Charles Nicholls's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy 3 Shopping Cart Promotional Tactics for the Holiday Season In 2006, a Wharton professor first noticed that online buyers were more likely to respond to a free shipping offer that resulted in a savings of $6.99 over an outright savings offer of $10. The explanation was that it made the online price more comparable with the offline equivalent.

I've been on a mission to understand online buyer behavior, and in this column I'll look at the relationship between the cart value and the shopping cart abandonment rate. What are key price points that trigger abandonment? And can different pricing tactics lead to more conversions without eroding margin? I began my research analyzing a random sample of 264,631 abandoned shopping carts in August 2011, from a cross section of B2C e-commerce sites.

What we already know is that the value of the shopping cart has a disproportionate impact on whether an e-commerce purchaser will buy or abandon. What we have discovered is that it's not a linear relationship and too simplistic to assume this as a general rule. This leads us to conclude that there are three promotional tactics that merchants should test this holiday season to improve conversions:

  1. Offer discounted shipping for low cost shopping carts.
  2. Set a $99 minimum order for free shipping.
  3. Consider specific promotions for individual products with varying abandonment rates.

1. Offer discounted shipping for low cost shopping carts. As might be expected, higher value shopping carts are abandoned more frequently, and as a broad rule, this holds true. Surprisingly though, as you can see in the chart, lower value shopping carts are abandoned often, as well.

What this means for e-commerce sites is that the abandonment rate spikes at key price points. At $100, the spike is the most significant and has the highest volume, but at $250, $400, and $500, you will most likely see similar spikes. These are great break points for offering minimum order free shipping, which will help with the low value cart/high shipping cost problem by encouraging customers to add more items to their carts to reach the free shipping minimum.

We've asked retailers that offer $99 minimum order free shipping how they arrived at that particular threshold. Their answer is that, through trial and error, $99 is the best balance between changing customer behavior and maintaining margin. This data suggests that, from a customer perspective, free shipping just below the critical $100 threshold is well worth testing.

3. Consider special promotions for individual products with varying abandonment rates. Different products get abandoned at different rates, and it's amazing to see the huge difference. For example: two items at the same online retailer both cost $199. You might not be surprised to learn that an item costing $199 is abandoned frequently, at 95 percent of the time. That means that when this item is added to the cart, the item is purchased only one in 20 times.

But figure this. On the same site at a different item, also costing $199, the item is abandoned only 32 percent of the time, and gets bought two out of every three times. While it is worth evaluating the difference between the product specifics between these two items, online retailers should consider special promotions for the item abandoned more frequently.

If both of these products at $199 are frequently abandoned, we highly recommend further examination. Start by building a spreadsheet of frequently carted items and calculate an abandonment ratio for each product. This will help you identify frequently abandoned items and opportunities for specific product promotions, as well as zero in on other opportunities to optimize the copy on the product detail page to secure the conversion.

These three techniques will help to drive conversions this holiday season. If you are able to offer site wide free shipping as part of your peak promotion package, then this will be universally popular. If you cannot, then minimum order free shipping, together with specific incentives for high abandon or lower value carts should prove a successful formula.

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Wed, 02 Nov 2011 18:47:56 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2011/11/02/3_shopping_cart_promotional_tactics_for_the_holiday_season http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2011/11/02/3_shopping_cart_promotional_tactics_for_the_holiday_season In 2006, a Wharton professor first noticed that online buyers were more likely to respond to a free shipping offer that resulted in a savings of $6.99 over an outright savings offer of $10. The explanation was that it made the online price more comparable with the offline equivalent.

I've been on a mission to understand online buyer behavior, and in this column I'll look at the relationship between the cart value and the shopping cart abandonment rate. What are key price points that trigger abandonment? And can different pricing tactics lead to more conversions without eroding margin? I began my research analyzing a random sample of 264,631 abandoned shopping carts in August 2011, from a cross section of B2C e-commerce sites.

What we already know is that the value of the shopping cart has a disproportionate impact on whether an e-commerce purchaser will buy or abandon. What we have discovered is that it's not a linear relationship and too simplistic to assume this as a general rule. This leads us to conclude that there are three promotional tactics that merchants should test this holiday season to improve conversions:

  1. Offer discounted shipping for low cost shopping carts.
  2. Set a $99 minimum order for free shipping.
  3. Consider specific promotions for individual products with varying abandonment rates.

1. Offer discounted shipping for low cost shopping carts. As might be expected, higher value shopping carts are abandoned more frequently, and as a broad rule, this holds true. Surprisingly though, as you can see in the chart, lower value shopping carts are abandoned often, as well.

What this means for e-commerce sites is that the abandonment rate spikes at key price points. At $100, the spike is the most significant and has the highest volume, but at $250, $400, and $500, you will most likely see similar spikes. These are great break points for offering minimum order free shipping, which will help with the low value cart/high shipping cost problem by encouraging customers to add more items to their carts to reach the free shipping minimum.

We've asked retailers that offer $99 minimum order free shipping how they arrived at that particular threshold. Their answer is that, through trial and error, $99 is the best balance between changing customer behavior and maintaining margin. This data suggests that, from a customer perspective, free shipping just below the critical $100 threshold is well worth testing.

3. Consider special promotions for individual products with varying abandonment rates. Different products get abandoned at different rates, and it's amazing to see the huge difference. For example: two items at the same online retailer both cost $199. You might not be surprised to learn that an item costing $199 is abandoned frequently, at 95 percent of the time. That means that when this item is added to the cart, the item is purchased only one in 20 times.

But figure this. On the same site at a different item, also costing $199, the item is abandoned only 32 percent of the time, and gets bought two out of every three times. While it is worth evaluating the difference between the product specifics between these two items, online retailers should consider special promotions for the item abandoned more frequently.

If both of these products at $199 are frequently abandoned, we highly recommend further examination. Start by building a spreadsheet of frequently carted items and calculate an abandonment ratio for each product. This will help you identify frequently abandoned items and opportunities for specific product promotions, as well as zero in on other opportunities to optimize the copy on the product detail page to secure the conversion.

These three techniques will help to drive conversions this holiday season. If you are able to offer site wide free shipping as part of your peak promotion package, then this will be universally popular. If you cannot, then minimum order free shipping, together with specific incentives for high abandon or lower value carts should prove a successful formula.

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0
Not Doing Website Usability Testing? Are You Nuts? “Not doing usability testing? Are you nuts?” said web usability expert Steve Krug at the Conversion Conference in New York last week. According to Krug, “All sites have serious usability problems. Tuning a website without fixing the problems is like painting over potholes.”

Krug is arguably the man who put website usability testing on the map with his seminal book ‘Don’t Make Me Think.’ If you haven’t read it, this is the one book on website design that everyone that has anything to do with websites should read.

Krug is an incredibly likable character. He has a self-depreciating style and dry humor that makes him an engaging and entertaining speaker. As a usability consultant for 20 years, he is naturally an advocate for testing. “My solution for everything is usability testing. Admittedly, I’m a guy with a hammer...” he says, but he is the first to acknowledge that website usability testing is not hard. His mission is to teach the skills to all ecommerce teams, because usability testing should be a continuous process, and “Who can afford to hire a usability consultant all the time?” he asks.

Usability Testing Defined

Krug defines a usability test as “watching people try to use what you create, while thinking out loud. You’re really trying to get the person to verbalize what’s going through their head.”

He’s at pains to point out that usability testing is not a focus group. Focus groups solicit opinions. Usability is about watching people try to do things. The insights come thick and fast in a usability test, when visitors struggle to complete the simplest and seemingly obvious (to the designer) website tasks.

The advantages of usability testing are that you can make a real difference in the way that visitors are able to interact with your website:

  • Moves you away from designing by personal biases
  • Creates a shared experience for the team, which helps build consensus
  • Gives you an ‘ah ha’ moment when the designers realize that their users are ‘not like us’

A/B tests give you different insights from usability tests, because A/B tests are quantifying differences. Usability tests give you qualified insights — there’s no substitute for watching and hearing users describe how they are struggling with your beautifully designed site. It helps you realize that you’ve missed the mark. Krug advises: “Make it a spectator sport for the entire web design team. The act of actually watching people trying to use your stuff makes you a better designer.”

Most websites don’t get tested in this way for two key reasons:

  • Money
  • Time

Usability testing doesn’t get done because building a website is such a painful process in the first place; it takes too long and costs too much already. There’s an understandable fear that testing will inevitably slow the process down, cost more, and find a whole host of new problems that need fixing.

And it’s true. It will.

Usability testing always produces a huge laundry list of problems. Fixing problems is no fun; it takes far less resources to find problems than fix them. Krug’s advice is to get consensus on the top five problems, not in terms of how hard they are to fix, but in terms of the impact on the site.

