Blog

Top SEO Mistakes Companies Are Making In 2018

Written by   in 
SEO Mistakes Companies Make in 2018
When it comes to developing an effective SEO strategy, there is no one surefire way for companies to achieve the results they’re looking for. However, certain outdated SEO techniques and bad habits can still plague website owners and drastically affect their search engine ranking results. Here is a list of four of the most common SEO mistakes made in 2018 that should be avoided at all costs.

Having a Poor Backlinking Strategy

One of the most effective methods for building authority to a website or blog is through a well-thought-out backlinking strategy. Even in 2018, backlinks still remain one of the largest ranking factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking pages higher. Unfortunately, backlink generation can also negatively impact SEO efforts if not executed properly.
Many companies are still focusing on directing as many links back to their websites as possible. Google knows that most website owners only want to direct their audience to useful web content and they penalize websites trying to game the system. A quality versus quantity approach to backlinking is most effective and won’t risk the website being penalized by Google. Backlinks should only be created from authority websites that are relevant to the site they are linking to.

Lacking Mobile Optimization

From 2015 to 2018, the percentage of web users utilizing mobile devices versus traditional desktop computers rose from 31 percent to nearly 60 percent. This means that in 2018 it’s now safe to say that more website visits are coming from smartphones and tablets. This fact makes it imperative that companies ensure their SEO campaigns are designed around proper mobile optimization.
Google places a higher value on websites that provide a better viewing experience for their users, especially those using mobile devices. Google has provided a valuable tool to test a website’s mobile experience, giving great insight to developers wishing to improve their site’s functionality. Google Webmaster Tools is another great source that can be used to gain a better understanding of a website’s mobile functionality.

Posting Duplicate Content

The term “content is king” has not lost its relevance in 2018. In fact, web content is the pinnacle of a successful SEO campaign. Without well-constructed, informative content, a website doesn’t stand a chance when it comes to ranking well in search engines. So what is worse than a lack of informative content? The answer is duplicate content.
There is nothing that Google hates more than a website that copies the content of another site without proper attribution. Not only does this mislead the reader, but it also violates intellectual property right laws. Google frowns upon this and they make that very clear by penalizing websites that post duplicate content. Creating original and relevant content on a website will ensure search engine crawlers always place priority on those pages.

Having Too Many Low-Performing Indexed Pages

Another common issue that happens when deploying an SEO strategy is generating too much content. If a website owner concentrates most of their focus on pumping out hundreds and thousands of words per page, without bringing real value to the visitor, these indexed web pages can actually do more harm than good.
Having too many low-performing indexed pages can start to bring the authority of a website down, negatively impacting its overall searchability. Website owners should constantly audit their web pages and make adjustments to their content and page layouts where necessary. The goal should be to have all web pages performing well.
By steering clear of these common SEO mistakes, companies can ensure that their efforts aren’t being hindered by Google’s not-so-subtle wrist-slapping. It’s important to remember that there is no quick-fix strategy to ranking a website high in Google’s SERPs. However, companies like Perfect Pixel Marketing have the tools and manpower necessary to develop and execute sound SEO techniques and best practices that maintain Google’s high standards.

How can Perfect Pixel Marketing help you avoid SEO mistakes in 2018

We use proven search engine optimization tactics and data-driven optimization strategies to drive the best long-term dividends for our clients. Drop us a message if you would like us to take a look at your website and help you with your SEO.

Time to get statistically significant data

Statistically significant data

What is statistically significant data?

One of the very first things I learned while working at Social Fulcrum in South Boston, MA was the importance of statistically significant data in marketing and advertising. I have always understood how to calculate conversion rates and find the better performer but I was unaware of this “stat-sig” concept. Here is how Investopedia defines something as significantly significant:
Statistically significant is the likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than random chance. Statistical hypothesis testing is used to determine whether the result of a data set is statistically significant. This test provides a p-value, representing the probability that random chance could explain the result; in general, a p-value of 5% or lower is considered to be statistically significant.
Wait, what? Ok, here is it again in normal-person English:
Specifically, a set of data becomes statistically significant when the set is large enough to accurately represent the phenomenon or population sample being studied. A data set is deemed to be statistically significant if the probability of the phenomenon being random is less than one out of every 20, which is why the p-value is set at 5%.
Uhh, ok. Let’s be honest, that can still be a bit confusing. Here is my version of how it was explained to me:

Say you were doing an experiment to see if quarters, when flipped in the air, are more likely to land on heads than tails. After flipping the coin ten times you get the following results:

Heads: 6 (60% conversion rate)
Tails: 4 (40% conversion rate)

Heads converted better than tails. Eureka! Heads is the winner, right? Would you be confident enough to bet $1,000 on the next ten flips that heads would be the winner again? Probably not. There is just not enough data to say that we would expect a similar outcome if we ran the test again.

