Category Archives: Analytics

From Blah to Fab, Freshen Up Your Web Copy Like These Sizzling Sites

By My Web Writers

The dreaded website.  You’ve been delaying that “website refresh” (for like, months now.)  Why is it so difficult to keep an online presence current? Most likely, it’s because writing website copy as a non-web writer can be very intimidating and time consuming. There are search engine optimization guidelines to garner the best possible results, flair to create, and brand enforcement guidelines. Sometimes, it’s easier to just leave the website alone.

But making (and updating) a great website doesn’t mean adding thousands of words of copy. You just have to choose the right words. Take apple.com, for example. Known for its minimalist style, this website doesn’t inundate you with words; in fact, you’ll be blown away by the size of the main image (usually an ad for its latest and greatest product) on its homepage. It utilizes perhaps the most important trick in website copywriting: succinct headlines and subtitles. If you’re looking for something other than its latest release, the navigation pane at the top is simple and clean. And Apple’s search tool is highly effective in helping you find specific information if you want to drill down further.

Another great, easy-to-read website is Groupon.com. With the flattering green background, easy-to-read details, and simple font, browsing through Groupon is better than a walk through a mall on any given day – and probably less expensive! Once you click on a deal, the copy is succinct, usually a bit entertaining, and easy-to-follow. Groupon speaks one-on-one with the customer, one of the most important tools in a web copywriter’s bag. The vendor site is also a breeze at grouponworks.com. Success stories in video form line the top half of the page, and navigation tools are just below.

Would you believe a public library’s annual report is one of our favorite sizzling sites? The St. Louis County Library District 2012 Annual Report is a unique presentation. It’s chock full of visuals (videos, pictures, graphs), easy-to-read content with great font choices, simple navigation tools, and links to its website when necessary. It’s a unique way to tell a story, from a library, the home of many stories.

Mailchimp.com subscribes to the belief that less is more. “Send better email,” it says on its homepage. By stating this one fact, there is no question about the sole purpose of MailChimp, which is yet another web writer’s trick. They even have compelling, well written success stories in their MailChimp at Work section.

In general, when freshening your web copy:

  • make sure that titles and subtitles include that page’s keywords,
  • check for grammar, spelling, and usage issues.
  • run questionable copy through Grammarly and Copyscape.
  • make sure sales, product, and seasonal information is up-to-date.
  • check analytics to see which pages visitors usually flow to before and after visiting the page you’re working.
  • update broken, old, or non-converting hyperlinks.
  • try writing to capture a new audience.  Add semantically relevant keywords to the copy.

There are many other factors to consider when writing your web copy, too. Font style and size, colors, images, accurate and concise page titles, use of white space, and killer headlines all count toward the legibility of your website. So tell us, what are your favorite websites? What makes yours easy to read?

~Joanne


Other Posts:

Ten Content Tips for the Zero Moment of Truth Marketing Plan

My Mother Had ALS

Fat Brain Toys and User-Generated Content

Guidelines for Writing E-Tail Category Content

Seven Local Angles to Address in Content

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Filed under Analytics, Audience, Blog Writing Tips, Capturing Audience, Content, E-Tail Category Content, Grammar, Revising & Proofreading, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Content Improved our Client’s Keyword Reach and Searchlight Mapped It

By My Web Writers

Today, I’m off to the 2013 Conductor C3 conference in New York to talk about actionable, content strategies and ideas.  As a sneak preview, huddle in for a snapshot of how adding and refreshing content was successful for one of My Web Writers’s clients. We used Searchlight to map the progress.

Before Content:

It amazes me how some Internet Marketers glibly preach, “content is king” and yet remove content fields at the tops and bottoms of their web pages.  Why?

Some e-tailers believe that words clutter a page’s look, while others lack the manpower, planning, and budget for content.  “Pictures are worth a thousand words,” right?

