So does this mean you’ve no options for identity-based targeting to ensure that your ad is shown to people who you actually want to target?

The answer is a resounding NO!

You’ve Google AdWords ‘Customer Match’ at your rescue!

What is Google AdWords Customer Match?

Google Adwords’ Customer Match is a feature that allows advertisers to create and target (or exclude) their own list of users by uploading their customers’ or prospects’ names, email addresses, phone numbers and/or addresses.

What Benefits Does Google AdWords Customer Match Offer?

Google’s flagship ‘Customer Match’ comes packed with a host of benefits for advertisers. One of the biggest benefits of using Customer Match is that advertisers can easily show their ads to more relevant, targeted audience. This means advertisers can reach customers and prospects who already know about their brand, services or products.

Customer Match can particularly help advertisers:

How does Google AdWords Custom Match Work?

As soon as you finish uploading your target list, Google AdWords matches your contacts to Gmail accounts, signed-in browsers and corresponding email addresses. Usually, AdWords matches around 50% of the list you upload to devices.

Here’s how Customer Match procedure works:

Let's assume you’re looking to promote your new product to your existing buyers with Google ads.

Here's how Google AdWords Customer Match will work:

How to Upload Customer Match Files?

Uploading Customer Match files is a fairly easy process and you can do it in five easy steps.

Step #1: Log-in to the new Google AdWords interface.

Step #2: Once logged-in, you’ll need to click on the ‘Wrench’ icon on the top right and select ‘Audience Manager’.

Step #3: Now, select the blue + button and select +Customer list.

Step #4: Then, simply name your audience; choose the data file (Email, Phone, First Name, Last Name, Country, Zip) that you wish to upload.

Step #5: Lastly, select if your data is hashed or unhashed.

That’s it! Now you can use your customized target audience lists across all Google properties – Gmail, YouTube, display, and search.

PS: According to Google, Customer Matching process could take up to 48 hours.

Over to You!

All in all, Google AdWords’ Customer Match is your best bet if you’re looking to lure-in audiences of the highest possible value. Simply put this learning into practice, get started with the creation of your tailored customer list now and get set to drive more traffic, leads and revenue this year.

 

Meet our newest partner, Team Wendy. We're excited to work with such a cutting-edge and inspiring company.

Team Wendy's mission is to research, develop, design and deliver the most innovative, protective and impact-mitigating products and technologies on the market today. Additionally,  they partner with world-class universities and organizations to research the causes and prevention of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

To learn more about Team Wendy and their products, visit http://www.teamwendy.com/.

E-commerce is more than just the digital marketplace for your online business’s product or service, it serves as the online store for all audiences to reach your company. You can access your e-commerce site’s data in Google Analytics to target audiences’ behavior and improve users' interaction on your site. But how do e-commerce businesses use this information to attract potential customers and lead them to make purchases? Worldwide, over 2.14 billion people are expected to buy their goods and services online by 2021. E-commerce has a large potential customer base to cater to, so learn how to maximize your business's sales and profitability.

We’ll guide you through the 5 stages of the e-commerce conversion funnel that can help transform your target audience into interested and returning customers.

Targeting Customers At All Stages: The Conversion Funnel

Although most sales funnels or conversion funnels depict four stages, this one shows five. The main difference is that after the conversion step (sometimes called the action stage), there is another stage: re-engage. At each step, there are many ways you can interact with your potential customers to get them to the next stage. In this post, we’ll discuss the marketing strategy for each stage.

Step 1: Awareness

Before a potential customer can make a purchase, they must know your company exists. The first stage in the conversion funnel is getting potential consumers to recognize your brand. A great way to increase brand awareness is through product listings. Using Google’s shopping ads, you can automate a visual image and product details to appear at the top of search results on Google and its Search Partners. These ads can appear on the Display Network or occasionally on the right side of a computer screen on the Search Network. The visual of these ads will stand out, making the user see what sets your product apart from the other products and companies.

Stage 2: Interest

After a potential customer knows about your brand, get them interested in your products. At this stage, your advertisement has made an impression valuable enough to your target audience for them to visit your site and browse through your content. Is your site optimized for SEO and mobile friendly? Get potential users to your site using SEO and paid search ads. Once users click on your site, lead them to compelling content on your landing page and individual product pages. If you have a newsletter or mailing list, get website visitors to subscribe. This part of the funnel is all about getting potential customers interested in the products you have to offer.

