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A Guide to Understanding What Bounce Rate is & How to Lower it

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According to Google, bounce rate is a website metric indicative of the percentage of sessions in which people leave your site after interacting with the entrance page. Most often, when you own a website, you want visitors to somehow “convert” either by clicking through to buy something, fill out a form or read more. If your website has a high bounce rate, this could mean one of three things:

  • Either your website has design and/or usability issues
  • Or you are attracting the wrong kind of traffic
  • Or you attracting exactly the right kind of traffic and users are finding the information they need on the entrance page itself and ergo have no reason to click through to the other pages of your website

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In truth, a number of factors can contribute to a high bounce rate. These include:

1. Your website has only one page

If your website only has one page, analytics software such as Google Analytics do not register multiple page views unless the page is reloaded several times. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for single-page sites to acquire high bounce rates.

2. Your web tracking code setup is not working

For a multiple-page site, a high bounce rate could be indicative that the Google Analytics tracking code on your website has not been implemented correctly. To make sure you are collecting data, you will need to review the set up.

3. Site design

If all your website pages bear the tracking code and your site’s bounce rate is still high, the problem could lie in the design of your website. A few things to consider include:

  • Redesigning your landing pages
  • Optimizing the pages so they attract the right kind of visitors
  • Changing your target keywords around to better reflect page content
  • And optimizing your website with a fresh and unending stream of quality content

4. User behavior

Last but not the least, sometimes a high bounce rate has nothing to do with your website and everything to do with user behavior. For example, if a user bookmarks a page of your website and returns to it several times over the next couple of weeks, each session is considered a bounce.

How to improve your bounce rate

Because both the design of your website and its Google Analytics set up can have an impact on your bounce rate, improving this website metric is contingent upon making certain very specific changes that will be as individual as your business itself. The key to success is to analyze specific data and consequently adjust factors that are contributing to your bounce rate. To name a few:

1. Attract the right kinds of visitors

To reduce a website’s bounce rate, a valuable approach is to optimize the pages so they correlate better with search terms. The process starts with choosing the right keywords to target and maintaining top rankings up the SERPs for those keywords. Also consider creating multiple landing pages, each with unique content created around a branded term and aimed at different types of visitors.

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The Smart Way to Approach Link Building in 2015

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For Google and the other search engines crawling the web, links are the streets between pages, an analysis of which reveals how they are related to one another and in what ways. Since the late 1990s, link building has had an application in SEO whereby links are treated as votes in the nuanced evaluation of websites and pages. Till date, link-related factors represent a large portion of the complex algorithms search engines use to rank pages but algorithm updates including Google Penguin has transformed link building into an art.

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Indeed, through a website’s link profile, the search engines analyze not only the popularity of the site and its pages but also other metrics such as trust, spam and authority. Link building remains an important task for good rankings up the SERPs and traffic success but you can no longer participate in link schemes or buy links to achieve your SEO goals. These black hat techniques used to work previously but these days, they are a surefire way of getting your rankings to drop into oblivion following severe penalties. Instead, you need to acquire links to your website pages legitimately. To that end:

1. Create Content Worth Linking To

When it comes to SEO, the key to inspire natural linking and viral sharing is to create great content worth linking to. People won’t link to you unless your content is compelling, leveraging aspects of usefulness, information dissemination and/or humor.

To create content that readers will want to share through links, take the time to research what your audience wants and look for content gaps. You can also create content around topics that people are already talking about on the social networks and elsewhere on the web. For this job, some tools such as BuzzSumo are excellent.

Equally important, when people think content, they often think written content. Other forms of quality content include infographics, videos, PDF guides and images. In essence, think of the content you create as linkable assets that you will use to connect with people, either to solve their problems or entertain them.

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Knowing the Difference Between Content Marketing And Copywriting

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To many brands and businesses, content marketing and copywriting is one and the same thing. This is not completely crazy because, indeed, a couple of shared aspects underpin them both including:

  1. The skills of an experienced writer
  2. The art and science of influencing the purchasing decisions of prospective buyers

Those are the similarities between the two. Now the difference between content marketing and copywriting lies in the purpose of writing and the way in which the literature seeks to influence the readers.

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In content marketing, information is produced and published to:

  1. Build trust and authority among your customers
  2. Build relationships and a community around your brand
  3. Become recognized as a thought leader in your industry

Therefore, as a content marketer, you need to generate an unending stream of interesting, unique, and valuable content – a mix of multiple content types including blog posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, newsletters and others.

