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4 Ways Copywriting Can Boost Your E-commerce Conversion Rates

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By ksaleh

Posted by ksaleh

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.

[Estimated read time: 8 minutes]

Your website’s copy is far more important than you realize.

Besides design, copy forms the foundation of your brand. How you describe yourself and your products leaves a palpable impression on your customers. Whether customers think of your brand as bold, futuristic, quirky, or cute depends largely on your copy.

Web copy is also crucial for conveying product information. Your customers want to know how your product works and how it will change their lives.

Unfortunately, far too many e-commerce stores spend hours optimizing their website’s design and layout but completely skip over the copy.

The result? Poor conversion rates.

The relationship between copy and conversion rates

If you’re running an e-commerce store, a SaaS startup, or a marketing agency, the three of your biggest challenges are:

  1. Informing visitors about the store’s products and their unique features and benefits
  2. Evoking emotions that drive action and persuade the visitor
  3. Fostering a long-lasting relationship by emphasizing the brand’s values (and how they align with their customers’ values)

You’ll realize that you can meet all of these challenges through smart copywriting. In fact, it isn’t unusual for improving a website’s copy to increase its conversion rates by 2x, 3x, or even 4x.

For example:

There is a distinct, direct relationship between copy and conversion rates. Better copy, whether it’s on landing pages or product descriptions, leads to better conversion rates.

The obvious question is: how can you improve your e-commerce copy?

Here are four actionable tactics you can use right away to get better conversions.

1. Write for your target personas

Sketching out a target customer profile based on your brand’s personas will help you craft laser-targeted, high-converting copy.

Nearly all your customers will belong to one or more of these four persona types:

  • Logical persona: This persona type is logical, methodical, and detail-oriented. A customer with a logical persona will carefully scrutinize your offer before hitting the “Buy” button. He will also shop around for better deals. Roughly 40–45% of the audience falls into this category.
  • Impulsive persona: An impulsive persona type is spontaneous, risk-oriented, and optimistic. This persona is more prone to making quick decisions and will focus on the benefits when buying. Roughly 30–35% of the audience would be characterized as an impulsive persona.
  • Caring persona: A caring persona is concerned deeply about the well-being of others. This persona will consider your offer only when it helps others as well. Instead of looking at the product and its features, those having caring personas will also browse through your About Us page to see what kind of company you run. Roughly 15–20% of the population falls into this category.
  • Aggressive persona: An aggressive persona is rational and focused on self-improvement. This persona holds herself to a high standard of integrity and will expect the same from you. Roughly 5–7% of the population has this persona.

How to write for each customer persona

What kind of copy you’ll use for each persona will depend largely on what category the persona falls into. A logical persona type will respond very differently to your copy than an impulsive persona type.

Try following some of these guidelines for your persona-types:

Logical persona

  • Emphasize features
  • Include extensive details, especially of the technology behind your products
  • Avoid fluff and vague language

Example: Take a look at the product descriptions on Canada-Goose.com. This is a brand that sells expensive but high-quality outerwear for extreme cold weather conditions.

Canada Goose customers care about the quality and construction of the clothes. The copy reflects this, focusing on features and underlying technology.

Impulsive persona

  • Focus on benefits
  • Use rich imagery and power words
  • Weave a story around your product

Example: Read the product descriptions on the J Peterman catalog. This brand sells the story behind each product.

j peterman

The details are sparse and the copy uses rich imagery and metaphors to appeal to its target audience.

Caring persona

  • Show how your products benefit others, both within product descriptions and on unique pages (About Us, mission statement, etc.).
  • Emphasize the environmental or social benefits of your products.

Example: On Patagonia.com, each product page has a separate section detailing the product’s supply chain. This is in line with Patagonia’s mission statement that promotes sustainable living and environmentally-friendly policies.

pantagonia

Aggressive persona

  • Focus on how the product will help the customer improve himself/herself
  • Emphasize the underlying technology, especially how it relates to performance improvements
  • Focus on your store or your brand’s heritage and history to establish credibility

Example: Most fitness brands fall under this category (see the copy for Keen, a brand of hiking footwear):

keen

The copy lists out the technology used in the shoe and tells the reader how it improves performance.

