Google’s Matt Cutts indicated in his most recent video that using stock images on web pages does not have an effect on SEO – either negative or positive. Glad we have that cleared up!
While images may not directly influence rankings, it’s not too much of a stretch to see how really valuable (descriptive, attractive, compelling) images play a role in encouraging others to link to your content. So, in a roundabout way, the use of images may eventually be seen as really important by the search engines and the SEO community.
Cutts himself (in the video below) even indicated that Google may look into using the unique value of an image as part of the ranking algorithm or at least as a signal in the ranking algorithm. If that does happen, all that social media optimization you’ve been engaged in could pay off.
Essentially, it’s possible that the more likes, retweets shares and +1’s an image receives, the more value Google could assign it, improving the rank of the original hosting page as a result. That’s total speculation, but it could happen.
Startups like Olapic already see the potential in leveraging user-generated photos when it comes to social media optimization. The company allows brands (including Lululemon, Threadless, Coach, Steve Madden and others) to collect photos from services like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and display them on their websites. If Google or other search engines can find a way to connect the virtual dots so to speak, understand how engagement of this nature indicates relevance and popularity, you might just begin to see the emergence of SEO 3.0.
View full post on ‘Net Features
There is a lot of new chatter in the WebmasterWorld forums, along with random threads at other forums including Google Webmaster Help about Google’s search results shifting around and some webmasters claiming huge declines in referrals from Google starting around 8pm EDT last night.
Some are hoping it was just an Analytics issue…
View full post on Search Engine Roundtable
Since I began working at Yoast, I’ve been busy with a lot of things, but my personal favorite definitely is this one: conversion. Maybe this is because of my background in behavioural science. Or maybe I just prefer bigger numbers to smaller ones. In any case, the fact remains: I’m hooked. Now, for the people thinking I’m here to convert them to any kind of religion, be at ease. Conversion, in this case, means converting visitors of your website to actual customers (or returning visitors). And optimizing the conversion rate is an ongoing process on our website. During this process, I’ve come across a few things I want to share.
Don’t believe everything you read
Maybe it’s because I’m looking for it, but I’m seeing more and more blogs, books and ‘experts’ in the field of conversion. This is fine, of course. In fact, I’ve learned a lot from all those people. But there’s something important you have to keep in mind at all times: what they’re saying or advising might’ve worked for them, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.
So how will you know what works for you? Good question. The answer is actually simple: you should test that! Yes, this is a conscious choice of words, as it’s also the title of the book by Chris Goward. That book really changed my idea of conversion and made it understandable and clear. But most of all it convinced me of the need for testing. Use the ideas and advice from those blogs and books as hypotheses. And then test them.
The easiest way to test is the A/B test. A is your baseline, or in other words: what your website looks like before you change anything. B is your variation to A, so a changed button, changed text, or anything like that. You will then test these against each other to see which one works best. Now you can add as many variations as you want, making it an A/B/C/D/etc test. However, when using a lot of variations, you’re better off using multivariate testing. But that’s something I won’t go in to here.
At Yoast we’re currently using Optimizely for our A/B tests, and liking it very much. It’s clean and simple enough for even me to understand. There are several others out there offering the same packages though. But using tools like these, you can actually set up variations to a page (or several of them) and see which variation converts best. And this immediately takes us to the next point.
Revenue trumps conversion
Now, no one can disagree on this one. If you’re making money with your website, the top thing you want is to make as much money as possible. This means revenue is more important than conversion. What I mean by this is the following: if having just 2 conversions a day is making you more money than having 4 (lower value) conversions a day, you’ll go for the 2 conversions.
The idea is simple: when testing hypotheses, the one making you the most money wins. So don’t just focus on the amount of conversions, be sure to check what the tests are doing to your revenue as well. And also be sure your revenue is being calculated the right way. So never rely on just one tool, when setting up your tests. The best is to have an exact listing of all your transactions (conversions) with an amount of money attached to it. This way, you can always double check the revenue and be sure it’s being calculated the right way.
This may not exactly be true, but patience does play a very big role in conversion rate optimization. It’s never a good idea to rush your conversion rate optimization, as you might pick the wrong variation or option. You should always leave a test running for at least a week, and preferably two, no matter how much traffic you get. The reason for this is simple: people’s online behavior is different in the weekends than it is during the week. I can prove this with a simple graph of the organic traffic of yoast.com:
Now guess which days are the weekends. Freaky, right? So your tests should run for at least a full week, to account for differences between the days. The longer you let a test run, the more sure you can be of the results. And believe me, this requires patience. I’m from the “I want it and I want it now” age, and it can be hard to not just make the changes and hope for the best.
Make it a science
This last one I cannot stress enough. Don’t be afraid you’ll get in over your head; it’s actually really easy. What you have to do is formulate hypotheses for what you’re testing. And I understand it if you won’t dive into the scientific literature to find references and support for your claims (although this would be awesome). Just be sure you know what you’re expecting the outcome of the test will be and why. Redundant as this may seem, it’s actually really important.
