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Monthly Archives: October 2019

How to fix the top most painful website UX mistakes [examples]

October 8, 2019 No Comments

In today’s market of evolving website functionality, UX design has become more important than ever to businesses, globally. Here’s a roundup of top UX mistakes and how to fix them.

We want users to navigate our site freely, without obstacles and without friction. If your site makes finding information a challenge, you can bet your bottom dollar your competition already knows that, and is capitalizing on it.

Both UX and SEO are user-centric, which makes them a formidable pair when you get them right.

But get it wrong and you could see high bounce rates, low conversions and even a slight hit on your rankings as Google’s John Mu considers UX a ‘soft ranking factor’.

If you’re finding that users aren’t spending time on your site (or converting) there could be issues. We’re going to help you find out what they could be.

Cluttered navigation

Your site’s navigation is the gateway to your content and service pages. It’s where you (really) focus on building a funnel that is both frictionless and easy to understand.

Your navigation should be an architecture of well-structured, groups of pages; either commercial or informational (depending on your business).

example of cluttered navigation, bad for UX and SEO

Some of the most common mistakes we see are:

  • Links without value in the main menu
  • Excessive anchor text
  • Non-responsive (yep, it still happens in 2019)
  • Too many sub-menus
  • Relies on Javascript (with no fallback)

How to fix your site’s navigation

The golden rule here is to make your navigation accessible, responsive and clutter-free.

Think about your categories, your most valuable pages, where users spend most of their time and, more importantly, who your users are.

Forever 21 does a great job of linking through to the main areas of its site in a structured and visually pleasing way.

example of forever 21 good site navigation to main pages

 

Let’s say you run an ecommerce store for pets (because everybody loves animals).

You sell products for dogs, cats and rabbits. Here’s how you can structure your navigation…

example of good site navigation

Aesthetics are everything

People are visual creatures. We like websites to be aesthetically pleasing.

One of the biggest cardinal sins of UX is poor imagery, color choices and font selection. In fact, I’ll extend that into most areas of any online marketing; social media and display ads.

Here’s an example of all three on a single site:

example of bad site nav, has bad colors, fonts, and images

I don’t think I need to go much further into why this could be improved. But, I will go into the how.

Even the big brands get it wrong…

boohoo example of bad site navigation, how one poorly sized image affects UX of whole page

Notice how a single, poorly sized image has affected the feel of the whole page?

Fixing poor page structure

Things to consider when it comes to site layout are: margins, padding and alignment.

As you can see in the example above, alignment is a big issue and even a small amount of misaligned content/imagery can look unprofessional. Web pages work in columns which provide a structure for designers to create landing pages which can influence users’ focus and attention.

Combining text and images together is normally where layouts can become difficult to manage as we’ve already seen.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together a number of page layout examples below which make structuring your content and images simple.

  • Image aligned to the right of text:

example of image aligned to right of text

  • Text on top of image:

example of text on top of image

  • Text box overlaid on carousel image:

example of text overlaid on carousel image

Working with fonts

When you consider fonts, you need to think about how your content will appear at all sizes. From your header hierarchy to your bullet points.

We recommend limiting the amount of different fonts you use on your site. It’s easy to get carried away to give different sections of your site its own ‘feel’.

Once you’ve chosen a single font family or families, consider how you can create contrast between header and body content.

Single font selections with varying font weights can create a very visually pleasing contrast between sections of your page.

A poor font selection can even make a retail giant, such as Amazon, look untrustworthy and unprofessional.

example of poor font selection on Amazon product page

If you’re struggling for ideas on font pairing, you can find use Font Pair to put together different font types. It’s important to remember that font readability will play a huge part in how users consume content.

Consider:

  • Size
  • Width
  • Paragraph spacing
  • Weight

If you’re content currently looks like this:

example of how typography can go very wrong

I’m sorry, but you’re doing it wrong.

Even a minor change to fonts can cause the greatest of upsets to users. Just ask Amazon how it went for it.

Most CMS platforms will come with pre-installed fonts, but if you need more of a selection you can always use Google Fonts.

Finally, consider how your font appears on desktop and mobile.

If your font size is too big, it would take up too much of a mobile screen. If it’s too small, users will struggle to read it. It’s worth testing different sizes to cater for overall legibility.

This is an example of how Zazzle’s homepage appears on an iPhone X – using a font size of 18px.

example of site nav on mobile

Page load times

This shouldn’t be news to you by now.

There are multiple case studies available about how load times can impact conversions. So, I won’t go into that here.