Ideally, you want to use copy that targets all of these personas on every page. If that’s not possible, you should at least try to figure out the dominant customer persona for each product or category, and use the appropriate copy.

2. Use power words and action words

Staggering. Smashing. Stunning.

These are all examples of power words — words that evoke strong emotions in your readers.

Power words are rarely used in everyday speech (recall the last time you used “staggering” or “sensational” in a casual conversation). This makes them stand out all the more when used in e-commerce copy.

Using power words is the easiest way to elevate your copy beyond the ordinary. A sprinkle of these words can turn boring product descriptions into emotion-generating copy that turns browsers into customers, customers into fans.

See how Firebox uses power words in its product descriptions:

power words

These simple words turn ordinary copy into something far more compelling.

So what are power words like?

Here’s a short list of power words that are particularly useful for e-commerce copywriting tasks.

Amazing

Audacious

Authentic

Backed

Best-Selling

Banned

Breathtaking

Crazy

Caution

Cheerful

Crush

Cheap

Certified

Censored

Controversial

Confession

Dumb

Defying

Delight

Dare

Discount

Exciting

Epic

Eye-opening

Explosive

Extra

Economical

Fortune

Free

Frenzy

Frugal

Forbidden

Faithful

Fearless

Flirt

Grateful

Greatest

Guaranteed

Hack

Happy

Hero

Hope

Hidden

Inexpensive

Incredible

Ironclad

Insider

Joy

Jaw-dropping

Jackpot

Jubilant

Looming

Legendary

Luxurious

Lifetime

Little-known

Magic

Mind-blowing

Miraculous

Massive

Marked-down

Money

Mystery

Naughty

No obligations

No questions asked

Official

Outlaw

Pluck

Provocative

Pummel

Passionate

Profit

Prize

Private

Proven

Protected

Priceless

Risk-free

Remarkable

Rich

Reduced

Researched

Refund

Reliable

Secret

Select

Secure

Savings

Skyrocket

Soaring

Surging

Smashing

Staggering

Stunning

Surprising

Tank

Targeted

Triumphant

Tantalizing

Thrilling

Tested

Unauthorized

Uplifting

Unconditional

Victory

Value

Verified

Whopping

Wonderful

Use action words

Power words evoke emotion, but they don’t drive readers to take action.

For that, you need to use action words in your copy.

These are simply words that describe an action: add, act, take, get, etc.

Let’s take another look at the Firebox product description page:

action words

Action words make your copy sound more energetic and active. They also subtly tell the reader to take some action.

You don’t have to use them excessively. Just pepper them in whenever you want to hammer in a feature/benefit or get your readers to take some action.

Here’s a list of some action words you can use in many different types of copywriting tasks:

Add

Act

Buy

Break

Bite

Begin

Collect

Catch

Call

Create

Choose

Drink

Drive

Draw

Eat

Exude

Feel

Find

Fly

Grow

Go

Give

Guard

Hold

Hurry

Jump

Know

Kick

Love

Listen

Locate

Make

Measure

Multiply

Mix

Print

Prepare

Play

Pull

Push

Read

Run

Ride

Ring

Shout

Sell

Shake

Study

See

Speak

Say

Take

Think

Text

Try

Taste

Tell

Test

Understand

3. Use the right formatting

Your website visitors don’t read your pages.

They scan.

According to eye-tracking studies conducted by Nielsen, people scan e-commerce pages in an F-shaped pattern:

F-shaped pattern

That is, they first look to the left column, then to the right, then drag their eyes down the page.

This means that users won’t read your copy — however remarkable it may be — unless it’s formatted correctly.

Follow these guidelines for improved e-commerce copy formatting:

  • Follow an information hierarchy. The most important content should go in the first couple of paragraphs. Less important information should be further down the page.

    Take a look at this product page on NewEgg.com. It lists the most important things about the product, including availability, seller name and key features, at the top of the page:

40AzIyB.png

  • Follow a two-column layout, with the product image on the left and critical product details on the right. People are already used to this convention and will naturally look at the image on the left first, followed by the text on the right.

    Overstock.com uses this layout on its product pages:

QK3skzN.png

  • Use bullet points for the text to the right of the image (i.e., the most important content). You can use paragraphs for longer product descriptions.

