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Six things missing from your competitor research

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Six things missing from your competitor research


30-second summary:

  • There are ways to save and optimize your SEO budget, here’s how
  • Start with creating an “at a glance” report comparing your competitors’ key metrics. Find interesting trends to look further into!
  • Analyze and monitor your competitors’ online sentiment and customer satisfaction. How can you become better than your competitors?
  • Identify your competitors’ marketing priorities by looking at their competitors’ PPC tactics. Note their branded keywords they are bidding on: what do they consider their competitors?
  • Research your competitors’ branded questions by analyzing “People Also Ask” and monitoring tweeted questions from their customers and brand ambassadors
  • Analyze your competitors’ social media marketing tactics: what can you learn from these and which should you avoid?

1. Competitors at a glance for domain analysis

You can never have just one competitor in the real world. In some niches, you’ll end up with ten or more competitors that need your attention. Where to start?

This is the section I usually start my competitive report with: competitors at a glance which is a chart letting me easily compare my competitors.

What should be included in this section?

This section includes any metrics that would allow you to spot some key trends:

  • How new or old is this competitor?
  • How many backlinks has your competitor managed to acquire?
  • What’s their website traffic?
  • How large is the website?

Seeing all these numbers side by side often allows you to see important niche patterns or spot some interesting cases to explore further. For example, you can identify a new competitor that nonetheless gets a lot of organic traffic. Or you can find a competitor with fewer backlinks that managed to build solid web visibility. These are both good cases to learn from.

Here’s an example of how I use an “at a glance” method for my competitive research that is also color-coded based on how successful each competitor is (green showing very good numbers). 


Source: Screenshot made by the author

2. Online sentiment and customer satisfaction

How happy are your competitors’ customers? Is there an opportunity for your product here? Is there a particular feature or aspect that makes your competitors’ customers unhappy?

Knowing why your competitors’ customers are unhappy helps on many levels, from learning the mistakes you need to avoid, to developing a better product that covers a niche gap.

So why do so many competitive reports fail to include this section?

And that report is pretty easy to generate. Sentiment analysis and monitoring are doable with some advanced social listening that dives into the segmentation of consumer sentiment.

Sentiment analysisSource: Awario

3. PPC keywords

Most competitive reports include organic keywords and positions but how about PPC keywords? 

Whether you are planning to invest in paid ads or not, knowing your competitor’s PPC keywords will help you understand what they are focusing on. It’s a smart way to understand high and low competition keywords without having to spend your own dollars.

When looking through my competitors’ PPC keywords, I always pay attention to their branded keywords. Firstly, it shows the competitors they as a business take seriously. And second, this may inform my own PPC decisions as there’s a solid case for bidding on branded keywords because they tend to have high intent and are often cheaper.

Here’s an example of a branded keyword report from Ahrefs. Notice the ‘Traffic’ column estimating the number of clicks a particular PPC keyword is bringing to the target site:

Analysis PPC keywords to inform your keyword strategySource: Screenshot made by the author

4. Branded questions

Niche question research is useful on many levels but have you ever given a thought on how useful it is for your competitive research? Questions people ask about your competitors will give you valuable insight into:

  1. Your competitors’ drawbacks (and how you can practically fill that need gap in the market)
  2. Your customers’ failures (and how to avoid them)
  3. Your target customers’ journeys (and how to best approach them)

When it comes to understanding your niche buying journeys, Google’s People Also Ask results, also known as ‘intent questions’ help you understand and visualize all the different paths consumers are taking when making their buying decisions.

Branded questionsSource: Screenshot made by the author

Always take note of the “People Also Ask” results when searching for your competitors or their products. These help you better understand your target customers’ interests and research styles throughout their buying journeys.

Source: AlsoAsked

You could also use some freemium-based tools to keep track of questions your competitors’ customers are asking in real-time, use Twitter question search which can also be monitored through a free app called Tweetdeck. Create a new column in your Tweetdeck to monitor this search term:

[competitor ?]

Make sure there’s a space in between your competitor’s brand name and the question mark.

