Your Website Is Way Too Confusing: Simplify Your Website With The KISS Rule

It’s easy to make a confusing website. It’s hard to make a simple website.

The things that we create — websites, user interfaces, business plans, articles — are the product of our minds. How we think impacts how our product looks, feels, and functions.

When making a website, things can get dicey. So many different groups are providing their input, making requests, asking for changes, insisting on features, and making the whole thing pretty darn complicated.

By the time the website gets to the end user, the website a hopeless, confusing mess.

It’s time to change all of that. The KISS rule helps to stamp out confusion and turn your website into a simple, seamless, powerful, well-oiled machine. (Your users are going to love you.)

The Surprising Truth About Simple Websites

First off, let me whet your appetite for simplicity.

You’ve probably heard that smart people love simplicity.


Einstein, who discovered that E=mc2, was a major fan of simplicity. There is nothing simple about mass-energy equivalence or special relativity, but Einstein was able to express it in five characters.

What does Einstein have to do with your website?

It’s simple. You can distill the complexity of your website into something way more simple. Humans love simplicity. Our brains are wired to love simplicity.

Simplicity Makes People Happy

In one study, scientists asked subjects to pick up a two types of objects: easy-to-hold objects (simple), and hard-to-hold objects (complicated). The subjects were hooked up to electromyographic equipment to measure facial response to the objects. Scientists found that the easy-to-hold objects made people smile slightly. In other words, simple objects made people happy.

Simplicity Makes People Think Better

Another test discovered that simple fonts and print helped people reason more clearly. The more complicated or hard-to-read the font, the harder it was for subjects to process information and impaired reasoning skills. Another way of saying it is that simplicity makes people smarter.

Simplicity Makes People Spend Money

A final study should convince you. Yale researchers in partnership with Stanford and University of Michigan scholars, wanted to find out if people were more likely to spend money in response to complicated descriptions or simple ones. As you would assume, the simple options won. If consumers felt that an option was simple or easy, it made them more likely to spend their money.

Google’s research discovered that simple websites — those with low visual complexity and high prototypicality — were much more appealing than complicated websites. One of the most surprising findings of the study was that people can tell whether a website is simple or complicated in 50ms (just .05 of one second).

Maybe that’s why Google, the most-visited website on the planet, is also one of the simplest websites on the planet.

Yep, that’s it — the most popular website of all time:


The concept behind simple websites is cognitive fluency. Cognitive fluency is “a measure of how easy it is to think about something.”

As you’d guess, we like to think about things that are easy to think about. Our brains get tired easily. If there’s an easier way to think about something, we choose it.

Take a simple example: Stocks with easy-to-pronounce ticker symbols outperform those with hard-to-pronounce ones. BABY is going to perform better in the stock market than, say, JWXEV based on the name alone.

In the face of such evidence, why would you not make your website simpler?

Scientists can throw around terms like “cognitive fluency” and they can run complicated tests with electromyography. But me? I like to measure the stuff that matters to my business — dwell time, conversions, revenue.

Guess what. I’ve come to the same conclusions, with a sharper point. Simple websites convert better, too.

Let me say it as simply as possible: A simple website will make you more money. Period.

Here’s the Rule: KISS

KISS stands for “keep it simple, stupid.”

A less abrasive version is “keep it simple and straightforward.”

The idea has many iterations among engineers, developers, designers, architects, and programmers:

I prefer KISS.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Here’s How to Apply the KISS Principle

None of this matters unless you actually implement it.

Redundant acronyms aside, here’s how to do simple.

1. No ads. None. Period.

Ads on your homepage are a major no-no. Unless you’re running a site whose primary purpose is ad revenue, then ditch the ads completely.

Ads inject tons of complexity into a website. Only use ads if your business is ads.

2. Reconsider the Sidebar

Do you really need a sidebar?

Brian Dean, conversion guru, used Crazy Egg to discover that a paltry 1.9% of his visitors clicked on his sidebar.


This was a problem. Why? Because that sidebar was his conversion goal — a social squeeze page.

I’ve wondered if the sidebar — a fixture of most blogs (even one of my blogs) — is actually a distraction.

3. Make Your Homepage a Place of Absolute Simplicity

The page that matters most is your homepage. Your homepage should set the tone for the rest of the website — simple, clear, and free of distraction.

Look at the website of designer Jonas Lindvall. It takes minimalism to the nth degree, and showcases an extremely subtle design (look for it).


The beauty of the website is its simplicity. The user knows what they should do next.

4. Use Your Above-the-Fold Real Estate For One Thing

An easy way to apply the principle of simplicity is to think of it like this: What is the one thing I want the user to do when they are on this page?

If you were to ask people in your website what they want users to do on the website, you’d get tons of different responses:

  • We want them to start a free trial.
  • We want them to read the blog.
  • We want them to enter their contact information so we can add them to the mailing list.
  • We want them to find out about our team.
  • We want them to click the “products” menu.

Clear the table and start fresh: What is the one thing that you want the user to do?

Find out, and then design the website around that one thing. You can still provide a menu, giving the user flexibility and option, but don’t force them to think hard. Give them simplicity, and they will be more likely to do what you want them to do:

I’ve tried to make my website,, very simple. There is a menu, but you have to scroll below the fold to see it.


5. Limit Your Menu to Seven Items

The short term memory can hold only seven items. To make your website as simple as possible, limit your menu to seven items or fewer.

Many websites try to give their users as many options as possible, but this only confuses them.

IBM, for example, has 11 menu items, plus a couple of other things I could click. That’s way too many.


Keep it simple, like this.


Four menu items. Much better.

6. Use Lots of White Space

White space, or negative space, is the area of your website that doesn’t have stuff — no menus, no text, no images, etc.

The space doesn’t need to be literally white. In fact, it can have subtle design, like in the image above. The clouds and horizon are red tinted, and they have texture. But it’s safe to call it negative space, because it’s not an area of the page that is competing for the user’s attention and action.

In the website image below, the white space would be the background image of the coffee beans. There is an image, but it’s not distracting. The website uses white space in order to create a sense of simplicity.


A site like the one below uses lots of negative space to focus attention on the central point of information.


White space is not wasted space. It’s valuable ingredient in creating a simple and elegant website.

7. Make The Structure Intuitive and Shallow

Site structure has a lot to do with simplicity, too. Make the navigation easy to understand for a user who knows nothing about your business.

Don’t require that a user click menu after menu. Give them all the information that they need in one or two clicks.

8. Avoid Drop Down Menus

Drop down menus seem like a good idea. They save on space. They allow you to add more information.

But many times, drop down menus can produce added complexity to a website. I would avoid them if possible.

The ecommerce website below has created massive dropdown menus that cover the entire page, a clear violation of the KISS rule.