The most common reason for page load times being high, is images. Images are something most site owners can change with little dev input. It ultimately comes down to saving the right file type, using the right dimensions and compressing high-resolution to preserve quality, whilst reducing size.

Savings in KB can often make a huge difference.

Take a look at what happens when image optimization is ignored.

example of slow page load times

For the sake of anonymity, we’ve hidden the brand’s identity.

However, this is the page we were greeted with for over five seconds. It’s a medium-sized ecommerce website that caters to children’s clothing.

By optimizing the images, we found that there were savings of up to 900kb – a significant weight lifted off of a browser.

Consider how this feels for users? First impressions are everything. What’s to stop traffic bouncing due to content/images not loading?

Think about that for a second!

How to fix image bloat

Firstly, you need to find if this is an issue.

You can run speed tests using Google’s Lighthouse or GTMetrix to get an understanding of which files are too heavy. It’s simple to find poorly optimized images for individual pages.

For batch analysis, we recommend using a tool like Sitebulb which has an incredibly in-depth section attributed to page speeds.

If your images are already on your site and you don’t really fancy opening Photoshop and resizing them all, you need to run batch compressions to reduce the file size.

There are a range of image compression tools available online, we recommend Compressor.io or TinyPNG.

It’s often thought that compressing images means poor quality. However, take a look at the image below and assess the quality difference  for yourselves.

example of image size reduced, image compressor
Image size reduced by 37%, over a 1.3MB saving

For those of you using WordPress, you can use the Smush.it plugin to compress and resize the images on your site.

New image formats

Google Developers introduced a new file format which is considered to be superior to its PNG and JPG equivalent.

It offers fantastic lossless and lossy compression for images.

Shaving milliseconds off your load time, especially on poor mobile connections, can stop a user from leaving your site. Google has said it actively rewards sites that are seen to make incremental improvements to site speed.

The great news?

More than 70% of browsers support this media format!

You can read more about WebP with Google Developers.

Pop-ups

No UX mistake roundup would be complete without mentioning pop-ups.

They seem to get more aggressive and more disruptive each year. You’ll find it hard to come across a website without them.

Sorry Sumo, but this is one of the worst.

example of a bad scroll-triggered popup on a website

This is considered a scroll-triggered pop-up. Whereby, the page waits for me to interact before the pop-up is shown.

There is one major rule that you must abide by: do not disrupt a user’s experience with pop-ups. We know this is a bold statement but… who likes pushy sales?

If you want to help users, do it natively.

Remember, we’re creating a frictionless journey.

How to use pop-ups — the right way

First things, don’t ever use interstitial pop-ups. It will annoy users and could defer the rendering of your page in search engines.

Both are bad for business.

We recommend using pop-ups in a more subtle manner.

Top banners

example of a brand CTA at the top of a screen

A perfect example of a branded CTA at the top of the screen. It’s non-invasive on both desktop and mobile.

Chatbots

good example of a website chatbot

Chatbots are a great way to help users find what they’re looking for, without disrupting their experience.

You can incorporate lead generation, discount codes or just offer general customer advice. It can help improve operational efficiency (reducing calls into the business) and improving conversion rates.

If a customer is finding it hard to find a particular area of the site, chatbots can remove this friction quickly to help retain users.

Native CTA banners

good example of native CTA banners

Another smart way to offer discounts to users is to integrate CTAs within product selections or even at category level as a header banner.

We find this to be a great way to preserve UX and still help drive incentivized clicks to sale or discount pages.

It’s always important to remember to design banners to match size and resolutions of your products.

Summary

UX is as important to your website as your content. Data shows that UX is still a bit of a mystery to many marketers, but it should be the most important factor on any site design.

Website innovation is encouraged but not at the cost of your users. When you’re considering how to improve your user’s experience, you need to remember how you feel navigating a poorly put together site.

Consider the easy fixes; fonts, images, colors and navigation first, before you think about CRO (conversion rate optimization).

Remember, we’re in a market driven by user behavior so, try your best to cater to that as much as you can and you’ll win!

Ryan Roberts is an SEO Lead at Zazzle Media.

The post How to fix the top most painful website UX mistakes [examples] appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Arm brings custom instructions to its embedded CPUs

October 8, 2019 No Comments

At its annual TechCon event in San Jose, Arm today announced Custom Instructions, a new feature of its Armv8-M architecture for embedded CPUs that, as the name implies, enables its customers to write their own custom instructions to accelerate their specific use cases for embedded and IoT applications.

