Trending February 2024 # 7 Uncommon Conversion Rate Optimization Tactics # Suggested March 2024 # Top 5 Popular

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Even if your website is extremely well-optimized for search engines and you’re getting quality traffic, you may still find that you aren’t converting visitors.

In these cases, optimizing your website for conversion is the logical next step.

Tweaking your fonts or headings, optimizing your images or forms, introducing more urgency to your messaging, or making good landing pages remain fundamental. Once you have these covered, you need to look for uncommon conversion rate optimization (CRO) tactics that will produce even better results.

Here are seven tactics that can help bring your CRO game to the next level.

1. Pay Attention to Message Match

Message match is the practice of aligning your ad to the landing page you are sending visitors to. To really win at message match, you should consider some of the following practices:

Dynamic text replacement for your different ad groups: This involves ad and landing page copy that changes depending on the different personas you hope to attract. Users will see the same product but it will have a different heading or description based on the ad group they belong to.

Overall match between your ad copy and landing page copy: A general match between the wording of your copies allows for greater consistency and flow between ad and landing page, including headers, subheaders, primary and secondary ad copy, CTAs, etc.

Match keyword intent to copy: Different keywords express different forms of intent. Make sure to have copies to match the keywords that drive visitors to your landing page, for example, a copy for visitors that want more information vs. one for visitors who are ready to commit.

Match CTAs: Not only your copy but your calls to action, as separate elements, should also be consistent with keyword intent for maximum effect. Different users require different CTAs.

Match with email campaigns: A further step is to match your emails with your landing pages not only in terms of copy, keywords, and design but also in terms of the lists of subscribers you are sending these emails to.

2. Go for Hyper-personalization

It’s never too soon to start personalizing your visitors’ experience.

You can personalize just about anything in your marketing campaigns. This includes:

Emails

Content

Landing pages

Product recommendations

Product pricing

By segmenting your lists, as well as by collecting data on behavior (such as browsing or purchase history), you can begin to provide increasingly more personalized messages and offers to your audience.

While you need to strike a balance and avoid becoming too intrusive with your personalized offers, personalization is good because it distinguishes you from others.

3. Engage Customers With Micro-commitments

Create engagement and drive conversions through customer micro-commitments.

Micro-commitments are small steps you ask your visitors to take towards a conversion goal. Since they are ‘micro,’ they don’t really cost your visitors anything nor require them to deeply and seriously consider whether they want to commit.

Here are five types of micro-commitments you can use to optimize your conversion:

Social sharing micro-commitments: Ask your visitors to share your content, follow, or like your page in exchange for a free download.

Buyer-identifying micro-commitments: Ask your visitors to commit to something that will identify them as potential buyers, and gather more information in the process.

Payment micro-commitments: Break down the price into smaller payments to make it more alluring and less threatening.

Customer feedback micro-commitments: Ask your visitors to provide you with feedback through surveys. This puts them in the position to provide full feedback once they commit to it. You can then ask them for their email at the end of the survey to send them a report or results.

4. Perform Multivariate Testing for Optimal Usability

Multivariate testing is a fantastic opportunity for websites that enjoy a high volume of traffic coming to their website. It refers to testing multiple combinations of elements on your landing pages and checking which combination has the greatest effect on your conversion goal.

For example, you could test variations in the headers, images, fonts, copy, and CTAs on one of your landing pages. When you create all the various possibilities, the traffic coming to your page is split between them.

You can then measure the effectiveness of the combinations in relation to the conversion goal. This way you can collect plenty of quantitative data, and make conclusions on the basis of measurements.

But if you have less traffic coming in, then multivariate may be too costly and time-consuming. In this situation, you might want to stick with A/B testing possibilities instead or at least pick the elements you want to test with great scrutiny.

Heat maps and mouse tracking are often overlooked since they require you to have a large volume of visitors to make reliable conclusions. Two types of tactics stand out in this type of approach:

Mouse (or scroll) tracking: Scroll maps show you how far people scroll on your page, and where they drop off. Based on that info, you should adjust your design and copy accordingly, especially if you have a long page. Maybe you need to add visual cues that will help readers move along, or you need to check the quality and type of content at the point where readers tend to bounce.

6. Collect Data With On-site Surveys, Polls & Instant Feedback

Any type of feedback you can get from your visitors is worth a lot. The better you design your surveys or polls, the more information you will get out of them. When designing qualitative surveys, you can go for exit surveys, email surveys, or on-site surveys.

