You Can Use 404s to Boost Your SEO. Here’s How.

The dreaded 404 error page.

We’ve all encountered it at some point.

And in my opinion, there’s no bigger buzzkill than getting hit with a 404 error when browsing a site.

You’re right in the middle of exploring interesting content, and all of a sudden, you’re thrown a curveball.

If you’re not sure what a 404 page is, let’s look at a formal definition.

According to Google,

A 404 page is what a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your site (because they’ve clicked on a broken link, the page has been deleted or they’ve mistyped a URL).

Here’s what an ugly, generic 404 looks like:

image13

Not too flattering, huh?

But you can pretty them up, like I did on Quick Sprout:

image09

You’ve seen 404s. You’ve cursed 404s. And your site might even have 404s.

The problem with 404s

What’s the big deal with 404s?

Are they really that bad?

First off, let me make something clear.

Every site will get some 404s, and it’s okay! 404s happen when people—your potential site visitors— type in the wrong URL.

For example, if I type in “businessinsider.com” in my browser and continue typing gibberish, I’ll get a 404.

image00

It’s not Business Insider’s fault I got a 404. It’s my fault.

You’ll never be able to eliminate 404s completely.

But there are some 404s that are within your control and which you do need to pay attention to.

Here’s why.

If a user encounters a web server issue such as a 404 page, they’re highly likely to hit the back button and return to the search engine.

When your visitors do this en mass, it creates a phenomenon called “pogo sticking,” which looks like this:

image01

This is a problem because it tells Google that your content isn’t adding value for a particular keyword query.

If this happens enough, you’re likely to see a drop in rankings.

Not cool.

The inevitability of 404s

As I mentioned above, 404s are going to happen. It’s not if but when your visitors will encounter them.

Many 404s won’t be your fault. But some will be your fault, and it’s hard to control them. Even if you’re an amazing SEO or webmaster, some will slip through the cracks.

And the bigger your site is, the more 404s you’ll have.

One of the leading causes of 404s is broken links.

Websites change. Links point nowhere. And 404s happen.

In fact, some huge websites can acquire up to 10 new broken links every day.

Just look at the number of broken links found on some of the world’s top websites:

image06

If it happens to behemoths like Cisco and Apple, you can bet it’s going to happen to you.

And as I mentioned earlier, broken links are just one reason behind 404s. Other times, it’s simply due to a visitor mistyping a URL.

The bottom line is that 404s are inevitable, and you need an effective way to deal with them.

What’s the solution?

It’s actually pretty simple.

You need to create a customized, branded 404 page.

Here’s a good a example of one from MailChimp:

image11

Here’s another from Hootsuite:

image12

Think about it.

Would you rather get hit with an ugly, generic 404 or one that’s well-designed and cleverly branded?

I’d bet most people would opt for the latter.

But that’s just part of it.

Although these 404 pages are cute, they won’t do anything for your SEO.

Use 404s for good

What you want to do is not only stop 404s from hurting your SEO but use them to boost your SEO.

But doesn’t that seem a little counterintuitive? How in the world can 404s be beneficial to SEO?

Here’s what you do.

Create a custom 404 page with a branded design, like the ones from MailChimp and Hootsuite, and add several internal links to it.

I like to shoot for anywhere between 25 to 50 links.

Bam!

Instead of leaving your site in a hurry, visitors will be encouraged to check out more content and keep browsing.

Assuming the links you provide lead to engaging, helpful content, many visitors will stick around for awhile and work themselves deeper into your sales funnel.

In terms of SEO value, this reduces any pogo sticking from taking place and supplies your site with more SEO juice. Rather than 404s being a detriment to your SEO, they actually become an asset.

You’re basically turning a negative into a positive—pretty sweet.

And there are several other benefits as well:

  • You’re far less likely to annoy your visitors
  • It can increase your brand equity
  • You can increase the average amount of time spent on your site
  • You can reduce your bounce rate
  • Visitors are more likely to check out additional content
  • In the long run, this should have a positive impact on conversions and sales

In many ways, a customized 404 page with internal links is like an SEO magic bullet.

It can do much good without much effort on your part.

Specific strategies and examples

Now that we’ve established that adding internal links is the technique you want to implement, let’s get into the specifics of it.

One way to implement this strategy is to link to some of your most popular posts as well as your homepage.

Even Google suggests doing this:

image05

I recommend looking over your analytics to see which posts received the most engagement (clicks, shares, comments, and so on).

Then include these on your 404 page.

Doing so can increase the number of pages on your site that get indexed, boosting your SEO.

And it totally works.

In fact, I used this very strategy a few years back when I was working with TechCrunch.

Within 30 days, I was able to boost their search traffic considerably (9% to be exact).

Add a search bar

This is an incredibly simple feature, but it’s one that can have a tremendous impact.

According to Econsultancy,

…conversion rates through site search can be up to 50% higher than the average. Visitors converted at 4.63% versus the websites’ average of 2.77%, which is 1.8 times more effective. Consequently, visitors using search contributed 13.8% of the revenues.

In other words, “People who use search are more likely to purchase.”

Try to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes for a second.

They arrive on your site and are looking for information on a particular topic or product.

They stumble upon a roadblock with an unanticipated 404 page.

Rather than leaving annoyed, they can simply look up whatever interests them in the search box.

Voila! They instantly find other valuable content to quench their thirst.

Twitter pulls this off well on its 404 page:

image10

So does GitHub:

image04

Add links to products

Let’s say you run an e-commerce store.

One way you can improve the customer shopping experience is to link to other areas of your website.

More specifically, you can create links based around different product categories.

Here’s a really good example from ModCloth, a women’s fashion store:

image02

Not only does this improve SEO and keep visitors happy, it facilitates a smoother shopping experience and should improve conversions as well.

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

Include a link to your sitemap

I’m sure you’re at least somewhat familiar with sitemaps and how they affect SEO.

If you’re not, here’s a screenshot of some of the key benefits of SEO according to OnCrawl:

image08

Why not include a link to your sitemap?

That’s what Starbucks did:

image03

And its 404 page turned out looking great.

Here’s one last little tip

Be sure to explain what went wrong.

I’ve found this helps reduce user frustration.

I know I feel some sort of relief when I simply know what’s going on.

This 404 page from X-Cart does a great job of this:

image07

Notice there’s no crazy jargon.

In plain English, it explains some of the possible reasons for the 404 error you’ve encountered on their site.

How to create a customized 404 page

Now that we’ve established just how beneficial a personalized 404 page can be for SEO, this brings us to one important question.

How the heck do you create one?

As you well know, I’m a huge fan of WordPress.

It truly is a godsend for anyone who wants to create a beautiful, professional looking website but doesn’t know much about coding.

I suggest using the 404page plugin for WordPress.