In copywriting, you want the readers to take a specific action, whether it’s buying a product, visiting your local store or following your company’s page on Facebook. In a way, copywriting is content writing in a more attractive and enticing form. The information is structured so that it grabs the attention of the readers immediately. Copywriting is used for things such as landing pages, direct mail campaigns, sales pages and infomercials.

About Copywriting

If you are creating a landing page or sales advertisement, poor copywriting can cause the downfall of even the best marketing campaign. To be effective, copywriting needs to be striking, compelling and optimized for the search engines. It may not always seem like it but there is a lot more to copywriting than a powerful sales message and a flashy headline. Some attributes of good copywriting include:

  • An attractive headline to grab the attention of readers
  • The headline also needs to be clever and offer reader benefits
  • If you are writing content for a landing page or sales copy, stick to simple language
  • Avoid long words, complex sentence structures and too many technical jargons
  • The content needs to benefit the reader
  • It also needs to inspire trust and authority
  • Avoid being pompous and do not exaggerate with your claims
  • The content should have a clear call to action

In any marketing campaign, copywriting is important to achieve your sales objectives. It’s straightforward advertising and it tells potential buyers why they want to buy a specific product or take an action like visiting a social media profile. It’s also totally acceptable to set a shameless metaphor hook. For example, if you were a restaurant, your copywriting would include photos of your food and words aimed at making people drool. And sometimes the success of an ad campaign comes down to a just one punchy line that paints a powerful picture. Don’t we all remember lines like:

Have a Coke and a smile.” – Coca Cola

About Content Marketing

In contrast to copywriting, content marketing is commercially neutral. The content produced is aimed at educating readers and providing solutions to their problems. Ergo, you subtly influence their thought-process and make them more prone to buy from you after establishing your authority in the industry and inspiring trust.

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A Quick Guide on the Importance of SEO in Integrated Marketing

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Previously, for a website to do well in the SERPs, it needed to tick a few, very specific boxes:

  • Good content architecture crawl-able by the search engines
  • Good site architecture with internal links
  • Strategic use of target keywords
  • External links that use a targeted anchor text

But quite a few rules have changed in recent years. Search engines have now grown smarter and for attaining high rankings, marketers need to be knowledgeable about a number of things including content creation and management, branding, PR, social media, email marketing, search marketing and community building.

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Another important consideration is the integration of SEO with the different marketing divisions to reinforce the impact of each distinct marketing channel and methodology. This leads to a more consistent and effective marketing process, which in turn translates to better exposure, conversion, customer relations and retention.

Integrated Marketing & SEO

PR, Social Media & SEO

In the busy and distraction-rich world we live in, there is an increasing need for marketers to create content that’s compelling for readers and the media. For instance, a marketing campaign with a good story and enough material for people to credit will attract the right kind of audience and the media. At the same time, without trying or even realizing it, you would have accomplished valuable link building. As a bonus, the links acquired this way don’t only “look” natural, they actually are, a byproduct of achieving bigger goals.

Another SEO consideration is putting at least part of the campaign on the actual company website while hosting any competitions and other materials on a subdomain. Too often, marketers use a separate domain for each distinct campaign and these are never mentioned on the main company website.

At this point, it’s also worth noting that like SEO, PR and Social media are not things that only large businesses have to worry about. It’s relevant for start-ups as well as small and medium-sized businesses. For any campaign, SEO, PR and social media can support one another, in particular when it comes to keyword research for both branding and search. Integrating PR, social media and SEO almost means that once the campaign is over, your website will keep ranking well for that particular  campaign thus giving rise to long-term benefits.

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301 Redirects – How to Use Them Correctly

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Why does the redirect question even have to arise in the first place? There are 2 main reasons:

1. To make sure all users can access your webpage

Some users will type in example.com in the address bar. Others will type www.example.com. A few will also do http://example.com or http://www.example.com.

You want all of them to point to the correct version of our web address; it would be sad (stupid?) to lose traffic just because someone omitted the www or added an extra one.

2. To funnel all link juice to your real website

Just like different people will access your website using different URLs, different people will link to your website in the same fashion. With WWW or without it.

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You don’t want to have your inbound link strength divided among two ‘different’ websites (or even worse, lose the link strength altogether because one version is not even available!).

Redirecting to the correct version of your website makes sure inbound links don’t go waste, regardless of the version of the URL people use to link to you.

Now that we’ve established the ‘why’, let’s get into which version of the URL to use.

“Should I make my website a WWW one or a non-WWW one?”

