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The name of this show is Drive and Convert for a reason. At its core, online business is about driving traffic to your site and then converting that traffic into customers using an outstanding product, engaging copy, and intuitive design. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about the relationship between SEO and CRO, including how business owners should be thinking about balancing their efforts between attracting websites visitors and converting those visitors into buyers. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: The "Chicken or The Egg" challenge for SEO and CRO How active CRO tests might impact SEO efforts (& vice versa) What are the risks of running these campaigns in parallel? What most people are really worried about when they ask this question If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
Most marketers are used to digging around in Google Analytics to review their website traffic from organic search, social media, and email marketing, but far fewer dedicate time to analyze their referral traffic – often to their own detriment. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about referral traffic as one of the most commonly misunderstood traffic sources and highlight why failing to dig deeper into the quality and sources of your website referrals could mean leaving money on the table. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: What referral traffic is and how it is categorized in your website analytics Common issues with tracking referral traffic and how to fix them What referral traffic data can tell you about your marketing efforts How analyzing referral traffic can uncover ripe opportunities for growth If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
Traditional conversion rate optimization is built around achieving statistically significant results through a combination of research and testing. It can be expensive and time-consuming, but it also carries a >90% confidence level. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about the merits and challenges of another optimization approach known as Rapid Testing. It requires less time, traffic, and resources, but also provides less confidence in the efficacy of the results. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: What separates Rapid Testing from traditional CRO methods Which businesses are a good fit for Rapid Testing The benefits and challenges of implementing a Rapid Testing program What kind of results are typical of a successful Rapid Testing program If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
It's not uncommon to hear the phrase "work/life balance" thrown around in a business setting. It's usually brought up by well-meaning managers who want to make sure their team is protecting the time and the space to be successful outside of the office as well. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about how work/life balance doesn't always translate to a true 50/50 split. Instead, it usually requires investing heavily in one area of life (Ex: Career) for a period of time, and then slowing down to focus more time and energy elsewhere (Ex: Family) to get back toward a more "balanced" position. Similarly, a brand's allocation of resources across multiple traffic generation channels can (and should) ebb and flow over time. For example, if you continue to hammer on paid search long enough, you'll eventually run headfirst into diminishing returns. The world's most successful brands acknowledge this, and take a more balanced approach to driving leads to their site – and Ryan's here to help us understand how they do it. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: Why balancing your traffic generation efforts is important The different types of channels you should consider investing in What a healthy allocation looks like for most brands How to know when you're over/underinvested in a specific channel If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
Fill a room with 100 ecommerce managers and ask them where they are investing their time, energy, and resources to try and hit their growth goals. Chances are, most of them will check the box for Paid Ads, Influencer Marketing, or SEO...but far fewer will have a strategy for conversion rate optimization. In this episode, Ryan and Jon review the most common reasons why ecommerce brands don't invest in CRO, and why that might be holding them back from reaching their potential. If you're directing most of your spend toward acquisition and ignoring conversion or retention, you may want to listen in to get an outside perspective from two industry experts. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: Why most brands fail to invest in CRO What information gaps or misconceptions hold them back What a reasonable testing and optimization budget looks like Why more traffic doesn't always equal more revenue Realistic expectations around cost, timing, and impact for a CRO program If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
The 2021 holiday season is here, but recent events have made it so that paid acquisition can no longer be considered the "easy button" when it comes to attracting potential buyers to your store. As a result, many brand owners are scrambling to figure out how to generate site traffic effectively and affordably. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about the macro trends that are going to influence consumer behavior and what savvy brand owners should do to make the most out of their holiday campaigns. If you're worried about supply chain issues, record-breaking ad prices, or increased competition from big retailers, then you should listen to this. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: What economic trends are influencing consumer behavior How to stay competitive as ad prices increase How to separate yourself from big box retailers like Amazon and Walmart Which strategies are going to drive qualified traffic to your site this year If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