    For example, Amazon mentions each product’s top features in the form of a bullet list at the top of the page:

ek2W5SR.png

  • Use information-rich headers to organize the content (such as key features and sizing information). Users will scan these to find what they’re looking for as they scroll down the page.

    NewEgg organizes this information in separate tabs:

3HpWENg.png

BestBuy’s product pages follow a similar structure, but with even better content organization:

Uh2t8AB.png

  • Use keywords in your copy. Users will quickly scan your copy to figure out details about your product. Adding keywords such as size and price will help them scan your page faster.

    Great examples of this can be found on Target’s product pages, including this one:

0OMpymc.png

Keep these tips in mind when you write your copy. Otherwise, you just might end up creating impeccable content that no one reads.

4. Don’t forget unique pages

Your homepage, About Us page, mission statement, and the like comprise your site’s unique pages.

Unlike product or category pages (which usually follow a template), each of these pages has distinct content, copy, and design.

Optimizing the copy on your unique pages can have a noticeable impact on conversion rates. For one, these pages help customers understand you and your brand. If you can describe your brand in a way that resonates with your target customers, you’ll be able to sell more products at better prices.

Tell a story through your unique pages

When writing copy for unique pages, the standard rules apply: Use power words and evocative imagery.

At the same time, you also want to make sure that your copy weaves a story about your brand.

ThinkGeek does the same by boldly stating its manifesto on its About page:

thinkgeek

Emphasize your brand’s history and values

Another way to use copywriting to improve brand perception is to share your brand’s history and values on your unique pages.

For example, Patagonia.com has a separate page for its mission statement:

pantagonia-mission-statement

Tell your brand’s story

Your brand is more than just a collection of products. There are real people with real stories behind the business who come together to create all your amazing products.

Highlighting these on a separate “Our Story” page is a great idea.

For example, take a look at how Saddleback Leather does it:

6UZUOx4.png

Whatever tactic you use to emphasize your brand’s history and its values, the copy on these pages should reflect your brand.

Key takeaways

Copywriting and conversion rate are inherently related. Good web copy is closely correlated with good conversion rates. Using power words, appropriate formatting, and persona-targeted copywriting can help you drastically improve the copy of your e-commerce website and, by proxy, its conversion rates.

Has your brand made a commitment to enhancing conversion rates with effective copywriting?

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SearchCap: Google AdWords hack, SEO ROI & more

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By Barry Schwartz

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Industry

Local & Maps

Link Building

Searching

SEO

SEM / Paid Search

The post SearchCap: Google AdWords hack, SEO ROI & more appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google App for iOS Gets a Speed Boost by @SouthernSEJ

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By Matt Southern

The Google app for iOS is now faster according to an official announcement from the company. In addition to cutting down loading times the app is been updated with the new features that are designed to help people save time and get information more quickly. Opening the app and conducting a search will be just a bit quicker now than it was before. Google says this incremental boost in speed will save users a collective 6.5 million hours this year. For the first time Google’s accelerated mobile pages will now be surfaced in the Google app for iOS. AMP articles […]

The post Google App for iOS Gets a Speed Boost by @SouthernSEJ appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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True performance baselines & ROI for SEO without attribution modeling

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By Chris Liversidge

It’s an old trope of the Search Engine Optimization industry that SEO is the channel with the greatest return of any online marketing channel. But, given Google’s increased ability to identify and penalize sites employing poor-quality link-building practices, my experience in the new business trenches with QueryClick (my employer) tells me that many agencies today are failing to deliver return for their clients. And, in some cases, they report fantastic ROI figures despite presiding over declining organic traffic!

If you oversee SEO and want to get a true picture of your (or your agency’s) real return on investment improvement, what criteria do you need to use? Though this is a seemingly simple question, it’s a very important one to ask because SEO truly can — and should — be at the very core of your online marketing strategy.

So, what is my baseline?

Again, a seemingly simple question with an obvious answer: year-on-year improvement in revenue from the channel (independent of any attribution model). But let’s analyze what needs to come into the spotlight when building this baseline.