It’s a one-stop-shop for creating a basic 404 page.

You can customize it and include whatever information you’d like to share with visitors who encounter your 404.

The best part is you don’t need to have any programming skills to use it.

However, if you want your 404 page to be super specialized and brand-centric, you may want to shell out the cash to hire a professional developer.

If you’ve got the budget and want it to look uber-professional, this is usually the best route to take.

You can find skilled developers through sites such as Guru and Upwork.

Many are more affordable than you might think.

Conclusion

The way I look at it, 404s are an unpleasnt yet unavoidable part of running a website.

Of course, you can use tools like the Online Broken Link Checker, but you’ll still have issues at some point.

And even if you somehow manage to catch all the broken links, visitors will still mistype URLs.

The best way to handle 404s is to customize them and incorporate relevant internal links.

A customized 404 page will not only protect your SEO from harm but also improve it.

Not to mention that it makes for a much more satisfying user experience.

To learn more about the broad spectrum of 404 pages, check out this post I wrote on NeilPatel.com.

Are you persuaded to keep exploring a site if it has a helpful 404 page?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/04/19/you-can-use-404s-to-boost-your-seo-heres-how/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/you-can-use-404s-to-boost-your-seo-heres-how-3/
via SEO NYC Blog

You Can Use 404s to Boost Your SEO. Here’s How.

The dreaded 404 error page.

We’ve all encountered it at some point.

And in my opinion, there’s no bigger buzzkill than getting hit with a 404 error when browsing a site.

You’re right in the middle of exploring interesting content, and all of a sudden, you’re thrown a curveball.

If you’re not sure what a 404 page is, let’s look at a formal definition.

According to Google,

A 404 page is what a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your site (because they’ve clicked on a broken link, the page has been deleted or they’ve mistyped a URL).

Here’s what an ugly, generic 404 looks like:

image13

Not too flattering, huh?

But you can pretty them up, like I did on Quick Sprout:

image09

You’ve seen 404s. You’ve cursed 404s. And your site might even have 404s.

The problem with 404s

What’s the big deal with 404s?

Are they really that bad?

First off, let me make something clear.

Every site will get some 404s, and it’s okay! 404s happen when people—your potential site visitors— type in the wrong URL.

For example, if I type in “businessinsider.com” in my browser and continue typing gibberish, I’ll get a 404.

image00

It’s not Business Insider’s fault I got a 404. It’s my fault.

You’ll never be able to eliminate 404s completely.

But there are some 404s that are within your control and which you do need to pay attention to.

Here’s why.

If a user encounters a web server issue such as a 404 page, they’re highly likely to hit the back button and return to the search engine.

When your visitors do this en mass, it creates a phenomenon called “pogo sticking,” which looks like this:

image01

This is a problem because it tells Google that your content isn’t adding value for a particular keyword query.

If this happens enough, you’re likely to see a drop in rankings.

Not cool.

The inevitability of 404s

As I mentioned above, 404s are going to happen. It’s not if but when your visitors will encounter them.

Many 404s won’t be your fault. But some will be your fault, and it’s hard to control them. Even if you’re an amazing SEO or webmaster, some will slip through the cracks.

And the bigger your site is, the more 404s you’ll have.

One of the leading causes of 404s is broken links.

Websites change. Links point nowhere. And 404s happen.

In fact, some huge websites can acquire up to 10 new broken links every day.

Just look at the number of broken links found on some of the world’s top websites:

image06

If it happens to behemoths like Cisco and Apple, you can bet it’s going to happen to you.

And as I mentioned earlier, broken links are just one reason behind 404s. Other times, it’s simply due to a visitor mistyping a URL.

The bottom line is that 404s are inevitable, and you need an effective way to deal with them.

What’s the solution?

It’s actually pretty simple.

You need to create a customized, branded 404 page.

Here’s a good a example of one from MailChimp:

image11

Here’s another from Hootsuite:

image12

Think about it.

Would you rather get hit with an ugly, generic 404 or one that’s well-designed and cleverly branded?

I’d bet most people would opt for the latter.

But that’s just part of it.

Although these 404 pages are cute, they won’t do anything for your SEO.

Use 404s for good

What you want to do is not only stop 404s from hurting your SEO but use them to boost your SEO.

But doesn’t that seem a little counterintuitive? How in the world can 404s be beneficial to SEO?

Here’s what you do.

Create a custom 404 page with a branded design, like the ones from MailChimp and Hootsuite, and add several internal links to it.

I like to shoot for anywhere between 25 to 50 links.

Bam!

Instead of leaving your site in a hurry, visitors will be encouraged to check out more content and keep browsing.

Assuming the links you provide lead to engaging, helpful content, many visitors will stick around for awhile and work themselves deeper into your sales funnel.

In terms of SEO value, this reduces any pogo sticking from taking place and supplies your site with more SEO juice. Rather than 404s being a detriment to your SEO, they actually become an asset.

You’re basically turning a negative into a positive—pretty sweet.

And there are several other benefits as well:

  • You’re far less likely to annoy your visitors
  • It can increase your brand equity
  • You can increase the average amount of time spent on your site
  • You can reduce your bounce rate
  • Visitors are more likely to check out additional content
  • In the long run, this should have a positive impact on conversions and sales

In many ways, a customized 404 page with internal links is like an SEO magic bullet.

It can do much good without much effort on your part.

Specific strategies and examples

Now that we’ve established that adding internal links is the technique you want to implement, let’s get into the specifics of it.

One way to implement this strategy is to link to some of your most popular posts as well as your homepage.

Even Google suggests doing this:

image05

I recommend looking over your analytics to see which posts received the most engagement (clicks, shares, comments, and so on).

Then include these on your 404 page.

Doing so can increase the number of pages on your site that get indexed, boosting your SEO.

And it totally works.

In fact, I used this very strategy a few years back when I was working with TechCrunch.

Within 30 days, I was able to boost their search traffic considerably (9% to be exact).

Add a search bar

This is an incredibly simple feature, but it’s one that can have a tremendous impact.

According to Econsultancy,

…conversion rates through site search can be up to 50% higher than the average. Visitors converted at 4.63% versus the websites’ average of 2.77%, which is 1.8 times more effective. Consequently, visitors using search contributed 13.8% of the revenues.

In other words, “People who use search are more likely to purchase.”

Try to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes for a second.

They arrive on your site and are looking for information on a particular topic or product.

They stumble upon a roadblock with an unanticipated 404 page.

Rather than leaving annoyed, they can simply look up whatever interests them in the search box.

Voila! They instantly find other valuable content to quench their thirst.

Twitter pulls this off well on its 404 page:

image10

So does GitHub:

image04

Add links to products

Let’s say you run an e-commerce store.

