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The 2D Funnel and How It’s Killing Your Revenue


If there’s one commonality I’ve noticed with online businesses that are failing or having a very difficult time gaining traction it’s with the way their funnel is setup.

Fact: most businesses don’t have a proper funnel or backend.

Fact: setting up a proper funnel will without a shadow of a doubt increase your revenue, immediately.

Fact: creating a proper funnel is within the budget and capabilities of anyone doing business online.

Depending on the type of business you’re running, you might think about the word ‘funnel’ in a few different ways. For this discussion we’ll use this definition:

Funnel: the process and sequence of events a prospect goes through while becoming a customer

Did you know that a well documented study found that the average consumer needs to interact with a brand at 7-13 times before becoming a customer?

Think about that for a second…

It’s really no wonder so many “marketers” go around saying things like “Facebook ads didn’t work for us” or “native ads don’t generate direct response conversions.”

It’s because they’re doing it ALL wrong.

Suckers.

What they don’t realize is that showing your ad to someone once isn’t going to cut it if you’re trying to sell a product or service.

You need multiple touches, in most cases more than 10, before someone will *really* consider doing business with you.

Enter the 2D Funnel.

Not only that, but you need to build your relationships slowly with prospects and deliver them value in some form along the way.

I call it the 2D funnel because it truly is 2 dimensional and lacking any depth. You would be surprised how many online businesses are setup this way…

A 2D funnel has four major flaws…

  1. No prospecting or pre-qualification stages: you’re either a customer or you aren’t.
  2. Only one “touch” which will repel 99% of website visitors.
  3. No backend or upsell path so it’s impossible to increase average order value or customer lifetime value.
  4. No way to provide value to the customer before you ask them for money.

Those four problems are seriously throttling your revenue.

Lets say you’re selling a workout program with paid traffic. Most marketers would send the traffic straight to their sales page, probably using a long form sales letter and add to cart buttons sprinkled throughout the page.

conversion-juggernaut-2d-funnel

If the visitor doesn’t buy the product on the spot, they’re gone forever.

They were never *really* a prospect, and unless they’re in the 1% that will buy your product immediately the first time they see it, that’s it.

This is why I call this type of funnel (or lack thereof) 2 dimensional. There’s no opportunity to re-engage that prospect and you’re out a whole lotta revenue.

Customer or no customer. On or off. 2 dimensional.

Now lets rap about 3D funnels.

a 3D funnel is setup much more intelligently to first qualify prospects then give you ample opportunity to re-engage with and provide value to them. A 3D funnel converts a much larger chunk of visitors into customers while generating more revenue per customer. That second part is key.

Always keep in mind it requires a minimum of 7-13 “touches” in most cases before prospects will buy. Look at how much revenue this client would have lost if they only focused on the first handful of interactions:

many-interactions-to-hit-sales-potential

We’re literally talking about millions of dollars here. This is the one part you really can’t afford to be lazy about.

Going back to the previous example, here’s exactly how I would setup the funnel for the workout program:

3d_funnel (1)

Two important notes about this type of a funnel:

  • Whatever you give away in exchange for an email address should pre-qualify the prospect as the type of customer you want. For example, if someone is opting-in for a report on fat loss it’s safe to assume they’re interested in learning how to lose fat.
  • The key is to provide value at each stage of the relationship – focus on the value you provide and the money will follow.

The more specific you are with the squeeze page offer the more tightly you can dial in your messaging. Fat loss is pretty vague so if this were a real client I would look for a more unique and specific angle. Lets say the program requires no weights and can be done from anywhere, a good squeeze page offer (lead magnet) might be:

5 fat blasting exercises that can be done from anywhere, with no gym and no equipment

If someone enters their email address to claim this report, you can assume:

  1. They’re interested in the core product you’re selling.
  2. They’re interested in the bodyweight aspect that can be done from anywhere.

Now that you have their email address you can re-engage with them through email while nurturing them with retargeting ads to get your 7-13 touches in before they eventually become a customer.