If you must use dropdown menus, use them carefully and sparingly.

9. Reduce Choices

Hick’s Law states that the more choices a person has, the longer it takes them to make a decision.

Image Source

In other words, too many choices is a bad thing. Reduce the number of choices on your website, and you’ll improve your simplicity and conversions.

10. Use Minimal Color

Color is a good thing, but not too much of it. Some of the best websites designs keep it simple by using a single color or very limited colors.

11. Kill Stuff That’s Not Clicked On

If people aren’t clicking on certain parts of your site, get rid of those features. An easy way to tell what people are clicking on is by analyzing your site using a heatmap tool like Crazy Egg.

12. Use Lots of Images

Images are easy on the brain. Your brain can process images faster and easier.


The more images you add to a website design, the more enjoyable it is for people to look at.

Plus, it makes your website feel so much simpler and intuitive.

13. User Testing

Finally, test your website. Every target audience is going to respond differently to color, design, imagery, layout, and functionality. Test your website early and often, and make sure that you’re adapting to what users need and want.


We all want a website that “looks good.” But what makes a “good looking website?” It’s simplicity.

Simple websites work better, look better, feel better, act better, function better, respond better, appear better, and are better.

Follow the KISS rule, and you’ll make your website the kind of place that users want to spend time on.

How have you applied the KISS principle to your website?

About the Author: is a lifelong evangelist of Kissmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

Source: KISS


Local Listings: How Canadian Retailers Stack Up and What You Can Learn

Posted by rMaynes1

Local online listings are an essential component of an effective strategy to drive customers into local stores. Ranking highly in the search engine results and dominating the top rankings with your listings is critical for your customers to be able to find you in an online search.

Partnering with Placeable, Mediative, one of North America’s leading digital marketing and advertising agencies, took twenty-five of Canada’s top retail brands (those with multiple local stores, spread nationally), and analyzed how they’re faring when it comes to local digital marketing compared to their American counterparts. The analysis found that 80% of the online listings for twenty-five of Canada’s top retailers are inconsistent, inaccurate, or missing information. The top twenty-five US retailers are outperforming the top twenty-five Canadian retailers by over 28%.

The retailers’ digital presence was analyzed across four dimensions, and brands received a score from 0 to 100 for each of the four dimensions. The dimension scores were weighted and combined into a single overall score: the NatLo™ Score (“National-to-Local”). This overall score is an authoritative measure of a company’s local digital marketing performance:


Depth and accuracy of published location content, as well as the richness and completeness of site information. Some examples include name, address, phone number, descriptions, services, photos, calls-to-action, and more.

Brands that achieve exceptional depth deliver a better customer experience with richer content about their locations and offerings. Greater Depth also produces higher online to offline conversion rates and supports other marketing calls-to-action.


Website effectiveness in search/discoverability. Some examples include site structure, page optimization, and web and mobile site performance.

Strong visibility produces higher search engine rankings and greater traffic. It also enables brands to achieve multiple listings in search results. Brands with poor Visibility surrender more traffic to directories and competitors.


Data consistency and coverage across third-party sites. Some examples include presence, completeness, and accuracy of location data on third party sites such as Google, Facebook, Factual, Foursquare, and the Yellow Pages directory site (

Brands with outstanding reach can be found by consumers across a range of search engines, social sites and apps. Poor Reach can lead to consumer confusion and misallocated marketing investments.


Geographic accuracy of location data. For example, the pin placement of each location based on latitude and longitude, or the dispersion of pins on third-party sites (pin spread).

Superior precision enables customers to efficiently navigate to a brand’s location. Failure to ensure Precision damages customer trust and increases the risk of competitive poaching.

Key findings of the report

  • Across twenty-five of Canada’s top retailers, on average, 80% of all third-party site listings are inconsistent, inaccurate, or missing information.
  • The top twenty-five US retailers outperformed retailers in Canada by over 28%. Canadian retailers are weak in comparison.
  • In the analysis of twenty-five of Canada’s top retail brands, seven (or 28%) did not have local landing pages on their website, a key component of local SEO strategy that’s needed to rank higher in search engines and get more traffic.
  • Of those that included local landing pages, 72% failed to provide any content over and above the basics of name, address, hours, and phone number on their location pages. Engaging local content on local pages increases a brand’s visibility on the search engine results page, and ultimately drives more traffic to the website and in-store.
  • When it comes to Facebook location data, 90% was either inconsistent or missing, and 75% of Google+ location data was either inconsistent or missing. Inadequate syndication of location data across the third party ecosystem leads to poor placement in search engine results and the loss of online site visits.
  • Only 8% of map pin placements were “good,” with 92% being “fair” or “poor.” Inaccurate pin placements lead to customer frustrations, and a stronger chance customers will visit competitors’ locations.

Canada’s best-performing retail brands

Brands with NatLo™ scores of over 70 have positioned themselves digitally to perform effectively within their local markets, drive consumer awareness, achieve online and mobile visibility, and capture the most web traffic and store visits. Brands achieving a score in the 60s are still doing well and have a good grasp of their local strategy; however, there are still areas that can be improved to maintain competitiveness. Scores below 60 indicate that there are areas in their local strategy that need improvement.

The average score across the Canadian retailers that were analyzed was just under 48—not a single one of the brands was excelling at maintaining accurate and consistent information across multiple channels. Ultimately, the listings accuracy of Canadian brands is weak.

The five top-performing brands analyzed and their corresponding NatLo™ scores were as follows:

Jean Coutu


















Lululemon Athletica






Real Canadian Superstore






Deep dive on depth: Jean Coutu

Jean Coutu performed exceptionally well in the dimension of depth, achieving the highest score across the retailers (80). What does Jean Coutu do to achieve a good depth score?

  1. The brand publishes the name, address, phone number, and hours for each location on its website.
  2. Additional location information is provided, including local flyers and offers, directions, services provided, brands offered, photos, and more (see image below). This delivers a much better customer experience.

Deep dive on visibility: Rona

Rona performed exceptionally well in terms of visibility, with a score of 86.

Rona achieves superior digital presence by using optimized mobile and web locators, plus page optimization tactics such as breadcrumb navigation. The website has a good store locator (as can be seen in the image below), with clean, location-specific urls that are easy for Google to find (e.g.

In this study of Canadian retailers, many brands struggled with visibility due to the absence of specific, indexible local landing pages and a lack of engaging local content.

Deep dive on reach: Real Canadian Superstore

Real Canadian Superstore performed exceptionally well in the dimension of reach with a score of 72. The brand has claimed all of its Facebook pages, and 69% of location data matches what is listed on their website. Real Canadian Superstore also performed well in terms of its Google+ Local pages, with 49% of location data matching. The brand has a good local presence on Facebook,, Factual, Foursquare, and Google+ Local. By claiming these pages, the brand is extending its online reach.