“We already have ways to add acceleration, but not as deep and down to the heart of the CPU. What we’re giving [our customers] here is the flexibility to program your own instructions, to define your own instructions — and have them executed by the CPU,” ARM senior director for its automotive and IoT business, Thomas Ensergueix, told me ahead of today’s announcement.

He noted that Arm always had a continuum of options for acceleration, starting with its memory-mapped architecture for connecting GPUs and today’s neural processor units over a bus. This allows the CPU and the accelerator to run in parallel, but with the bus being the bottleneck. Customers can also opt for a co-processor that’s directly connected to the CPU, but today’s news essentially allows Arm customers to create their own accelerated algorithms that then run directly on the CPU. That means the latency is low, but it’s not running in parallel, as with the memory-mapped solution.

arm instructions

As Arm, argues, this setup allows for the lowest-cost (and risk) path for integrating customer workload acceleration, as there are no disruptions to the existing CPU features and still allows its customers to use the existing standard tools they are already familiar with.

custom assemblerFor now, custom instructions will only be available to be implemented in the Arm Cortex-M33 CPUs, starting in the first half of 2020. By default, it’ll also be available for all future Cortex-M processors. There are no additional costs or new licenses to buy for Arm’s customers.

Ensergueix noted that as we’re moving to a world with more and more connected devices, more of Arm’s customers will want to optimize their processors for their often very specific use cases — and often they’ll want to do so because by creating custom instructions, they can get a bit more battery life out of these devices, for example.

Arm has already lined up a number of partners to support Custom Instructions, including IAR Systems, NXP, Silicon Labs and STMicroelectronics .

“Arm’s new Custom Instructions capabilities allow silicon suppliers like NXP to offer their customers a new degree of application-specific instruction optimizations to improve performance, power dissipation and static code size for new and emerging embedded applications,” writes NXP’s Geoff Lees, SVP and GM of Microcontrollers. “Additionally, all these improvements are enabled within the extensive Cortex-M ecosystem, so customers’ existing software investments are maximized.”

In related embedded news, Arm also today announced that it is setting up a governance model for Mbed OS, its open-source operating system for embedded devices that run an Arm Cortex-M chip. Mbed OS has always been open source, but the Mbed OS Partner Governance model will allow Arm’s Mbed silicon partners to have more of a say in how the OS is developed through tools like a monthly Product Working Group meeting. Partners like Analog Devices, Cypress, Nuvoton, NXP, Renesas, Realtek,
Samsung and u-blox are already participating in this group.


Enterprise – TechCrunch



Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics

October 8, 2019 No Comments

Link building is obviously one of the most important steps in your journey towards achieving that perfect SEO score.

Based on the kind of business that you are involved with and based on your target customer, it is true that your SEO measures, as well as your Link building techniques, are going to differ. The practice of link building and the art of creating a great link profile can immensely help your business meet its end goals. Again, this end goal is going to differ from business to business, whether it is a B2B business or a B2C business.

Over the surface, we all know that building links helps in building relationships. These relationships are an important pursuit for the growth of any kind of business. Regardless of the fact of you being a B2B business or a B2C business, strong links will always help you earn a referral, which will stabilize or increase the traffic to your website; hence, more leads and more sales. Lastly, when you take care of your link building activities seriously, either as a B2B business or a B2C business, you help promote your brand.

Now that we have briefly discussed the relevance of link building for B2B business as well as a B2C business, it is time to ponder over the next obvious question: What is the difference between B2B and B2C link building tactics? Or is there is a wide difference between the tactics followed for the two? Can tactics for the two be interchangeably used? We will know as we move ahead in this blog post. However, before we jump into the meat of the blog post, here is a brief explanation about B2B business and B2C business.

B2B business vs B2C business

Here is the major difference between the two modes of business operation:

B2B business

B2B business stands for business-to-business. Under this kind of business, the transactions are being done between two businesses, that is, the sale of products and services between two or more businesses.

B2C business

B2C stands for business-to-consumer that is when a business is dealing directly with end-consumers to sell its products or services.

Understanding this key difference is important because as we mentioned earlier, based on the kind of business and your target customer, your SEO measures, as well as your link building techniques, will differ. So, now let’s talk about the key differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics.

Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics

We all know that no business can thrive solely on the act of randomly asking other entities for backlinks. Based on their audience and the likes/dislikes of their respective audiences, these B2B and B2C businesses will have to pick up relevant tactics and trade them with relevant sites so that they can eventually create a very strong link profile.

So, let’s talk about the different approaches between the two.

