Tag Archive | "Essential"

The E-Commerce Benchmark KPI Study 2017: 15 Essential Takeaways

Posted by Alan_Coleman

Is your website beating, meeting, or behind the industry average?

Wolfgang Digital’s 2017 E-Commerce Benchmark KPI Study is out with an even bigger sample size than ever before. Analyzing 143 million website sessions and $ 531 million in online revenues, the study gives e-commerce marketers essential insights to help benchmark their business’s online performance and understand which metrics drive e-commerce success.

This study is our gift to the global e-commerce industry. The objective is to reveal the state of play in the industry over the last 12 months and ultimately help digital marketers make better digital marketing decisions by:

  1. Better understanding their website performance through comparing key performance indicators (KPIs) with industry benchmarks.
  2. Gaining insights into which key metrics will ensure e-commerce success

You can digest the full study here.

Skim through the key takeaways below:


1. Google remains people’s window to the web, but its dominance is in decline.

The search giant generates 62% of all traffic and 63% of all revenue. This is down from 69% of traffic and 67% of revenue in last year’s study. In numerical terms, Google is growing — it’s simply that the big G’s share of the pie is in decline.

2. Google’s influence is declining as consumers’ paths to purchase become more diverse, with “dark traffic” on the rise.

This occurs when Google Analytics doesn’t recognize a source by default, like people sharing links on WhatsApp. Dark traffic shows up as direct traffic in Google Analytics. Direct traffic grew from 17% to 18% of traffic.

3. Consumers’ paths to purchase have gotten longer.

It now takes 12% more clicks to generate a million euro online than it did 12 months ago, with 360,000 clicks being the magic million-euro number in 2017.

4. Mobile earns more share, yet desktop still delivers the dollars.

2017 is the first year mobile claimed more sessions (52%) than desktop (36%) and tablet (12%) combined. Desktop generates 61% of all online revenue, with users 164% more likely to convert than those browsing on mobile. Plus, when desktop users convert, they spend an average of 20% more per order than mobile shoppers.

5. The almighty conversion rate: e-commerce sites average 1.6%.

E-commerce websites averaged 1.6% overall. Travel came in at 2.4%. Online-only retailers saw 1.8% conversion rates, while their multichannel counterparts averaged 1.2%

6. Don’t shop if you’re hungry.

Conversion rates for food ordering sites are fifteen times those of typical retail e-commerce!

***Correlation explanation: The most unique and most useful part of our study is our correlation calculation. We analyze which website metrics correlate with e-commerce success. Before I jump into our correlation findings, let me explain how to read them. Zero means no correlation between the two metrics. One means perfect correlation; for example, “every time I sneeze, I close my eyes.” Point five (0.5) means that as one metric increases 100%, the other metric increases 50%. A negative correlation means that as one variable increases, the other decreases.

From our experience compiling these stats over the years, any correlation over .2 is worth noting. North of 0.4 is a very strong correlation. I’ve ranked the following correlations below in order of strength, starting with the strongest.

7. Sticky websites sell more (0.6).

The strongest correlation in the study was between time spent on a website and conversion rate (0.6 correlation). By increasing time on site by 16%, conversion rates ramp up 10%. Pages per session also correlated solidly with revenue growth (0.25).

8. People trust Google (0.48).

According to Forbes, Google is the world’s second most valuable brand. Our figures agree. People who got more than average organic traffic from Google enjoyed a savagely strong conversion rate (0.48). It seems that when Google gives prominent organic coverage to a website, that website enjoys higher trust and, in turn, higher conversion rates from consumers.

9. Tablet shoppers love a bit of luxury (0.4).

Higher-than-average tablet sessions correlated very strongly with high average order values (0.4). However, pricey purchases require more clicks, no matter the device.

10. Loyal online shoppers are invaluable (0.35).

Your best-converting customers are always your returning loyal customers. Typically they show up as direct traffic, high levels of which correlated very strongly with conversion rates (0.35).

11. Speed matters (0.25).

005Onsite Engagement.jpg

Average site speed was 6 seconds. This is far higher than the generally recommended 2 seconds. There was a strong inverse correlation between average page load time and revenue growth (0.25). Reducing the average load time by 1.6 seconds would increase annual revenue growth by 10%.