Source: Screenshot made by the author

5. Your competitors’ promoters

Who are your competitors’ most vocal promoters? Can you get them on board to promote your brand instead? Or how did your competitors manage to win their love?

Your competitors’ friends are not your enemies. These are people who may fall in love with your product or agree to collaborate on similar or better terms.

Checking your competitors’ backlinks is the most popular way to find their promoters but it seldom includes people behind those links.

Social media is another great place to look for your competitors’ promoters.

6. Social media content

Are your competitors using social media to find and engage your customers? There are some lessons to learn there as well.

You can run a solid analysis of any Facebook page engagement metrics which you can use for your competitive report:

Social media analysisSource: Screenshot made by the author

Conclusion

Competitive research is much more than tracking your competitors’ organic positions and checking their backlinks from time to time. 

It can give you a lot of insight into your target customers, their struggles, and buying journeys, it can teach you to build a better project and identify niche gaps. Finally, it can help you identify mistakes to avoid and build a stronger business. Good luck!


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.





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Googlebot Crawls & Indexes First 15 MB HTML Content

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Googlebot Crawls & Indexes First 15 MB HTML Content


In an update to Googlebot’s help document, Google quietly announced it will crawl the first 15 MB of a webpage. Anything after this cutoff will not be included in rankings calculations.

Google specifies in the help document:

“Any resources referenced in the HTML such as images, videos, CSS and JavaScript are fetched separately. After the first 15 MB of the file, Googlebot stops crawling and only considers the first 15 MB of the file for indexing. The file size limit is applied on the uncompressed data.”

This left some in the SEO community wondering if this meant Googlebot would completely disregard text that fell below images at the cutoff in HTML files.

“It’s specific to the HTML file itself, like it’s written,” John Mueller, Google Search Advocate, clarified via Twitter. “Embedded resources/content pulled in with IMG tags is not a part of the HTML file.”

What This Means For SEO

To ensure it is weighted by Googlebot, important content must now be included near the top of webpages. This means code must be structured in a way that puts the SEO-relevant information with the first 15 MB in an HTML or supported text-based file.

It also means images and videos should be compressed not be encoded directly into the HTML, whenever possible.

SEO best practices currently recommend keeping HTML pages to 100 KB or less, so many sites will be unaffected by this change. Page size can be checked with a variety of tools, including Google Page Speed Insights.

In theory, it may sound worrisome that you could potentially have content on a page that doesn’t get used for indexing. In practice, however, 15MB is a considerably large amount of HTML.

As Google states, resources such as images and videos are fetched separately. Based on Google’s wording, it sounds like this 15MB cutoff applies to HTML only.

It would be difficult to go over that limit with HTML unless you were publishing entire books’ worth of text on a single page.

Should you have pages that exceed 15MB of HTML it’s likely you have underlying issues that need to be fixed anyway.


Source: Google Search Central
Featured Image: SNEHIT PHOTO/Shutterstock





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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 24, 2022

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google is experimenting with YouTube Shorts for SEO help content. Google is testing inserting keywords from queries in shopping ads. Google says keywords in domains are overrated and to ignore black hat traffic. Google said it is fine to link to WhatsApp numbers on your site. Plus my weekly SEO video recap is live.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Search News Buzz Video Recap: Google Search Ranking Updates, Google News Updated, SEO, Ads, Local & More

    This week, we had some interesting tremors and ranking shifts from an unconfirmed Juneteenth Google search ranking update that really spiked a day or so ago. Google News revamped its design…
  • Google: Ignore Black Hat Traffic, We Do.

    Google’s John Mueller said it is safe to ignore black hat traffic, he said it is just spam and there is no need to worry about it from an SEO perspective. He said on Twitter that black hat traffic is just spam and you should ignore it.

  • Google Tries YouTube Shorts For SEO Help Content

    Back in March, Gary Illyes and friends hinted that they may try creating short form video content for the Google help documents. Well, Google’s Alan Kent produced one of the first ones on the topic of why it is important to specify image dimensions.

  • Google Shopping Ads Tests Inserting Material In Ad Title From Query

    Google is testing a dynamic keyword insertion feature for Google Shopping Ads where it may insert the material in the product if used in the searcher’s query. I do not know if this is 100% new or not but it might be.