A year ago, one of My Web Writers’s clients embarked on a site redesign.  Two weeks before launch the redesign team informed us of the project and that they needed a lot of content quickly.  Unfortunately, this customer did not plan for content and thus didn’t have the budget until 2013 to add content to a significant number of blank pages.  Sales and SEO suffered during the wait.

Our team was able to put the final pages of content up by February 2013.  Then, we went back and attacked pages that hadn’t been touched in over a year.  Because we kept spreadsheets of what had been refreshed and when it had been refreshed and had the advantage of using Searchlight, Conductor’s keyword tool and Google Analytics, we were able to identify which urls needed new and improved content.For Slideshow- Where to start optimizing

What Kind of Content?

In 2012, I’d worked with Conductor’s Searchlight tool for about a year before attending the C3 conference as a participant.  During one of the evening socials, a camera crew interviewed me about my Searchlight experience.

This year, I’m going to touch on what content to add and where to add it on your website.  In general, deliver the content that your keywords promise, be mindful of spelling and grammar, show and don’t tell the story, and reach out to customers to help you with user-generated content.  Employ writers who combine product knowledge, category facts, and persona data with SEO, marketing, and customer-service savvy.

After Content

June- August 18, 2013 Conductor Keyword Pipeline Graph

By April we were beginning to see traction with not only the client’s most strategic keywords, but a plethora of other industry terms that had been under-performing, simply because picture-only pages now offered conversion-inspiring content.

Sales improved.

Do you have a similar story?

By all means, if you’ll be at #C3NY, please come over, say “hi,” and share your story!

~Jean


Other Posts:

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Tell a Better Story: Tips and Tricks from Mark Twain

Content for Less, Fat Brain Toys Involves Customers in Content Creation

Learn from Websites with Above-the-Fold Content

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Conferences, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Keywords, My Web Writers Introduction

What is Bing’s Subjectship and How does it Compare to Google’s Authorship?

UPDATE 2015: Google’s Authorship was scrapped by the end of 2013. We believe My Web Writers was a voice that contributed to this end. In an article, Forbes details the finale. Read My 2013 SMX Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship. About that time, Bing’s subjectship faded into an abyss, as well.

By Natalie

Authorship screen shot

Webmasters are always looking for the next great SEO boost. Google Authorship was launched this past year, so it was only natural that Bing would fire back with its own version, Bing Subjectship. Understanding the two and how they compare can help content writers and other authors and readers decide which they prefer from the world’s two favorite search engines.

Google Authorship

Although just a youngster, Google Authorship is proving itself as a successful tool to drive traffic to websites, especially blogs.  Look at the Google search to the right for “Google Authorship.” The photos you see are the authors of the articles.

Since Google added Authorship to its articles, the click-through rates are much higher than they were before.

Bing’s Subjectship

Bing decided to compete with Google via Bing Subjectship. Instead of seeing a picture of who wrote a specific article or blog post, you’ll see a picture of the subject matter.  If I wrote a popular blog post on a famous singer, my picture would show up next to the search result in Google, but Bing would show a picture of the famous singer and the picture might not be one I even used in my post.  Subjectship appears to be in an experimental stage.

This video further highlights some of the differences between Authorship and Subjectship:

After we contacted Bing for more information about Subjectship, we received the following reply.

It’s me again Docs from Bing Technical Support. We apologize for the delay of our response. We would like to provide you an update from our product group about your inquiry on Bing Subjectship. Allow me to discuss this with you.

Bing Support provides assistance for customers needing help with Bing and the features within Bing. We are unable to provide any additional information regarding Bing Subjectship nor any future plans and releases pertaining to Bing.

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in Bing.
Best Regards,

Docs
Bing Technical Support

So which do you find more appealing- a photo of who wrote the article or blog post, or a photo of who the post is about?

Leave a comment

Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Blog Writing Tips, Content Marketing, Holiday Blog, Pictures, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking

What Would History Say About Google Authorship?