B2B Link Building Tactics

  • Based on the audience, a B2B audience is mainly composed of vendors, board members, and stakeholders. Now, these members from the audience will browse through B2B websites. Setting up a blog is a compulsion for B2B websites because they serve as the point of high-value information/solution source. Choosing a website/domain name from sources such as namefresh.com helps these businesses get the right address for their business offerings. In a B2B business, the audience is mainly looking for other businesses to trade in intangible technology, software, and services.
  • Also, the lead count on B2B link campaigns will always drive a low volume over a definite period of time. This is mostly because of the fact that an average B2B transaction takes a lot of decision-making time. In that case, the completion of a transaction can take anywhere between 3-24 months. The long sales cycle has a huge effect on the link building tactics employed here.
  • Link building for B2B business is primarily about doing the solid groundwork for putting together educational prospects for the B2B audience. This means that more emphasis is put on relevant sites that will educate prospects about the product or service offering.
  • Link building in B2B business is comparatively more hard work. Hence, they are required to incorporate keywords from all levels of the buyer’s journey. Its primary motive is to reduce the time taken for decision making and complete the buyer’s cycle at the earliest.
  • Influencer outreach, Infographics, White papers, eBooks, and guest posting in industry publications is a major link building tactic for B2B businesses. Most of the other content that B2B companies want to push through link building is about the product pages and our solutions pages. ‘Partners’ is also a great real estate for link building for B2B companies.
  • Other popular B2B link building tactics include Wikipedia links, affiliate link building, forum posting, expert round-up articles, guest blogging, conference sponsorships, and HARO (Help a Reporter Out) among others.
  • Forum posting is a great way to build your links as a B2B business. This is also a great way to provide insights to your target audience. However, the true motive here should be to help your forum audience and not plug your own site every time because this is going to create issues. Forums like Quora and Reddit are a great place to expand your link profile. Becoming a helpful contributor will help you scale your link profile to a great extent.
  • LinkedIn, as a social platform, is the largest network of professionals on a single social media platform. B2B companies can effectively use it as a medium to target their audience and deliver relevant, informative content apart from link building.

B2C link building tactics

B2C link building is for the purpose of garnering everybody’s attention. This link building activity is done for the audience which is active on multiple social media channels. This audience has a lot of content to consume and as a result of this super tough competition among B2C marketers, garnering all the attention for the brand is the primary purpose.

In a B2C company, to be actually able to leverage the content on your website through a strategic yet personalized link building campaign is all the deal. The overall aim is to drive backlinks and increase rankings as the main goal. Since there is so much content to give out and so many resources to exchange links with, B2C links tend to grow at a faster rate.

  • For B2C, the best link building tactic is to optimize links for all the primary social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As a platform, Facebook holds a more significant value to B2C companies. B2C companies have been using Facebook to move the focus of the target customers on the company culture in order to represent your company’s brand and image.
  • Link building strategy for B2C often tends to have a click-bait approach. Again, this is because of the unending competition and the duration of transactions that happen within minutes. Hence, there is no time to lose.
  • Most successful link building strategy in B2C business is through brand affiliation which happens to be a huge part of successful link building. The brand affiliation tactic has come across as the ultimate conversion strategy. Brand affiliation > Link building > Strong SEO > Lead formation > Conversion > Sale > Brand loyalty
  • In a B2C setup, product reviews work like a charm and can help a business garner a lot of authentic backlinks from sources that either put up genuine product reviews or paid ones. In this process, the name of the brand gets validated as well.
  • Guest blogging can be a savior when you are looking to accomplish link building as a B2C business. Strategic guest blogging can work wonders for your business as blogs generate an average of 97% more inbound links and 55% more site visitors. Imagine the number of links that you can build with strategic guest blogging when done the right way.

Endnote

To be honest, there are a lot more B2B and B2C Link Building tactics that are widely used by marketers from around the world. However, in this blog post, our approach was to help you figure out the core idea behind the reason as to why there is a difference between B2B and B2C link building tactics and strategies. Also, the ones mentioned above are permissible by Google Algo and they won’t end up getting your website penalized. By this point in the article, we hope that you have managed to grasp the differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics and strategies.

If you would like to provide us feedback on the context, please drop a comment below.

The post Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


5 days left to save on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019

October 7, 2019 No Comments

A show of hands, startuppers. Who’s ready to save some money on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019, our premier tech conference that takes place on 11-12 December? Then listen up, because our super early bird pricing ends in just five days. Right now, passes start at €345 + VAT and, depending on which pass you choose, you can save up to €600. Ka-ching!

