tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/seo Latest SEO content from Econsultancy 2018-02-14T12:15:28+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69803 2018-02-14T12:15:28+00:00 2018-02-14T12:15:28+00:00 Google brings the popular Stories format to AMP: is it worth using? Patricio Robles <p>As Rudy Galfi, a Google AMP product manager, <a href="https://developers.googleblog.com/2018/02/amp-stories-bringing-visual.html">describes it</a>, AMP stories are "a visual-driven format for evolving news consumption on mobile," adding, "AMP stories aim to make the production of stories as easy as possible from a technical perspective. The format comes with preset but flexible layout templates, standardized UI controls, and components for sharing and adding follow-on content."</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6zcYgQhH5TE?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>A number of high-profile publishers, including Conde Nast, Hearst and The Washington Post, collaborated with Google in the development of the format. </p> <p>Why should publishers use AMP stories? According to Galfi, "Creating visual stories on the web with the fast and smooth performance that users have grown accustomed to in native apps can be challenging. Getting these key details right often poses prohibitively high startup costs, particularly for small publishers." AMP stories extends AMP, which is already intended to address the challenges of mobile performance, so that publishers don't have to come up with their own solutions.</p> <p>But even if AMP stories will enable publishers to more easily present content in a story format, should they? Not everybody is convinced.</p> <p>For example, Nilay Patel, the editor-in-chief of tech publication The Verge, believes that the story format works well in apps like Snapchat and Instagram “because they feel completely native to the platform.” AMP stories, on the other hand, don't in his estimation.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">I love Instagram stories because they feel completely native to the platform. Google’s AMP Stories... do not. <a href="https://t.co/Nq53UqcxKW">https://t.co/Nq53UqcxKW</a></p> — nilay patel (@reckless) <a href="https://twitter.com/reckless/status/963429244696252417?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 13, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>Others note that AMP stories, while open-source and accessible to everyone, is really just a part of <a href="https://www.recode.net/2016/2/24/11588170/google-amp-is-less-about-beating-facebook-at-news-more-about-gobbling">a broader Google push to dominate the mobile web using AMP</a>.</p> <p>Gizmodo's Tom McKay <a href="https://gizmodo.com/googles-quest-for-dominance-continues-with-new-amp-form-1822983028">explains</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>While technically anyone can create their own AMP stories using the open-source technology, Google really wants publishers to create these and wrote in its blog post that it “plans to bring AMP stories to more products across Google, and expand the ways they appear in Google Search.” So eventually these could get rolled into regular mobile search results, displacing some of the current occupants of some of Google’s most valuable real estate and replacing them with AMP-powered slideshows.</p> </blockquote> <p>That, in turn, could push publishers worried about losing traffic to adopt AMP stories, a format Google has “functional dominance” over.</p> <p>The more devious aspect of this is that while AMP stories doesn't yet support monetization through ads, AMP itself only supports a number of ad providers including, of course, Google. So once AMP stories are monetizable with ads, Google stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries. That isn't a coincidence.</p> <p>Of course, this might not be such a big deal if the format proves to be a hit with users. But since Google paid early adopters like Conde Nast and Hearst to help develop the format and will initially only show in the SERPs AMP stories from select partners for specific queries, other publishers might want to take a wait and see approach before investing in this new format.</p> <p><em><strong>Related:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68490-google-s-accelerated-mobile-pages-12-pros-and-cons">Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages: 12 pros and cons</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide">SEO Best Practice Guide</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69770 2018-02-05T11:00:00+00:00 2018-02-05T11:00:00+00:00 Five tips for an evergreen SEO strategy Nikki Gilliland <h3>Monitoring market adoption</h3> <p>Instead of simply optimising for today’s algorithm, successful SEO also means thinking about the possible and probable future.</p> <p>However, while it might be tempting to jump on new technologies (such as voice technology or virtual reality), practitioners need to consider whether or not the tech has been truly adopted by consumers. Only then will technology innovation truly lead to market disruption – a cycle highlighted in the below image.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2017/Figure_9.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="389"></p> <p>One way to determine this is to monitor the search volumes and signals of intent relating to key technologies that could impact a business. </p> <p>While 2018 is tipped to be the year of voice-activated search, for example, SEOs are still unclear what role this tech will go on to play in consumer’s lives, and as such largely remain in the dark about its true impact.</p> <h3>Relevancy of topic</h3> <p>In 2017, Google updated its Hummingbird algorithm to better deal with conversational queries. This means that instead of recognising keywords, Google is able to understand the user’s search intent and respond with relevant, contextual answers.</p> <p>For SEOs, this means it is going to be much more important to research and optimise around topic relevancy rather than just keywords in future. Longer content, which covers an entire topic in-depth is more likely to rank higher. </p> <p>Naturally, this might prove difficult for marketers who are trying to rank for something that is not the topic of their site as a whole. However, by writing articles that aim to answer probable user queries – including informational, navigational, and transactional queries – sites can provide relevant information linked to a particular topic.</p> <h3>Improving UX</h3> <p>The overriding purpose of Google Quick Answers and Featured Snippets is to improve the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69646-ux-trends-in-2018-what-do-the-experts-predict" target="_blank">user experience</a>, providing the most relevant result for the user (not just in terms of content, but context, intent, and in terms of the act of search experience itself). </p> <p>As a result, practitioners should follow suit, prioritising UX and aligning them with SEO goals.</p> <p>A big barrier to this is likely to be skills and internal structure, however with better integration between SEO and UX teams, performance could be greatly improved across the board.</p> <h3>Localisation</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66574-10-essentials-for-local-seo-success/" target="_blank">Local SEO</a> is one area that has continued to grow in importance, with users increasingly using their mobiles to search for nearby services and establishments. In the US, users can now make reservations for restaurants and hairdressers etc. directly in answer boxes and knowledge graphs.</p> <p>So, how can SEOs ensure they are ranking in local search results? First and foremost, businesses should ensure that they are listed, as well as guarantee that any local content is properly optimised with information such as description, opening hours, categories, and phone numbers etc.</p> <p>Other link signals such as location proximity, online reviews, hreflang tags and on and off-page signals can also have an effect on how Google indexes locational content. Overall, it is important that businesses recognise and act on the issues that impact local search results rather than do the bare minimum.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2018/local_SEO.