I know this association is going to tick off a few, but as one of the older people now in the Internet realm, my intent is to cause pause before running out and linking blogs or websites to Google Authorship profiles in order to secure better rankings on SERP’s for personal brands.  I’m a Mom, so I’m just going to say what Moms say, “If everyone were jumping off a cliff, would you jump off, too?”

Truth be told, I like Google and I’m all about being with the times.  I know it’s not going to seem that way, but I do understand the benefits of claiming your brand.  I’m just really wrestling with the herd mentality of doing something because Google says we have to do it. The industry reaction appears to be admiration and support through blog posts and conference panel discussions.  Get the writers on board and you can change the world.  If you control the content makers and their careers, you can control the content (to a degree).

I’m also old enough to know how fast what seems indestructible can change.  I have an uncle that spent his life in a nursing home after serving overseas in combat during WWII.  Forgetting history is not an option for me – really for any of us.  My (our) ancestors would be disappointed if I (we) did.

What if Google’s leadership and vision ever changed – forcibly or through death or sale?  Would you want your personal identity stored in a data base for the new owners?  Some of you are more skeptical of our current president or gun control then you are of handing over your identity and all linking to a search company’s data bases.  True, we’re already tracked in so many ways, that for most of us, our identities were compromised years ago when we first opened our Facebook accounts.  But, let’s just hand over more?

As a reminder, between 1939 and 1945, the below image was a reality.  Hitler would have really appreciated access to profiles that connected the dots to everything people did or thought, everyone they communicated with, and everything they liked or disliked.

It’s an awful association, but profiling happened.  It’s not a new idea.  People were identified and categorized, while scared onlookers stood by, watched, and participated because if they didn’t they might lose what they have. Those who spoke up were shunned or eliminated.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

While the hot talk is about securing your brand, just don’t forget what happened a few decades ago.  Prisoners from this era would probably shake their heads at our naivety.  I’m not so sure that I can completely dismiss their lives by saying, “Yeah, but this is a different time and place.”

I also don’t have a good answer for reconciling what was learned, while moving into today.  I’m signing this post with my first name knowing full well, that even without a profile, you can research who I am.  The best I can do is write to warn the writer, who hasn’t become public, to first carefully consider the potential consequences before publishing online.  ~Jean

UPDATE 2015: Google’s Authorship was scrapped by the end of 2013. We believe Jean was a voice that contributed to this end. In an article, Forbes details the finale. Jean was one of the few in the search industry bold enough to ask Google to consider another perspective. (Read My 2013 SMX Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship.) Thanks for listening, Google.

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Business Strategy, Conferences, Google Plus, Leadership, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

National Brands without Physical Stores Struggle to Rank for Local and other 2013 #SMX West Insights

My Web Writers Attended #SMX 2013

My Web Writers Attended #SMX 2013

By My Web Writers

How can You Rank for Local, if You’re a National Brand without Local Stores?

Good luck.  There are few alternatives to building physical stores.  When a user types in a qualifying term like “pants Toledo”, he or she is probably looking  for a Toledo clothing store that sells pants.  Often the user is located within 1.5 miles of the store at that time.  In many cases, it’s becoming the norm for national chains, that solely sell online, to fall below the local listings of brands with stores.

How do you get around the local problem if you’re a national chain without physical stores?  Some panelists suggested building local pages on your website, while others suggested empowering affiliates to drive traffic for local, long-tailed keywords. Local landing pages are required and must have phone tracking, pricing, transparency, an adoption plan, and ensured alignment with the national PPC campaign.

Balihoo.com, which offers a free download of going local ideas, suggested starting with 4 – 5 affiliates and empowering them with incentives in local markets.  My Web Writers also published a post on going local back in 2012.

For those businesses that do have physical stores, Scott Nickels of Home Depot shared a story of a map pin to a local store that ended up in the wrong place. Traffic kept flowing to a residential home before the resident finally called to complain about the headlights in her back yard. Store managers have to be aware of the postcard process required for validation of the physical addresses and Maps needs to better hone in on the locales.