 

Some problems will be harder to fix than others, and some will be easy. Most web development teams will naturally want to check off the easy to fix items. Krug maintains that this is a flawed approach because of the assumption that the bigger problems will be fixed in the next redesign. “The next redesign is like the messiah; when the messiah comes, everything will be fine.” The net results are that the bigger problems often do not get fixed.

Krug’s advice is to work from the top of the list, starting with the most serious problem, irrespective of how hard it is to fix. Then focus on what’s the smallest fix that would solve the problem observed in the usability tests. This is effectively tweaking, painting over the cracks to make the site more usable without any re-architecting. “Tweaking has a bad reputation, kind of associated with duct tape,” Krug maintains, “but tweaking will fix the problem fastest, whereas a redesign will be complex, involve lots of people, and may never happen.”

It’s worth reiterating that the benefits of usability testing significantly outweigh the challenges: making your website more intuitive will have a significant impact on conversions.

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Mon, 31 Oct 2011 19:17:59 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2011/10/31/not_doing_website_usability_testing_are_you_nuts http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2011/10/31/not_doing_website_usability_testing_are_you_nuts “Not doing usability testing? Are you nuts?” said web usability expert Steve Krug at the Conversion Conference in New York last week. According to Krug, “All sites have serious usability problems. Tuning a website without fixing the problems is like painting over potholes.”

Krug is arguably the man who put website usability testing on the map with his seminal book ‘Don’t Make Me Think.’ If you haven’t read it, this is the one book on website design that everyone that has anything to do with websites should read.

Krug is an incredibly likable character. He has a self-depreciating style and dry humor that makes him an engaging and entertaining speaker. As a usability consultant for 20 years, he is naturally an advocate for testing. “My solution for everything is usability testing. Admittedly, I’m a guy with a hammer...” he says, but he is the first to acknowledge that website usability testing is not hard. His mission is to teach the skills to all ecommerce teams, because usability testing should be a continuous process, and “Who can afford to hire a usability consultant all the time?” he asks.

Usability Testing Defined

Krug defines a usability test as “watching people try to use what you create, while thinking out loud. You’re really trying to get the person to verbalize what’s going through their head.”

He’s at pains to point out that usability testing is not a focus group. Focus groups solicit opinions. Usability is about watching people try to do things. The insights come thick and fast in a usability test, when visitors struggle to complete the simplest and seemingly obvious (to the designer) website tasks.

The advantages of usability testing are that you can make a real difference in the way that visitors are able to interact with your website:

  • Moves you away from designing by personal biases
  • Creates a shared experience for the team, which helps build consensus
  • Gives you an ‘ah ha’ moment when the designers realize that their users are ‘not like us’

A/B tests give you different insights from usability tests, because A/B tests are quantifying differences. Usability tests give you qualified insights — there’s no substitute for watching and hearing users describe how they are struggling with your beautifully designed site. It helps you realize that you’ve missed the mark. Krug advises: “Make it a spectator sport for the entire web design team. The act of actually watching people trying to use your stuff makes you a better designer.”

Most websites don’t get tested in this way for two key reasons:

  • Money
  • Time

Usability testing doesn’t get done because building a website is such a painful process in the first place; it takes too long and costs too much already. There’s an understandable fear that testing will inevitably slow the process down, cost more, and find a whole host of new problems that need fixing.

And it’s true. It will.

Usability testing always produces a huge laundry list of problems. Fixing problems is no fun; it takes far less resources to find problems than fix them. Krug’s advice is to get consensus on the top five problems, not in terms of how hard they are to fix, but in terms of the impact on the site.

 

Some problems will be harder to fix than others, and some will be easy. Most web development teams will naturally want to check off the easy to fix items. Krug maintains that this is a flawed approach because of the assumption that the bigger problems will be fixed in the next redesign. “The next redesign is like the messiah; when the messiah comes, everything will be fine.” The net results are that the bigger problems often do not get fixed.

Krug’s advice is to work from the top of the list, starting with the most serious problem, irrespective of how hard it is to fix. Then focus on what’s the smallest fix that would solve the problem observed in the usability tests. This is effectively tweaking, painting over the cracks to make the site more usable without any re-architecting. “Tweaking has a bad reputation, kind of associated with duct tape,” Krug maintains, “but tweaking will fix the problem fastest, whereas a redesign will be complex, involve lots of people, and may never happen.”

It’s worth reiterating that the benefits of usability testing significantly outweigh the challenges: making your website more intuitive will have a significant impact on conversions.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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0
eBay’s X.commerce – What It Means for Merchants To a crowd of more than 3,000 merchants, developers and entrepreneurs, eBay launched X.commerce last week in San Francisco. In this blog, we’ll look specifically at what X.commerce means for ecommerce merchants.

John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay, describes X.commerce as ‘the world’s first open commerce ecosystem. It’s a full stack of tools for developers and merchants to make the new commerce a reality.’

The new commerce that Donahoe is referring to is a world where online, mobile, local and offline are merging at blistering pace. ‘We will see more change in the next 3 years in the way consumers shop and pay than we’ve seen in the previous 15 years. Offline retail hasn’t changed that much in the last 15 years. Ecommerce has been fairly distinct from the offline experience. Smartphones are blurring the lines between offline and online faster than anyone could have imagined.’

Donahoe refers to the new world as ‘not ecommerce — just commerce,’ referring to the increasing proportion of sales that are web-influenced or online — currently more than 50% of all sales.

While you may still think of eBay as an auction site, its intent to become a leader in ecommerce platforms has been clear for a while. Through a sequence of acquisitions, eBay has assembled a powerful collection of ecommerce tools. Yes, eBay is a software company now, as well as a payments company, and a marketplace.

What Exactly is X.commerce?

X.commerce is an integrated ecommerce platform that combines eBay, PayPal, Magento, Milo, WHERE, RedLaser and soon GSI into a single set of Application Programming Interfaces (API’s). It’s not one ecommerce platform, but a pre-packaged integration layer which means that all of the components are pre-integrated. So often software acquisitions are not followed through with the required integration to deliver against the promise. Not so here, and hats off to eBay for pulling this off.

What’s really cool about X.commerce is that eBay has integrated these into an environment where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. For example, having Milo as part of the same environment enables developers to easily build a ‘local’ aspect to their sites which combines stock availability based on proximity to the visitor.

The combined developer communities of eBay, PayPal and Magento exceed 850,000 developers, and there is already a blossoming Magento app store, though some developers were quick to point out that getting found in the app store is a challenge. Despite this, it is clear that there will be a thriving community of third party applications and tools already integrated with the X.commerce environment.

What It Means for Ecommerce Merchants

In practical terms, X.commerce offers significant benefits to software companies developing commerce tools, as well as to the merchants.  Here, we’re going to focus only on the benefits for merchants. I’ve broken these down into three groups:

Easy Listing on eBay (and Other Market Places?)

Both Magento and GSI have been leading ecommerce platforms before X.commerce. What this changes, however, is that it makes these platforms significantly more attractive to merchants. Pre-packaged integration with eBay means that if you build your ecommerce store on either of these platforms, then you can list on the eBay marketplace in a matter of a few mouse clicks. Select the categories or individual products, and deploy. You’re now selling on eBay.

The X.commerce team is actively looking for other marketplaces to integrate with X.commerce. However, it remains to be seen whether this will happen in practice. Don’t expect Amazon to be integrated anytime soon.

The eBay team is also at pains to pledge that they will never compete with its merchants — a clear dig at Amazon — indicating that their vision is to provide enabling technologies rather than becoming a merchant.

Third Party, Pre-integrated Solution Marketplace

X.commerce already has a vibrant library of third party solutions by virtue of the Magento App store. Given the open nature of what eBay has done, we expect that many more developers will rush to write applications for X.commerce. eBay’s philosophy at the launch event was to nurture its community of developers and encourage them to become entrepreneurs.

This is important for merchants simply because integrating third party tools into an ecommerce site wastes resources. You don’t get anything per se from the integration effort, and if you change providers, you end up with a second integration cost. Pre-packaged integration is a big deal. It enables merchants to focus resources on projects than can deliver direct ROI and gives great flexibility in switching vendors (though not the platform itself).

Integrated Payments

Later this year, PayPal revenues will probably exceed eBay marketplace revenues for the first time. A significant element in the X.commerce strategy is to make PayPal ubiquitous within the Magento and GSI platform communities. Needless to say, PayPal, in all its flavors, is an integral part of the X.commerce environment, making it an easy option (a couple of mouse clicks) for any merchant to deploy in the X.commerce environment.