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="313"></p> <h3>Building reviews</h3> <p>As content authority takes precedence in 2018, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69220-who-should-own-customer-reviews-in-your-organisation" target="_blank">online reviews</a> can be a great way for SEOs to help build credibility. Meanwhile, review data can also be applied to local business listings, as well as incorporated into Google results for movies, entertainment, and ecommerce products. This might be in the form of a critic review, which an editor has supplied to an authority publisher. Alternatively, it could be rich snippet, which tends to be a combined rating score from reviewers on a related site.</p> <p>In order to take advantage of this, SEOs should be tracking and optimising performance for search phrases that include keywords like ‘review’. That way, marketers will have more chance of review content to be featured in snippets, which in turn could help to increase click-throughs.</p> <p>However, SEOs shouldn’t just be keeping their fingers crossed that users leave reviews of their own accord. A strategy that helps to encourage this behaviour is going to be highly useful. This could involve asking for reviews within email campaigns, on product pages, as well as rewarding or gamifying the process of reviewing.</p> <p><em><strong>For more on this topic, you can check out further <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69644-seo-trends-in-2018-what-do-the-experts-predict" target="_blank">predictions for SEO this year</a>. Subscribers can also download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-in-2018-industry-experts-tell-marketers-what-they-need-to-know/" target="_blank">SEO 2018 Trends report in full</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2018-01-29T15:33:00+00:00 2018-01-29T15:33:00+00:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and digital market research with data, facts, charts and figures. The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need - a huge time-saver for presentations and reports.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Sector-specific data and reports are also available:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a><br></strong></li> <li><strong><strong><a title="Financial Services and Insurance Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/financial-services-and-insurance-internet-statistics-compendium/">Financial Services and Insurance</a></strong></strong></li> <li> <strong><a title="Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/healthcare-and-pharmaceuticals-internet-statistics-compendium/">Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals</a></strong><strong> </strong> </li> <li><strong><a title="Retail Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/retail-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Retail</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Travel Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/travel-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Travel</a></strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>Regions covered in each document (where data is available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69735 2018-01-18T12:48:00+00:00 2018-01-18T12:48:00+00:00 What Google's memory loss means for content and SEO strategy Patricio Robles <p>In <a href="https://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2018/01/15/Google-is-losing-its-memory">a blog post</a> that attracted lots of attention, Bray pointed to an article he wrote and published on his blog in 2006, as well a blog post another person published in 2008, that could not be found via Google search. Both carefully-crafted exact-match queries and searches using the <em>site:</em> prefix failed to locate the pages in question.</p> <p>Bray was able to locate these pages using two other search engines, Bing and DuckDuckGo.</p> <p>How to explain this intriguing phenomenon? Bray has a theory:</p> <blockquote> <p>Obviously, indexing the whole Web is crushingly expensive, and getting more so every day. Things like 10+-year-old music reviews that are never updated, no longer accept comments, are lightly if at all linked-to outside their own site, and rarely if ever visited...well, let's face it, Google's not going to be selling many ads next to search results that turn them up. So from a business point of view, it's hard to make a case for Google indexing everything, no matter how old and how obscure.</p> </blockquote> <p>Bray's post went viral and sparked a vigorous discussion and comments from others suggest that Google's memory loss might not be so isolated. For instance, <a href="https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16153840">on Hacker News</a>, one commenter wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>I've noticed this many times too, particularly recently, and I call it “Google Alzheimer's” --- what was once a very powerful search engine that could give you thousands (yes, I've tried exhausting its result pages many times, and used to have much success finding the perfect site many dozens of pages deep in the results) of pages containing nothing but the exact words and phrase you search for has seemingly degraded into an approximation of a search engine that has knowledge of only very superficial information, will try to rewrite your queries and omit words (including the very word that makes all the difference --- I didn't put it in the search query for nothing!), and in general is becoming increasingly useless for finding the sort of detailed, specific information that search engines were once ideal for.</p> </blockquote> <p>Another person observed:</p> <blockquote> <p>I think the biggest irony is that the web allows for more adoption of long-tail movements than ever before, and Google has gotten significantly worse at turning these up. I assume this has something to do with the fact that information from the long tail is substantially less searched for than stuff within the normal bounds.</p> <p>This is a nightmare if you have any hobbies that share a common phrase with a vastly more popular hobby...</p> </blockquote> <h3>Why businesses should care and what they can do about it</h3> <p>Despite his personal pain, Bray recognizes that Google is focused on “giving you great answers to the questions that matter to you right now” and acknowledges that it often does a very good job at that. But even so, it's worth considering that Google's apparent memory loss could also be of concern to businesses that have invested in content that they expect to be discoverable through the world's largest search engine.</p> <p>Despite the growing popularity of Google alternatives like DuckDuckGo, most companies still focus their SEO efforts on Google and the search giant's memory loss could affect them in a number of ways.</p> <p>Most obviously, the prospect that Google is intentionally allowing content to drop out of its index over time means that companies can't assume their older content will remain in the index, even if it's high quality. </p> <p>While Google has never offered a guarantee that content will remain in its index because it was added to it at some point, the possibility that it is dropping content from its index more frequently than many expect is problematic on a number of fronts. </p> <p>First, many companies, on the advice of their SEOs, have invested in producing content for long-tail (read: low volume) keywords. The thinking behind this is that such content, even if it doesn't produce significant, consistent returns, will be “out there” and discoverable well into the future and that over time, it will deliver a positive return.</p> <p>But such content, even if it's high quality and of potential value to a very targeted base of users, would seem to be most vulnerable to Google memory loss, especially if it's not updated or linked to frequently from newer pages.</p> <p>Second, many companies don't consider content to be a depreciating asset. To the contrary, many believe that content, particularly so-called evergreen content, can pay dividends long into the future. If Google does have Alzheimer's, determining the value of a piece of content, and calculating how much to invest in the creation of a piece of content, could become a more complex exercise.</p> <p>So how should companies respond?</p> <p>While there's no reason to panic, Tim Bray's post does suggest that businesses would be wise to pay better attention to their content and, to the extent content is seen as valuable, what happens to it long after it's published.</p> <p>At a minimum, companies should be using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67637-maximising-content-led-organic-traffic-with-free-google-tools-a-comprehensive-guide/">Google Search Console</a> to better understand the status of their content in Google's index. There are also third-party tools and companies with development resources <a href="https://searchengineland.com/check-urls-indexed-google-using-python-259773">can even easily build their own index checkers</a>.