With a 3D funnel you’re in control. You set the pace and can advance prospects down the funnel however you see fit. You’re also going to be able to capture A LOT more high quality leads using a 3D funnel.

Always be thinking about your funnel and how you can improve it. With your funnel you should be:

  • Maximizing the value of each customer.
  • Creating as many “touches” as possible with different channels (email, social, retargeting, etc.).
  • Providing massive value at each stage of the relationship.

How “3 dimensional” is your funnel?

 

Facebook Ads Wishlist: 6 Facebook Ads Features I Can’t Live Without Any Longer


Facebook ads is by far one of my favorite ad platforms for generating brand awareness and direct response conversions. The ad targeting options are completely unprecedented. You can target people based on demographics (age, location, gender), psychographics (likes, interests, desires) and now with partner targeting based on behavior and habits.

No other ad platform has this much raw power in its targeting capabilities. You can filter down to your most ideal customer by comboing together all of these targeting options.

With that said, Facebook ads still leaves a lot to be desired. Despite their recent efforts to improve and optimize the ad platform there’s still some “no brainer” missing features…

Frequency Capping

How often you show your ads to your audience is known as campaign frequency. For some products, you might need 30 views per person to make a sale, where others might only need 3. This is something that you should test but currently you have no control over the maximum number of times your ad is displayed to each unique user per day. Frequency capping gives you control over how often people are exposed to your ads. In some cases you might need to be extremely aggressive, where in other cases more than one or two impressions per user per day might upset your audience.

Dayparting

Optimizing ad campaigns usually comes down to making small, strategic tweaks that make your ads more relevant or timely. Dayparting is a standard feature on many other ad platforms, like Google AdWords, but is still missing as a Facebook advertising tool. There are software solutions available that will let you setup a dayparting schedule but Facebook should offer this natively instead of making me use a 3rd party tool.

If you aren’t familiar, dayparting is the process of setting a schedule to tell the ad platform when your ads should show up. For example, lets say you run a brick-and-mortar store that operates and services customers from 9-5 Monday – Friday. You wouldn’t want your ads to show up on the weekends or after hours, right? In this scenario a dayparting schedule that turns your ads off on Saturday, Sunday and between 6PM – 9AM would be the most optimal schedule.

Dayparting isn’t just for physical stores though, here are a few other scenarios where it can, and should, be used:

  • If you sell more products during a certain part of the week (i.e. right before the weekend).
  • If you tend to sell more products during a certain time of the month. If you’re B2C keep in mind people typically get paid on the 1st and/or 15th.
  • If you have better lead quality at a certain time of the week.

Precise Interest ANDing

why-or-doesnt-work-for-precise-interestsI’ve wrote about it more than once. If you ever talk to me about Facebook Ads you’ve probably heard me complain about precise interest ANDing. If Facebook made one tiny tweak to the way precise interest targeting works Facebook Ads would instantly become a much more powerful and profitable traffic source.

When you create an ad, if you use more than one precise interest Facebook targets anyone that likes interest A or interest B. Digital marketing (and PPC more specifically) is most effective at an extremely granular level.

Lets say you want to target people who are likely entrepreneurs and copywriters. If you enter entrepreneurship and copywriting as precise interests Facebook will target anybody who likes entrepreneurship or copywriting, making your audience larger instead of smaller.

Making the audience larger is almost never going to give you better results.

Facebook – PLEASE, I am begging you, give us the option to AND interests together so I can spend exponentially more money with you.

Ad Rotation Options

Facebook still hasn’t developed a reliable algorithm for rotating ads in an ad set.

Right now, if you put a group of 3-4 ads you want to test into an ad set you’ll notice that one will get impression priority WAY too quickly. Basically, your other ads will never see the light of day.

In my opinion Facebook should have several rotation options similar to AdWords that let you rotate ad variations based on:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Rotate evenly
  • Rotate indefinitely

In the mean time, a good workaround for this is putting each ad in its own ad set with its own budget. It’s a little bit more work to setup but you can be sure that your ads are getting even amounts impressions.