Save your euros. Buy your passes to Disrupt Berlin before the Friday, 11 October at 11:59 p.m. (CEST) deadline. Then plan your strategy to make sure you take full advantage of Disrupt. Let’s look at what’s in store.

We’re talking two full days of programming. A roster of world-class speakers and panelists — founders, investors and icons. These are folks who have done the hard work in the trenches. They know how to succeed, and they’ll share their experiences, insights and advice.

We’re thrilled that our roster includes the likes of Julian Stiefel, co-founder/co-CEO of Tourlane. The company’s ongoing mission? Using a recent round of funding ($ 47 million) to address the challenging problems associated with booking group travel.

You’ll also hear from Jen Rubio, co-founder and chief brand officer of Away, one of the most successful consumer brands in years. How successful? The company, which launched in 2015, has sold more than 1 million suitcases, raised a $ 100 million round at a $ 1.4 billion valuation earlier this year and turned profitable in 2018. We’re guessing she might have just one or two tips for aspiring direct-to-consumer entrepreneurs.

Don’t miss the legendary entrepreneurial showdown that is Startup Battlefield. This epic pitch competition has, since its inception, launched 857 companies that have gone on to collective raise $ 8.9 billion and produce 113 exits. Be in the room and cheer on some of the world’s top early-stage startups as they compete for the $ 50,000 equity-free prize, investor love and global media attention.

Ready to network? There’s no better place to start than Startup Alley, the Disrupt expo floor. You’ll find hundreds of innovative early-stage startups exhibiting their tech products, services and platforms. Make connecting with the people who can help move your business forward by using CrunchMatch.

Our business-matching platform makes it easier to find and connect with people who share your business interests. You create a profile listing your specific criteria and goals. The CrunchMatch algorithm suggests matches and, subject to your approval, proposes meeting times and sends meeting requests.

When you’re in Startup Alley, be sure to keep an eye out for our TC Top Picks. These companies, curated and selected by TechCrunch editors, represent the best early-stage startups in these categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education.

An amazing slate of speakers, a world-class pitch competition, hundreds of exhibitors and full-tilt networking. That’s just a small taste of what’s waiting for you at Disrupt Berlin 2019  on 11-12 December. Why pay more than necessary? The super early bird pricing disappears on Friday, 11 October at 11:59 p.m. (CEST) deadline. Buy your passes here today.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


Startups – TechCrunch


Facebook Ads Event Tracking Tool

October 7, 2019 No Comments

This blog post reviews what the Facebook event tracking tool is, why you should use it, and a step by step process for how to track events with it.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Moz Local Search Analytics and industry trends: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird and Rob Bucci

October 7, 2019 No Comments

Moz is known and loved by many in the SEO community not only for their tools, but also for the ways they’ve contributed to SEO education via their blog, Whiteboard Fridays, Search Ranking Factors study, and more.

We caught up with Moz’s Sarah Bird and Rob Bucci to learn about what they’ve been working on and trends they’re seeing in SEO. Sarah is CEO of Moz and has been at the company since joining as the eighth employee in 2007. She’s helped grow the company from a few hundred customers to now more than 37,000. Sarah holds a J.D. and previously worked as an attorney before getting into the startup space.

2018 Sarah Bird Moz CEO headshot

Rob is VP of R&D at Moz. He previously was CEO of STAT Search Analytics, which he helped build since 2011 and which was acquired by Moz in October 2018. 

rob bucci VP R&D moz

Their company is headquartered in Seattle, where Sarah is based, and they also have a large office in Vancouver, where Rob is based.

In this conversation, we focus mostly on Moz’s interest in and work on local search, as well as better understanding queries the way that Google understands them.

SEW: Tell us about what you’ve been working on lately around local search?

Sarah: We’re really excited — we think this is the golden age of search. More people are searching than ever before, and they have more devices and opportunities to use when searching. That’s come also with changes at Google of not wanting to just be a portal or a gateway to websites, but to actually allow users to transact and interact right there on Google property. Google is more of a destination now and not just a gateway.

What we’ve noticed is that while we may have more searches than ever before, not all those searches are created equal. Some searches are simply not commercizable anymore for anyone but Google. But we think you still have some great opportunities, particularly in the local space.

Research coming out from Google, others, and our own internal research is really showing that local intent searches lead to a purchase much more quickly.

And it’s hyper-local. You can get a different search result on one street corner, then walk four blocks and get a different search result on that corner. It means that more people can actually play the search game. There’s much more SEO opportunity in local.l

A big theme at Moz right now is focusing on making local search more understood and easier to do for SEOs.