</p> <p>Beyond this, the potential that Google has implemented a form of memory loss should remind companies that the execution of content strategy is a fluid, ongoing process. Publishing content is a part of that process, but the lifecycle of each piece of content needs to be managed long-term if that content is to remain valuable long-term.</p> <p>Perhaps proving that: since Bray's post went viral, the two pages he initially couldn't find in Google are now back in the index.</p> <p><em><strong>Econsultancy subscribers can download our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide">SEO</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-strategy-best-practice-guide">Content Strategy </a> Best Practice Guides.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3395 2018-01-09T10:25:23+00:00 2018-01-09T10:25:23+00:00 SEO Marketing <p>Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is becoming increasingly tricky - continuous innovations between the rival search engines, coupled with increased activity from your competitors, means that you have to identify the right strategy for your business to rank well.</p> <p>This SEO training course will enable you to build an organic search marketing strategy that will mean more of the right kind of visitors to your website, boost online conversions and stand out in today’s fiercely competitive online marketplace, ensuring the best possible return on investment.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69693 2018-01-04T14:00:00+00:00 2018-01-04T14:00:00+00:00 Seven quick steps to prepare for Google's mobile-first index Andrew Isidoro <p>As more and more searches are coming from mobile devices, Google is following suit to represent this shift and is creating <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68425-google-to-create-separate-mobile-index-what-you-need-to-know/">a separate mobile index</a> that will become the primary source for all search query results.</p> <h3>When will the mobile-first index roll out?</h3> <p>This is a difficult one. When asked back in March, Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, hinted at an early 2018 release, however, we have already had confirmation that a number of sites have been tested on the mobile index in the wild for a number of weeks dating back to October 2017. </p> <p>More recently, Google’s John Mueller gave a signal of an impending wider rollout when he offered up clear instructions on how to discover if a site has moved to the mobile-first index.</p> <p>The mobile-first index appears to be a controlled iterative switch for most sites so it would be wise to follow the advice and inspect your log files regularly. </p> <h3>What will change with Google’s mobile-first index?</h3> <p>Currently Google has indexed your website based on a desktop user’s experience, taking into account only the desktop version of a website and the content within. With a mobile-first index, Google will switch this around to index and rank your website based on the content and information architecture of your mobile site as a primary view.</p> <p>While Google’s Gary Illyes <a href="https://www.seroundtable.com/google-mobile-first-index-quality-neutral-23596.html">stated at the SMX West conference in March</a>, that they would fully launch the mobile-first index when results are “quality neutral”, some sites with substantially different mobile experiences to their desktop sites may inevitably find issues with rankings.</p> <h3>How can you prepare?</h3> <p>If your website is designed responsively (or with a <a href="https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/dynamic-serving">dynamic serving setup</a>) and your primary content and mark-up is the same across mobile and desktop devices, you are already in good shape but if you fall outside of those parameters, you should consider making some changes to your site.</p> <p>Google has given some specific recommendations to webmasters looking to prepare for the change in their official announcement, but there are some basic steps you can take to get your website ready:</p> <p><strong>1. Make sure your site is mobile friendly</strong></p> <p>With <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/11/01/mobile-web-usage-overtakes-desktop-for-first-time/">more than half of all web traffic coming from a mobile device</a>, you should already have this covered. You can check how Google rates your mobile site with their <a href="https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly">Mobile Friendliness testing tool</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Check your log files</strong></p> <p>In most instances, GoogleBot’s crawling is 75-80% desktop crawler and 20-25% mobile crawler. When a website moves over to the mobile first index, you would see that flip to about 75-80% GoogleBot mobile.</p> <p><strong>3. If you have a separate mobile website...</strong></p> <p>...make sure you claim the mobile version in Google Search Console to continue to get accurate data.</p> <p><strong>4. Ensure as much primary content is delivered to all users...</strong></p> <p>...regardless of device type</p> <p><strong>5. Verify that your mobile version is accessible to GoogleBot</strong></p> <p>You can do this with the <a href="https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/robots-testing-tool">robots.txt testing tool</a>.</p> <p><strong>6. Look into mobile-first tech like AMP</strong></p> <p>With Google making its new mobile index its primary focus, expect to see an even greater emphasis on Google’s <a href="https://www.ampproject.org/">Accelerated Mobile Pages</a> (AMP) project to become even more important in the near future.</p> <p><strong>7. Make sure to serve structured mark-up for both the desktop and mobile version</strong></p> <p>If in doubt, you are able to verify your structured mark-up across desktop and mobile testing both versions with the <a href="https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/">Structured Data Testing Tool</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>Econsultancy subscribers can download our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide">SEO Best Practice Guide</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69612 2017-12-05T10:02:15+00:00 2017-12-05T10:02:15+00:00 Eight steps to landing page success Nikki Gilliland <p>Subscribers can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-landing-page-optimization/">landing page chapter</a> of Econsultancy’s SEO Best Practice Guide for an in-depth look at the topic, but in the meantime, here are a few key tips (plus examples) to help.</p> <h3>What is a landing page?</h3> <p>Before we get into the weeds, let’s start by outlining what we mean by landing pages. </p> <p>In basic terms, it refers to a page on a website that has been specifically designed to encourage visitors to take a particular action when they arrive from another marketing channel. The action might simply be clicking through to another page – perhaps a product page or special offer. Or the page could be used for lead generation, which means persuading the user to sign up or to download something, and in turn asks for personal data such as their name or email address etc.</p> <h3>1. Minimise distraction</h3> <p>One of the first things to consider is how the user came to arrive on your landing page. Did they click on an ad or email, and what did it say?</p> <p>It’s quite likely that a specific message prompted the user to click through. This means that if they are then bombarded with huge blocks of text or imagery, they could become distracted, and veer away from their original intent.</p> <p>Consequently, while it’s tempting to fill a page with lots of interesting information, remember that the page has one purpose, and the bulk of its content should reflect this (as well as align with the original ad).</p> <p>This <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69528-uk-black-friday-landing-pages-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly" target="_blank">Black Friday landing page</a> from Dyson is a good example of how to get the balance right.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0734/Dyson_1.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="530"></p> <p><img src="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/new/Subscribers%20can%20download%20Econsultancy%E2%80%99s%20Best%20Practice%20Guide%20for%20an%20in-depth%20look%20at%20the%20topic,%20but%20in%20the%20meantime,%20here%20are%20a%20few%20key%20tips%20(plus%20examples)%20to%20help.