12. Mobile is a money-making machine (0.25).

009Revenue Growth.jpg

Websites that got more mobile pageviews (0.25) and more tablet pageviews (0.24) grew revenue faster.

13. Email pays dividends (0.24).

002Source-Rev.jpg

Email delivers three times as much revenue as Facebook on a last-click basis. Those who get more traffic from email also enjoy a higher AOV (0.24).

14. Bing CPC represents a quick win (0.22).

Websites with a higher share of Bing CPC traffic tend to see a higher AOV (0.22). This, coupled with lower CPCs, makes Bing an attractive low-volume high-profit proposition. Bing has made the route into Bing Ads much easier, introducing a simple one-click tool which will convert your AdWords campaigns into Bing Ad campaigns.

15. Pinterest can be powerful (0.22).

Websites with more Pinterest traffic enjoyed higher AOVs (0.22). This demonstrates Pinterest’s power as a visual research engine, a place where people research ideas before taking an action — for example, planning a wedding, designing a living room, or purchasing a pair of pumps. The good news for digital marketers is that Pinterest recently launched its self-service ad platform.


Black holes

We used Google Analytics to compile the report. Once installed correctly, Google Analytics is very accurate in the numbers it does reports. However, there are two areas it struggles to report on that digital marketers need to keep in mind:

  1. Offline conversions: For 99% of our data set, there is no offline conversion tracking setup. Google is introducing measures to make it easier to track this. Once marketing directors get visibility on the offline impact of their online spend, we expect more offline budget to migrate online.
  2. Cross-device conversions: It’s currently very difficult to measure cross device conversions. According to Google themselves, 90% of goals occur on more than one device. Yet Google Analytics favors the sturdy desktop, as it generates the most same-device conversions. The major loser here is social, with 9 out of 10 Facebook sessions being mobile sessions. Instagram and Snapchat don’t even have a desktop version of their app!

Google is preparing to launch enhanced reporting in the coming months, which will give greater visibility on cross-device conversions. Hopefully this will give us a clearer picture of social’s role in conversion for our 2018 study.

The full report is available here and I’d love to answer your questions in the comments section below.

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Master These 7 Essential Elements for Winning Content [Infographic]

master-content-marketing

Content marketing — ugh, amirite?

We talk about it a lot here. And you’re reading this because you know it’s important. You know it’s what marketing just is these days.

But … it’s so complicated. Especially if you feel like you weren’t blessed with that mythical writer’s gene. That special talent for weaving words together. The ability to take your reader on a journey with every sentence you craft.

I know how it feels to lack confidence in your writing abilities, because that was how I felt just six short years ago.

But it turns out — luckily for all of us — that writing is a learnable skill. And content marketing isn’t nearly as complicated as some people make it out to be.

Content marketing is easier when you break it down and build it back up

It’s what I teach in my new book, Master Content Marketing. It’s written for people who need help getting started with content marketing, and it features the seven elements in the infographic below.

Master Content Marketing is available now. If you purchase it this week, you’ll get an invitation to an exclusive webinar for early readers. Just sign up for the free bonus materials at the secret link you’ll find in the book. :-)

mcm-infographic

Embed this content marketing infographic

Want to publish this infographic on your own site?

Copy and paste the following code into your blog post or web page:

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Google Buys FameBit, Sees Branded Content as Essential to YouTube

Google has purchased FameBit, a technology and marketing platform that helps brands link up with social media stars on YouTube and Twitter. This is part of a growing trend where Google and others realize that preroll video ads are not the future and that marketing integration into content is the smart way to reach millennial’s and even younger audiences.

Ironically, that’s how television started in the 1950′s, where every show was brought to you by a product and often that product was integrated into the content.

“We believe that Google’s relationship with brands and YouTube’s partnerships with creators, combined with FameBit’s technology and expertise, will help increase the number of branded content opportunities available, bringing even more revenue into the online video community,” noted Ariel Bardin, Vice President, Product Management at Google.