Across all third-party sites measured, Real Canadian Superstore had a 0% location data missing rate on average, compared to the total average across all brands of 20%. Many of the brands struggled with external reach, missing important location information on Facebook and Google+, or having inaccurate information when compared to the same location information on the brand’s website.

Deep dive on precision: Rexall Pharmacy

Interestingly, none of the top-scoring retailers performed very well in terms of precision (accuracy and consistency of pin placements). Rexall Pharmacy was the top performer, with a score of 62. At the time of writing, their precision scores were as follows:

39% were good.
35% were fair.
26% were poor.

In the retail industry, competing businesses can be located very closely to one another, so if the location of your business on a map or the directions provided through the map are accurate, there’s less chance of your customers visiting your competitor’s locations instead of yours.

In conclusion

All in all, Canada’s top retail brands excel at brand advertising at the national level. But when it comes to driving local customers into local stores, a different strategy is required, and not all the top retailers are getting it. A solid local strategy requires all four dimensions to be addressed in order to achieve the synergies of an integrated strategy. By emulating the tactics implemented by the four retailers highlighted above, even the smallest local business can make significant improvements to their local online strategy.

Rebecca Maynes, Manager of Content Marketing and Research with Mediative, was the major contributor on this report. The full report, including which brands in Canada are performing well and which need to make some improvements, is available for free download.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Source: moz


SearchCap: Google vs Robocalling, Bing Kills Link Explorer & iOS 9 Search

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the Web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Local & Maps

Link Building



SEM / Paid Search

The post SearchCap: Google vs Robocalling, Bing Kills Link Explorer & iOS 9 Search appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEL


The Top Five Kissmetrics Reports Every Content Marketer Needs

As a content marketer, you’re always pushing out content you hope visitors will find and love. And you’re always trying to get visitors to convert into customers.

Those are your two jobs – producing content and converting visitors.

But are your efforts paying off? And, if they are, how do you know what’s working and what’s not? How do you optimize your content marketing?

Thankfully, Kissmetrics is here to help. I’ve detailed five reports every content marketer can use to refine and optimize their content marketing. The measuring and reporting tools outlined below will help you get focused on the work that will produce the best results.

Let’s get started.

1. Track and Improve Conversions with the Funnel Report

You’re a marketer and you have numbers you need to meet every day, week, month, quarter, etc. Maybe the goal is to increase email signups by 2x, drive more people to a “Send Me Info” form, sign up people for your product, deliver orders (for ecommerce companies), get people to leave comments on a blog post, or drive people to a landing page. Whatever it is, you need to start by seeing how many people are already moving toward that goal.

Enter the Kissmetrics Funnel Report. This report shows you how people move through a website flow. This can be a signup flow, product usage flow, checkout flow, etc. You can place it anywhere on your site, and you’ll see where you’re losing customers. Here’s a sample funnel:


Now ask yourself:

Where am I trying to drive my users? What would make my boss happy? Would it be acquiring customers, increasing email signup rates, or bringing more leads to our sales team?

Figure out what this is (or “these are,” as you can certainly work toward increasing more than one number). Who knows, maybe you want to see how many people are commenting on your blog posts. If you want to move that needle (or are just curious), that’s cool. I won’t judge.

Then you can use the Kissmetrics Funnel Report to see your baseline, and use A/B tests to move the needle (more on that later).

Being able to see where you’re losing customers is pretty great, right? In addition to that, you can also segment your traffic. Segment is a fancy analytics word for “group.” You can group your traffic by things like marketing channel and see which channel is sending you the most customers. You’ll be able to see how each group moves along your funnel. Here’s an example (it’s the columns and rows underneath each step in the funnel):


You can break out each group and see how well it moves through your funnel. The best groups should get more of your attention and money, while the worst groups should be toned down.

Actionable Tips for Content Marketers

You aren’t limited to grouping people only by channel. Here are a few other groups I’d recommend:

  • Blog Category – If you run a blog, you can use blog category to track which category drives the most signups. We do this for our own blog and know which blog categories are the most effective at driving signups for the Kissmetrics product. This helps drive our content strategy because we know which content attracts the right audience. Note that “blog category” is not automatically tracked in Kissmetrics. You’ll need a little help from a developer. Once you implement it, you’ll find the information is helpful.
  • Type of Content – Content marketing is more than just text-based content. Maybe you have videos, audio files, infographics, etc. You can track each of these content types and see how people who view them move through your funnel. This will help you answer questions like “We’re spending all this time and money on infographics, but are we actually getting customers from them?” or “We have tons of videos, but do people who view the videos go on to sign up for our product?” Again, “type of content” is not automatically tracked in Kissmetrics. Just get a little bit of time from a developer, and they’ll set you up.
  • Referrer – Here’s one that is automatically tracked in Kissmetrics. I use referrer all the time to see which URLs are sending us customers. All I do is create a funnel for the steps “Visited Blog” to “Signed Up.” Signed Up triggers when someone…signs up. Then I do this:


This tells Kissmetrics to show me who the referrer was when someone visited the blog and to show me the full URL, not just the domain name. I click Apply and get my data:


The blurred column on the left is a list of the exact URLs that sent traffic and signups.

This is especially useful with guest blogging. If you guest blog and link back to your marketing site in the byline, you will be able to see how many people visit and how many of them sign up.

If you have an affiliate program, you can track traffic from each affiliate and see how it moves down your funnel.

Okay, so you get the idea about the Funnel Report. You can see where you’re losing customers through website flow, you can segment group traffic by whatever will get you the best insights, and you can optimize your marketing. On top of all that, you can put a smile on both your face and your boss’s face when that needle moves in the right direction.

Click here to watch a demo video of the Funnel Report.

Now, how do we move the needle? Through tests and iteration, of course. Let’s get into that now.

2. Test the Entire Funnel with the A/B Test Report

You want to get more people to sign up (or reach whatever goal you have). The best way to do this is to A/B test.

Since you’re a marketer, you’re probably running tests galore. You also probably use Optimizely, VWO, Unbounce, or some other testing tool.