One way you can improve the customer shopping experience is to link to other areas of your website.

More specifically, you can create links based around different product categories.

Here’s a really good example from ModCloth, a women’s fashion store:

image02

Not only does this improve SEO and keep visitors happy, it facilitates a smoother shopping experience and should improve conversions as well.

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

Include a link to your sitemap

I’m sure you’re at least somewhat familiar with sitemaps and how they affect SEO.

If you’re not, here’s a screenshot of some of the key benefits of SEO according to OnCrawl:

image08

Why not include a link to your sitemap?

That’s what Starbucks did:

image03

And its 404 page turned out looking great.

Here’s one last little tip

Be sure to explain what went wrong.

I’ve found this helps reduce user frustration.

I know I feel some sort of relief when I simply know what’s going on.

This 404 page from X-Cart does a great job of this:

image07

Notice there’s no crazy jargon.

In plain English, it explains some of the possible reasons for the 404 error you’ve encountered on their site.

How to create a customized 404 page

Now that we’ve established just how beneficial a personalized 404 page can be for SEO, this brings us to one important question.

How the heck do you create one?

As you well know, I’m a huge fan of WordPress.

It truly is a godsend for anyone who wants to create a beautiful, professional looking website but doesn’t know much about coding.

I suggest using the 404page plugin for WordPress.

It’s a one-stop-shop for creating a basic 404 page.

You can customize it and include whatever information you’d like to share with visitors who encounter your 404.

The best part is you don’t need to have any programming skills to use it.

However, if you want your 404 page to be super specialized and brand-centric, you may want to shell out the cash to hire a professional developer.

If you’ve got the budget and want it to look uber-professional, this is usually the best route to take.

You can find skilled developers through sites such as Guru and Upwork.

Many are more affordable than you might think.

Conclusion

The way I look at it, 404s are an unpleasnt yet unavoidable part of running a website.

Of course, you can use tools like the Online Broken Link Checker, but you’ll still have issues at some point.

And even if you somehow manage to catch all the broken links, visitors will still mistype URLs.

The best way to handle 404s is to customize them and incorporate relevant internal links.

A customized 404 page will not only protect your SEO from harm but also improve it.

Not to mention that it makes for a much more satisfying user experience.

To learn more about the broad spectrum of 404 pages, check out this post I wrote on NeilPatel.com.

Are you persuaded to keep exploring a site if it has a helpful 404 page?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/04/19/you-can-use-404s-to-boost-your-seo-heres-how/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/you-can-use-404s-to-boost-your-seo-heres-how-2/
via SEO NYC Blog

You Can Use 404s to Boost Your SEO. Here’s How.

The dreaded 404 error page.

We’ve all encountered it at some point.

And in my opinion, there’s no bigger buzzkill than getting hit with a 404 error when browsing a site.

You’re right in the middle of exploring interesting content, and all of a sudden, you’re thrown a curveball.

If you’re not sure what a 404 page is, let’s look at a formal definition.

According to Google,

A 404 page is what a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your site (because they’ve clicked on a broken link, the page has been deleted or they’ve mistyped a URL).

Here’s what an ugly, generic 404 looks like:

image13

Not too flattering, huh?

But you can pretty them up, like I did on Quick Sprout:

image09

You’ve seen 404s. You’ve cursed 404s. And your site might even have 404s.

The problem with 404s

What’s the big deal with 404s?

Are they really that bad?

First off, let me make something clear.

Every site will get some 404s, and it’s okay! 404s happen when people—your potential site visitors— type in the wrong URL.

For example, if I type in “businessinsider.com” in my browser and continue typing gibberish, I’ll get a 404.

image00

It’s not Business Insider’s fault I got a 404. It’s my fault.

You’ll never be able to eliminate 404s completely.

But there are some 404s that are within your control and which you do need to pay attention to.

Here’s why.

If a user encounters a web server issue such as a 404 page, they’re highly likely to hit the back button and return to the search engine.

When your visitors do this en mass, it creates a phenomenon called “pogo sticking,” which looks like this:

image01

This is a problem because it tells Google that your content isn’t adding value for a particular keyword query.

If this happens enough, you’re likely to see a drop in rankings.

Not cool.

The inevitability of 404s

As I mentioned above, 404s are going to happen. It’s not if but when your visitors will encounter them.

Many 404s won’t be your fault. But some will be your fault, and it’s hard to control them. Even if you’re an amazing SEO or webmaster, some will slip through the cracks.

And the bigger your site is, the more 404s you’ll have.

One of the leading causes of 404s is broken links.

Websites change. Links point nowhere. And 404s happen.

In fact, some huge websites can acquire up to 10 new broken links every day.

Just look at the number of broken links found on some of the world’s top websites:

image06

If it happens to behemoths like Cisco and Apple, you can bet it’s going to happen to you.

And as I mentioned earlier, broken links are just one reason behind 404s. Other times, it’s simply due to a visitor mistyping a URL.

The bottom line is that 404s are inevitable, and you need an effective way to deal with them.

What’s the solution?

It’s actually pretty simple.

You need to create a customized, branded 404 page.

Here’s a good a example of one from MailChimp:

image11

Here’s another from Hootsuite:

image12

Think about it.

Would you rather get hit with an ugly, generic 404 or one that’s well-designed and cleverly branded?

I’d bet most people would opt for the latter.

But that’s just part of it.

Although these 404 pages are cute, they won’t do anything for your SEO.

Use 404s for good

What you want to do is not only stop 404s from hurting your SEO but use them to boost your SEO.

But doesn’t that seem a little counterintuitive? How in the world can 404s be beneficial to SEO?

Here’s what you do.

Create a custom 404 page with a branded design, like the ones from MailChimp and Hootsuite, and add several internal links to it.

I like to shoot for anywhere between 25 to 50 links.

Bam!

Instead of leaving your site in a hurry, visitors will be encouraged to check out more content and keep browsing.

Assuming the links you provide lead to engaging, helpful content, many visitors will stick around for awhile and work themselves deeper into your sales funnel.

In terms of SEO value, this reduces any pogo sticking from taking place and supplies your site with more SEO juice. Rather than 404s being a detriment to your SEO, they actually become an asset.

You’re basically turning a negative into a positive—pretty sweet.

And there are several other benefits as well:

  • You’re far less likely to annoy your visitors
  • It can increase your brand equity
  • You can increase the average amount of time spent on your site
  • You can reduce your bounce rate
  • Visitors are more likely to check out additional content
  • In the long run, this should have a positive impact on conversions and sales

In many ways, a customized 404 page with internal links is like an SEO magic bullet.

It can do much good without much effort on your part.

Specific strategies and examples

Now that we’ve established that adding internal links is the technique you want to implement, let’s get into the specifics of it.