FameBit provides a modern version of this, telling marketers that it will grow your customer base via tutorials, comedic skits, mentions, routines, DIY videos, game plays, lookbooks, vlogs and hauls. What this means is that FameBit, and now YouTube, will connect your brand with YouTube stars and help popular YouTuber’s make additional revenue in the process.

“Every year, more and more brands are making YouTube essential to their marketing strategy,” said Bardin. “In fact, in the last year alone, the top 100 advertisers have increased their spend on YouTube video ads by 50 percent.”

Google knows that even though brands have increased their marketing on YouTube, what they really want are deeper connections with YouTube stars and through extension their fans.

“As brands continue to embrace the value of YouTube, they’re also taking their investments one step further, partnering with creators on branded content opportunities such as product placements, promotions and sponsorships,” he said. “As we look to the future, we want even more creators and brands to come together and realize the benefits of these creative collaborations.”

Unlike Google search, YouTube video is not inherently a lead generation opportunity, but rather is more like TV, promoting brand recognition and brand favorability. Fortunately for Google, that’s what Madison Avenue sells and Google wants to tap into more of their dollars.

According to eMarketer TV ad spending will be $ 72.01 billion in 2016 with digital ad spending just slightly under that. But with advertising in video formats from YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, etc…, digital ad spend will increase as a percentage. By 2020, it’s predicted that digital ad revenue will be 37% higher than TV.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-4-02-25-pm

Of course, digital delivery of TV is also on the rise, replacing the cable middlemen and ultimately making digital the primary way to consume video content.

The post Google Buys FameBit, Sees Branded Content as Essential to YouTube appeared first on WebProNews.


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An Introduction to the 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs

4 Essential Content Types - A Content Marketing Strategy Series

This week, we have something special for you.

We are going to publish a five-part content marketing series, with a new article in the series each day.

The series will focus on the four essential types of content every marketing strategy needs.

Let me explain why that matters.

What are the 4 essential content types?

Different types of content play different roles in your marketing strategy. They help your business in different ways. Here at Copyblogger, we’ve been successfully using these four types of content for more than a decade.

In this week’s series, we are going to walk you through these four different types of content and show you how to use them yourself. The content types are:

  1. Attraction
  2. Authority
  3. Affinity
  4. Action

Keep in mind that these content types are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes a piece of content can play more than one role. They can work together and complement one another.

In addition, although they all may have the same look, the same feel, and the same voice, they each serve different purposes. Because of that, they have different attributes, which we’ll talk about in detail in the week ahead.

A summary of the 4 content types

Attraction content helps you reach a new audience and get your message in front of new people.

But eventually you’ll want to convince those people to trust you as an expert, so you’ll need to provide Authority content.

Once you’ve established authority, your message will spread through Affinity content. Affinity content is how you build a community of like-minded people that share your beliefs.

And it’s this community who will be your best customers. But nobody will listen to you — let alone buy from you — unless you create Action content.

Sometimes these are discrete, standalone pieces of content. Sometimes they’re a blend of two of the types. Sometimes three. We’ve got examples that blend all four.

Why it’s important to master these 4 content types

Successfully using all four types of content on your website is what allows you to command larger fees for your services and charge more for your products.

It’s what gets people to link to your content (without you even having to ask).

It’s how you land guest posting opportunities you once thought were out of your reach.

It’s how you get influencers to share your content on social media.

Successfully using all four content types is also how you convince people to like you, trust you, and ultimately buy from you. But that’s not all. These people will not only become customers. They’ll become advocates, fans, and even, in some cases, friends.

Masterfully weaving together these four content types is truly one of the best ways to build an audience that builds your business.

I hope you enjoy this week of learning about the four essential types of content every marketing strategy needs. Stay tuned for my article about Attraction content tomorrow.

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Essential Audio Tips from the Official Audio Engineer of Rainmaker.FM

sr-audio-tips

Toby Lyles of TwentyFour Sound is the audio wizard behind the curtain here at Rainmaker.FM. With Jonny Nastor out this week, Jerod Morris takes over The Showrunner and invites Toby to share some insights on how you can improve the quality of the audio you are delivering to your audience.

This week’s episode begins with Jerod sharing a quick story of an exciting convergence of showrunner worlds that occurred literally just hours before he sat down to record.