  • Industry seasonality

    • Adjust for one-off trend items. For example, smartphone retail traffic is affected hugely by Apple’s iPhone release cycle, even if you’re looking at the upgrade halo effect or refurbishment market impact. Equally, insurance markets, FMCG markets and luxury brand markets all have easily identifiable one-off trends you can account for and remove from your forecast baseline.
    • Adjust for the expected external events that influence your category. Fashion is hugely affected by weather, for example, and if you know you’re in for early heat waves and disrupted winterwear demand in your target markets (Hello, 2016!), then make an assessment and adjustment. Make sure you record a note about this adjustment in your numbers, however (See below).
  • Offline brand activity/paid media
    • Adjust for (and annotate in your web analytics package) any spends across your paid media channels, including TV and radio, outdoor display, promoted posts, paid social and general paid search trends (See also much further below). You’re looking to remove year-on-previous-year variation.
  • Earned & owned media
    • As above, annotate and adjust for year-on-year variance in spends and discount values for earned and owned, for example, store discounting, promotional activity/aggressive online discounting, rewards for reviews (Make sure you are not doing this in 2016, BTW) and so on.
    • Bear in mind we are looking for year-on-year variation. We have to start somewhere, so if you haven’t gone through this exercise before, take the previous year as your standard to start from, unless you have good reason not to (big data gaps, multiple new territories, changing from free to paid SAAS, removal of free delivery and so on). You may have to insert some manual adjustments here; this is perfectly acceptable, as rational thought and an attempt to be comprehensive and fair is the key here, not splitting the difference on minor variation.
  • Market trend impact
    • Are you in a growth market? If so, adjust to exactly counterweight this influence based on your accepted industry growth (revenue or spend industry figures). Same for declining markets. If you’re affected by this item, your business will already know what these figures are. If you don’t know, ask your finance folks.
  • Keyphrase trend impact
    • This is interesting, as it assumes intent, and as such, it does not make my list for adjustable components. For example, say you happen to be on trend for the fashion fad of the year (gold lamé baggy trousers, say), is it fair to remove that from your baseline? Well, I’d argue if you have stormed the SERPs with awesome rankings for that term, and fashion follows your farsighted decision, then you should reap the benefit of that. After all, if you don’t, you’d then have to remove the decline in traffic for previously popular terms. You’re not trying to remove the effect of strategic decisions from your SEO performance calculations. This is about removing external, unearned influences.
  • Historic trend impact
    • This is simply taking a view of the “state of play” performance of the site based on a two- or three-year historic view and including this as part of your baseline against which performance improvement and ROI calculation are measured. This is important, as it allows assessment of your improvement over and above your “status quo” activity. You could argue that this is an overly harsh view to take: in essence, you are obliging better performance before any ROI calculation because you are taking the previous year’s performance improvement away from your upcoming year calculations. But if there is to be any purpose to your ROI metric beyond comparing it to a third-party performance (and that would be better done by comparing flat revenue growth, or not at all, if you aren’t performing full attribution analysis), then you should consider this improvement on the status quo to be the very key to what you’re trying to achieve. To allow leeway, call ROI that’s calculated using this approach “Incremental ROI,” and also calculate unadjusted ROI to allow for context. Performing this calculation requires forecasting forward the expected performance given the historic data in a statistically significant way. We use ARIMA modeling at QueryClick, which has proven very effective.
This defines an ARIMA(p,d,q) process with drift δ/(1−Σφi)...but you don't need to know that! Apply a data scientist to R and automate this part.

This defines an ARIMA(p,d,q) process with drift δ/(1−Σφi)… but you don’t need to know that. Apply a data scientist to R and automate this part.

Keep all your adjustments available and clear in your baseline, and pull in the R data from your ARIMA calculation. In Excel, for example, instead of stacking up all of the above, keep the modifiers for each item separate — I like to run a separate tab — and place your modifiers in month-by-month grids, adjusting up and down by percentage rates based on the absolute difference and total volume affected. If you keep it all in a separate sheet, you can review and assess against the reality and include commentary when you set out your baseline.