Exit surveys pop up when visitors are about to leave your site, while on-site surveys show up on a particular landing page. For both types of surveys, you need to decide which pages you will position them on, what you will want to know from visitors, and when surveys should appear.

The information you want to get from such surveys should be actionable. What you should aim for is to give users space to share their own observations and experience (i.e., leave you qualitative feedback). That’s why yes/no questions and multiple choice answers don’t work so well for such surveys.

Questions that ask users about points where they experience difficulties or friction are particularly useful. These questions are great for helping you find what stopped people from converting on a particular page.

Email surveys, on the other hand, are great to send out to first-time buyers or to visitors who just subscribed to your list, in the form of a welcome email. You can get plenty of good data from people who just interacted with your brand for the first time — either by converting or signing up to your email list — to get data on their experience with either of these processes.

Finally, consider doing some usability testing to get live feedback on how people experience your website and where they get stuck or what they find particularly useful or powerful.

7. Direct Your Website Traffic

Getting traffic that converts is an essential part of your optimization efforts. But you must also make sure to direct it wisely.

When analyzing your traffic, pay attention to the flow customers take through your website, and whether it isn’t getting lost at some point. For example, asking people to find their way through your website instead of providing them with offers that they can simply choose from is one type of hurdle.

Or you may find that part of your potential conversions drift away because you have placed distractions close to a conversion point.

To resolve these issues and optimize conversions, you must look at your traffic funnel and spot the places where leaks occur. You then need to analyze these pages to establish which element serves as a deterrent or distraction to visitors. Doing some tests should help you establish whether you’re on the right track.

Where to Start With These CRO Tactics?

You don’t need to implement all of these practices to raise your conversions. Focus on the ones that make the most sense and are easiest for you to implement.

Don’t multivariate test if you don’t have enough traffic. Try out something else that is more likely to succeed.

Image Credits

In-post Images: Screenshots by author taken May 2023.

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5 Easy Content Optimization Tactics To Boost Your Traction & Roi

Your content is useless if nobody knows it exists.

To work for you, your content needs an audience.

To get that audience, you need optimized content.

Content optimization is how you get your content seen and heard. It gets your best stuff in front of many audiences, including electronic ones that ease human discovery.

By now, you know all about SEO and the top ways to rank on search engines. You have Google’s M.O. down pat, and you understand how to write for humans and algorithms.

So, what do you need now?

You need easy and proven tactics that will elevate your content traction and ROI. These tips and tricks will give your content the extra push needed to succeed.

Look at these techniques and tools like moves on a chessboard. They’re incremental steps that can lead you to a big, satisfying checkmate.

1. Score Your Headline

Your headline is integral to your content’s success. Your headline is what jumps out at readers first. Your headline is the part of your content that shouts, “Look at me! I’m interesting!”

Or, it should.

How do you know the headline you crafted works on all the right levels for readers – intellectually, emotionally, and “hey, this looks cool”?

One easy way to make sure your headline works is to score it using an online tool. Figure out if your headline sucks in seconds with the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. Another good option is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

All you have to do is plug in that little 70-characters-or-less line and hit “enter.”

The headline analyzer will come back with a score for your labor of love. In general, for good results, you should be shooting for an EMV score above 40 percent:

This tactic works well. Headlines scored at 40 percent and can get 5o to 100 percent more shares than non-scored headlines, based on my experience.

This is an easy, quick way to boost your headline prowess. Plus, you’ll improve your content’s one-two punch when a reader catches a glimpse of it. They won’t want to look away.

2. Research Trends & Jump on Them

Before you can create good headlines, you need topics to write about. Before you can come up with good topics, you need to know what readers are gobbling up.

Trends are helpful in the content marketing world. Trends tell you what topics readers are zeroing-in on and which ones are old hat.

Of course, if you jump on the bandwagon too late, you’ll feel silly and you won’t get any of the benefits. You’ll feel like I did in middle school when I realized my straight-leg jeans were so 1998. Meanwhile, everyone else was wearing flared styles. The horror!

Don’t worry, though. You can avoid making a content faux-pas by researching trends that are happening right this second. Then you can dive in without any hesitation.

How?

Try a tool like BuzzSumo. This app does a ton of great research for you. It can:

Analyze keywords and how they’re performing.

Tell you which pieces of content are trending on your site.

Show you what’s trending for other brands.