Precise Interest & Category Breakout Reporting

The new reporting manager in Facebook Ads is significantly improved over the old reporting but still leaves a lot to be desired. (sorry Facebook)

Currently, you can breakout campaigns in the reporting manager by:

  • Campaign
  • Ad set
  • Ad
  • Ad Objective
  • Country
  • Gender
  • Placement
  • Destination

But you know what you can’t do? You can’t see which precise interest or category target the conversion is responsible for. This is another reason (aside from the lack of precise interest ANDing) I only use one precise interest per ad. There’s no other way to know which one worked.

T0 sum up my complaining: unless you’re using one precise interest per ad, you have no way of knowing which is generating conversions.

For now, only use one category or precise interest target per ad.

Precise Interest Freshness

This one would be a serious game changer for advertisers. The problem with precise interest targeting is that as time goes on, people “like” more and more pages, often times without really “liking” the product or business. The average number of likes per profile is increasing every day since people don’t actively unlike pages.

If someone “liked” the Los Angeles Lakers page 3 years ago, do they still like them? Have they changed their allegiance to a different team that’s performing better? Did they only like them because they had a phenomenal season or a star player they follow?

If Facebook added a ‘freshness’ feature that lets you choose how recently the person liked a page, we can be more confident in answering some of these questions.

If I can choose to target people who liked the Los Angeles Lakers within the last week or month I can make some assumptions about whether they like the team right now.

Another example…

Lets say you want to promote your health book about the Paleo diet by targeting Paleo related pages. If you can target people that have liked “Paleo” within the last month you can assume they’re just getting started and encourage them to hit the ground running.

____________________________________

What Facebook Ads feature(s) are you waiting for?

Don’t Make This Facebook Sponsored Story Mistake Unless You Want to Waste 50% of Your Ad Budget


Most people that are new to paid acquisition and optimization in general are always under the impression there’s a trove of secrets to building effective campaigns. The truth is that long-term scalable PPC campaigns are built through iterative optimization, lots of testing, and fine tuning.

Facebook sponsored stories are one of my favorite types of ad units to run on social. If you’re not familiar with how they work, sponsored stories allow you to leverage word-of-mouth marketing by promoting any of your posts that fans have interacted with to friend of those fans. For example, if I “like” a post from a blog like Search Engine Land and they’re running a sponsored story to that post, all of my friends are eligible to see that I interacted with that post.

facebook-sponsored-story-fail-victorias-secret

Why are sponsored stories and word-of-mouth on Facebook so powerful? Most people are friends with people who do similar work – at least half of my friends on Facebook are marketers, entrepreneurs, paid acquisition specialists, PPC account managers, or some type of Internet business person. When they see that I interacted with Search Engine Land I’m basically endorsing that content and making a powerful recommendation.

Targeting everyone that’s a friend of a fan can be dangerous and costly, though. It’s easy to lose your shirt fast and squander the effectiveness of sponsored stories if you aren’t careful with who you’re targeting.

Here’s an example that popped up in my mobile feed last week. This is a sponsored story from Victoria’s Secret that a friend of mine on Facebook interacted with. The big mistake here is that Victoria’s Secret didn’t limit the sponsored story exposure to women only – they’re also targeting men, effectively wasting half of their sponsored story budget.

You can make the argument that maybe men will “claim” this offer for their girlfriend or significant other but I’d to gamble that less than 10% of their sales from this campaign are generated from men. In that scenario you’d be spending 50% of your budget for 10% of your sales – ouch.

The lesson here: always be thinking about who you’re targeting and what makes the most sense for the greatest sales impact. One simple tweak to this campaign would have without a doubt increased ROI significantly and maybe even turned the campaign from a loser into a winner.

