SearchCap: Ditching Ranking Reports, EU Publishers Threaten To Sue Google & More

September 16th, 2014

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: On Average, 171 Health Insurance Advertisers Bid On Same Top Keywords In Google Health insurance advertisers spent more than $ 103 million on Google AdWords in the…



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5 Hacks for Creating and Promoting the Right Content

September 15th, 2014

Posted by Paddy_Moogan

In my last post on Moz a few weeks ago, I talked about the idea of paying to promote your content using social channels. Today I actually want to go a step backwards in the process and talk about content creation. 

1. How to verify you have a good idea

I could write a whole post on this one topic, but maybe that’s for another day! For now, I want to share a few ways you can make sure you’re on the right track and increasing the likelihood that you have a content idea that is going to be well received.

Made to Stick principles

I really like the book 
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. They go into detail about a framework that can be used to evaluate whether an idea is “sticky” or not. There are six core parts of this framework:

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories

You’ll notice that is spells “succes” (deliberately leaving off the s at the end!) which makes it sticky to remember. I encourage you to read the book but I’ll quickly summarise each part of the framework so that you can get an idea of how it can help verify your content ideas.

Simple

Is the idea simple to understand and explain? A good way of testing this is to force yourself to explain the idea to someone who you previously haven’t spoken to about it. If you can do this pretty quickly and they understand it, then it’s probably simple enough.

The other thing to remember here is if you can’t explain the idea quickly and easily, then you are probably also going to struggle when it comes to promoting the idea using email or the phone.

Unexpected

This doesn’t mean that your whole idea needs to be totally unexpected, but there needs to be
something unexpected about it. It may be the design, an interactive element or a new story that has been crafted from some data. If you’re just doing something that has been done before and are not adding anything unexpected to it, then you may struggle to get coverage and interest. 

Concrete

When doing client training, this is always one that provokes confusion. So I’m going to use an example from the book itself.

When JFK made 
this speech in 1961 about landing a man on the moon, his wording was very concrete. It had to be because he wanted to capture the imagination and support of congress and the US public. This is what he didn’t say:

“We will win the space race.”

If he had said this, he wouldn’t have ben wrong. This is what they wanted to do right? However, it’s not concrete. What does it actually mean? 

Contrast this with what he actually said:

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth”

This is really clear for anyone to understand, you can see what JFK intends to do and there is very little room for ambiguity. 

Credible

There are two types of credible when it comes to content we may produce. 

The first one is the credibility of the author themselves, what makes them qualified to write on this particular topic? Are they an expert? Are they respected in their field? It would make sense to say that someone like Phil Nottingham is qualified to 
write about video marketing or being a pirate. But Phil isn’t qualified to talk about quantum physics or Python programming. 

The other side of credibility is whether or not the brand behind the content is qualified to talk about a certain topic. This is a mistake I see made quite often and quite honestly, one I’ve made myself. Sometimes, you can produce a piece of content with the explicit purpose of getting links which means it can go off topic a bit. A car insurance company probably isn’t qualified to publish an infographic about cats for example! Even if the infographic gets lots of links and social shares.

Emotional

How can you trigger an emotional response through your content? Ultimately, forcing some kind of emotional response is very difficult but can be one of the most powerful elements of this framework. I’d be careful here though because provoking a negative reaction can be dangerous and lead to bad feeling towards your brand. I’m not a believer in “all PR is good PR” – even if it generates links as a result!

Stories

The final element of the framework is whether your content tells a story. A story can inspire people to take action and a story can make people remember something. We always remember a great story, it’s programmed into us from when we were kids and not a lot changes, even as we get older!

Chip and Dan Heath recommend that an idea ticks a couple of these boxes but remind us that it’s very, very rare for an idea to tick all of them. There can also be times when an idea or piece of content performs very well and becomes sticky without any of these elements! However if you use this framework, it can help reduce the chance of your idea failing.

2. Use FullContact for audience research

It took me a while to start using 
FullContact but once I did, I really liked it and it has a range of uses. The use I want to talk about in the context of content creation is audience research.

For those of you that aren’t familiar, there is a feature of FullContact called person enrichment which allows you to gather more information about someone based on various inputs. These inputs currently are:

  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Twitter handle
  • Facebook ID

In the Excel template mentioned below, it looks something like this:

So you could upload a list of email addresses and FullContact try to find associated pieces of information such as:

  • Twitter account
  • Facebook account
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Klout score
  • Twitter bio
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Job title

You can download their 
Excel template here which allows you to do this kind of report without having to use the API yourself. To use the Excel template, you’ll need to go get an API key too. Once you have that, you can upload your data and start to enrich it.

So where does audience research fit in?

As you may have noticed above, one of the data points that FullContact tries to find is job title. Another data point is Twitter bio. You can use these points to get insight into your audience and tailor your content accordingly. 

