Thursday, 9 April 2020

6 Lessons SEOs Can Learn from the Coronavirus Crisis

We, SEOs are faced with a lot of challenges on a daily basis whether internally trying to convince teammates and other managers about the importance of certain SEO projects, or externally from all the uncertainties surrounding SEO.
With the coronavirus crisis I noticed 6 similarities between what the world is facing from this pandemic and what SEOs deal with as part of their job. I also noticed some lessons that SEOs can learn from what the smartest minds who are leading the world out of this crisis are doing.

1- Certainty is impossible but signals are everything

The world is now busy creating projections models for how many people will be infected and die from covid-19 putting different scenarios based on how people will respect the social-distancing orders. But public health officials made it very clear that these projections are very sensitive and can change rapidly with the change of human behaviour, and other factors too that cannot be controlled or predicted like the nature of the virus, the weather, etc. They also rely a lot on looking at historical data from other countries (and even previous pandemics to have a feel of what to expect to build their models accordingly)
Same with SEO, unlike most marketing activities, SEO decisions are based on signals, historical data, case studies from similar websites, and a delicate sense that is developed over time and with experience. It is never an exact formula or an equation. And like with public health projection numbers, it is very sensitive to algorithm changes.
So, as an SEO Manager myself, I totally feel the pressure that the Public Health Officials are having now trying to convince everyone to stay home to flatten the curve, costing countries billions (or even trillions) of dollars based on some back of envelope estimates and theoretical models that may or may not be relevant. But what if they haven’t!!!
The lesson here is that as an SEO, be confident to launch big projects based on signals, historical data, and theoretical models. And remember that if they were enough to take extreme actions to save lives, they should be just fine to make SEO-centric decisions.

2- Act fast, time is of the essence

In a pandemic, everyday a lot of people die. So time is of the essence, and the faster we act the more lives we get to save.
CureVac, a vaccine manufacturer, which is hoping to advance its own vaccine candidates to human testing soon, told the Financial Times that regulators would need to “abbreviate” the regulatory process for vaccine testing and speed up the vaccine approval process or face the consequences.
Same thing for SEO, everyday people search online for content whether it is informational, transactional, or navigational. If you don’t show up on the results page at all when people search for what you can show them, or you show with very poor or irrelevant content, you lose those people, and there is not a time back machine that can bring them back to you.
Of course there are technical and security constraints that will slow you down, content and brand guidelines that require approvals, revisions, more approvals, and more revisions. But if we want to learn something from the coronavirus crisis, we need to be more agile and find better ways to be fast without causing any harm. It is possible if the intention is there!

3- Act with everything you got

A couple of days ago, I found a post circulating among the SEO community on twitter about Bill Gates’ decision to fund the construction of factories that will manufacture seven promising coronavirus vaccines even before knowing which one will be the chosen one.
“Even though we’ll end up picking at most two [vaccines], we’re going to fund factories for all seven just so we don’t waste time in serially saying ‘ok which vaccine works’ and then building the factory…It’ll be a few billion dollars we’ll waste on manufacturing for the constructs that don’t get picked because something else is better. But a few billion in this situation we’re in, where there’s trillions of dollars…being lost economically, it is worth it,”
It may sound like gambling at the beginning, but if you look deeper, Gates’ foundation is not manufacturing 7 random vaccine candidates, they know that one of them will be the one that people will benefit from and are acting with all what they have to make sure when that working vaccine is known it is already manufactured and ready for distribution.
So again, we act fast and act with whatever data we got, but also we act with all our might.
How can that be a lesson for SEO? Simple, you present your SEO audit to your engineering team with 7 technical issues that need to be fixed with a certain way that ensures SEO best practices. Your engineering team will not gladly take your list and fix everything exactly as you asked for. There will be a lot of resistance and negotiation trying to get the minimal possible work with a lot of technical workarounds and band aid solutions so that the list is checked but not in the right way. That is when you need to be more persistent and tenacious, while remaining professional and friendly, and do your best to ensure that the SEO asks are being taken more seriously even though it may be hard to quantify each ask separately.

4- Some effective solutions are free

Governments racing with time to mass produce face masks, PPEs, sanitizers, and ventilators to save the lives of as many of their citizens as possible which is costing hundreds of millions of dollars. But a free, and I think an even more effective life-saving measure is social-distancing when people are well educated (with good content) about its importance to save lives.
In parallel, with businesses being on pause, most brands now are pausing their paid search campaigns and those who have invested in organic content are the ones harvesting the fruits of their labor.
Yes SEO is hard to quantify and is surrounded by a lot of uncertainties, and is faced with a lot of opposition and denial in good times, but it is the last castle that can defend your whole organization during trying times, because good content is what remains on the SERP when there are no ads.