One way to implement this strategy is to link to some of your most popular posts as well as your homepage.

Even Google suggests doing this:

image05

I recommend looking over your analytics to see which posts received the most engagement (clicks, shares, comments, and so on).

Then include these on your 404 page.

Doing so can increase the number of pages on your site that get indexed, boosting your SEO.

And it totally works.

In fact, I used this very strategy a few years back when I was working with TechCrunch.

Within 30 days, I was able to boost their search traffic considerably (9% to be exact).

Add a search bar

This is an incredibly simple feature, but it’s one that can have a tremendous impact.

According to Econsultancy,

…conversion rates through site search can be up to 50% higher than the average. Visitors converted at 4.63% versus the websites’ average of 2.77%, which is 1.8 times more effective. Consequently, visitors using search contributed 13.8% of the revenues.

In other words, “People who use search are more likely to purchase.”

Try to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes for a second.

They arrive on your site and are looking for information on a particular topic or product.

They stumble upon a roadblock with an unanticipated 404 page.

Rather than leaving annoyed, they can simply look up whatever interests them in the search box.

Voila! They instantly find other valuable content to quench their thirst.

Twitter pulls this off well on its 404 page:

image10

So does GitHub:

image04

Add links to products

Let’s say you run an e-commerce store.

One way you can improve the customer shopping experience is to link to other areas of your website.

More specifically, you can create links based around different product categories.

Here’s a really good example from ModCloth, a women’s fashion store:

image02

Not only does this improve SEO and keep visitors happy, it facilitates a smoother shopping experience and should improve conversions as well.

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

Include a link to your sitemap

I’m sure you’re at least somewhat familiar with sitemaps and how they affect SEO.

If you’re not, here’s a screenshot of some of the key benefits of SEO according to OnCrawl:

image08

Why not include a link to your sitemap?

That’s what Starbucks did:

image03

And its 404 page turned out looking great.

Here’s one last little tip

Be sure to explain what went wrong.

I’ve found this helps reduce user frustration.

I know I feel some sort of relief when I simply know what’s going on.

This 404 page from X-Cart does a great job of this:

image07

Notice there’s no crazy jargon.

In plain English, it explains some of the possible reasons for the 404 error you’ve encountered on their site.

How to create a customized 404 page

Now that we’ve established just how beneficial a personalized 404 page can be for SEO, this brings us to one important question.

How the heck do you create one?

As you well know, I’m a huge fan of WordPress.

It truly is a godsend for anyone who wants to create a beautiful, professional looking website but doesn’t know much about coding.

I suggest using the 404page plugin for WordPress.

It’s a one-stop-shop for creating a basic 404 page.

You can customize it and include whatever information you’d like to share with visitors who encounter your 404.

The best part is you don’t need to have any programming skills to use it.

However, if you want your 404 page to be super specialized and brand-centric, you may want to shell out the cash to hire a professional developer.

If you’ve got the budget and want it to look uber-professional, this is usually the best route to take.

You can find skilled developers through sites such as Guru and Upwork.

Many are more affordable than you might think.

Conclusion

The way I look at it, 404s are an unpleasnt yet unavoidable part of running a website.

Of course, you can use tools like the Online Broken Link Checker, but you’ll still have issues at some point.

And even if you somehow manage to catch all the broken links, visitors will still mistype URLs.

The best way to handle 404s is to customize them and incorporate relevant internal links.

A customized 404 page will not only protect your SEO from harm but also improve it.

Not to mention that it makes for a much more satisfying user experience.

To learn more about the broad spectrum of 404 pages, check out this post I wrote on NeilPatel.com.

Are you persuaded to keep exploring a site if it has a helpful 404 page?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/04/19/you-can-use-404s-to-boost-your-seo-heres-how/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/you-can-use-404s-to-boost-your-seo-heres-how/
via SEO NYC Blog

How to Create a Trust Seal on Your Checkout Page

Trust is everything.

If you can’t earn consumers’ trust, you’re fighting a losing battle.

And what’s a specific area that makes many consumers wary?

That’s simple. It’s the way in which businesses handle payment information.

In fact, a lack of trust in credit card processing is one of the top reasons for checkout abandonment.

Research from the Baymard Institute found that “18% of American shoppers abandon the checkout because they don’t trust the website with their credit card information.”

image10

This means you can kiss one out of every five shoppers goodbye.

And I totally get it.

I completely understand why some shoppers feel uncomfortable sharing their credit card information.

Identity theft and cyber crime are on the rise. This is people’s money and identity we’re talking about! I don’t blame people for being super cautious.

A study from Javelin Strategy & Research found that identity fraud hit a record high in 2016.

More specifically,

$16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier.

In the past six years, identity theft thieves have stolen over $107 billion.

Here’s what that looks like in graphs:

image16

It has become a serious problem.

If you haven’t been the victim of identity theft yourself, there’s a good chance you know someone who has.

Just look at the increase in the number of identity theft and fraud complaints between 2012 and 2015:

image20

This means one thing.

Most people don’t want to hand over their credit card information to just anyone.

They want to know for sure that the company they’re doing business with is taking every possible security precaution to ensure that their sensitive information doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands.

And I definitely understand where they’re coming from.

I know I avoid doing business with any website that looks sketchy and where security could be a potential issue.

In fact, I’ve found myself abandoning the checkout page several times on account of this.

It’s just not worth the risk.

How can you gain the trust of your online shoppers?

This puts modern business owners in a bit of a quandary.

You need to come up with an effective way to put shoppers’ minds at ease and let them know they’re in good hands when they do business with you.

What can you do?

There are several factors that shoppers take into consideration when determining whether or not they trust a particular website.

Some examples include:

  • How professional the site looks
  • How quickly it loads
  • Whether a trusted friend or colleague has used the site before
  • Whether the site contains well-known brands or products
  • Whether it has easy-to-find contact information

But there’s one factor that reassures shoppers above all else.

And that’s a trust seal.

In fact,

a survey conducted by Econsultancy/Toluna confirmed the power of trust seals when it asked participants which factors help them to decide whether or not to trust a website.

image19

Just think about it.

How many times have you had your fears or doubts quelled when you saw a trust seal when you’re checking out?

I know this puts me at ease.

And there’s evidence that shows just how big of an impact trust seals can have.

Research on trust seals

This great article from ConversionXL tackles the topic of checkout optimization and the way trust seals affect security perception.

The post includes data from a study that used eye tracking to determine the exact impact trust seals have.

Here’s a screenshot of what this study entailed:

image08

Participants then saw one of the following six trust seals:

image14

As you can see, there are trust seals from several notable companies such as McAfee, PayPal, the BBB, and so on.

And here are the observational patterns (the patterns respondents’ eyes followed):

image01

By examining these findings, it’s easy to see that trust seals are huge.