You will probably be able to relate to his excitement; if you’ve ever considered quitting your show, you’ll definitely want to hear this story.

Then Toby stops by to discuss audio quality.

Jerod asks a number of the same questions you’d probably love to ask:

  • Which Rainmaker.FM show is the most difficult to edit?
  • What should Showrunners do to get the most out of their investments in and relationships with an editor?
  • What should Showrunners look for in an editor to be sure they make a smart choice?
  • What is the single biggest audio mistake Toby sees in podcasting?
  • What is the first step to quality audio?

Click Here to Listen to

The Showrunner on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand digital business and marketing advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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How to Avoid Marketing Automation Disaster: 6 Essential Pre-Planning Steps

Marketing-Automation-Strategy

As sales cycles increase and buyers become more informed, marketing automation is on the tip of the tongue of almost every marketer you talk to today. In fact, research has found that 79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than 2 years.

Over the past five years, I’ve consulted with clients as marketing automation conversations evolved from “what’s that” to “someday” through to the vendor selection, planning, implementation and measurement of a system. Interestingly, 78% of successful marketers cite marketing automation systems as most responsible for improving revenue contribution, but getting from the “someday” to the “planning” can be daunting.

In my experience, there are typically two paths that companies go down when exploring marketing automation. On one hand, I’ve seen companies leverage marketing automation systems and effectively use it to nurture and qualify leads to grow revenue. On the other end of the spectrum, kinks in implementation or lack of resources and content has led to marketing automation being used simply as an email delivery system, rather than a system to score and nurture leads.

When a marketing automation initiative goes awry, the reason can often be tracked back to the first conversations about marketing automation initiatives. It is so important that the entire team is aligned, expectation are clear and resources are readied. So if you are wondering if you are ready for marketing automation, or starting to plan, or looking to ensure the success of your big launch, start by answering these six questions.

Six Marketing Automation Pre-Planning Questions

#1 – What is the organizational goal you hope to achieve with Marketing Automation?

Although the end goal of marketing automation is likely to increase sales, there should be different benchmarks along the way. Prior to launching a marketing automation system, discuss with your sales and marketing team the current pain points and first steps to meeting potential objectives:

  • Increase the number of leads throughout the pipeline
  • More effectively nurture top of funnel leads toward the middle and bottom of the sales funnel
  • Help the sales team efficiently identify and close “hot leads”

Marketing automation can certainly help achieve any of these goals and identifying your company’s top pain points will help you prioritize. For example, if your objective is to nurture top of funnel prospects, then start by building a nurture campaign targeting prospects that have downloaded content in the past, and feed them content progressively deeper in the funnel as they take action.

#2 – What is the health of your current database?

Is your database filled to the brim with relevant, engaged prospects? Do your existing email marketing efforts have average to high deliverability and open rate? Great news! This means that your marketing automation efforts will likely be reaching a targeted user base that is likely to convert.

However, if your contact list is out of date and you have a high rate of undelivered emails, then it may appropriate to do a database cleanse prior to beginning a marketing automation initiative.

If you delivery rate is high, but open rates are lagging, then consider evaluating your list segmentation and targeting. One of the first steps is to segment your list by:

  • Customer vs. Prospect
  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Relevant services
  • Engagement

This step will enable you to develop and launch nurture campaigns, which are highly relevant to your audience and more likely to be acted on.

If your list is looking a little light, then use this as an opportunity to start building a list of relevant, opted in prospects via promotion on your website, content assets and social channels.

#3 – What content assets are available?

High quality content is a critical must-have for exploring a marketing automation strategy. Begin by completing a content audit of your existing assets. Categorize your content by:

  • Target persona
  • Stage of the buying cycle
  • Topics
  • Gated Open

Once you have completed the audit you will be able to identify areas of opportunity to round out your content mix.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of existing content to drip to your prospects. Dedicate phase one your marketing automation efforts to the segment where you have the most opportunity and the most content.

Be sure to map content creation into long-term planning to adequately build out subsequent nurture campaigns.

Look for opportunities to repurpose and repackage content to ease the content creation efforts.