5- Use fear to change a behavior

Psychological and Behavioural Economics studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains, as a factor for moving people from their status quo. In his paper, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk”, Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman wrote that “People tend to be risk seeking in the domain of losses and risk-averse in the domain of gains”.
“People tend to be risk seeking in the domain of losses and risk-averse in the domain of gains”
Look how governments are reacting (or even over-reacting) towards the coronavirus pandemic; schools are closing, businesses are going bankrupt, massive layoffs, and hundreds of millions of people are not shaking hands or hugging anymore. Why all of that? Because of fear!
Economies are taking a very hard hit and all these social-distancing measures are costing a fortune but it will also save millions of lives. The thing is, no one will ever know how many lives will be saved when all of this is over.
Another good example is the 90s Y2K bug when computer experts warned the governments that the computer systems are not prepared to handle the year suffix changing from 99 to 00. Although it was not very clear what exactly could have happened if this bug wasn’t fixed, a big monetary investment was made to hire the right resources to fix this issue “just in case” it might prove to be necessary.
A lot of companies unfortunately look at SEO either as a growth only channel or when it gets hit because of a penalty or an algorithm change. Rarely do companies treat SEO as an asset that needs to be guarded. But if there is another thing we can learn from the covid-19 crisis, it is that SEO Managers should start educating their companies (or clients) that if websites take SEO for granted they may come a time when they LOSE whatever organic traffic they take for granted. And we have seen a lot of big brands losing millions of their traffic because of unintentionally blocking search engines, not paying attention to their content quality or implementing a technology stack that is not SEO-friendly.

6- Back to the basics, It’s all about humanity

SEO, like any ethical marketing practices, should be about driving value and listening to people’s pain and needs and using all the available resources to educate and delight them.
With an unprecedented amount of people using the internet like never before because of all the lockdown measures, that Netflix had to lower their streaming quality in some countries to avoid crashing the service, we know that people are consuming more content than ever before, and it is up to companies to react fast to present to their customers, or to a completely new target groups, content that is relevant, reassuring, and adds some value, and hope!
I have seen a lot of great examples of companies offering free subscriptions, support to businesses that got hit, tools, whitepapers, dashboards, trackers, support groups, free accommodation, free food, free rides, and you name it with no return on their invested time and resources, only. because it adds value and shows how the community matters to these brands not just profits.

My final thoughts

This crisis will be behind us, hopefully very soon, and we will stand up again. But life will never be the same. For those who acted for humanity and showed empathy and support whether to their employees, their customers, or to their community, will be remembered for ever. But for those who only understand shortsighted profits, and marketing for them is only a commercial faceless relationship, will always be vulnerable every time life happens because their bubble is not meant to last!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tracking Google Ranking Change by Sector - A New Tool to follow the Bot

With the SEO landscape constantly changing, it can be difficult for Search marketers to follow Google’s updates and their impact on each site. In 2014, there were numerous updates spread throughout the year, with more Panda updates than you can count on one hand. 

On April 21, 2015 (yesterday), Google’s latest update went live, changing the reward structure for mobile-optimized sites and mobile search results. This is the biggest update of the year, as claimed by Google, and we were anticipating significant fluctuations in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) within each industry, but so far nothing happened. 

How did we know?

Ayima Pulse, a tool that was launched yesterday to provide market insight to help marketers adjust their SEO strategy based on any and all algorithm changes and fluctuations in real-time.

Ayima Pulse tracks over 54,000 hand-picked, non-branded keywords in 10 unique industries across the UK & US – more than any other equivalent free tool on the market. This provides unprecedented insight into when shifts occur in Google’s algorithm by industry, and the sites affected.

Pulse is showing fluctuations from the past 30 days in the following industries:

  • Telecoms
  • Travel
  • Electronics
  • Insurance
  • Fashion
  • Finance
  • Jobs
  • Education
  • Gambling
  • Automotive

an “All keywords” view that combines all the industry reports into a single view of Google’s fluctuations.

Whilst major Panda, Penguin, and mobile updates garner the coverage to alert marketers of changes within the SERPs, day-to-day fluctuations go unpublicised. In turn, attributing a drop in traffic and possibly conversions becomes problematic. Crucially, these unannounced changes may only affect the industry in which YOU operate. Pulse offers a solution to this problem by offering industry focused tracking that’s updated daily.

How Ayima Pulse Works?

At midnight each day, Ayima Pulse takes Google’s top 100 organic search results for the most popular non-branded keywords relevant to the top 10 industries and add them to Ayima Pulse database Site ranking changes are assessed against those from the previous day, proportionately weighting the significance of each move.

Ayima Pulse plots the difference on a sliding volatility scale of 0-100, updating graphs for the whole market and individual industries.

How Can Ayima Pulse Help Marketers?

Very simply, the more ranking fluctuations you see, the higher the volatility rating. Selecting an industry displays the volatility for that sector along with the top 10 highest ranked sites (assessed across relevant keywords).

If you want to see a site’s visibility trend line and percentage share of voice, just select a site from the top 10 or top 100 list. Or if you want to see how you stack up against the competition, you can select up to 5 sites to compare. Plot lines will display the trend against the volatility of that industry.

Sites displaying an increase in visibility on a highly volatile day have been positively affected by changes in the SERPs. Likewise, those displaying reduced visibility would have been adversely affected.