After shoppers initially look at the logo and “payment method” section, their eyes inevitably shift to the trust seal at the bottom.

This goes to show that it’s an integral factor in whether a shopper decides to go through with the checkout process and actually make a purchase.

It makes sense that displaying a trust seal on your checkout page will increase trust, thereby boosting your conversion rate.

Are some trust seals more trusted than others?

You may be wondering whether shoppers respond more favorably to certain trust seals than others.

This chart shows us the specifics:

image21

As you can see, the “PayPal Verified” seal was noticed the most, at 67%.

This was followed by the “Google Trusted Store” seal at 63% and “Norton Secured” seal at 59%.

It’s also important to note that survey respondents remembered certain trust seals more than others:

image11

However, ConversionXL reports that the differences were fairly minimal.

According to them,

it’s clear that there weren’t huge differences between trust seals. Using eye tracking, we confirmed that all trust seals are equally noticeable.

In other words, it doesn’t make a massive difference which specific trust seal you use.

As long as you have one from a fairly reputable company, it should have a positive impact in terms of gaining the trust of your shoppers.

If you haven’t yet installed a trust seal on your checkout page, I highly recommend that you do so immediately.

This can have a tremendous impact on your conversion rate and overall revenue.

Want proof?

Look no further than a split test performed by Blue Fountain Media.

Here’s what their original checkout page looked like before they added a trust seal:

image03

Here’s their checkout page with a Verisign seal:

image04

Guess what impact this had?

Sales increased by a whopping 42%!

Notice that nothing else on the page changed—except for the “Your Privacy” section, which got replaced by the Verisign seal.

This isn’t to say that your sales will instantly jump up by 42%, but I can pretty much guarantee some type of increase.

Just imagine what a trust seal could do for your long-term profits—it could be major.

How do you create a trust seal?

Here’s how the general process works.

  1. You choose a company, such as McAfee or Norton, and choose the plan you want (some basic plans are free, and more robust plans cost money).
  2. They perform testing on your site.
  3. Assuming everything looks good and your site passes the test, they will certify your site.
  4. You install the trust seal.
  5. It appears on your checkout page, and you’re good to go.

Of course, this is an oversimplification of things, so let me walk you through the process step by step.

I’ll just use McAfee as an example because I’m familiar with it.

The specific steps may vary slightly depending on the security company you choose, but the overall process should be basically the same.

Step #1 – Sign up

Visit McAfee SECURE to check out plans and pricing.

image13

In the case of McAfee, it’s very straightforward.

There are two plans to choose from: “Free” and “Pro.”

Here’s how the two plans break down:

image07

FYI, “Pro” costs $29 per month as I’m writing this.

Next, install the McAfee SECURE plugin on WordPress.

You can find it by searching the “Plugins” section of your WordPress dashboard:

image12

Click on “Add New:”

image05

Now type in “McAfee” in the “Search Plugins” search box:

image02

Here we go:

image09

Click on “Install Now:”

image15

Then “Activate:”

image00

Once you’ve activated the plugin, visit Settings > McAfee Secure to configure it.

You’ll see this screen:

image18

Fill out the information:

image17

At this point, McAfee will run some tests on your site:

image06

Because you’ve already installed the McAfee SECURE plugin, the trust seal will automatically appear on your site.

That’s it.

It’s really quite easy.

As long as your website passes, you’ll have a trust seal installed on your checkout page in no time.

If you would like to see a video tutorial on this process, check out this post from WPBeginner.

Conclusion

Online security has arguably never been more important than it is today.

And the fear and skepticism so many people have is by no means unfounded.

They have a very good reason to be concerned and even a little paranoid.

As a business owner, you must address these concerns and put your customers’ minds at ease.

People want to know they’re not putting themselves at unnecessary risk by completing a transaction on your website.

According to research, one of the best ways to do this is by installing a trust seal on your checkout page.

This lets shoppers know that your site has been thoroughly tested and meets today’s security standards.

As a result, they can complete a purchase with confidence, which should bring about a higher conversion rate and an overall increase in customer satisfaction.

Fortunately, installing a trust seal on your checkout page is fairly simple, and some basic plans can be set up for free.

Find the security company that’s the best fit for you and complete the necessary steps to have a trust seal installed.

How big of a factor is a trust seal when you’re deciding whether you want to complete a transaction?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/04/17/how-to-create-a-trust-seal-on-your-checkout-page/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/how-to-create-a-trust-seal-on-your-checkout-page-2/
via SEO NYC Blog

How to Create a Trust Seal on Your Checkout Page

Trust is everything.

If you can’t earn consumers’ trust, you’re fighting a losing battle.

And what’s a specific area that makes many consumers wary?

That’s simple. It’s the way in which businesses handle payment information.

In fact, a lack of trust in credit card processing is one of the top reasons for checkout abandonment.

Research from the Baymard Institute found that “18% of American shoppers abandon the checkout because they don’t trust the website with their credit card information.”

image10

This means you can kiss one out of every five shoppers goodbye.

And I totally get it.

I completely understand why some shoppers feel uncomfortable sharing their credit card information.

Identity theft and cyber crime are on the rise. This is people’s money and identity we’re talking about! I don’t blame people for being super cautious.

A study from Javelin Strategy & Research found that identity fraud hit a record high in 2016.

More specifically,

$16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier.

In the past six years, identity theft thieves have stolen over $107 billion.

Here’s what that looks like in graphs:

image16

It has become a serious problem.

If you haven’t been the victim of identity theft yourself, there’s a good chance you know someone who has.

Just look at the increase in the number of identity theft and fraud complaints between 2012 and 2015:

image20

This means one thing.

Most people don’t want to hand over their credit card information to just anyone.

They want to know for sure that the company they’re doing business with is taking every possible security precaution to ensure that their sensitive information doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands.

And I definitely understand where they’re coming from.

I know I avoid doing business with any website that looks sketchy and where security could be a potential issue.

In fact, I’ve found myself abandoning the checkout page several times on account of this.

It’s just not worth the risk.

How can you gain the trust of your online shoppers?

This puts modern business owners in a bit of a quandary.

You need to come up with an effective way to put shoppers’ minds at ease and let them know they’re in good hands when they do business with you.

What can you do?

There are several factors that shoppers take into consideration when determining whether or not they trust a particular website.

Some examples include:

  • How professional the site looks
  • How quickly it loads
  • Whether a trusted friend or colleague has used the site before
  • Whether the site contains well-known brands or products
  • Whether it has easy-to-find contact information

But there’s one factor that reassures shoppers above all else.

And that’s a trust seal.

In fact,

a survey conducted by Econsultancy/Toluna confirmed the power of trust seals when it asked participants which factors help them to decide whether or not to trust a website.

image19

Just think about it.