  • Google: Keywords In Domain Names Are Overrated

    Google’s John Mueller said once again that “keywords in domain names are overrated.” He and Googlers over time have said this numerous times over the years and he said it again. Instead he said “pick something for your business, pick something for the long term.”

  • Google: WhatsApp Phone Numbers On Your Site Is Not A Bad SEO Practice

    Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that it is not a bad SEO practice to link to your WhatsApp number on your site. This is despite what some SEO toolsets say, linking to a WhatsApp number, phone number or fax number is fine and Google does not judge your site differently based on the type of number you link to.

  • Aurora Morales Recording In A Google Studio

    Aurora Morales of Google has done a nice number of videos for Google, specifically on the publisher monetization front. She did a nice number of those while at home since COVID. She now said she is b

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, you can follow us on Facebook and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.





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5 Amazing Landing Page Examples To Inspire Your Own

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5 Amazing Landing Page Examples To Inspire Your Own


Landing pages – they’re powerful, aren’t they?

When we click on an ad, it’s the landing page that helps us decide what to do next.

Ideally, it makes you do a double-take and proclaim, “I must have this!”

It can also fall flat and go viral for all the wrong reasons. (I’m looking at you Rainbow capitalism.)

The design of a good landing page is an intersection of art, marketing, and psychology.

And, if you’re reading this article, that means you’re looking for guidance and inspiration to improve your own landing pages.

That’s exactly what we’re going to do.

We are going to share the features of what makes an amazing landing page and break down five examples to learn from.

Features Of An Amazing Landing Page

The hard truth: Getting people to opt in is tricky.

Even when the tech is amazing and the product is innovative.

If you send visitors to a webpage that fails to communicate the value, all of your market research and product development efforts go right down the drain.

The good news is this article is all about helping you create amazing landing pages that encourage more conversions – and, ultimately, generate more customers.

Improve your success rate by weaving these six features into your landing page design.

Poppin’

Landing pages should be distraction-free in order to focus on the task at hand – getting the visitor to convert.

This means that top navigation can be ditched in favor of a sleek, one-page design. Just be sure to leave a clickable logo in case users want a way out but still want to interact with your brand.

Revealing the product with clear annotated product visuals, helps visitors picture themselves using it.

Most importantly, the page has to pop! An eye-catching hero image and visuals help to capture the visitor’s attention and convey what the offer is in a way our brains can process quicker.

Free Of Fluff

The copy on a landing page is one of the most important elements. It’s what convinces website visitors to convert.

Great landing page copy uses strong headlines, clear value propositions, and explains “why” they matter.

Content should focus on user benefits over product features and address any doubts so visitors don’t leave.

The copy should be focused and free of fluff; every word should serve a purpose.

FOMO

FOMO is real. One of the most powerful persuasion techniques that landing pages can use is social proof.

If we see that others (we respect) are doing it, we are more likely to do it, too. This is the business equivalent of your mom asking you, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?”

…Yes, yes I would.

You can create FOMO by featuring testimonials from happy (relatable) customers or including statistics about how many people are using and loving the service or product.

Ready, Set, Go

A landing page shouldn’t feel like trying to break out of an escape room.

You need a strong call-to-action (CTA) if you want the visitor to convert.

A strong CTA is clear, concise, and explains why it’s important for the visitor to take this action.

A clear and concise call-to-action is just one action and the button contrasts with the page – this is so users can’t miss it.

Need For Speed

Page speed is how quickly a webpage loads. Basically, make sure it loads fast so people don’t leave. That’s it.

5 Examples Of Landing Pages

An amazing landing page is one that helps website visitors feel that this is the right company (or the right product) for the job.

And, there’s no better way to learn about what makes an amazing landing page than by exploring real-world examples from some of the best landing pages on the web.

Here are five examples of amazing landing pages.

1. ASOS

British online retailer ASOS is among the world’s most valuable apparel brands, competing with Nike, Adidas, and Zara.

This means there must be something really special behind those marketing strategies that online retailers can learn from.

