I just got back from speaking at MozCon the top SEO conference in the US and ConversionJam, the largest CRO conference in the world, and wow did I learn a lot. Both MozCon and ConversionJam were jam packed with inspiring speakers, extremely interesting sessions, actionable content and powerful takeaways I just couldn’t let fly by without sharing them with you guys. Below is a summary of some my favorite sessions, the top CRO and SEO lessons that included powerful tips and resources about conversion optimization, UX and SEO.
Link Building’s Tipping Point / by Rand Fishkin
It comes as no surprise that Rand’s session was a great one. As someone who isn’t a full time SEO peep, I found his tips to be incredibly helpful, actionable, simple to execute for and very profound. Rand gave us a deeper look at the link building world, rather than thinking of it as tactics, he introduced 5 long-term link strategies that work for the most successful companies in the world. In fact, Rand says these strategies are adopted by the vast majority of companies in the world and those using them correctly see great results. These are the strategies he mentioned that gave me some amazing ideas for my own site and for Banana Splash’s strategy:
- The community path
- The press and media path
- The embed path
- The partnership/alliance path
- The content marketing path
Rand went on to sharing his top 10 hacks for link building, and as he should, made a point of reminding us that the best way to utilize these hacks is by connecting them to larger strategy. There are my favorite hacks that he shared:
- Republishing Content – One of the most used tactics for promoting content and getting links is republishing content on platforms such as Medium and Linkedin. The key to success here, isn’t simply copying and pasting your content on these platforms (which is what most marketers do) but re-writing or editing the article and only then publishing it on these platforms.
- Anchor Text in Bio Links – Use anchor text links in your bio to promote certain links. Anchor links still work really well for rankings as Rand showed us how he promoted his wife’s blog in his own bio and got ranked for new search terms.
- Using Local Links– This is an awesome way to find new sites you want to get a link at according to location. First find your two most popular competitors in your region, then combine their names with your region as a search query and discover new relevant websites that could recommend you too.
- Giving Testimonials & Case studies – another awesome way to get links is with testimonials and case studies. Usually we just ask our partners and clients to write something for our site, however, by writing a testimonial, review or case study for their site, you get a direct link to yours.
Get the full slides and examples here.
29 Advanced Google Tag Manager Tips Every Marketer Should Know / by Mike Arnesen
In probably the most actionable session I’ve seen in ages, Mike Arnesen blew us away with some amazing tips about Google Tag Manager. Mike basically covered 29 ways we can up level our GTM usage, track better and become smarter marketers. Some of my favorite tips included:
- Mike started off by helping us make sure that GTM is present on all the most important pages of our site. To do so he used ScreamingFrog which is a great tool all marketers should check out.
- One of my personal favorite tips he shared (#3) was a way to track the most valuable clicks on our site (the ones we care about) without involving a development team/person. This to me is one of the most important tips as there is nothing more frustrating than waiting on someone else such a developer to get things done. It’s frustrating and makes it even harder to launch tests which is why we built Banana Splash the way we did – designers and developers free.
Mike went on to show us how to track file downloads, outbound clicks, merge GA and CRM data and most importantly how to configure cross-domain & subdomain tracking all in one session! Check out Mike’s incredible list of tips, links, screenshots, videos and tutorials here.
How to Be Specific: From-The-Trenches Lessons in High-Converting Copy / by Joanna Wiebe
Another great session that came as no surprise was by Joanna Wiebe of CopyHackers. In her session Joanna gave us some great actionable tips on how to grab our customer’s attention in email marketing and get them to perform an action rather than closing our email and never opening it again.
The first rule is simple yet extremely important – Make it obviously about me. This is also one of the main pillars of the emotional targeting and persuasive design course and probably why I connect with it so well. It’s easier to pay attention when it’s obviously about me. Walking us through an entire case study with Wistia, Joanna showed us how they optimized Wisita’s email campaigns for higher conversions by feeding their customer’s ego, connecting the email to their life, empowering the customer and using a call to action button in first person.
- The second rule was “connect the dots for “ME” and tell ME exactly what and HOW to do it”.
- The third rule focused on it being easier to pay attention to what customers can visualize. This is where Joanna made it clear for all those who doubt – people read copy whether long or short if it helps them. If it doesn’t they won’t even read your short copy.
Get the full presentation to see the play-by-play of how Wistia increased their conversion rates here.
