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6 Crucial Elements Of Local Visibility

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Local SEO

A local landing page is a web page designed to show people and search engines where businesses operate. It can include details on the service area a business covers, directions to a physical shopfront, and information about the staff and services available at that location.

You may have heard that Google doesn’t like to rank such pages, which isn’t necessarily true. What Google doesn’t like is:

  • Mass-produced local pages that prioritize quantity over quality
  • Creating location pages for areas your business has no tangible presence in
  • Duplicated content with just the location swapped out
  • Regurgitated Wikipedia information about the history of a location

So, let’s unpack the anatomy of a location page strategy that not only ranks and converts but also enhances your credibility in your local community.

Elements of effective location pages

Great location pages ensure that your business appears in local search results and resonates with the local audience.

Here’s a blueprint you can follow to create location landing pages that rank well, offer valuable information, and help drive new business for your local company.

We suggest using most of the elements listed below, along with tailoring the design to meet the needs of your business and your customer’s search intent.

Click here for a high-res version. Feel free to use and share this resource for personal use, with attribution.

Now, let’s unpack each of the six elements of effective location pages.

1. Localized URL structure

Adding local keywords to your URLs is a ranking factor that can assist with improving location page rankings. It’s critical to include both your service and location in the URL to match your target keywords for the page. 

There are a few ways you can go about this.

For instance, a URL like www.example.com/emergency-plumbing-new-york is only one level down from the home page. Creating all your pages like this leads to a very flat website structure which can be harder for users to navigate and for businesses to organize and track. It can also make it harder for Google’s crawlers to pinpoint which website pages you view as the most important. 

A better way to go about this is to create parent and child pages.

 Example of parent and child URL structure Example of parent and child URL structure

If your business operates (or will operate) nationally, across multiple cities, or as a franchise, make your locations the parent pages:

If your business operates (and will continue to operate) at a small local level or within only one area, make your services the parent pages:

The best choice for your business comes down to what website structure can scale to accommodate your business needs over time.

2. Localized page title and title tag

Adding your service and location to the H1 heading and title tag can help with search rankings, clearly signaling to Google which topic your page is about. It is also better for accessibility and user experience by helping all users know the page they’ve landed on is likely to provide the information they’re after. 

However, there can be a tug-of-war between optimizing for SEO and writing compelling copy.

The best balance comes from leading with the keyword you’re targeting and following with a unique selling proposition to encourage people to choose your business over a competitor’s. For example:

  • New York Aged Care | We’re #1 in NYC for Resident Experience
  • Plumber Manhattan | 24/7 Emergency Plumbing across New York
  • Extension Builders NYC | Fixed-Fee Home Extensions With No Hidden Costs
  • Carpet Cleaning New York | $99 Fixed Fee Service
Example of improved page title that includes a keyword and USP.Example of improved page title that includes a keyword and USP.

3. Conversion-optimized elements above the fold

A website’s home page tends to get a whole lot of love from designers compared to other internal pages. But in reality, many people will find your website through your location landing pages first, and may not even see your homepage.

For this reason, it’s important that you design your local pages with the best user experience and conversion potential in mind.

When someone lands on your location page, they will immediately see the “above-the-fold” region. This is the entire area visible on someone’s screen before scrolling, and it is a goldmine for conversion potential.

For instance, here’s what the above-the-fold area of Parris Law Firm’s Lancaster car accident page looks like: 

 Parris Law Firm's above the fold design on a location landing page Parris Law Firm's above the fold design on a location landing page

Notice how it doesn’t particularly inspire feelings of trust or credibility? The call to action button is also hard to see against the background and the visually dominant content doesn’t indicate why a visitor should choose Parris over another firm.

Now compare that to their home page which notably includes many credibility and conversion-optimized signals like the reviews, proof of results generated, the media mentions the firm has earned, and mentions of how long they’ve been in business.

Parris Law Firm's home page designParris Law Firm's home page design

It’s clear the same level of attention has not been given to designing each of these pages. Since people will generally land on a location page directly after making a Google search, the above-the-fold area must be designed to keep people’s attention on the page and encourage them to convert. 

