SEO-PRO Advanced Internet Marketing

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SEO-PRO // Advanced Internet Marketing

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writing content with SEO in mind

I have put this article together so general web editors and content writers can find an effective way to write good content that will be optimised for search engines. I’ve worked in various organisations as an SEO. Usually the process starts with a brief for the content to be written and once the content is signed off, the text is optimised for SEO purposes.

The most important content on a website should always be overseen by an SEO professional, however all content needn’t have the same level of attention. Although there are obvious candidates for this lower priority content (Terms and conditions, Legal stuff and anything else that won’t drive converting traffic), there are various other bits and pieces that a competent copyrighter can work on without being overseen by an SEO.

I’ve put together some basic SEO guides suitable for copyrighters, content people and aspiring SEOs. This should help you write content that is good for users and performs well on the search engines.
  • What are you writing about?

  • Focus on the subject matter and don’t drift too far off topic. Users are fairly impatient and will be tempted to go elsewhere if the content rambles. Keep asking yourself, “What am I writing about?” to keep your work targeted.

  • Vary key terms

  • Are there other words used to describe what you are writing about? Try to broaden the range of words used in the content by including other variations. Consider the term “Online Marketing”. Other terms you might want to include: “Internet Marketing”, “Digital Marketing” and “Search Marketing”.

  • Keep concise

  • Remove unnecessary or frivolous language. Users will look for concise accurate information. Any unnecessary waffle will result in an impatient user likely to go elsewhere. Users are very quick to judge a webpage and its content (about 50 milliseconds) so get to the point quickly and always consider your user as "time poor".

  • Check spelling

  • I am amazed by the amount of “professionally” written content that includes various spelling errors. Make sure you read through the work you’ve done. Any user that spots a spelling mistake may be tempted to look for an error free website.

  • Keep concise!

  • I have repeated this tip because I continue to witness people write content for web as though it is the same media as print. This is such an incorrect way to think, just as stupid would be having hyperlinks on a newspaper! Be brutal when cutting down on uneccessary words. People like the web because it is fast, so keep it that way. Remember that todays web user is likely to be a real multimedia user. By that I mean they use the Internet while watching TV or while on the phone or reading a magazine. Slowing them down by being overly descriptive or complex will give them good reason to go to your competitors site!

These simple tips will allow you to write decent content suitable for use on the web. Keeping the writing concise is the most important point; I find it painful to read content on the web that is unnecessarily complex and long-winded. Keep sentences short and easy to read. This makes for a way better user experience. SEO benefit will come naturally to any article written by someone that takes heed of these notes!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing allows the testing of different versions of a webpage to accurately identify the most effective one. Visitor statistics and interactions are measured to show the difference in performance.

Multivariate testing looks at “elemental contribution”; the elements that contribute to an increase/decrease in conversion. These elements range from the colour of a link to the length of a form on a page.

A tailored process
This will help you to understand the "triggers" that influence conversion. It is particularly important to remember that the changes that work on some websites will not work on others. If by changing the colour of a submit button from green to red improves conversion, the same change won't necessarily work on another site. Multivariate testing is a process tailored to your own site.

How to test
-Select the tool you want to use to test (A list of software is available at the end of this post)
-Design test (Test bounce rate on the homepage? Or conversion rate on the payment area?)
-Develop creative (What elements will you change? The font? The text on the page?)
-Implement code (This activates the Multivariate testing and will send users to different pages)
-Monitor and learn
-Repeat (Look at other elements that can be changed or improved)

The benefits of Multivariate Testing
Multivariate testing can be used to justify design and layout changes. Instead of relying on the "gut feel" of your designers, the test results will make the decision for you. You can use MV results to put some support behind any design ideas you suggest.

You can remove any subjective arguments and opinions about the design and layout of your site and use Multivariate testing results to justify changes. This is very useful when working client side in large corporate environments. It can show loss in conversion/revenue which is a powerful way to get support from senior managers. See more in house SEO advice.

When Multivariate testing remember...
-You are testing with real people.
-Unlike A/B testing, Multivariate testing allows you more potential combinations.
-You need to collect a substantial amount of data to support a decision to change a webpage permanently. Decide how substantial the amount needs to be beforehand.
-Good test results are sometimes unexplainable and might even go against common usability thinking or advice.
-To combine testing with other technology like gaze trails and heatmap imaging to help decide what elements to alter and test.
-To test pages that will make a difference, test key landing pages.
-Make things simple and easy for users (See Paradox of choice below).

The Paradox of choice
Faced with two much choice a consumer will often choose not to purchase. This is because the increased cognitive thought needed to make a decision will burden the user too much. This is a key thing to remember when choosing what element to alter when Multivariate testing. Keep calls to action short and simple. Often text on a button performs better when kept short: "Submit" would usually perform better than "Submit your email details". This is just because a shorter piece of text requires less brain power to interpret.

Multivariate Testing software
Google Optimiser
Omniture test and target

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