%20Understanding%20your%20customers%20It%20might%20sound%20simplistic,%20but%20before%20doing%20anything%20else%20it%E2%80%99s%20important%20to%20determine%20key%20factors%20about%20the%20audience%20you%20are%20trying%20to%20convert.%20It%E2%80%99s%20easy%20to%20get%20caught%20up%20designing%20a%20landing%20page%20that%20focuses%20solely%20on%20your%20own%20objectives%20%E2%80%93%20but%20that%20might%20not%20necessarily%20align%20with%20your%20customer%E2%80%99s.%20So,%20who%20is%20your%20core%20audience,%20and%20what%20are%20they%20looking%20for?%20Questions%20like%20these%20can%20impact%20features%20like%20page%20layout%20and%20design,%20plus%20how%20much%20information%20is%20included.%20Facilitating%20the%20information-seeker%20%20Instead%20of%20designing%20a%20landing%20page%20purely%20to%20push%20visitors%20to%20purchase,%20it%E2%80%99s%20important%20to%20remember%20that%20not%20everyone%20will%20be%20in%20this%20state%20of%20mind.%20Consequently,%20along%20with%20the%20option%20for%20a%20sale,%20the%20page%20should%20aim%20to%20help%20push%20visitors%20towards%20this%20state%20while%20reinforcing%20your%20brand%20or%20its%20main%20objective.%20This%20also%20means%20that%20marketers%20should%20be%20wary%20of%20taking%20away%20menus%20or%20navigational%20options,%20which%20could%20potentially%20result%20in%20customers%20feeling%20pressured%20or%20overly%20sold%20to.%20This%20Black%20Friday%20landing%20page%20from%20Dyson%20is%20a%20good%20example%20of%20how%20to%20get%20the%20balance%20right.%20With%20visitors%20most%20likely%20landing%20on%20the%20page%20from%20black%20Friday-related%20searches,%20its%20headline%20confirms%20its%20promise%20of%20offers.%20However,%20it%20does%20not%20overly%20push%20product%20sales,%20instead%20using%20a%20subtle%20and%20well-designed%20page%20to%20provide%20further%20information%20and%20the%20option%20to%20click%20through%20to%20specific%20offers.%20%20Determining%20your%20conversion%20method%20(B2B%20vs.%20B2C)%20Another%20important%20step%20is%20to%20determine%20the%20best%20conversion%20method%20for%20a%20page%20%E2%80%93%20i.e.%20what%20action%20you%20are%20trying%20to%20get%20someone%20to%20take.%20For%20example,%20the%20most%20effective%20B2B%20landing%20pages%20are%20often%20designed%20for%20macro-conversions,%20which%20typically%20result%20in%20either%20a%20direct%20sale,%20sign%20up,%20or%20data%20capture.%20This%20is%20because%20the%20path%20to%20purchase%20is%20slower%20and%20more%20complex,%20so%20a%20landing%20page%20can%20be%20an%20effective%20tool%20for%20capturing%20customer%20details%20(before%20converting%20them%20offline%20rather%20than%20online).%20SalesForce%20focuses%20on%20capturing%20consumer%20data%20with%20a%20free%20trial.%20It%20reassures%20visitors%20that%20there%20are%20%E2%80%98no%20downloads%E2%80%99%20and%20%E2%80%98no%20software%20to%20install%E2%80%99,%20and%20uses%20an%20entry%20form%20(with%20the%20option%20of%20a%20social%20login)%20to%20make%20it%20quick%20and%20easy%20for%20new%20customers%20to%20request%20one.%20In%20contrast,%20B2C%20companies%20might%20be%20better%20off%20focusing%20on%20micro-conversions,%20which%20are%20less%20commitment-focused%20and%20might%20simply%20offer%20insight%20into%20customers%20or%20their%20behaviour.%20For%20instance,%20a%20micro-conversion%20could%20be%20a%20newsletter%20sign-up%20or%20viewing%20a%20particular%20product%20or%20offer.%20%20This%20landing%20page%20for%20Beats%20UK%20is%20focused%20on%20its%20latest%20creative%20marketing%20campaign.%20It%20does%20not%20drive%20visitors%20towards%20a%20purchase,%20but%20gives%20them%20the%20option%20(below%20the%20fold)%20to%20either%20buy%20from%20the%20Apple%20website%20or%20continue%20exploring%20on%20the%20site.%20The%20clear%20distinction%20means%20that%20it%20is%20able%20to%20determine%20which%20customers%20are%20serious%20about%20a%20purchase%20and%20which%20are%20still%20in%20the%20browsing%20stage.%20Making%20it%20relevant%20Research%20suggests%20that%20visitors%20will%20make%20a%20decision%20whether%20to%20stay%20or%20leave%20within%20the%20first%20three%20seconds%20on%20landing%20on%20a%20page.%20Making%20it%20as%20relevant%20as%20possible%20(to%20both%20where%20they%20came%20from%20and%20what%20they%E2%80%99re%20looking%20for)%20is%20a%20vital%20way%20to%20make%20them%20stick%20around.%20This%20means%20ensuring%20there%20is%20consistency%20%E2%80%93%20so%20maintaining%20messaging%20and%20branding%20of%20the%20ad%20or%20creative%20they%20clicked%20on%20%E2%80%93%20as%20well%20as%20relevancy%20of%20the%20headline%20and%20the%20general%20look%20and%20feel%20of%20the%20page.%20If%20a%20visitor%20searched%20using%20a%20specific%20term,%20for%20example,%20it%20is%20helpful%20to%20include%20this%20(or%20a%20variation%20of%20it)%20in%20the%20headline%20or%20surrounding%20copy%20to%20reassure%20them%20that%20they%E2%80%99re%20in%20the%20right%20place.%20Convincing%20with%20a%20call%20to%20action%20While%20some%20believe%20the%20best%20place%20for%20a%20CTA%20is%20above%20the%20fold,%20this%20is%20debatable.%20Essentially,%20it%20all%20depends%20on%20the%20context%20of%20the%20page,%20and%20how%20much%20information%20is%20required%20to%20push%20a%20visitor%20towards%20taking%20action.%20Again,%20it%20also%20depends%20on%20the%20type%20of%20conversion%20required,%20with%20differences%20depending%20on%20whether%20it%20relates%20to%20a%20micro%20or%20macro%20conversion.%20Perhaps%20even%20more%20important%20that%20positioning%20is%20the%20wording%20of%20a%20CTA,%20with%20clear,%20persuasive%20and%20enticing%20copy%20required.%20If%20there%20is%20an%20option%20to%20either%20%E2%80%98buy%20now%E2%80%99%20or%20%E2%80%98find%20out%20more%E2%80%99%20%E2%80%93%20it%E2%80%99s%20helpful%20to%20include%20extra%20copy%20detailing%20the%20%E2%80%98more%E2%80%99%20element,%20such%20as%20what%20type%20of%20information%20they%E2%80%99ll%20be%20discovering.%20Similarly,%20instead%20of%20lots%20of%20convoluted%20copy,%20it%20can%20be%20helpful%20to%20use%20videos%20or%20infographics%20to%20highlight%20the%20benefits%20of%20a%20product%20or%20service.%20This%20example%20from%20LinkedIn%20includes%20both%20positive%20and%20negative%20elements.%20The%20animated%20video%20is%20effective%20for%20providing%20more%20information%20on%20the%20product%20in%20a%20visual%20and%20easy-to-understand%20way,%20and%20the%20prominent%20positioning%20of%20the%20CTA%20draws%20the%20eye.%20That%20being%20said,%20the%20similarity%20between%20%E2%80%98start%20your%20free%20trial%E2%80%99%20and%20%E2%80%98request%20free%20demo%E2%80%99%20is%20perhaps%20enough%20to%20confuse%20or%20frustrate%20the%20user.%20Instead,%20it%20might%20have%20been%20better%20to%20replace%20the%20latter%20with%20%E2%80%98find%20out%20more%E2%80%99%20or%20something%20that%20does%20not%20clash%20with%20the%20free%20trial%20option.%20Instilling%20trust%20Whether%20it%E2%80%99s%20a%20micro-site%20or%20part%20of%20an%20existing%20website,%20a%20landing%20page%20that%20appears%20inauthentic%20or%20untrustworthy%20can%20increase%20bounce%20rates%20-%20and%20this%20is%20especially%20the%20case%20for%20smaller%20or%20unknown%20brands%20that%20may%20not%20have%20the%20same%20reputation%20or%20standing%20as%20others%20to%20rely%20on.%20%20%20Appearing%20too%20cluttered,%20overly%20sales-driven%20or%20even%20using%20clich%C3%A9d%20language%20could%20diminish%20levels%20of%20trust.%20Conversely,%20integrating%20features%20designed%20to%20instil%20confidence%20can%20combat%20this,%20and%20even%20improve%20conversion.%20This%20includes%20features%20like%20secure%20payment%20reassurance,%20customer%20testimonials%20or%20reviews,%20company%20contact%20details,%20and%20product%20guarantees.%20%20Crazy%20Egg%E2%80%99s%20landing%20page%20is%20rather%20simple%20in%20terms%20of%20design,%20however%20the%20headline%20%E2%80%93%20which%20emphasises%20the%20fact%20that%20it%20is%20the%20%E2%80%98leader%E2%80%99%20in%20its%20field%20%E2%80%93%20promotes%20trust.%20Similarly,%20the%20indication%20that%20a%20number%20of%20well-known%20and%20respected%20brands%20have%20benefited%20from%20its%20service%20ramps%20up%20credibility%20levels.%20This%20landing%20page%20for%20Dollar%20Shave%20Club%20is%20also%20another%20good%20example,%20using%20an%20FAQ%20section%20and%20customer%20testimonial%20to%20prompt%20new%20customers%20to%20sign%20up." alt="">With visitors most likely landing on the page from Black Friday-related searches, its headline confirms the promise of offers.</p> <p>The page provides further information on popular products with the option to click through to specific offers, and then details of Dyson's value proposition (such as delivery and guarantee).