You can with uploading your information to FullContact, let’s say this is a list of Twitter handles. These Twitter handles are your followers on Twitter which you’ve exported using a tool like 
Followerwonk. Once it’s finished running, you’ll have a list of these handles with related information if FullContact has been able to find it. Here is a snippet of one of my outputs to give you an idea what you’ll get back:

If you take the column for “Occupation” and paste the entire column into a word cloud tool such as Wordle, you’ll get something like this:

This gives you a really good, quick snapshot of the type of people who follow you on Twitter. If you’re looking to create content that will appeal to these people, you can immediately see where you may choose to pitch it. In the case above, this may mean we want to create content that appeals to senior management / marketing people and perhaps we should promote this content using something like LinkedIn where these people may be active.

3. Pay to promote your top content

With the right tracking setup in your analytics, it’s possible to see how content has contributed to conversions. Most content created outside of product / category pages is unlikely to lead to direct conversions, but it is perfectly possible for them to play a part in the process somewhere. 

If you use Google Analytics, then you can do to the 
assisted conversions report and then set the report to include the landing page URL for your content piece. This looks something like this:

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see if any of your content pieces contribute to the conversion process:

Assuming they have contributed to conversions as the example above did, you can make a decision to try and send more traffic to this piece of content, knowing that it may help send more conversions. There are obviously a few ways to do this including usual organic outreach to try and get links. But you should also consider using some budget to send paid traffic to the content piece too. You wouldn’t want to spend loads of money on this because the conversion rate for the page is likely to be pretty low in comparison to product and category pages.

Having said that, using something like Twitter, LinkedIn, Outbrain, Taboola or Facebook advertising as outlined in 
my previous post could be a good way to send more traffic and more assisted conversions.

4. Find your content competitors and learn from them

Most of us have done competitor analysis at some point or another. The goal is usually to get an idea of where your website sits in the industry landscape and know what you’re up against. The problem with the usual type of competitive analysis that we do is that it tends to show us pure search competitors – based on similar product or service offerings. 

Your competitors in terms of products and services can be very different to those who publish content which competes with you. 

Let’s use an example to illustrate the point. 

A while ago at Distilled, we published a guide to social media for 
Simply Business. If we’d limited our competitor research to their direct competitor – websites that sell business insurance – then we wouldn’t have come across this guide from Mashable.

Clearly, Mashable don’t sell business insurance! 

By looking outside their immediate competition, we could see that the content idea had been done before. This meant that we could take a look at how successful the piece was and see what we had to do in order to be successful too. It also meant that we had to ask ourselves questions around whether we could do a better or different job on it. Remember the Made to Stick principles above? Those applied to us and we had to try and do a better job than Mashable.

There are a number of ways to find your content competitors but the simplest way is to use Google!

In the example above, it was simply a case of searching for “social media guide” and searching through the results. If you want to go a bit further, you can use the 
Moz keyword difficultly tool which gives you all sorts of metrics alongside each result too:

Whilst a goal of your content may not be to rank for many keywords (although it very well could be), these metrics are useful because it gives you an idea of how linkable this kind of content is. This is valuable to know if  goal of your content is links!

5. Find positive or negative sentiment from your target audience

When it comes to generating content ideas, one of the things you should think about is the mindset of your target audience. What causes them problems when it comes to your product, service, brand, competitor or industry? Going back to Made to Stick, this would sit in the emotional part of the framework. 

Once you can find something that causes them pain or causes them to be positive, you can use this to drive your content ideas forward. 

One hack for this which I’ve stolen from 
Mark, our VP Creative, is to use the following searches to reveal these kind of things:

These can reveal discussions from your target audience that are emotional in nature. The words love and hate are pretty strong, especially when being typed! So if you can find discussions that mention these words, it could lead you towards content ideas that your target audience feel emotional about in some form or another. 

To wrap up, I’d encourage you to also take a look at this slide deck from Mark which steps through his process for producing ideas, as it gives lots of examples of the things I’ve described above.

How to Produce Better Content Ideas from Mark Johnstone

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Bing Ads Refreshes The Change History Report

September 14th, 2014

Bing Ads has rolled out a new look for its Change History reporting. The new format groups changes made by a user at one time, rather than itemizing every change separately as it did previously. Also new is faster data processing and more data availability, which Bing Ads has been addressing…



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Teach Google About Your Entities by Using Topical Hubs – Whiteboard Friday

September 13th, 2014

Posted by gfiorelli1

I’m not so sure it’s correct to say—as is so common lately—that today’s SEO is a
new one, especially with regard to on-site SEO.

Many of the things that are necessary today were also necessary in the past: a well-designed information architecture, a great navigation structure, good internal linking, etc.

We should talk instead of a new emphasis we must give to some factors as old as SEO itself.

Today I’ll talk about one of these factors—Topical Hubs—that, although it has been important in the past, is even more so today with Hummingbird and the increasing weight Google gives to semantics and thematic consistency of the sites.

[Disclaimer about my accent in the video: I swear, my English is not so bad, even if it really sounds Italian; just the idea that I was in Seattle shooting a WBF stressed every cell in my body].

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video Transcription

Hola, Moz fans. I’m Gianluca Fiorelli. Finally, you are going to see my face and not just my picture or avatar.