To improve the conversion potential of your location pages, consider:

  • Highlighting your unique selling points. Use content and design elements to make your points of difference stand out.
  • Showcasing aggregated reviews. You can embed these from third-party platforms like Google Business, FaceBook, or Yelp.
  • Meeting the searcher’s intent. If users intend to continue the journey offline, address that and make it easy for them to do so.
  • Showing you’re actually based in an area. When searching locally, many people choose businesses near them. 
  • Having clear calls to action. Make buttons clear and support them with well-written conversion copy.

Don’t only focus on SEO here. Write to convert users.

4. Maps and original photography

“Show, don’t tell” is powerful advice that also works wonders for location pages. It’s easy to say you’re in an area, but consumers are becoming increasingly distrustful of dishonest or manipulative marketing tactics.

Here are some elements to consider adding to your page design to showcase your local presence.

Add a map

Add a map with a pin showcasing your location if you have an office or bricks-and-mortar shopfront.

Example of a location page that includes a Google map with a pin for Eisner Amper's office.Example of a location page that includes a Google map with a pin for Eisner Amper's office.

If you operate in a particular area but don’t have a bricks-and-mortar location, add a map highlighting your service area instead, like this example from Plain Pallets:

Example of Plain Pallet's local landing page including a map with their entire service area highlighted.Example of Plain Pallet's local landing page including a map with their entire service area highlighted.

If you operate a bit like a school, where you may have physical premises in one area but also connect to nearby locations (like school catchment areas), you can add a map with driving directions to your site. 

Or you can showcase how your premises are “only X minutes from Y area,” along with the best ways to reach your location.

Add images of your premises

Real photos are much more persuasive than stock images. For example, this image, from Sheen Panel Services contains an image of the truck in the act of delivering a towing service. It also includes a branded logo, and contact information, and is an actual representation of the service the company delivers. 

Example of Sheen Panel Services custom image displaying their towing service.Example of Sheen Panel Services custom image displaying their towing service.

Compare it to this stock image from another towing company. It doesn’t add value to the page or experience and will likely be ignored by most people. It also doesn’t support the content or service mentioned.

 Example of a towing company using stock imagery. Example of a towing company using stock imagery.

Using Sheen as an example, here are additional image ideas you can add to your location pages to bolster your local credibility and earn more trust online.

External shots of the location, ideally with your logo visible in the frame

These types of photos are great for shopfronts or businesses that require customers to travel to their location. It is ideal to include the entire exterior of your premises with your logo clearly visible, like in this example:

Exterior photo of a Sheen Panel Services garage in Melbourne.Exterior photo of a Sheen Panel Services garage in Melbourne.

Internal photographs of the reception area

Some images showing your reception area and friendly staff can create a warm feeling before a potential customer sets foot into your location. It is ideal to showcase your logo and smiling, uniformed staff like in this image:

mage of Sheen Panel Services reception area with smiling, friendly receptionist.mage of Sheen Panel Services reception area with smiling, friendly receptionist.

Photos of each team member who works at the location

Adding images of your staff at each location creates a sense of familiarity and continuity between online and offline experiences. You can include such images in a couple of different ways.

For a business like Sheen Panel Service, you can take images of your team in the area where services are delivered, like in this image: 

The Sheen Panel Services team is wearing uniforms and is in the garage where they repair damaged vehicles.The Sheen Panel Services team is wearing uniforms and is in the garage where they repair damaged vehicles.

Alternatively, professional service firms or businesses that have a mix of on-the-ground and virtual staff attending to different offices may benefit from headshots like these from Liston Newton:

Example of professional headshots from Liston Newton Advisory.Example of professional headshots from Liston Newton Advisory.

Close-ups and detailed shots related to the service

Close-ups and detailed shots of your team completing different services are incredibly useful. They allow you to fill in image gaps next to content about specific services. They also allow you to show exactly how you deliver a service instead of trying to find mediocre stock images that only kind of seem accurate.

Make sure uniformed staff are in the shot and that you also include your branding in the frame, even in the background, like in this image from Sheen’s website:

Example image of a Sheen Pane Services team member repairing a vehicle door.Example image of a Sheen Pane Services team member repairing a vehicle door.