Let’s say you have a lot of time on your hands and you flipped the coin one million times and the results were the following:

Heads: 550,000 (55%)
Tails: 450,000 (45%)

Heads converted better than tails again but this time there is enough data to confidently say that heads is the statistically significant winner and will continue to convert better than tails.

Quick side note: the coin-flipping example is just a simple example of how statistically significant data works; it is not meant for applications for randomization and games of chance. We’ll get into a real-world scenario in just two seconds.

How is statistically significant data used for marketing?

Statistically significant data is critical in marketing because it gives us 100% certainty that the information being used for optimizations and data-driven decisions will improve conversion rates moving forward. Statistically significant data has a multitude of applications in marketing and one of its most common uses is for A/B Testing. For those of you who are unaware of A/B Testing, it is when you test two similar components (e.g. audiences, landing pages, etc.) and change one thing to see if one variant will outperform the other.

For lead generation campaigns (Facebook Ads), I am constantly running side-experiments to ensure that we are targeting the right audience to acquire the cheapest and highest qualified leads. My most recent test is to learn if a lookalike audience made up of Lead pixel events will convert better than a lookalike audience made up of Purchase pixel events. My hypothesis is that the Purchase audience will perform better because these users have shown interest in the product. Here is the latest data:

Statistically Significant Data Lead Generation Table
After the first two days of advertising, the Lead lookalike outperformed the Purchase lookalike by 71%; however, the Kissmetrics AB Significance Test gave it a 86% certainty score meaning there was not enough data to call the Lead lookalike audience the statistically significant winner. The trend quickly shifted on the third day when the Purchase lookalike audience converted 188% better than the Lead lookalike audience and the Purchase lookalike audience is now converting 43% better in the fourth day of testing (all data). Just like on the second day, the certainty score is at 87% right now, which means there is a 13% chance that the trend can turn again.

The lesson of this scenario is that you need to wait until there is enough data to make statistically significant decisions regardless of how obvious the trend might seem. But what happens when you are testing a variety of variants and you cannot get a significantly significant winner? Here are a few scenarios where it is ok to end an experiment early:
  • Getting costly – As shown previously, it is best to get a significant amount of data before you can crown a winner but sometimes two variants will perform the same. Instead of spending time and effort trying to find a stat-sig winner move onto your next test and throw both variants into the mix.
  • Winners are crushing it – It is always smart to compare your results to benchmark metrics for your industry; I have been sourcing Wordstream’s benchmark data for the last year and I highly recommend it. You can use this data to determine if your sales funnel is over-performing your industry average. If your variants are outperforming your industry benchmarks than leverage them all – you do not need to only pick one.
  • All bad performers – Of course, if your variants are significantly underperforming your industry benchmarks, you might want to end things early so you can rethink your marketing strategy. Sometimes it is not the variants you are testing that could be causing bad results such as the platform you are using, the audience you are targeting, or the sales funnel you have established.
There are going to be some scenarios where there is not enough data to have a statistically significant winner. One of the best examples is a startup running A/B tests for their newsletter that only has 100 subscribers. If you get stuck in a scenario like that, I recommend that you expand your test across several campaigns with a specific theme and compare the overall data.
In summary, statistically significant data is one of the best ways to ensure that the changes you are making to your marketing strategy and sales funnel will put you in the best possible chance for success.

Do you need help figuring out if your data is statistically significantly? Here at Perfect Pixel Marketing, we use proven marketing tactics and data-driven strategies to drive the best possible ROI for our clients. Send us a message and we will help you get on the right path to success.

Digital Strategies to Grow E-commerce Sales in 2018

Digital Growth Strategies for e-commerce 2018

According to Statista, global e-commerce sales increased by about 20% in each of the past 4 years. E-commerce retail sales in 2017 in the U.S. have shown substantial, continued growth, with 3rd quarter 2017 sales up by almost 16% from 3rd quarter 2016 sales.