While X.commerce is strategically important for eBay, it brings significant benefits to both merchants and developers. A vibrant ecommerce ecosystem designed for the new ‘commerce’ that Donahoe refers to, coupled with a refreshing openness, is a clear winning proposition. Support for X.commerce is already strong: Adobe, Omniture, Facebook and others demonstrated slick X.commerce applications as part of the launch. It looks like eBay has a winner on its hands.

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Tue, 18 Oct 2011 19:22:44 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy To a crowd of more than 3,000 merchants, developers and entrepreneurs, eBay launched X.commerce last week in San Francisco. In this blog, we’ll look specifically at what X.commerce means for ecommerce merchants.

John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay, describes X.commerce as ‘the world’s first open commerce ecosystem. It’s a full stack of tools for developers and merchants to make the new commerce a reality.’

The new commerce that Donahoe is referring to is a world where online, mobile, local and offline are merging at blistering pace. ‘We will see more change in the next 3 years in the way consumers shop and pay than we’ve seen in the previous 15 years. Offline retail hasn’t changed that much in the last 15 years. Ecommerce has been fairly distinct from the offline experience. Smartphones are blurring the lines between offline and online faster than anyone could have imagined.’

Donahoe refers to the new world as ‘not ecommerce — just commerce,’ referring to the increasing proportion of sales that are web-influenced or online — currently more than 50% of all sales.

While you may still think of eBay as an auction site, its intent to become a leader in ecommerce platforms has been clear for a while. Through a sequence of acquisitions, eBay has assembled a powerful collection of ecommerce tools. Yes, eBay is a software company now, as well as a payments company, and a marketplace.

What Exactly is X.commerce?

X.commerce is an integrated ecommerce platform that combines eBay, PayPal, Magento, Milo, WHERE, RedLaser and soon GSI into a single set of Application Programming Interfaces (API’s). It’s not one ecommerce platform, but a pre-packaged integration layer which means that all of the components are pre-integrated. So often software acquisitions are not followed through with the required integration to deliver against the promise. Not so here, and hats off to eBay for pulling this off.

What’s really cool about X.commerce is that eBay has integrated these into an environment where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. For example, having Milo as part of the same environment enables developers to easily build a ‘local’ aspect to their sites which combines stock availability based on proximity to the visitor.

The combined developer communities of eBay, PayPal and Magento exceed 850,000 developers, and there is already a blossoming Magento app store, though some developers were quick to point out that getting found in the app store is a challenge. Despite this, it is clear that there will be a thriving community of third party applications and tools already integrated with the X.commerce environment.

What It Means for Ecommerce Merchants

In practical terms, X.commerce offers significant benefits to software companies developing commerce tools, as well as to the merchants.  Here, we’re going to focus only on the benefits for merchants. I’ve broken these down into three groups:

Easy Listing on eBay (and Other Market Places?)

Both Magento and GSI have been leading ecommerce platforms before X.commerce. What this changes, however, is that it makes these platforms significantly more attractive to merchants. Pre-packaged integration with eBay means that if you build your ecommerce store on either of these platforms, then you can list on the eBay marketplace in a matter of a few mouse clicks. Select the categories or individual products, and deploy. You’re now selling on eBay.

The X.commerce team is actively looking for other marketplaces to integrate with X.commerce. However, it remains to be seen whether this will happen in practice. Don’t expect Amazon to be integrated anytime soon.

The eBay team is also at pains to pledge that they will never compete with its merchants — a clear dig at Amazon — indicating that their vision is to provide enabling technologies rather than becoming a merchant.

Third Party, Pre-integrated Solution Marketplace

X.commerce already has a vibrant library of third party solutions by virtue of the Magento App store. Given the open nature of what eBay has done, we expect that many more developers will rush to write applications for X.commerce. eBay’s philosophy at the launch event was to nurture its community of developers and encourage them to become entrepreneurs.

This is important for merchants simply because integrating third party tools into an ecommerce site wastes resources. You don’t get anything per se from the integration effort, and if you change providers, you end up with a second integration cost. Pre-packaged integration is a big deal. It enables merchants to focus resources on projects than can deliver direct ROI and gives great flexibility in switching vendors (though not the platform itself).

Integrated Payments

Later this year, PayPal revenues will probably exceed eBay marketplace revenues for the first time. A significant element in the X.commerce strategy is to make PayPal ubiquitous within the Magento and GSI platform communities. Needless to say, PayPal, in all its flavors, is an integral part of the X.commerce environment, making it an easy option (a couple of mouse clicks) for any merchant to deploy in the X.commerce environment.

While X.commerce is strategically important for eBay, it brings significant benefits to both merchants and developers. A vibrant ecommerce ecosystem designed for the new ‘commerce’ that Donahoe refers to, coupled with a refreshing openness, is a clear winning proposition. Support for X.commerce is already strong: Adobe, Omniture, Facebook and others demonstrated slick X.commerce applications as part of the launch. It looks like eBay has a winner on its hands.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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0
Landing Page Optimization Checklist: Less is More Should be the New Approach When it comes to website conversion and landing page optimization, Tim Ash advocates that less is more. The president and CEO of SiteTuners.com, Tim has worked with American Express, Sony Music, Verizon Wireless, 1-800-Flowers, and others; so he knows how to improve website conversion rates by doing less. At the recent Conversion Leaders Summit, Tim provided three key pieces of advice to follow when looking at your website:

  • Less clutter
  • Less text
  • Less information

Less clutter. Visual clutter kills conversion. In many cases, graphic designers, the people actually constructing your pages, can be your worst enemies because they try to do too much with the page. As a result, website visitors have no idea what to look at, or what to interact with, on the page.

If the call to action on your landing page is not obvious, you should radically strip down the page to increase online conversion rates. If there are a lot of bright but unnecessary visual elements competing for the visitor’s attention, you are advised to refocus on the page’s objective and declutter. What do you want the user to do? What’s the next step in the conversion process? Make it obvious to the user, because if it’s not obvious, you are losing money.

Less text. Too much text limits conversion. Landing pages frequently include a lot of text, especially if they are also being used for SEO purposes. Do you really expect people to read all of that information? Of course not. Putting an overbearing amount of information on a landing page basically guarantees that people will not read it. They won’t even begin.

The alternative—less text—can look pretty stark in comparison. Less text, however, makes the call to action much clearer. If you need text for SEO, you can still put it on the landing page; just put it at the bottom where it won’t interfere with a good user experience. People will have to scroll to read that text, but that’s okay. That text isn’t for your users; it’s for the search engines.

Less information. Asking for too much personal information also hinders conversion rate optimization. Marketers tend to ask for too much personal information too early, and they drive up the form and shopping cart abandonment rate in the process. Reverse that trend by collecting only information that is absolutely necessary to complete the specific transaction or form.

For example, you don’t need to ask for a user’s street, city, state, zip and country to let him or her download a PDF. So don’t ask for it. What information is needed for the download? Nothing. If you let users download a PDF without any sort of registration, downloads will increase significantly as a result. If you do want to follow up, however, as most website owners do, collect the minimum information you’ll need for the follow up, such as the user’s name and email address. Collect additional information later, when it’s appropriate—e.g. the mailing address when the user is ready to buy.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Tim’s presentation (by selecting View SiteTuners presentation), or view a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting View entire presentation), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

Other insights are also available from myself on website conversion and recovery of abandoned shopping carts through remarketing; Danny Dover, an SEO expert from SEOmoz.org; and Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations at Silverpop, a leading email service provider.

1 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:35:46 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/10/22/landing_page_optimization_checklist:_less_is_more_should_be_the_new_approach http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/10/22/landing_page_optimization_checklist:_less_is_more_should_be_the_new_approach When it comes to website conversion and landing page optimization, Tim Ash advocates that less is more. The president and CEO of SiteTuners.com, Tim has worked with American Express, Sony Music, Verizon Wireless, 1-800-Flowers, and others; so he knows how to improve website conversion rates by doing less. At the recent Conversion Leaders Summit, Tim provided three key pieces of advice to follow when looking at your website:

  • Less clutter
  • Less text
  • Less information

Less clutter. Visual clutter kills conversion. In many cases, graphic designers, the people actually constructing your pages, can be your worst enemies because they try to do too much with the page. As a result, website visitors have no idea what to look at, or what to interact with, on the page.

If the call to action on your landing page is not obvious, you should radically strip down the page to increase online conversion rates. If there are a lot of bright but unnecessary visual elements competing for the visitor’s attention, you are advised to refocus on the page’s objective and declutter. What do you want the user to do? What’s the next step in the conversion process? Make it obvious to the user, because if it’s not obvious, you are losing money.

Less text. Too much text limits conversion. Landing pages frequently include a lot of text, especially if they are also being used for SEO purposes. Do you really expect people to read all of that information? Of course not. Putting an overbearing amount of information on a landing page basically guarantees that people will not read it. They won’t even begin.