Add videos or virtual 360° tours

Videos and virtual 360° tours enable your website visitors to see and feel more than static images do. For example, this video showcases how Bax Clean delivers a variety of window cleaning services:

Gif of Bax Clean's video showcasing how they deliver window cleaning services.Gif of Bax Clean's video showcasing how they deliver window cleaning services.

(Watch the full video here.) 

In a matter of seconds, visitors can see things like the team’s attention to detail, their ability to clean windows on multi-story buildings, and that they are also able to clean skylights and windows on a roof. 

A virtual tour may be another alternative worth exploring if it makes sense for your business. Here’s an example from Matterport, a property marketing company that creates virtual tours allowing their clients to showcase different types of display homes and properties online.

5. Links to or mentions of services available in the area

Adding internal links or mentions to the services you offer in each area allows you to do a few things:

  1. You can improve the local optimization for these services by targeting “service + location” keywords people are searching for.
  2. You can give your visitors a sense of exactly what’s on offer at each location.
  3. You can add custom information, discounts, or offers available to the local market and prioritize what they care most about.

In terms of design, you can have an internal link component taking the visitor to dedicated service pages for the location:

Internal linking component on a location landing page.Internal linking component on a location landing page.

Or, you can have more content about each service on the page, allowing you to rank the location page for all available services in the area:

Example of service information added to a local page to improve SEO rankings.Example of service information added to a local page to improve SEO rankings.

6. Social proof, reviews, and accreditations

Demonstrating your credibility is becoming increasingly important online. One way of determining credibility is through experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EEAT) signals. 

These signals are also becoming more important for SEO as Google continues to focus on prioritizing trustworthy content.

EEAT and credibility elements to consider adding to your location pages include:

  • Aggregated ratings from third-party platforms, like Google Reviews, FaceBook, or Yelp.
  • Accreditations and certifications for your industry, like FIFA accreditations for football stadium turf. 
  • Government-issued ratings or licenses, like ISO certifications or industry-specific licenses.
  • Location information such as address, contact details, and opening hours.
  • Details about the local staff members to showcase their industry experience and expertise.
  • Links to your business and social profiles like Google Business, FaceBook, X, or LinkedIn.
  • Before and after photos, results, case studies, and local client success stories.

Final thoughts

Google’s continuing emphasis on surfacing credible, trustworthy brands challenges us to rethink location pages that will continue to rank. It’s about transforming our location page strategies from mass-produced doorway pages to credibility powerhouses offering useful localized information. 

This shift meets Google’s criteria and creates a more engaging and trustworthy space for our users, especially as businesses begin showing (rather than telling) exactly how they can best serve a local community.

If you’ve got any questions or location page insights to share, reach out on LinkedIn!

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How To Uncover Traffic Declines In Google Search Console And How To Fix Them

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How To Uncover Traffic Declines In Google Search Console And How To Fix Them

Google Search Console is an essential tool that offers critical insights into your website’s performance in Google search results.

Occasionally, you might observe a sudden decline in organic traffic, and it’s crucial to understand the potential causes behind this drop. The data stored within Google Search Console (GSC) can be vital in troubleshooting and understanding what has happened to your website.

Before troubleshooting GSC traffic declines, it’s important to understand first what Google says about assessing traffic graphs in GSC and how it reports on different metrics.

Understanding Google Search Console Metrics

Google’s documentation on debugging Search traffic drops is relatively comprehensive (compared to the guidance given in other areas) and can, for the most part, help prevent any immediate or unnecessary panic should there be a change in data.

Despite this, I often find that Search Console data is misunderstood by both clients and those in the first few years of SEO and learning the craft.

Image from Google Search Central, May 2024

Even with these definitions, if your clicks and impressions graphs begin to resemble any of the above graph examples, there can be wider meanings.

Search Central description  It could also be a sign that…
Large drop from an algorithmic update, site-wide security, or spam issue This could also signal a serious technical issue, such as accidentally deploying a noindex onto a URL or returning the incorrect status code – I’ve seen it before where the URL renders content but returns a 410.
Seasonality You will know your seasonality better than anyone, but if this graph looks inverse it could be a sign that during peak search times, Google is rotating the search engine results pages (SERPs) and choosing not to rank your site highly. This could be because, during peak search periods, there is a slight intent shift in the queries’ dominant interpretation.
Technical issues across your site, changing interests This type of graph could also represent seasonality (both as a gradual decline or increase).
Reporting glitch ¯_(ツ)_/¯ This graph can represent intermittent technical issues as well as reporting glitches. Similar to the alternate reasons for graphs like Seasonality, it could represent a short-term shift in the SERPs and what meets the needs of an adjusted dominant interpretation of a query.