The good news is that you can track the results and import the data (automatically) with Kissmetrics. There’s nothing additional to buy – it all comes with our Analyze product. We call it the A/B Test Report, and it’s pretty awesome. Here’s why:

  • You can test any part of your funnel. This is especially useful if you have a long onboarding process. Let’s say you run a SaaS company and your blog gets a lot of traffic. You can run a test on your blog to see how it impacts product use, not just to see how many signed up for your product. After all, what good is a signup if they don’t use your product? We’ve run plenty of internal tests at Kissmetrics on variants that appeared to be winners at the top of the funnel, but as we went further on down the funnel, they were losers. If we weren’t using the A/B Test Report, we would have launched a losing variant!
  • The A/B Test Report will display the statistical significance of your test. This is really important, as too many marketers (hopefully you’re not one of them) cut their test way too short. They’ll bring it live on Monday and close the test the following Wednesday, well before enough data has come in. (You can think about statistical significance this way [if you’re not a sports fan, skip this part]: Baseball, hockey, and football player stats in the first few games don’t really matter. Stay with me here: When the 2016-2017 baseball season starts, no one is going to put too much stock in a player’s first few games. Why? Well, if they go 3 for 4 in their first game, their batting percentage is going to be 750%. Obviously, it’s going to come back down to earth shortly. And no one looks at what a player did in the first game – watch the TV broadcast and notice they show the stats on how the player batted the previous year. There’s more data there. The same is true for your test.) You need to allow enough data to come in before you can reach conclusions. And since you’re using the Kissmetrics A/B Test Report, you’ll quickly know the statistical significance. If you don’t pay attention to this, you may launch a losing variant before enough data has come in.
  • The A/B Test Report will give you a recommendation. Was the original page the winner with statistical significance? If so, it will tell you to keep that. Or was it the variant? Or was it a toss-up? You’ll know with the A/B Test Report. No more guessing.
  • You will see every person who was in the test. And you won’t see just the number of people, but who the people actually were. You can dig deeper and see where they came from, if they converted to a paying customer, etc.

Here’s an example of how the report looks:


At the very top, you select a baseline. Below that, in bright blue, is the recommendation. On the next line, those 5 numbers in bold are the metrics for the test: how long it ran, how many people were in it, how many conversions there were, the improvement, and the certainty of improvement (aka statistical significance). You’ll want to go for at least 95% certainty.

The middle of the report is the data visualization. You can see the variant was the big winner here and that it was during the entire time the test was running.

The bottom section contains the metrics for each variant. You see the number of people in each variant (click the number to see a list of every person), the number of conversions for each (click the number to see each person who converted in the specified variant), the conversion rate, the improvement, and the certainty.

Actionable Tips for Content Marketers

This depends on which needle you want to drive. Since you’re a marketer, I’m assuming you’re in charge of increasing signup rates. Your boss tells you “If you double signups by the end of the year, you get a bonus.” You accept the challenge (why wouldn’t you?).

Awesome, now start testing. You’ll run the test on your blog. It’ll include a small CTA that shows up at the end of blog posts.

Talk to a designer, get something sketched up, bring in a developer to get the variant page running, and create your test in Optimizely, VWO, Unbounce, etc. (we integrate with them all), and track the results in the A/B Test Report.

Again (and this is important), you can test any part of your funnel with the A/B Test Report.

So more people click on the CTA in your variant page. Great? But did they actually start using your product? You’ll know with the A/B Test Report.

Here are a few more tips on where to A/B test:

  • Landing Pages – If you have landing pages for webinars or eBooks, you can test various elements on these pages. Try removing fields or adding/removing steps, and see how it affects your conversion rate.
  • CTAs, Button Copy – What content site doesn’t have a few CTAs and signup forms on every page (besides Zen Habits)? As a marketer, you know you need to test and optimize everything you can get your hands on. Test your headlines and your button copy. See that orange “Try Kissmetrics” at the top of this page? We’ve gone through dozens of copy for that button. “Try Kissmetrics” is what has performed best. If the button copy isn’t “Try Kissmetrics,” that means we’ve found another winner that beat it. We’re always testing.
  • Optimization Tools – Tools like BounceX, Hello Bar, and SumoMe are getting more popular for content marketers as a way to get something out of visitors who show intent to leave. In most cases, this is a chance for the marketer to grab an email address. Other times, it’s used for making an offer. Quick Sprout uses Hello Bar to increase its Facebook fans. Just visit the blog, hover near the top (as if you are going to close the tab), and this appears:


It’s a good idea to A/B test these tools on your website to see if they actually move the needle.

The general rule of thumb is this: anything the visitor can see should be tested.

The visitor can see a lot of things (CTA, headlines, optimization tools, elements on landing pages, etc.), and you should test them all.

Click here to watch a demo of the A/B Test Report.

3. Track and Grow Reader Retention with the Cohort Report

Building loyalty is difficult. This rule goes for almost anything, but especially for building a loyal audience on the web. There is an unlimited number of websites, but visitors are able to keep only a small number of sites in their rotation. For most people, that might include Facebook, their favorite news site, YouTube, and a few others. So it’s very difficult to get into that daily rotation. The best you can hope for is to have people sign up for your email newsletter and/or subscribe to your RSS feed.

Now, how do you track reader loyalty?

If you’re not familiar with the term, “cohort” can be quite intimidating. It may sound like something you’d see in studies or medical journals. “A cohort of people were put on x” or “There was the y chromosome cohort” (also known as males). Don’t let the 6-letter word put you off so that you never learn what it is. A cohort is pretty simple:

A cohort is a group of people who share a common experience or characteristic within a defined period of time.

For marketers, this could be a group of people who signed up for your product in May. It could be called the “May Signup Cohort.” People who visited your blog and commented may be a cohort you pay attention to.

If you want to see the cohort of people who visited your blog from a specific marketing channel, here’s how that would look (actual data will vary):


On the left-hand side, we see the list of marketing channels. People who first visited the blog during our date range (May 1, 2013 – May 31, 2014) are put in one of these buckets, depending on the channel. In the next column, we see the total number of people in each channel who visited the blog during those months.

On the right, the blue shaded cells with percentages in them show us when the people visited the blog. So if a person came to the blog from a Google search in May 2013, they would be put in the organic bucket (20%). If they visited the blog again in July, they would be put in column 3 across from organic. The higher the percentages (darker shades of blue), the more retention there is. Since you’re a content marketer and you want to drive retention, you’ll want to get more traffic from the marketing channels that have proven to deliver strong reader retention.

This example shows us that email brings strong reader retention. The main takeaway for us is that we need to continue to drive people to our email newsletter. Once we do that, we will have a strong possibility of keeping them as readers. So our new goal is to build up our email list.

Actionable Tips for Content Marketers

Here are a few other ways you can use the Cohort Report:

  • Track which types of content bring in loyal readers. Are certain pieces of content keeping people from returning?
  • Track signup rates across marketing channels or types of content. Perhaps one type of content leads more people to sign up.
  • If you guest blog on other platforms, you can track referrers and see which bring loyal readers, or even signups.

You’re probably thinking “Why track signups on a Cohort Report? I can use the Funnel Report.”

Yes, you can. But the Cohort Report allows you to track signups over time. So if someone comes to your site in March but doesn’t sign up until November, the Funnel Report may not report that if you don’t extend your date range long enough.