 

Facebook: Please Give Us Precise Interest ANDing


The addition of one simple boolean operator to the ads platform is all that it would take for Facebook to instantly make advertising even more effective and open a new dimension of micro targeting possibilities. Currently, you have the ability to use AND/OR when targeting different category targets but not so for precise interests.
category-targeting

With all of the changes Facebook rolled out over the last year, the rapidly increasing number of hours spent on Facebook, and the continued growth of the social network it’s getting more difficult for marketers to get in front of exactly the right people.

The fact of the matter is that people “like” things they don’t actually like more and more every day. A fanpage might give away an iPad or a free account or a coupon in exchange for you “liking” their page. It’s quickly becoming common practice for Facebook users to like away in exchange for just about anything – increasing the number of interest in their profile and diluting targeting efficiency. This is a problem with ad targeting because your interest targets might be things that people liked or put on their profile for reasons other than actually liking it.

us-targeting-facebook

As of today there are 180,000,000 targetable users in the U.S. alone on Facebook and an average of 4.5 billion (with a b) likes per day. The precision and efficiency of existing ad targeting options is slowly declining.

There is hope though – with one small tweak to the way precise interest targeting works Facebook can fix this problem while simultaneously increasing ad relevancy to the end user and ad efficiency to the advertiser. It’s really a win-win-win. What is this magic tweak you speak of, Tom? Simple. Give advertisers the option to AND together interests instead of only allowing OR.

To put this into laymen’s terms, right now when you enter 2 different interests in the precise interest targeting field Facebook will allow you to target anyone who likes either interest: so for example cats OR dogs.

precise-interests-facebook-ads

This serves little value from a micro-targeting perspective (and we all know that’s the key to ROI from any type of marketing) because each additional interest you enter increases the audience size and number of people the ad will potentially be shown to. In most cases, that’s the exact opposite of what you want to do – especially if you’re trying to nail down your customer personas.

why-or-doesnt-work-for-precise-interests

Lets say I wanted to find people that really like animals – if precise interests ANDing was an option in the ad manager I could do something like this:

precise-interest-anding-example

(this is a mockup and not actually available as of this post being written)
 

In this scenario I know that the 42,000 people in the audience are much more likely to be animal lovers than interested in just dogs or cats or horses.

See the difference? 

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Stats source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/
 
 

How to Use Human Curiosity to Pique Interest and Improve CTR


One of the biggest problems facing digital marketers is getting the attention of prospects through more traditional online marketing channels like display advertising and other forms of PPC. Banner blindness is a very real problem and is getting worse by the day, but there is hope!

To solve this problem you’re going to have to get creative and use different aspects of human nature to your advantage. One thing a lot of us don’t take into account is how curious most people are, if you put something puzzling or slightly off in front of a prospect they’re much more likely to both pay attention and respond to your marketing efforts.

Remember: you don’t have to explain everything about your product or service in your marketing – focus on improving CTR and let your landing page do the heavy lifting. Too many marketers try to cram their entire sales pitch into a tiny ad when listing the main benefit and your value proposition is all that’s necessary.

We’ve been testing some new retargeting strategies for CrazyEgg to bring back in lost customers that didn’t convert. One of the more promising retargeting channels we are currently testing heavily and seeing great ROI with is Facebook ads. If you aren’t familiar with Facebook ad optimization take note that the image in your ad is almost always going to have the largest impact (good or bad) on your CTR and overall ad effectiveness. We’ve tested a lot of images to see what really works best for driving clicks and bringing back in those lost prospects and the results have been interesting to say the least.

So what does all this have to do with human nature and curiosity? Well this ad is one of our top performers:

crazyegg-guy

Most digital marketers would say that we should use a picture of a heatmap or showcase the software in some way to maximize performance. We tested all that and this ad image out performed almost every other variation in both clicks AND conversions. Remember that this is a retargeting campaign so the people seeing this ad have been to the CrazyEgg website and have seen the guy in the ad somewhere even if they can’t remember exactly where. If you look at your Facebook news feed you’ll notice that there aren’t many ads with strange images like this one so it really stands out among the rest and actually has a chance of being seen by lost prospects instead of just being looked over.

