#22/25: Convert!

You should view design as the creation of a new solution to a problem.

  • What are your web site’s goals?
  • What is the value of each goal to your organization?
  • How many goals does the web site need to deliver in order to be a success?

Traffic x CR = Success, if either Traffic or CR is zero, then there's no success

  • Creativity is forward-looking, asking “What could we do?”
  • Analysis looks backward and asks “Did that work?”
  • Both combined are needed for repeating success

Instead of relying on a small number of generic pages, you will create a range of specialized landing pages, each one designed to be found by specific toes of visitors with their own specific needs


Keyword Research
You want keywords with:

  1. High relevance
  2. High traffic
  3. Low competition

Ultimate SEO

Make better content, which people want to share. You have to promote your articles first but you don’t have to do strange SEO tactics to get better traffic.

At its highest level, SEO actually becomes PR. If you create newsworthy, interesting and valuable things, then you just have to get your word out.

A man who goes into a hardware store to buy a quarter inch drill bit does not need a quarter inch drill bit – he wants a quarter inch hole.


All you sell are solutions to needs. What problems do you solve?


Instead of looking at the tool, describe how it solves a need or problem for the person who buys it. List as many problems as you can, and state the solution to each problem.


  • Proposition: gap between needs and solutions – translation of features into benefits
  • Internal (company) vs. external (customer) perspective
    • just because your company is organized in one way or another doesn’t mean that your website has to organized in the same way



  • It’s better to get 20 #1 for less popular terms than 1 #1 for a more popular one


Awareness Ladder


  • No Problem -> Problem -> Solution exist -> your solution -> Benefits -> Convinced


  • Everybody starts at “No Problem”
  • One buys only after “Convinced”
  • Each step has to be followed



  • What is the current level of awareness?
  • What will get their attention?
  • What is the next step from there?


Step 0: No Problem

  • The problem is education which is costly
  • You have to create a need first
  • Go where potential prospects are and educate them


Step 1: Problem

  • People want to learn about their options
  • Keywords are related to problems


Step 2: Solution exist

  • They look for solutions, maybe brand names


Step 3: Your solution

  • Address concerns about your solutions
  • Present benefits


Step 4: Benefits

  • Go deeper, talk about the future with your product
  • Use testimonials, press articles, etc.


Step 5: Convinced

  • Now you can go to the buying part


Semantic Matrix Method

  • Your solutions addresses several problems and maybe have different treatments
  • Start off with (Problems) x (Treatments) => Permutate
  • Depending on your solution, this can generate a wide range of content to create


How to create large amounts of content?

  • The assumption is that the knowledge is already in your company
  • Hire a journalism student / graduate, they should:
  • Arrange 30 minutes interviews with practitioners (in your company)
  • Record the interview
  • Ask them questions, prospects want to know
  • Write it down in an easy to read format


 Keyword / Adverts

  • Always look first at the highest step on the Awareness Ladder where you know there is market and which you don’t currently address
  • Competitions are a good way to get into a publication
  • Try to get in first into an interesting problem / topic
  • On step 0 banner-ads can work quite fine – just inform them about your new product + social media / forum participation


High exist rates (outside of support, etc.) can mean with low time on site

  • visitor didn’t know what to do next
  • wasn’t convinced
  • other random stuff


law of Multiplies – if you change the conversion rate on any step this will influence the CR in the same will


  • Always answer one question: “Am I in the right place?”
  • Every page is an ad for the next step – which can be anything
  • Consider the awareness ladder, you want to catch the immediate need of prospects
  • Proposition should be specific, you-oriented, be clearly beneficial and should offer a immediate solution



  • Your initial message don’t have to convince, it has to engage
  • should be
  • relevant
  • speak to self-interest
  • emotional
  • Try to group customers in your offering, e.g. moms with kids, farmers, etc.
  • If you advertise on a external platform, name its name, e.g.
  • “Exclusive for XY readers”You-oriented language – people want to hear about themselves
  • Differentiators should be binary. Don’t use “high quality” because no competitor would claim “low quality”



  • What can you say about your product that your competitors can’t
  • What do your prospects don’t know about you?
  • What delights your customers?