You can look up key influencers in your industry and see how their activity is working for them. This feels vaguely voyeuristic, but acceptably so.

For instance, let’s see which articles get the most shares on HubSpot. All you have to do is enter the URL into BuzzSumo’s search bar and hit Search:

Instantly, you can see which articles have the most shares. You can sort the results by social network, too, and see which content is landing on different platforms.

For instance, HubSpot’s top article is “5 Smart Reasons to Create Content Outside Your Niche.” Meanwhile, their top article on Twitter is “8 Signs of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership.”

BuzzSumo can also show you which types of content are most popular. It will additionally illuminate which types aren’t landing as well:

I can glean lots of great insights from these trends and use them when creating my own content.

Plus, you can take a look at trends happening on your own website. Search your URL and find out what content is getting the most shares. Do a content analysis and see which types of posts are hitting the mark. Note the trends and see what people are digging – then go from there.

The same follows if you’re guest posting on another website. Search their trends, then create what will appeal to the most readers.

Hopping on these trends can get you noticed in a big way. Putting out what audiences are into right now helps you tap into current interest and stay in the game.

3. Include Influencer Quotes in Your Content

Along with staying trendy, you need to hang out with the cool kids if you want to optimize your content in fresh ways. This means you should tap influencers and thought leaders in your industry.

Industry influencers are those people who have a wide following. However, don’t mistake popular for influential.

An influencer is a trusted authority. They have clout. They’re known for their intelligence and experience. When they give a recommendation, share a link, or generally give something the thumbs-up, their followers listen.

Reaching out to an influencer and building a relationship is a good practice in general, but you can also make their clout work for you.

This infographic deftly defines thought leadership:

Do it by including influencer quotes in your content.

This doesn’t mean you have to interview the person. Instead, you can cite their published pieces and data, making sure to credit them. Then, once your content is on the web, reach out to said influencer and let them know you mentioned them.

This is one of the easiest ways to start networking. Plus, once you quote their authority content in your own pieces, you’ll immediately instill more trust in your audience. They’ll think, “Oh, I read such-and-such person’s blog, too – they’re a great source!” By extension, you’ll get props for displaying your own trust in these influencers.

4. Don’t Forget the Nitty-Gritty of SEO

You’re busy scouting for influencer quotes, scoring your headlines, and researching trends. In the midst of all this, don’t overlook small steps that can lead to big content traction.

In fact, go all the way back to one of the basic foundations of SEO.

Meta tags.

This basic HTML code tells search engines where to look on your page to find all the necessary elements. They also describe and structure your content for readers.

Case in point: the title tag.

This seemingly simple, unassuming tag is powerful. It shows up everywhere. This includes:

The page title in search results

The title on the tab in your internet browser

The main text in social media posts to describe the page when someone shares it

Search engines and platforms grab this tag and analyze it to display important information to readers.

The same goes for meta description, the alt attribute for images, and other tags that describe your content.

You may not be a hardcore coder, but you can still properly title your pages and include other vital bits of meta. Do these small tasks and you’ll not only help organize the web – you’ll also make it much easier for your audience to find you.

5. Make Your Content Easy to Share

Make it easy for your audience to repost, retweet, or link to your content on social media. In fact, it should be so easy, they shouldn’t have to think about it.

So, what can you do to make your content physically shareable?

Include a static social share toolbar on your site. It should appear on each page that contains shareable content. Try the Floating Share Bar from AddThis or the HootSuite Social Share.

Include share buttons at the end of a blog post or article. ShareThis has Inline Share Buttons that you can place in an exact location on a page. Easily accessible share buttons on a page are the standard way to quickly let readers share your content to their chosen social outlet. It’s totally simple – and it looks snazzy, too, which is a big plus. Along with providing ways to organically share your content, you can also encourage this behavior with a few tricks.

End each and every piece with a CTA that spurs your readers to share. If your CTAs aren’t getting you anywhere, revise and tweak until you hit on a good formula.

The cliché is true when it comes to content marketing: Sharing is caring.

Encourage your readers to share, and make it easy for them to do so. You’ll reap the rewards.

Optimizing Your Content in Fresh Ways Can Give You an Edge

If you need to give your content marketing a push, consider these easy ways to optimize your output.

Taking the time for tasks like these isn’t a big commitment, but could pay off handsomely with more shares, more engagement, and a bigger audience.