Who are Ayima Pulse's Competitors? 

Before Ayima Pulse, we have been using Algoroo and MOZ Algorthm changes:

What is Algoroo?

Algoroo is a Google algorithm tracking tool developed by DEJAN. The system monitors roughly 17,000 keywords to 100 search positions deep and looks for fluctuations. Both negative and positive movement is added up to create a single SERP flux metric they call "roo". High roo value indicates a high volatility in Google's search results. Low roo value is usually displayed on an ordinary day, unlikely to be affected by any algorithmic changes at Google. Throughout its timeline you may notice a number of detected events which go onto orange or even red. Google doesn't always disclose internal updates and algorithm changes, but when they do Algoroo add it as an annotation on its graph.

MozCast and Google Algorithm Change History By Moz

MozCast is a weather report showing turbulence in the Google algorithm over the previous day (or see the 5-day history on the left). The hotter and stormier the weather, the more Google's rankings changed. Google Algorithm Change history lists all the algorithm changes by date and name (if there is any)



Google is so 2010 - Inspired by Andrew Shotland

Andrew Shotland, the author of Local SEO Guide, once said in an interview with SEOBook, "SEO is not exactly Ghandi-type work. So you better enjoy it."

But that is not his best quotation. To me, his masterpiece, and what really affected me is: 

"Leavng Google is like walking away from a bully. Everything I do now in terms of marketing is pro-active and on my terms. There's no rug under me. There's no dictator telling me how to be righteous. Sure, I stand or fall on my own marketing acumen, which is all I asked for anyway. I never wanted to be punished based on a 3rd party's rules. If I mess up, I want to mess up because my target market (the 2nd party) don't want what I have to offer at the price I'm offering it - not because some 3rd party intermediator decides arbitrarily that I'm not good for my target market."

With thousands of websites going online everyday, SEO agencies are also growing in number, and do not be surprised to find one in every corner. It is not a rocket science and if you are lucky and have good sales team you can make fortune "Selling SEO" to small businesses who believe that they can make fortune too being on top of Google SERP for the keyword "buy" or "fix".

The problem with these companies is that they know very well that SEO is for Google not for the customer, and because they are selling keywords not value, they end up losing both Google and the customer and eventually the deceived business owner who believed that the SEO agency can do her/his site some Apracadabra magic to make it rank.

If only SEO is run by smart marketers who know very well how the market is shaped and understand the true meaning of the word value, only then even Google will become obsolete.
Those Google Hypocrites do not only waste their time doing an old fashion dead job, but they also harm their clients' websites with their spam, scraped nonsense content, and over optimized stuffed with keywords tags.

Why I am saying that now, because after google scared the hell out of everybody regarding its Mobilegeddon algorithm change, nothing happened. But of course I am not blaming Google, I am blaming those who decided to make their sites user friendly just because they fear Google, not because they want their visitors to enjoy their stay on their sites. For those people I would say, you deserve it!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Facebook Algorithms Change - What Everyone With a FB Page Need To Know

Although no one knows the exact formula for the Algorithm, it contains a number of factors including: post types, time decay, story bumping and last actor, hide post/scam reporting, relationship setting (affinity), weight (last action).

Most recently, as of 2015, Facebook actually made more changes to the algorithm, and started significantly decreasing organic reach for any Facebook content that is deemed as promotional in any way. 

In a recent user experience survey, Facebook found that users wanted to see more stories from friends and pages they care about, and less promotional content. This didn't mean ads, though. This meant "salesy" posts from the pages users already “Like.” So in response to this, in November, Facebook re-tweaked their algorithm to filter out any “overly promotional page posts.”

Facebook constantly makes updates to its algorithm, however this recent change is one of the most substantial updates they've made as it forces marketers who Facebook to promote their contests, new products and events, to spend money on ads, if they want these messages to be seen (even by their existing followers).

According to people surveyed by Facebook, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Thursday, 26 March 2015

How to get the new WordPress SEO 2.0 to Join Google's Knowledge Graph

The 'WordPress SEO 2.0' is the latest addition to the notorious YOAST SEO Plugin.
All what you have to do is to either download it, or if you already have it, just update it.

Once you do you will find this new feature which support Google’s new Knowledge Graph.

When Google has picked it up and shows a Knowledge Graph block for you or your company, it would look like this: (but it is not guaranteed of course)

Friday, 20 March 2015

How To Be Ready For The Next Google Algorithm Update on April 21, 2015?

Many website owners now started to receive warnings on their GWMT accounts telling them that their websites have issues on being friendly on mobile devices, and most of these issues are speed related.

Then Last Month Google has announced it will release an update on April 21st, which will have a significant impact on websites that are NOT mobile friendly. According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji the coming Mobile Update will have a much stronger impact then any Panda update!

As a marketer, I now have to know how big this difference will be on my domain and where there is specific room for optimization. Because if the traffic from mobile devices continues to rise, and the wheat separates from the chaff, then I have only a few possibilities to find out the following points:
  1. What is the status of my mobile performance?
  2. What do I ideally have to do to improve it?
  3. What does my competition look like?
It is therefore even more important to have a basis of comparison in which the specific difference between my Desktop and Mobile Visibility can be recognized.