The alternative—less text—can look pretty stark in comparison. Less text, however, makes the call to action much clearer. If you need text for SEO, you can still put it on the landing page; just put it at the bottom where it won’t interfere with a good user experience. People will have to scroll to read that text, but that’s okay. That text isn’t for your users; it’s for the search engines.

Less information. Asking for too much personal information also hinders conversion rate optimization. Marketers tend to ask for too much personal information too early, and they drive up the form and shopping cart abandonment rate in the process. Reverse that trend by collecting only information that is absolutely necessary to complete the specific transaction or form.

For example, you don’t need to ask for a user’s street, city, state, zip and country to let him or her download a PDF. So don’t ask for it. What information is needed for the download? Nothing. If you let users download a PDF without any sort of registration, downloads will increase significantly as a result. If you do want to follow up, however, as most website owners do, collect the minimum information you’ll need for the follow up, such as the user’s name and email address. Collect additional information later, when it’s appropriate—e.g. the mailing address when the user is ready to buy.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Tim’s presentation (by selecting View SiteTuners presentation), or view a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting View entire presentation), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

Other insights are also available from myself on website conversion and recovery of abandoned shopping carts through remarketing; Danny Dover, an SEO expert from SEOmoz.org; and Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations at Silverpop, a leading email service provider.

1 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Top Three Facebook Social Plugins for eCommerce Facebook is the next Google.

By that I don’t mean that Facebook is going to release a search engine, but that it will become a more important source of traffic than Google for many brands. Not sure? Check out these truly amazing statistics about Facebook: 10 Eye-popping Facts About Facebook.

Still not convinced?

According to Hitwise, since the middle of March, Facebook overtook Google in terms of traffic. In parallel with this meteoric rise, Facebook released a new set of tools for marketers to use to optimize their websites for Facebook traffic.

Move over SEO

Facebook Social Plugins are the marketers ‘Facebook Engine Optimization’ tool kit, which can be easily deployed to drive deeper engagement on websites using Facebook Recommendations, Logins and Likes.

Of these, Facebook Like is undoubtedly high impact –one billion Likes were served in 24 hours following its launch. With Like, Facebook is effectively building an alternative index to the web which is already beginning to give Google a run for its money. As Facebook Like is deployed ever more widely around the web, Facebook’s index of the web, based on Facebook users’ Likes will grow in importance.

Facebook is highlighting some case studies with spectacular increases in referral traffic using Social Plugins:

But while many marketers have understood that Facebook Like is both important and easy to implement, there is only nascent understanding of the broader impact of these Social Plugins.

So here’s my attempt to accelerate that process.

These are the top three Facebook Social Plugins in importance for ecommerce:

  • Facebook Like

The Like button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click. Implementing it on your product detail pages allows your visitors to tag the page with a Like which then shows up on their wall. Depending on how you implement it, they can leave a short comment as well. Since this is at the heart of Facebook’s index, this is really important. If you don’t yet have Facebook Like implemented on your product detail pages, this should be a priority. At its simplest level, it’s just one line of HTML, and just like you optimize keywords for SEO, you need to let visitors Like your key pages.

  • Facebook Recommendations

The Recommendations plugin gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site they might like. What’s amazing is that you can test it out for your site here. Simply enter in your sites web address, and click in the grey panel somewhere (not the Get Code button) and it will show you the recommendations Facebook has already for your site. This works even if you haven’t yet implemented Facebook Like based on what your Fans are saying about you on Facebook and other social media such as Twitter (but all from a Facebook perspective).

Target has not implemented Like or any of the other Facebook Social Plugins (yet), but note how there are already some high quality recommendations, based on fans sharing. Also note how the top recommendation links to hot content, and specifically a product detail page with an ‘add to cart button’ inviting purchase.

  • Facebook Login

The Login Button shows profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site in addition to a login button. Facebook Login replaces Facebook Connect, which now has over 100 million Facebook users logging in to other websites. While ecommerce websites have not been early adopters of Login, there is such a good fit that it is inevitable that Facebook Login will be everywhere in ecommerce within a year. Here’s why: 200% more site visitors will log in to their Facebook account on an ecommerce site than create an account. That means three times the number of visitors on your site that are now identified. And when an identified customer doesn’t buy, you can remarket to them, based on what they browsed, looked at in detail and abandoned.

Resources

If you’d like to learn more about Facebook’s Social Plugins, then I can recommend then following:

1 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Thu, 21 Oct 2010 15:31:04 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/10/21/top_three_facebook_social_plugins_for_ecommerce http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/10/21/top_three_facebook_social_plugins_for_ecommerce Facebook is the next Google.

By that I don’t mean that Facebook is going to release a search engine, but that it will become a more important source of traffic than Google for many brands. Not sure? Check out these truly amazing statistics about Facebook: 10 Eye-popping Facts About Facebook.

Still not convinced?

According to Hitwise, since the middle of March, Facebook overtook Google in terms of traffic. In parallel with this meteoric rise, Facebook released a new set of tools for marketers to use to optimize their websites for Facebook traffic.

Move over SEO

Facebook Social Plugins are the marketers ‘Facebook Engine Optimization’ tool kit, which can be easily deployed to drive deeper engagement on websites using Facebook Recommendations, Logins and Likes.

Of these, Facebook Like is undoubtedly high impact –one billion Likes were served in 24 hours following its launch. With Like, Facebook is effectively building an alternative index to the web which is already beginning to give Google a run for its money. As Facebook Like is deployed ever more widely around the web, Facebook’s index of the web, based on Facebook users’ Likes will grow in importance.

Facebook is highlighting some case studies with spectacular increases in referral traffic using Social Plugins:

But while many marketers have understood that Facebook Like is both important and easy to implement, there is only nascent understanding of the broader impact of these Social Plugins.

So here’s my attempt to accelerate that process.

These are the top three Facebook Social Plugins in importance for ecommerce:

  • Facebook Like

The Like button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click. Implementing it on your product detail pages allows your visitors to tag the page with a Like which then shows up on their wall. Depending on how you implement it, they can leave a short comment as well. Since this is at the heart of Facebook’s index, this is really important. If you don’t yet have Facebook Like implemented on your product detail pages, this should be a priority. At its simplest level, it’s just one line of HTML, and just like you optimize keywords for SEO, you need to let visitors Like your key pages.

  • Facebook Recommendations

The Recommendations plugin gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site they might like. What’s amazing is that you can test it out for your site here. Simply enter in your sites web address, and click in the grey panel somewhere (not the Get Code button) and it will show you the recommendations Facebook has already for your site. This works even if you haven’t yet implemented Facebook Like based on what your Fans are saying about you on Facebook and other social media such as Twitter (but all from a Facebook perspective).

Target has not implemented Like or any of the other Facebook Social Plugins (yet), but note how there are already some high quality recommendations, based on fans sharing. Also note how the top recommendation links to hot content, and specifically a product detail page with an ‘add to cart button’ inviting purchase.

  • Facebook Login

The Login Button shows profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site in addition to a login button. Facebook Login replaces Facebook Connect, which now has over 100 million Facebook users logging in to other websites. While ecommerce websites have not been early adopters of Login, there is such a good fit that it is inevitable that Facebook Login will be everywhere in ecommerce within a year. Here’s why: 200% more site visitors will log in to their Facebook account on an ecommerce site than create an account. That means three times the number of visitors on your site that are now identified. And when an identified customer doesn’t buy, you can remarket to them, based on what they browsed, looked at in detail and abandoned.

Resources

If you’d like to learn more about Facebook’s Social Plugins, then I can recommend then following:

1 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Tactics to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment This Holiday Season So what can you do, during the crazy holiday season, to reduce shopping cart abandonment? We thought we’d put together a holiday season checklist to help you keep your customers in the shopping cart this Christmas.

Before thinking about solutions to your shopping cart abandonment problem, it’s useful to look at the reasons why customers abandon. Based on this Forrester study, you can group the top five reasons into:

  • Price, especially shipping and handling, and shopping around for a deal
  • Not ready to buy

But what all the research tends to miss are the emotional reasons for abandoning a shopping cart. In particular, confidence in the brand, service and, if your site is not a global brand, the basic worry of doing business online with an unfamiliar brand.

Holiday Season Shopping Cart Abandonment Checklist

Hopefully you’ve been working on most of these items for months, but if not, it’s not too late to implement many of these this year:

1. Drive down shipping and handling costs

The number one reason why customers abandon shopping carts is the cost of shipping and handling. While you may have seasonal free shipping promotions planned, these are tactical and it is difficult to offer free shipping more broadly. But driving down your shipping costs to rock bottom should be a priority at this time of year. This should have a measurable impact on your conversion rates.