Home Depot’s word for 2013 is “local.” Nickels suggests creating one page per store and localizing social, too. He somberly shook his head when an attendee asked, “Do you mean if I have 53 stores, I have to optimize 53 Facebook pages?”

“Yes, yes you do,” he replied.

2013 #SMX West Insights

There are already so many, insightful, #SMX West 2013 recaps floating around the web from various attendees, but here are a few more insights as well as a list of the recaps.

Random Notes from Watching Sites Get Critiqued:
  • Put Java Script and CSS in external script.
  • Don’t use disavow if possible. Don’t tell Google you have a problem unless you have a PhD in understanding linking. You don’t want to accidentally remove links that are actually working for you.
  • Submit articles to Reddit.
  • Canonicals- make sure all products are given credit.
  • PR can build legitimate page links.
  • Shopping cart pages should be optimized with what the latest coupon codes are. Remember to 301 redirect expired coupons.
  • Experiment with Google Plus to get juice for search-ability.
  • Don’t blog just to blog. Consider putting monies toward PR opportunities.
  • Schematag.org – a plugin for WordPress
  • Enrich your Google Places ranking.

Take-aways from other SMX West sessions are as follows:

  • Authorship and identity will matter more over time. False identities will be found.  Do authorities and brands have rank? Individuals have their own brands and should use authorship to maintain them.  Big brands are still struggling with this, which makes it a good time for small companies to utilize Authorship.
  • “Links still have many good years ahead of them.” ~Matt Cutts
  • Social interaction helps to determine SERP’s.
  • Mobile is going to surprise a lot of people. It’s a critical factor.  Isolate mobile in Analytics. There’s a web page test tool that @AnneCushing likes to use to watch a video of how long it takes to load a client’s page.  It helps clients to see the importance of improving site speed- http://www.webpagetest.org/.
  • “SEO is no longer about tactics, but more about strategy.”
  • “Keep the company focused on metrics that matter to the company and not ranking reports.”
  • Duane Forrester says the most important SEO factor for next year is “usability.  It’s more important than h-tags.”
  • Ann Cushing said to “focus less on keywords and more on landing pages.”
  • Matt Cutts reiterated that the “global view is the same as in other years. Give the user what they want.” Annotate your web pages with ‘about of’ markup for Chrome users. You can also disavow at a domain level.
  • Rae Hoffman encouraged SEO’s to “Let go of how easy it used to be.”
  • Greg Bowser said, “Embrace the big data.”

Looking for additional #SMX 2013 Recaps and Insights?  Read these excellent posts:

SEO Success in 2013 & beyond: Matt Cutts & others’ insights at #SMX

Matt Cutts, Duane Forrester talk ‘Adventures in SEO’ at SMX West

SMX West 2013: Top Tips, Tools & Takeaways

Insights from a Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day Three

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day Two

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day One

My SMX West 2013 Takeaways- Sugar Rae’s blog

What ideas do you have for national brands that want to rank for local search terms? Is there a #SMX 2013 blog post that I missed that you like?

~Jean

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Business Strategy, Conferences, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Keywords, Marketing, Panda, Penguin, Queries & Articles, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Twitter, Website Linking

Better Understand Google Analytics

by My Web Writers

Google analytics is a free tool offering numerous ways to track and optimize your E-tailer website. By playing the numbers game, you have the potential to increase your Return on Investment with minimal effort. Let common sense prevail, as you analyze the numbers and make strategic business decisions, which potentially and ultimately have the ability to magnify your web presence to a much larger audience.

Understanding Your Google Analytics Dashboard

Wow! That’s a lot of graphs and data, isn’t it? Everything including visits, pageviews, individual page visits, bounce rates, average time on site and percentage of new visitors is listed and charted for your convenience. The word “overwhelming” quickly comes to mind!