If you are applying this adjustment historically (and I strongly recommend you do, even if you are going through this process for new campaign planning and to secure budget), take the same approach and place confidence rates (zero to 100 percent) against each item. These can be set to 100 percent for items you are certain affected the baseline (stuff in the past, say). For example, in the UK, we have had four consecutive “hottest months ever” this year. If your data covers this period, you have a 100 percent modifier to your early/late sales impact rate (itself a percentage).

If there is a level of doubt about a modifier you insert, try to use modifiers that are widely accepted in the business category or industry, and, where none exist, take a moderate view and use that year’s data to assess if the modifier needs to change next year. This narrative continuity, and declaration of “known unknowns” will engender confidence in your baseline stability and remove subjective influence — allowing you to take an objective view of performance over and above this baseline.

Also, annotation within your web analytics package is a best practice to ensure any segmentation and subsequent data export can take your data in context and allow adjustment.

Attributing value within an attribution model

Attribution is, itself, an in-depth post, so, other than asking you to think deeply about Avinash Kaushik’s excellent primer, let’s restrict ourselves to the most pertinent and independently measurable facet of attribution as it relates to SEO year-on-year performance: How much has SERP overlap affected SEO channel traffic capture year-on-year?

Answering this requires us to adjust for spend variation in paid search over the year, and also to deal with the old issue of brand and non-brand conversion impact. In short, brand typically converts at a higher rate on last-click attribution models, which then takes revenue (unfairly) away from other channels which contributed to the brand search in the first place.

Another way to think about this issue is that the time to convert is lower for brand traffic compared to non-brand, and so traffic via non-brand appears “harder to convert.”

For our SEO baseline, we can account for this by simply adjusting to:

  • overall paid search spend adjustment (Again, we adjust month-on-month by a percentage rate based on variance with the same month for the previous year.); and
  • brand vs. non-brand split.

The importance of the first of these items is self-evident. Increased paid listings where once there were only organic for your brand will impact organic traffic (regardless of any incremental halo effect where both exist) and should be removed from our baseline measurement for fairness in the same manner as the previous items. The second is less evident.

The theory it models is: if SEO is to drive new business (as opposed to cannibalizing other channels), and if we are trying to measure growth, then increases in non-brand traffic should be critical and weighted up.

Therefore, in determining our baseline, we should weight-up the value of non-brand traffic and depress the impact of any brand increases. This further limits the impact of external factors and rewards the capture of highly valuable new business that would not otherwise have engaged if our ranking had not existed.

Adding this into your baseline requires an understanding of the brand versus non-brand split in your paid and organic data, which I described in my previous article on building lightweight attribution models for paid and organic media mix analysis.

Returning the “true” ROI

At this stage, we have normalized for many of the unearned components that contribute to the performance of any metric assessed from organic search. Obviously, to calculate ROI, you will need a value for Revenue (or Net Revenue). Taking a historic view, we can assess the previous year’s Net Revenue from our normalized baseline: this is the “R” in our ROI calculation and should be used for the calculation.

If you are managing an internal team, you must decide how much to weight up the influence of increased generic performance to counterweight the stark reduction of trend performance you are removing with all the above normalization With a new or growing team, you may want to down-weight the trend performance as encouragement for future performance. With a more experienced team, you could be more stringent and allow for more “carryover” performance from the previous year.

Regardless of your decision, you now have the tools and a solid methodology for why you are calculating ROI figures that will allow you to interact more meaningfully with the rest of the business. Normalizing SEO ROI enables you to to be closer to the measurement protocols used with other business activities.

The post True performance baselines & ROI for SEO without attribution modeling appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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3 Google AdWords hacks to drive high-quality leads

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By Todd Saunders

You already know that Google AdWords can be an important tool for scaling your business, even if you’re new to PPC marketing. If that’s something you didn’t know, beware of the spoiler to follow: Google AdWords can be an important tool for scaling your business.

The problem for most advertisers is that AdWords can be expensive. Every dollar you spend paying for clicks is a dollar you can’t allocate to other areas of your business, so it’s vital to make each one count.

Today, I’m going to walk you through three Google AdWords hacks to help you drive high-quality leads and ensure that every dollar you spend is well spent.

These are hacks that I used with almost all of my clients during my time at Google and now employ with all our customers at AdHawk. They have been very successful for these clients and will help you save some serious time and money.

Let’s dig in!