I wanted to take this a step further and see what we can really do to improve this campaign. I knew the fact the guy in the ad is “peaking” over the bottom would grab prospects attention and ultimately drive clicks, so how can I take this concept a step further?

Next we took the above image and tried adding different borders, colors, layovers and all kinds of different elements to the image to see if we could improve the CTR at all.

What we’re the results? The following ad saw a 300% increase in CTR and the only change to the image was the addition of the little scroll bar to the right hand side of the “CrazyEgg guy” in the image. The scroll wheel combined with “the guy” peaking above the bottom of the image proved to be something that drove curiosity and ultimately a much better CTR.

crazy-egg-guy-better-ctr

Not only did we see a 300% lift in CTR but our average CPC decreased from $0.86 to $0.66 for a 23% decrease in advertising fees. When your ad spend is in the thousands per week these kind of optimizations can make or break paid marketing efforts and give you some wiggle room for profitability.

The big takeaway here is to use human nature to your advantage – test lots of images and see what really captures your prospects attention. Once you find some images or ad copy that are working well test a new set of variables like we did in the above experiment to take your paid marketing to the next level.

5 Simple Testing Elements That Can Create Huge Conversion Lifts


People tend to overcomplicate conversion rate optimization and think they have to make large scale changes to see any real lift. I like two things in particular: systems and simplicity, those in conjunction have always yielded the best results for the least amount of time in my business. When starting a conversion rate optimization campaign for a new website or client sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what to test first and what might make a difference in the KPI you’re trying to improve (sales, leads, engagement, etc.).

When I start working on a new website I run through this list of testing elements first for one reason: these are the easiest tests to implement that have consistently shown the biggest lift in conversions. This testing order will help you incorporate the Pareto principle or 80/20 rule into your testing efforts, isn’t CRO about efficiency after all? If you haven’t started testing yet or haven’t tested any of the elements below, try them out and see how much of an impact they make for your particular website or product.

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1.) Call to Action Color

This is probably my favorite element to test on this list because it can make a huge, huge difference in response and conversion rate. If your current call to action blends in with the page or isn’t a contrasting color prospective customers might have a hard time figuring out what they’re supposed to do (and that’s never a good thing, by the way.) This should be the first thing you test on your page if you haven’t already, try a wide array of colors and styles to see what’s really optimal.

Here are 3 call to action buttons that stand out and make it clear what the page wants the visitor to do:

 

skype-call-to-action-button

Skype has definitely done their share of testing and landing page redesigns so paying attention to element/design changes they’re implementing over time can give you some great testing ideas. Notice the green in the call to action is the only time that color is used on the page in design elements – this is one of the tried and true best practices of conversion rate optimization. This isn’t exactly a “trade secret” but so many CTA’s use colors that blend with the page, Skype makes it almost painfully obvious how to get started.

unbounce-call-t-action

Unbounce is another great example of a clean, uncluttered, clear messaged landing page with a strong CTA. Even if you’ve never heard of Unbounce, this one above the fold frame tells you exactly what the product does and what you need to do to start. The orange call to action really sticks out on blue/white/black color scheme and draws the eye immediately.

amazon-call-to-action-testing

I can’t forget about the undisputed king of testing…Amazon has tested so many button combinations and page elements it’s almost overwhelming to think about. Even though Amazon product pages have a ton of information you can still clearly see the action you need to take to move forward with your order. The “Amazon button” as some people call it has proven to be effective for Amazon and reaffirms that high contrast is usually the way to go for call to action buttons.

In my personal experience, high contrast buttons outperform buttons that blend in about 90% of the time. (that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t test it though!) See what kind of results you can achieve with both types and base your future experiments on your findings.

