Goodbye Google Authorship

Written by . Posted in Google Updates, SEO Blog

Wondering why your headshot is no longer showing up in search results for your blog post? On June 25, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced that Google would be removing author photos and Google+ view counts from search results.

To be clear, this does not mean that Google Authorship is entirely dead, just the headshots and view counts.

Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool Screen Shot - Big Footprint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, does this render authorship worthless? In short… no. Let’s review what changed and what will stay the same.

Changes:

  • Headshot is no longer shown. (Previously important for improving CTR to a blog post).
  • Google+ view counts are removed. (Proved popularity and validated an author’s expertise to searcher).

Staying The Same:

  • Author’s name appears in search results with a link to their associated Google+ profile.

The loss of the headshot in search results is a blow for marketers. It made sense. On a search engine results page, where text dominates the eye, a headshot was an easy way to differentiate your listing from the masses. One theme that continually prevails in every Google update is that quality is the name of the game. Even when headshots were included in search results, Google did make clear that they had the right to show or hide an image based on relevance to the searcher.

Google Authorship Screen Shot - Big Footprint Digital

 

 

 

I believe that long-term authorship will remain valuable. How Google measures that value is not clear, but I am sure quality, the authority of the website(s) the content is on, and frequency will all be factors. Even without authorship, creating great content with utility will add depth, freshness, and thought leadership to your website.

For more information on how to expand your digital footprint, view other articles on the Big Footprint SEO Blog.

Landing Page Optimization 101

Written by . Posted in Paid Search, SEO Blog, Web Design

Effective landing pages are an essential component of any successful paid search program. For as much money as we marketers spend driving traffic to landing pages, we need to ensure they are doing their job – driving conversions. So, how does one go about improving conversion rate? There’s no secret, but it’s far from simple. You drive conversions through diligent, thoughtful, and highly measured testing. But how do you get started in the right direction?

Understand Motivations & Perceptions
Put Yourself in Their Shoes. Various user groups will seek and engage with different types of content. Identify the user groups you’re marketing to and develop persona-driven messaging you can test by driving traffic to two landing pages with different messaging. You’ve set up your first test and laid the foundation for the type of thinking and digital empathy you’ll need to drive your campaigns forward.

Address Users’ Thought Process & Anxieties
In order to drive a user towards your conversion point, you need to address their anxieties and thought process.

  • Where am I?
  • Landing Page Strategy by Big FootprintWhat Can I Do?
  • Why Do I Care?
  • What About… ? (user’s anxieties)
  • Why You?

Remove the barriers to conversion, and test, test, test. Create an A/B or multivariate (if you have enough traffic or budget) and test variations in any of the categories above. Everything from button color, size, position, to imagery, messaging, layout, and more. Establish your value proposition. Start with the basics and evolve from there. When you eliminate the anxieties that prevent users from moving forward, you’ll continuously optimize your campaign.

Establish Your Expertise
Leverage quantifiable factors to illustrate your experience and expertise. These points should prove why you’re the right choice, while also addressing the user’s anxieties discussed earlier. In a B2B situation, supporting points like “Full Tim 24/7 Support” or unique product or service features that are “guaranteed” are all excellent points to emphasize on landing pages, and more importantly test. Another way to establish expertise is to list Awards your firm has won, or recognitions you’ve received. You can also list prominent publications in which your company was featured. All of these tactics are excellent ways to establish credibility with the user while driving conversions. Test and test some more. Test and realign the messaging and imagery you use to establish expertise with the users’ anxieties and your conversion rate will skyrocket.

Landing Page Optimization with Big Footprint

Leverage an Offer
An offer on a landing page can certainly increase conversion rate, even if that offer is only perceived. You can offer a “Free Trial” or an expert content asset, like a white paper or an industry study that your audience will find valuable or provoking. Again, align these offers with the user’s thought process, and test continuously.