Promise to solve a problem

  • Triggers an emotional response
  • Reminds people of their concerns



  • Always look for emotional reasons that would compel a visitor to proceed
  • “Adding quote marks to a headline often increases believability and you can do it, too!”


Designing for Attention

  • Getability: I’m in the right place
  • Noticeability: Size, Contrast, Boldness, Color, Position, Space, Movement; Avoid these attributes on non-relevant elements
  • Navigation: Where you are and where you can go
  • Imagery: Use actual product images, Human faces work great,
  • Test:
  • Check headlines only
  • Remove all words on the page
  • 5 Second test



  • Affirm positive signs
  • People should imagine their life with your product
  • Stick to the facts
  • Use performance indicators


Resolve concerns & build trust

  • Answer “What if …” questions
  • Guarantees
  • Get feedback
  • Testimonials: Shipping page, near point of payment, with benefits & features
  • Talk like your customers


Build interest

  • Offer free useful information
  • Don’t try to sell now, wait till the customer wants to buy


Make it easy

  • Consistency
  • Be brief
  • Simple language
  • Readable text


Call to Action

  • Focus on CTAs
  • Low CR = a step is probably missing
  • Target the “maybe” crowd (no stays no, yes stays yes)
  • Sell without hesitation or shame
  • Show one clear path forward
  • Use you-oriented language in links
  • Use catch-alls, e.g. live chat, faqs, etc.
  • Ask only necessary details



  • Target early opportunities
  • Where do visitors leak?
  • Simplify as much as possible
  • Define your offering
  • Rate keywords by relevance
  • Create core content
  • Add more funnels
  • Generate traffic
  • Consider Step 0



Reading Best of inbound: July and Augsut

Content Marketing: an other view

  • UX is important
  • Make it easier for your visitors / customers to solve their problems
  • Let users create content
  • Sponsor events
  • Think about adjacent fields

100 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of SEO

  • Don’t link-build too fast
  • Meta descriptions help your CTR
  • Work on a good product
  • Stay creative and don’t obsess with algorithmic details
  • Big brands are slow – you can beat them
  • Keyword research is the basis of all your activites(!)
  • Learn about internet marketing / CRO(!!)
  • You need to work together with other teams
  • Don’t try to screw your competition over – try to learn from them
  • Don’t build links, build customers – your ingenious tactics will probably be destroyed by google anyway
  • Talk about your what you’ve learned
  • Have a strategy
  • Profit should be your top goal

Importance of Determining SERP Competition

  • How many organic links are on the site? What are the other elements?
  • Check for synonyms, singular/plural, etc.
  • Use Google Ads, Insights to find attractive keywords
  • Look for verticals


SERP Analysis

  • Identify your 5 – 10 core set of keywords
  • Use Google’s Contextual Targeting tool (adwords) to find ideas and group them in 3 different buckets based on volume
  • Start with the lowest bucket and work up
  • Higher domain authority, harder competition
  • Start scraping the SERP: URL, Domain Authority, Page Authority, #indexed links, #linking root domains
  • What types are the backlinks? Import backlinks into Link Detective
  • Broken Links? Do some broken link building
  • Lots of low level backlinks? Easier competition
  • Link Diversity (#Links / #Root domains) low or high?
  • Check root domains for same IP / C-Blocks

HQ Link Building Tactics

  • How can your service help universities / students? Create a unique landing page and get links
  • Local charity events
  • College logos on your product
  • Offer useful tools for businesses which help them for free
  • Organize a (local) event
  • Egobait & Infographics
  • Sponsor your product for an event

Reading Best of inbound: April to June


Anchor Text Optimisation Best Practices

  • Variation: synonyms, plural/singular, adjectives, combine keywords, natural language,
  • Branded keywords
  • Natural links: click here, go, link, url
  • Onsite: self-explanatory title tag, URL, h1 tag