Stage 3: Desire

At this point, the potential customer already knows about your brand and the products you have to offer. This stage is all about making them want to buy what you’re selling. A great way to remind potential customers about your products is through social media. With Facebook ads, you can use dynamic ads, upload a catalog of your products, and target customers who have visited your site or mobile app before. Consumers are 4 times more likely to be encouraged rather than discouraged to buy something if they see a relevant ad during their online search, meaning all the more reason to utilize targeted ads to help build demand for your company’s product or service.

Stage 4: Conversion

When it comes to maximizing conversions, you want your customers to have a great experience on your site. Make sure that your site has a seamless process of exploring product pages, adding items to the shopping cart, and checking out. Creating a great user experience for your potential customers will drive them to conversion, but a bad user experience could frustrate them and even prevent them from returning to your site or making a purchase at all. On average, 70% of customers abandon their carts, so try to make the checkout process as smooth as possible for your users to commit to their purchase.

Stage 5: Re-engage

Once your company succeeds in converting a new customer, don’t stop there. Send the new customer reminders to subscribe to your newsletters and follow you on social media. Then, follow up with promotions to keep them coming back. Using dynamic retargeting, which shows ads to potential customers who visited your site but did not complete a purchase, you can remind them about the items they saw. A study found that retargeting led to a lift of 1,046% in trademark search. If you’re trying to achieve repeat customers and create loyalty within your market niche, re-engaging your audience is the way to go when optimizing your e-commerce business.

Source: Google Academy for Ads

If you’re ready to bring your store online or increase your exposure as an e-commerce business, drop us a note so we can help maximize your sales and profitability.

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What is SEO? With all the marketing strategies you hear about these days, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one you might want to take note of. SEO helps you appear higher in an internet search and therefore maximizes the number of visitors to your website or your business's landing page. In fact, 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is at the top of their inbound marketing priorities. When it comes to search engines, Google has the most domestic market share on the internet, dominating at 92%, followed by Bing and Yahoo!, at 2.41% and 2.07%, respectively. With 3.5 billion people using Google for searches each day, now is the perfect time to start using SEO for your company or business.

Optimize These 5 Website Elements To Improve Your Organic Ranking

At the end of the day your site should be relevant, easy to navigate, and informative for your potential customers. Google’s search algorithm prioritizes sites that its users -- your potential customers -- will want to find. To get better SEO results, make sure you’re prioritizing these 5 website elements.

1) Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Title tags are the first thing potential customers see when they search for content online. They draw in your potential customer and serve as the link where they will click on your site. The description below the title tag is called the meta description, which is where you can give a short summary of what that specific page on your website is about. It’s important to show potential customers why your site is relevant to their searches, so be sure to include some keywords and a description of what your site (and company) has to offer.

2) Content

Once users arrive on your site, make sure there is page-specific content. This content should give potential customers background about your company and be relevant to the page they are looking at. Make sure that they do not have to click through your site to find information that was in your title tag or meta-description; that information should be on the page you linked them to. When it comes to Google’s first page of results, a study found that the typical first results have an average of 2,416 words and the typical 10th results have an average of 2,032 words. All the sites on Google’s first page of results averaged over 2,000 words. Make sure to keep your content relevant, but make it in-depth so users don’t have to navigate through your site to find the information they’re looking for.

3) User Experience

(based on Peter Morville’s UX Factors)

Once a potential customer gets to your website, you want to make sure they have a good experience. Search engines also want to make sure their users are happy. If a user selects the first search engine result but hits the back button after seeing the site, it's an indication that they were not happy with that result. Google keeps track of how long users stay on the search result's website, which factors into the quality of the website, and therefore the search results ranking. Make sure your site links to the user’s keywords and indicated information from the user’s search results, otherwise you are likely to lose their business. If users do not find what they are looking for on your site on the majority of searches, your ranking in search results will drop.  

4) Mobile Friendly

Although websites are typically designed for computers, there is an increasing shift toward searching the internet on cell phones. More than 51% of smartphone owners have found a new product or company while using search engines from their mobile device, so make sure your site is search engine optimized and mobile friendly. Google looks for dynamic and responsive websites, which are easier for users to navigate while on their mobile phones. According to OuterBox, an overwhelming 79% of customers order via mobile. With consumers making more and more purchases on their mobile devices, ensuring that your website meets all mobile SEO requirements is a must. Make sure potential customers’ experiences on your company’s mobile site reflect positively on your brand.