I’m here not to talk about 
how to snap faces, but about topical hubs. 

What are topical hubs? We are going to discover it. 


Why are we talking about topical hubs? We are going to talk about it because of Hummingbird
. Hummingbird, we know that it’s not a really well-known algorithm, but it has really changed how Google works.

One thing we know is that it is simplifying the results [SERPs]. 

One thing that is not working anymore, that was really, really a goldmine for SEO, was working on long, long tails. You can remember maybe many sites targeting millions of pages about every kind of long queries possible. This is not so anymore because
Hummingbird has simplified [everything]. If query A, query B, and query C are the same when query D, Google will always show query D [SERPs].

In order to optimize your site for this kind of new semantic understanding that Google has of the queries – especially conversational query – we must understand that
we have to think in entities and not in keywords. We have to think about the connection between the entities, and we have to be really sure about the context of the content that we are creating

All these three things then will guide our keyword research.

How can we do this?

We should start our job not from keywords but from entities. 

These are a
few tools that we can use, like directly using the Freebase APIs, which is directly using a Google source (as Freebase is Google), or we can use the AlchemyAPI, which can make our job easier. 

There are also other tools, like 
ConceptNet, Yahoo Glimmer, and Bottlenose. Bottlenose… I suggest it to you if you are going to create or craft a site about something which is really mainstream, but has concepts stemming especially from social. Bottlenose is really good because it’s taking care also of entity recognition in social media. 

There is 
RelFinder, which is a really nice tool for free. It is relying on the dBASE, the Wikipedia database.

From there, using these tools, we can understand, for instance, let’s say we are talking about pizza because we are a pizzeria (I’m Italian). 

Using these tools, we can understand what the concepts are related to pizza: What kind of pizza (thin, crunchy, regular pizza, with tomatoes, without tomatoes, Neapolitan or Romana, so many kinds), but also the history of pizza, because Pizza Margherita was named from an Italian queen. 

We can discover also that pizza can be related to geography also because pizza is Italian, but the World Championship of Acrobatic Pizza (which is a sport) is Spanish. 

We can understand many, many entities, many, many facts around the concept of pizza that can populate our site about pizzas.

Let’s say that we are a pizzeria. We have a local site, and we are maybe in Tribeca. We shouldn’t just focus ourselves on the entity search of “pizzas,” but we should start also thinking about entity searches for entities related to Tribeca, so New York Movie Festival, Robert De Niro, etc.

Once we have all of these entities,
we should start thinking about the ontology we want to use, that we can extract from these entities, how to group them and create our categories for the site. 

The categories of a site substantially are our topical hubs.

Going to another kind of website, let’s think of a classical real estate classified site. 

We usually have in every classified site the homepage, then the category and product pages. People always say, “How can we make our category pages rank?”

Consider them to be topical hubs. 

A good site for topical hubs could be a microsite.
We have just to think of our site as if it was a composition of microsites all contextually connected

So the category page in this case should be considered as a new site all about, for instance, Tribeca or all about Harlem, or Capitol Hill in Seattle, or any other neighborhood if we are talking about real estate.

From there, once we have decided our categories, we can start doing the keyword research, but using a trick,
we must credit Dan Shure for the tip, which is to find keywords related to the entities

Now Dan Shure is suggesting to us to do this: going to Keyword Planner and instead of putting a few keywords to retrieve new ones, use a Wikipedia page of the entity related to the content that we are going to optimize. Goggle will start suggesting us keyword groups, and those keyword groups are all related to a specific subset of the entity we are talking about.

So we can start optimizing our page, our content hub, with the keywords Google itself is extracting from the best SERPs of entities (Freebase or Wikipedia). In doing so, we are creating a page which is really well optimized on the keywords side, but also on the entity side, because all of those keywords we are using are keywords that
Google relates to specific entities.

But that’s not all, because when we talk about topical hubs, we have to talk, again, about the
context, and the context is not just writing the classic, old SEO text. It’s also giving value to the category page.

So if we have done a good audience analysis, maybe we can understand that in Capitol Hill, there is a certain demographic. So we can organize the content on the hub page focusing on that demographic, and we know that we will have our text talking about the neighborhood, but we also have our initial listings. Maybe we can see, for instance, if a neighborhood is really appreciated, or if the demographic is young families with two kids and so on. Maybe we can add values, like Zillow is doing: has school close to or in the neighborhood, or parks close to the neighborhood, or where to go to eat in the neighborhood, or landmarks in the neighborhood.

All of this content, which is adding value for the user, is also
adding contextual value and semantic value for Google.

One
tip. When you are optimizing a page, especially category pages, let’s say you have the category page Capitol Hill, Seattle for your real estate site. Tag it with the Schema.org property sameAs, the Capitol Hill word, and link that sameAs to the Wikipedia page of Capitol Hill. If it doesn’t exist, write yourself a web page about Capitol Hill. You are going to tell Google that your page is exactly about that entity.

So when we have all of these things, we can start thinking about the content we can create, which is contextually relevant both to our entity search (we did a keyword search related to the entities) and also to the audience analysis we did.

