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Posts from July 2016

July 22, 2016

3 common pitfalls of simple A/B testing on your website

According to Google Trends ‘A/B testing’ is a phrase constantly growing in popularity and is now 4x more popular than 5 years ago. There is no doubt that evidence-based approach is good in business but there are some common pitfalls that should be considered when conducting simple split tests.

  • When you should stop testing - statistical significance problem

 Let’s start with stopping. When do you know to stop your experiment and that you are ready to draw conclusions? How many observations is enough?

Simply put statistical significance gives you the basis to say that an observed performance difference is not a result of randomness. With the use of basic statistical tests you may assess whether variant A performs better than variant B. Your conclusions will assess the data at a given point in time and with a given probability of error. This probability combines over the number of tests you perform and you may end up drawing conclusions from a coincidence rather than a real pattern.

This problem may be handled by applying sequential analysis and Wald sequential probability ratio test but it reaches beyond a basic A/B testing approach and still doesn’t address the changing audience.

  • Your visitors are changing  - conclusions generalization problem

After executing A/B experiment there is a natural need for extending conclusions to all audience and construct organizational knowledge. It may be a costly mistake.

Visitors learn. For example, global audience behavior changes as more and more online stores display popups to gather emails or provide coupons. It’s commonly known as a ‘concept drift’ and by definition the effect it may have on customer experience is hard to predict.

Visitors come from different situational contexts. Whether a visitor clicked on your ad or found your store on their own may have an influence on their motivation and decision process. Also, the sole phrasing of an ad shapes expectations regarding your website and it may be seamlessly selecting people with different psychological traits.

Visitors change over time. Perception of your website is evolving as you grow your brand and gather customer success stories. The same person who entered your website three months ago may react differently to your messages today.

Those are the root causes of ‘selection bias’ that forbids you to draw conclusions from a sample that is not carefully setup and designed to reflect your audience. Even when stratifying your sample you might end up repeating your tests and draw conclusions limited only to a particular campaign.

  • You may choose the wrong goal - fault in design you cannot mitigate

Optimizing Click Through Rate of your call-to-action button is not the same as optimizing your Conversion Rate, because those metrics might but don’t necessary have to be correlated.

You might have placed funny, clickable popup that encourages your visitors to click but doesn’t address their needs and current step in the decision process. This approach would cause promoting popups that increase the engagement of your website rather than conversions.

The golden rule of solving this problem is to measure and make decisions based on the same metric you’d like to optimize. If your main goal is to increase the number of orders or Average Order Value you have to model the influence of your variants on those particular metrics although having multiple optimization objectives at once is again beyond the basic framework.

Simple A/B testing should be used carefully and rather as a ‘better than nothing’ tool than a silver bullet. Available marketing tools vary in know-how used to build them although there are some really advanced tools on the market which allow you to take care of the problems and bring a proper empirical framework to the business world.

Przemyslaw S. Gliniecki is a Co-Founder of Cart Defender (https://cartdefender.com), which brings machine learning to eCommerce by providing behaviorally targeted popups with automated variants recommendation for online stores. Currently available on Magento Connect marketplace and for WooCommerce with a plugin and for other and custom platforms via an API.  

E-mail: psg@cartdefender.com

Twitter: @CartDefender

 

July 17, 2016

How To Use Whitespark To Improve Your Local SEO

There’s no argument that ranking among the top of your local search results is substantially easier than competing against large brands in the organic results.  That means the small guy still has a chance to tap into the highly profitable search engine traffic, and do it even more affordably these days.


With the help of a single tool, you can easily take over your SEO campaign.  The tool, Whitespark, is currently being used by thousands of local SEO agencies to help their clients generate high rankings with minimal effort.

You can use it to manage your own campaign, or use it as a way to figure out the competency of the agency that you’re hiring.  

This article is going to break down the various ranking factors major search engines are using to figure out where to place your site in the results, which you can also use to determine if the agency you’re hiring to do the work for you is actually doing what they say they’re doing.

There’s a simple 5 step formula that is practically guaranteed to help you rank higher in your local search results.

Step #1: Track Your Rankings

The most important part of any SEO campaign is to actually track your results.  Results, in the terms of SEO means the amount of traffic you’re bringing into your website, as well as the overall rankings for the keywords you have chosen.

Most times, you can use something as simple as Google Analytics to track the amount of visitors that are finding your website.  However, over the last few years, Google has started delivering more (not provided) information, instead of giving you the exact keywords customers used to find you.

That means you need an external source to figure out which keywords you’re ranking for, and how many visits per day those keywords are sending you.  Whitespark handles this for you, by aggregating data from a few different sources to provide you with an accurate representation of your rankings and how you’re bringing traffic into your site.

Step #2: Find New Citation Sources

Citations are one of the biggest ranking factors for local sites.  While they don’t necessarily increase your rankings in the organic search results, they do benefit you in other ways.

If you’re not aware yet, the term “citations” refers to how your business is cited across the internet.  Google uses a standard NAP format, or Name, Address, and Phone Number.  That means every time your NAP is displayed online, Google counts it and compares it against other businesses in your local market and industry.