#4 – Do you have the resources to dedicate to the planning, implementation and measurement of a marketing automation system?

Marketing automation systems can vary greatly in function, complexity and the amount of support they provide. Regardless, in order to derive the most value from the software provide several team members with the time and resources required in order to train, plan and implement. Plan for marketing automation team roles, including:

  • Strategist/Planner
  • Project Manager
  • Copywriters
  • Web Developer
  • Marketing Technology Administrator
  • Analyst

If you have a smaller team, then some team members may very well have more than one role, but make sure that each one is clearly defined and assigned.

#5 – Are sales and marketing aligned?

One of the primary goals of a marketing automation system is to ensure the sales team is able to identify and close “hot leads”.

To make this process is seamless, ensure that your sales and marketing team are in alignment in before you launch any marketing automation system. Everyone should know:

  • What makes a good lead?
  • How are leads scored and qualified?
  • At what point in the process is a lead contacted by sales? And how?

Having these conversations prior to launch will help set expectations across the team, as well as open the door between them. Ongoing communication will be critical as you roll out to ensure the right leads are getting to the right people at the right time.

#6 – What does success look like?

In order for everyone to feel good and satisfied with a marketing automation launch, sit your team (sales, marketing, and executives) down to establish what success will look like in 3, 6 months to 1 year. Developing and refining nurture campaigns which turn top of funnel leads into sales revenue takes time. Establish your benchmark prior to launch and then another 3 months later. Use this in order to set goals for the rest of the year.

Start Planning for the Future

Marketing automation can be the boost you need in order to accelerate revenue. However, it’s probably a pretty big investment for your team in terms of time and money. So whether you’ve got in penciled into your marketing plan for 2015 or 2018, start planning now.

What are some of your burning questions that you need answered in order to determine if your team is ready for marketing automation?

Image via Shutterstock

 


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Essential SEO Considerations For Any Website Migration

Website Migration SEO Considerations

Sometimes implementing a website migration an essential part of doing business in a digital world. There are a variety of reasons why a company may choose to migrate from one site to another. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to remember that your website is your virtual calling card to prospective customers and sometimes a website migration is a necessary step in providing your customers the best possible user experience.

Like botched plastic surgery, a poorly executed website migration can bring a host of SEO problems, including making your site difficult to find in search engines, confusing to use or filled with errors that make the searchbots run away.

To ensure that your website migration goes smoothly and leads to improved business, follow these essential migration SEO recommendations:

Assess Visitor Behavior with Web Analytics

Assess Your Analytics

In order to improve the user experience of your website, it’s important to first understand how visitors use your website now. Your website analytics platform can be a treasure trove for insights into historic usage patterns that can be essential to identifying issues, opportunities and sticking points that can be improved with a strategic site redesign.

Make sure you’re putting all of that valuable data to use by reviewing:

  • Top-viewed website content – Make sure you aren’t cutting content your audience loves.
  • Least-viewed website content – Even the best sites have some junk, take this opportunity to drop it or improve it.
  • Click maps – Looking at where people are clicking (or trying to click) can help to design an intuitive and frustration free navigation interface.
  • Paths to conversion – Regardless of what your website goals are (i.e. build subscribers, generate leads), understanding the paths which your visitors are taking to key conversion points can help to optimize these paths to make it easier and more enticing for visitors to convert into customers.

Web analytics tools:

Website Migration 301 Redirect Mapping

Map Url Redirects

If your website has been around for any amount of time, there’s a good chance that you’ve built up search equity in the form of links and social shares. In addition to tight keyword optimization, these are the primary factors that help to increase the visibility of your content in search engines and since they are tied to the urls on your site, a migration in domain or url structure can snuff out the valuable search equity you’ve spent time and effort building.

To avoid starting from SEO square one with your new website, it’s important to strategically implement 301 redirects from your old page urls to the new ones, as this will effectively tell search engines where your new site pages are and that they are replacements for the old versions. In addition, it will ensure that people and bots who follow links to your old urls will end up in the right place rather than an error page.