In short, make it as easy as possible for your audience to find you to find that traction you’ve been looking for. The result will be a higher return on your content investment. And that’s a big deal.

Image Credits

Featured image: (c) Julia McCoy & Express Writers

Thought leadership: Mitchell Levy

Screenshots taken by author, July 2023

Bank Rate Vs Repo Rate

Difference Between Bank Rate vs Repo Rate

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Bank Rate

It is the Rate that central banks charge for a loan that they provide to a commercial bank and does not involve any collateral. Whenever any commercial bank has a shortage of funds they can borrow from the central bank. The bank rate is one of the important factors which is used by policymakers to regulate the economy. The economy is stimulated by decreasing the bank rate. This makes borrowing cheaper and encourages the same which increases spending. When the policymakers think that the rate of inflation is going up they increase the bank rate. it is used in determining the monetary policy of the economy

Repo Rate

In our daily life when we fall short of funds we go to the bank to borrow some money. In a similar fashion when a bank falls short of money it goes to the central banks to borrow money. Repo rate is the rate at which central banks lend money to commercial banks at the time of financial needs. This loan is given by keeping some securities, bonds as collateral. For example, a bank borrows $20000 from the central bank and the rate of interest is 10%, then the commercial bank will pay the central bank $2000 as the total amount of interest.

It is used to maintain liquidity in the banking sector. If the central bank of the country is looking to increase liquidity in the banking system then it will decrease the repo rate on the other hand if it wants to curb borrowing and control the liquidity it will increase the repo rate. An increase in rate means the Central bank will get a higher amount of interest

Head to Head Comparison Between Bank Rate vs Repo Rate (Infographics)

Below is the Top 8 Comparison between Bank Rate vs Repo Rate.

Key Differences between Bank Rate vs Repo Rate

Let us see some major differences between Bank Rate vs Repo Rate.

Definition – Bank Rate is the rate at which a Central bank lends loans to financial institutions and other commercial banks. Repo rate is a short term rate at which commercial banks lends loan to central banks in case they face any shortages

Goals – Bank Rates are used to fulfill long term goals while repo rate fulfill short term goals

Agreement – When the Central bank lends money at the bank rate, there is no agreement involved. The loan is given at a fixed rate to the commercial bank. On the other hand, in the case of the repo rate, there is a repurchase agreement made between the banks. This agreement consists of a predominant rate at which the bank will return the loan

Collateral – When dealing with bank rates no collateral is required to be provided. When dealing with Repo rates, on the other hand, the loan is granted only when collateral is provided

Effect on Changes in the Rate – When the bank rate is increased or decreased it has a direct impact on the consumers and the economy. For example, if bank rates are increased, the loans become expensive as the interest rate increases. This curbs lending and slows economic growth. If rates are decreased the interest rate decreases and loans become cheaper. This increases lending and borrowing and increases economic growth. Reverse repo does not have this kind of impact on the economy.

Bank Rate vs Repo Rate Comparision Table

Let us discuss the topmost comparisons between Bank Rate vs Repo Rate.

Particular Bank rate Repo rate

Meaning Bank rate is the rate that central banks charge for a loan which they provide to the commercial bank Repo rate is the rate that commercial banks charge for re-purchasing securities sold by commercial banks to the central bank

Collateral Collateral is not involved when charging Bank rate Collateral like securities, bonds, an agreement is involved when the reverse repo is charged

Rate The bank rate is always higher than the repo rate Repo rate is always lower than the bank rate

Effect on Customer Increasing bank rates has an impact directly to the customers since loans now become costly which hampers the economic growth Repo rate is mainly handled by banks and increase or decrease does not affect the customer directly

Goal Bank rate is mainly for satisfying the long term goal of the commercial banks Repo rate is mainly used for satisfying short term financial needs

Loan Tenure The tenure is longer than a month Since the repo rate is an overnight loan the tenure is one day

Agreement There is no repurchasing involved here There is an existing repurchase agreement

Measure Bank rate is a measure that helps in deciding the loan lending rates in a country Repo rate is a measure that is used to control inflation by deciding the rate of liquidity

Conclusion

Bank and Repo Rate are both used in determining the monetary policy of the country which is deciding by the Central bank of the country to have control on the liquidity, pace, and money supply in the country. Mainly borrowing from the central bank is the last resort when no other means of borrowing is available. Hence Bank rate is thus become a theoretical concept.