Search Metrics have already collected & analyzed data last year for providing facts about differences of the Mobile SEO Ranking Factors. The split between mobile and desktop search results is measurable. At their last Mobile Ranking Factor study in 2014 the difference of URLs between Desktop and Mobile index was already 36%.

Here is an excerpt of their findings:

"It’s for this reason that we have been tracking the same keywords for months in the mobile area as we have for desktop searches. This is, firstly, to see how the results keep differentiating more and more (which they definitely do) and, secondly, with the intention of giving our users the opportunity to have more evidence for their optimization.

And so, the time has come: the Mobile SEO Visibility (Beta) is now available as a KPI in the Searchmetrics Suite for all users, providing first indications for figuring out main differences between Desktop and Mobile SEO Visibility.

Comparability of Desktop and Mobile Visibility

The starting problem is: Desktop and Mobile cannot really be compared and analyzed to one another under real conditions. In the mobile area, there are different click-through-rates, search volumes, user intentions and the influence of local parameters on the search results is different.

Nevertheless, we want to make a comparison between Desktop and Mobile index possible and have converted our calculation of the normal SEO Visibility – which is based on a dynamic CTR calculation by machine learning algorithms – 1:1 to mobile. Why? Because we consider it to be intrinsic to prepare a mutual basis as a KPI in the form of this comparison. Especially to see how the performance is now and how it will change at April 21st.

The Mobile SEO Visibility will be updated weekly.

We have decided on an Android smartphone as a user agent. Differences between iOS and Android can occur, but in my opinion they are irrelevant, as the only differences that I have previously witnessed occur in queries for apps. For example, if you search for ‘netflix’, the Apple App Store ranks on an iPhone, whereas the Google Play Store ranks on an Android. This is also the reason why and show such great deviations in Mobile SEO Visibility. Other than this, there have not been any further relevant differences between these domains so far.

Mobile SEO Visibility with desktop comparison at a glance

From now on, there are new KPIs for the evaluation of Mobile SEO Visibility (Beta) in the research area. The new search result page of the Searchmetrics Suite in the research area looks like this:

The rank overview, which was previously displayed across the entire page width, has moved to a closed circular graphic on the left side – in favor of the new ‘Desktop vs Mobile’ KPI. By the way, we have dubbed this circular graphic ‘mojo’, as in Austin Powers, as it shows at a glance how much mojo a domain has in a respective country and which channel works best!

We have also pre-calculated the Mobile SEO Visibility on all subdomains so that you can see how a mobile subdomain, such as or, performs.

The new KPIs and possibilities at a glance:

  • Desktop vs Mobile Visibility – comparison of visibility on the same database
    • Difference been Desktop and Mobile Visibility (circular graphic with percentage overlap of the respective Visibility)
    • Trend desktop/trend mobile – to previous week
  • Mobile SEO Visibility (SEO research)
  • Mobile Paid Visibility (SEO research)
  • Mojo with the ranks for SEO, paid, social and links
  • Toplist domains (top 10/ top 100) comparison of SEO visibility desktop vs mobile

1. Recognize problem: same database for desktop and mobile

This ‘Desktop vs Mobile’ KPI offers the simplest way to create comparability between Desktop and Mobile Visibility performance. In order to ensure this comparability, we work with identical CTR calculation and search volume on the basis of desktop values.

2. Solve problem: individual data for mobile

We know that both CTR and search volume differ in the mobile area. We have already been working with mobile data for years and have even offered mobile rankings in the project area of our Suite since June 2013. Therefore, we recommend this new Mobile SEO Visibility (Beta) only be used as an indicator in order to understand how the performance between mobile and desktop differs.

Specific analyses in the project area

For an optimum mobile measurement of performance, individual, local rankings for mobile with individual mobile search volume are necessary. We offer this data and functionality within the project area in the Searchmetrics Suite using more than 800 search machine/country/device combinations.

Conclusion: From data comparison to deep analysis

The new ‘Desktop vs Mobile’ KPI can been seen as the starting point for recognizing how big the overlap between my Desktop and my Mobile Visibility is. Furthermore, the trend shows at a glance how my performance has recently developed. Due to the fact that this KPI is part of the research area, all users of the Suite benefit from this update, which spans not only the SEO but also the PPC area.

In order to be prepared for April 21 – Google’s mobile update – and thereafter, the tracking of concrete mobile rankings is required. This is already available in the project area of the Suite, taking into account also historical developments and individual data.

Check out the current status of your Desktop vs Mobile Visibility and start projects in order to track your individual performance.

Monday, 16 March 2015

CBT for SEM | Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Search Engine Marketing

Gone is that age when online marketing was all about generating traffic, backlinks, or even rankings. 
Now the game has changed drastically. There is only one KPI for a successful Digital Marketing Strategy. Conversions. 