5) Links

Search engines take into account how many other sites link to your site, how popular those sites are, and whether those sites are general or in the same topic area as your site. Search engines also try to figure out which sites are spam and which are trusted, reliable sources. They look at a site’s trustworthiness and consider whether the sites linking to it or that it links to are considered trustworthy or not. Making sure that links to your site are on new, current websites also help. More recently, Google’s search algorithm started looking at links on social media, such as if someone were to post a link on their Facebook page, although they are not as highly valued as links from separate sites.

Leave us a note below to see how we can help bring users to your site through SEO.

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As users spend an increasing amount of time on social media, digital marketing has transformed the way businesses utilize social media platforms. According to a survey from Statista, there are an estimated 2.77 billion active social media users in 2019, and that number is projected to break 3 billion by 2021. This means that over a third of the population are social media consumers. And if those stats aren’t shocking enough, more than 50% of marketers who have used social media marketing for at least two years have reported an improvement in sales. Clearly, businesses using these tactics are seeing success. Are you one of them? Here is a list of the top 8 social media platforms you should be utilizing this year and why you should get started today.

Top 8 Social Media Platforms To Use In Your Marketing Strategy

We organized the top 8 social media platforms to use this year and discuss how each platform can give you a strategic edge in your marketing tactics for 2019.

Facebook

2.2 Billion Monthly Active Users

Facebook had a rough 2018, from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the overwhelming backlash from users claiming they were part of a “nonconsensual” social experiment. However, according to a new study of over 777 million Facebook posts, it appears that Facebook may have a second shot at improving their reputation. The study observed users' choices in reaction to posts, type of posts, and engagement to better understand human psychology and improve the user experience. It seems to be working, as Facebook surpassed YouTube this year with 47% of people reported watching videos on Facebook versus 41% who reported watching videos on YouTube. Of those respondents, 71% ranked the sponsored video content they see on Facebook as “relevant” or “highly relevant” to their interests. With 93.7 percent of businesses reported currently active on Facebook, it looks like Facebook marketing might thrive once again this year.

Youtube

1.5 Billion Monthly Active Users

The 2018 World Series was shown on Youtube TV, which even featured some augmented reality ads. As a pioneer for video broadcasting, Youtube has picked up new users by offering Youtube TV, a cable-free, live streaming experience for users at $40/month (one of the most affordable TV subscriptions available) that offers what individuals and brands are paying TV stations to achieve at only $0.10 - $0.30 per view. In 2019, Youtube TV is projected to expand their channels to offer more sports and family networks in addition to launching Youtube TV original movies and series; an increase from its current 74 channels, 8 additional networks, and a staggering +800,000 subscribers. With more people drawn to the platform, Youtube TV will be a highly effective marketing tool in 2019.

Instagram

800 Million Monthly Active Users

Aside from companies using Instagram influencers to promote their products, the latest trend for Instagram sponsored posts is using the platform’s stories for advertising. Over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one Business Profile daily, according to Instagram Business. Out of all the sponsored content on Instagram, one in three times the content was posted on Instagram Stories, according to Mobile Marketer. In 2019, we will see an increased shift to video marketing on existing platforms without the primary purpose of video sharing, like Instagram.

Twitter

330 Million Monthly Active Users

Not just the chosen platform for our current President’s political and sometimes personal announcements, Twitter is a platform for all users to communicate and directly connect with current news and events. According to a recent study, 71% of Twitter users say that they get news on the platform. With real-time reports and posts that reach an international audience of over 330 million, Twitter remains the best social media platform to indicate the social, economic, and political stance of the world and a pulse on what's happening within it.

Snapchat

301 Million Monthly Active Users

Within the U.S., Snap Inc. has begun rolling out a feature that allows users to hold down on the screen to “scan” an item or barcode. The app will then display Amazon listings, including the name of the item, its price, an image, its review score, and whether it is Amazon Prime eligible. In 2019, this feature, if deemed successful in its early implementation, will transform the way we use Snapchat and the way we use the Internet to purchase physical items around us.