Repo Rate is used by the banks as the topmost policy rate used by the central bank of the country to set as an anchor for determining the interest rate of the country

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to the difference between Bank Rate vs Repo Rate. Here we also discuss the Bank Rate vs Repo Rate key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

7 Killer Landing Page Design Tips To Maximize Your Conversion Ratio

image credit: ShutterStock

One of the fastest ways to boost profits is to turn your attention away from traffic for a while and start thinking about your conversion rate. If you’re like most sites on the web, you’re throwing a lot of sales out the window by making some simple mistakes or missing a few key pointers. Let’s talk about where to put our focus in order to maximize conversions.

Tip #1. Navigation

But navigation doesn’t end there either.

Check your internal searches to find out what your visitors want to find most, and make sure it’s placed somewhere prominent and obvious. Don’t make the mistake of trying to force your visitor into a conversion right away by making other popular navigations difficult.

This tactic backfires.

Visitors want to be persuaded before they make a purchase. If they don’t feel informed enough, secure enough, and if they don’t trust you enough, they’re not going to make a purchase. Let them navigate through their site the way their actions are telling you they want to. People are much more likely to buy if they feel like they arrived at the conclusion on their own.

Tip #2. Images

Images are arguably the most important aspect of landing page design. Humans are visual creatures, and our first impressions are typically formed on sight alone. If the landing page looks haphazard, old, unmaintained, clumsy, or cluttered, you’re going to lose a lot of ground in the first second of the visit.

Users expect a clean, professional from the second they land. Keep these four principles in mind.

1. Meaningful – Images have implications, even with the most basic of shapes. For example, to users, a horizontal line usually means “stop reading.” Photographs tell a story. No matter how basic the image, always consider what it means to your audience.

2. Custom – A stock photo here or there is fine for blogging, but when it comes to site design, and landing pages specifically, your images need to be custom made. If your images aren’t unique, it’s difficult to present a consistent brand image and nearly impossible to portray a unique selling proposition.

3. Logical – All too often I see landing pages with beautiful images that just don’t make sense for the site. Approach images logically by using them in a way that makes sense for the user. At the same time, think logically about your images and split test them for maximum benefit.

Tip #3. Content

The content of your landing page is all about the user. Visitors don’t want to know your life story or why your business is better than the rest. They want to know how to solve their problem. Keep the following in mind:

• “Unique” isn’t enough – It’s not enough to say that your content isn’t plagiarized or even that it’s creative. Instead, it needs to serve a unique purpose. The content of your landing page should serve a purpose that isn’t met by any other page on the web. Content should have its own unique selling proposition.

• Forget SEO, at least for now – If you think about keywords while you design your landing page, it’s going to end up being junk. Optimize for user satisfaction. Keyword stuffing doesn’t work for search engines anyway.

• Be “neutral” – When we say neutral, we mean that you don’t want to go for the hard sale. Most visitors are savvy enough to realize that they can’t take anything you say for granted. Instead of getting promotional, get specific. Focus on the “how” of your product or service. How is it going to help them solve their problem? How is it different (different, not better) from the alternatives? It’s important to recognize that, in this context, neutral doesn’t mean formal or unopinionated. Personality is good for content, and those who take strong stances with no apologies are likely to win over those who agree.

• It’s all about the user – Pretty sure we mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. This is one of the most common problems we come across: sites that spend too much time bragging.

• Address concerns before the user has them – The default response to any buying opportunity is to say “no thanks.” We all have low-level fear and skepticism before making any purchase or commitment. Address these concerns before the user even has them. We made sure to do exactly that with our link building service landing page, by discussing not just what we do, but what we don’t do. This has had a tremendously positive impact on conversions. Find out what your users most common objections are right now, and address them as quickly as possible.

Tip #4. Call-to-Action

Everybody knows they need a call-to-action, but this is also one of the most common places where mistakes are made. The type of call to action you use is highly subjective and depends a great deal on what you’re selling, and for how much.

If you’re trying to sell a service that costs tens of thousands of dollars, they’re going to want to talk to you. It’s as simple as that. You must have a phone number and other contact information in place, and this is where you should be putting most of your efforts.

If you’re selling something on a smaller scale, the contact information plays less of a part, but it must be there.

If you’re selling products, it’s important to have both “buy now” and “add to cart” buttons. By giving them the choice of placing an item in their shopping cart, they won’t feel like they are making as big a commitment, and they can keep shopping. Once something ends up in their shopping cart, they are almost guaranteed to buy it.