How many times have you had your fears or doubts quelled when you saw a trust seal when you’re checking out?

I know this puts me at ease.

And there’s evidence that shows just how big of an impact trust seals can have.

Research on trust seals

This great article from ConversionXL tackles the topic of checkout optimization and the way trust seals affect security perception.

The post includes data from a study that used eye tracking to determine the exact impact trust seals have.

Here’s a screenshot of what this study entailed:

image08

Participants then saw one of the following six trust seals:

image14

As you can see, there are trust seals from several notable companies such as McAfee, PayPal, the BBB, and so on.

And here are the observational patterns (the patterns respondents’ eyes followed):

image01

By examining these findings, it’s easy to see that trust seals are huge.

After shoppers initially look at the logo and “payment method” section, their eyes inevitably shift to the trust seal at the bottom.

This goes to show that it’s an integral factor in whether a shopper decides to go through with the checkout process and actually make a purchase.

It makes sense that displaying a trust seal on your checkout page will increase trust, thereby boosting your conversion rate.

Are some trust seals more trusted than others?

You may be wondering whether shoppers respond more favorably to certain trust seals than others.

This chart shows us the specifics:

image21

As you can see, the “PayPal Verified” seal was noticed the most, at 67%.

This was followed by the “Google Trusted Store” seal at 63% and “Norton Secured” seal at 59%.

It’s also important to note that survey respondents remembered certain trust seals more than others:

image11

However, ConversionXL reports that the differences were fairly minimal.

According to them,

it’s clear that there weren’t huge differences between trust seals. Using eye tracking, we confirmed that all trust seals are equally noticeable.

In other words, it doesn’t make a massive difference which specific trust seal you use.

As long as you have one from a fairly reputable company, it should have a positive impact in terms of gaining the trust of your shoppers.

If you haven’t yet installed a trust seal on your checkout page, I highly recommend that you do so immediately.

This can have a tremendous impact on your conversion rate and overall revenue.

Want proof?

Look no further than a split test performed by Blue Fountain Media.

Here’s what their original checkout page looked like before they added a trust seal:

image03

Here’s their checkout page with a Verisign seal:

image04

Guess what impact this had?

Sales increased by a whopping 42%!

Notice that nothing else on the page changed—except for the “Your Privacy” section, which got replaced by the Verisign seal.

This isn’t to say that your sales will instantly jump up by 42%, but I can pretty much guarantee some type of increase.

Just imagine what a trust seal could do for your long-term profits—it could be major.

How do you create a trust seal?

Here’s how the general process works.

  1. You choose a company, such as McAfee or Norton, and choose the plan you want (some basic plans are free, and more robust plans cost money).
  2. They perform testing on your site.
  3. Assuming everything looks good and your site passes the test, they will certify your site.
  4. You install the trust seal.
  5. It appears on your checkout page, and you’re good to go.

Of course, this is an oversimplification of things, so let me walk you through the process step by step.

I’ll just use McAfee as an example because I’m familiar with it.

The specific steps may vary slightly depending on the security company you choose, but the overall process should be basically the same.

Step #1 – Sign up

Visit McAfee SECURE to check out plans and pricing.

image13

In the case of McAfee, it’s very straightforward.

There are two plans to choose from: “Free” and “Pro.”

Here’s how the two plans break down:

image07

FYI, “Pro” costs $29 per month as I’m writing this.

Next, install the McAfee SECURE plugin on WordPress.

You can find it by searching the “Plugins” section of your WordPress dashboard:

image12

Click on “Add New:”

image05

Now type in “McAfee” in the “Search Plugins” search box:

image02

Here we go:

image09

Click on “Install Now:”

image15

Then “Activate:”

image00

Once you’ve activated the plugin, visit Settings > McAfee Secure to configure it.

You’ll see this screen:

image18

Fill out the information:

image17

At this point, McAfee will run some tests on your site:

image06

Because you’ve already installed the McAfee SECURE plugin, the trust seal will automatically appear on your site.

That’s it.

It’s really quite easy.

As long as your website passes, you’ll have a trust seal installed on your checkout page in no time.

If you would like to see a video tutorial on this process, check out this post from WPBeginner.

Conclusion

Online security has arguably never been more important than it is today.

And the fear and skepticism so many people have is by no means unfounded.

They have a very good reason to be concerned and even a little paranoid.

As a business owner, you must address these concerns and put your customers’ minds at ease.

People want to know they’re not putting themselves at unnecessary risk by completing a transaction on your website.

According to research, one of the best ways to do this is by installing a trust seal on your checkout page.

This lets shoppers know that your site has been thoroughly tested and meets today’s security standards.

As a result, they can complete a purchase with confidence, which should bring about a higher conversion rate and an overall increase in customer satisfaction.

Fortunately, installing a trust seal on your checkout page is fairly simple, and some basic plans can be set up for free.

Find the security company that’s the best fit for you and complete the necessary steps to have a trust seal installed.

How big of a factor is a trust seal when you’re deciding whether you want to complete a transaction?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/04/17/how-to-create-a-trust-seal-on-your-checkout-page/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/how-to-create-a-trust-seal-on-your-checkout-page/
via SEO NYC Blog

How to Tell a Gripping Story on Your About Page

Your About page.

It’s one of those requisite elements of your website that’s easy to overlook.

But really, is it even that big of a deal?

How many visitors will actually take the time to check out your About page?

Well, here’s an interesting statistic.

According to a study from KoMarketing, “52% of your visitors want to see an About page.”

image00

Without one, you’re instantly creating some distance between your company and over half of your visitors.

That’s why an About page is more important than you may think.

And here’s something else I’ve noticed.

A lot of brands (even some of the bigger ones) lack in the About page department.

Some fail to include an About page altogether, and others halfheartedly slap one together without putting any real thought into it.

Such About pages often miss the mark, which throws a wrench in the overall sales funnel.

I want to be fair and say that not everyone needs an About page. But most companies, individuals, and websites do. It’s a standard thing to do.

And it can be really valuable. As long as you do it right!

For this post, I would like to discuss A) the importance of a well-crafted About page, B) what goes into a well-crafted About page, and C) how to tell a gripping story on your About page that will resonate with your visitors.

Redefining an About page

First of all, let’s start with a formal definition of an About page.

According to Your Dictionary, it’s

a type of web page commonly seen on websites, containing general information about the person or organization that is responsible for the website in question, usually a description of the site’s history and mission or purpose.

Most people probably would say this definition is spot on.

But in my opinion, it has one fatal flaw.

It talks about only the person/organization and doesn’t address the needs or concerns of visitors.

Of course, you’ll want to talk about your company, its history, philosophy, values, achievements, etc.