2. Minimum order free shipping

If you can’t offer free shipping, offer free shipping above a minimum order value. This should increase your average order value. Display prominently the minimums required for free shipping. Tell customers how much more they need to spend to get free shipping.

3. Give them valid voucher codes

We know customers are looking for deals at this time of year, and it is important to recognize this behavior. Ecommerce sites that provide a list of valid voucher codes on their website have found that they reduce both affiliate fees as well as increase conversions. For example, Macy’s gets a 40 percent conversion on visitors to its voucher pages. An additional tactic to consider is to move the coupon code box down the checkout process to make it a bit harder to shop for voucher codes. If customers still abandon with invalid voucher codes, then trigger a real-time email with a valid voucher code.

4. ‘Email me this’ button on product detail pages

In the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we know that customers change their behavior in anticipation of holiday promotions. The shopping cart abandonment rate changes dramatically as customers move into a research mode, waiting for the promotion to be rolled out. There’s been a trend toward using shopping carts as ‘shopping list reminders,’ so a permanent shopping cart is a great bonus which enables customers to store their potential purchases. But putting in a permanent shopping cart is not a 10 minute job, so an alternate that you can still get in this year is the ‘email me this’ button on the product detail page. Sending the customer an email with an item they were viewing is a great way to provide a reminder that they can keep in their in box together with an easy link back to the page. This is a very simple remarketing technique that works very well and isn’t hard to do. It also has the benefit of capturing email addresses.

5. Promote your phone number

Particularly if your site is not a well recognized brand, promoting your telephone number is important in converting those nervous about doing business with you online. The customer may have questions or just need to believe that there is a real business and a real person behind the website. If you’re a well known brand, you should be doing this already; in many cases, simply by offering a phone number, you can recover about five percent of sales that would otherwise be lost.

6. Build trust with social media engagement

Last year, most retailers made extensive use of social media to promote holiday season special offers. But social media should not be just about promotions. If your brand is less well known, engaging potential customers in dialogue about your company, products and services will build trust at a critical time. Remember that shopping is more about emotion and less about rational decisions to many shoppers. Positive emotions about potential purchases are countered by negative emotions about potential post-purchase dissatisfaction. There is no substitute for a direct conversation with the customer to reassure him/her that you are a company with great service.

7. Send remarketing emails

Customers that abandon their shopping carts are customers that almost purchased. One of the most effective techniques to reducing shopping cart abandonment is to trigger recovery emails to abandoners. Most ecommerce companies that send shopping cart recovery emails recover between 10 and 30 percent, and that translates into a significant return. If you want to calculate your potential return this holiday season, you can use this revenue recovery calculator.

In the run up to Black Friday, record numbers of customers will abandon. These customers are telling you what products they are interested in. This is valuable data, and used in your remarketing emails, it will make them incredibly relevant—resulting in very high open rates. Many customers are using shopping carts as wish lists, particularly during the holiday season; so even if your remarketing email doesn’t trigger an immediate purchase, there’s a strong likelihood that the email will be kept in their inbox and opened several times to use the short-cut link back to their shopping cart wish list.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas about reducing shopping cart abandonment this holiday season. Let us know how you fare!

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Thu, 07 Oct 2010 18:32:52 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/10/07/tactics_to_reduce_shopping_cart_abandonment_this_holiday_season http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/10/07/tactics_to_reduce_shopping_cart_abandonment_this_holiday_season So what can you do, during the crazy holiday season, to reduce shopping cart abandonment? We thought we’d put together a holiday season checklist to help you keep your customers in the shopping cart this Christmas.

Before thinking about solutions to your shopping cart abandonment problem, it’s useful to look at the reasons why customers abandon. Based on this Forrester study, you can group the top five reasons into:

  • Price, especially shipping and handling, and shopping around for a deal
  • Not ready to buy

But what all the research tends to miss are the emotional reasons for abandoning a shopping cart. In particular, confidence in the brand, service and, if your site is not a global brand, the basic worry of doing business online with an unfamiliar brand.

Holiday Season Shopping Cart Abandonment Checklist

Hopefully you’ve been working on most of these items for months, but if not, it’s not too late to implement many of these this year:

1. Drive down shipping and handling costs

The number one reason why customers abandon shopping carts is the cost of shipping and handling. While you may have seasonal free shipping promotions planned, these are tactical and it is difficult to offer free shipping more broadly. But driving down your shipping costs to rock bottom should be a priority at this time of year. This should have a measurable impact on your conversion rates.

2. Minimum order free shipping

If you can’t offer free shipping, offer free shipping above a minimum order value. This should increase your average order value. Display prominently the minimums required for free shipping. Tell customers how much more they need to spend to get free shipping.

3. Give them valid voucher codes

We know customers are looking for deals at this time of year, and it is important to recognize this behavior. Ecommerce sites that provide a list of valid voucher codes on their website have found that they reduce both affiliate fees as well as increase conversions. For example, Macy’s gets a 40 percent conversion on visitors to its voucher pages. An additional tactic to consider is to move the coupon code box down the checkout process to make it a bit harder to shop for voucher codes. If customers still abandon with invalid voucher codes, then trigger a real-time email with a valid voucher code.

4. ‘Email me this’ button on product detail pages

In the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we know that customers change their behavior in anticipation of holiday promotions. The shopping cart abandonment rate changes dramatically as customers move into a research mode, waiting for the promotion to be rolled out. There’s been a trend toward using shopping carts as ‘shopping list reminders,’ so a permanent shopping cart is a great bonus which enables customers to store their potential purchases. But putting in a permanent shopping cart is not a 10 minute job, so an alternate that you can still get in this year is the ‘email me this’ button on the product detail page. Sending the customer an email with an item they were viewing is a great way to provide a reminder that they can keep in their in box together with an easy link back to the page. This is a very simple remarketing technique that works very well and isn’t hard to do. It also has the benefit of capturing email addresses.

5. Promote your phone number

Particularly if your site is not a well recognized brand, promoting your telephone number is important in converting those nervous about doing business with you online. The customer may have questions or just need to believe that there is a real business and a real person behind the website. If you’re a well known brand, you should be doing this already; in many cases, simply by offering a phone number, you can recover about five percent of sales that would otherwise be lost.

6. Build trust with social media engagement

Last year, most retailers made extensive use of social media to promote holiday season special offers. But social media should not be just about promotions. If your brand is less well known, engaging potential customers in dialogue about your company, products and services will build trust at a critical time. Remember that shopping is more about emotion and less about rational decisions to many shoppers. Positive emotions about potential purchases are countered by negative emotions about potential post-purchase dissatisfaction. There is no substitute for a direct conversation with the customer to reassure him/her that you are a company with great service.

7. Send remarketing emails

Customers that abandon their shopping carts are customers that almost purchased. One of the most effective techniques to reducing shopping cart abandonment is to trigger recovery emails to abandoners. Most ecommerce companies that send shopping cart recovery emails recover between 10 and 30 percent, and that translates into a significant return. If you want to calculate your potential return this holiday season, you can use this revenue recovery calculator.

In the run up to Black Friday, record numbers of customers will abandon. These customers are telling you what products they are interested in. This is valuable data, and used in your remarketing emails, it will make them incredibly relevant—resulting in very high open rates. Many customers are using shopping carts as wish lists, particularly during the holiday season; so even if your remarketing email doesn’t trigger an immediate purchase, there’s a strong likelihood that the email will be kept in their inbox and opened several times to use the short-cut link back to their shopping cart wish list.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas about reducing shopping cart abandonment this holiday season. Let us know how you fare!

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Website Conversion Priorities for eMarketers in the Next 12 Months On July 27, SeeWhy conducted an online poll among 221 eMarketers. The results reveal some potential shifts in focus over the next 12 months: shopping cart recovery, reducing landing page clutter, link building, and transactional email all emerge as top priorities.

The poll also looked in detail at four key areas of conversion to determine their priorities. The four areas examined were as follows:

  • SEO
  • Landing page optimization
  • Email marketing
  • Web conversion/shopping cart recovery techniques

Each respondent was allowed to pick only one response in each category, forcing them to choose their top priority.

SEO Priorities

Marketers plan to focus on link building as their top priority in the next 12 months, with 42 percent stating that it is their top SEO focus. Changes to website pages to ensure they are more SEO friendly were the highest priority for 22 percent, while 21 percent plan to focus on social media integration. Site-based optimization (such as sitemaps and navigation) was the main focus for only 15 percent. There are two notable conclusions that you draw about these findings:

1)      Marketers have taken on board the changes made over recent months by Google to prioritize quality and diversity of links in search results over the content itself.