Be sure to split test your call to action. You want to try different images, different text, different fonts, and different placements. Test as much as you can, and always think about new things to test. It’s amazing how much a small change can have a big impact.

Tip #5. Credentials and Featured Badges

This is one of the best things you can do to build trust with your visitors. We’ve seen pretty dramatic improvements in our conversion rate after adding a rotating badge demonstrating that we’ve been featured in sites like Forbes and SEOmoz.

Visitors are naturally hesitant to work with you or buy your products. By default, they have no reason to trust you. One of the easiest ways to overcome this is to demonstrate that organizations they are familiar with have been more than happy to mention you or endorse you.

If you can add certifications on top of that, it also does a great deal for your credibility.

If you haven’t been featured on any prominent sites or earned any credentials, get started now. It’s worth it for the conversion rate boost, let alone the referral traffic.

Tip #6. Loading Time

The loading time has a very strong and direct relationship with your conversion rate. Your users always feel like they’re in a hurry, whether true or not, and they won’t wait around to see what you have to offer when they know there are hundreds of other options to choose from, and millions of other ways they could be spending their time.

Invest in high speed hosting, and keep needless clutter off your site. Make sure the most important parts of the page (for the user) load first, and that the page doesn’t suddenly reorganize itself as soon as more images and multimedia finish loading.

Tip #7. Responsive Design

Roughly 15 percent of web traffic is on a tablet or a smartphone. That’s almost a sixth of your potential customers. If they visit your site and it looks ugly on their device, odds are good they’re going to pack their bags and head elsewhere. Meanwhile, study after study confirms that mobile users are more engaged, wealthier, and more likely to make a purchase than desktop users.

Responsive design ensures that your landing page looks perfect on every device. It means that images and text are clearly visible without side-scrolling; that buttons and links are large enough to be pressed with a finger; and that users get the experience they expect from a smartphone or tablet.

Without responsive design, you’re more or less sacrificing 15 percent of your traffic without giving it a second thought.

Conclusion

The key to a higher conversion rate is to put the user first. They’ve seen enough infomercials and scam sites to last a lifetime. Put the focus on their unique problem, how you can help solve it, and giving them the information they need to feel comfortable with a purchase. Test your calls-to-action and be sure to give them contact information.

Stop leaving sales on the table.

#Pubcon Liveblog: Rogue Seo Tactics

Hey #pubconners it’s snacktime again so that means I’m doing what everybody else is – rushing to the conference room so I can snag a seat next to a power outlet. A snack sounds good though, so if you’re coming to salon F I’m at the last row of tables and I’ve saved a seat (and a power outlet) for whoever brings me a tasty treat.

In a few minutes we’re going to start the Rogue SEO tactics session featuring Giovanni Gallucci, Carolyn Shelby (better known as @cshel) and Steve Plunkett. It’s awesome that we’ve got 2 black hat sessions planned, and this one should be pretty awesome.

Remind me if I get time to ask Steve why he blocks me on Twitter. Also, remind me that I owe @cshel several beers too – so if you see her buy her one from me. She deserves it.

As always you shouldn’t try these things on your site, you should just be aware of them because others may be using them.

Alright it’s almost time to start. Let’s get into it!

Giovanni is up first. He says he’s been doing this so long that the first search engine he worked on had a hand crank. Giovanni works now as a photographer, but he didn’t have any experience so he had to think like a hacker to cheat/fake his way until he was accepted in the industry.

SEO is just like photography. You need to have the right tools to go with the tips and strategies.

When you’re doing social engineering, it may feel sleezy but you have to build relationships that you can exploit to get something done. It’s ok to do something for free to build our portfolio, but NEVER if they’re the one asking for it. That just devalues your services and establishes your value at $0.00. It’s different when YOU’RE the one asking.

If you’re going to do this stuff, leave a small footprint. Don’t be an idiot and go talk at a conference about black hat techniques (whoops!)

Tip: If you want a press pass to something, Go print one at Kinkos. Nobody will question it. Tell people you are what you want to be (You’re a writer not a blogger) and they’ll give you that respect. Also, know the law and know what your rights are. When it comes to sites, know the TOS and make sure you’re complying.

Whenever a laywer sends you something on their letterhead, that’s all it is – a letter. When somebody’s going to sue you, they don’t send you a threatening letter; they just sue you.