Clicks & Impressions

Google filters Click and Impression data in Google Search Console through a combination of technical methods and policies designed to ensure the accuracy, reliability, and integrity of the reported data.

Reasons for this include:

  • Spam and bot filtering.
  • Duplicate data removal.
  • User privacy/protection.
  • Removing “invalid activities.”
  • Data aggregation and sampling.

One of the main reasons I’ve seen GSC change the numbers showing the UI and API is down to the setting of thresholds.

Google may set thresholds for including data in reports to prevent skewed metrics due to very low-frequency queries or impressions. For example, data for queries that result in very few impressions might be excluded from reports to maintain the statistical reliability of the metrics.

Average Position

Google Search Console produces the Average Position metric by calculating the average ranking of a website’s URLs for a specific query or set of queries over a defined period of time.

Each time a URL appears in the search results for a query, its position is recorded. For instance, if a URL appears in the 3rd position for one query and in the 7th position for another query, these positions are logged separately.

As we enter the era of AI Overviews, John Mueller has confirmed via Slack conversations that appearing in a generative snapshot will affect the average position of the query and/or URL in the Search Console UI.

1718702762 996 How To Uncover Traffic Declines In Google Search Console AndSource: John Mueller via The SEO Community Slack channel

I don’t rely on the average position metric in GSC for rank tracking, but it can be useful in trying to debug whether or not Google is having issues establishing a single dominant page for specific queries.

Understanding how the tool compiles data allows you to better diagnose the reasons as to why, and correlate data with other events such as Google updates or development deployments.

Google Updates

A Google broad core algorithm update is a significant change to Google’s search algorithm intended to improve the relevance and quality of search results.

These updates do not target specific sites or types of content but alter specific systems that make up the “core” to an extent it is noteworthy for Google to announce that an update is happening.

Google makes updates to the various individual systems all the time, so the lack of a Google announcement does not disqualify a Google update from being the cause of a change in traffic.

For example, the website in the below screenshot saw a decline from the March 2023 core update but then recovered in the November 2023 core update.

GSC: the website saw a decline from the March 2023 core updateScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

The following screenshot shows another example of a traffic decline correlating with a Google update, and it also shows that recovery doesn’t always occur with future updates.

traffic decline correlating with a Google updateScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

This site is predominantly informational content supporting a handful of marketing landing pages (a traditional SaaS model) and has seen a steady decline correlating with the September 2023 helpful content update.

How To Fix This

Websites negatively impacted by a broad core update can’t fix specific issues to recover.

Webmasters should focus on providing the best possible content and improving overall site quality.

Recovery, however, may occur when the next broad core update is rolled out if the site has improved in quality and relevance or Google adjusts specific systems and signal weightings back in the favour of your site.

In SEO terminology, we also refer to these traffic changes as an algorithmic penalty, which can take time to recover from.

SERP Layout Updates

Given the launch of AI Overviews, I feel many SEO professionals will conduct this type of analysis in the coming months.

In addition to AI Overviews, Google can choose to include a number of different SERP features ranging from:

  • Shopping results.
  • Map Packs.
  • X (Twitter) carousels.
  • People Also Ask accordions.
  • Featured snippets.
  • Video thumbnails.

All of these not only detract and distract users from the traditional organic results, but they also cause pixel shifts.

From our testing of SGE/AI Overviews, we see traditional results being pushed down anywhere between 1,000 and 1,500 pixels.

When this happens you’re not likely to see third-party rank tracking tools show a decrease, but you will see clicks decline in GSC.

The impact of SERP features on your traffic depends on two things:

  • The type of feature introduced.
  • Whether your users predominantly use mobile or desktop.

Generally, SERP features are more impactful to mobile traffic as they greatly increase scroll depth, and the user screen is much smaller.