But there’s more.

A great About page will answer some major questions for your visitors.

What types of questions should I answer?

Copyblogger nails it in this article.

Here’s their take on things.

Some of your visitors’ unanswered questions are:

  • What’s in this for me?
  • Am I in the right place?
  • Can this person help me with my problem?

Don’t send your readers screaming for the exit by talking only about yourself. Instead, make them want to pull up a chair, chat with you a while, and keep in touch long after the party.

How many times have you clicked on an About page only to hear a company ramble on about how awesome they are without ever answering any of the pressing questions of their visitors?

I see it happen all the time.

What you should aim for

The point I’m trying to make here is that the term About page can be a little misleading.

It shouldn’t be just about you. It should be about your audience as well.

And now, here’s my formula for telling a gripping story.

Know thy customer

I’m sure you’ve heard the Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself.”

It speaks to the importance of an examined life.

But when it comes to an About page, you want to thoroughly know your customer.

And I’m not talking just about gender, income level, education, etc.

You need to know where your average person is at in the sales funnel.

image08

And if they’re looking at your About page, it’s safe to say they’re in the earlier stages of the sales funnel.

The large majority will be prospects with some level of interest and minimal awareness of your brand.

Most are looking to become more familiar with you.

Not only do they want to know more about your product/service, many want to know if you share their values and beliefs.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of an average prospect and figure out what specific information they’re seeking.

This will guide your efforts.

Start with a killer headline

Your headline is everything.

If it pops, visitors will want to read on.

If it sucks, many will leave never to return.

What makes a great headline?

As I mentioned in another article on NeilPatel.com, you should make your headline simple, clear, and benefit-driven.

Here’s a good example from Yellow Leaf Hammocks:

image09

You can instantly get a sense of what’s being offered and the benefits. In this case, high-quality, comfy hammocks.

Here’s another good example from Gini Dietrich:

image06

Be authentic and transparent

You want to be professional with your About page. That’s a given.

But some brands are overdoing it to the point of sounding stiff and almost robotic.

Unless you’re in a super formal industry (e.g., you’re a lawyer or an insurance broker), I think it’s a good idea to “let your hair down” a little.

Paint a realistic picture of what your company is and what you do.

If you’re snarky, be snarky. If you’re quirky, be quirky.

No matter how teched out we get, business is still ultimately founded on people buying from other people.

And they naturally want to do business with someone they like and trust.

Authenticity and transparency are two major elements in gaining that trust.

I think that Pete Adeny (a.k.a. Mr. Money Mustache) does a great job of doing this on his About page:

image04

His page instantly allows his readers to get a sense of who he is, his philosophy, and his sense of humor.

Provide a brief but compelling back story

You don’t need (or even want) to go into elaborate detail, but I recommend giving visitors an idea of where you came from and how your company came to be.

In other words, tell them your brand’s story.

For instance, on NeilPatel.com, I explain how I started my first website at the age of 16 and how I was disillusioned with the first marketing firm I hired.

That (and being broke) was the catalyst for me learning marketing.

I also mention some of my first clients and how my initial results helped me realize the power of marketing.

Just touch on some of the key points of your development that show prospects how you got to where you’re today.

Here’s how Dollar Shave Club does this with its own signature brand of humor:

image05

Be clear about your values

This is a biggie.

You want to offer insight into your company culture and what distinguishes your brand from the rest of the pack.

Yellow Leaf Hammock pulls this off flawlessly as well:

image01

As you can see, there’s a strong emphasis on being socially conscious, sustainable, and adventurous.

Wild Friends Foods effectively conveys its values as well:

image07

image03

The bottom line is to show visitors what you believe in.

Answer these 3 questions

As I mentioned earlier, most visitors will have three main questions:

  • What’s in it for me?
  • Am I in the right place?
  • Can this person help me with my problem?

This is where a lot of About pages drop the ball.

You’ve talked about YOU.

Now, you need to explain how you can help THEM (your visitors).

Allow me to use my approach as an example.

On the About page of NeilPatel.com, I mention that I’ve helped huge companies such as Google and Viacom.

But I also point out that one of my biggest passions is helping small businesses succeed.

That right there answers the first two questions.

If a small business owner seeking help with their marketing visits my website, they can instantly see they’re in the right place and that I can help them increase their sales.

Later on, I point out that marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult and that there’s a proven formula that gets results.

Since not having the financial means or marketing knowledge is a common problem for many small businesses, I quell their skepticism and let them know that I can, in fact, help them with their problems.

Regardless of your industry and your product/service, answering those three questions is your means of making the necessary connection that gets visitors interested and motivated to take action.

Exploring alternative formats

Here’s the beautiful thing about an About page.

You don’t have to limit yourself to any traditional format.

You’re completely free to use whatever format or combination of formats you want.

In fact, I skip the conventional text-based format altogether and use a brief video to explain myself on NeilPatel.com:

image02

Moz uses an illustrated timeline to tell its history:

image10

Don’t feel you have to stick with the same old tried-and-true formula companies have been using since the 90s.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this post from Search Engine Journal.

It features 25 creative and engaging About pages that can get some ideas flowing.

Conclusion

Let’s recap.

An About page isn’t just about your brand. It also needs to be about your audience and how you can solve their pain points.

You must address their needs and concerns and position your brand as a trustworthy resource so they can feel comfortable doing business with you.

The key elements of your story should include:

  • A killer headline
  • A brief back story
  • Your values
  • Answers to visitors’ three big questions

It’s also important to customize your About page in a way that’s interesting and that represents your brand.

Often this means experimenting with different formats.

By hitting all the right notes, you can establish instant rapport, build trust, and motivate visitors to browse the rest of your site.

When it’s all said and done, this can positively impact multiple metrics, such as increasing the average time spent on site, lowering your bounce rate, and improving conversions.

What do you think is the most important element of an About page?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/04/14/how-to-tell-a-gripping-story-on-your-about-page/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/how-to-tell-a-gripping-story-on-your-about-page-4/
via SEO NYC Blog

How to Tell a Gripping Story on Your About Page

Your About page.

It’s one of those requisite elements of your website that’s easy to overlook.

But really, is it even that big of a deal?

How many visitors will actually take the time to check out your About page?

Well, here’s an interesting statistic.

According to a study from KoMarketing, “52% of your visitors want to see an About page.”

image00

Without one, you’re instantly creating some distance between your company and over half of your visitors.

That’s why an About page is more important than you may think.

And here’s something else I’ve noticed.

A lot of brands (even some of the bigger ones) lack in the About page department.

Some fail to include an About page altogether, and others halfheartedly slap one together without putting any real thought into it.

Such About pages often miss the mark, which throws a wrench in the overall sales funnel.