If you want to start a black hat campaign, don’t jump for the cookie jar first. Do your solid white hat SEO first, then enhance it with black hat if you need to. You can’t succeed with JUST black hat SEO.

Tip: Stuffing images with aperture meta data CAN impact your rankings. Interesting.

Steve is up next. He’s started off by asking if anybody is an agent of any law enforcement agency. He wants to talk about ethics and liability. He mentions Giovanni not getting a job offer because the employer saw that he spoke on black hat SEO.

Interestingly the same people here who have been sued by their clients are also the ones who have gotten their clients sued. Coincidence?

@dannysullivan: Black hat typically means things that you do that are against the search engine guidelines.

Based on his surveys, nobody here is using many black hat techniques – or at least willing to admit it.

@mattcutts: SEO dodgeball: BH try to sneak in too manyballs. WH can file a reconsideration and come back to play again.

Steve doesn’t do linkbuilding – at all. If you want to buy links, buy one from Yahoo for $299. That’s all you need. As somebody who works on large brands here, I agree. I have little to no need to do link building for my clients.

Steve ends with saying “Report spam. Google will love you for it.” Caution from @cshel though: In high school you don’t rat somebody out for having drugs in their locker if you have drugs in your own locker. That’s true.

Speaking of @cshel, she’s up next to talk about risk aversion and mitigation. She cautions that some of this stuff could get your thrown in jail.

Nice people have bad habits. They don’t like confrontation and conflict. They trust people before they distrust them – which is a huge mistake. And sadly they believe life is fair. Nice people are so out of touch with reality.

A little paranoia is healthy. Alway sassume the worst, asses threats early and protect your assets. You need to maintain a war chest because when it’s go time it’s go time and you need that plan now. Just like having a heart attack. You don’t take an aspirin and make a dr. appointment, you go to the doctor.

Ok let’s look at types of badness.

• attacks of convenience. (Script kiddies, spammers looking to exploit your resources.) it’s like somebody looking for open car doors in a parking lot. best way to protect yourself, don’t have open doors.

• attacks with intent are different. They want YOU and will do whatever it takes. Competitors, disgruntled employees, that kid you picked on in 3rd grade who’s now grown up and living in his mom’s basement plotting against you.

Superior Litigation (people don’t attack you because they’re afraid of being sued out of existence)

Trust is the biggest liability of all. Make sure you’re shredding everything. Don’t give everyone admin access. Run background checks on employees and vendors. (if they owe large sums of money to the IRS that’s a bad sign.) If it’s really sensitive or important, do it yourself. Have a worst case scenario plan just in case. No plan? How much time can you afford to be offline if one happens? I’ll bet it’s longer than it takes to make a plan.

Firesheep! great Firefox extension that let’s somebody sniff you out over public wifi and basically become you and assume your cookies. Note: this might be a violation of wiretap laws, but that won’t stop people from doing it.

Other ones include FaceNiff for android (which I think Steve is demoing at the table and it shows several accounts on it.) He also just pointed at me too, so I’m kind of worried now. Time to log out of Facebook.

If you can’t beat somebody in the SERPs, just pull a Tanya Harding and take them out.

There’s also a lot you can do by tying them up with lawyers. If you have the opportunity to sue somebody it can be fun – and at the bare minimum cause them lots of financial hardships. Remember, the law makes everyone equal but justice goes to the highest bidder – and most people don’t have the money for lawyers.

Reiterating: Cease and Desist letters just broadcast that you don’t have a legal leg to stand on. Since it’s almost hunting season I’ll change this anecdote: You don’t fire a warning shot before you shoot your 12 point buck, you just shoot him.

Use your legal abilities WITH your mad SEO skills. Monitor your competitors for opportunies to exploit them. Even social info can be used as a wedge. Cheating scandals, money problems, desperation, etc. These people might be willing to sell their share of the business rather than give it to their spouse.

notes: Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack. Dignity and fair play are mutually exclusive. Great list of “reading” from @cshel but she moved the slide before I could copy them down.

Now it’s time for Q&A

A: they’re sites where you post the same crap and link back to your website. Just like your social media account.

another tip: Don’t write anything down. ever. it WILL be subpoena’d.

A: Ideally don’t get attacked. If you can identify the attacker your plan should be to take them out.

somebody pointed out that hilariously, Carolyn’s website isn’t loading now. Is somebody ironically DDOS attacking her during her black hat presentation? That would be kind of funny.