LinkedIn

200 Million Monthly Active Users

Most people don’t think of LinkedIn as a social media platform as it is tailored towards businesses and professionals, but with its teaching platform LinkedIn Learning, LinkedIn is open to anyone with an interest to learn something new. Launched in mid to late 2016, LinkedIn Learning was created to bridge content from Lynda.com with LinkedIn’s professional data and network. With new videos to watch explaining how to use the new Office 2019 to any other skill you can pick up from The Learning Blog, LinkedIn has upgraded up its reputation from a networking platform to an engaging, educational social media resource.

Pinterest

200 Million Monthly Active Users

According to a Pinterest survey, 90% of Pinterest users, called Pinners, say the site helps them decide which products to purchase. Pinners are more likely to end up on shopping sites from Pinterest referrals, rather than users from other social media sites, including Facebook (33% less), Snapchat (71% less), and Twitter (200% less). There seems to be an untapped market when it comes to brands displaying their products on Pinterest, even though 78% of Pinners say that seeing brand content on the site is useful. In 2019, we hope to see more companies use Pinterest to market their products.  

Tumblr

396 Total Blogs* with 1.1 Billion posts monthly

Tumblr users respond well to sponsored content on the platform. An advertising strategy, "Sponsored Day,” is a pretty unique experience to Tumblr. A company can pin their logo and tagline to the top of all Tumblr users’ dashboards for 24 hours. The pinned section links to the explore page, where the company has space to share content of their choosing. This strategy can help the brand’s blog gain traction, followers, and engagement. In 2019, we hope to see brands engaging more with Tumblr’s unique user base.

Ready to take your social media marketing to the next level? Drop us a note below to see how we can help transform your social media marketing.

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At Relevance Advisors, one of our core values is “Love What You Do,” so it’s no secret that we love digital marketing. On this Valentine’s Day, we’re giving you the inside scoop on what we do and why we love it. In a chocolate-covered nutshell, it’s our job to drive customers to our clients’ sites, grow their businesses, and increase their return on digital marketing investment. We strive to serve your needs and your customers’ needs while focusing on results and long-term success.

Digital Marketing: The Matchmaker of Businesses and Consumers

Think of us as the matchmakers of digital marketing. We help customers find the perfect business for their needs while businesses find the type of audience that is already in search of their product or services. Here are the top 5 ways we help companies and consumers achieve this.

Paid Search

When searching online, it’s easy to choose the first result that pops up. In many cases, the first results under the search bar are paid ads. With potential customers already searching for your products and services, we can drive traffic to your site and help these customers find you. Google Ads estimates that businesses get $8 in profit for each dollar they spend on Google Ads. We love helping you get the most value for your hard earned dollar, and we do that best in paid search marketing.

SEO

Although some paid ads display organic search results, search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way to make sure your site is found by potential customers who are looking for the specific products or services you offer. A BrightEdge study found that 51% of website traffic is from clicks in organic search results. We understand the way search engines operate and we can ensure your site is as competitive as possible when it comes to search result rankings. What’s not to love about that?

Analytics

Having ads that drive traffic to your business is one thing, but understanding the data behind search and engagement behavior can help you reach your target audience. Using Google Analytics, we can gain consumer insights like the demographics of your audience, what they’re searching for, and which pages are being visited most or least. When we use analytics to find what your potential customers love, you can understand how best to maximize your keywords and landing pages so that your campaigns can bring in the most traffic and conversions.

Paid Social

With the ever-growing number of social media users, advertising on social media platforms is one of the fastest and most effective means of contact between your company and the larger audience of the internet. According to Pew, 79% of American internet users are Facebook users. Companies like Airbnb utilize sites like Facebook for their ads to emphasize “experiences” versus a mere place to stay. Ads and sponsored posts that are tailored to your social media accounts will attract the kind of audience that loves your brand because you are able to more effectively show the value your product or service brings to consumers.

Amazon

Working in e-commerce can be difficult when you’re competing against what seems like an infinite number of online storefronts. But by utilizing Amazon’s marketing platform, we can optimize seller listings and profits by utilizing this unique algorithm (known as A9). For instance, their rules state that customers can only find your products if their search inquiry is matched to the product's keywords. Intentional marketing will help keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to online commerce and your customers will love how streamlined ordering from your company on Amazon will be.

If you love your business and want to give your company a Valentine’s Day gift that keeps on giving, reach out below and we’ll help make your digital marketing dreams come true.

At the start of the year, Google announced that it would make changes to their Ad Grants program, which has historically provided grants of up to $10,000 for non-profits to use in AdWords.