In order to map redirects effectively, start by documenting for all your existing pages:

  • URL
  • Page topic
  • Target keyword
  • Organic search traffic (I recommend looking at a minimum 6 month time range)
  • Links to page
  • keyword rank

Also document for your planned new site pages:

  • URL
  • Page topic
  • Target keyword

Once you have these two lists compiled, the next step is to map each page on your current site to it’s planned new location on your soon-to-be launched site. Redirect mapping isn’t rocket science, but it does take some thought (when done correctly). Fortunately, the previous exercise should give you all the information you need.

Of primary concern is topic relevance, in particular for highly trafficked and linked-to pages. When planning redirects, always consider what the experience of a visitor would be if they ended up on the redirect page rather than the original. Would it serve their needs as well or better than the old page? Would it feel confusing? Ideally the new page should be such a seamless transition that people don’t even notice the switch.

Redirect mapping tools:

 

Consider Time of Year When Planning a Website Migration

Choose Ideal Timing

Even the best planned and executed website migrations come with some downtime and a temporary decrease in traffic (approx. 30%) and search rankings. It’s a price worth paying, as a new and improved website can drive significant improvements in business over an outdated and clunky site. However, it’s important to time the transition for when it’s likely to have the least amount of negative impact on your business.

The best time of year to implement a website migration is when business is likely to be the slowest. Companies vary in the degree of seasonality they experience, but most have a ‘slow season’. You probably already know when this is, but if not, take a look at your historic yearly web traffic or revenue patterns to determine when your slow season typically occurs.

As with time of year, it also makes sense to migrate your site on a slow day of the week during off hours. For many B2B focused websites, this is late on Friday or Saturday, but make sure to make the decision based on your own analytics, as every site and audience is different.

 

Post Website Migration

Post Migration

After making your new site live, it can be tempting to relax and celebrate, but hold off on breaking out the champagne just yet. In the period of time shortly following a website migration, it’s critical to keep a sharp eye out for issues or opportunities as well as monitor website traffic patterns to make sure it’s heading in a positive direction.

QA Like Your Site Depended on It (Spoiler: It Does)

In addition to checking your 301 redirects, it’s important to give a visual inspection of each page on your new site. For efficiency, you can check both simultaneously.

Make sure that each of your redirected pages:

  • Goes to the correct new destination page
  • Gives the correct server response (301)
  • Loads quickly
  • Directs to a page that renders correctly

 

Upload XML Sitemap

XML Sitemap and Robots.txt

Like moving a brick and mortar business to a new location, it’s important to let people know where you’ve gone or else they may not be able to find you. On the internet, this is primarily accomplished via an xml sitemap, which tells search engines all about your new site and what it contains.

While you should have a properly formatted (and ideally auto-generated) xml sitemap on your site from day one, it isn’t enough to simply have it there, as search engines may not immediately find it without a little prompting. To avoid unnecessary delays, upload your xml sitemap to Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Once uploaded, check back to make sure your sitemap isn’t resulting in errors from either Google or Bing and that the majority of your submitted pages have been indexed.

 

Monitor Web Analytics After a Website Migration

Analytics

As mentioned earlier, a temporary decrease of approximately 30% in website search traffic and visibility can be expected in the period immediately following a migration, but it’s very important to monitor closely to make sure it is indeed temporary and that things are headed in the right direction.

Make sure to keep a close eye on:

  • Organic search traffic
  • Visit bounce rate
  • Conversion rates
  • Keyword rankings

 

Website Migration Crawl Test

Crawl Errors

Generally, crawl errors like broken links, 404 not found pages or duplicate content will be at their lowest levels on a brand new site, but it’s still important to check and fix any errors, especially as this can be an indicator of a mistake during the migration.

There are many good automated crawl tools available, but make sure you use one that can find:

  • Broken links and 400 error pages
  • 500 error pages
  • Duplicate content
  • Inaccessible content

 

A website migration may seem like a lot of work, and it most certainly is (when done correctly). But the potential payoffs in improved experience for your site visitors and increased business for you are more than worth the investment.

While none of this is exactly rocket science, it is important to get it right, as the risks of a poorly executed migration can be significant. If you don’t feel that you have the resources or knowledge to correctly implement your website migration, I strongly recommend enlisting the help of a skilled digital marketing agency or expert to help.