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0735/dyson_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="551"></p> <h3>2. Make form-filling as easy as possible</h3> <p>If you’re asking customers to offer up their data, it’s important to make the process as quick and as simple as possible. Unlike ecommerce checkouts, where customers are perhaps already invested in making a purchase, B2B landing pages often centre around free trials or downloads.</p> <p>In this instance, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62987-12-useful-tips-for-web-form-optimisation" target="_blank">forms should be prominently displayed</a>, requiring as few steps for the customer as possible.</p> <p>One good example of this is SalesForce. Prompting users to take up its free trial offer, it reassures visitors that there are ‘no downloads’ and ‘no software to install’, and uses an entry form (with the option of a social login) to make it easy for new customers to access.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0736/salesforce.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="677"></p> <p>Another example is this page from Geico, which uses a simple ZIP code-entry to take visitors to the next stage. By asking for just a single bit of information, it instils the notion that the process will be fuss-free from there on in.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0860/Gieco.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="515"></p> <h3>3. Make it relevant</h3> <p>Research suggests that visitors will decide whether to stay or leave within the first three seconds of landing on a page. Making it as relevant as possible (to both where they came from and what they’re looking for) is a vital way to make them stick around.</p> <p>This means ensuring there is consistency – so again maintaining messaging and branding of the ad or creative they clicked on – as well as relevancy of the headline and the general look and feel of the page.</p> <p>If a visitor searched using a specific term, for example, it could be helpful to include this (or a variation of it) in the headline or surrounding copy to reassure them that they’re in the right place.</p> <p>This page from Sainbury’s is a good example. Having searched for ‘Christmas food’, the user is immediately reassured by both the headline and surrounding copy. The appealing imagery and clear category options also naturally prompt the user to click-through.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0861/sainsburys.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="341"></p> <h3>4. Convince with a call to action</h3> <p>While some believe the best place for a CTA is above the fold, this is debatable. Essentially, it all depends on the context of the page, and how much information is required to push a visitor towards taking action.</p> <p>Perhaps even more important than positioning is the <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69279-13-creative-call-to-action-examples-and-reasons-why-they-work" target="_blank">wording of a CTA</a>, with clear, persuasive and enticing copy required.</p> <p>If there is an option to either ‘buy now’ or ‘find out more’ – it’s helpful to include extra copy detailing the ‘more’ element, such as what type of information they’ll be discovering. Similarly, instead of lots of convoluted copy, it can be helpful to use videos or infographics to highlight the benefits of a product or service.</p> <p>This example from LinkedIn includes many positive elements. The strong CTA lets visitors know exactly what they're signing up for, and the absence of a header menu helps to minimise distraction and focus attention. Meanwhile, the option to autofill the form allows the user to swiftly take action, and the surrounding copy tells them the benefits of doing so.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0918/LinkedIn.JPG" alt=""></p> <h3>5. Make your copy clear</h3> <p>The clarity of the message is also of high importance. This landing page from Tesco Bank could potentially confuse visitors with its two CTAs – ‘get a quote’ and ‘retrieve a quote’. </p> <p>If you’ve never used an insurance service before, you’re probably unaware of the difference, and that’s also because on the surface, they both mean the same thing. However, one option takes the user to a preliminary T&amp;C’s page and the other doesn’t. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0862/Tesco.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="451"></p> <p>This landing page from Perkbox clearly lets consumers know what they’re getting. The copy above the form is concise, while the ‘show me how it works’ CTA is much more engaging and explanatory than the standard ‘submit’ or ‘enter’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0863/Perkbox.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="483"></p> <h3>6. Instil trust</h3> <p>Whether it’s a micro-site or part of an existing website, a landing page that appears inauthentic or untrustworthy can increase bounce rates - and this is especially the case for smaller or unknown brands that may not have the same reputation or standing as others to rely on.  </p> <p>Appearing too cluttered, overly sales-driven or even using clichéd language could diminish levels of trust. Conversely, integrating features designed to instil confidence can combat this. This includes features like secure payment reassurance, customer testimonials or reviews, company contact details, and product guarantees.</p> <p>Crazy Egg’s landing page is rather simple in terms of design, however the headline – which emphasises the fact that it is the ‘leader’ in its field – promotes trust. Similarly, the indication that a number of well-known and respected brands have benefited from its service ramps up credibility levels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0739/crazy_egg.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="807"></p> <h3>7. Have mobile in mind</h3> <p>Fast load speeds are important across all channels, but never more so than on mobile. With 60% of all searches now originating on mobile devices, it’s important to create mobile-responsive landing pages that align with this user behaviour. This means avoiding large image files and unnecessary navigation, as well as using a prominent CTA. Other features such as click-to-call buttons and geo-targeting can also be useful, making it even easier for users to take action.</p> <p>This page from running app Human is pleasing. Both the imagery and copy nicely align with the ad, and the CTA lets users know exactly how to take the next step.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0878/IMG_2850.PNG" alt="" width="400" height="711"></p> <p>Meanwhile, with everything largely covered, the brand takes the opportunity to provide social proof if the user decides to scroll down.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0879/IMG_2851.PNG" alt="" width="400" height="711"></p> <h3>8. Test and test again</h3> <p>There’s no definitive answer to the ‘long vs. short’ page length debate. Long landing pages can sometimes increase credibility, with additional content being used to inform and educate visitors. On the other hand, this could potentially increase distraction. </p> <p>So, what’s the answer? It’s more a case of determining what is the most appropriate option considering the goal of the page, and of course, experimenting to see whether different variations prompt better action. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing/" target="_blank">A/B testing</a> us the best way to do this - by changing a single variable (e.g the CTA or headline), you’ll be able to discover what’s making the most impact.</p> <p><em><strong>Further reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-landing-page-optimization/">landing page chapter</a> of Econsultancy’s SEO Best Practice Guide </li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69599 2017-11-28T11:00:23+00:00 2017-11-28T11:00:23+00:00 Why SEO is getting vertical-specific Marcus Tober <h3>Universal Ranking Factors for everybody? – Forget it!</h3> <p>This means that anyone trying to do SEO following the same old strategies is going to be left behind by people who are applying specific techniques to meet the requirements of their industry. The bread and butter can only get you so far – now you need real meat.</p><p>Google’s algorithm is learning constantly – learning how users behave and learning what types of content work best in different contexts, including what suits searches related to different vertical industry sectors.  What elements are important for retail/ecommerce searches for example, or searches related to travel or finance?