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2.) Call to Action Copy

You understand why testing the design (color/shape/size) of the call to action is important but testing the copy on the CTA can make just as big of a difference when it comes to conversion rates. Different words evoke different emotions and thought processes for certain types of people so testing call to action copy heavily is recommended.

call-to-action-buttons

For example using the word “buy” can evoke a negative response because it can make people think about separating themselves from hard earned money. In this example a good CTA copy test would be something like “Buy Now” vs. “Order Now” vs. “Send My Order”.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Buy Now
  • Download Now
  • Download
  • Get Started
  • Order Today
  • Rush My Order
  • Complete Signup
  • Complete Order
  • Reserve My Spot
  • Add to Cart
  • Add to Bag
  • Get Your Free Trial
  • Get My Free Trial
  • Submit
  • Start My Subscription
  • Send It Now
  • Sign Me Up

Also test using exclamation marks in your CTA copy – these may or may not work depending on your particular business and industry. For example if the copy “Rush My Order” is working well for you test it against “Rush My Order!” with everything else being identical. The use of the exclamation mark can either be exciting and lift conversions or it can be annoying and turn people off, it all depends on the scenario.

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3.) Headlines

Sometimes the headline on your landing page is the only chance you have of capturing a visitors attention so don’t waste the opportunity. There is really no “rule of thumb” that I follow for headlines because so many different types have been proven to work so you need to test this element for your particular business, product, or service.

headline-testing

Try testing:

[bullet_list icon=”check” indent=”10px” style=””]

  • Long headlines
  • Short headlines
  • Questions (“Who else wants  ___ ?”)
  • Benefit driven headlines (Save money, convert more leads, improve productivity, work from anywhere, etc.)
  • Feature driven headlines (20MB download speeds, lightweight design, 100% cotton, etc.)
  • Time sensitive/urgent headlines (While supplies last, next 30 customers, etc.)
  • Scary headlines (Warning: slow website speeds can kill conversions)
[/bullet_list]

Crafting the perfect headline is an art form in itself and generally takes a lot of testing before you find a true winner. Test your headlines thoroughly and aggressively if you want to really see a lift in conversions.

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4.) Sub-Headlines

Even more neglected than the headline is the almighty sub-headline. It’s a shame how many CRO teams don’t even try testing this element and choose to ignore it completely. If used correctly sub-headlines can be both extremely useful and effective; it gives you another chance to reaffirm the prospect is in the right place. The sub-headline is also a great place to establish your value proposition and solidify the prospects decision to do business with you or your company.

For example if your headline was:

“Get the Best A/B Testing Tools Available for Only $49/month”

A sub-headline I would try testing is something like this:

“Our proprietary conversion tools show you the path to higher profits from the same traffic in a way that no other tool can” 

See how that makes the product more appealing? This is where you can really sell prospects without selling – just tell them why your product or service is remarkable and the landing page will do the rest. In this example my headline makes the bold claim of being the best tools available for A/B testing then my sub-headline establishes my value proposition and why you should choose my product over all the competitors. When you have a legitimate value proposition – like proprietary tools that aren’t available anywhere else – you can sway “on the fencers” from doing more research and potentially working with a competitor.

Just like the headline I don’t follow any kind of “rule of thumb” for sub-headlines because I’ve seen all different kinds work effectively – this is just one area where you’re going to have to be creative and test, test, test.

[hr]

5.) Headline Color

headline-color-usage

Manipulating color is my favorite way to make visitors look where you want them to. Using different colors in your headline and sub-headline can either improve conversions by drawing the eye to the headline or hurt conversions if it takes away from your call to action.

One trick that I’ve seen work effectively is using the same color on your headline and call to action, the colors matching up tell the visitor what the next most important element is they should pay attention to. However, this can hurt your conversions so that’s why testing different headline colors is critical to finding what really works on your page.

Try testing lots of different colors and variations like:

[bullet_list icon=”check” indent=”10px” style=””]

  • Blending colors
  • High contrast colors
  • Highlighted
  • Headlines with gradients/shadows/borders/etc.
[/bullet_list]

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These 5 simple elements can help make huge strides in your conversion optimization efforts if tested properly and thoroughly. What are your favorite (simple) testing elements that I missed? What kind of lifts have you seen from these small tweaks on your landing pages or website? Let me know in the comments below!