2)      Social media integration is unexpectedly high. While social media is hot for marketers, in SEO terms this is really cutting edge stuff, and it signals that marketers have recognized the importance of social media in driving traffic. In particular, Facebook’s social plugins, including the easy to implement ‘Like’ button, are beginning to be viewed as a simple ‘social SEO toolkit.’

Website and Landing Page Optimization

Marketers are taking the ‘less is more’ philosophy to heart when it comes to landing page optimization. Just over half (51 percent) stated that reducing clutter was their top priority, recognizing that landing pages have been added to gradually over time at the expense of simplicity and simple, strong calls to action.

Twenty-eight percent of marketers plan to re-evaluate their text on the page with a view to increasing website conversion rates, while only seventeen percent are prioritizing removing fields from data capture forms. This is surprising as experts repeatedly emphasize the importance of having only the necessary fields on forms to increase online conversion rates.

Email Marketing Priorities

One third of email marketers plan to prioritize post purchase email marketing (such as reviews and satisfaction surveys); while another third plan to focus on pre-transactional email (e.g. abandonment remarketing including ‘browse-but-no-purchase’ and shopping cart abandonment) in the next 12 months. Twenty-two percent plan to focus on relationship building through email marketing, such as loyalty schemes and vouchers.

What’s notable from these findings is the rapid growth in transactional email, whether from a successful or an abandoned transaction. As integration between ecommerce systems and email engines has become much more pre-packaged—with the widespread availability of transactional interfaces for email—marketers are (finally) able to fulfill a long time desire to use website behavioral data to trigger targeted email marketing that is highly relevant and personal to the recipient.

Website Conversion / Shopping Cart Recovery Techniques

Organizations know that their hottest leads are with website visitors who have abandoned shopping carts, and 55 percent of marketers plan to make shopping cart recovery their top website conversion priority in the next 12 months. Marketers also recognize that price promotions are increasingly critical in the battle for online sales, particularly in the holiday season, and 19 percent intend to focus on onsite voucher pages where customers can view all active promotions. These pages are effective in driving conversions and also reduce affiliate fees to price comparison engines and promotion code websites.

A further 19 percent are prioritizing incentivized signups to capture email addresses and social network ID’s to enable the build of opt-in lists for email and social marketing.

These results, individually and collectively, illustrate the growing awareness among eMarketers that having a website in isolation is no longer sufficient. In order to achieve conversion rate optimization, organic SEO results—predominately through link building—have been proven to be more effective than PPC and sponsored links, which consumers have grown wary of. Many websites built a few years ago have been added to incrementally and now require simplification in order to ensure the calls to action are more prominent. Marketers also plan to use email marketing for more than batch-based, campaign-related emails; they intend to utilize this to build relationships with customers and potential purchasers. Finally, organizations have identified that they are losing a substantial percentage of leads as they have a high form and shopping cart abandonment rate. They are thus looking for online marketing tools that can help them recapture these hot leads through remarketing.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license, or link to bit.ly/aMuxju.

 

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Thu, 23 Sep 2010 13:07:14 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/23/website_conversion_priorities_for_emarketers_in_the_next_12_months http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/23/website_conversion_priorities_for_emarketers_in_the_next_12_months On July 27, SeeWhy conducted an online poll among 221 eMarketers. The results reveal some potential shifts in focus over the next 12 months: shopping cart recovery, reducing landing page clutter, link building, and transactional email all emerge as top priorities.

The poll also looked in detail at four key areas of conversion to determine their priorities. The four areas examined were as follows:

  • SEO
  • Landing page optimization
  • Email marketing
  • Web conversion/shopping cart recovery techniques

Each respondent was allowed to pick only one response in each category, forcing them to choose their top priority.

SEO Priorities

Marketers plan to focus on link building as their top priority in the next 12 months, with 42 percent stating that it is their top SEO focus. Changes to website pages to ensure they are more SEO friendly were the highest priority for 22 percent, while 21 percent plan to focus on social media integration. Site-based optimization (such as sitemaps and navigation) was the main focus for only 15 percent. There are two notable conclusions that you draw about these findings:

1)      Marketers have taken on board the changes made over recent months by Google to prioritize quality and diversity of links in search results over the content itself.

2)      Social media integration is unexpectedly high. While social media is hot for marketers, in SEO terms this is really cutting edge stuff, and it signals that marketers have recognized the importance of social media in driving traffic. In particular, Facebook’s social plugins, including the easy to implement ‘Like’ button, are beginning to be viewed as a simple ‘social SEO toolkit.’

Website and Landing Page Optimization

Marketers are taking the ‘less is more’ philosophy to heart when it comes to landing page optimization. Just over half (51 percent) stated that reducing clutter was their top priority, recognizing that landing pages have been added to gradually over time at the expense of simplicity and simple, strong calls to action.

Twenty-eight percent of marketers plan to re-evaluate their text on the page with a view to increasing website conversion rates, while only seventeen percent are prioritizing removing fields from data capture forms. This is surprising as experts repeatedly emphasize the importance of having only the necessary fields on forms to increase online conversion rates.

Email Marketing Priorities

One third of email marketers plan to prioritize post purchase email marketing (such as reviews and satisfaction surveys); while another third plan to focus on pre-transactional email (e.g. abandonment remarketing including ‘browse-but-no-purchase’ and shopping cart abandonment) in the next 12 months. Twenty-two percent plan to focus on relationship building through email marketing, such as loyalty schemes and vouchers.

What’s notable from these findings is the rapid growth in transactional email, whether from a successful or an abandoned transaction. As integration between ecommerce systems and email engines has become much more pre-packaged—with the widespread availability of transactional interfaces for email—marketers are (finally) able to fulfill a long time desire to use website behavioral data to trigger targeted email marketing that is highly relevant and personal to the recipient.

Website Conversion / Shopping Cart Recovery Techniques

Organizations know that their hottest leads are with website visitors who have abandoned shopping carts, and 55 percent of marketers plan to make shopping cart recovery their top website conversion priority in the next 12 months. Marketers also recognize that price promotions are increasingly critical in the battle for online sales, particularly in the holiday season, and 19 percent intend to focus on onsite voucher pages where customers can view all active promotions. These pages are effective in driving conversions and also reduce affiliate fees to price comparison engines and promotion code websites.

A further 19 percent are prioritizing incentivized signups to capture email addresses and social network ID’s to enable the build of opt-in lists for email and social marketing.

These results, individually and collectively, illustrate the growing awareness among eMarketers that having a website in isolation is no longer sufficient. In order to achieve conversion rate optimization, organic SEO results—predominately through link building—have been proven to be more effective than PPC and sponsored links, which consumers have grown wary of. Many websites built a few years ago have been added to incrementally and now require simplification in order to ensure the calls to action are more prominent. Marketers also plan to use email marketing for more than batch-based, campaign-related emails; they intend to utilize this to build relationships with customers and potential purchasers. Finally, organizations have identified that they are losing a substantial percentage of leads as they have a high form and shopping cart abandonment rate. They are thus looking for online marketing tools that can help them recapture these hot leads through remarketing.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license, or link to bit.ly/aMuxju.

 

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Landing Page Optimization Checklist: Less is More Should be the New Approach When it comes to website conversion and landing page optimization, Tim Ash advocates that less is more. The president and CEO of SiteTuners.com, Tim has worked with American Express, Sony Music, Verizon Wireless, 1-800-Flowers, and others; so he knows how to improve website conversion rates by doing less. At the recent Conversion Leaders Summit, Tim provided three key pieces of advice to follow when looking at your website:

  • Less clutter
  • Less text
  • Less information

Less clutter. Visual clutter kills conversion. In many cases, graphic designers, the people actually constructing your pages, can be your worst enemies because they try to do too much with the page. As a result, website visitors have no idea what to look at, or what to interact with, on the page.

If the call to action on your landing page is not obvious, you should radically strip down the page to increase online conversion rates. If there are a lot of bright but unnecessary visual elements competing for the visitor’s attention, you are advised to refocus on the page’s objective and declutter. What do you want the user to do? What’s the next step in the conversion process? Make it obvious to the user, because if it’s not obvious, you are losing money.

Less text.  Too much text limits conversion. Landing pages frequently include a lot of text, especially if they are also being used for SEO purposes. Do you really expect people to read all of that information? Of course not. Putting an overbearing amount of information on a landing page basically guarantees that people will not read it. They won’t even begin.

The alternative—less text—can look pretty stark in comparison. Less text, however, makes the call to action much clearer. If you need text for SEO, you can still put it on the landing page; just put it at the bottom where it won’t interfere with a good user experience. People will have to scroll to read that text, but that’s okay. That text isn’t for your users; it’s for the search engines.

Less information. Asking for too much personal information also hinders conversion rate optimization. Marketers tend to ask for too much personal information too early, and they drive up the form and shopping cart abandonment rate in the process. Reverse that trend by collecting only information that is absolutely necessary to complete the specific transaction or form.