With the explosion of direct-to-consumer online retailers, things have been heating up in the ecommerce industry. The differentiators of yesterday have become table stakes for modern brands – those that want to defend their position or gain market share will need to level up from foundational practices to advanced tactics. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about Jon's second book, Opting In To Optimization and review some of the key concepts that are covered inside. The book condenses more than a decade of experience optimizing sites for some of the world's most recognizable brands into a tight, actionable playbook you can read in a week. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: How to build a culture of optimization inside your brand How to better undersand your customer's needs and challenges How to use psychology and research-driven design to convert more visitors into buyers How to protect your profit margin while chasing ambitious growth goals How to convert run-of-the-mill customers into raving fans If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
Believe or not, the 2021 holiday season is right around the corner, and it's shaping up to be another big year for ecommerce brands. Hopefully your preparation is well underway, but there is still time to take steps that will help you make the most of the extra attention and higher purchase intent. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about what brands should be doing NOW to set themselves up for a successful holiday campaign. You'll have a playbook for locking down everything from traffic generation to conversion optimization and post-purchase support. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: What you should be doing NOW to make the most of BFCM How to come up with a compelling offer Why holiday shoppers are different from your usual customers Why personalization might not skyrocket your sales, but segmentation could How to use cross-sells, upsells, and post purchase offers to maximize AOV If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
For many brands, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a lot like eating right and exercising regularly. You know that you SHOULD be doing it. You know that it has lots of benefits over the long term. But it's still difficult to find the time to make it happen on a regular basis. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about when brands should start taking SEO seriously, as well as what they should be doing to make the most out of their efforts and what they can expect to get as a return on their investment. Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: Why most brands (understandably) start with paid search instead of SEO When (and why) brands should start giving more attention to SEO How do stand up a high-performing SEO practice the right way How to find an external service provider you can trust Why SEO is a smart investment for your business If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
Many brands default to discounting as the "easy button" for juicing their online sales, but doing this too often can put you on a price-cutting hamster wheel that is increasingly difficult to get off of. In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk about the psychology behind discounts, why they are so attractive to consumers, and how you can achieve similar results with alternative strategies that don't undermine the value of your products or position you as a "bargain brand." Listen to the full episode if you want to learn: Why discounts are so compelling for consumers The downsides of habitual discounting for your brand When discounts are the correct pricing strategy to use Alternatives to discounting that work just as well How to assess and improve your current pricing strategy If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We're @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.
There's currently lots of frustrations in the E-commerce world around ad performance. What we all expected to happen in 2021 is not happening. Cost per click is up, sales have dipped, and the data is telling us that there is a lack of volume of sales –– but is this just poor advertising channel performance? Or is this pandemic hangover as more folks rush back to retail? Today, Ryan and Jon unpack these questions.
Clients at The Good are interested in how firms like Logical Position are still getting results for their clients –– and why optimization is more important than ever to make the most out of the traffic they’re already getting. The challenge I’ve seen, and I’d like to address today, is that I haven't seen anybody really talking about optimization when it comes to iOS15 updates. And that's what Jon and Ryan focus on today.
Today we're tackling the hot topic of Facebook and how Apple's ios 14 update has affected its performance. Based on analytics, it appears like the data might be going in a negative direction, and many people are jumping ship to other platforms. But should you? Today Ryan tackles the question of whether you should be re-directing Facebook traffic to other platforms.
Direct-to-consumer is all the rage right now...and for good reason. Removing wholesalers, retailers, dealers, and marketplaces generally reduces costs and provides a better purchasing experience. BUT, the strongest brands find a way to balance a DTC model with other external sales channels. When considering this option, many brand owners are justifiably concerned about introducing channel conflicts to their business. So, today we're going to talk about channel conflict and how to manage it effectively as a fast-growing ecommerce brand. Read the blog: https://thegood.com/insights/overcoming-channel-conflict/
With that advent of smart shopping campaigns, it has become ridiculously easy to start spending money on Google shopping ads and to see some return. But one area that's become overlooked is text ads. Ryan explains why you shouldn't be sleeping on text ads if you want to push your brand further.