Google AdWords hack #1: the only way to bulk-modify broad match modified keywords

One AdWords feature I consistently see advertisers struggle with is keyword match types. There’s a lot of bad information on the internet about what match types advertisers should be using exclusively. The truth is that each one has a time and a place, but I’m going to focus on two of my favorites today: broad match modified keywords and phrase match keywords.

I subscribe to the Goldilocks way of thinking for the keywords match types I use most often. Broad match keywords can trigger too much irrelevant traffic. Exact match keywords can severely limit the number of eyeballs on your ads. Broad match modified and phrase match keywords, however, are just right.

(If you need a refresher on the differences between keyword match types, check out this great piece by Josh Dreller.)

Broad match modified and phrase match keywords strike the perfect balance between reaching the largest audience possible and still maintaining some control over the type of user your ads are being served to. This is incredibly important if you’re looking to stretch every dollar you spend on AdWords.

The last thing you want is for your ads to be triggered for irrelevant traffic and result in clicks. Those customers will likely never convert, and you’re probably better off flushing your money down an AdWords-shaped toilet.

google-adwords-money-down-the-toilet

Phrase match keywords are pretty simple to enable. All you have to do is head to the “Keywords” section of your campaign, check the box next to the keywords you want to turn into phrase match keywords, click “Edit,” click “Change match types,” make sure the form says “From broad match, to phrase match,” and BOOM! You’re done.

Broad match modified keywords, on the other hand, are a little bit trickier to modify in bulk. As of the publish date of this post, the only way to move your broad match keywords to broad match modified keywords is to edit in a “+” to each of the keywords you want to change one by one. That is, unless, you follow my simple Google AdWords hack. It’s a simple two-part process to get this up and running:

Part 1 — Find and replace

  • Navigate to the “Keywords” section of your Google AdWords campaign.
  • Check the boxes to the left of the keywords you want to change from broad match to broad match modified.
  • Click “Edit” and then “Change keyword text.”
  • Keep the “Action” section “Find and replace.”
  • In the “Find text” field, put your cursor in the box and click the space bar once. (You’re telling Google to find all your spaces.)
  • In the “Replace with” field, put your cursor in the box, click the space bar once, and add a plus sign (+). (Google AdWords uses the plus sign to indicate which keywords are broad match modified keywords.)
  • Click “Make changes.”

Part 2 — Append text

  • With all the keywords from above still selected, click “Edit,” and then “Change keyword text.”
  • Change the “Action” to “Append text.”
  • Add a plus sign (+) in the “Append text” field.
  • Click “Before existing text.”
  • Click “Make changes.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.39.32 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.42.33 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.43.20 AM

It may seem like a lot of steps, but I promise it will save hours of your time (especially if you have large keyword lists). Make sure to review the keywords that were modified and remove any plus signs from filler keywords terms (like “the” and “an”) and from any individual keyword terms you don’t want to be broad match modified.

Google AdWords hack #2: mastering Quality Score with the “One Per” Rule

Just uttering the phrase “Quality Score” can strike fear in the hearts of Google AdWords advertisers. What is it? How does it work? What can I do to make it better? I get these questions all the time, and my response to them is always, “Follow the ‘One Per’ Rule.”

As the name suggests, the One Per Rule requires you to limit the number of keywords per Ad Group to 1. It may sound a little crazy and counterintuitive, but there is a method behind the madness.

Limiting yourself to one keyword per ad group ensures that your keyword is tied closely to your ad text and the text on your landing page. This tells Google that your relevancy is through the roof, therefore awarding you a high Quality Score. It’s easily my favorite Google AdWords hack.

This isn’t a technique to use with every keyword, however. Only employ the “One Per” Rule on your top-performing keywords. Here’s how to get it going:

  • Step 1 — Research. Select the Campaign you want to optimize and locate your five to 10 top-performing keywords across Ad Groups. If you’re looking to optimize conversions, choose the keywords that are most successful in generating that result. Or, if you want to optimize cost per conversion or cost per click, choose those top keywords. Every keyword you choose should be competitive when it comes to click-through rate (one percent and above).
  • Step 2 — Create one AdGroup per keyword. Create an Ad Group for each of your top-performing keywords. If you have five top keywords, you should also have five Ad Groups. Keep things organized by using each individual keyword as the name of the AdGroup.
  • Step 3 — Ensure your ad text is relevant. One of the keys to ensuring the “One Per” Rule is effective is sprinkling the keyword throughout the ad text. The keyword in your Ad Group will appear multiple times in your ad text and again on your landing page.