A conversion could be a new purchase, a new lead, a new newsletter subscriber, you name it. But people need to convert from a state of being strangers to relatives. 

SEM needs cognitive behavioral therapy

Psychology plays a big role in the engagement process. Psychologists believe that psychotherapy is about change, some aspect of oneself or one's life. People make valuable changes everyday in major ways but change will not happen on its own. It requires that they make a conscious choice to examine patterns in their lives, question old assumptions, and take action towards intentional and meaningful changes. 

Therapy is not just about understanding, it's about turning understanding into real change that lasts.

Most therapists working with patients dealing with anxiety and depression use a blend of cognitive and behavioral therapy. This technique acknowledges that there may be behaviors that cannot be controlled through rational thought, but rather emerge based on prior conditioning from the environment and other external and/or internal stimuli. CBT is "problem focused" (undertaken for specific problems) and "action oriented" (therapist tries to assist the client in selecting specific strategies to help address those problems), or directive in its therapeutic approach.

So, in simple words, CBT is about understanding the stimuli of specific behaviors and when we know the triggers, we can control the action. 

Scientia potentia est

Each day, we make hundreds - sometimes thousands - of decisions, without even realizing it. People are surrounded by persuasive messages all day long, from verbal suggestions by co-workers, to signs and flyers in the street, to more blatant advertisements on TV, radio, the Internet and in other media.

Most of these messages are fairly low-stakes; we see and hear them as we go about our business. We’re able to ignore them, or may be biased in a small way, but probably won’t be inspired to take action that very minute.

When a person visits your ecommerce store, however, they’ve already demonstrated a very important characteristic just by being there: they have some kind of commercial intent.

Are your offers and messages taking advantage of that and persuading visitors to become buyers?

Let’s have a look at the science behind persuasion and its impact on your ecommerce conversion rates.
Six Ways Shoppers are Influenced & Persuaded

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini described six ways in which consumers are persuaded to make purchasing decisions, in his popular 1984 book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

According to Dr. Cialdini, these six subtle psychological pressures can influence customers in the moments that matter, inspiring them to say yes to whatever it is that’s being asked of them:

  • Reciprocation
  • Consistency
  • Social validation
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

Yes, we've talked about these before, but they're so important that it's worth examining them again to see how they can apply to your ecommerce environment. 

1. Using Reciprocity to Drive More Small Conversions

This principle requires that you give something back in exchange for whatever it is you’ve received. One example of this is a free gift with a purchase, though it also applies to concessions people make to one another.

If you visit a small town ice cream shop, you’ll probably be offered a small sample of the different flavors of ice cream you’re considering. Accepting this small token makes a persuasive argument for you to go ahead and buy, because you feel like you should return the favor! You’re highly unlikely after accepting the sample to leave without buying an ice cream.

Ecommerce stores obviously can’t reach out and let you try their products in the moment of consideration.

What’s an online retailer to do?

Consider the size of your ask and what you can offer in return, or what concession you can make, to that customer for making such a big commitment to your brand. Often, consumers are more likely to accept a series of small requests than one large one.

Take retail Goliath Amazon, for example. They have some seriously big ticket items available for purchase online. Yet if you’ve ever bought new furniture for your house, you probably wanted to try it out first - to sit on the couch you’re considering, or feel the grain of the wooden bed frame.

How do you overcome that desire (which becomes an objection to buying online) and persuade the customer to convert? By offering something of value to the customer before you ask them to buy.

In Amazon’s case, this often means making a concession like offering free shipping, as in this example:

Reciprocity and Microconversions

Amazon Prime is another great example of reciprocity in ecommerce. In addition to Free two day shipping, they offer customers a number of “gifts” like early access to sales, free photo storage, and tons of movies and television shows on demand, simply for joining Prime for $99. All things considered, the price tag is a relatively small ask.

Once a customer enrolls in the program, Amazon can continue marketing to them and step it up with personalized offers based on that customer’s preferences.

The reciprocity is ongoing with the free two day shipping.

As Amazon continues to ask for more - convert and join Prime, convert and make a small purchase, convert and make a larger purchase - they continue to offer something of value. Since the customer has already said yes to the smaller offers, they feel invested and are more comfortable saying yes to the bigger ones.

Reciprocity isn’t only a sales tool; it can help you build your social audience, as well.

Offer a small discount or a free gift on checkout, then ask on the Thank You page that the customer follow your brand on Facebook. You’ve just given them something and they’re more likely to complete that action. You could also take this opportunity to ask for a review or social shares, which takes us right into the next principle that can help you persuade and convert.

2. Social Proof Made More Powerful with Personalization

Social proof is the psychological phenomenon whereby your online store visitors are influenced by the actions of others and are more likely to take the same action. It can be massively influential in an ecommerce environment and you have plenty of tools at your disposal!

One popular way to demonstrate social proof is to integrate your store with Facebook. Showing visitors which products other people bought most often or Like the most can be incredibly persuasive.