Digital marketing can start the fire, but CRO adds fuel to the fire. Yet, it seems every business has this bank of excuses on why CRO can't happen now, or why it doesn't make sense. Today Jon overcomes these objections and explains why CRO can be of such a high value to your business.
There's no end to new platforms popping up and claiming to be the next great source of traffic to your business. First there was Yahoo. Then Google. Then Facebook. Then Twitter. Then Instagram. Then TikTok. Then… well, the list goes on and it will forever be growing too. So, how do you decide which one to test and how to gauge the success or failure of these new exciting ways to spend your marketing dollars to generate business? Luckily Ryan is here is to break it all down for us. TRANSCRIPT: Jon MacDonald : Hey Ryan, welcome to another episode of Drive and Convert. Today we're going to talk about shiny new traffic sources. Right. There's no end to the new platforms popping up and they're always claiming to be the next great source of traffic for your business. So, we're going way back first though is with Yahoo, then Google then Facebook then Twitter then Instagram now everyone's on TikTok. I mean I'm not but everybody is supposedly. Definitely feeling old these days based on these stats. Ryan Garrow: Yeah. Me neither. Jon MacDonald : But look, the list goes on and on. And I'm sure I've left a lot off of that list over the history and it will forever be growing too, right? So, what I'd love to get schooled on today from you is how do you decide which one to test? And how do you gauge the success or failure of each of these new and exciting shiny objects to spend your marketing dollars on to generate revenue? It's a lot, right? But look, with so many social networks and traffic sources popping up seemingly every week, how do you know if it's a good place to spend money? Ryan Garrow: The real answer is, always it depends. But that's always the answer we give everybody no matter what we're talking about in the digital marketing world. It's my least favorite answer but it has to be the one you give every time and with context. And when you're looking at all of these wonderful platforms and companies that you can spend money on the ads, I think the first step is to really understand what the platform is. Who's on it? What are they trying to do? What's their goal of being on that platform? Because we all really understand Google and that was always a pretty easy one. Like I'm on Google to find something either information or a product that's why I'm there. And it makes a lot of sense logically saying, "I get it, if I am selling that product or I provide an answer to that I want to show when they're searching for that." There's a lot of intent there. If you're selling houses you might not necessarily want to spend a lot of time on TikTok, generally. TikTok is skewing. It's getting older, I think, as young people blow platforms open like in Facebook and Instagram did and then older people take them over because I think they're being cool by getting on them. Jon MacDonald : I saw a stat today about Facebook that something like 70% of people over 60 are on Facebook, which is the highest user percentage base. It's crazy. Ryan Garrow: Oh, [crosstalk 00:02:57]. Jon MacDonald : We used to tell our customers you want to convert older folks and high income, you would advertise on Microsoft Bing. Because they're using Internet Explorer out of the box and not changing the default search engine, right? So- Ryan Garrow: Correct. Jon MacDonald : ... But now it's definitely Facebook too. Like it's crazy. Ryan Garrow: What's sad, well I'm not going to say sad, but you have to advertise through Facebook to really target Instagram. You have to use that Facebook ads platform like Joyful Dirt, which hopefully I'll be able to bring this back later to talk about one of my issues with the Joyful Dirt brand. But Joyful Dirt doesn't have anything going on on Facebook really. Instagram because we're targeting millennial plant moms generally, I mean obviously anybody can buy the product, but we get very little and to no interaction on Facebook and it doesn't work when we market on there. But at least you're understanding that, right? If you are selling arthritis cream you want to be on Facebook. And we've got a company that sells arthritis cream and does really well on Facebook. So understanding who's on it, where it's going, and then also just how they're interacting. If it's short-form video like TikTok, then if you're not prepared to make short-form video you're probably not going to be tremendously successful in that space. Do you have a personality? Like if you're just a brand throwing ads up randomly on TikTok with no face to the brand, I can't imagine it's going to do well. And I think in early on you've got these platforms that you have to really get into the platform, I think, and understand how you're interacting. And so if I was going to spend my money on TikTok step one is I would go join TikTok. Like I'm not there, I don't want to be there but that would be