So, returning to my pizzeria, we know that we can start doing recipes and tag them with recipe micro data. We can do videos and mark that them with a video object. We can do short forms, and especially we can try to do the long forms and tag them with the article schema and trying to be included in the in-depth article box. We can start writing guides. We can start thinking about UGC and Q&A.

We can try especially to create things about the location where we are set, which in my pizzeria case was Tribeca, creating a news board to talk and discuss about the news of what’s happening in Tribeca, what the people of Tribeca are doing, and if we are lucky, we can also think to do newsjacking, which we know is really strong.

For instance, do you remember the Oscar night when 
the guy with the pizza was entering on the stage? Well, maybe we could do something similar in Tribeca, because there’s a movie festival there. So, maybe during the red carpet show our person goes to all of the celebrities and starts giving pizza to them, or at least a Coke?

So doing these things we are creating something which is really, really thought about in a semantic way, because we are really targeting our site to all of the entities related to our micro-topic. We have it optimized also on a keyword level, and we have it optimized on a semantic search level. We have created it crossing our search with the audience search.

We’re
creating content which is responding both to our audience and Google

And doing so, we are not going to need to create millions of pages targeting long, long tails. 

We just need really strong topical hubs that stem content, which will be able to respond properly to all the queries we were targeting before.

I hope you enjoyed this Whiteboard Friday.

And, again, I beg your pardon for my accent (luckily you have the transcript).

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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SearchCap: Google Manual Info Box, Bing Ads History Report & Where Is Our Penguin Refresh?

September 13th, 2014

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Bing Ads Refreshes The Change History Report Bing Ads has rolled out a new look for its Change History reporting. The new format groups changes made by a user at…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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4 Best WordPress Plugins to Stop Comment Spam

September 11th, 2014

comments captcha

Which are the best WordPress comment spam blocking plugins. Probably most of you use the amazing Aksimet plugin which comes bundled with WordPress, but it is not enough to stop… Read more

Read full original article at 4 Best WordPress Plugins to Stop Comment Spam

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The 10 Things you can do with the Documents App for iOS

September 10th, 2014

Readdle’s Documents 5 is one of my favorite iOS apps. It is completely free, without any ads or in-app purchases, and app is universal meaning it is optimized for both the iPhone and the iPad.

Documents App for iPad and iPhone

The Documents app is hugely popular on the iTunes Apps Store but do you really know about the different things you can do with this versatile app. For starters, Documents is a document viewer but if you are only using the app for reading your PDFs, you’ve only scratched the surface. Here’re a list of things that you can do with Documents on your iPad or iPhone.

1. As a document viewer and media player

You can use the Documents app to open a wide variety of files on your iOS device. It supports PDFs, images, common audio & video formats, Microsoft Office documents, EPUB ebooks and even HTML web pages.

2. For transferring files between computer and iOS

If your computer and iOS device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you can quickly transfer files of any type wirelessly between the computer and iOS device without any limitations. Open the Documents app, enable Wi-Fi Drive under Settings and enter the provided IP address (or Bonjour name) in your computer’s browser.

3. Access your Cloud Storage

Documents can connect to your Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and other online storage accounts. Thus you can easily access all your files stored in the cloud from one place.  Single tap any file and it will download to your iOS device for offline access. You can even download and store entire folders from the cloud inside your Documents app with a tap.

4. Upload and Sync Files

You can can upload files of any type from the Documents app to your Dropbox or Google Drive by drag and drop. Long press a file inside Documents and drop it over any connected cloud account available in the sidebar. You can also enable 2-way sync so a folder inside Documents will always stay in sync with a specified folder in your cloud storage (or an FTP server).

5. Save Web Pages as PDFs

The Documents apps has a built-in web browser that, like Google Chrome, can save pages directly as PDF files while preserving the layout and formatting. Alternatively, you can choose the download the page as a raw HTML file or use the Web Archive format that saves the HTML, CSS and JavaScript in a single file.

6. Download Internet Files on your iOS Device

The web browser on your iPhone or iPad does not allow direct file downloads. Thus if you try opening a link that points to, say, a .WMV video or .RAR archive file, the browser would neither be able to handle the file nor would give you an option to save that file. You can however use the browser inside Documents to download any file from the Internet – just paste the file URL in the address bar and it will prompt you to save the file locally.

7. Mail more than 5 Photos

Apple has imposed a strange limitation in their Mail app and it won’t allow you to select and email more than 5 pictures from the Camera Roll in a single message. You can however get around this limitation with the help of Documents.

  1. Either allow Documents access to your Camera Roll, tap and select any number of pictures now and use the mail option to send the selected pictures via the Mail app.
  2. Alternatively, you can import pictures into a folder inside Documents, select them all and choose the ZIP option to create a single archive which you can attach to your email.

8. Move files between iPad and iPhone

If you happen to carry multiple iOS devices, you can use Documents to move files from one device to another. Open the app on both devices, go to Network and connect to the other device. It will be listed under Available devices when both your iPhone and iPad are on the same network. Now select the files and folders that you wish to send to another iOS device and tap upload.