Quality Scores tend to be higher when the keyword appears in the ad headline, description and display URL. If one of my top-performing keywords is “women’s hats,” the structure of my ad should be similar to the one shown below:

Screen-Shot-2015-12-29-at-1.41.10-PM-1

  • Step 4 — Optimize your landing page. The final step in the “One Per” Rule is simple: Ensure the keyword appears somewhere on your landing page.

Thinking about Quality Score as numbers between one and 10 makes it easy to forget why it’s really important — it’s Google’s way to determine how you as an advertiser create a good user experience by matching your ad to its message, its destination and what you are offering the consumer. Following the “One Per” Rule puts you in a position to check each one of those boxes and makes your life a little easier along the way.

Google AdWords hack #3: enabling call-only campaigns

Phone calls are the lifeblood for lots of businesses leveraging Google AdWords. It’s important to note that there are tons of opportunities to take advantage of. A recent study by BIA/Kelsey estimates that “annual calls to businesses from smartphones will reach 162 billion by 2019.” That’s billion with a B.

If you’re an advertiser who’s looking to maximize the number of phone calls you get from AdWords, you need to make sure to create a clear path for your potential customers to pick up the phone and give you a ring.

This can be difficult when you’re accustomed to guiding them through the normal AdWords flow of clicking on your ad and landing on your website. There are lots of distractions in those two simple steps that could keep your customers from doing what you really want them to do.

The best way to avoid all distractions is to encourage your customers to call you directly from your ad, and the best way to do that is through setting up a call-only campaign.

PhoneA

via Google

Google’s call-only campaign type is designed to only serve ads on mobile devices that are able to make phone calls. Instead of the traditional “click to website” flow, call-only campaigns prominently show your business phone number and a “click to call” button.

via Google

via Google

This means each click you pay for could equal a phone call to your business. It also means you have more opportunity to get creative with your ad copy. Action-oriented phrases like “schedule a call today” or “call a local expert now” will encourage customers to take action directly from the ad text.

Getting up and running with a call-only campaign is pretty simple if you follow the instructions below:

  • Click the red “+Campaign” button.
  • Select “Search Network only” from the drop-down menu.
  • Select the “Call-only” radio button on the right.
  • Fill out the remaining information regarding the campaigns settings.
  • Click the “Save and continue” button.
  • Fill in the information to create your call-only ad. Make sure to include action-oriented phrases, and enable a Google forwarding phone number if you want to track phone calls (We highly recommend this).
  • Click “Save ad group.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 11.52.01 AM

Final thoughts

With these three Google AdWords hacks, you can keep your accounts lean, precisely targeted and better optimized to drive high-quality leads. I’m always looking for new Google AdWords hacks to experiment with. If you have a good one, feel free to share it in Search Engine Land’s social media channels.

The post 3 Google AdWords hacks to drive high-quality leads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Title Tag Length Guidelines: 2016 Edition

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By Dr-Pete

Posted by Dr-Pete

For the past couple of weeks, Google has been testing a major change to the width of the left-hand column, expanding containers from 512 pixels to 600 (a 17% increase). Along with this change, Google has increased the available length of result titles:

This naturally begs the question — how many characters can we fit into a display title now? When Google redesigned SERPs in 2014, I recommended a limit of 55 characters. Does a 17% bigger container mean we’ve got 9 more characters to work with?

Not so fast, my friend…

This is where things get messy. It’d be great if we could just count the characters and be done with it, but things are never quite that easy. We’ve got three complications to consider:

(1) Character widths vary

Google uses the Arial font for result titles, and Arial is proportional. In other words, different characters occupy different amounts of space. A lower- case ‘l’ is going to occupy much less space than an upper-case ‘W’. The total width is measured in pixels, not characters, and the maximum amount you can fit in that space depends on what you’re trying to say.