Let’s see what they’re doing right.

I searched for [wedding guest plus size dresses] and saw a search network ad from ASOS which took me to a landing page for women’s plus size dresses for U.S. web visitors.

Screenshot from ASOS, June 2022.

For starters, the ad took me directly to a landing page related to my search query – I love when that happens.

The full-length thumbnails of plus size models, moving in the dresses, helps me immediately know that I’m in the right place and I can begin to imagine myself in the product.

Top navigation breadcrumbs let me know exactly where I am on the site, so if I want to go back and see all the curve clothing, that’s really simple to do.

Filters are front and center for me to further refine my search by how new it is, eco-responsibility, color, price, and more.

Sales copy is free of fluff allowing the user to focus on the product (clothes). Description of the category page does include reference to which brands to check out for trending styles.

All in all, it’s a clean, well-organized landing page that keeps attention directly on the product.

ASOS may want to test adding social proof to their landing page by adding a filter based on user reviews or engage FOMO by highlighting that an item is selling fast.

2. DRIFT

B2B commerce startup Drift is a conversational marketing and sales technology company, well known for its live chatbot.

It is one of the only Latino-founded companies to ever achieve a valuation over $1 billion.

“Our purpose as a company remains simple and consistent: Build a platform that makes it simpler for customers to buy from you,” Drift CEO David Cancel said in a statement.

Let’s see how simple Drift makes their product to buy and check out their live-chat landing page.

B2B SaaS landing page exampleScreenshot from DRIFT, June 2022.

Ok, I am geeking out over the bright and minimalistic design (slight 90s vibes); it looks so sharp on all devices.

Above the fold, we see a big, bold headline immediately addressing how the app helps business owners “engage and convert” with Drift’s solution “live chat.”

Below the headline, the content block explains why users are not engaging or converting: “Today’s buyer doesn’t want to wait.”

Nice contrasting color on the CTA inviting web visitors to “Get a Demo.”

The header image uses the product as the example which is 10x better than a stock photo.

And, I have to call out the shield icon in the bottom left-hand corner that opens privacy settings. This small addition provides site visitors with a subconscious affirmation that the company takes data privacy seriously.

As we scroll down the page, we see social proof with a video review by the senior director of a global marketing operations and technology company.

Video testimonial on landing page exampleScreenshot from DRIFT, June 2022.

If you can get video reviews, do it! They are way more engaging than a standard text review because they’re really hard to fake.

Continuing to scroll down the page, the content teeter-totters between sharing different use cases with a summary and image or .gif and social proof in the form of a text quote or case study.

At the end of the long-form landing page, there is a solid call to action “start conversations with your website visitors now.” With a contrasting button, “Get a Demo.”

Bottom of page CTA landing page exampleScreenshot from DRIFT, June 2022.

When you click on “Get a Demo” it launches the product itself and you interact with the Drift bot to book a demo.

Drift’s live chat page checks off all the features of an amazing landing page, making it extremely easy to buy from them.

3. LawnDoctor.com

Lawn Doctor offers lawn maintenance and pest control services, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill landscaping company.

This lawn care brand has grown to more than 630 locations, increasing its year-over-year sales by 16% in 2020.

Local service providers can learn a lot from Lawn Doctor’s landing page. Let’s take a look at how they’ve designed their landing page to attract new customers.

local service provider landing page exampleScreenshot from Lawn Doctor, June 2022.

Lawn Doctor is such a great example for local service companies.

The color palette uses the rich color of green consumers wants to attain with a hero image featuring what the site visitor wants, a beautifully landscaped backyard.

Social proof is visualized with the 4.7 star average Google rating overlay on the image. The exact number of 4.7 is helpful because it feels like a real number and not an approximation.

The estimate form is available at the top; users don’t have to go scrolling for it, and a phone number is available in the top right corner for those that don’t want to wait.

When I enter my zip code into the form, the city and state are automatically populated for me which is awesome because I get lazy and don’t want to enter every detail.

Sales copy gets right to the point; the header explains you’re getting customized lawn care with a scientific approach.