I want to be fair and say that not everyone needs an About page. But most companies, individuals, and websites do. It’s a standard thing to do.

And it can be really valuable. As long as you do it right!

For this post, I would like to discuss A) the importance of a well-crafted About page, B) what goes into a well-crafted About page, and C) how to tell a gripping story on your About page that will resonate with your visitors.

Redefining an About page

First of all, let’s start with a formal definition of an About page.

According to Your Dictionary, it’s

a type of web page commonly seen on websites, containing general information about the person or organization that is responsible for the website in question, usually a description of the site’s history and mission or purpose.

Most people probably would say this definition is spot on.

But in my opinion, it has one fatal flaw.

It talks about only the person/organization and doesn’t address the needs or concerns of visitors.

Of course, you’ll want to talk about your company, its history, philosophy, values, achievements, etc.

But there’s more.

A great About page will answer some major questions for your visitors.

What types of questions should I answer?

Copyblogger nails it in this article.

Here’s their take on things.

Some of your visitors’ unanswered questions are:

  • What’s in this for me?
  • Am I in the right place?
  • Can this person help me with my problem?

Don’t send your readers screaming for the exit by talking only about yourself. Instead, make them want to pull up a chair, chat with you a while, and keep in touch long after the party.

How many times have you clicked on an About page only to hear a company ramble on about how awesome they are without ever answering any of the pressing questions of their visitors?

I see it happen all the time.

What you should aim for

The point I’m trying to make here is that the term About page can be a little misleading.

It shouldn’t be just about you. It should be about your audience as well.

And now, here’s my formula for telling a gripping story.

Know thy customer

I’m sure you’ve heard the Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself.”

It speaks to the importance of an examined life.

But when it comes to an About page, you want to thoroughly know your customer.

And I’m not talking just about gender, income level, education, etc.

You need to know where your average person is at in the sales funnel.

image08

And if they’re looking at your About page, it’s safe to say they’re in the earlier stages of the sales funnel.

The large majority will be prospects with some level of interest and minimal awareness of your brand.

Most are looking to become more familiar with you.

Not only do they want to know more about your product/service, many want to know if you share their values and beliefs.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of an average prospect and figure out what specific information they’re seeking.

This will guide your efforts.

Start with a killer headline

Your headline is everything.

If it pops, visitors will want to read on.

If it sucks, many will leave never to return.

What makes a great headline?

As I mentioned in another article on NeilPatel.com, you should make your headline simple, clear, and benefit-driven.

Here’s a good example from Yellow Leaf Hammocks:

image09

You can instantly get a sense of what’s being offered and the benefits. In this case, high-quality, comfy hammocks.

Here’s another good example from Gini Dietrich:

image06

Be authentic and transparent

You want to be professional with your About page. That’s a given.

But some brands are overdoing it to the point of sounding stiff and almost robotic.

Unless you’re in a super formal industry (e.g., you’re a lawyer or an insurance broker), I think it’s a good idea to “let your hair down” a little.

Paint a realistic picture of what your company is and what you do.

If you’re snarky, be snarky. If you’re quirky, be quirky.

No matter how teched out we get, business is still ultimately founded on people buying from other people.

And they naturally want to do business with someone they like and trust.

Authenticity and transparency are two major elements in gaining that trust.

I think that Pete Adeny (a.k.a. Mr. Money Mustache) does a great job of doing this on his About page:

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His page instantly allows his readers to get a sense of who he is, his philosophy, and his sense of humor.

Provide a brief but compelling back story

You don’t need (or even want) to go into elaborate detail, but I recommend giving visitors an idea of where you came from and how your company came to be.

In other words, tell them your brand’s story.

For instance, on NeilPatel.com, I explain how I started my first website at the age of 16 and how I was disillusioned with the first marketing firm I hired.

That (and being broke) was the catalyst for me learning marketing.

I also mention some of my first clients and how my initial results helped me realize the power of marketing.

Just touch on some of the key points of your development that show prospects how you got to where you’re today.

Here’s how Dollar Shave Club does this with its own signature brand of humor:

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Be clear about your values

This is a biggie.

You want to offer insight into your company culture and what distinguishes your brand from the rest of the pack.

Yellow Leaf Hammock pulls this off flawlessly as well:

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As you can see, there’s a strong emphasis on being socially conscious, sustainable, and adventurous.

Wild Friends Foods effectively conveys its values as well:

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The bottom line is to show visitors what you believe in.

Answer these 3 questions

As I mentioned earlier, most visitors will have three main questions:

  • What’s in it for me?
  • Am I in the right place?
  • Can this person help me with my problem?

This is where a lot of About pages drop the ball.

You’ve talked about YOU.

Now, you need to explain how you can help THEM (your visitors).

Allow me to use my approach as an example.

On the About page of NeilPatel.com, I mention that I’ve helped huge companies such as Google and Viacom.

But I also point out that one of my biggest passions is helping small businesses succeed.

That right there answers the first two questions.

If a small business owner seeking help with their marketing visits my website, they can instantly see they’re in the right place and that I can help them increase their sales.

Later on, I point out that marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult and that there’s a proven formula that gets results.

Since not having the financial means or marketing knowledge is a common problem for many small businesses, I quell their skepticism and let them know that I can, in fact, help them with their problems.

Regardless of your industry and your product/service, answering those three questions is your means of making the necessary connection that gets visitors interested and motivated to take action.

Exploring alternative formats

Here’s the beautiful thing about an About page.

You don’t have to limit yourself to any traditional format.

You’re completely free to use whatever format or combination of formats you want.

In fact, I skip the conventional text-based format altogether and use a brief video to explain myself on NeilPatel.com:

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Moz uses an illustrated timeline to tell its history:

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Don’t feel you have to stick with the same old tried-and-true formula companies have been using since the 90s.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this post from Search Engine Journal.

It features 25 creative and engaging About pages that can get some ideas flowing.

Conclusion

Let’s recap.

An About page isn’t just about your brand. It also needs to be about your audience and how you can solve their pain points.

You must address their needs and concerns and position your brand as a trustworthy resource so they can feel comfortable doing business with you.

The key elements of your story should include:

  • A killer headline
  • A brief back story
  • Your values
  • Answers to visitors’ three big questions

It’s also important to customize your About page in a way that’s interesting and that represents your brand.

Often this means experimenting with different formats.

By hitting all the right notes, you can establish instant rapport, build trust, and motivate visitors to browse the rest of your site.

When it’s all said and done, this can positively impact multiple metrics, such as increasing the average time spent on site, lowering your bounce rate, and improving conversions.

What do you think is the most important element of an About page?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/04/14/how-to-tell-a-gripping-story-on-your-about-page/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/how-to-tell-a-gripping-story-on-your-about-page-3/
via SEO NYC Blog