However, as an E-tailer, you want to know who your visitors are and what eye candy attracts them to your site. You also want to know what deters them, sending them running the other way all too quickly. Graphics and statistics relaying information pertaining to visitors and traffic sources make it easy to know who is frequenting your site.

If you dig a little deeper into traffic data, to discover how your site was referred to your visitors, you can maximize your referral opportunities, by increasing this avenue of pageviews. Take the path of least resistance here. Capitalize on what has already proven to be a method of securing traffic to your site.

Integrate Social Media Tracking

By integrating social media tracking, E-tailers can optimize their social media efforts. In other words, know your target audience, and respond to them accordingly. Build on what works and is already in place, while studying and improving your marketplace. This will promote higher ROI, while simultaneously expanding your networking circle.

Google Developers have created a complete Social Interaction Analytics resource, streamlining the process and making it easier to implement social media tracking on your E-tailer site.

Identify and Track Keywords

Keywords are words people use to search for something via search engines, with the prospect of landing on your E-tailer site. They are also words visitors use to search for things within your site, causing them to stay on your site longer, if those words have been optimized therein.

The goal with keywords is to know which ones attract the most traffic, initiate the best interaction and convert into sales or return visits by signing up for newsletters, e-blasts and other off-site opportunities.

Strategize to Optimize Your E-tailer Site

By utilizing everything you have in place and examining your results in Google Analytics, you can develop an effective strategy to consistently improve your numbers. Micro-manage your data to gain powerful insights into where your conversion rates come from, determining how best to serve the needs and desires of your customers.

Balance website performance against your personal and business goals, to see if it’s in sync with your specified objectives. Determine if customer leads and purchases are appropriate and efficient, and if your product campaigns, newsletters and e-blasts are being used effectively.

One of the best things about Google Analytics is that you don’t need to invest in it to expand your customer base. All you need to do is familiarize yourself with the numbers, using them to enhance traffic flow, increase conversion rates and improve ROI.

~MJ

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Filed under Analytics, Business Strategy, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

How to Better Analyze Data and Draw Logical Conclusions

By My Web Writers

Each time you receive analytics data it is loaded with useful information. But unless you know how to interpret that information, it’s virtually worthless. Once you learn how to read and understand analytics data, it can help drive your content marketing. Whether you do the writing yourself, or you rely on the help of a copy writing service, it is imperative that you understand your analytics data.

Set Aside Time to Analyze

If you plan on flipping through an analytics report and getting anything of substance from it, you won’t learn very much. Analyzing takes time. Set aside a certain amount of time each week to really dive into your results. Analytics data does nothing for you or your business if you don’t study it and understand it.

Check for Keywords

What are the keywords that are driving people to your site? It may surprise you to find what words are and aren’t working. Experiment with keywords each week or month to see which ones are the most useful for your business. Once you know what they are, you can use them more and drive even more traffic to your website.

Take Note of the Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is a percentage of readers who visit your site on a specific page and leave without clicking to other parts of the site. This can be a huge statistic for you when trying to figure out what content is working for you and what isn’t. If you have an unusually high bounce rate for a specific page, figure out why. Was it low in key words? Did it lack good content? Check the pages with low bounce rates. What was it that kept people on your site?

However, don’t necessarily assume there must be a problem with your website or your content. There’s always the chance that the issue is with the referral traffic – what types of people are being sent to your site and why. See where those visitors who “bounce” have come from. It may give you some answers.

Email Marketing

There are very valuable statistics that come in from email marketing. Email marketing analytics can tell you how many people opened the email, how many visited your website from the email, and even which links in the email they clicked on. Over time you can analyze what your email readership found most interesting and clicked on. That way in the future, you know what will entice them.

Stay Updated

The way analytics are presented is constantly changing. Stay informed on how the information is presented and what it means for your website and what you should do with your content. Check out the video below for the latest way to read and interpret a Google Analytics report.

~Natalie

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Filed under Analytics, Research Tips, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Technical Writing, Writing Resources