</p><p>While the golden rule across all industries is: relevant, high quality content performs better in search, there are some vertical-specific nuances it’s important to appreciate. Because what’s relevant to one search term may be way off the mark for another. </p><p>Here’s a snapshot of some key differences Searchmetrics has discovered from <a href="https://www.searchmetrics.com/knowledge-base/ranking-factors-industry/">studies </a>analysing the search and content optimisation rules for finance, travel and ecommerce/online retail verticals.</p> <h3>HTTPS – Security is sexy!</h3> <p>Let’s start with some technical SEO. Google <a href="https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html">confirmed back in August 2014</a> that it was pushing HTTPS as a ranking signal, but uptake across the web has been neither universal nor uniform.</p> <p>And looking at the data, we can see why, as Google seems to prioritize secure data transfer more in some industries than others.</p> <p>Over half of finance pages in position #1 (and 46% across the top 10) use HTTPS, but the top travel result uses encryption less than one fifth of the time (23% across the top 10).</p> <p><em>(Click to enlarge)</em></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0746/https_searchmetrics.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0746/https_searchmetrics.png" alt="" width="615"></a><br>These stark differences reflect Google’s attempts to match its results to the user intent. People looking for financial information – where they may often be asked to enter personal details – are more concerned about security than those simply looking at ideas for their next city break. Furthermore, a travel site that does switch to HTTPS will likely limit its flexibility regarding display advertising, and could thereby jeopardise its revenue for little gain.</p> <p>This is a simple, yet clear example of how different industries have to respond to the needs of their users and not apply a simple one-size-fits-all approach to website optimization.</p> <h3>Word count – How long should my content be?</h3> <p>One of the main questions any writer asks – for many people going all the way back to college assignments – is “How long does it have to be then?”</p> <p>How do we find out the answer to this question? A pretty basic – though ultimately useless – strategy is “the longer, the better”.</p> <p>While in general, longer texts have a higher chance of being more comprehensive, someone searching for “When are peaches ripe?” doesn’t necessarily want hundreds of recipes for fruit salad; they probably just want to know how to tell when peaches are ripe. This needs some explanation, but not thousands and thousands of words.</p> <p>The top result for this query, from starkbros.com, is shown in a direct answer box and comes in at under 500 words, but sticks closely to the topic, covering smell, touch, sight and taste.</p><p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0747/peaches.jpg" alt="when are peaches ripe?" width="615"><br>This simple example demonstrates that it’s not just a case of “the longer, the better”, and that the optimal length of a text depends very much on the search query, more specifically: the intention behind it. To find out what kind of word count you should be aiming for in your industry, it’s essential to know what kind of texts top-ranking competitor pages are using. That’s why you need data. </p> <p>This graph shows the average word counts for high ranking pages in three different industries: ecommerce, finance and travel, as well as the benchmark word count for all keywords, regardless of industry.</p> <p><em>(Click to enlarge)</em></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0748/word_count.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0748/word_count.png" alt="word count and search ranking" width="615"></a><br>The differences are clear. Travel is way out in front, with over 2,500 words for pages in Google’s top 10. So, in travel, you really should be getting wordy if you want to appear on the first search results page.</p> <p>Readers of travel blogs want enough detailed description to get a good impression of their destination and people planning the more serious side of a holiday want the answers to all their questions on visa requirements, travel insurance and which jabs they should get if they want to make it home again.</p> <p>By contrast, pages ranking in the top 10 for finance keywords have about 800 fewer words than travel sites. This suggests that finance URLs that perform well tend to be more focused on rather more specific topics.</p> <p>This doesn’t mean leaving out important details, but it could mean that it’s often better to have a separate URL for another (related) topic rather than trying to cram everything onto one landing page. Finance topics are generally more complex than travel reports, and so readers don’t want to be distracted and/or confused by a text going off at tangents or trying to sell them a product they’re not (currently) looking for.</p> <p>If I’m off to the Greek islands, I might well be interested in the story of Theseus and the minotaur. But if I’m trying to choose a pension plan, I’m probably not interested in the history of Goldman Sachs. Google knows that – because it has learned, and still learns from user data – and it uses this experience to serve the different search intentions with what it considers the most relevant content.</p> <h3>Images – How many pictures do I need alongside my thousand words?</h3> <p>Web content isn’t just about text. Other media, such as images, videos or interactive graphics are often a great way of communicating information and capturing user engagement. But how are web editors supposed to know how many images to include in an article?</p> <p>The answer is there is no fixed rule – it is again dependent on the user’s search intent. Images might be great for a search like “top NHL players” but not so good for “NHL all time stats.”</p><p>The page (underneath) with a direct answer for “top NHL players” is from epsn.com and has a large images for every player on its top 100 list, whereas the wikipedia.org page with a direct answer for “NHL all time stats” has zero large images. Google understands that stats nuts aren’t interested in pictures, which is why the most relevant result for this query is one with lots of tables and lots of numbers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0751/nhl_top_players.jpg" alt="nhl pages" width="615"></p> <p><em>Intent matters – Left: espn.com’s picture gallery of players. Right: wikipedia.org’s statistics tables.</em></p> <p>This example shows two search terms that are thematically very close, yet differ greatly in intent, meaning that different content is evaluated as relevant for each.</p> <p>As with word count, we measured the number of images of at least 200 x 200 pixels across different industries and found that pages appearing in the top 20 Google results for ecommerce/retail searches use the most images on the page, followed by those for travel searches and then finance. </p> <p><em>(Click to enlarge)</em></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0752/image_count.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0752/image_count.png" alt="image count seo" width="615"></a></p> <p>The higher image count in retail may be because users – and Google – have come to appreciate that the most relevant retail results present a catalogue style overview of many product images and descriptions, making it easier to compare similar products. </p><p>Travel pages serve a different purpose to those in retail, but they go big on images too, to inspire and communicate emotions. Travel sites in Google’s top 10 have an average 2.15 large images and, at the same time, they have a 40% larger file size and take almost three seconds longer to load than for general search results. Google understands that if you are researching a holiday you value sites with more high-quality images than those that have fast loading pages.</p> <h3>No context, no relevance</h3> <p>By now, most webmasters have hopefully got the message that you have to be relevant to achieve good rankings. So now the big question everyone should be asking is: “What is relevant?”</p> <p>The answer is that it all depends on context, on your industry vertical, your audience – ultimately on each and every keyword people are searching for – as well as on the device they are using. That’s the level of detail Google is applying so that’s the level of detail we need to use too.</p> <p>This might sound daunting, but SEOs and content marketers who use the right data and who have the skill to analyse it effectively can give themselves a real advantage in creating relevant content for their vertical. They can engage users and move up the rankings in Google search.