9. As a text editor

While you are in the Documents app, tap the Edit button and choose “Text file” under the Create New menu. You get access to a notes editor that supports both plain text as well as rich text formatting. You can create text file as well as edit existing ones.

10. Fake your browser

Some websites may refuse to open on your iOS because they do not support Safari. You can easily get around this problem by opening the site inside Document’s browser and changing the user agent to a supported browser. This is a useful feature and is not available inside Chrome or Safari for iPhone and iPad.


This story, The 10 Things you can do with the Documents App for iOS, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 01/09/2014 under IPad, IPhone, Software
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Leo Tolstoy Google Logo Brings To Life The Author’s Classic Novels

September 9th, 2014

Today’s Google logo is a an homage to Leo Tolstoy to mark the Russian author’s 186th birthday. The animated logo brings to life scenes from Tolstoy’s classic novels War and Peace, Anna Karenina and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, along with stills of Tolstoy at his writing desk and…



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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Using Optimizely

September 8th, 2014

Posted by tallen1985

Diving into Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for the first time can be a challenge. You are faced with a whole armoury of new tools, each containing a huge variety of features. Optimizely is one of those tools you will quickly encounter and through this post I’m going to cover 6 features I wish I had known from day one that have helped improve test performance/debugging and the ability to track results accurately.

1. You don’t have to use the editor

The editor within Optimizely is a useful tool if you don’t have much experience working with code. The editor
should be used for making simple visual changes, such as changing an image, adjusting copy or making minor layout changes.

If you are looking to make changes that change the behaviour of the page rather than just straightforward visual changes, then the editor can become troublesome. In this case you should use the “Edit Code” feature at the foot of the editor.

For any large-scale changes to the site, such as completely redesigning the page, Optimizely should be used for traffic allocation and not editing pages. To do this:

1. Build a new version of the page outside of Optimizely

2. Upload the variation page to your site.
Important: Ensure that the variation page is noindexed.

We now have two variations of our page:

www.myhomepage.com & www.myhomepage.com/variation1

3. Select the variation drop down menu and click Redirect to a new page

4. Enter the variation URL, apply the settings and save the experiment. You can now use Optimizely as an A/B test management tool to allocate traffic, exclude traffic/device types, and gather further test data.

If you do use the editor be aware of excess code

One problem to be aware of here is that each time you move or change an element Optimizely adds a new line of code. The variation code below actually repositions the h2 title four times.

Instead when using the editor we should make sure that we strip out any excess code. If you move and save a page element multiple times, open the <edit code> tab at the foot of the page and delete any excess code. For example, the following positions my h2 title in exactly the same position as before with three fewer lines of code. Over the course of multiple changes, this excess code can result in an increase of load time for Optimizely.


2. Enabling analytics tracking

Turning on analytics tracking seems obvious, right? In fact, why would we even need to turn it on in the first place, surely it would be defaulted to on?

Optimizely currently sets analytics tracking to the default option of off. As a result if you don’t manually change the setting nothing will be getting reporting into your analytics platform of choice.

To turn on analytics tracking, simply open the settings in the top right corner from within the editor mode and select Analytics Integration.

Turn on the relevant analytics tracking. If you are using Google Analytics, then at this point you should assign a vacant custom variable slot (for Classic Analytics) or a vacant custom dimension (Universal Analytics) to the experiment.

Once the test is live, wait for a while (up to 24 hours), then check to be sure the data is reporting correctly within the custom segments.


3. Test your variations in a live environment

Before you set your test live, it’s important that you test the new variation to ensure everything works as expected. To do this we need to see the test in a live environment while ensuring no customers see the test versions yet. I’ve suggested a couple of ways to do this below:

Query parameter targeting

Query parameter tracking is available on all accounts and is our preferred method for sharing live versions with clients, mainly because once set up, it is as simple as sharing a URL.

1. Click the audiences icon at the top of the page 

2. Select create a new audience

3. Drag Query Parameters from the possible conditions and enter parameters of your choice.

4. Click Apply and save the experiment.

5. To view the experiment visit the test URL with query parameters added. In the above example the URL would be:
http://www.distilled.net?test=variation

Cookie targeting

1. Open the browser and create a bookmark on any page

2. Edit the bookmark and change both properties to:

a) Name: Set A Test Cookie

b)URL: The following Javascript code:

<em>javascript:(function(){ var hostname = window.location.hostname; var parts = hostname.split("."); var publicSuffix = hostname; var last = parts[parts.length - 1]; var expireDate = new Date(); expireDate.setDate(expireDate.getDate() + 7); var TOP_LEVEL_DOMAINS = ["com", "local", "net", "org", "xxx", "edu", "es", "gov", "biz", "info", "fr", "gr", "nl", "ca", "de", "kr", "it", "me", "ly", "tv", "mx", "cn", "jp", "il", "in", "iq"]; var SPECIAL_DOMAINS = ["jp", "uk", "au"]; if(parts.length > 2 && SPECIAL_DOMAINS.indexOf(last) != -1){ publicSuffix = parts[parts.length - 3] + "."+ parts[parts.length - 2] + "."+ last} else if(parts.length > 1 && TOP_LEVEL_DOMAINS.indexOf(last) != -1) {publicSuffix = parts[parts.length - 2] + "."+ last} document.cookie = "optly_"+publicSuffix.split(".")[0]+"_test=true; domain=."+publicSuffix+"; path=/; expires="+expireDate.toGMTString()+";"; })();</em>