The word choice “custom” and “scientific” makes me think that I’m getting a better service than I would from anyone else.

Below the header image but above the fold, Lawn Doctor upsells me services that are highly relevant to the current season.

I can click on that CTA to learn more or I’m more likely to ask about it when a sales representative calls me.

Just in case a user had any hesitation, there is a 100% refund if I’m not fully satisfied, followed by Google reviews for social proof.

The only thing this page is missing is the fear of missing out which Lawn Doctor could do with a countdown discount timer.

4. Flywheel

Flywheel was acquired by WP Engine in 2019.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but in an interview, Heather Brunner confirmed Flywheel’s annual recurring revenue was $18 million at the time of acquisition.

What made Flywheel so successful? Aside from being a great managed WordPress hosting platform, the company’s marketing was dialed in. Take a look!

eBook landing page exampleScreenshot from Flywheel, June 2022.

Top navigation is not present, helping the page visitor to stay focused on the content you want them to.

The logo reminds site visitors where they are and is clickable providing an easy escape back to the main domain.

The beautiful color scheme with the calm business blue and contrasting money green call-to-action button above the fold.

The headline includes the word “free” letting visitors know they won’t have to pay for the download.

Text is broken up into chunks making it easy to read on mobile.

ebook landing page example_show the productScreenshot from Flywheel, June 2022.

Below the fold is a mini-preview of the chapters so I know what I’m exchanging my personal information for. Gives me a sense of whether or not it’s worth it to me.

The final CTA at the bottom of the landing page reinforces that the ebook is completely free and filled with secrets! The download is a quick and simple company email.

ebook landing page example_bottom of the page ctaScreenshot from Flywheel, June 2022.

Form completion confirmation takes me to the product home page to further explore the product. All in all a beautiful ebook landing page that lead gen companies can learn from.

The only suggestion here is to add social proof near the bottom CTA to “seal the deal.”

5. Breathwrk

Breathwrk is a female-founded startup that raised an undisclosed amount from a total of 10 investors including Demo Lovato and BAM Ventures.

The breathing exercises app has over 1.2 million users worldwide.

Let’s see if the landing page can reduce our stress and improve landing page design?

The search query for this landing page was, “how to handle stress at work.”

App landing page exampleScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

The main Navigation is simplified, which keeps the users focused on the information you want them to look at.

But if they click the “More” button a drop-down list of additional pages (Science, FAQ, Blog, and more) is available.

The color palette is calming tones of blue and green with a contrasting CTA button “contact us” in purple.

Just like Drift, Breathwrk shows the product which allows site visitors to see what they’re going to get.

The headline starts with the main idea, “Improve your workplace,” and the subheading tells us how to “help your employees reduce stress and improve focus…”

Followed by the FOMO by showcasing the companies who are using the Breathwrk app for their employees.

As we scroll down the landing page, Breathwrk does a brilliant job explaining the app’s features from the perspective of the user.

App landing page example_explaining features as user benefitScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

A user doesn’t really care that there’s an option for breathing exercises before meetings but a user is interested in reducing employee stress and improving focus between back-to-back meetings, and before a big pitch.

The sales copy minimizes objections by explaining that the app is easy to set up and easy to manage.

App landing page example_reduce objectionsScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

This is important because the last thing an organization needs is stress setting up an app to reduce stress.

Easy onboarding, ongoing support, and user analytics (so you can see if employees are using the app and how they’re using the app).

Breathwrk provides social proof in the form of text review quotes right before the CTA “Get Breathwrk for your team” and form fill.

App landing page example_social proofScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

An amazing example of an App landing page. It grabs attention, shows the product, and explains how it creates value for the site visitor.

Final Thoughts

Overall, an amazing landing page helps site visitors decide what to do next.

Some features to consider when designing a landing page is:

  • The design captures visitors’ attention and keeps it on the end goal.
  • Copy is focused and free of fluff.
  • Use social proof and FOMO.
  • Minimize objections and have a clear CTA.
  • Make sure it loads fast.

And, don’t forget to set up Analytics to measure and learn from user activity. Testing is going to be your secret to success.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock





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