What are your best tips for a successful website migration?

Images from ShutterStock: First, Second, Third, Fourth


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Essential SEO Considerations For Any Website Migration | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Essential SEO Considerations For Any Website Migration appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Essential SEO Considerations For Any Website Migration

Website Migration SEO Considerations

Sometimes implementing a website migration an essential part of doing business in a digital world. There are a variety of reasons why a company may choose to migrate from one site to another. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to remember that your website is your virtual calling card to prospective customers and sometimes a website migration is a necessary step in providing your customers the best possible user experience.

Like botched plastic surgery, a poorly executed website migration can bring a host of SEO problems, including making your site difficult to find in search engines, confusing to use or filled with errors that make the searchbots run away.

To ensure that your website migration goes smoothly and leads to improved business, follow these essential migration SEO recommendations:

Assess Visitor Behavior with Web Analytics

Assess Your Analytics

In order to improve the user experience of your website, it’s important to first understand how visitors use your website now. Your website analytics platform can be a treasure trove for insights into historic usage patterns that can be essential to identifying issues, opportunities and sticking points that can be improved with a strategic site redesign.

Make sure you’re putting all of that valuable data to use by reviewing:

  • Top-viewed website content – Make sure you aren’t cutting content your audience loves.
  • Least-viewed website content – Even the best sites have some junk, take this opportunity to drop it or improve it.
  • Click maps – Looking at where people are clicking (or trying to click) can help to design an intuitive and frustration free navigation interface.
  • Paths to conversion – Regardless of what your website goals are (i.e. build subscribers, generate leads), understanding the paths which your visitors are taking to key conversion points can help to optimize these paths to make it easier and more enticing for visitors to convert into customers.

Web analytics tools:

Website Migration 301 Redirect Mapping

Map Url Redirects

If your website has been around for any amount of time, there’s a good chance that you’ve built up search equity in the form of links and social shares. In addition to tight keyword optimization, these are the primary factors that help to increase the visibility of your content in search engines and since they are tied to the urls on your site, a migration in domain or url structure can snuff out the valuable search equity you’ve spent time and effort building.

To avoid starting from SEO square one with your new website, it’s important to strategically implement 301 redirects from your old page urls to the new ones, as this will effectively tell search engines where your new site pages are and that they are replacements for the old versions. In addition, it will ensure that people and bots who follow links to your old urls will end up in the right place rather than an error page.

In order to map redirects effectively, start by documenting for all your existing pages:

  • URL
  • Page topic
  • Target keyword
  • Organic search traffic (I recommend looking at a minimum 6 month time range)
  • Links to page
  • keyword rank

Also document for your planned new site pages:

  • URL
  • Page topic
  • Target keyword

Once you have these two lists compiled, the next step is to map each page on your current site to it’s planned new location on your soon-to-be launched site. Redirect mapping isn’t rocket science, but it does take some thought (when done correctly). Fortunately, the previous exercise should give you all the information you need.

Of primary concern is topic relevance, in particular for highly trafficked and linked-to pages. When planning redirects, always consider what the experience of a visitor would be if they ended up on the redirect page rather than the original. Would it serve their needs as well or better than the old page? Would it feel confusing? Ideally the new page should be such a seamless transition that people don’t even notice the switch.

Redirect mapping tools:

 

Consider Time of Year When Planning a Website Migration

Choose Ideal Timing

Even the best planned and executed website migrations come with some downtime and a temporary decrease in traffic (approx. 30%) and search rankings. It’s a price worth paying, as a new and improved website can drive significant improvements in business over an outdated and clunky site. However, it’s important to time the transition for when it’s likely to have the least amount of negative impact on your business.

The best time of year to implement a website migration is when business is likely to be the slowest. Companies vary in the degree of seasonality they experience, but most have a ‘slow season’. You probably already know when this is, but if not, take a look at your historic yearly web traffic or revenue patterns to determine when your slow season typically occurs.

As with time of year, it also makes sense to migrate your site on a slow day of the week during off hours. For many B2B focused websites, this is late on Friday or Saturday, but make sure to make the decision based on your own analytics, as every site and audience is different.