First reported by Robert Brady on Clix Marketing blog, advertisers and agencies first started to get email notifications regarding the changes during the first week of 2018.

These emails stated that the 35,000 nonprofits participating in the Google Ad Grants program would see some changes in the coming months. Notably, Google announced its intention to lift the $2 bid cap when campaigns launched by these non-profits used Maximize Conversions bid strategy.

That wasn’t the only change, though: there were several more to follow in the 2018 update.  Here’s what you need to know.

1. There’s a New 5% Minimum CTR

The largest update to Google Grants is that participating accounts must now maintain a minimum 5% CTR. That’s a major increase when you consider the minimum was 1% before these changes took effect. If an account misses the 5% minimum for two consecutive months, it will now be suspended.

2. Keyword Quality Scores Must be 3 or Higher

Thanks to the new changes, keywords used in campaigns must now have a quality score of 3 or higher. This update is meant to eliminate low-value or generic keywords or single keyword terms that don’t provide much value to users.

3. Accounts Must Now Enable Geotargeting

The Google Ad Grants update also indicates that accounts must enable geotargeting on their accounts. Geotargeting allows these ads to target certain geographic locations and has been shown to increase advertising ROI.

This change may actually prove to be a big boost for advertisers. By enabling advertisers to focus more efficiently on areas where they’re most likely to find good customers, geotargeting is a powerful tool.

4. The $2.00 Cap is Gone... Sort Of

Before these changes took effect, the $2.00 cap on CPCs in AdWords was a pillar of the system. Now, organizations that use the automated bidding strategy known as Maximize Conversions will avoid this.

Maximize conversions bidding is a form of smart bidding offered by AdWords, which automatically determines the best CPC bid, which will drive the most conversions in AdWords, while also ensuring your organization uses its budget as intelligently as possible. Before this change, the $2.00 CPC cap was a hindrance to organizations utilizing the Google Ad Grants program for their AdWords account.

5. There are New Grouping Requirements

Under the new Ad Grants update, each AdWords campaign must include at least two ad groups with two ads running at any given time. AdWords accounts must also have a minimum of two sitelink extensions.

Looking Toward the Future

While the Ad Grants program may seem like it’s coming under some large changes, these new requirements will be easy for non-profits to adapt to. As long as organizations take these changes into consideration as they design their upcoming campaigns, it’ll be easy to abide by Google’s updates and create intelligent AdWords campaigns in the future.

We have helped our clients adapt to these recent changes, improving their CTR, click volume, and ad value.  If you are interested in learning more about our Google Grant management services, please contact us today.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen some major innovations that have paved the way for exciting new opportunities in search engine optimization. The updates that we’ve seen take place recently in areas such as artificial intelligence, local marketing, and search platform offerings have made search that much more relevant and powerful, which leads us to the question: What changes can we expect to see in SEO this year? Here are some of the biggest trends to watch in 2018.

Trend #1: Stronger Presence of AMP

Yes, we witnessed Google pushing harder for its mobile-first index update in 2017, and we’re hopeful that more businesses will embrace Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project to improve user performance in 2018 as well.

Over the last few years, mobile usage has overpowered desktop usage. In fact, the total number of mobile users is likely to be around 5.07 billion by 2019.

In addition, Gary Illyes of Google explained how page speed will be an essential part of Mobile First Index. Given all this, there’s no question that AMP projects will become a standard practice for businesses rather than an exception in 2018.

Trend #2: Increasing Relevance of Schema Markup

Last year, Schema Markup became a huge hit with digital marketers and businesses, primarily due to Google’s inclination towards structured data. In fact, 2017 witnessed pages with schema markup rank above those without it, thereby boosting the SERP CTR for such pages.

A higher SERP CTR means better SERP ranking. As a matter of fact, there is a very strong correlation between organic CTR and Google ranking.

Given this, it’s no surprise why 40% small businesses use schema markup to get more organic SERP CTRs.

 

 

 

And 38.7% of these businesses update their schema markup on a monthly basis.

We’re sure Schema Markup will continue to make waves in 2018. In fact, the gradual shift towards accurate and helpful resources is forcing marketers and businesses to embrace schema markups to dominate SEO in 2018.

Trend #3: Blog Commenting Will Be the New Talk in Town

Yet another major bet for SEO in 2018 is blog commenting. After all, Blog Commenting is a brilliant way to get a link back to your website and improve your SERP rankings. And that’s not all! Google’s Gary Illyes clarified (on Twitter) that a thriving community can boost SERP rankings, in April 2016.