Rob: In today’s Google, there’s really, for the vast majority of queries, no such thing as a national SERP anymore. Everything is local. Google gets a lot of local signals, especially from mobile devices. And the mobile device doesn’t say “I’m searching from the U.S.,” it says “I’m searching from the corner of 5th avenue and Tucker Street.” Google takes that information and uses it to create a SERP that has all sorts of content relevant to that specific local area. 

We’ve been helping our users adapt to that reality by building out a set of functionality that we call Local Market Analytics. It allows users to get actual, on-the-ground reality that a searcher would see in the area where they’re searching.

Part of how we do that is by sampling within a given market. Let’s say a market is Toronto, San Francisco, or Seattle. Local Market Analytics would sample from several different zip codes within that market to pull out an average rank or average appearance on that SERP. So truly, this is the actual appearance in that market.

We have studies that have shown that even for sites that don’t have brick-and-mortar locations, their performance varies dramatically depending on where their searcher or their customer is searching from. 

We hope that this functionality better allows our users to adapt to this new reality and make sure they can have the right data to build the foundation of their strategies.

Moz Local vs Local Market Analytics

Sarah: We at Moz are dedicated to local search because we know it’s so commercializable and because we know there’s so much organic opportunity. Because it’s so hyper-local and focused, there are some really interesting ways of thinking when you view local search.

We’ve relaunched our Moz Local product. The new Moz Local allows you to do even more than the prior version. We’re enabling, even more, review management which is super important for search right now, as well as more Google posts and more subtle GMB management. Moz Local is separate from Local Market Analytics, and there’s a good reason for that.

With the new Moz Local, you really need to have a physical location in order for it to be valuable.

But Local Market Analytics doesn’t require you to have a physical location. It just requires that the kind of queries that you care about will vary by location.

Rob: For local SEOs, the spectrum of things that they care about is varied. On one hand, they’ll care about the appearance of their business’s local listings — the accuracy of that data, review management, and having the right distribution partners for those listings. Moz Local, especially the new version that we’ve launched, handles that side of the equation very well.

Where we believe the market has been traditionally underserved has to do with the performance of a website itself in organic search results. As those organic search results get increasingly hyper-local, we’ve found that local SEOs have been underserved with the quality of data they’ve had in order to build their local strategies.

Local Market Analytics seeks to solve that part of the problem: performance of their websites in hyper-local organic search.

What kind of feedback have you gotten about the tool so far?

Rob: There’s a ton of excitement. We talked about this at MozCon, and it really resonated with people: this idea that “Yes, I search from my phone all the time and see a lot of local results, even when I’m not looking for a local business, and I see my search change.” Or agencies that have customers in three different areas and they’re asking why the rankings they’re sending aren’t the same as what their clients are seeing, because they’re impacted by local.

I think a lot of people intuitively understand that this is where Google is. Google is by nature right now intensely hyper-local. So there’s a great hunger for this kind of data. Historically, people have thought they just couldn’t get it.

A lot of times people get accustomed to the idea that we can’t get what we need from Google — that the data just isn’t available. 

So when we’re able to show them that the data actually is available, and that we’ve built functionality around it, there’s a lot of excitement.

Local Search Volume: New functionality

We also rolled out our new Local Search Volume functionality. It’s a brand-new data point that people traditionally haven’t been able to get. 

Most products on the market can tell you “search volume in the U.S. is X and in Germany it’s Y.” That’s very broad — nationwide. But when we care about tracking the market of Toronto or San Fran or Memphis, we want to know what our search volume is in that city. People have traditionally thought that they couldn’t get that data, but we’ve now made it available, and we’re really excited about that.

Right now, we’re doing it on a city basis, and we’ve rolled it out to states. I don’t want to over-promise. I would love to have it be more specific, and that’s certainly something that we’re thinking about.

What’s going to be really cool is when we can get to a place where we help people understand demand per capita in their markets. 

Let’s take an example. We might think that Brooklyn is the epicenter of pizza. But when we actually look at New Hampshire and the number of searches there versus how many people are in that market, we might find that the demand per capita for pizza is greater in New Hampshire than in Brooklyn.

Being able to show people if there’s a big untapped opportunity — I’m really looking forward to empowering that kind of analysis.

Sarah: This ties into what I alluded to before – we need to understand queries and types of search results like Google does. Search results vary dramatically nowadays, with all kinds of SERP features. All of this impacts whether there’s a click at all, and certainly the clickthrough rate.