You can establish your dominant traffic source by looking at the device breakdown in Google Search Console:

Device by users: clicks and impressionsImage from author’s website, May 2024

You can then compare the two graphs in the UI, or by exporting data via the API with it broken down by devices.

How To Fix This

When Google introduces new SERP features, you can adjust your content and site to become “more eligible” for them.

Some are driven by structured data, and others are determined by Google systems after processing your content.

If Google has introduced a feature that results in more zero-click searches for a particular query, you need to first quantify the traffic loss and then adjust your strategy to become more visible for similar and associated queries that still feature in your target audience’s overall search journey.

Seasonality Traffic Changes

Seasonality in demand refers to predictable fluctuations in consumer interest and purchasing behavior that occur at specific times of the year, influenced by factors such as holidays, weather changes, and cultural events.

Notably, a lot of ecommerce businesses will see peaks in the run-up to Christmas and Thanksgiving, whilst travel companies will see seasonality peaks at different times of the year depending on the destinations and vacation types they cater to.

The below screenshot is atypical of a business that has a seasonal peak in the run-up to Christmas.

seasonal peaks as measured in GSCScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

You will see these trends in the Performance Report section and likely see users and sessions mirrored in other analytics platforms.

During a seasonal peak, Google may choose to alter the SERPs in terms of which websites are ranked and which SERP features appear. This occurs when the increase in search demand also brings with it a change in user intent, thus changing the dominant interpretation of the query.

In the travel sector, the shift is often from a research objective to a commercial objective. Out-of-season searchers are predominantly researching destinations or looking for deals, and when it is time to book, they’re using the same search queries but looking to book.

As a result, webpages with a value proposition that caters more to the informational intent are either “demoted” in rankings or swapped out in favor of webpages that (in Google’s eyes) better cater to users in satisfying the commercial intent.

How To Fix This

There is no direct fix for traffic increases and decreases caused by seasonality.

However, you can adjust your overall SEO strategy to accommodate this and work to create visibility for the website outside of peak times by creating content to meet the needs and intent of users who may have a more research and information-gathering intent.

Penalties & Manual Actions

A Google penalty is a punitive action taken against a website by Google, reducing its search rankings or removing it from search results, typically due to violations of Google’s guidelines.

As well as receiving a notification in GSC, you’ll typically see a sharp decrease in traffic, akin to the graph below:

Google traffic decline from penaltyScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

Whether or not the penalty is partial or sitewide will depend on how bad the traffic decline is, and also the type (or reason) as to why you received a penalty in the first place will determine what efforts are required and how long it will take to recover.

Changes In PPC Strategies

A common issue I encounter working with organizations is a disconnect in understanding that, sometimes, altering a PPC campaign can affect organic traffic.

An example of this is brand. If you start running a paid search campaign on your brand, you can often expect to see a decrease in branded clicks and CTR. As most organizations have separate vendors for this, it isn’t often communicated that this will be the case.

The Search results performance report in GSC can help you identify whether or not you have cannibalization between your SEO and PPC. From this report, you can correlate branded and non-branded traffic drops with the changelog from those in command of the PPC campaign.

How To Fix This

Ensuring that all stakeholders understand why there have been changes to organic traffic, and that the traffic (and user) isn’t lost, it is now being attributed to Paid.

Understanding if this is the “right decision” or not requires a conversation with those managing the PPC campaigns, and if they are performing and providing a strong ROAS, then the organic traffic loss needs to be acknowledged and accepted.

Recovering Site Traffic

Recovering from Google updates can take time.

Recently, John Mueller has said that sometimes, to recover, you need to wait for another update cycle.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be active in trying to improve your website and better align with what Google wants to reward and relying on Google reversing previous signal weighting changes.

It’s critical that you start doing all the right things as soon as possible. The earlier that you identify and begin to solve problems, the earlier that you open up the potential for recovery. The time it takes to recover depends on what caused the drop in the first place, and there might be multiple factors to account for. Building a better website for your audience that provides them with better experiences and better service is always the right thing to do.

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Barriers To Audience Buy-In

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Barriers to audience buy-in with lead generation

This is an excerpt from the B2B Lead Generation ebook, which draws on SEJ’s internal expertise in delivering leads across multiple media types.