Another benefit of using the Cohort Report to track signups is that you can see how long it takes people to sign up after they visit your site. Did you have a marketing campaign in April that didn’t get many signups? Perhaps people who visited in April weren’t ready but came back 8 months later and signed up. You’ll see this with the Cohort Report. You’ll be able to tie marketing campaigns to signups.

We’ve written a lot about this before. Check it out if you would like more information. You can also watch a video demo of the Kissmetrics Cohort Report.

4. Use People Search to See Which Content Moves the Needle

A big benefit of using an advanced analytics platform like Kissmetrics is that it tracks people. Every action on your site gets tied to a person – THE person who performed the action. This opens a world of possibilities, one of them being the ability to tie content to business growth. Let’s break it down.

You create content because you want to build awareness and convert traffic into customers. But can you see exactly which pieces of content convert readers into customers? With Kissmetrics, you can. There are two ways:

  • If you want to see whether a specific piece of content brought in signups/leads/customers/whatever you track, use the People Search feature.
  • If you want to see pieces of content lined up next to each other and see which leads to signups, use the Funnel Report.

In the first option, you have a piece of content on your website, be it a blog post, video, audio page, etc. You want to know if people who viewed that page eventually went on to sign up, submit a lead form, etc. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1) Open the Kissmetrics People Search

Here is the starting page in People Search. In simple terms, you can find people based on things they have done on your site.


Step 2) Set Your Criteria

We’ll click on “Add a condition” and set our criteria. We’ll look for people who have viewed a particular blog post:


We’ll use the “Viewed Url” property:


We’ll use a blog post url and select “Sign up” as the event. This means that people will have to have viewed the url and signed up. If they viewed the url but didn’t sign up, they will not be in this list. The same goes for if they signed up but did not view the url. They have to have done both to be in this list.

A quick note: This is not in chronological order. A person does not need to view the url and then sign up. They can sign up and then view the url. They just have to have done both within the selected date range.

We’ll select the date range as the last 30 days. This means that people must have viewed the url and signed up within the last 30 days. We’ll also find out when each person signed up.


The final step is to click Search.

Step 3) Get Your Data

Within a few seconds of clicking Search, we get our list of people:


The blurred out column on the left is a list of email addresses. This is how we choose to identify people. You can use anything you like, but email address is usually best.

So we see that over the last 30 days, 4 signups have viewed that specific url.

You can do this with any url on your site. Just set your criteria, and you’ll get your data.

Actionable Tips for Content Marketers

Here’s what you can do with this data:

  • You’ll learn which content turns visitors into readers. Maybe a post got a lot of traffic but actually zero signups, while a less-visited post actually converted a lot of people.
  • Take what you learn from this data and tailor your content accordingly. If you have a gardening site and see that content about perennials doesn’t convert people to purchase but content about apple trees does, then you can tailor more of your content toward apple trees.

This can totally change your content strategy game. The question shifts from:

“How much traffic did that post get?”


“How many signups did that post bring?”

Again, you don’t have to use signups. Just use whatever goals you have or what needle you want to move.

A quick note about this data:
This is great data, but don’t draw conclusions too quickly. Keep in mind that a person may view a dozen pages before signing up. Just because they viewed a page and signed up doesn’t mean it was that page or piece of content that led them to sign up. You’ll have to get a little more granular if you want to see the exact path they took. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave Kissmetrics to get the data. It’s all within the Kissmetrics Person Details report.

Click here to watch a People Search demo.

If you want to get a more broad view of the relationship between content and revenue, you can use the Kissmetrics Revenue Report.

5. Let the Revenue Report Show You Which Content Brings Customers

Sometimes you just want a bird’s-eye view of what type of content is bringing you the most revenue. You may have questions like:

Which blog post categories acquire the most customers?

Which type of content brings the most customers?

Which content brings the most valuable customers?

If you’re asking these questions, then the Kissmetrics Revenue Report is your new favorite tool.

This report gives you an overview of your revenue. You’ll get a graphical representation of your revenue. Also, you’ll be able to break up your revenue into segments (groups) to see which group is performing the best.

Why is this useful?

Because, taken as a whole, your revenue is just a number. It’s great by itself, but it really doesn’t give you the information you need to bring more revenue to your company.

You can break up sources of revenue into groups. For instance, you can look at the customers who came from each marketing campaign and see which campaign brought the most valuable customers. When you do this, you’ll have a much better understanding of what you need to do. This is exactly why it’s called actionable data. And it’s exactly the type of data you get in Kissmetrics.

Enough talk, time to see the Revenue Report in action. I’m not going to bore you with every step of setting up a report. We’ve already been through that.

Let’s say we have an ecommerce store selling auto parts. Throughout our site, we have content on car repair and maintenance – everything from changing oil to replacing transmission gaskets. We love producing the content, but we also need to make sales. We want to know which type of content brings us the best customers, so we use the Kissmetrics Revenue Report.

Here’s how our data looks:


We’re sorting by total revenue. We can see that the most revenue comes from customers who viewed articles about transmission repair.

There are a few other important metrics. I particularly like lifetime value. This tells us the total amount of revenue we can expect from each customer. As we can see, customers with the highest lifetime value viewed articles on transmission repair. Our largest number of paying customers also came from this post category.

What about our old friend, churn? For our ecommerce company, we need return customers. Businesses aren’t built with one-off customers. We need to keep churn as low as possible.

With the Revenue Report, you can trigger churn as an event or if a customer doesn’t pay you within x number of days. In this case, churn is pretty high, and there isn’t much variation among post categories. This looks like a larger company-wide issue.

Also, we may need to expand our churn time frame. Some car parts and materials are consumable – people will always need to buy quarts of oil, filters, wiper blades, etc. Other products are bought only once. This makes churn a little more difficult to nail down. Customers will repurchase some items, but not others.

So here’s the plan:

  1. Investigate high churn numbers.
  2. Keep producing content on transmission repair. These articles bring us a lot of customers with a high lifetime value.
  3. Maintenance and body repair are also strong post categories. After that, there is a drop-off. So we’ll focus on writing and expanding our library of transmission repair, maintenance, and body repair content.

Actionable Tips for Content Marketers

  • See how types of content correlate with revenue. You can also do this with different subjects.
  • Look to see if customers came from a PDF, a webinar, a blog post, etc. This will help you narrow down what’s working so you can put more energy into those things.
  • If you’re doing a lot of guest blogging, you can check out referrer or channel to see if your efforts are actually bringing enough valuable customers.

Click here to watch a quick demo video of the Revenue Report.

Become a Content Marketing Hero with Kissmetrics

Marketing is all about measuring and optimizing, and these five Kissmetrics reports will help take your content marketing to the next level.