Google considers blog comments as a great source of user-generated content naturally boosted with long-tail keyword queries. And long-tail keywords make up for approximately 85% of total search traffic.

This is why we’re sure to see more marketers, bloggers and companies exploring the opportunity to leave meaningful and contextual comments on other websites (articles and blogs) to drive relevant, targeted traffic to their website in 2018 (and beyond).

Trend #4: Rankbrain Optimization Will Take Center Stage

In 2016, Google's Andrey Lipattsev revealed that RankBrain is the third most important ranking signal (after content and links). Since then, it has been a winner trend and it’s still here.

With Google’s machine learning algorithm - Rankbrain, the way search results are ranked has changed dramatically. Search results, including the 15% new and unique Google search queries processed each day, have become more meaningful and relevant.

As it turns out, Google’s Rankbrain is centered on delivering long-tail search queries based on their relevance to a particular topic. And topical relevance has a strong correlation with Google ranking.

 

It won’t be long before we start seeing more and more businesses focusing on RankBrain optimization in a bid to rank higher on Google SERPs in 2018 (and beyond).

Trend #5: Featured Snippets & Answer Boxes

Featured snippets were a major win for us last year, and we still expect to the ‘Big Ticket Draw’ for 2018 too. As it turns out, featured snippets can increase CTR significantly and boost conversions by 5-15%. Similarly, Google’s Answer Box can help you improve your organic click-through rates. Remember, sites that attract higher organic CTR tend to rank higher on Google SERPs.

Given this fact, it’s easy to see why optimizing your websites’ content to meet Google’s standards for Featured Snippets and Answer Boxes is so crucial. A thoughtfully crafted answer box or featured snippet will not only help you attract higher CTR and better traffic but will also help you build your site’s authority and increase conversions in 2018 (and beyond).

Now it’s Your Turn!

So there you have it – the top 5 forecasted changes in SEO for 2018. We’re hopeful that these 5 SEO trends will bring substantial positive changes in the search ecosystem in the months to come.

For many popular search queries, there are no organic listings above the fold on a mobile device. That means that if you are a company that competes in those categories, you have to buy ads on Google if you want to show up in a top position. The nature of Google’s ad buying system is that it is an auction, so there is a lot of competition for very little space.  

Examples:


Google has publicly shared that it receives over 100 billion searches per month, and more than half of those searches are from mobile devices. As smartphone penetration increases, more users are conducting more mobile searches, so attempting to reach that audience as they look to research and purchase a variety of goods and services becomes increasingly important.

What are the implications of this trend?

  1. Importance of Measurement: How much can you afford to spend on a keyword? Understanding how much you spend on clicks and how many of those clicks become a lead or a sale becomes that much more significant.  
  2. Importance of Diversification: Maybe you can’t rely on paid search or organic search exclusively for leads. Social, Display, and Email are increasingly important parts of an overall online strategy.
  3. Importance of Conversion Optimization: If we only get a limited amount of traffic, we need to make sure that we maximize the opportunity.
  4. Importance of Mobile Site Optimization: If your website isn’t easy to use on a mobile device, your competitor’s site will be and that will put you at a disadvantage. Many sites are now responsive, but that doesn’t mean they convert easily. Reduce the friction for mobile customers.
  5. Importance of Aggregator/Vertical Sites: If a user does scroll down below the fold, they’re very likely to find aggregator websites specific to a vertical (ex. Yelp for restaurants, TripAdvisor for hotels, and Realtor.com for real estate). Those represent additional optimization and paid advertising opportunities. Those will vary by industry, but given the limited amount of screen space, every pixel counts.

Conduct a Mobile Checkup

Below is a list of free ways to check your mobile health:  

  1. Google PageSpeed Tool (Free -- screenshot below) -- Determine how fast your site loads on mobile devices. Google will give you a score out of 100.
  2. Conduct a Mobile Search (Free) -- Search for your product or service (not by brand name) and see what you find. Presumably you’ll find other advertisers and vertical aggregation sites.
  3. Review Google Analytics Data (Free) -- Check your Google Analytics mobile traffic. What percentage of your site traffic comes from mobile and how does it convert?

Benjamin Rudolph is the President & CEO of Relevance Advisors. Interested in leveraging mobile search ads for your business?

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