 

Post Website Migration

Post Migration

After making your new site live, it can be tempting to relax and celebrate, but hold off on breaking out the champagne just yet. In the period of time shortly following a website migration, it’s critical to keep a sharp eye out for issues or opportunities as well as monitor website traffic patterns to make sure it’s heading in a positive direction.

QA Like Your Site Depended on It (Spoiler: It Does)

In addition to checking your 301 redirects, it’s important to give a visual inspection of each page on your new site. For efficiency, you can check both simultaneously.

Make sure that each of your redirected pages:

  • Goes to the correct new destination page
  • Gives the correct server response (301)
  • Loads quickly
  • Directs to a page that renders correctly

 

Upload XML Sitemap

XML Sitemap and Robots.txt

Like moving a brick and mortar business to a new location, it’s important to let people know where you’ve gone or else they may not be able to find you. On the internet, this is primarily accomplished via an xml sitemap, which tells search engines all about your new site and what it contains.

While you should have a properly formatted (and ideally auto-generated) xml sitemap on your site from day one, it isn’t enough to simply have it there, as search engines may not immediately find it without a little prompting. To avoid unnecessary delays, upload your xml sitemap to Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Once uploaded, check back to make sure your sitemap isn’t resulting in errors from either Google or Bing and that the majority of your submitted pages have been indexed.

 

Monitor Web Analytics After a Website Migration

Analytics

As mentioned earlier, a temporary decrease of approximately 30% in website search traffic and visibility can be expected in the period immediately following a migration, but it’s very important to monitor closely to make sure it is indeed temporary and that things are headed in the right direction.

Make sure to keep a close eye on:

  • Organic search traffic
  • Visit bounce rate
  • Conversion rates
  • Keyword rankings

 

Website Migration Crawl Test

Crawl Errors

Generally, crawl errors like broken links, 404 not found pages or duplicate content will be at their lowest levels on a brand new site, but it’s still important to check and fix any errors, especially as this can be an indicator of a mistake during the migration.

There are many good automated crawl tools available, but make sure you use one that can find:

  • Broken links and 400 error pages
  • 500 error pages
  • Duplicate content
  • Inaccessible content

 

A website migration may seem like a lot of work, and it most certainly is (when done correctly). But the potential payoffs in improved experience for your site visitors and increased business for you are more than worth the investment.

While none of this is exactly rocket science, it is important to get it right, as the risks of a poorly executed migration can be significant. If you don’t feel that you have the resources or knowledge to correctly implement your website migration, I strongly recommend enlisting the help of a skilled digital marketing agency or expert to help.

What are your best tips for a successful website migration?

Images from ShutterStock: First, Second, Third, Fourth


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Essential SEO Considerations For Any Website Migration | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Why LinkedIn is an Essential Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

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Do you think LinkedIn is just a fancy job board? Well, think again!

In this episode of The Missing Link with Sean Jackson, Jason Miller from LinkedIn shares case studies that will completely change your perception of this powerful social media platform.

Sure, LinkedIn is great for job seekers, but in reality it does a lot more. And while some smart online marketers are using LinkedIn as part of their content marketing, for most, they are just scratching the surface of what can be achieved.

Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager for LinkedIn, shares a number of case studies and tactical ideas that will not only alter your perception of marketing on LinkedIn but also excite your creative imagination.

If you are serious about finding new and interesting content marketing ideas, then you will not want to miss this episode of The Missing Link.

Special note: Don’t forget to sign up for our exclusive LinkedIn discussion group by sending a text message to 414-11 with the keyword MYLINK.

In this 23-minute episode of The Missing Link, host Sean Jackson and Jason Miller discuss:

  • Why LinkedIn is more than a job board
  • Key stats about the scope and reach of LinkedIn
  • How consumer brands are using LinkedIn
  • Unique features in LinkedIn that marketers should consider

Click Here to Listen to

The Missing Link on iTunes

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About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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Why a Mobile-Friendly Website Is Essential to a Successful SEO Strategy in 2015

Some organizations are still resistant to having a mobile-friendly website, either because they lack the resources or don’t see the value. If you want to be relevant in 2015 on Google, now is the time to begin building a mobile-friendly website.

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