And you aren’t limited to just these five reports. Every business is different, and you have goals you need to meet and exceed. Kissmetrics is a versatile product. You can track any action a person takes on your site. It could be clicking a button, submitting an order, downloading a file, etc. Track everything or only a few things. It’s up to you. Kissmetrics is here to give you the data you need to optimize your growth.

Now, finally, I’ve got one more tool up my sleeve. This tool will help you boost conversions towards whatever needle you’re looking to move. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

Bonus! Use Engage to Nudge Visitors toward Conversion

Kissmetrics has this great tool called Engage. It allows marketers to create nudges that move visitors toward action. This video explains it all:

Here are a few things content marketers can use Engage for:

  • Increase blog newsletter list – Do you have an email list of subscribers who receive updates and new content you produce? Create an engagement on your site that points visitors to the email signup landing page.
  • Move visitors toward content – You know what type of content converts. Now you just need to move people to that content. Use Engage to point people in the right direction.
  • Drive traffic to landing pages – Gated content is one of the best ways to drive leads. The more people you can get to your landing page, the more leads you’ll have.
  • Introduce people to your service – Content marketing isn’t really marketing if you’re not bringing in any customers. Show people what you really do (besides blogging). Create an engagement that sends them back to your main website. The more visitors you can turn into prospects, the better.

With Engage, you’ll have a great tool that can optimize conversions and turn visitors into customers. Use it wisely.

Got All That?

We’ve gone through a lot. Here’s a recap:

  • The Funnel Report allows you to see where visitors are dropping off in a conversion funnel. Track whatever needle you need to move, whether it’s signups, downloading a white paper, submitting a landing page, etc. Find out which types of content and which referrers are delivering the most customers. See if guest blogging is working for you by observing whether people who viewed a guest post of yours visited your site and signed up for your service.
  • The A/B Test Report allows you to test any part of your funnel. Create your test in Optimizely, VWO, Unbounce, etc., and track the results with the A/B Test Report. Test your landing pages and CTAs to see if any optimization tools actually do you any good.
  • Track reader retention with the Cohort Report. See which types of content bring people back and even which marketing channels bring loyal readers.
  • See which content converts with the People Search. Pick a piece of content and see if it has brought you signups. No longer do you have to guess – you can see which content converts.
  • Get a bird’s-eye view with the Revenue Report. See which types of content bring you the most valuable customers. Track total revenue, average revenue per customer, lifetime value, total number of paying customers, and churn rate.
  • Nudge visitors toward conversion with our Engage tool. Create lightboxes that move people to sign up for blog updates and gated content or that send people back to your main website.

Optimize Your Marketing with Kissmetrics

These are just a few examples of what content marketers can do with Kissmetrics. Our reports are more than vanity metrics – they provide insights into how users are behaving on your site. Once you see this data, you’ll know what needs to be improved.

Ready to get straight into the action? Just click the button below to request a personal demo of Kissmetrics. You’ll learn more about Kissmetrics and how it will help you optimize your marketing.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

Source: KISS


Mapquest Gets A New Look And Logo

New Mapquest UI

Mapquest has introduced a new look and a new retro-chic, 1970s style logo. The changes are part of a series of upgrades begun prior to the Verizon-AOL acquisition and largely a result of a new Mapquest partnership with Mapbox.

The promised and enhanced features include or will include:

  • A faster, more responsive for mobile and desktop
  • New tablet experience to leverage Mapquest’s fastest growing platform
  • New mobile experiences including enhanced features for urban users
  • The intersection of content and utility will continue in all Mapquest consumer products with top partners such, OpenTable, SeatGeek, and more

New Mapquest logo

Below are screenshots of the previous Mapquest UI (top) and the new one (bottom). The query results displayed are for “hotels NYC.”

The new UI is generally cleaner and more visually appealing than the old one. Category buttons are more obvious and local listings content and individual business information are better presented. These enhancements are mirrored on the company’s new mobile web site as well.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.45.13 PM

Mapquest UI upgrade 9-15

While these changes represent aesthetic and performance improvements, I don’t believe they’re yet sufficient to reclaim defectors to Google, Apple and Bing. However if Mapquest continues to invest and improve (now as part of Verizon) it may be able to attract new a new generation of users.

Mapquest was the market leader and the brand synonymous with digital maps until Google displaced it early 2009. In 2007 Google removed links to competitors’ mapping sites from the top of search results, which AOL blamed internally for the overthrow of Mapquest.

More recently Google Maps has been the subject of antitrust-related complaints by rivals in Europe and Russia that claim it’s an example of Google unfairly inserting its own vertical properties into search results. However Google Maps has been around since late 2004.

The post Mapquest Gets A New Look And Logo appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEL


Optimize Your Retargeting With These 10 Strategies

More than 80% of the visitors to your website will not convert. But what if you could get these visitors to return to your website so you could present your offer again? That’s where retargeting comes in.

And besides getting visitors back to your site, retargeting can also be used to reach people who didn’t open your email and people who showed a special interest in your product.
Even if you already use retargeting, you probably aren’t making the most of it.

In this article, I’ll teach you a few techniques that have enabled me to achieve the best results I’ve ever seen with paid advertising. Read on to discover 10 techniques that will help you target your consumers better and deliver more results from your retargeting campaigns.

The techniques below will work on either Google AdWords or Facebook Ads. Just consider the two as one medium for retargeting.

1. Engagement Factors

Custom Segment in Google Analytics allows you to segment your traffic with incredible precision. By linking Google Analytics and Google AdWords, you’ll be able to retarget specific segments of your audience. And you can use a wide range of factors to base your retargeting on. Some of my favorites include:

  • Page depth
  • Number of visits
  • Landing Pages
  • Session duration
  • Certain goal completion


You’ll need to crunch your data in order to understand what works for you. As an example, you may find that people who visited your website 3 times and spent more than 5 minutes are more likely to buy. You can then create a custom segment and target these people on the Google Display Network.

2. Vertical Website(s)

If you know your industry lacks knowledge regarding a specific topic but you don’t think it’s relevant on your main website, you can create a separate website.

Here are some examples:

  • You are developing accounting software, and you realize that people are looking for reviews. You can create a website reviewing all the software.
  • You notice that people are searching for “How to install [competitor’s product].” Create a website that shows how to install your competitor’s product.

Once you’ve created the new website, you can easily retarget warm prospects to your website.

To give you an example, Prezly developed, which features PR resources and enables them to channel traffic back to their product.


Look at what your industry is missing and what you can offer to fulfill that need. If you don’t create that website, someone else will.

This technique can work wonders if you rank on competitive keywords with your new website. If Google can bring you 100k visitors on a handful of keywords, do it. You won’t regret it.

Keep in mind that exact match domain names tend to rank pretty well. As an example, will easily rank well for the keyword “growth hackers.”