Ultimate Guide to Increasing Ecommerce CR

  • Great product presentation: HQ images, copy, videos, customazation
  • Free shipping(!)
  • Clear sales and special offers
  • Make it easy to buy: no registration required, fast support, etc.
  • Persistent shopping cart
  • Offer live chat / support
  • Process indicators: 3 easy steps, for example
  • Offer multiple payment options
  • Improve your search(!!)
  • Create better filters
  • Product reviews
  • Test: UX, A/B, MVT

Ecommerce SEO in 2012

  • Content creation became very important
  • G+ is become more important thanks to rich SERPs
  • Schemas, XML Sitemaps and Site speed
  • Product can be content: esp. customization, product hacks, APIs, UGC, etc.
  • Videos

On-Page Optimization of Ecommerce Websites

  • Customer reviews: collect them, negative reviews are great
  • Q&A content
  • Incentivize social sharing; think about affiliates in an other way
  • Breadcrumb navigation
  • Phone number as trust and support signal


Noob Guide to Link Building

  • Your highest anchor text distribution should be branded
  • Use share of voice to calculate possible financial impact of higher ranking
  • Special content
    • Egobait: crowd sourcing, best of, interviews, awards
    • Data viz, e.g. infographics, videographic – precontact influencers
    • Ebook and guest post
    • Blog contest
    • Throw an event: meetup, conference, party, dinner
  • Learn about your audience: social listening, Facebook, prospecting
  • Quick wins
    • Ask for links
    • Profile links
    • Directories
    • Local organizations: BBB, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
    • Joining the conversation: boards, blog commenting, Q&A


How to perform a great SEO Audit

  • Start crawling the website as bot (no css, cookies, JS)
  • Accessibility
    • Robots: .txt, meta tags
    • Errors
    • XML Sitemap
    • Flash / JS
    • Site performance
  • Indexability
    • site:example.org vs. actual counts
    • Are you ranking well for branded searches?
    • Penalized? Check first, if the page is really penalized
  • On Page Factors
    • URLs: short (<115chars), relevant keywords, subfolders, use hyphens instead of underscores
    • Check for duplicate content (parameters in URLs)
    • Content: at least 300 words, it is valuable?, keywords?, easily readable?, indexiable?
    • HTML: Markup, titles, meta-description, h1, frames, canonical?
    • Images: alt tag and file name
    • Outlinks: trustworthy sites, relevant, anchor text, links broken?
  • Off Page Factors
    • Popularity: gaining traffic, compare to others and backlinks
    • Trustworthyness: Google’s safe browsing, siteadvisor, hidden keywords
    • Backlinks: how many unique root domains? What percentage if nofollow? Natural anchor text distribution? Relevant backlinks? How popular/trustworthy/authoritative are the backlinks?
    • Social Engagement: retweets, +1s, fb likes, etc.
  • CI (see next section)

Guide to Competitive Research

  • Questions:
    • What is their link building strategy?
    • How do they use social media?
    • SWOT their strategy
    • How do these elements work together, i.e. digital strategy
  • Backlinks
    • Top Backlinks: What can are they?
    • General Backlinks: Content marketing, guest blogs, etc?
  • Anchor text: distribution, coupled terms, branded?
  • Link Building
    • Press releases
    • Directory submissions
    • Blogger outreach
    • Content marketing
    • Infographics
    • Social bookmarks
    • Local influences
  • Social Media
    • Where are they active?
    • How do they promote their estate?
  • Observe continuously: google alerts, twitter search, etc.

Guide to Link Building with Local Events

  • Event page on your website: info about the event, etc.
  • Find event directories for your city
  • Look out for event data providers
  • Always do CI
  • Search for local blogs / groups who could be interested in your event
  • Advanced: 2nd tier linking the event site, citation building with your local address, schemas, search for external speakers
  • Build a email list, create wrap-ups, ask for links
  • My tip: encourage attendants to blog and twitter about the event

Reading Best of inbound: February and March


Complete list of link building strategies
This is just insane – tons of different strategies and you can even filter them!