Check out all of the social proof in this hotel listing:

The little heart icon tells visitors that 4857 people have added this property to their Wish List. almost 4,500 people have left review. Forty-seven people are looking at the property right now and someone just booked 2 minutes ago! All of this social proof is highly persuasive to the buyer, who wants reassurance that they’re making a good choice.

Personalizing social proof kicks it up even further. Try letting visitors log in on your website using their Facebook credentials, so they can see reviews and products purchased by their friends. Check out Facebook integration apps in the Shopify’s Resources App Store.

3. Ensuring Commitment and Consistency

People are more likely to take action on things they’ve already thought over or discussed with others. This is thanks, in part, to our desire to be consistent and stay committed to our ideas.

In an ecommerce environment, we want customers to stay committed to the idea of purchasing this product in front of them. We don’t want them to question or overthink it too much, or they’ll start objecting.

One great way to combat this is to use rhetorical questions as a way of driving commitment. In a 2006Journal of Language and Social Psychology article, social scientists point out that “rhetorical questions can increase persuasion and message processing, creating a relatively strong, resistant attitude.”

Rhetorical questions don’t require an answer; the answer is either obvious, or doesn’t exist. They’re used to make a point, not elicit a response. Some ecommerce examples could include:
“If you could save 15 minutes a day, would you?”
“What if you never had to sharpen a kitchen knife again?”
“How would your family enjoy a week at the beach?”

You can even A/B test these different persuasive questions and see which are most effective ones by targeting first time visitors with a slide-out message or with an overlay.

4. Being Likable

We’re more likely to be influenced by people we like, but what is likability in ecommerce?

Being communicative, responding promptly and politely to inquiries and focusing on great user experience can all help. I’m more apt to like your brand if you make my shopping experience simple, intuitive or even fun.
Humanizing Your ecommerce Brand

Another way your business can be likable is to take care to humanize your brand in your communications and marketing material.

Generic business material is boring. Spice it up and give customers someone to actually like by sending messages out from your personnel, instead, like this:

Our internal data at Commerce Sciences shows that quality assurance and satisfaction messages are great applications of this personalized messaging tactic. However, it’s less effective with company policy messaging. People tend to see policies and restrictions (eg.: a 30-day return policy) as arbitrary rules; it’s easier to relate to a policy that was defined by an organization than a specific person.

Other promises are more effective coming from an individual. Testimonials on your ecommerce site are a great example of this - they’re far more compelling, with the name and picture of the author, than brand messaging saying the same. In fact, customer testimonials are the most effective form of content marketing (AdWeek SocialTimes).

5. Building Your Ecommerce Brand’s Authority

There are two distinct but equally important types of authority online: your authority with your audience and customers, and the authority your ecommerce site demonstrates to search engines.
Industry & Topic Authority

As an authority in your industry, your brand is a go-to source for accurate information, expert advice and in-depth insight. Within your brand, you may also have one or several public-facing people building their professional authority, which furthers your brand image and authority as a whole.

Image source: Twitter

Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall is a great example of the power of building authorities within your brand. Formerly the VP of Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at Coca-Cola, Mildenhall is a keynote speaker on the international stage and has graced the cover of AdAge. He helped Coca-Cola win 20 Cannes Lions in a single year (2013) and has amassed an impressive audience on Twitter and Tumblr.

Encouraging and empowering employees to speak at industry events, write for relevant publications, and use social networking ensures a steady flow of positive brand content that reflects well on the entire company. It shows the world your brand is passionate and involved in your industry.
Web Authority

Your ecommerce site’s authority is a different animal, though many of the same tactics are effective for brand authority building. Google and other search engines consider hundreds of factors in their ranking algorithms, including the perceived authority of the site.

How can you demonstrate authority?

While we don’t know exactly what it is search engines are considering (it would make it too easy to game the system), we can safely assume there are several authority signals in play. The best known and most talked (and speculated) about authority signal, of course, is the volume and quality of backlinks to your site.

Links tell search engines that other sites found your website and content reputable, relevant and informative enough to send traffic from their site to yours. Be cautious of SEO strategists who promise to build links for you; search engines crack down hard on links that appear reciprocal or otherwise spammy. Links should be earned through the publication of great content that compels people to naturally recommend your site to their audience.

Blogging is a fantastic way to build both topic and web authority, yet it’s a strategy underused by ecommerce brands, as demonstrated in Tommy Walker’s recent post The Curious Case of the Underwhelming Ecommerce Blog. Blogging brings huge traffic opportunities, keeps user on site longer and helps nurture and convert leads; if you commit to blogging and do it right, the payoff can be huge.

You’ll find some great blogging and linking tips in this Shopify SEO Strategy post.

6. Creating Scarcity

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful motivator. Customers can be compelled to take action immediately when offered free shipping for a limited time only, time-sensitive discounts, the last of a remaining product, etc.

Stock Scarcity

Smart ecommerce marketers use a variety of tactics to create scarcity, such as showing a limited number of items left as in the example from Francesca’s, above. You can also show scarcity by size, by showing the unavailable sizes crossed out or in a different colored font. Or, use a tactic employed by many travel booking sites and display the number of current page viewers as buyers competing against one another.