The Secrets of how Amazon Crushes the Competition / by Bryan Eisenberg
While most people analyze the tactics Amazon uses to increase their sales, Bryan who did the opening keynote for Conversion Jam focused on the strategies Amazon uses and how all marketers can and should use them. My favorite tips and strategies include:
- Obsess about customers – Apparently, everyone at Amazon has to spend 2 days a year working with the customer success team answering emails, phone calls and helping customers out. This is one of the ways Amazon ensures that everyone within the company talks to customers and optimizes their specific work according to their needs and feedback. Whether you’re in marketing or maintenance, talking to customers matters.
- Continuous optimization – every year Amazon runs over 1,900 experiments. They don’t test variations for the sake of testing, instead they test big ideas addressing the little things that change processes within the company, for example “the ready to buy area”. The key to testing at Amazon is that they don’t just test for design, they test to change their business. Each test tells them more about their customers and helps them optimize their tactical operations such as shipping, packaging and much more.
- Culture of innovation – Amazon spend a LOT on research, investing in new categories and ideas. As my favorite saying goes, Conversion optimization is not about your website, it’s about every part of the experience – finance, returns, customer success and more. Everything needs to be optimized in the company, from the cleaning process to marketing and robots that deliver the products. It’s all about customer experience and Amazon is nailing it.
Top 7 ways to sabotage your Google Analytics data / by Annie Cushing
Annie gave us the ins and outs of Google Analytics. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen her on stage and I absolutely love how nerdy she gets about data. She LOVES it and has a great way of teaching marketers on all levels how to take their GA skills to the next level.
My favorite tips from this session include:
- You know that annoying feeling you get when you check Google Analytics for traffic sources and just just “direct” or “other”? Well there’s a quick fix to reducing the amount in these channels by tagging all links you publish on social sites and email with campaign tags. It’s an awesome and simple solution that will prevent email traffic for example from showing up as direct traffic without these tags.
- Another great tip for the channels issue and for finding misstagged campaigns is checking your (Other) channel in the Channels report by switching primary dimension to medium.
- A last great tip from Annie that is true not only for Google Analytics data is simple: Don’t send your visitors away to do what you want them to do most (check out, sign up for an event, book a hotel, etc.). They take their most critical data with them!
Annie has a huge amount of resources, online courses and templates for rocking Google Analytics. Be sure to check them out.
One Click & Nothing to Purchase; Redefining News Media CRO / by Unn Swanström
Watching Unn on stage was a lot of fun. As a UX designer, she shared her experience working for some major publishers in Sweden and gave us a look into what she’s been testing to optimize content sites and blogs. Her most relevant tips discussed metrics you should follow and behavior to look out for:
- How to give relevant recommendations: It’s about understanding who your reader is and how you can create a better experience for them with relevant recommendations. To do that, Unn suggests to look at your data and start asking your customers questions that will start identify different segments and categories of readers that use your service in similar ways. Once you know what they’re doing and reading on your site, you can highlight those behaviors and encourage them even more.
- Check: Are visitors really reading? Another important aspect for content sites and blogs is understanding not just what people are reading but how far they scroll, the time the spend on the site and how fast or slow they scroll. Don’t just look at one metric (time on site), get the whole picture of how people read and then optimize those sections in need.
- Retention – The key to a better reading experience is giving readers a good experience in 45 seconds and to do that you have to combine the two most important parts of research: Quantitative data and qualitative data.
So, those were my top CRO and SEO lessons from these great conference I’ve spoken at. The last session I’ll share with you is my own.
The Mobile CRO Equation – How to turn more mobile visitors into customers
During this session I dug into the importance of understanding that mobile visitors are not mini desktop visitors. Because most marketers design for desktop and adapt to mobile, there’s a 270% gap in conversions. Which is why we have to start optimizing for a dedicated mobile experience.
My main points covered the psychological and behavioral differences between someone on their phone and someone on desktop, why we must create a personalized experience for mobile visitors and how to do so with the mobile web equation:
Mapping out the 4 most critical stages of a mobile journey, I showed how to address key pain points within your mobile funnel and how to optimize for them.
My next stop is at Google’s LCS Conversions event where I’ll be meeting the talented web psychologist Nathalie Nahai and the brilliant optimizer Craig Sullivan for 2 full days of mobile web and cross device optimization.
Stay tuned for some additional tips and sessions from my next conferences.
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