For example, you don’t need to ask for a user’s street, city, state, zip and country to let him or her download a PDF. So don’t ask for it. What information is needed for the download? Nothing. If you let users download a PDF without any sort of registration, downloads will increase significantly as a result. If you do want to follow up, however, as most website owners do, collect the minimum information you’ll need for the follow up, such as the user’s name and email address. Collect additional information later, when it’s appropriate—e.g. the mailing address when the user is ready to buy.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Tim’s presentation (by selecting View SiteTuners presentation), or view a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting View entire presentation), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

Other insights are also available from myself on website conversion and recovery of abandoned shopping carts through remarketing; Danny Dover, an SEO expert from SEOmoz.org; and Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations at Silverpop, a leading email service provider.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license, or link to bit.ly/duQnTP.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Tue, 21 Sep 2010 12:10:57 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/21/landing_page_optimization_checklist:_less_is_more_should_be_the_new_approach http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/21/landing_page_optimization_checklist:_less_is_more_should_be_the_new_approach When it comes to website conversion and landing page optimization, Tim Ash advocates that less is more. The president and CEO of SiteTuners.com, Tim has worked with American Express, Sony Music, Verizon Wireless, 1-800-Flowers, and others; so he knows how to improve website conversion rates by doing less. At the recent Conversion Leaders Summit, Tim provided three key pieces of advice to follow when looking at your website:

  • Less clutter
  • Less text
  • Less information

Less clutter. Visual clutter kills conversion. In many cases, graphic designers, the people actually constructing your pages, can be your worst enemies because they try to do too much with the page. As a result, website visitors have no idea what to look at, or what to interact with, on the page.

If the call to action on your landing page is not obvious, you should radically strip down the page to increase online conversion rates. If there are a lot of bright but unnecessary visual elements competing for the visitor’s attention, you are advised to refocus on the page’s objective and declutter. What do you want the user to do? What’s the next step in the conversion process? Make it obvious to the user, because if it’s not obvious, you are losing money.

Less text.  Too much text limits conversion. Landing pages frequently include a lot of text, especially if they are also being used for SEO purposes. Do you really expect people to read all of that information? Of course not. Putting an overbearing amount of information on a landing page basically guarantees that people will not read it. They won’t even begin.

The alternative—less text—can look pretty stark in comparison. Less text, however, makes the call to action much clearer. If you need text for SEO, you can still put it on the landing page; just put it at the bottom where it won’t interfere with a good user experience. People will have to scroll to read that text, but that’s okay. That text isn’t for your users; it’s for the search engines.

Less information. Asking for too much personal information also hinders conversion rate optimization. Marketers tend to ask for too much personal information too early, and they drive up the form and shopping cart abandonment rate in the process. Reverse that trend by collecting only information that is absolutely necessary to complete the specific transaction or form.

For example, you don’t need to ask for a user’s street, city, state, zip and country to let him or her download a PDF. So don’t ask for it. What information is needed for the download? Nothing. If you let users download a PDF without any sort of registration, downloads will increase significantly as a result. If you do want to follow up, however, as most website owners do, collect the minimum information you’ll need for the follow up, such as the user’s name and email address. Collect additional information later, when it’s appropriate—e.g. the mailing address when the user is ready to buy.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Tim’s presentation (by selecting View SiteTuners presentation), or view a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting View entire presentation), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

Other insights are also available from myself on website conversion and recovery of abandoned shopping carts through remarketing; Danny Dover, an SEO expert from SEOmoz.org; and Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations at Silverpop, a leading email service provider.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license, or link to bit.ly/duQnTP.

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Transactional Email Checklist: Extending Transactional Email Beyond the Purchase We’re used to getting transaction confirmation emails like those sent by Amazon. Recently, Loren McDonald advised attendees of a Conversion Academy webinar to extend beyond the purchase to include pre-purchase, post-purchase and relationship touch points. The result? More opportunities to engage prospects and customers, something Loren’s seen firsthand as the vice president of Industry Relations at Silverpop, a leading email service provider. Here are some of the key pointers he gave in his presentation and a check list of what to do in order to extend the transactional email activity you currently carry out.

Transactional emails are automated and trigger-based, driven directly by user behavior, profile or demographics. Depending on how aggressively you adopt it, the extended scope might include transactional emails related to:

  • Pre-transaction emails: browse abandonment and cart abandonment
  • Purchase event emails: order confirmation, order status, shipping notice, shipping confirmation, trip preparation
  • Post-purchase emails: satisfaction survey, review request, review notification, recommendation, replenishment, repurchase, upgrades
  • Relationship emails: bounce back, account reminder, loyalty programs, account status, purchase anniversary

For example, a post-purchase email could notify customers of stock shortages, reminding a customer who bought an item in the past that you’re about to sell out of it. This kind of transactional email not only generates revenue but actually enhances the relationship with, and adds value for, that customer.

Another post-purchase email might 1) thank the customer for posting a product review and/or 2) include product recommendations based on previous purchases. While this level of sophistication might seem difficult to achieve, most ecommerce sites are already using the web analytics, reviews and recommendation engines needed to do these transactional emails. The sites simply need to leverage their existing technologies, using established APIs and dynamic content, to generate the new emails.

Purchase review emails can actually lead to significant incremental revenue. One Silverpop client reports that 14 percent of the people that click on the “review” link actually make another purchase. For that client, purchase reviews hold the second highest conversion rate next to their abandoned cart program. Follow-up, review notification transactional emails—thanking the customer for the review and offering a discount or other incentive on the next purchase—encourage 12 percent of the people who click on them to make another purchase.

 

When it comes to this new breed of transactional email, the keys to success include the following checklist of items:

  1. 1.  Leverage existing technology. As mentioned above, this technology already powers your website, so it can also be tied into these new transactional email opportunities.
  2. 2.  Time the emails appropriately. For instance, you might wait a month to email a review request to a book customer but only wait a week to send it to a toner cartridge customer.
  3. Design for all devices. In particular, make sure your emails work in a mobile setting, in preview panes, with image blocking on, etc.
  4. Create compelling content. Beyond making recommendations, superior content leverages customers’ non-purchase behavior, uses the right tone and makes compelling offers.
  5. Test, test, test. Test everything, from timing to layout to offers, copy style, and the level of personalization.

In any case, these automated, trigger-based transactional emails can supplement more traditional, broadcast email campaigns to increase online conversion rates and revenue, which is what we really care about.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Loren’s presentation (by selecting View Silverpop presentation), or view a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting View entire presentation), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

Other insights are also available from myself on website conversion and shopping cart abandonment rates; Danny Dover, an SEO expert from SEOmoz.org; and Tim Ash, president and CEO of SiteTuners, a thought leader in website conversion and landing page optimization.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license, or link to bit.ly/8WZoOq.

 

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Mon, 20 Sep 2010 17:36:47 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/20/transactional_email_checklist:_extending_transactional_email_beyond_the_purchase http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/20/transactional_email_checklist:_extending_transactional_email_beyond_the_purchase We’re used to getting transaction confirmation emails like those sent by Amazon. Recently, Loren McDonald advised attendees of a Conversion Academy webinar to extend beyond the purchase to include pre-purchase, post-purchase and relationship touch points. The result? More opportunities to engage prospects and customers, something Loren’s seen firsthand as the vice president of Industry Relations at Silverpop, a leading email service provider. Here are some of the key pointers he gave in his presentation and a check list of what to do in order to extend the transactional email activity you currently carry out.

Transactional emails are automated and trigger-based, driven directly by user behavior, profile or demographics. Depending on how aggressively you adopt it, the extended scope might include transactional emails related to:

  • Pre-transaction emails: browse abandonment and cart abandonment
  • Purchase event emails: order confirmation, order status, shipping notice, shipping confirmation, trip preparation
  • Post-purchase emails: satisfaction survey, review request, review notification, recommendation, replenishment, repurchase, upgrades
  • Relationship emails: bounce back, account reminder, loyalty programs, account status, purchase anniversary

For example, a post-purchase email could notify customers of stock shortages, reminding a customer who bought an item in the past that you’re about to sell out of it. This kind of transactional email not only generates revenue but actually enhances the relationship with, and adds value for, that customer.

Another post-purchase email might 1) thank the customer for posting a product review and/or 2) include product recommendations based on previous purchases. While this level of sophistication might seem difficult to achieve, most ecommerce sites are already using the web analytics, reviews and recommendation engines needed to do these transactional emails. The sites simply need to leverage their existing technologies, using established APIs and dynamic content, to generate the new emails.