Urgency and Timing

In the example above, Bath & Body Works really taps into the FOMO with limited time offers. You can also use coupons with a time limit, even going so far as a to include a countdown to expiry. Flash sales are another popular tactic for creating scarcity via urgency. If you don’t buy now, you’re going to pay more/miss out/not be happy. It’s super effective for converting buyers who are on the fence.

Persuasion isn’t the result of a single optimized message, or even an offer that matches your visitor’s intent. For ecommerce retailers, it means appealing on an emotional level to your customer using each of the tools and technologies at your disposal.

It means persuading each customer to take the next small step… and the next… and the next, until they ultimately convert and complete your desired action. And if you get your customer all the way to the cart but don’t seal the deal? Check out these 13 amazing abandoned cart emails for persuasive recovery messaging.


  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - WikiPedia
  • A guest post by Omri Yacubovich on Shopify

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Grid | AI Websites That Design Themselves

Content is power. Power your content on The Grid.

This is not another do-it-yourself website builder. The Grid harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to take everything you throw at it - videos, images, text, urls and more - and automatically shape them into a custom website unique to you. As your needs grow, it evolves with you, effortlessly adapting to your needs.

The Grid's algorithms expertly analyze your media and apply color palettes that keep your messaging consistent and unique. The Grid also detects color contrasts, automatically adjusting typographic color to maximize legibility.

What's possible when an AI does all the hard work for you? You can get things done, even on the go. Drag-n-drop builders don't play nice with fingers on phones, but AI works perfectly, anywhere.

Never again change your content to fit your template or the latest hot mobile device. The layout changes as you add content, and adapts to look great and work flawlessly no matter where your users find you.

It’s as easy as that. Actually, it’s incredibly complicated, but The Grid figures it out so you don’t have to. 

Join the evolution today at

Monday, 9 March 2015

Why my Business needs SEO? Here are 24 Reasons!

With every hot new trend online, rumors start flying about the death of search engine optimization (SEO). But search is a huge part of how your customers use the internet. If you’re not investing in SEO, your website is simply not successful. Need convincing? Here are 24 reasons why every business needs SEO:

1. Because customers expect and want to find you in search.

If your website is not findable in search engines, you may as well not exist. Without SEO, you’re not getting traffic, leads, or sales. Plus, not being found in search is a big red flag to your prospects, who may doubt your credibility or believe your business is a scam if they can’t find you.

2. SEO helps you appear more often in search.

This is the most basic benefit of search engine optimization. Appearing more often for a wide variety of keywords means a better brand image and more traffic, which both lead to more sales.

3. It helps you rank higher in search results.

Appearing higher in search results is as important as appearing often. The higher your website is in search results, the relevant and reliable prospects believe you to be. The top 3 results also get the most traffic.

4. You gain more traffic and visibility.

More visitors on your website or blog means more sales. Increased visibility means a better reputation, which boosts both traffic and how high you appear in search.

5. SEO allows more of your content to appear in search results.

The more spots you own on a search results page, the more traffic and sales you get. Regularly publishing high quality content, good link structure, and simple navigation are a few ways to help you show up more often in search.

6. It improves targeting so you reach the best audience.

Implementing good SEO helps you target the right groups of people, so your messages are more powerful and effective. Using the right keywords, languages, and internationalization techniques also help you appear more often and rank higher in search results.

7. Because your target market is already looking for you.

Your customers use the internet to find businesses that solve their problems and help them achieve goals. Investing in SEO helps you be there when they look for you, so you get more qualified leads and sales faster.

8. SEO helps you own your company name and most important keywords.

When someone searches your company or product names, your website and other online properties need to be the top results. If not, you lose traffic, sales, and credibility.

9. It gives you more control over your online reputation.

SEO is a major component of online reputation management. How often you appear in search, how high you rank, and how many spots you control on a search results page all affect your brand image. Strong optimization helps you control how you are perceived.

10. It’s a long-term, cost-effective marketing strategy.

Of all online marketing strategies, search engine optimization is the least expensive and works the longest. This makes it a great foundation for all your online marketing efforts.

11. You get more pre-qualified leads.

Depending on the keywords you rank for, you can get more prospects who are already qualified for your sales funnel, so you don’t have to coax leads to buy. Optimizing product pages for buying keywords, for example, helps you sell more without spending a lot time building a relationship.

12. SEO provides richer search results for prospects.

Proper optimization techniques create rich snippets and deep site links in search results, which make your results stand out from the competition. Prospects get a better experience and you get more traffic.

13. It improves business through local search.

Customers in your area are looking for you online. SEO helps you appear in their local searches, getting you more leads and sales both online and in-store.

14. SEO builds business and employee branding.

Google Authorship and social media activity not only strengthen overall SEO, but also help build the brand image and reputation of your company and executives. Strong optimization and branding work together to get you more traffic and sales.

15. It creates a better user experience.

By making it easier for prospects to find and navigate your site, search for products, and complete transactions, SEO helps you deliver what your customers really want, leading to better relationships and more sales.