understand who's there. And in theory until you get in there you won't even know that, you have to get in there and start watching TikTok. You know I was never a Snapchat person either, I just wait for Instagram to copy their stuff and then I'll see if I like it. But again, understanding where the ads are being put there can really help you figure out does this conceptually make sense for my brand? Jon MacDonald : So I'm hearing from you if I could summarize two things, one is know who your target audience is and where they're at and what platform and then that's a good place. And then B is test it, right? You really don't have a choice you just need to test it. Throw some money at it and see what sticks if you think you have a good understanding of your consumers being on those channels. Ryan Garrow: Yeah. Like once you can advertise in there and decide that this is based on who's on it, who my demographic is or target market is go spend some money. And it could be that you're trying to open up a new audience, so it's you're testing it for that. Like if you want to sell to teenage kids TikTok may be a great place to start pushing into. Jon MacDonald : That's great. Okay. Ryan Garrow: I mean it's gradually older, but. Jon MacDonald : Yeah. So how do you test the traffic then? Ryan Garrow: Well, once you're on the platform and you've seen what it looks like, my lens that I look through is I want a light money on FIRE budget. And I have to be comfortable with it just not working, because we don't know. It's a new traffic source for you, it's a younger platform often, because we're talking about the shiny new ones that haven't matured like a... If you're not advertising on Google and Facebook I probably don't recommend that you start looking at the shiny new ones yet. Jon MacDonald : Right. Yeah, start with the basics. Ryan Garrow: Yeah, start with the basics. And then, okay great. It makes sense to do this so you need to have a budget in mind that if it goes horribly wrong and you lose it all and you get no results, it's not going to sink your business. If you're doing a hundred thousand a month in revenue you're not going to go onto a brand new channel for the first month probably and spend $50,000. It just doesn't line up, doesn't make sense unless there's some crazy reason that you believe in your core that that's there. Jon MacDonald : Maybe you like lighting money on fire. Ryan Garrow: True. Maybe you do. And I've got a great thing I can sell you, I'm sure, somewhere that's going to run 50,000 bucks. And so have that budget first. Jon MacDonald : Mm-hmm (affirmative). Ryan Garrow: Then you need to make sure that you can track the traffic. Just by going off on advertising there you have to be able to tag the ads to make sure that when they go to your website or wherever your call to action is, Google Analytics can see that traffic coming in and then tell you if they took the right action after they came to the site. And that's not always the easiest. If you have a profile, let's pick on Snapchat, and you're driving traffic from Snapchat already, does your ad set allow you to do UTM parameters in the URL when you're sending traffic over? Because you want to be able to differentiate organic traffic from that platform and the ad stuff or the traffic from that. Even a lot of companies don't even do that with Instagram and Facebook still. And just look at the different, is it coming from the organic Instagram interactions? Or is it actually coming from an ad that I placed? So be able to track it, and then watch it carefully as it's coming through. Either your marketing team or you as the business owner probably has a good gauge of traffic as it's coming from a new source pretty quickly. And so that's where that light money on fire you have to have some patience to let it do some of the stuff. If there's an algorithm that's helping run your ads for you. Facebook's does some great algorithms in their space, Pinterest has some going. You have to give it enough to do something as far as the budget's concerned. Going out with $5 is probably not going to give you a good test and you also have to give it some time. It's just that data collection to really see it churn and see, is it improving after seven days? Or is it staying the same? Or is it getting much worse? Because maybe you have to make some changes. Jon MacDonald : Now that's a great segue to my next question which is, how do you have the right expectations, right? So you're saying give it a week or so at least, but what are the right expectations I should be having? Obviously if I'm setting the money on fire is what you're suggesting here, my expectations are pretty low, right? Ryan Garrow: Yeah. Jon MacDonald : Maybe I'll stay warm. But other than that, I think it's interesting. I should expect to learn probably, right? Ryan Garrow: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Jon MacDonald : What else should I be expecting here? How do I set those right expectations? Ryan Garrow: Generally, and again I can't give the specifics for every potential business listening to this, but generally newer platforms are not goin
