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Why page speed and load times are important for your website

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Most people know that maintaining an online presence is an essential part of building a thriving business. This is why so many companies invest in developing informative and useful online interfaces for their customers to engage with while generating SEO campaigns to attract new visitors.
Recently, however, there have been new developments in how search engines like Google value certain websites and rank them accordingly, especially ones who don’t meet their standards when it comes to catering to the overall user experience. Now, more than ever, website load times and navigation speeds play an essential role in the sustainability of your website and how it ranks in the search engines.
Here are three reasons why this is the case.

Caters To Mobile Users

Today, more internet users are browsing from their mobile devices than any other method. Why does this matter? People are looking for more convenient ways to find what they’re looking for online, meaning websites are expected to operate at a higher standard of performance. Slow loading times and page speed can significantly affect the user’s ability to get the quick and easy answers their looking for and dramatically diminishes the website’s value. This is especially the case if the site is not optimized to operate efficiently on smaller device screens.

Improves User Experience and Increases Conversions

Most recently, Google has released their new Speed Update that is designed to evaluate and restructure search engine ranking factors associated with how well a website performs under speed tests. Since their inception, Google has always strived to keep the user first when it comes to their ranking algorithms, and with the modern-day importance of quick and easy browsing being so critical, it was only a matter of time before they began to enforce page speed and load times.
There is a significant correlation between website speed performance and increased sales conversions. When customers find the information they’re looking for, and they’re able to do so without disconnects or slower website performance, they are much more likely to make a purchase and continue using Google as their search engine of choice – it’s a win-win-win.

Page Speed Affects Your Search Engine Rankings

When it comes down to it, how fast a customer can access your website is the very first impression you make about your brand, products, and services. In fact, research has shown that 79% of online shoppers say they will not use a website again if they’ve experienced trouble with load speeds in the past. This makes it critical to ensure your website performance is up to par, and search engines like Google are continuing to enforce this importance.
If Google detects that your website performance is under par, they will reduce that amount of web crawlers they send to your website on a regular basis. What does this mean? It means that the next time you put out a blog post or make any new updates to your website, it’s a strong possibility that it will take much longer for that new content to be found by search engines, or even rank at all.
There are a variety of ways that website owners can improve their webpage speed and load times, many of which easy to implement and can significantly improve the user experience. Some of these include:
  • Compress All of Your Website Images
  • Use a Premium Website Theme
  • Improve Website Caching With Website Plugins
  • Clean Up All Broken Links
  • Invest In a Content Delivery Network
As newer technology continues to develop, specifically in the consumer markets, it is becoming vital that businesses and their websites can adapt to the growing needs of their customers and user base. By giving due diligence to website performance and investing in services to help improve the online user experience, companies can continue to see better sales results overall while significantly enhancing their SEO efforts.

Top SEO Mistakes Companies Are Making In 2018

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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.