3. Form Completion Status

You can track the people who started filling out a form but didn’t complete it. They may have had something else on their mind, or they may have been interrupted.


You can create a segment of warm leads who will be ready to fill in that form the next time it hits them.

4. Free Trials

How many people signed up for your product, used it for 5 minutes, and then never came back? Maybe they got distracted, or maybe the timing wasn’t right for them. After a few days of inactivity, you can send them some interesting content to remind them of your product.

You could send the emails directly, but I’d suggest you try different approaches, such as:

  • Email + retargeting
  • Retargeting alone
  • Email alone

See what works best for you.

5. Past Users

How many leads have you had in your entire history? This is probably a huge number. You can get these people back on your website through targeted ads. Since you already know their emails, you can get started in a few hours. Here are a few examples of what to promote:

  • Features / Benefits
  • Announcements
  • Use Cases

The main idea is to stay in touch with your past contacts and engage them with new content.

6. Active Users and Promoters

Customers are not created equal. Some are more likely to engage and share your content. What if you could target them directly?

You can measure engagement of users through an analytics tool like Kissmetrics (using the Cohort Report) or by using a NPS survey. You can then retarget these users based on how engaged they are.

Highly engaged users won’t hesitate for a second to share your content with their peers.


As an example, let’s say you use Kissmetrics every day and are delighted with their software. You’d be more likely to share something on your medium of choice (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) than to forward their weekly newsletter.

In this example, retargeting can allow you to meet your users on their own terms, where they are the most likely to engage with your brand. If you target the right people, you’ll drive more awareness.

7. Past Promotions

As a marketer, you run plenty of promotions to acquire customers. But the people who visit your website aren’t always ready to buy your products right away. The important thing is to make sure they remember you when they’re in need of a solution like yours.

This is where most businesses retarget. Once a person visits their site, the business will show ads to the person when he or she visits on other sites.

You can easily present your offer (even if it was six months ago) at several different times and places.

8. Email Marketing Combo

What if you could target people who never open your emails and people who open your emails but never click on them?

As a savvy marketer, you’re probably building an email list in order to keep engaging your audience. Think about all the people who never opened or clicked on your emails. You could easily target these people depending on how warm they are. You can then show them different content depending on where they stand within your funnel.

As an example, you might want to show very informative (top of the funnel) content to people who never engaged. You could show use cases and whitepapers to people who click on all your emails.

Implementing this tactic might require a bit of development on your end. It is however fairly easy to make a script to synchronize MailChimp and Facebook.

Doing this can have a great impact on the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. People who never opened your emails will finally reach your website.

9. Content Series

Sometimes cold prospects don’t want to give you their emails right away no matter what you show them.

In that case, you can create a series of content and retarget them from one piece of content to the next. The best part? You don’t need their email, retargeting will do the trick…

You’ll don’t ask for their email until the last step. Here is a quick example:

  1. Visitor lands on your blog
  2. You retarget them to another article
  3. You retarget them to a landing page
  4. You retarget them to a whitepaper with email capture

This way, you can funnel your visitor toward interesting content. The warm prospects will convert whenever they want by inserting their emails, while the others will wait until they’re ready.

10. Page Based

One of the most common methods of retargeting is to base the content you show people on the pages they’ve seen on your website.


The content you would show people who’ve seen your pricing page would be different from the content you would show people who’ve seen only your blog.

You could also use this technique to show people content that is similar to what they’ve seen before.

Pro Tips

Avoid Being Creepy

You could retarget people whose payment failed with an ad saying “Your Payment Failed,” but I’m not sure they would like it.

These days, you can collect a massive amount of data about your users. Being able to target people with incredible precision based on that data is a great opportunity for marketers. However, make sure you’re not being too intrusive or annoying.


Retargeting can sometimes appear creepy. Use your good judgment to avoid these situations.

Consider Your Audience Size

If you have only a few hundred visitors on your website, you won’t be able to apply most of the techniques above.

Make sure you have a decent audience size when you begin retargeting. With a small audience, pay attention to your Budget and Frequency to avoid spamming people.

Clean Your Lists

If you can’t get people to buy from you, just let it go. Not everyone is interested in what you’re selling. If you keep showing them ads, they’ll get tired of you and they might even talk badly about you.

I sometimes notice that people who look at specific pages rarely convert (e.g., Career page). Knowing that, I exclude these people to improve a campaign’s ROI.

Also, pay close attention to the membership duration of your audiences. If you haven’t seen someone for the last 540 days, chances are, they won’t be interested.


Watch for Concurrent Ads

Ensure that your ads aren’t concurrent or that their concurrence doesn’t look weird. Let’s imagine the following context:

  • You retarget people who visited your blog with ToFu content
  • You retarget people who visited your pricing page with BoFu content

Therefore, people who saw both your blog and your pricing page will see both ToFu and BoFu content. Make sure the experience isn’t weird for them, or exclude the concurrent audience (target people who visited your blog but didn’t visit the pricing page).

Set Up Automation

I’ve seen people waste hours manually adding and removing customers from retargeting lists… Don’t do that! You’ll waste time and become overworked. The next thing you know you’ll be showing the wrong ads to the wrong people.

Linking your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to your retargeting audiences is also possible. Integrate and automate as much as you can. Do as little work as possible. Automate to the maximum.

Make sure the whole process is automated and that you don’t need to do anything to update your audiences.

Keep Experimenting

You need to experiment with different techniques in order to discover what works best for you.

Techniques highlighted in this article are only some of the ones I’ve tried in the past. Don’t listen to me blindly; test them yourself and brainstorm around new ideas.

As an example, in previous campaigns, we realized that pushing content to new audiences and retargeting people who engaged was an incredible source of revenue.

When getting started, most people will think about conversions as the ultimate goal of their PPC strategy. This vision is clearly short-sighted. It’s primary to get your goals straight (e.g., generating revenue), but don’t forget other types of advertising that could lead to the same results.

Retarget Unopened Email

We are all building incredible email lists. It’s terrific because sending email doesn’t cost anything and can drive great results.

Unfortunately, more and more people aren’t even opening their emails. Gmail and their “Promotion” tab isn’t helping.


Something I like to do is send an email and then retarget people who didn’t convert (including those who didn’t open/click the email).

If you notice that your emails have a low open rate or a low CTR, retargeting may be one way to talk to these people and win back their attention.

Remove Poor Performing Geographical Locations

Not all leads are created equal. Some are ready to buy and are a great fit for your product, while others aren’t worth your time. Is there a certain geographic locations where poor quality leads are coming from? If so, you may want to eliminate that area from retargeting.

For example, if you find that you consistently find yourself getting low quality leads from Mexico, you’ll want to remove people in Mexico from being retargeted. This will make for a more cost-effective retargeting program.