Product descriptions may seem straightforward, but if done right they can significantly improve conversion rates. Today Jon explains why product descriptions are one of the most effective changes you can change to your website and how to write great product descriptions that will convert. The article Jon mentioned on how to write production descriptions that sell: https://thegood.com/insights/product-descriptions/ TRANSCRIPT: Announcer: You're listening to Drive and Convert, a podcast about helping online brands to build a better eCommerce growth engine, with Jon MacDonald and Ryan Garrow. Ryan: Jon, you recently wrote an article that kind of put my head in a spin around product description. Jon: Sometimes that's too easy. Ryan: I know. Spinning my brain's not necessarily the most difficult thing to do if you're in the space, but you wrote an article about product descriptions and how they can significantly improve conversion rates. And that surprises me because I personally ignore those all the time and I focus on other aspects of marketing and driving traffic as per usual. But that for me, is kind of like a side, just put it in there. As long as it's in there and then we can manipulate it going into Google shopping, where it's going to have an impact on your traffic. Just get something in there, period. Obviously I was wrong on this in my opinion. And I'm probably not alone in that. I'm excited today, Jon's going to school us on product descriptions and what you should be doing as an eCommerce business to leverage that to improve conversion rates. Jon, kick us off, explain at a high level, of all the things you could be focusing on on your site, why product descriptions in your mind, are one of the top things you can be doing to improve conversion rates? Jon: Yeah well, I think you basically just said it best in your tee up here where a lot of people just don't pay attention to this. And I think it's really, really forgotten. And that's a challenge in that as you're optimizing websites, it's one of the first places we go because most people forget about it. But look, we've learned over a decade of running AB tests on hundreds of product detail pages that optimizing your product descriptions is just one of the highest return, lowest investment improvements that an eCommerce manager can make. And look, they're key part of your potential customer's decision making process. I think the stat that my team here at The Good always says is that 87% of consumers rate product content extremely or very important to deciding to buy. Ryan: Wow. Jon: 87%. Ryan: Way higher than I would've thought. Jon: Right. Well, that's exactly the problem is most people don't think about this. And so if you're not optimizing product descriptions, you're certainly leaving money on the table. That's why you should focus on this. Ryan: If we're going to improve it, if we just assume that for example, my product descriptions are just terrible because I didn't focus on them, what are the areas I need to be looking at as I'm staring at my product description? And where do I start? I guess would be the best question. Jon: Well, I think there's four main areas that everyone should be focusing on and we can chat about today, but we can break these down. But the first is the real job of a product description. Most people think the real job of the product description is something that it's not. And we'll dive into that a little bit. The second is that it's an effective product description template needs to be used, so we can talk about what goes into those and what items you need to check the box to really make it great. And then how to write one that converts. It's not just having the content, you need to also be thinking about how you're writing that content. And then we can really talk about frequently asked questions around the product descriptions that I get, because I get a lot of questions about it. Once we start optimizing, people start thinking about it, a lot more questions come up than you might imagine. Partly, that's why we're doing the show today, it makes your head spin a little bit. That means there's a lot of questions there and you're not alone in that really. Maybe we can just break those four down and discuss each pretty briefly. Ryan: Yeah, I'm excited for it. What's the real job of a description of a product? In my mind, it's to describe the product. It's a blue t-shirt, congratulations. Jon: Yeah, right, exactly. If you just said blue t-shirt, how many sales do you think you're going to get? Let's just poke a hole in the idea that the job of the eCommerce product description is just to describe the product. I think that that's not right. Given the name, it makes sense that most folks think this, but product descriptions aren't there to just describe what's on your eCommerce site. They're also there to qualify. Do they help your visitors quickly assess, is this for someone like me? Do they persuade? Is it a compelling description? Is it customer centered on the reasons they should be