</p> <p><em><strong>Econsultancy subscribers can download our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide">SEO Best Practice Guide</a>, a complete guide to your SEO.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3367 2017-11-13T03:55:09+00:00 2017-11-13T03:55:09+00:00 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing - Singapore <p>This intensive 2-day course enables you to plan and build an organic search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. The right SEO strategy brings the right kind of visitors to your website, boosts online conversions and helps you stand out in the fiercely competitive online space. The course also gives you the latest updates on the increasingly tricky nature of SEO as search engine continuously innovates and online competition heats up.</p> <p>This is a complete SEO training course set at a beginner to intermediate level. The course uses a mix of presentation, live case studies, practice techniques, class discussions and real projects to facilitate the learning.</p> <p><strong><em>Note: Participants are required to bring laptop for hands on exercises</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69528 2017-10-31T10:40:23+00:00 2017-10-31T10:40:23+00:00 UK Black Friday landing pages: The good, the bad & the ugly Ben Davis <p>But that doesn't mean Black Friday doesn't matter, of course. In an effort to see who is prepared for Friday 24th November, I've been having a look at landing pages of 11 top UK retailers.</p> <p>Now, I know there's lots more for retailers to consider than a simple landing page (such as site stability, retail strategy, contact strategy, media spend etc. etc.) but these pages offer us at least some insight into how prepared brands are from an SEO and strategy perspective.</p> <p>What are we looking for? It's fairly simple – landing pages should be up early, preferably all year round to maintain search status (see our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67061-seo-black-friday-how-are-brands-preparing-their-landing-pages">SEO analysis from 2015</a>). These pages should be adapted as the year goes by, and they should have some useful content and email signup functionality.</p> <p><strong>Spoiler alert:</strong> Game is probably the best prepared, with Argos and Selfridges two retailers who don't seem to have got their pages in order.</p> <h3>The good - Dyson, Game &amp; AO.com</h3> <h4>Dyson</h4> <p><a href="https://www.dyson.co.uk/black-friday.html">Dyson's page</a> is simple but effective, and that's the main thing you're looking for a month out from the day. An interesting feature of the data capture on this page (see second image below) is a checkbox system which allows the consumer to tell Dyson which product they're interested in (corded vacuums, cordless vacuums, or fans and heaters).</p> <p>This is a smart way to make email marketing more effective in the lead up to, and on, Black Friday.</p> <p>There's no keyword-packed copy about Black Friday, and that's a good thing in my eyes. Much better simply to highlight free next-day delivery, Dyson's price promise, product guarantees and a monthly payment option.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9886/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_14.39.07.png" alt="dyson black friday landing page" width="615" height="252"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9887/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_14.39.14.png" alt="black friday dyson page" width="615" height="354"></p> <p>However, Dyson's page is pretty generic. It doesn't contain any reference to the year, 2017 (see SERPs below). That's not ideal but nor is it too much of a problem. It's better than having the previous year in the title tag or description and means Dyson doesn't have to update its page every 12 months.</p> <p>There's obviously a slight downside. The consumer can't see from the landing page what date the sale lands on (24th November). But, at least Dyson's strong brand and narrow product range means it unlikely to lose out from an SEO point of view.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9911/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_17.23.52.png" alt="dyson serps black friday" width="500"></p> <h4>Game</h4> <p>Unlike Dyson, Game provides plenty of info in its title and description tags. As you can see, the search listing tells me to 'check back on 23rd November 2017', which is the day before Black Friday. That's a nice bit of copy to make sure consumers are prepared and visit when Game releases its early deals.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9903/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_14.50.11.png" alt="game black friday search" width="500"> </p> <p>When it comes to the <a href="https://www.game.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/HubArticleView?hubId=268754&amp;articleId=268755&amp;catalogId=10201&amp;langId=44&amp;storeId=10151">Game landing page</a>, the retailer goes one better than Dyson. There's a clear form to register your interest and Game asks for extra details such as postcode and date of birth to help with its targeting. No point in advertising an 18 certificate game to someone underage, or in-store London events and offers to someone on the Isle of Mull.</p> <p>Even better, Game asks the user to say whether they are a 'dedicated gamer', 'generous gifter' or 'gamer who gifts'. These are three very clever categories which should give a rough guide as to how much money the customer may have to spend and how much knowledge they have of the product range. Those who are gifters (and not gamers) will need different content to the dedicated gamers.</p> <p>A note that there's also a cheeky pre-ticked checkbox for the Game newsletter – that will have to change once the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/hello/gdpr-for-marketers/">GDPR</a> comes in next year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9906/game1.jpg" alt="game black friday page" width="615" height="345"></p> <p>Further down the landing page, Game provides deals that consumers can check out in the meantime, with compelling calls to action for console and game offers. Right at the bottom of the page there's some detail on Game rewards, trade-in, next-day delivery and the Game app.</p> <p>Black Friday landing pages are great places to assert just why it is that consumers should choose your retail experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9907/game2.jpg" alt="game black friday page" width="615" height="344"></p> <h4>AO.com</h4> <p>AO.com gets the same criticism that Dyson does, namely a generic search listing thanks to no mention of 2017 in the title or description tags. Yes, that means minimum upkeep but it doesn't grab the customer like the Game example above.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9894/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_14.40.35.png" alt="ao black friday search" width="500" height="93"></p> <p>However, the <a href="http://ao.com/black-friday">AO.com landing page</a> might just be my favourite because it doesn't muck about. One big and clear call to action asking consumers to sign up now for 2017 deal alerts and another big call to action asking me 'why wait?' and directing me to great deals with free shipping.</p> <p>It doesn't take much to do this, other retailers (coming up in the next section) should take note.</p> <p>It's perhaps worth adding here that in previous years AO.com has gone further and <a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9368/ao.png">used a prize draw on this page</a> (to win a television) as an incentive to get people to sign up. Not so this year, perhaps the holiday is well-established enough that the retailer doesn't need to bother.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9893/ao_bf.jpg" alt="ao black friday page" width="615" height="300"></p> <h3>The bad – Argos, Very, O2, Tesco, Currys PC World &amp; John Lewis</h3> <h4>Argos</h4> <p>I'm a bit disappointed in Argos. It is usually such a well-prepared retailer and demonstrates best practice across ecommerce UX and media spend. But its Black Friday search listing and landing page leave a lot to be desired.</p> <p>The search listing is just a little lazy – while the title tag looks right, 2016 is still listed in the page description.