3 Ways to Massively Raise Search Engine CTR


Search engine marketers are getting smarter by the day and capturing a solid amount of the page 1 clicks is becoming an ever increasingly difficult task. To stay ahead in search you have to be constantly testing and implementing new things; most people just try to “rank higher” but don’t realize you can optimize the listings you already have and capture more of that traffic.

The hardest thing to do on a search results page is to capture the searchers attention instantly. You can write the most clever title and description tags in the world, if someone else is grabbing the eye of the searcher before they see your listing it might already be too late.

Here are 3 ways to grab the attention of the searcher and provide more value in your search results:

1. Google Authorship

If your website has any type of blog component Google authorship is an absolute must and a great way to increase your click-through rate from organic search results. If you’re unfamiliar with Google authorship it basically allows you to place a thumbnail of yourself (or the author of the content) next to the search listing.

You can raise organic search CTR dramatically just by adding Google authorship for a couple of reasons:

  • It increases trust by showing a picture of a real person (whoever wrote the content)
  • Generally other search results will not have this so your listing will stick out like a sore thumb and draw the eye IMMEDIATELY
  • Google may improve ranking and visibility for doing this – they have been known to reward marketers for using their products and services in the past

Here’s an example of what Google authorship in action looks like:

google-authorship-example

Now compare that result to the typical text only listings like this:

non-google-authorship-search-results

Which one do you think would capture your attention first? Even if your website is ranked out of the top 3 you can still get MORE clicks in some cases just by having this thumbnail, it really can be that powerful.

Implementing Google authorship is simple; just go to this URL and follow the steps provided.

 

2. hReview Markup

Another way to sneak extra eye grabbing elements into search results is with hReview markup. Google is constantly evolving search and making changes to improve user experience and give the searcher the absolute best experience possible. One of the newer changes Google made allows markup from Schema.org to show data searchers might be looking from from within the search results. This includes things like events, recipes, reviews, places, restaurants, and a whole lot more.

Most of the markup provided by Schema.org is only going to be applicable to very specific types of sites, for example if you don’t run a food/recipe related website you wouldn’t benefit from the recipe markup. However, just about any website can benefit from the hReview markup by adding reviews to all of your posts and pages. The hReview markup displays a rating out of 5 in search results next to all of your pages with ratings on them. This is such an easy way to grab searchers attention you can sometimes pull a higher CTR in position 3 than the person in position 1! (Assuming they don’t have all these ninja optimization tricks applied to their website too…)

Here’s an example of what a search result listing with the hReview markup looks like:

hReview markup example

Pretty cool, right? So how do you implement this into your website? You can either implement the Schema.org markup yourself or if you’re running WordPress you can use a plugin like Author hReview.

 

3. Video Sitemaps

If video is your preferred method of content delivery then you’re in luck; not only do videos rank extraordinarily well in search you can also get a thumbnail of your video next to ALL of your pages with videos on them. Have you ever been shown a YouTube result with a thumbnail of the video? If not here’s an example:

video thumbnail serp example

Getting that thumbnail can be a huge click-through rate booster because it grabs your attention even more-so than the Google authorship trick. Not only does it have a still image from the video, it also shows a play button and the length of the video…talk about piquing curiosity.

Until recently Google only showed these types of thumbnails for results on YouTube but lucky for us they realized allowing website owners to do this only improves user experience. Now, with video sitemaps you can get that same YouTube style thumbnail for ANY page on your website with a video on it. Creating a video sitemap is simple and very similar to a traditional sitemap – you can find the instructions for setting one up here.

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Implementing these 3 things is so simple I really don’t know a more effective way to increase search traffic without increasing search impressions. What tips do you have for grabbing the eye of searchers that I missed?


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