Purchase review emails can actually lead to significant incremental revenue. One Silverpop client reports that 14 percent of the people that click on the “review” link actually make another purchase. For that client, purchase reviews hold the second highest conversion rate next to their abandoned cart program. Follow-up, review notification transactional emails—thanking the customer for the review and offering a discount or other incentive on the next purchase—encourage 12 percent of the people who click on them to make another purchase.

 

When it comes to this new breed of transactional email, the keys to success include the following checklist of items:

  1. 1.  Leverage existing technology. As mentioned above, this technology already powers your website, so it can also be tied into these new transactional email opportunities.
  2. 2.  Time the emails appropriately. For instance, you might wait a month to email a review request to a book customer but only wait a week to send it to a toner cartridge customer.
  3. Design for all devices. In particular, make sure your emails work in a mobile setting, in preview panes, with image blocking on, etc.
  4. Create compelling content. Beyond making recommendations, superior content leverages customers’ non-purchase behavior, uses the right tone and makes compelling offers.
  5. Test, test, test. Test everything, from timing to layout to offers, copy style, and the level of personalization.

In any case, these automated, trigger-based transactional emails can supplement more traditional, broadcast email campaigns to increase online conversion rates and revenue, which is what we really care about.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Loren’s presentation (by selecting View Silverpop presentation), or view a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting View entire presentation), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

Other insights are also available from myself on website conversion and shopping cart abandonment rates; Danny Dover, an SEO expert from SEOmoz.org; and Tim Ash, president and CEO of SiteTuners, a thought leader in website conversion and landing page optimization.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license, or link to bit.ly/8WZoOq.

 

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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SEO Checklist: SEOmoz Highlights Search Engine Optimization Priorities At the recent Conversion Leaders Summit on improving website performance, Danny Dover cut though the SEO hype to provide some fresh insight into search engine optimization. Danny is an SEO specialist with SEOmoz.org, one of the thought leaders in the space, so I’m sharing the highlights of his presentation and his six-point SEO checklist here.

Why do SEO? Because SEO drives traffic to your website—for free. The traffic-driving alternative is to buy pay-per-click ads. It turns out that organic SEO links—the actual search results generated by Google, Yahoo!, et al.—get about 90 percent of the clicks while the PPC ads on those pages get 10 percent. So, SEO is important because you can get a lot of free traffic if you do it right.

Everyone knows the higher your rank in a search engine’s results, the more traffic you’ll get, but how much more? The number one position gets 42 percent of the clicks. Number two falls to 11 percent; number three gets 8 percent; and finally, number 10 drops to 3 percent. Clearly, you want to be in the top five because people don’t look much beyond that fifth result.

How to do SEO? Two primary consideration factors in SEO—popularity and relevancy.

Popularity in SEO means links. SEO experts suspect that links account for 75 percent of the overall Google algorithm, making them extremely important. Google emphasizes link profiles—where they come from, what the anchor text says, etc.—and you can optimize your link profiles by studying them, as well as those your competitors are using. Tools such as Yahoo! Site Explorer or SEOmoz Open Site Explorer will help you with this.

Relevancy translates to on-page optimization, which includes such things as keyword choice and where it’s located on the page. On-page optimization makes up 25 percent of the Google algorithm. Here, the important things to look at are the URL, title tag, meta description, content, and images with Alt text. The title tags are probably the most important area, with the URL being second. Also, content helps build relevancy as well as popularity (gaining links).

Danny’s SEO six-point checklist of things you can do today to improve your SEO includes:

1.     Study the cached, text-only version of your site (and your competitors). Perform a Google search and select the “cached” option from the results page. Then select the “text-only version” from the cached page. The text-only version shows you what Google sees as important when trying to determine relevancy.

2.     Avoid duplicate content. Search engines have a difficult time determining relevancy when they run into duplicate content, e.g., a website accessible from both www.company-name.com and company-name.com. It’s a common mistake, and it hurts SEO.

3.     Optimize your site’s global navigation. This is especially important on ecommerce sites. Make sure your categories and subcategories are well-implemented and are as close—from a click perspective—to the homepage server as possible. Search engines rely on this categorization; and every time they go down another level, another subcategory, they devalue that page.

4.     Use a robots.txt file. This is the one file on your server that you can use to control the search engine and what it can and can’t see.

5.     Submit a sitemap. The sitemap is an XML file you submit directly to the search engines. It’s a complete list of your website, and it’s easy for the search engines to parse. Basically, sitemaps help you get indexed, so they can make a dramatic difference.

6.     Look at the links. Check out where your competitors are getting links with one of the tools mentioned earlier. By discovering where your competitors are getting links from, you can tailor your content and link building efforts to leverage their success.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Danny’s presentation (by selecting ‘View SEOmoz presentation’), or see a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting ‘View entire presentation’), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Mon, 20 Sep 2010 17:34:39 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/20/seo_checklist:_seomoz_highlights_search_engine_optimization_priorities http://www.profnetconnect.com/seewhy/blog/2010/09/20/seo_checklist:_seomoz_highlights_search_engine_optimization_priorities At the recent Conversion Leaders Summit on improving website performance, Danny Dover cut though the SEO hype to provide some fresh insight into search engine optimization. Danny is an SEO specialist with SEOmoz.org, one of the thought leaders in the space, so I’m sharing the highlights of his presentation and his six-point SEO checklist here.

Why do SEO? Because SEO drives traffic to your website—for free. The traffic-driving alternative is to buy pay-per-click ads. It turns out that organic SEO links—the actual search results generated by Google, Yahoo!, et al.—get about 90 percent of the clicks while the PPC ads on those pages get 10 percent. So, SEO is important because you can get a lot of free traffic if you do it right.

Everyone knows the higher your rank in a search engine’s results, the more traffic you’ll get, but how much more? The number one position gets 42 percent of the clicks. Number two falls to 11 percent; number three gets 8 percent; and finally, number 10 drops to 3 percent. Clearly, you want to be in the top five because people don’t look much beyond that fifth result.

How to do SEO? Two primary consideration factors in SEO—popularity and relevancy.

Popularity in SEO means links. SEO experts suspect that links account for 75 percent of the overall Google algorithm, making them extremely important. Google emphasizes link profiles—where they come from, what the anchor text says, etc.—and you can optimize your link profiles by studying them, as well as those your competitors are using. Tools such as Yahoo! Site Explorer or SEOmoz Open Site Explorer will help you with this.

Relevancy translates to on-page optimization, which includes such things as keyword choice and where it’s located on the page. On-page optimization makes up 25 percent of the Google algorithm. Here, the important things to look at are the URL, title tag, meta description, content, and images with Alt text. The title tags are probably the most important area, with the URL being second. Also, content helps build relevancy as well as popularity (gaining links).

Danny’s SEO six-point checklist of things you can do today to improve your SEO includes:

1.     Study the cached, text-only version of your site (and your competitors). Perform a Google search and select the “cached” option from the results page. Then select the “text-only version” from the cached page. The text-only version shows you what Google sees as important when trying to determine relevancy.

2.     Avoid duplicate content. Search engines have a difficult time determining relevancy when they run into duplicate content, e.g., a website accessible from both www.company-name.com and company-name.com. It’s a common mistake, and it hurts SEO.

3.     Optimize your site’s global navigation. This is especially important on ecommerce sites. Make sure your categories and subcategories are well-implemented and are as close—from a click perspective—to the homepage server as possible. Search engines rely on this categorization; and every time they go down another level, another subcategory, they devalue that page.

4.     Use a robots.txt file. This is the one file on your server that you can use to control the search engine and what it can and can’t see.

5.     Submit a sitemap. The sitemap is an XML file you submit directly to the search engines. It’s a complete list of your website, and it’s easy for the search engines to parse. Basically, sitemaps help you get indexed, so they can make a dramatic difference.

6.     Look at the links. Check out where your competitors are getting links with one of the tools mentioned earlier. By discovering where your competitors are getting links from, you can tailor your content and link building efforts to leverage their success.

If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Danny’s presentation (by selecting ‘View SEOmoz presentation’), or see a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting ‘View entire presentation’), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.

###

Web analytics visionary Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy and author of “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites” which can be downloaded here and “In Search of Insight” which has established a new agenda for the analytics industry. As a veteran of the analytics space, he has worked on strategy and projects for some of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, including Amazon, eBay and many other organizations around the globe. Incorporated in 2003, SeeWhy helps companies improve website conversion rates by bringing back up to 50 percent of visitors that abandon sites prematurely. Learn more at www.seewhy.com and the SeeWhy blog at www.seewhy.com/blog. Contact Charles at charles.nicholls@seewhy.com, and follow the company on Twitter at @seewhyinc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeeWhyInc.

Please feel free to publish the above blog in full or in part with attribution according to the Creative Commons license.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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