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9896/argos_search.jpg" alt="argos black friday search" width="500"></p> <p>Then when we get to the landing page it's a mess of plain text with no imagery and an email call to action that's very difficult to spot. This is one of the most unappealing pages I've seen – look at the second image below and how the white boxes with white text appear. Doesn't exactly appeal to the consumer.</p> <p>Compare this 2017 landing page with that from 2015 (<a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9016/Black_Friday_Deals___Go_Argos.png">view it here</a>). There's no contest, Argos seems to have taken its eye off the ball.</p> <p><a href="http://www.argos.co.uk/events/black-friday.html"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9888/argos_bf.jpg" alt="argos black friday page" width="615" height="355"></a></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9889/argos_page_2.jpg" alt="argos black friday page" width="615" height="311"></p> <h4>Very</h4> <p>Very is just as frustrating as Argos. There's more plain text, with the page appearing as though it was thrown together pretty quickly. Though there is a clear email signup button, which changes colour on rollover, the uninspiring imagery and low-res social icons don't really set the pulse racing.</p> <p>What's more, it seems this page is a template shared by other retailers in the Shop Direct Group (<a href="https://www.littlewoods.com/black-friday.page;jsessionid=7DhPK5oY-UEJ9C7lgywlKPRWoAF7wZkyp2rUfeVjM79751YQbxXk!-1214909302">here it is on the Littlewoods website</a>). Neither page actually tells me what date Black Friday falls on.</p> <p><a href="http://www.very.co.uk/black-friday.page"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9900/very_home.jpg" alt="very black friday page" width="615" height="428"></a></p> <p>In search, there's evidence of more ill-preparedness. There's a second Black Friday landing page, titled 'Black Friday Week'. Click through to it (see further below) and you'll see it's a blank page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9902/VERY_SEARCH.jpg" alt="black friday very search" width="450"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9901/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_15.15.01.png" alt="very black friday page" width="615" height="309"></p> <h4>O2</h4> <p>O2 appears not to have touched its <a href="https://www.o2.co.uk/black-friday-cyber-monday">Black Friday landing page</a> since last November. Here you can see the title tag referring to 2016 and a description more suited to last Christmas, telling consumers Black Friday has ended but other bargains are available.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9908/02search.jpg" alt="o2 black friday in search" width="500" height="263"></p> <p>The page itself is doing nothing to capture early interest, no email signup, no flagging of the date or teasers of what might be on sale come the 24th. An opportunity missed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9910/o2home.jpg" alt="o2 black friday landing" width="615" height="315"></p> <h4>Tesco </h4> <p>Tesco is another transgressor in the search listings, with its landing page still having a 2016 title tag and description. At this stage, one really would expect this to be updated.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9885/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_14.38.54.png" alt="tesco black friday serps" width="500"></p> <p>The landing page itself does seem to have had at least a little bit of TLC, with the correct date and year appearing. Not bad, but must try harder in search, particularly given that the page below indicates Tesco will be running sales over the entire weekend.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9939/Screen_Shot_2017-10-25_at_13.57.55.png" alt="tesco black friday" width="615" height="337"></p> <h4>Currys PC World</h4> <p>Currys isn't that bad, but I've included it with the other guilty parties because with a little more effort and focus, the page would surely be more effective.</p> <p>The first problem is a fairly skinny, measly call to action to 'register your interest'. This should be bigger and bolder, like the AO.com example.</p> <p><a href="https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/black-friday-785-commercial.html"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9890/currys_page_1.jpg" alt="currys black friday page" width="615" height="307"></a></p> <p>Further down the page I quite like the little pictures showing what items are likely to be discounted, which should get bargain hunters interested.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9891/currys_page_2.jpg" alt="currys black friday page" width="615" height="349"></p> <p>But at the bottom of the page, I'm really not a fan of this keyword rich content that looks like its there simply for search benefit. That's not what search is about nowadays – the key messages should be picked out and properly conveyed to the user in a more friendly format.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9892/currys_page_3.jpg" alt="currys black friday page" width="615" height="311"></p> <p>When it comes to the SERPS, Currys does fine, with 2017 in its title tag, even if the description doesn't do much for me.</p> <p>However, there is a slightly odd PPC ad from Currys Ireland – not sure how the targeting went wrong there, seeing as the ad itself shows that it knows I'm in Manchester. Perhaps a little finesse needed as part of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">paid search</a> targeting here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9895/currys_search.jpg" alt="currys black friday search" width="450"></p> <h4>John Lewis</h4> <p>Next up is John Lewis, another retailer with a search listing that hasn't been updated.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9897/jlsearch.jpg" alt="john lewis black friday search" width="500"></p> <p>The landing page has been updated with the correct date at least, there are links to current offers, and I like the fact that there's an explanation of how 'never knowingly undersold' works, even on Black Friday.</p> <p>But, there's no data capture. Though this page has been redesigned slightly (<a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9367/jl.png">here it is in 2015</a>), John Lewis needs to put more thought into revamping this page, rather than simply changing the date and the text, it needs to allow for some customer interaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9940/Screen_Shot_2017-10-25_at_14.19.39.png" alt="john lewis black friday" width="615" height="345"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9941/Screen_Shot_2017-10-25_at_14.19.43.png" alt="john lewis black friday" width="615" height="346"></p> <h3>The ugly – Selfridges &amp; Richer Sounds</h3> <p>So, now to the retailers who don't seem to have any Black Friday landing page at all. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67061-seo-black-friday-how-are-brands-preparing-their-landing-pages">As we've shown previously</a>, this is a key part of maintaining a good search ranking.</p> <h4>Selfridges</h4> <p>A sale and reductions page is the top result for Selfridges. No mention of Black Friday.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9909/selfsearch.jpg" alt="selfridges black friday search" width="500"></p> <p>When I click through to the page, I get a page full of products and a faceted navigation. There is zero information for the user.</p> <p>Selfridges did take part in Black Friday in 2016 (as you can see in the Telegraph link in the SERPs above), and even if participation this year is limited to some 20%-off and 10%-off ranges, there should still be an effort to let customers know about it ahead of time. Data capture should also be considered.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9905/selfpage.jpg" alt="selfridges black friday landing" width="615" height="340"></p> <h4>Richer Sounds</h4> <p>Another retailer that took part last year and is set to do so again this year, but has no information on its website. My search query simply serves up the Richer Sounds homepage.</p> <p>I tried using site search and a 'site:' modifier on Google, but could find no pages related to the planned 24th November sale.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9899/Screen_Shot_2017-10-24_at_14.47.05.jpg" alt="richer sounds black friday search" width="400"></p> <p>That's the end of this niche roundup. Have you seen a retailer with a stellar Black Friday strategy? Let us know about it below.</p> <p><em><strong>Want some more in-depth analysis? Read our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69534-ask-the-experts-black-friday-ecommerce-strategy/">Black Friday: Ask the Experts</a> post.</strong></em></p>