The First Key to E-commerce Success: Understand Online Shopper Preferences

E-commerce giants like Walmart and Amazon account for much of the growth in sales in recent years. How much success other e-commerce businesses achieve is a function more than anything else of how well they understand and effectively respond to their customers — how those customers shop, how they want to be communicated with, and whether companies offer the products, services and features they’re looking for.

Many recent studies have attempted to better understand online shopper preferences. Consider, for example, these findings, drawn from a sampling of those studies:

  • 75 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from companies that know their names and purchase histories, and who make recommendations based on those histories
  • 63 percent of online shoppers have a better opinion of businesses that send valuable, relevant content
  • The average shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 70 percent
  • More than 50 percent of shoppers who abandon their carts will complete their purchase if a company offers a discount

The Second Key to E-commerce Success: Give Customers What They Want

The challenge for e-commerce marketers is less in knowing (theoretically) what online shoppers want, and more in accommodating those preferences through proactive strategies. Here are four strategies which will help you give your customers what they want, and increase online sales in the process:

1. Establish a Reputation for Expertise

The essence of content marketing is building trust and credibility by giving prospective customers information they can use to solve their problems and help them make more informed decisions. When you begin customer conversations with a sales pitch, that conversation is about you. When you begin by offering valuable information, the conversation is where it should be, squarely focused on your customers.

Let’s say, for example, you sell appliances online. You could send customers, through organic or paid search, to a landing page with rows of washing machines, and of course the usual product descriptions and prices. Alternately, you could send them to an article, “How to buy a washing machine with all the features you need, and without spending too much money.” When it comes time to buy, will that customer remember the company that made their initial foray a sales pitch or the one that helped them save money?

Being a thought leader isn’t about impressing customers with your knowledge. It’s about becoming a trusted partner in the buyer’s journey and based on that trust, increasing conversions and sales.

2. Segment Your Audience to Enable Personalized Communications

Your online customers are interested in different products, have different problems, and have spent different amounts of money on your site. The more effectively you accommodate those differences, the more successful you’ll be. Still, according to a recent survey from Receiptful, only 73 percent of e-commerce businesses were segmenting their audience.

The question, of course, is how best to conduct that segmentation. Although every business is different, most will benefit by identifying and tailoring messaging to (at minimum) the following customer segments:

  • Repeat vs. first-time site visitors: You should be tracking online behavior (for example, using a cookie or JavaScript), to obtain the data you need to distinguish between repeat and new visitors. Because you’ll have much more data on repeat visitors, you can more effectively customize their online experience.
  • Customers who haven’t purchased recently: If someone hasn’t bought anything in, say, the past month, you might want to incentivize a purchase with a special promotional code, a code you don’t necessarily need to send to recent purchasers.
  • Your top 1 percent: These are frequent and big-ticket purchasers, and they typically spend as much as your entire bottom 50 percent. You’ll want to prioritize them and ensure they have the best in online experience and customer service.

3. Leverage Social Media

According to HubSpot, 63 percent of Facebook and Twitter users go there for professional purposes. To increase your e-commerce sales, begin monitoring social media conversations about your business using tools like Talkwalker, a social media analytics tool which highlights conversational themes and benchmarks your performance against your competitors.

You should also use the e-commerce-friendly tools social media sites offer, like Facebook’s buy button and Pinterest’s buyable pins. Finally, post social media content which aligns with what your customers are talking about and includes links to relevant pages on your e-commerce site.

4. Recover Sales From Abandoned Shopping Carts

About two of every three shopping carts are abandoned prior to purchase — that represents an enormous opportunity for increased sales. The reasons for abandonment include everything from unexpected shipping charges to a byzantine checkout process, concerns about security and simple distraction.

To recover these sales, first, do some research to learn as much as you can about the reasons for cart abandonment on your site and fix whatever problems you find. Second, create an email recovery strategy which reminds customers of their purchase and persuades them to complete it. Finally, to maximize results, incentivize completed purchases by offering discounts and other perks.

Conclusion

E-commerce sales continue to grow with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The e-commerce businesses that succeed will be the ones which take the time to understand their target audience, the problems they experience online and the solutions they’re looking for. You can get to the head of the pack if you provide valuable content to build a reputation for expertise, intelligently segment your market, use social media to initiate meaningful conversations and create an effective strategy to recover abandoned shopping carts.

Perfect Pixel Marketing uses proven marketing tactics and data-driven optimizations to drive the best possible ROI for our clients. Contact us today to learn how we can help you acheive your marketing and sales goals.