You should end up with the following:

3. Open the page where you want to place the cookie and click the bookmark

4. The cookie will now be set on the domain you are browsing and will looking something like: ‘optly_YOURDOMAINNAME_test=true’

Next we need to target our experiment to only allow visitors who have the cookie set to see test variations.

5. Click the audiences icon at the top of the page

6. Select create a new audience

7. Drag Cookie into the Conditions and change the name to optly_YOURDOMAINNAME_test=true

8. Click Apply and save the experiment.

Source:

https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200293784-Setting-a-test-cookie-for-your-site

IP address targeting (only available on Enterprise accounts)

Using IP address targeting is useful when you are looking to test variations in house and on a variety of different devices and browsers.

1. Click the audiences icon at the top of the page

2. Select create a new audience

3. Drag IP Address from the possible conditions and enter the IP address being used. (Not sure of your IP address then head to
http://whatismyipaddress.com/)

4. Click Apply and Save the experiment.


4. Force variations using parameters when debugging pages

There will be times, particular when testing new variations, that there will be the need to view a specific variation. Obviously this can be an issue if your browser has already been bucketed into an alternative variation. Optimizely overcomes this by allowing you to force the variation you wish to view, simply using query parameters.

The query parameter is structured in the following way: optimizely_x
EXPRIMENTID=VARIATIONINDEX

1. The
EXPERIMENTID can be found in the browser URL

2.
VARIATIONINDEX is the variation you want to run, 0 is for the original, 1 is variation #1, 2 is variation #2 etc.

3. Using the above example to force a variation, we would use the following URLstructure to display variation 1 of our experiment:
http://www.yourwebsite.com/?optimizely_x1845540742=1

Source:

https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200107480-Forcing-a-specific-variation-to-run-and-other-advanced-URL-parameters


5. Don’t change the traffic allocation sliders

Once a test is live it is important not change the amount of traffic allocated to each variation. Doing so can massively affect test results, as one version would potentially begin to receive more return visitors who in turn have a much higher chance of converting.

My colleague Tom Capper discussed further the
do’s and don’ts of statistical significance earlier this year where he explained,

“At the start of your test, you decide to play it safe and set your traffic allocation to 90/10. After a time, it seems the variation is non-disastrous, and you decide to move the slider to 50/50. But return visitors are still always assigned their original group, so now you have a situation where the original version has a larger proportion of return visitors, who are far more likely to convert.”

To summarize, if you do need to adjust the amount of traffic allocated to each test variation, you should look to restart the test to have complete confidence that the data you receive is accurate.


6. Use segmentation to generate better analysis

Okay I understand this one isn’t strictly about Optimizely, but it is certainly worth keeping in mind, particularly earlier on in the CRO process when producing hypothesis around device type.

Conversion rates can vary greatly, particularly when we start segmenting data by locations, browsers, medium, return visits vs new visits, just to name a few. However, by using segmentation we can unearth opportunities that we may have previously overlooked, allowing us to generate new hypotheses for future experiments.


Example

You have been running a test for a month and unfortunately the results are inconclusive. The test version of the page didn’t perform any better or worse than the original. Overall the test results look like the following:


Page Version

Visitors

Transactions

Conversion Rate
Original 41781 1196 2.86%
Variation 42355 1225 2.89%

In this case the test variation overall has only performed
1% better than the original with a significance of 60%. With these results this test variation certainly wouldn’t be getting rolled out any time soon.

However when these results are segmented by
device they tell a very different story:

Drilling into the
desktop results we actually find that the test variation saw a 10% increase in conversions over the original with 97% significance. Yet those using a tablet were converting way below the original, thus driving down the overall conversion rates we were seeing in the first table.

Ultimately with this data we would be able to generate a new hypothesis of “we believe the variation will increase conversion rate for users on a desktop”. We would then re-run the test to desktop only users to verify the previous data and the new hypothesis.

Using segmented data here could also potentially help the experiment reach significance at a much faster rate as
explained in this video from Opticon 2014.

Should the new test be successful and achieve significance we would serve users on the desktops the new variation, whilst those on mobile and tablets continue to be displayed the original site.

Key takeaways

  • Always turn on Google Analytics tracking (and then double check it is turned on).
  • If you plan to make behavioural changes to a page use the Javascript editor rather than the drag and drop feature
  • Use IP address targeting for device testing and query parameters to share a live test with clients.
  • If you need to change the traffic allocation to test variations you should restart the test.
  • Be aware that test performance can vary greatly based on device.