The New SEO Process

  • Opportunity Discovery: What opportunities arise with regard to:
    • Business Objectives – what’s the goal?
    • Market research, keyword research, site audit, etc.
  • Content Strategy
    • Ideation
    • Content build
  • Technical Development
  • Social Strategy
    • Link strategy
    • PR
    • Contests, Events, Social Media
  • Measurement
  • Optimization

Link Building resources
an other insane list

Quick Queries For Link Wins

  • Do you have sponsored something but didn’t get backlinks?
  • Find sponsorships under $100, that give you a backlink
  • Find interviews you did
  • Do the same for your competition!

Broken Link Building Guide: From Noob to Novice

  • Pointing out dead links on an other site and recommending others
  • Find broken links: look for high authority sites and high authority pages
  • Contact owner but without any urls in the initial mail if possible
  • Get Link!
  • 301 Redirect Broken Link: If a 301 exists that points to an other location

Buying Links is Shallow, Short-Term Thinking. Buying Blogs? Now that’s a Strategy.

  • Look for blogs in your niche (which may covered you)
  • Propose a monthly payment and a lump-sum at the end of a 3 year period
  • The blog will then move to your domain – but you won’t influence the writings
  • You will help to boost the traffic, improve the UX and design

Findings about how graphics affect conversions

  • Images can reduce readership
  • Try to put the image above the fold
  • Headlines below an image are 10% more read than above the image
  • 80% of people read headlines
  • Captions are read 300% more than body -> try to catch attention and bring the reader back into the text
  • Don’t break the left margin
  • Images without clear relevance are useless
  • Avoid obvious stock photos, poor quality images and oversized faces


Link Building Tools We Use at Distilled
Distilled is one of the finest online agencies and Will Critchlow lists some great tools they use.

Incorporating video into your link building strategy

  • You can start for about $1000 producing videos
  • Look for students or graduates from film schools
  • Video in content almost triples the avg. number of links
  • Video is a form not a content – if a video is better than text, make a video
  • If your videos don’t provide value, then they are useless
  • Film in high quality – high quality audio is the most important
  • Create (if feasible) indexable transcripts
  • Make sure that you include a link to your site in the embed code
  • Create Movie schemas and video sitemaps for better indexing


  • Reputation as a content creator – could influence the SERPs
  • Different Ranks for different topics
  • Google+ as a identify platform and rel=author as your signature
  • AuthorRank could be influenced by shares, time, comments, etc.

How Sitelinks are quietly costing you conversions

  • Under certain circumstances google may swaps your website for a sitelink
  • Monitor analytics and webmaster tools frequently to avoid some problems

Google Places Ranking Factors

  • Places math broader categories if available; e.g. pizza => restaurant
  • Business name is matched: “Alfonso’s pizza” works better than “Alfonso’s Restaurant” for “pizza”
  • 5+ reviews help
  • Category term in reviews helps
  • The physical address is not extremely important but influences the results
  • Average review score matters: score of 1 penalizes heavily

How to Uncover 100s of New Longtail Keywords in Minutes

  • ubersuggest uses google suggest to get new keywords
  • Use these keywords to get even more longtail keywords
  • Now you can add search volume, competition, etc. and work with them

How to rank product pages for SEO

  • Limit global navs -> exploit categories
  • Clear anchor texts
  • Canonical links
  • Similar pages should be interconnected
  • Minimize cross-category links
  • Related products work well: 5 – 10 max
  • Short urls
  • Keep product categories alive

Using a Glossary to Rank and Build Links

  • Helps providing internal keywords
  • Can get you inbound links
  • Enter public resource lists
  • People maybe going to quote you
  • My tip: Find people how search for definitions and prove it

SEO Experts discuss link building for affiliates

  • Interesting, unique product pages: videos, copy, images, comments
  • Guest blogging on vertical and horizontal reach
  • Create a good about us page
  • Ask the product provider if they use your review as a testimonial
  • Create infographics / widgets
  • Ego bait, interviews and crowdsourcing can help you to produce more content
  • Get active in your product’s community
  • Create useful press releases
  • Blog commenting
  • Compare your product with competitors
  • Be as unbiased as possible

Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing
Incredible extensive post about creating a editorial calendar – take a look and be amazed!