We are doing a bunch of R&D right now to make sure that we can help our audience of SEOs understand queries like Google, and also understand what a search result might look like for a kind of query, and what impact that could have on CTR. This stuff is more in the R&D territory. Local Search Volume is part of that interest and investment on our part.

When it comes to the distribution of clicks between organic, paid, and no-click searches, some people see the rise of paid and no-click searches as disheartening. You sound optimistic. What’s your response to those trends?

Sarah: Absolutely for some part of searches happening, if you’re not Google you can’t take advantage of it. The value stays with Google — that is absolutely true. But the overall number of searches continues to rise — that’s also a trend. 

And I believe very strongly that just because there isn’t a click doesn’t mean there isn’t some value created. 

We have these old ways of thinking about whether or not you’re successful in SEO. Those ways are deeply entrenched, but we need to let go of them a bit. Traffic to your website is no longer an accurate measure of the value you’re getting from search. It might be a minimum — that’s at least the value you’re getting. But it’s nowhere near the maximum. 

I think that brand marketers, who come from different disciplines, have always known that visibility — how you show up and how compelling it is — that those things matter, even if you can’t measure it like old-school SEO or PPC.

There’s a danger in equating an increase in no-click searches with a decrease in the value of SEO. 

We should shift our attention to not just “am I showing up” and “am I getting traffic,” but “how am I showing up in search results?” 

What does it look like when someone lands on your search result? Are they getting a phone number? Are they getting what they want, the answer they need? Is your search result compelling? 

That’s part of what’s driving our interest in thinking more holistically about what a search result looks like and feels like, and how users interact with it. We want to know more about how you’re showing up and how Google thinks about queries.

Those two concepts: How does Google understand queries, and what does a search result look like, feel like, and how does the searcher experience it — those are related.

Rob: There’s still a ton of value out there, especially just for building a sense of credibility and brand authority. 

We live in a world, right now at least, where we’ll continue to see Google chipping away at these opportunities. They’re a business and they’re trying to maximize shareholder value. They have a natural inclination to grab as much as they can. 

We shouldn’t get despondent because of that. There’s still a lot of value there. Even with no-click SEO, you can still deliver a lot of brand authority. 

What are other trends that SEOs should be paying attention to?

Rob: One of the other areas we’re thinking about is how do we better help our customers think about queries in the same way Google thinks about queries? 

Google goes a lot deeper than just understanding which words mean what. They look at the intent of the searcher — what are they trying to solve? We’re really interested in helping people think about queries in that way.

We have some really interesting R&D work right now around intent and understanding what Google thinks an intent is. How can our users use that information to adapt their content strategies? That’s an area that’s really ripe and that people in the industry should be paying attention to. It’s not going anywhere. I’m really excited about that.

How do you go about understanding how Google understands intent?

Rob: Without getting too deep into it, there’s a number of ways that one could do it. One might be inclined to look at the NLP (natural language processing) approach — what might these words mean when used together and what might they say about the state of mind of the searcher? That’s a viable approach rooted in NLP and ML (machine learning).

Another approach might be to look at the SERP itself. Google has already decided what it is. I can look at what Google’s decided the signals are to what the intent is. Both of these are approaches one might use.

SEO is an ever-changing industry. What skills should people be focused on developing or learning about in the next few months?

Sarah: From a skills perspective, this is what I’ve always loved about SEO and what makes it challenging to be great at, but something that’s critical nonetheless — it’s a great blend of art and science. 

You have to be technical, but you also have to be able to put your mind into the user. Or rather, you have to be able to think about what Google will think about what the user thinks. 

What could the ultimate user be trying to accomplish, and how will Google follow that? 

You also have to have a strong technical foundation, so you know how to go out and execute. But those aren’t necessarily new skills.

Rob: I think people always look for what’s new, but sometimes we overlook the basic fundamentals which never go out of style. It’s about reaffirming what’s really important. 

There are two basic skills I think all SEOs need:

  1. You need to be able to interpret data. You need to be able to look at a bunch of disparate data points and weave them together into a narrative. What is it telling you? In doing that, people need to get really good at overcoming their own self-serving biases about interpreting data in a way that’s convenient or how they think the world should line up. The ability to interpret data is critical to an SEO who’s going to succeed at finding new opportunities that no one else has spotted.
  2. Understanding how to talk to people in a way that will get them to do what you want them to do. That really comes down to understanding how your content should be optimized and what you should be saying on your pages. What problem are you trying to solve for them and how are you trying to solve it?