In our 10,000-keyword tracking set, the title below is the longest cut or uncut display title we measured, clocking in at 77 characters:

This title has 14 i’s and lowercase l’s, 10 lowercase t’s, and 3 narrow punctuation marks, creating a character count bonanza. To count this title and say that yours can be 77 characters would be dangerously misleading.

(2) Titles break at whole words

Prior to this change, Google was breaking words at whatever point the cut-off happened. Now, they seem to be breaking titles at whole words. If the cut happens in the middle of a long word, the remaining length might be considerably shorter. For example, here’s a word that’s just not going to fit into your display title twice, and so the cut comes well short of the full width:

(3) Google is appending brands

In some cases, Google is cutting off titles and then appending the brand to the end. Unfortunately, this auto-appended brand text still occupies space and counts against your total allowance. This was the shortest truncated display title in our data set, measuring only 34 words pre-cut:

The brand text “- The Homestead” was appended by Google and is not part of the sites tag. The next word in the title was “Accommodations”, so the combination of the brand add-on and long word made for a very truncated title. </p> <h2>Data from 10,000 searches<br /> </h2> <p>Examples can be misleading, so we wanted to take a deeper dive. We pulled all of the page-1 display titles from the 10,000-keyword MozCast tracking set, which ends up being just shy of 90,000 titles. Uncut titles don’t tell us much, since they can be very short in some cases. So, let’s focus on the titles that got cut. Here are the character lengths (not counting ” …”) of the cut titles: </p> <p><img src="http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745bd07227b20.05940476.png"></p> <p>We’ve got a fairly normal distribution (skewed a little to the right) with both a mean and median right around 63. So, is 63 our magic number? Not quite. Roughly half the cut titles in our data set had less than 63 characters, so that’s still a fairly risky length. </p> <p>The trick is to pick a number where we feel fairly confident that the title won’t be cut off, on average (a guaranteed safe zone for all titles would be far too restrictive). Here are a few select percentages of truncated titles that were above a certain character length: </p> <ul> <li>55% of cut titles >= 63 (+2) characters</li> <li><strong>91% of cut titles >= 57 (+2)</strong><strong> characters</strong></li> <li>95% of cut titles >= 55 (+2) characters</li> <li>99% of cut titles >= 48 (+2) characters</li> </ul> <p>In research, we might stick to a 95% or 99% confidence level (note: this isn’t technically a confidence interval, but the rationale is similar), but I think 90% confidence is a decent practical level. If we factor in the ” …”, that gives us about +2 characters. So, my recommendation is to keep your titles under 60 characters (57+2 = 59). </p> <p>Keep in mind, of course, that cut-offs aren’t always bad. A well placed “…” might actually increase click-through rates on some titles. A fortuitous cut-off could create suspense, if you trust your fortunes to Google: </p> <p><img src="http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745cbabc43513.48295070.png" vspace="10"></p> <p>Now that titles are cut at whole words, we also don’t have to worry about text getting cut off at confusing or unfortunate spots. Take, for example, the dangerous predicament of The International Association of Assemblages of Assassin Assets: </p> <p><img src="http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745c38fa33539.24952715.png" vspace="10"></p> <p>Prior to the redesign, their titles were a minefield. Yes, that contributed nothing to this post, but once I had started down that road, it was already too late. </p> <h2>So, that’s it then, right?<br /> </h2> <p>Well, no. As Google evolves and adapts to a wider range of devices, we can expect them to continue to adjust and test display titles. In fact, they’re currently test a new, card-style format for desktop SERPs where each result is boxed and looks like this:</p> <p><img src="http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745c582c5e954.69810663.png" vspace="10"></p> <p>We’re not even entirely sure that the current change is permanent. The narrower format is still appearing for some people under some conditions. If this design sticks, then I’m comfortable saying that keeping your title length under 60 characters will prevent the majority of cut-offs. </p> <p><em>Note: People have been asking when we’ll update our title tag tool. We’re waiting to make sure that this design change is permanent, but will try to provide an update ASAP. Updates and a link to that tool will appear in this post when we make a final decision.</em> </p> <p> <p><a class="colorbox" rel="nofollow" href="https://moz.com/moztop10">Sign up for The Moz Top 10</a>, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. 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