Thursday, July 22, 2010

Update: Jenny's SEO Slang

Soooo, I updated my page called: Jenny's SEO Slang

I think there are probably 1,000 more to add... send me an e-mail or comment here with terms that you think I should add so together we can create the largest list of "SEO Slang" anywhere :-)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Top 10 Best Practices for Landing Page Conversion Optimization

What is a “Landing Page”?

Although often times a landing page is referred to as the page a user lands on after clicking on a Pay Per Click (PPC) ad, landing pages are really any page, HomePage (HP) or SubPage (SP), within a particular website that a potential client will land on after clicking on an add, an organic result in the search engines, e-mail marketing campaign or even an article or Press Release.

Best Practices for Website Landing Pages – AKA – Conversion Rate Optimization:

Below is a list of the top ten best practices for landing pages. The list encourages companies to make smart marketing choices, which will not only engage the user but be able to show higher return on investment(ROI).

1. Unify the Intent – Landing pages perform best when the content is promotion-based. With this type of landing page, the content is concise and focused on one appealing message. Even the most brand-focused company ("we're not promotional, we're all about brand") engages in some sort of promotional activity.

2. Visually Engage the User – Tell a story or sell a product using impactful imagery rather than simply explaining the purpose with lengthy copy. (Think short attention pans, we are on the internet after all).

3. Focus the User Experience – Feature clean navigation and succinct calls to action. Landing pages should be used as a teaser to easily point the customer to the desired action. (Call now!)

4. Use a Direct Headline – Making a good first impression is just as important online as it is in the real world. A clear and direct headline should be the first thing the user notices upon viewing the page. Make sure the headline is a direct and simple statement of what the page visitor is trying to accomplish.

5. Leave Plenty of Whitespace — Visitors don’t read, they scan the text to determine if the page is relevant to their goal or not. Clean use of space allows visitors to scan and understand key messages.

6. Deliver a Clear Value Proposition – Answer any potential “whys?” with value propositions. Keep them limited to three or four bullet points and don’t mince words. This is no time to get cute – if visitors can’t quickly and easily understand the benefits of your product or service, they will leave.

7. Amplify Buttons – Attracting attention is what the main action buttons are all about. Make users notice where the button is upon landing. Odd button shapes work well. Also, don’t skimp on button size. *I personally think there should always be a big “Contact” button or a quick form on each page. You don`t need people to read your site once they get there, you just want them to take an action.

8. Convey Trust and Security - Branding, trust/security icons and assurances, as well as testimonials provide credibility and give confidence to the visitor that can have a positive impact on conversion. *I suggest trust icons such as the BBB, Mcafee, etc. and always place them above the fold. You might put “Our Returns Policy,” “Member of the Better Business Bureau,” “As Seen in Architectural Record,” “Company Information” and more to remove fear and build confidence.

9. Provide a Compelling Message — Every good salesperson says something to persuade prospects who are on the fence. Think of your landing page as your online salesperson. Make sure you have one compelling message directly above the call to action. “Bandwagon messages,” such as “Join thousands of people that use…” can also improve visitor confidence and increase conversion.

10. Soften the Call to Action – Direct words like “Buy,” “Add to Cart” or “Subscribe” indicate a commitment that the visitor may not be ready to make and can lower conversion rates. A softer call to action like "Try it Now" can drive users deeper into the funnel and result in higher conversions. The best calls to action are written in plain English with no more than 7-12 words.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Advanced Geo Targeted PPC Advertising Methods

My good friend John Pfeiffer wrote this piece.... thought I'd share:

Advanced Geo Targeted PPC Advertising Methods

Geographically focusing your paid search engine advertising to specific locations within your Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft’s adCenter (Bing) campaigns is one of the simplest and most important direct marketing tools to effectively drive qualified traffic to your small business website.  But on more than one occasion, small business owners create ads with their city mentioned in the headline and then display these ads nationally!  (i.e. I live in “Colorado” but I’ve seen ads for “Boston Chiropractors” while searching from my local office).  This is a good example of very bad geo targeted PPC advertising and complete waste of marketing dollars in geographies where your customers do not live.

Instead, I suggest that PPC advertisers take the following steps to ensure your geo targeted PPC advertising is done properly and seen by the most “relevant” number of potential customers as possible.
  1. First, look at your customer database, web logs and/or billing addresses to determine where most of your customers live.  This will give you the first sphere of geographical focus for which to display your advertising
  2. If you are seeking to expand your geographical reach in search of new potential customers, consider “like” areas throughout the state, region, country or world for your next target focus.  For example, if you are selling “golf clubs”, look for cities, states or areas where golf courses exist (i.e. Alaska may not be a best place to start, but Florida is probably a good bet).
  3. Advertise in areas of the smallest increments.  For example, if you are currently set your geo targeted PPC advertising for the entire U.S., consider lowering the target areas to all states or even metro areas.  This trick will give you another line of copy on your Google advertisements and can separate your ad from the competition.
  4. When targeting small areas within a state or region, I recommend to use both the custom geo-targeting map AND the city/state selections.  By including both the names of the cites/states along with a circle radius or polygon around your business location, you will be able to show your ads more frequently to more potential customers while still gaining the advantage of the 5th line of copy underneath your ads (i.e. your business name, address and phone).
  5. Select negative geo targeted PPC advertising locations where appropriate to avoid unwanted clicks from strange countries, states or areas where you are prohibited to advertise or not licensed to do business in that particular area (e.g. lawyers, real estate agents, and mortgage brokers).  This may be especially true if you live near a state, county or country line.
  6. Remember that some internet service provides (ISPs) reside in areas that may not be located in your target market region.  Since the search engines usually segment the geo-targeting by the physical location of the ISP address, you may need to add these regions to capture your entire target market audience.

By using some of these advanced geo targeted PPC advertising techniques for your next pay-per-click campaign, you should be able to raise your click-through rates (CTRs), increase your Quality Scores (which lends itself to lower bids for less expensive clicks), and ultimately, acquire more customers within your desired market area.

About the Author: John Pfeiffer helps small business owners succeed online against big budget advertisers with affordable pay per click advertising management services.  He is also the author of numerous articles and white papers on affordable PPC advertising and search engine marketing.  John can be reached at © 2010