considering that product? And then it's also there to surface. And what I mean by that is to help people find the product. This is the third one on purpose because a lot of people will stuff keywords throughout in terms of search engine optimization in optimizing the product description, but look, SEO keywords and search terms, and if you use those in a natural way, you'll get the page to show up and you want it to show up in search engine or even Amazon results if you're talking about optimizing your product descriptions on Amazon, which should also be done. Here's really one way to really think about this, product descriptions are a bit like your 24/7 in store retail associate for your online store. We often talk about if you wouldn't do something in a retail store, don't do it on your website. Let's take that analogy a step further and say, "How would associate talk about the product?" If you walked into a store and said, "Hey, I'm looking for a t-shirt," what questions are they going to ask to help you find the right one in that store? As a virtual retail associate, the product description can have that same kind of impact. And if it does its job well, it's going to draw visitors to your goods and then increase the conversions on those. And if it's done poorly, it's just going to frustrate visitors and push them away and hurt sales. It's very, very similar. Ryan: I like that. I think a lot of people, at least in what I think through is I don't think about qualifying. I'm like, you got to my page, you click on my products from Google shopping, you saw the price, just go buy it. And then if I'm in the jar looking at the label in the wrong way, from that perspective and I step out, I realize, okay, well I know conversion rates on shopping traffic is generally lower than category page traffic and so I'm like, oh well, possibly because my category is doing a better job describing a product or qualifying that person coming in and I'm just leaving that there rather than pulling it through and looking at qualifying them. Jon: Yeah. You're not alone on that. A lot of brands look at a category page as an opportunity to convert. I look at a category page as an opportunity to help somebody to the next step in the funnel, which is get them to that product detail page. And that's where you can really convert and sell and make sure people are getting the right product for them. Ryan: Okay, I concur. Tell us then okay, once I decide that it's more than just describing a product, what's a template look like that's going to help me through creating this product description that is going to be more than just describing my product? Jon: I love when I can change minds. And I'm glad we're helping do that today. All right. Ryan: We are. Jon: Again, here. Ryan: I'm taking notes. Jon: There are a handful of bullet points of things that you want to ensure are included. First of all, you need a descriptive headline. Use a product title that's going to hook your audience. Bonus points if you can connect with them emotionally. We don't want blue t-shirt, we want the t-shirt that makes your dad bod look hot. Ryan: I'm getting those ads on Instagram, by the way. I'm like, no, this is terrible. Jon: Ryan's looking good today in his shirt, by the way. All right. Benefits focused paragraphs. Use a descriptive paragraph to explain why, and I mean exactly why the customer benefits from the product. Too many people talk about features and that's it, they're just bullet point features and then don't talk about the benefits. You know how I led with the t-shirt that's going to make your dad bod look hot? That's what we want to be talking about here. What's the benefit? Not that it's a blue t-shirt. Yeah, that might be in there, but what's the benefit of wearing that t-shirt? The other thing we want to have in here is a key benefits list. Follow that description with a bulleted list of product features and benefits and this is where you can get into those details that if somebody is just skimming, they're going to look at that list. You're really what you're doing here is you're providing the benefits in a paragraph, maybe even telling a little bit of a story could be really helpful there. Don't make it too long. But then if somebody really wants, just give me the details. I already know I want a blue t-shirt, I just am deciding between two or three different ones and they want to know the specs and the features, that's where they're going to go is the bullet list. Don't bury those in the paragraph. The paragraph should be, hey, here's the benefits to you. If you want to know the features and the details, look at the bullet list that comes next. And then the fourth thing is, add some additional motivations. Really what we're trying to do here is just minimize those remaining purchase hurdles. Will it fit? Do others like it? Do things like credibility, social