Wake up! The lights just came on super bright. #OwMyEyes.

Good point: Look out, script kiddies who grew up on IRC are now in their 30’s and 40’s and working in corporations.

A good takeaway would be that there’s no discrete between white hat and black hat.

And that’s it. Hope you enjoyed my coverage, and maybe I’ll see you at the next conference. If I do, bring me that freaking treat.

Before Launching Your Search Engine Optimization Campaign

Before Launching Your Search Engine Optimization Campaign

Before you start any search engine optimization campaign, whether it’s for your own site or that belonging to a client, you need to answer the following important questions:

1) What is the overall motivation for optimizing this site? What do/they hope to achieve? (e.g. more sales, more subscribers, more traffic, more publicity etc.)

2) What is my/their time-frame for this project?

3) What is my/their budget for this project?

4) Who will be responsible for this project? Will it be a joint or solo effort? Will it be run entirely in-house or outsourced?

Answering these questions will help you to build a framework for your campaign and establish limitations for the size and scope of the campaign.

How Search Engine-Compatible is the Site Currently?

Something I find very useful before quoting on any SEO project is to produce what I call a Search Engine Compatibility Review. This is where I carry out a detailed overview and analysis of a site’s search engine compatibility in terms of HTML design, page extensions, link popularity, title and META tags, body text, target keywords, ALT IMG tags, page load time, and other design elements that can impact search engine indexing. It just helps sort out in my mind what design elements need tweaking to make the site as search engine-friendly as possible.

You might consider preparing something similar for your own site or clients.

Requirements Gathering

Next, you need to establish the project requirements, so you can tailor the SEO campaign to you or your client’s exact needs. For those of you servicing clients, this information is often required before you are able to quote accurately.

To determine your project requirements, you need to have the following questions answered:

1) What technology was used to build the site? (i.e. Flash, PHP, frames, Cold Fusion, JavaScript, Flat HTML etc)

2) What are the file extensions of the pages? (i.e. .htm, .php, .cfm etc)

3) Does the site contain database driven content? If so, will the URLs contain query strings? e.g. chúng tôi (containing “?” symbols), or does the site use parameter workarounds to remove the query strings? (the latter is search engine friendly).

4) Are there at least 250 words of text on the home page and other pages to be optimized?

5) How does the navigation work? Does it use text links or graphical links or JavaScript drop-down menus?

6) Approximately how many pages does the site contain? How many of these will be optimized?

7) What is the current link popularity of the site?

8) What is the approximate Google PageRank of the site? Would it benefit from link building?

9) Do I have the ability to edit the source code directly? Or will I need to hand-over the optimized code to a site admin for integration?

10) Do I have permission to alter the visible content of the site?

11) What are the products/services that the site promotes? (e.g. widgets, mobile phones, hire cars etc.)

12) What are the site’s geographical target markets? Are they global? Country specific? State specific? Town specific?

13) What are the site’s demographic target markets? (e.g. young urban females, working mothers, single parents etc.)

14) What are 20 search keywords or phrases that I think my/my client’s target markets will use to find the site in the search engines? (More about this next lesson).

15) Who are my/my client’s major competitors online? What are their URLs? What keywords are they targeting?

16) Who are the stake-holders of this site? How will I report to them?

17) Do I have access to site traffic logs or statistics to enable me to track visitor activity during the campaign? Specifically, what visitor activity will I be tracking?

18) How do I plan on tracking my or my client’s rankings in the search engines?

19) Do I or my client have the ability and resources in place to respond to increased traffic/business as a result of the campaign?

20) What are my/my client’s expectations for the optimization campaign? Are they realistic?

Answers to the first 10 questions above will determine the complexity of optimization required. For example, if the site pages currently have little text on them, you know you’ll need to integrate more text to make the site compatible with search engines and to be able to include your target keywords. If the site currently uses frames, you will need to rebuild the pages without frames or create special No-Frames tags to make sure the site can be indexed, and so on.

crucial. Otherwise you can find yourself in the middle of a project that you have severely under-quoted for.

For those of you optimizing web sites for a living, you might consider developing a questionnaire that you can give clients to complete to ensure you tailor the web site optimization to their exact needs.

You’re Now Prepared

So now you are clear about your motivations for optimizing the site, you know more about the target markets, you know how compatible the existing site is with search engines and how much work is involved in the search engine optimization process. You’re ready to tackle the job!

Kalena Jordan, was one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.

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