People are driven by a mix of desires, wants, needs, experiences, and external pressures.

It can take time to get it right and convince a person to become a lead, let alone a paying customer.

Here are some nuances of logic and psychology that could be impacting your ability to connect with audiences and build strong leads.

1. Poor Negotiations & The Endowment Effect

Every potential customer you encounter values their own effort and information. And due to something called the endowment effect, they value that time and data much more than you do.

In contrast, the same psychological effect means you value what you offer in exchange for peoples’ information more than they will.

If the value of what you’re offering fails to match the value of what consumers are giving you in exchange (read: their time and information), the conversions will be weak.

The solution? You can increase the perceived value of the thing you’re offering, or reduce the value of what the user “pays” for the thing you offer.

Want an exclusive peek into tactics we use when developing our own lead gen campaigns? Check out our upcoming webinar.

Humans evaluate rewards in multiple dimensions, including the reward amount, the time until the reward is received, and the certainty of the reward.

The more time before a reward occurs, and the less certain its ultimate value, the harder you have to work to get someone to engage.

Offering value upfront – even if you’re presenting something else soon after, like a live event, ebook, or demo – can help entice immediate action as well as convince leads of the long-term value of their investment.

It can even act as a prime for the next step in the lead gen nurturing process, hinting at even more value to come and increasing the effectiveness of the rest of your lead generation strategy.

It’s another reason why inbound content is a critical support for lead generation content. The short-term rewards of highly useful ungated content help prepare audiences for longer-term benefits offered down the line.

3. Abandonment & The Funnel Myth

Every lead generation journey is carefully planned, but if you designed it with a funnel in mind, you could be losing many qualified leads.

That’s because the imagery of a funnel might suggest that all leads engage with your brand or offer in the same way, but this simply isn’t true – particularly for products or services with high values.

Instead, these journeys are more abstract. Leads tend to move back and forth between stages depending on their circumstances. They might change their minds, encounter organizational roadblocks, switch channels, or their needs might suddenly change.

Instead of limiting journeys to audience segments, consider optimizing for paths and situations, too.

Optimizing for specific situations and encounters creates multiple opportunities to capture a lead while they’re in certain mindsets. Every opportunity is a way to engage with varying “costs” for time and data, and align your key performance indicators (KPIs) to match.

Situational journeys also create unique opportunities to learn about the various audience segments, including what they’re most interested in, which offers to grab their attention, and which aspects of your brand, product, or service they’re most concerned about.

4. Under-Pricing

Free trials and discounts can be eye-catching, but they don’t always work to your benefit.

Brands often think consumers will always choose the product with the lowest possible price. That isn’t always the case.

Consumers work within something referred to as the “zone of acceptability,” which is the price range they feel is acceptable for a purchasing decision.

If your brand falls outside that range, you’ll likely get the leads – but they could fail to buy in later. The initial offer might be attractive, but the lower perception of value could work against you when it comes time to try and close the sale.

Several elements play into whether consumers are sensitive to pricing discounts. The overall cost of a purchase matters, for example.

Higher-priced purchases, such as SaaS or real estate, can be extremely sensitive to pricing discounts. They can lead to your audience perceiving the product as lower-value, or make it seem like you’re struggling. A price-quality relationship is easy to see in many places in our lives. If you select the absolute lowest price for an airline ticket, do you expect your journey to be timely and comfortable?

It’s difficult to offer specific advice on these points. To find ideal price points and discounts, you need good feedback systems from both customers and leads – and you need data about how other audiences interact. But there’s value in not being the cheapest option.

Get more tips on how we, here at SEJ, create holistic content campaigns to drive leads in this exclusive webinar.

5. Lead Roles & Information

In every large purchasing decision, there are multiple roles in the process. These include:

  • User: The person who ultimately uses the product or service.
  • Buyer: The person who makes the purchase, but may or may not know anything about the actual product or service being purchased.
  • Decider: The person who determines whether to make the purchase.
  • Influencer: The person who provides opinions and thoughts on the product or service, and influences perceptions of it.
  • Gatekeeper: The person who gathers and holds information about the product or service.