Hypotheses are not things you just think of yourself. You have to have a reason why you believe something will work, other than your gut feeling. So if you really want to make it scientific, you could dig into the scientific literature. Believe me, there’s a lot of it out there that could be of use for your conversion optimization.
However, as I said, you don’t have to do this. In fact, there are quite a few people who probably already did the hard work for you. For instance, the amazing people at HelpScout have already done all the research in the strategies of pricing. So a good way to come up with hypotheses is to read blogs and books and see what they say worked for them (or their clients). Usually there are good (psychological) explanations as to why this worked.
The next step is to formulate hypotheses from these sources. What will you be changing on your website, and what do you expect will change and why? Make sure you use your sources to explain the ‘why’ of these expected changes. This is what makes it a science: backing up your ideas and expectations with actual results from other people.
Formulating hypotheses makes sure you think about the tests you’re about to run. If you don’t put enough effort into thinking of logical hypotheses, you will lose precious time trying variations that make no sense.
So it’s really simple: you start with a good hypothesis, then you test whether you were right and then you implement the changes.
Now it’s up to you: have you already formulated some nice hypotheses, which you’ve already tested? If so, please do share!
A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don’t want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!
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Above: An advanced view of the Collaborative Economy Value Chain. This image, which wasn’t included in the seminal report on the Collaborative Economy, shows a potential new business model that taps into new transactions beyond traditional selling. In the final phase of “provide a platform” the crowd is building new products.
[The Collaborative Economy is an economic model where ownership and access are shared between corporations, startups, and people]
First, its important you read the full report, and watch the 18 minute video of the highlights of the research report the Collaborative Economy. It defines the movement, gives examples of disruption with numbers, indicates the three market forces that are causing this trend, then provides solutions to corporations who must adopt the value chain. Once you’ve done this, we can explore the advanced model (above) which indicates a hypothetical model that we found in the market where new forms of transaction emerge, and the end state where the crowd starts to design and build the company products.
[For corporations that adopt the collaborative economy, this results in market efficiencies that bear new products, services, and business growth]
In this advanced model, companies move beyond traditional selling, and shift their products to services, which we call “Company as a service”. To date, both BMW and Toyota are renting their cars off their dealership lots in SF to contend with the growing car sharing trend. Secondly, companies will shift their services to a marketplace, called “Motivate a Marketplace” which taps into peer to peer markets that are already trading goods and services around a company. The difference here is, that corporations must enable this marketplace –rather than stand aside and be disrupted. One notable example today is Patagonia, who partnered with eBay to encourage customers to buy used goods –rather than buy new. The last phase, where marketplaces shift to to products means corporations allow the crowd to collaborative on core business functions such as design, funding, marketing, development, production, delivery, marketing, sales and more. We’re already seeing these examples emerge in pieces (Kickstarter for funding, etsy for production, and quickly for development) and see open market opportunities for brands to wholesale jump in.
Now that we’ve identified the phases in the Collaborative Economy Value Chain, we can now explore the many transaction types that have emerged in the industry. I’m thankful in particular to Neal Gorenflo the founder of Shareable Magazine (the premiere media site in this space) who spent a few sunny afternoons with me to map out the transaction types during my research process.
|Sell||Not new — but more and more individuals are empowered to provide goods and services directly to consumers online.||Crafters sell their wares on Etsy; virtual workers get hired on oDesk and Elance.||Traditional selling as we know it has morphed as disintermediation has occurred.|
|Resell||For payment, a seller offers used goods for purchase.||Craigslist and eBay are household names, but Apple’s refurbished products also count.||Most non-consumable goods|
|Rent||For payment, a provider offers a product for use.||RelayRides enables consumers to rent cars from anyone. Rent-a-Toy allows parents to rent toys for their children.||High-cost or low-usage goods|
|Subscribe||For a recurring payment, a provider offers repeat products or services.||Zipcar offers a month-to-month subscription plan with tiered pricing.||Renewable goods, goods that require seasonal storage, repeat services|
|Co-Own/Co-Op||Two or more own or share a product or service together. Applies to individual and business.||Sharing babysitting services on Sitting Around.||High-cost or low-usage items|
|Invest/Loan||Consumers become investors or banks, or invest in or lend directly to each other.||Kickstarter enables the crowd to fund and help products to market. Lending Club, Zopa, FundingCircle, and Prosper facilitate peer-to-peer lending.||Financing at reduced rates|
|Swap||For no payment or a nominal fee, two parties trade goods or services directly.||99dresses allows women to trade fashion. HomeExchange facilitates home swaps.||All goods and many services fit into this category.|
|Lend||For no payment or a nominal fee, a provider offers a product that will be returned.||NeighborGoods facilitates loaning of household items, and more.||Most non-consumable goods|
|Gift/Donate||For no payment or a nominal fee, a “gifter” provides a product or service to a receiver. Reciprocation may be a requirement.||Freecycle facilitates gifting of goods. GiftFlow’s mantra says it all: “Give what you can. Ask for what you need. Pay it forward.”||Most non-consumable goods|
View full post on Web Strategy by Jeremiah
Looking back, it seems that I have not posted a poll in 2 years, which is yet another reminder at how scary time can fly.