Whitespark helps you find new sources to get your NAP listed, while also helping you track the existing citations you already have.  If they’re ever changed or removed, you will be notified of the status and given a chance to repair them.

Step #3: Automate Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are another big factor that Google and other major search engines use to figure out how trustworthy and authoritative your business is, compared to others in your area and industry.  Their reputation builder helps you automate the process generating and managing customer reviews.

When a customer is happy, they can leave the review on your website, and then Whitespark will aggregate the data to more than 45 different review platforms.

Not only does the tool let you generate new customer reviews using your email platform, they also let you easily intercept negative feedback, and act on it to either save the customer and make them happy with your service, or at least rectify the situation so that the negative feedback doesn’t show up in other places.

Step #4: Find New Link Building Opportunities

The backlinks pointing to your website are the #1 ranking factor Google uses to determine where you should be ranking in the organic results.  

The more high quality, trustworthy, and authoritative links you have, compared to your competition, the higher you rank in the results.  That’s why it’s so important to focus on building them.  Most people start drawing blanks when it comes time to actually do the work, though.

Whitespark will help you identify opportunities to build links pointing to your site, from other websites that have their own traffic and are trusted in the search engines.  

It will also help you track the links pointing to your own site, as well as links that are pointing to your competitor’s sites, so that you can replicate their link profile.

Step #5: Track Your Offline Conversions

Tracking offline conversions is almost impossible without software tying your Analytics or other stat tracking software together with your CRM.  Tying them together is a fairly complicated task in most instances, but Whitespark tends to make the job easier for you.

A lot of websites use a “How did you hear about us?” form, but most don’t use it properly.  For most business owners, they’ll look at the information provided and then move onto whatever else they’re doing.

With Whitespark, though, you can save the information into a database and then generate accurate statistics to figure out which campaigns are delivering you the best results -- which gives you a chance to double down on those areas of your marketing plan.

Step #6: Pass Out Review Tutorials

When a customer comes into your store but doesn’t leave an email, you can still capitalize on the opportunity to receive a review from them about the service they received.

If they are happy, you can use the automated review generator to spread their testimonial out onto the 45 review platforms mentioned earlier.  If they’re not, you can use the data they’ve given you to improve your operations and figure out where you or your team may be dropping the ball.

Whitespark gives you a review handout that you can pass to customers, that contains the information you need to enter their review into the database, and then push it out to the review platforms major search engines use to display your business’ information in their search results.

Pulling It All Together

SEO can be a complex process, especially if you’ve never attempted to do it before.  Hiring an agency can set you up for failure, because of the sheer amount of “snake oil” salesmen that seem to flood the industry.

With Whitespark, you can either manage your own SEO campaigns, or you can make sure that your reputable SEO, web design, or marketing agency is actually performing the work they say they are performing -- and that they’re focusing on the right areas that will actually help grow your business’ search engine traffic.

 

James Crook - Author, Speaker, Web Marketer - is the best selling author of “Digitally Enhanced” and founder of marketing agency Choc Chip Digital. He works with hundreds of small businesses each year to grow their client base online, and is a passionate advocate for the power of authentic, heart-centred marketing. Widely recognised as a confident and articulate communicator, James draws on his love of digital technology to inspire, motivate and educate audiences across Australia.

July 08, 2016

75+ Simple SEO Steps To Follow When Launching A New Website (Infographic)

75+ Simple SEO Steps To Follow When Launching A New Website (Infographic)

The prospect of launching a new website can often give sleepless nights to many bloggers and entrepreneurs as they need to meticulously check all details before they can go live. Apart from selecting a unique and memorable domain name, they also need to ensure that their website is compatible across all browsers, that it works across all devices, be it desktops, mobile phones or tablets, that there are no bugs, etc. And more often than not, they miss out on the most critical thing that can make or break their brand online i.e. SEO.

You must optimize your website for search engines, understand how SEO works and implement the techniques and strategies to create a brand name for yourself in the online world.

However, for most people the process of optimizing their website for search engines can appear too challenging at first glance, but let me assure you that it is not as difficult as it may seem. All you need is a proper SEO set-up, one that includes all the best SEO practices and latest updates and you have started yourself off on the path to success.

Here’s a detailed SEO checklist that you will need to follow when launching a new website.

This checklist consists of 75+ simple SEO steps that can help you to make your site more accessible to search engines as well as users and help you

generate more traffic to your website, by improving your site’s performance on search engines. Best part, these 75+ techniques are encompassed in an impressive infographic which you can download for free.

So take a look at this stunning post and learn the best SEO techniques that will help to get your new site on its feet!

 

Nirav Dave is the Co-Founder of Capsicum Mediaworks, A Digital Marketing Agency based out of Mumbai, India, that specializes in all things WordPress & SEO. He worships WordPress and loves to read anything and everything written about this exceptional CMS its SEO Techniques.

Email nirav.dave@capsicum.in

Twitter Profile:https://twitter.com/nirav_dave

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