If you’re testing or optimizing any of these elements, or better yet all of them, you will generate valuable insights that will drive conversion rate but also marketing intelligence. In a recent project, Big Footprint was able to drive a 276% ROI through paid search management and landing page optimization. We utilized multiple rounds of multivariate testing, splitting paid traffic to three distinct landing pages. With ongoing testing, we identified the top performing elements and increased conversion rate 376% while decreasing Cost-Per-Lead by 77%.

The power of landing page optimization is easily measured. Remember to test and refine as you evolve your campaigns to make the biggest business impact possible.

If you have any questions about your current landing pages testing program, contact Big Footprint.

Big Footprint Founder Nick Yorchak Explores Data Driven Website Optimization at Tech4Good Denver Event

Written by . Posted in SEO Blog

Nick Yorchak, the founder of Big Footprint, had the privilege of speaking to an audience of Tech4Good members at today’s Denver Event about the principles of data driven website optimization. Tech4Good is a community of professionals interested in the use of technology in the nonprofit sector, so the topic was well received by those in attendance.

Nick’s presentation explained how non-profits can leverage free tools available within Google Analytics to measure digital campaigns and drive insights that can be leveraged for optimization and testing.

The presentation is available at the bottom of this Blog post, just click to download the PDF or view the presentation on SlideShare.

After beginning with a discussion about Goal Tracking and how to measure “conversions,” Nick moved into channel attribution and explained how to leverage these attribution data and insights to improve a website.

Attendees learned that by defining and measuring clear conversion goals, an organization can gather the data needed to improve its website and drive business impact.

Nick’s critical points included the following:
• Data-driven website optimization should be ACTIVE

•  Remember, conversion optimization and testing is a process, not an event.

•  Don’t test too many things at once.

•  Reduce friction with a clear call to action.

•  Address the USER THOUGHT PROCESS

• Optimize on BOTH sides of the click (Pre Click vs Post Click optimization)

In the end, Nick concluded by outlining what he meant by “active” optimization, exploring 5 core principles that drive this process.

1) Go beyond the basic metrics and traffic analytics
•  Stop worrying about visit volume – focus on quality but more importantly,
focus on CONVERSION and ATTRIBUTION

2) Go beyond channels
•  Understand your digital ecosystem (paid+earned+owned) and how it
impacts your results with assisted conversions

3) Go beyond groundhog keyword strategy
•  Keyword research becomes multi-dimensional – across all assets/channels

4) Go beyond retro-active optimization
•  Strategy, Data, and Insights drive new content generation and testing

5) Celebrate the enlightenment of Integrated Analytics
•  Measure impact by contribution

Before Nick concluded, he shared with the audience of one of Big Footprint’s ethos:
“Performance measurement is prioritization logic.”

After that, Adrienne Schafer, Director of Program Innovation for MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation, showed the audience how her organization uses these tools everyday. Her presentation is also available below.

For more information on landing page optimization and how your organization can begin testing and improving your process and execution, read this Big Footprint blog post on the topic.

Downloadable Assets:
Data Driven Website Optimization by Nick Yorchak
Analytics by Adrienne Schafer

Tips For Optimizing Your Next International Press Release

Written by . Posted in SEO Blog

Hola, nǐ hǎo, Bonjour, Salute, Ciao, Kaixo, Salud, Hallo

The time has come! Your company landed that big project in Europe, you opened a brand new office in South America, or you’ve partnered with a new vendor in Asia. But now what? Wait for people to find you? Not if you partner with Big Footprint!

International press releases are an effective way to publicize your new venture and ensure your news is discovered by your industry (and search engines). In general, content does not rank overnight. Leveraging a press release service will help your news get in front of a larger audience by utilizing the industry partners of each service. These partners will share your information and link back to your website, providing valuable earned links.

An added benefit of an online press release is that it helps to monopolize a search engine’s results page for targeted keywords. Indexation of the release on PR Web, PR Newswire, BusinessWire, or other services will expand your digital footprint. By taking up more “real estate” you make it more difficult for your digital competition to rank as well.