The web is filled with arguments (and web wars) for both sides. There are even entire websites dedicated to promoting the use of each version.

For WWW: http://www.yes-www.org

For non-WWW: http://no-www.org

I will distill down the main arguments for both and will list them in this article.

Arguments for Using WWW

The main benefit of using WWW is the ability to use CDNs like the free Cloudflare service. CDNs cache static content and make them available geographically nearer to Internet users. This greatly increases page load speed (and decreases page load time, which is a big plus for user experience and SEO).

You will not be able to use a CDN on example.com, but it’s a 30-second operation if your website is www.example.com.

The technical explanations are here if anyone is interested.

Other arguments include cookie restriction and a reminder that the World Wide Web is not THE Internet, but part of it.

Arguments for Ditching WWW

It’s shorter. That’s really about it. example.com looks better in advertising and sounds better when speaking. Saying www.example.com is so 90s. Non-WWW addresses are modern, like Twitter.com.

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How to Deal Without Google’s Page Rank?

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For quite some time now, Google’s Page Rank (PR) has been one of the metrics that many SEOs pay special attention to. Basically, it is a number between 0 and 10 given by Google to show how authoritative a certain web page is.

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However, in the past two years, PR has been in frequent gossips due to the very rare updates made to it. In simple words, PR has not been updated frequently in the last two years, as only one update has occurred on December 6, 2013.

On top, Google’s people themselves said that we won’t be receiving PR data for the foreseeable future.

So what now? How do we know which site is worth getting our links from? How do we assess the authority of our own websites? This is what this article is about.

The Official Separation

In October 2013, Matt Cutts revealed that the pipeline pushing the PR data from the Google servers to the Page Rank toolbar broke and that the team does not intend to fix it anymore. However, on December 6, PageRank was updated but this seems to have been the last update for over a year now. In October 2014, John Mueller from Google confirmed that the December 2013 update was the last one and spoke in a Google+ Hangout video that they will probably not be updating it anymore.

Why is Google Pulling the Plug off PR?

Page Rank has been used to sell spam. What? Let me explain…

Technically, the higher the PR, the more link juice it sends to any page it links to. A link from a page with a PR of 5 is more valuable than a link from a new page (PR 0 or 1).

Some people built websites with the sole intention to sell links later. They ramped up their PRs by buying links from other high PR websites, and then they started selling their own links later on.

The more “high PR” websites people have, the bigger the “high PR” network they can build, and the more money they can make.

Buying, selling and trading links are against Google’s ToS because it’s an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings and it does not provide any kind of real value.

Google probably decided to shift their focus off PR to curb down those practices. It’s not to say that they don’t have the data; they’re probably just not making it available to us anymore.

After all, what possible good could it do for them to give us that data? The cons outweighed the pros on that one.

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6 SEO Tips and Tricks for the Holiday Season

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It’s that time of the year again. The holiday season is here! Did you conform your website to it yet? The holidays may be the biggest sales month for most eCommerce and retail companies but getting your customers’ attention above all the promotional noise and web clutter around this time of year is a lot of work. Raising the bar with a resounding, authoritative voice may mean the difference between gaining a customer and pushing him to your competition.

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To get your website ready for this holiday season:

1. Piggy Back on Your Competition

It’s a simple concept: If you want to surpass your competitors this holiday season, you first need to know what they are doing and what marketing strategies they are using. The first step is to get an idea of the keywords they are targeting. To do this, you can use a tool like Mozbar or SEMrush. The next step is to have a look at their backlinks. This can give you a pretty good idea of the sorts of where they are building a relationship, and if it would be worth it for you to do the same for your own website. Handy tools you can use for this purpose include Open Site Explorer and Mondovo’s Link Research Tool.

2. Conduct your own Keyword Research

You can use the list of keywords that you’ve gathered above as a “seed list” that will help you get started with your own KW research. This way, you’ll be able to target the keywords that they are targeting as well as fill the gaps in their keyword strategy.

The key is to not get seduced by high volume phrases. Target a good mix of short, medium and long tail keyword phrases. For long tail keywords, you can use the idea: Seasonal word + Your product + Your city area plus other variations of this phrase.

3. Begin Content Marketing

The holiday season is a surefire period of consumer spending but to capture the attention of people during one of the busiest times of the year, you need a strong content marketing strategy. The challenge is to strike a balance between producing content that your consumers will want to talk about and link to, and that also aids the sales funnel. You can kick start the process by creating an editorial calendar to push holiday-related content at the right times and in the right places.

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