What problems and solutions have you come across when creating CRO experiments with Optimizely? What pieces of information do you wish you had known 6 months ago?

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

"But How Do I Know if It’s Good?" How You Can Evaluate Content Quality (and Ditch Content Anxiety)

September 7th, 2014

Posted by Isla_McKetta

In a post-Hummingbird world, we all know content matters. But many SEOs are still trying to work around this update because we think we don’t have the tools to gauge content quality.  If you’ve said, “I’m not a writer,” or, “How do I know what will resonate with my audience?” And even, “Content is hard and takes time; do I
really have to?” You might be suffering from content anxiety.

Content quality anxiety can come in many forms:

  1. What is content, really? 
  2. I hired a content team or agency. How do I know if they’re any good? 
  3. How can I calculate the value of content?

Help is available.

good vs. bad

Read on for your guide to understanding what makes good content (and improve your SEO in the process).

1. What is content, really?

First, just to make sure we’re on the same page, a quick operational definition: Content is the sum of all of the words, images, videos, and audio on your site, social pages, emails, and beyond. A good content creator is thinking about everything from the language on your newsletter subscription text to the tone in your order confirmation email or even the wording on your delivery envelopes.

2. I hired a content team or agency. How do I know if they’re any good?

In-house or agency, knowing if a content creator or team is up to snuff can be one of the most intimidating things for non-creatives. While there are a lot of tips and tricks to
creating great content, there is no secret code for recognizing great content. Use these guidelines and you’ll be golden.

Are the ideas original?

If you want your content to stand out in the crowded Internet (and who doesn’t), you’re going to need original ideas and content. Before you even decide whether you like the ideas, do a quick pass through your memory. If your content team’s first set of big ideas sounds uncannily familiar, dig deeper.

fall wedding ideas - original content

The tricky part about this is that every wedding provider in this SERP is trying to speak to a very common need that brides have: finding creative ideas for a fall wedding. But your content team or agency should be able to help your customer find that information in a new and exciting way. It’s okay to insist on originality.

Is the content appropriate for your audience?

You also don’t want your ideas to be so shockingly original that you and your audience can’t relate to them. For example, if I was to suggest an interactive game based around
Waiting for Godot for your dog food business, I’d expect you to cry bullshit unless your audience is entirely composed of literary professors and playwrights.

Do you feel like the content adds value to your site?

Shiny objects can be great for attracting new visitors to your site. Make sure that big new idea attracts the kind of attention you want.

Google birthday reaction

Big content is an investment. And while it’s great to take some risks, your content team should be able to convince you what value that content adds and make a case for how it might be received.

Does your content tell a story?

This one isn’t strictly a necessity, but do not underestimate how far a good story can go to making your content memorable. This can take the form of an anecdote that illustrates the point, or the whole page can be a story in itself. 

warrior ipa product description

In the case of Warrior IPA from Left Hand Brewing, the beer becomes a character. And while it would have been hard to fit a full beginning, middle, and end in one paragraph, hints of this warrior’s story pair perfectly with the illustration on the label. This product description is so good that the beer nerd info is purely a bonus.

Does it raise the hairs on the back of your neck?

Probably the best test of content ever: pay attention to how you feel when you first experience the content. Trust your gut. If you’re engaged and can’t get enough, it’s good content.
In
this example from the Distilled blog, Harriet Cummings reaches deep into the soul of someone who wants to be a better public speaker and pulls all the right strings to cement that engagement.

content that grabs reader's attention

You don’t have to know why a piece of content blows your mind (that’s the content team’s job), just pay attention to how it makes you feel.

Is it Internet-friendly?

Reading content online is a lot harder on the eyes than reading on paper. Breaking up the text with headings, bullet points, images, and shorter paragraphs helps keep your customers on your page.

internet-friendly content

As for non-text content, make sure your images, video, and audio all load well and as quickly as possible.

Does the writer use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation?

We’ve all seen examples of a gorgeous, well-planned infographic that’s perfect except for just a few typos. You may not be one of those sticklers who judges the work of others based on proper grammar, but you can bet that someone in your audience is using grammar, spelling, and punctuation as a measure of the quality of your content. 

typo in interactive

This is my final impression of one of the most gorgeous interactives I ever saw online. Sad face.

Do you immediately want to share the content?

One of your goals involves social shares, right? Or at least you wouldn’t be sad if you got a bunch of them. If you’re excited to share whatever you’re reading, others will be too. If you find it dull, well…

3. How can I determine the value of content?

How do you prove the value of something that’s everywhere, anyway? There are lots of possible answers. As an SEO, you probably understand most of these measures already, but here’s how to tweak them to evaluate content. You’ll likely want to use overall traffic plus a combination of the things below depending on what type of content you’re focusing on.

Attribution modeling

While content is everywhere on your site, the things most of us think of as content (blog posts, landing page text, and yes, even infographics) are rarely the last touch before a conversion. Attribution modeling helps you assign a portion of the value of a conversion to all the pieces of content that a visitor sees before converting.