Those are good fundamental skills I think people should continue to focus on, rather than thinking about, “I need to learn Python.” That’s a lot of distraction and it’s very specialized. 

Learning Python or R might seem sexy because technical SEO is having a renaissance right now. But at the end of the day, it’s not a basic skill you need to succeed in SEO.

SEO is a broad career and discipline. If you find yourself in a role that requires you to know that stuff, great. But I wouldn’t make that sweeping advice to the entire SEO industry because I think it’s a bit of a distraction.

Thanks so much to Sarah and Rob for talking with us!

Ps — They’re running a pilot program for their Local Market Analytics tool. It’s invite-only but anyone can register interest to be selected. They’re quite excited about it and would love feedback from the industry.

The post Moz Local Search Analytics and industry trends: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird and Rob Bucci appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Snap CEO isn’t expecting much from Facebook antitrust investigations

October 5, 2019 No Comments

Facebook’s relentless feature copy of Snapchat has been seen as one of the chief examples of the company’s competitive overreach, but Snap CEO Evan Spiegel isn’t sure whether antitrust activity from the government is going to change the company’s near-term prospects of competing with Instagram.

“I mean the history of antitrust would basically say that these investigations last like seven to 10 years or something like that and that basically nothing happens,” Spiegel said onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. “I think a lot can change in the seven to 10 years that this process will take.”

Though Spiegel didn’t seem to have the most faith in the process giving Snap a more level playing field to take on Facebook, he did say there were clear public concerns with how Facebook was responding to competition in the market.

“The thing that everyone’s concerned about is that they’ve seen that competition has been what has motivated Facebook to make those changes over time,” Spiegel said onstage. “So, if you look at Snapchat, the inventions that we create around ephemerality, around privacy, those have really motivated Facebook to dramatically change their product offering in order to compete.”

Whether Facebook was specifically suppressing Snapchat content, Spiegel said, “It’s hard to say and I you know I’d probably be stupid to talk about it here.

“I think what everyone is concerned about is what they would characterize as anti-competitive practices, so, for example, you know, people upload snaps they create on Snapchat to Instagram, all the time, and then Instagram suppresses you know the Snapchat hashtag or they suppress people’s ability to post snap codes as their profile picture or suppress their ability to link to Snapchat on their profile. And that’s an example of anti-competitive behavior.”

Spiegel also confirmed that the company had put together a list of some of Facebook’s competitive moments called Project Voldemort, noting that the list had been started several years ago. The initiative’s existence was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“I didn’t make it, our legal team put it together,” Spiegel said. “I think just because they kept hearing from our partners all of these things that Facebook was doing and it was actually so many that people couldn’t actually remember them all so they started writing them down.”


Social – TechCrunch


HTC’s new CEO discusses the phonemaker’s future

October 5, 2019 No Comments

On September 17, HTC announced that cofounder Cher Wang would be stepping down as CEO. In her place, Yves Maitre stepped into the role of Chief Executive, after more than a decade at French telecom giant, Orange.

It’s a tough job at an even tougher time. The move comes on the tail of five consecutive quarterly losses and major layoffs, including a quarter of the company’s staff, which were let go in July of last year.

It’s a far fall for a company that comprised roughly 11 percent of global smartphone sales, some eight years ago. These days, HTC is routinely relegated to the “other” column when these figures are published.

All of this is not to say that the company doesn’t have some interesting irons in the fire. With Vive, HTC has demonstrated its ability to offer a cutting edge VR platform, while Exodus has tapped into an interest in exploring the use of blockchain technologies for mobile devices.

Of course, neither of these examples show any sign of displacing HTC’s once-booming mobile device sales. And this January’s $ 1.1 billion sale of a significant portion of its hardware division to Google has left many wondering whether it has much gas left in the mobile tank.

With Wang initially scheduled to appear on stage at Disrupt this week, the company ultimately opted to have Maitre sit in on the panel instead. In preparation for the conversation, we sat down with the executive to discuss his new role and future of the struggling Taiwanese hardware company.

5G, XR and the future of the HTC brand

Mobile – TechCrunch


4 New Jobs Posted on the PPC Hero Job Board

October 5, 2019 No Comments

New jobs have been posted to PPC Hero’s Job Board, including new positions open at Cornett, T-Mobile, & Clearlink. Here’s a brief look at some of the positions available: CornettLexington, KYRole: Senior Digital Media Planner/Buyer The SR.  DIGITAL MEDIA PLANNER/BUYER strategically leads media planning for accounts at Cornett with a focus on digital mediums. This position will work closely with […]

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