Here are a few tips for optimizing your next international press release:

International Press Release OptimizationSelecting a Service: Becoming a “member” of some wire services can be free and instantaneous, while others can take up to 24 hours to process and approve a paid application. Some services that we utilize here at Big Footprint are:

  • PR Web: A great outlet for distributions in the United States. It is not expensive (and can be even cheaper if you buy press releases in bulk). However, they do not have international targeting options. You can also attach content. See an example.
  • BusinessWire: While BusinessWire does not have a membership fee, you do need to apply to become a member. International press releases have an extra $85 fee on top of your rate for the first 400 words, so the costs can add up.
  • PR Newswire: Annual membership is required for PR Newswire. While they state their membership is $249, you can negotiate the price down. This might seem expensive, but if you are doing multiple international releases a year, the cost will be worth it. International targeting is easy and you can hyper target your desired market or region. Also, there is a $50 discount for pre-translating your release (if you can).

If you are an agency, you may need to have your client(s) email the distribution service to grant permission to distribute a release on their behalf. Make sure you allocate time and budget for this!

400 Words: Write a press release in English that is around 400 words. Most services charge a fee (as much as $300!) for each additional 100 words after 400. When calculating the cost, word count is based on the English version of a release.

Targeting: Select the countries you need to target, but also look at region packages of different countries. Many times selecting specific countries is more expensive than a region. For example, a client now offers services in Spanish and they want to target South America… pick a package that is targeted for only Spanish speaking countries in South America.

Translate: Leverage your employees to translate your press release, if you can. This will save you a translation fee from the press release service and give you peace of mind that the translation is correct and uses local vernacular.

Rich Media: When sending out your release you can improve your SEO by attaching assets to your press release. Optimized assets, like a PDF with meta data and links, will be distributed and picked up by different syndications when the release goes out. For international releases, these assets should be translated into the native language of your target market.

Add to Your Blog: Finally, once you have distributed your release, talk about it on your blog and your optimized social channels. This will help to give your release more longevity and more opportunities to earn links. In your blog you can utilize internal linking to provide resources to other translated language pages and also provide a link to read the official press release.

If you have any questions on international press releases or want more information on how they benefit SEO, leave a comment below or contact us!

Google Partners With Facebook… Wait, What?

Written by . Posted in Paid Search, SEO Blog

Google and Facebook Partner

I’m filing this one in my “never saw that coming” folder. Last Friday Facebook and Google announced that they will be partnering to bring Facebook’s retargeting platform, Facebook Exchange, to Google’s Doubleclick. Google describes Doubleclick as an “Ad technology foundation to create, transact, and manage digital advertising for the world’s buyers,” and it gives its users the ability to place and manage retargeting ads from multiple well-known ad exchanges. This partnership will strengthen Google’s placement in the market, and allow advertisers to buy Facebook ads who would have previously had to go through the Exchange, or just not bought Facebook ads at all.

In an afternoon blog post, Doubleclick’s Senior Project Manager Payam Shodjai stated, “Partnership has been key to Google’s success as a rising tide lifts all boats. So we’re excited to announce a new way to help our clients succeed by working with Facebook to participate in FBX, their real-time bidding exchange… …starting in a few months, clients will be able to buy inventory on FBX via DoubleClick Bid Manager.”

On the face of it this seems to indicate relations between these two Internet titans are starting to thaw, which is incredibly exciting news for agencies like Big Footprint. Now the only question is, WHEN will these two make Facebook ads manageable through Doubleclick Search? Doubleclick Search is a bit different than Doubleclick proper in that it allows advertisers to directly manage Paid Search accounts from multiple engines in one interface. It’s an invaluable tool for us at Big Footprint, and its bid-management and bulk operation capabilities make it something I can’t imagine managing clients without. So while Facebook and Google get warmed up with this retargeting partnership, I’ll just be over here dreaming.