Sometimes, different people play these roles, and other times, one person may hold more than one of these roles. However, the needs of each role must be met at the right time. If you fail to meet their needs, you’ll see your conversions turn cold at a higher rate early in the process.

The only way to avoid this complication is to understand who it is you’re attracting when you capture the lead, and make the right information available at the right time during the conversion process.

6. Understand Why People Don’t Sign Up

Many businesses put significant effort into lead nurturing and understanding the qualities of potential customers who fill out lead forms.

But what about the ones who don’t fill out those forms?

Understanding these values and the traits that drive purchasing decisions is paramount.

Your own proprietary and customer data, like your analytics, client data, and lead interactions, makes an excellent starting place, but don’t make the mistake of basing your decisions solely on the data you have collected about the leads you have.

This information creates a picture based solely on people already interacting with you. It doesn’t include information about the audience you’ve failed to capture so far.

Don’t fall for survivorship bias, which occurs when you only look at data from people who have passed your selection filters.

This is especially critical for lead generation because there are groups of people you don’t want to become leads. But you need to make sure you’re attracting as many ideal leads as possible while filtering out those that are suboptimal. You need information about the people who aren’t converting to ensure your filters are working as intended.

Gather information from the segment of your target audience that uses a competitor’s products, and pair them with psychographic tools and frameworks like “values and lifestyle surveys” (VALS) to gather insights and inform decisions.

In a digital world of tough competition and even more demands on every dollar, your lead generation needs to be precise.

Understanding what drives your target audience before you capture the lead and ensuring every detail is crafted with the final conversion in mind will help you capture more leads and sales, and leave your brand the clear market winner.

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Google Answers Question About Toxic Link Sabotage

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Gary Illyes answers a question about how to notify Google about toxic link sabotage

Google’s Gary Illyes answered a question about how to notify Google that someone is poisoning their backlink profile with “toxic links” which is a problem that many people have been talking about for at least fifteen years.

Question About Alerting Google To Toxic Links

Gary narrated the question:

“Someone’s asking, how to alert Google of sabotage via toxic links?”

And this is Gary’s answer:

I know what I would do: I’d ignore those links.

Generally Google is really, REALLY good at ignoring links that are irrelevant to the site they’re pointing at. If you feel like it, you can always disavow those “toxic” links, or file a spam report.

Disavow Links If You Feel Like It

Gary linked to Google’s explainer about disavowing links where it’s explained that the disavow tool is for a site owner to tell Google about links that they are responsible for in some way, like paid links or some other link scheme.

This is what it advises:

“If you have a manual action against your site for unnatural links to your site, or if you think you’re about to get such a manual action (because of paid links or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines), you should try to remove the links from the other site to your site. If you can’t remove those links yourself, or get them removed, then you should disavow the URLs of the questionable pages or domains that link to your website.”

Google suggests that a link disavow is only necessary when two conditions are met:

  1. “You have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site,
    AND
  2. The links have caused a manual action, or likely will cause a manual action, on your site.”

Both of the above conditions must be met in order to file a valid link disavow tool.

Origin Of The Phrase Toxic Links

As Google became better at penalizing sites for low quality links and paid links, some in the highly competitive gambling industry started creating low quality links to sabotage their competitors. The practice was called negative SEO.

The phrase toxic link is something that was never heard of until after the Penguin link updates in 2012 which required penalized sites to remove all the paid and low quality links they created and then disavow the rest. An industry grew around disavowing links and it was that industry that invented the phrase Toxic Links for use in their marketing.

Confirmation That Google Is Able To Ignore Links

I have shared this anecdote before and I’ll share it here again. Someone I knew contacted me and said that their site lost rankings from negative SEO links. I took a look and their site had a ton of really nasty looking links. So out of curiosity (and because I knew that the site was this person’s main income), I emailed someone at Google Mountain View headquarters about it. That person checked it and replied that the site didn’t lose rankings because of the links. They lost rankings because of a Panda update related content issue.

That was around 2012 and it showed me how good Google was at ignoring links. Now, if Google was that good at ignoring really bad links back then, they’re probably better at it now, twelve years later now that they have the spam brain AI.

Listen to the question and answer at the 8:22 minute mark:

Featured Image by Shutterstock/New Africa

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