16. You get more links as people discover your great content.

More links strengthens SEO and helps more people find you, leading to more sales.

17. SEO increases engagement.

More comments, sharing, and other forms of engagement lead to more sales, look good for your reputation, and boost your overall SEO.

18. It increases social signals.

Likes, tweets, pins, shares, and other signals from social media helps you appear higher and more often in search. They also help you spread brand awareness and increase your reach as more people see your content.

19. SEO improves branding and sales.

Search engine optimization is cyclical, so as your business grows, your SEO is strengthened and your business keeps growing. More traffic, customers, reviews, and mentions make you more visible, leading to more traffic, customers, reviews, and mentions.

20. SEO allows you to deliver what your customers actually want.

Matching keywords to the searcher’s intent helps you get more pre-qualified leads and build a reputation for quality and usefulness. More leads and a strong reputation mean more sales.

21. It entices visitors to return.

Content that does well in search engines is generally high quality, relevant, and popular. These hallmarks of SEO are the same things that attract repeat traffic and build a loyal following of readers and customers.

22. You get a high ROI.

In addition to SEO’s long-term, cost-effective nature, it delivers a high return on investment because it keeps working for you as long as you keep up with best practices. Unlike other marketing methods, search engine optimization doesn’t stop working when you stop paying. As long as you maintain your website’s optimization, it keeps working for you.

23. SEO offers instant credibility.

Search engines use a combination of authority, relevance, and popularity to determine how high to rank results. When your website appears on the first page of search results, that means you beat out millions of other results, making you seem more credible and trustworthy. Additionally, search engines are like third-party endorsers, so the higher you appear, the more relevant and credible customers think you must be.

24. It offers valuable insight into your customers, products, and marketing campaigns.

Search engine optimization is unique from other marketing methods in that you can track and analyze almost everything. Effective reporting, analysis, and testing can help you better understand your audience, improve your products and marketing campaigns, and strengthen your overall SEO.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

New Technologies Used by Smart Local Businesses You Need To Keep an Eye on!

Digital marketers need to be proactive and agile when it comes to implementing new technologies to offer more value and capture more real estate in the minds of their customers even if it will alter their business models.

Here are 4 new technologies that are being R&Ded by some big companies to better serve their customers.

With your car.

This week, Pizza Hut and management consulting firm Accenture announced they were working with Visa to develop a connected car that allows drivers to purchase pizza while on the road. The smart car would integrate Visa Checkout – its PayPal-like digital payment service -- into the car's dashboard, making it possible for customers to speak to order food while keeping both hands on the wheel. Then, when the car gets close to the Pizza Hut, beacon technology notifies employees that the customer has arrived.

order pizza by car dashboard

"By 2020 it is estimated that more than 250 million vehicles worldwide will include some form of embedded connectivity," Bill Gajda, Visa's senior vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, said in a statement. "We initially focused on a specific use case – ordering a meal on your way home – but we envision a world where consumers can seamlessly make many of their everyday purchases from the car."

Visa is currently demonstrating the connected car at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Tests are expected to continue over a three month period starting this spring in Northern California.

On your watch.

Pizza Hut wasn't the only pizza chain showing off new tech on Monday. On the same day, Domino's introduced a smartwatch app that allows customers to place and track orders via Pebble and Android smartwatches.

"Pairing Domino's with smartwatch technology couldn't be more of a natural fit," Kevin Vasconi, Domino's chief information officer, said in a statement. "We are constantly looking for ways to use technology to enhance our customers' experience and provide them with more convenience."

Whenever you're near.

While smartwatches and cars are flashy ways to promote a company as tech-savvy, the single piece of technology that promises the greatest returns for the restaurants industry is beacons and other tech that alerts employees of a customer's location.

A whole host of restaurants are now using your smartphone to track customers' locations. Taco Bell's app alerts employees when customers arrive at a Taco Bell location ready to pick up their orders. Blue Bottle Coffee and Square allows customers to pre-order items for pick-up sometime in the next 24 hours, with baristas starting their order fresh when alerted that the customers are approaching. When it comes to marketing, everyone from McDonald's to Quiznos is experimenting with beacons to try and lure customers into stores with coupons and targeted deals. Expect "beacon" to be a major buzzword in 2015 for quick services chains trying to prove that they can use tech to keep their service up to speed.

By reading your mind.

Pizza Hut's digital menu that reads minds is a limited test in the U.K., as opposed to a potentially far-reaching ordering platform like other items mentioned here. However, the Subconscious Menu's ability to determine a customer's order in just 2.5 seconds by tracking automatic eye focus is telling of what might be yet to come in the realm of restaurant ordering.

You can now order your dinner from your phone, your watch and even your car. Payment can be automatic, going as far as to pull from your bank account the moment you enter a restaurant. Employees know where you are located and the exact moment they need to have your coffee ready, without you saying a word. With ordering and payment becoming increasingly integrated into our lives, who's to say that the next six months won't reveal tech with the ability to order food before you're even sure what you're craving?