Traffic sources can come from a number of places, but for most companies the largest source is Google. And things can get confusing when it comes to organic traffic versus paid ads.There are a number of things that can affect organic traffic and paid traffic in Google, and it can get confusing quickly. Today Ryan clears things up and tells you what does and doesn't work in Google, and focuses on what you can do with on-site SEO to improve your organic rankings. The site mentioned for checking your organic rankings: www.semrush.com TRANSCRIPT: Announcer: You're listening to Drive and Convert, a podcast about helping online brands to build a better e-commerce growth engine with Jon McDonald and Ryan Garrow. Jon: Hey Ryan. So traffic to a website comes from many different channels and avenues, as we all know. And for most companies though, that largest source is always Google, the infamous Google traffic source. Now, from previous conversations with you, I know that Google shopping, spend and traffic can have a really positive impact on organic traffic in Google. Which always has blown my mind when I've heard that, because I heard from you recently too, that there are several types of search engine optimization that can have an impact on paid search. Not just on on-page. So this really confused me, because I thought Google kept everything separate. You can't spend money to grow rankings within Google. You can buy your spot with an ad, maybe do some stuff around shopping to get surface there. But I wasn't aware that those two really correlated with organic. So I'm looking forward to hearing about how search engine optimization can help your paid search. And I guess more simply, what are you talking about? Can you fill me in on this? Ryan: Yeah. So I don't want to confuse people kind of with the title or how we're putting this out there, but you can't spend money on paid search to have Google increase your rankings. That's been a myth disproved multiple times over, and Google has been very, I think, above board in how that works. But we do know that spending more on shopping, where people discover your product more, they will come back and buy through organic and direct, and those channels will start producing more revenue. But what people I think overlook are the fact that there are two types of SEO that people need to be aware of. And you should always as a business owner be investing or planning to invest in both SEO and paid search. I don't think one is greater than the other necessarily long-term, but you need to have both. And the type of SEO that people talk about or think about when they say SEO is what we've been doing generally for 20 years, building our rankings in authority with back links that are of high quality, putting content out on the internet that Google recognizes as valuable and they will give you more authority. You spend now on SEO with that's either your time or money, hiring people to do that. And then four to six months you see the results in increased traffic. That's generally what people think about with SEO. What they tend to overlook is the SEO that gets results actually within two weeks of you doing it. And that's the on-site SEO work. And so there's things you can do on your site to improve it that when Google re-indexes that you will move up in rankings. And this type of SEO will help organic traffic, but also have an oversized impact on paid search. And so because it dabbles both of those buckets I like to focus on that SEO before I even go to the SEO that people normally think about. And so on-site SEO at its simplest form is improving your category pages for Google. Jon: Okay. So you're talking content, better imagery, things of that sort? Ryan: Yeah. The content, the tags, the titles, things on that site that Google indexes and sees have a lot of benefits around your website and traffic generally. And so, if you do a search for your product, and so if you sell Nike shoes and that's the broad search that has lots of traffic, you will notice on Google most of the organic results are for categories of Nike shoes. It's not one specific Nike shoe like a shopping ad would be. Because Google, based on that search, knows that you don't know which specific model you're looking for or if you're looking for men's or women's. You're looking for Nike shoes. And so often the high volume terms are going to be category pages that Google is going to be indexing and sending traffic to until people get more and more specific with their searches. And that's how people generally move down a funnel, is I gradually do my research... Forgot, okay. Now I know I need to be searching for men's Nike shoes. Then I see that page. I'm like, "Oh, I need to be searching for men's Jordan Nike shoes." And then I'm like, "I really want to search for Jordan 4 men's shoes." And then that's when I'm getting to more and more specific and even adding color onto that, and people will do that through a search funnel. But the biggest advantage is saying, "All right, I have this category page and I need to have a description on that page about what's on that page that Google can see." And it doesn't necessarily matter for searchers because if I'm searching for Nike shoes and I'm on a page of Nike shoes, I can see they're Nike, I can see