Since my main focus has been on affiliate marketing for close to 2 years now, I thought it would make sense to conduct an affiliate marketing poll.
So here then are 17 questions for all you affiliate marketers out there. Please vote honestly and accurately!
As you answer them, the results of what other people have voted so far will show up as well.
Just a warning – the rest of this post may not show up if you’re reading this in an RSS reader or via e-mail, so be sure to go to http://www.tylercruz.com directly so that you can see the results of the poll questions below:
Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.
And that’s it! Thanks for filling out the survey, and I hope you enjoyed it.
I can’t wait to see how you guys voted!
View full post on TylerCruz.com: An Internet Entrepreneur’s Journey
SPI 071 : Successful Start Ups, Millions Lost and Everything In-Between: Inside the Mind of Noah Kagan from AppSumo
In this session of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, I’m happy to welcome Noah Kagan, founder of AppSumo, employee #30 at Facebook (and the brain behind the status update), #4 at Mint.com, founder of several other startups and a person who at a relatively young age, in addition to all of his success, had already went through an incredible amount of failures and had lost millions.
After a mid-life crisis and some self-discovery, Noah has become one of the more popular personalities on the Internet, most recently having founded AppSumo.com, a company which bundles popular web apps together for a discounted price. I am one of AppSumo’s 700,000 subscribers and have been a paying customer in the past myself.
Noah reached out to me a while back and said he wanted to create the most popular SPI Podcast episode ever. After hearing a little bit of what he had to share, I definitely knew that his interview would be up to the challenge.
Noah definitely brought the goods.
There are a ton of extremely educational takeaways from this episode. Noah has some amazing stories to share, both wins and (lots of) failures, and he does a great job of making sure that all of us listening understand what he learned and why things work the way they do. He’s a brilliant marketer, so make sure you pay attention to exactly how he does things and actually stays risk-averse, although it may not seem like it.
The section about validation is pure gold.
This session was recorded in April so please don’t mind the references to the surrounding months, and make sure to catch the tail end of the show where he does a lightning round of tactics about how to find a great idea for a business if you don’t have one yet, and also how to grow your existing business if you do have one.
More specifically, in this session you’ll find out about:
- The first few businesses that Noah created while attending college at UC Berkeley.
- What Noah learned from his early experiences in business.
- How Noah lost millions of dollars and what he learned from his experiences.
- Why Noah says getting fired from Facebook was a good move on their part.
- How Noah got in the conference business and made $50k in profit the first year.
- The best tip for meeting people and networking.
- Why Noah says: “screw the research”.
- Totem Poles and validation.
- How to know if your idea is worth creating, and how to make sure people will pay for it.
- How Noah got his job at Mint.com after getting rejected the first time.
- Marketing = who is your customer + where are they?
- Quant-based marketing.
- The Coffee Challenge.
- How Noah is actually risk-averse.
- Noah’s experience with Facebook Apps and how his first app got 1,000,000 installs in the first week.
- Details about Noah’s mid-life crisis while he was running his games business.
- Takeaways from another failed business and how it turned into something else profitable.
- Noah’s strategy for meeting people.
- How AppSumo got started and what the inspiration was behind that. (Plus, how Noah validated it.)
- The #1 problem for every business in the world.
- Noah’s top two tips for making sure you always stay true to what you truly want.
- 10 actionable and tactical tips to help you find ideas if you haven’t started yet.
Items mentioned in this podcast include:
- How to Make Your First Dollar
- Ok Dork | How I Made Over $100,000 Organizing Conferences
- Ok Dork | How to Deal with Depression
- Quant Based Marketing
- The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
- AppSumo.com/hipat (for the Coffee Challenge)
- Surprising Lessons from 100 Days of Rejection
My Favorite Quotes from Noah’s Interview:
- “When you play in someone else’s sandbox, they are going to make the rules.”
- “The customers will always tell the truth.”
- “People should do what they want because they want to, not just because of an opportunity.”
Win a Trip to Austin, TX to Hangout with Noah and the AppSumo Team
As Noah said in the later half of this session, he’s going to cover travel and lodging expenses for one commenter on this post, from anywhere in the world, to come hang out and work with him and the App Sumo team for a day.
He will award this prize if this post reaches at least 300 comments.
In order to qualify, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me and Noah what you are going to do or what you did do TODAY to start or improve your business.
Noah will select the winner himself and we’ll get in contact with you via email to talk about arrangements. Good luck!
Question or Feedback? Leave Me a Voicemail!
If you have a question you’d potentially like answered on the show, or just feedback in general (constructive criticism and praise are absolutely welcome!), feel free to visit my voicemail page to quickly and easily leave me a message. I may feature you and your question on the show just like Alex’s!
Thank you all for checking out this session of the SPI podcast!
If you haven’t done so already I would love if you took a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below! It would be extremely helpful for the show, and I’m aiming for 1000 5-star ratings before the end of the year! We are currently at 872 5-star ratings! Thank you so much!
On its way!
View full post on The Smart Passive Income Blog