For example, if they read a blog post, click through on an email, and read an FAQ, you can give each of those touches partial credit. Read more about
attribution models.

A/B testing

A/B and multivariate testing are great ways to measure the value of some forgotten areas of content like the text in form fields and pop-ups. These tests can also tell you when you don’t actually need content in those areas. Don’t forget that less can be more.

Social shares

Engagement matters and social shares are definitely one way to measure engagement. Of course social shares are probably a better measure of blog posts and product descriptions than of the copy you use in the checkout process.

Links

In a perfect world, great content earns links. Don’t assume your content is valueless if you aren’t earning links, but do celebrate when it does. Use Open Site Explorer to find and keep track of links.

Comments

Yes, it does seem like fewer people are commenting on blogs these days. But, as with links, this just means the comments you do get, usually a signal that a reader is deeply engaged, are all the more valuable. Dan Shure explains this in depth in
The Broken Art of Company Blogging (and the Ignored Metric that Could Save Us All).

One Metric

Our blog editor, Trevor Klein, has developed and refined a personalized metric for Moz called the
One Metric. This system combines a variety of the signals above and then weights them to give a quick overview of what’s succeeding and what’s failing. We’ve already been using that information to inform decisions about future content efforts.

Caveat

The success of content cannot always be measured in numbers, and if you invest only in projects that have a predictable rate of return, you’re missing opportunities. Rand calls this
serendipitous marketing. Just make sure as you’re considering the value of your content that you leave room for Serendipity.

Is this SEO?

Yes. Remember how I mentioned the Hummingbird algorithm up above? I know that this is the algorithm update most of us would like to forget, because we think it’s so much easier to spot spammy links than quality content. But it’s really a lot simpler than that. Google is looking for content that answers users’ queries. And according to Marie Haynes, “Google’s goal with all of these algorithm changes (Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird) is to encourage webmasters to publish content that is the best of its kind.”

So if you’re an SEO (or anyone else) with content anxiety, let it go. You have the tools to tell when content is good and to select a team that knows what makes it great. Go ahead and let that team try to sell you on an idea. You can trust yourself to make the final call on whether or not it’s actually worthwhile.

And if you’re part of a content team that’s trying to make the case for your big ideas, please join me on September 9 for “The Storytelling of Content Strategy.” This Mozinar will cover one method of creating more engaging (and persuasive) strategy docs.

Do you ever experience content anxiety? What are your measures of content quality? Has a particular experience with content made you either gun shy or wildly enthusiastic about content? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Prime Reasons for, why SEO plays in enhanced web traffic

It has been recently found that, the strategies opted by the SEO Birmingham companies have become critically significant to the success of small businesses. If your online business is not making use of SEO Birmingham, this write-up discusses prime reasons why you should opt for the local strategies used by SEO Birmingham companies.

As per the recent findings, more than 39% of the NETIZENS experience problems while searching for the local businesses over the Word Wide Wed. People know about the existence of the local business, but suffer inconvenience while locating web information about such businesses. The major reason behind such inconvenience suffered by the Netizens is that such business fails to understand the relevance of SEO Birmingham. Thereby, if your business provides products and services over the web nationally or internationally, search engine optimization can be of great help over making the brand visible on the search engine results.

Nowadays, more and more people rely on the Internet for finding local businesses

There have been times, when the local business did not worry about the scope of SEO, just word of mouth has been more than enough for spreading their existence to the local consumers. But, today as per the statistics more than 84% of the people make use of the Internet medium for locating the local businesses. No telephone directories, people rely on search engines.

Thus, it becomes essential to change the traditional marketing strategy to modern day strategy of online marketing.

SEO Birmingham costs a little less

If you are considering Adword strategy to capture the online marketing domain, you must be aware of the fact; the popularity of the keyword chosen is directly proportional to the amount of the fee paid. Selection of local keywords means lesser keyword competition, which means you need not pay extra costs.

Helps in reaping the benefits of advanced Google features

SEO companies in Birmingham, such as SEO Results4u at Avon House, 435 Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4AA 0121 746 3121 also contribute to the SEO landscape of their local area, be it Solihull, Birmingham or even the wider West Midlands area.

People are actually unaware about the fact, Google plus has changed the traditional way of Internet usage. If the keywords chosen are relevant to the domain to the local market, you very wisely unlock enhanced services offered by Google:

  • A map representing the physical location of a business
  • Appealing pictures with respect to the business
  • Make use of the reviews posted by the user

Truth be told, without using the local platform of SEO, Google plus fails to recognize your business, which clearly means lack of authentic information over the web.

Local SEO encourages better and enhanced credibility

People trust Yahoo, Bing and Google with their eyes closed and believe, these magical search engines have remedies for each and every query. It is a well-accepted notion among the commoners, the brands that appear in the top search lists are most wanted and authentic service providers. So, if you want people to believe in your brand's credibility, Search Engine Optimization adds credibility to your brand power among the commoners. Local SEO adds credibility as well as a definite increase in the web traffic.

Your Peers are using

Business is all about competition. Your peers are using it and yielding the benefits, why aren’t you?