they're shoes. I don't need to read that text to see it. And so putting that on there though will have an outsized impact on quick increase in rankings. And so I like to start this by telling people to go to SEMrush, or some site like that to be able to see what is Google doing with your organic site, how are you average ranking on there? There's some wonderful reports on SEMrush. It's the one I use because it's probably simple enough that we to dive into very, very quick. I don't get super deep on a lot of my analysis. I get high-level and figure out some strategy and then move off of that. But SEMrush has some great things they've done from an organic perspective. They scraped these results pages, and they know generally where you're ranking. Obviously you rank in different parts of the country differently, and search intent and my previous search history is going to impact my organic results. But generally we know that hey, you're ranking here on this keyword. And SEMrush also brings in the average volume of searches a month. And so to start to see where your site could have a quick impact on this, you go to SEMrush, click on your organic rankings, sort it by volume. And you'll start seeing where your site is ranking. So if you're ranking on number 70 for a term with 10,000 searches, you're still getting zero traffic because you're stuck somewhere on page seven. But it'll also show you which page is ranking there. And when you see that you're like, "Oh, this page is ranking for that. And I'm seeing the term 'Nike shoes' goes to my Nike shoe page. That's great." You can click it actually in SEMrush and pull it up. Very simple. And you can see there's nothing on that page other than my title that says, "Nike shoes," in text that the search engine can scrape and understand. And so you take those category pages and you write that paragraph of text. You maybe make sure that your title is short and appropriate for that search. You make sure the H tags on the site are appropriate for that, and it's not including random other characters or doesn't have your brand first. It doesn't have sizes first maybe, if you're looking at shoes. That information on your site will raise the ranking within two weeks. And it really depends on your competitors on what they've done or what they're doing. But within two weeks, you can assume that you're going to have more value to Google. They're going to raise you up there. And that's by no means a bad thing when you're getting quick results on SEO. Jon: Yeah. So if you're looking at all of this and I'm hearing from you that okay, do onsite for sure. But how does this affect paid search? I understand that you can't buy your listings. You can buy optimization of these pages, which is search engine optimization, and that could help you. But how is this going to affect your paid search? To me, it doesn't feel like it would. So that's what was kind of shocking. So yeah. Tell me more about that. Ryan: For Google ads, if you're running text ads there's something that Google has called the Google quality score. That basically gives you three components. It says if you do well here, we're going to let you pay less than your competitors for the same search. So there's always a value having a higher quality score. It's one to 10 and there's three components. There's the expected click through rate. That's always relative to your competitors. And so somebody may come to me and think, "Well, I have a 7% click through rate. That's great. Right?" And I'm like, "No. There's no way of knowing that." It's based on your competitors and what are they getting. If Google knows that compared to your competitors you're getting a 7% click through rate on the same search term and they're getting a 10% click through rate, guess who Google wants coming up higher? Jon: Right. Just because it's more relevant to the searcher, and that's what they're understanding. And that's going to drive more money for Google in the end because more people will click on it. Ryan: Exactly. Jon: Okay. Yep. Ryan: Google makes decisions for themselves. They have shareholders, they need to make money, and that's fine. It's their platform. So the higher click-through rate is good. And then the ad relevance, so they're saying, "All right, does your ad have instances of the keyword that was searched in it?" We generally, horrible broad stroke, shoot for about three times in the ad, and the rest of the text in the ad doesn't have an oversized impact on the actual click rate. It's just you have it for Google, you're playing the game to get ranked higher. And then the other piece is the landing page and t
In the Ecommerce world, it's almost always about the data. But what works well for large organizations may not work well for small ones and vice versa. A lot of that has to do with how much data you have, and large organizations tend to have more. So where should different size organizations starts as far as collecting data and making use of it? And why do we even need data in the Ecommerce world?
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