Retargeting Madness

Retargeting is very powerful and can show great results. It allows you to target the right people and show them timed and customized offers.

By doing so, you can expect to transform cold leads into warm leads and warm leads into customers. That’s everything a marketer could ask for, right?

Retargeting can be an incredible source of exposure. Get creative, find new ways to target people, and share them in the comments below.

Did you try any of these tactics? What kinds of results did you get? Did you have any trouble implementing them?

About the Author: Pierre Lechelle helps startups grow through digital marketing and growth hacking. Follow him on his blog or Twitter.

Source: KISS


​Announcing MozCon Local 2016!

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

Looking to level up your local marketing and SEO skills? Join us in Seattle for MozCon Local, Thursday and Friday, February 18-19. With both an all-day conference and a half-day workshop, you’ll hear from top local speakers on topics critical to local marketing, including local link building, app search, mobile optimization, content creation, and so much more. For those who attended LocalUp Advanced last year, this is its newest iteration.

For Friday’s main show, we’ll have a full day of speakers giving in-depth presentations with tons of actionable tips. Whether you’re an in-house or agency marketer, a Yellow Pages publisher, or a consultant, you’ll come away with a long to-do list and new knowledge. Plus, you’ll be able to interact directly with speakers both during Q&A sessions and around the conference, and spend time getting to know your fellow local marketers.

Mary Bowling

We’ve teamed with our friends at Local U again to bring you in-depth workshops on Thursday afternoon. If you have specific questions and needs for your clients or local marketing, they’ll be able to dive into the details, give advice, and address issues unique to your business. For those of you who attended last year’s LocalUp, you’ll remember the great Q&A sessions. Local U is planning a couple different tracks from agency management to recommended tools, which will be a blast.

Buy your MozCon Local 2016 ticket!

Some of our great speakers (more coming!)

Darren Shaw

Darren Shaw

Darren Shaw is the President and Founder of Whitespark, a company that builds software and provides services to help businesses with local search. He’s widely regarded in the local SEO community as an innovator, one whose years of experience working with massive local data sets have given him uncommon insights into the inner workings of the world of citation-building and local search marketing. Darren has been working on the web for over 16 years and loves everything about local SEO.

David Mihm

David Mihm

David Mihm is one of the world’s leading practitioners of Local search engine marketing. He has created and promoted search-friendly websites for clients of all sizes since the early 2000’s. David co-founded, which he sold to Moz in November 2012.

Ed Reese

Ed Reese
Sixth Man Marketing

Ed Reese leads a talented analytics and usability team at his firm Sixth Man Marketing, is a co-founder of LocalU, and an adjunct professor of digital marketing at Gonzaga University. In his free time, he optimizes his foosball and disc golf technique and spends time with his wife and two boys.

Emily Grossman

Emily Grossman

Emily Grossman is a Mobile Marketing Specialist at MobileMoxie, and she has been working with mobile apps since the early days of the app stores in 2010. She specializes in app search marketing, with a focus on strategic deep linking, app indexing, app launch strategy, and app store optimization (ASO).

Lindsay Wassell

Lindsay Wassell

Lindsay Wassell’s been herding bots and wrangling SERPs since 2001. She has a zeal for helping small businesses grow with improved digital presence. Lindsay is the CEO and founder of Keyphraseology.

Mary Bowling

Mary Bowling
Ignitor Digital

Mary Bowling’s been in SEO since 2003 and has specialized in Local SEO since 2006. When she’s not writing about, teaching, consulting and doing internet marketing, you’ll find her rafting, biking, and skiing/snowboarding in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and Utah.

Mike Ramsey

Mike Ramsey
Nifty Marketing

Mike Ramsey is the president of Nifty Marketing and a founding faculty member of Local University. He is a lover of search and social with a heavy focus in local marketing and enjoys the chess game of entrepreneurship and business management. Mike loves to travel and loves his home state of Idaho.

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin uses the ludicrous title, Wizard of Moz. He’s founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of

Robi Ganguly

Robi Ganguly

Robi Ganguly is the co-founder and CEO of Apptentive, the easiest way for every company to communicate with their mobile app customers. A native Seattleite, Robi enjoys building relationships, running, reading, and cooking.

MozCon Local takes place at our headquarters in Seattle, which means you’ll be spending the day in the MozPlex. In addition to all the learning, we’ll be providing great swag. Thursday’s workshops will have a snack break and networking time, and for Friday’s show your ticket includes breakfast, lunch, and two snack breaks. Additionally, on Friday evening, we’ll have a networking party so you meet those attending, some who you may have only met on Twitter. Face-to-face ftw!

We’re expecting around 200 people to join us, including speakers, Mozzers, and Local U staff. LocalUp Advanced sold out last year, and we expect MozCon Local to sell out, too, so you’ll want to buy your ticket now!

Our best early-bird prices:

Ticket Normal price Early-bird price
Friday conference Moz or LocalU subscriber ticket $599 $399
Friday conference GA ticket $899 $699
Thursday workshop Moz or LocalU subscriber ticket $399 $299
Thursday workshop GA ticket $549 $399

In order to attend both the conference and workshop, you must purchase tickets to each. Or you may choose to attend one or the other, depending on your needs.

Buy your MozCon Local 2016 ticket!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Source: moz


Super Mario Brothers Turns 30 & Scores A Google Easter Egg


This weekend, Super Mario Brothers celebrated its 30 anniversary, and Google honored the Nintendo video game by giving it an interactive Easter Egg hidden in the game’s Knowledge Graph card.

If you search Google for [Super Mario Brothers], the video game’s knowledge graph info includes a flashing image of its iconic question-mark brick. Clicking the image makes the same Super Mario ringing-sound of points being scored, along with point totals rising from the brick.

“Rumor is a 1-UP sound majestically rings when you click 100 times,” reports TechCrunch.

Super Mario easter egg

Released on September 13, 1985, Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers grew to be one of the best-selling video games of all time.

The post Super Mario Brothers Turns 30 & Scores A Google Easter Egg appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEL


Introducing Two New Executives to the Kissmetrics Team

We’ve made 2 big hires we’d love to tell you about.

Paul O’Leary, Chief Technology Officer


Paul joined Kissmetrics in August as our Chief Technology Officer. He brings a ton of knowledge about big data and analytics. He has more than 20 years of technology development experience with more than 10 at the executive leadership level, most recently as VP of Engineering at Concurrent. There he helped build the industry’s first application performance management solution for big data.

Prior to that he was the co-founder (along with Kissmetrics CEO, Brian Kelly) of Quantivo, an analytics company that was acquired by Aggregate. Quantivo achieved many industry-first innovations in building and scaling a powerful cloud-based analytics infrastructure specifically focused on advanced analytics for marketing and retail.

Now he’ll focus on bringing even more performance, scale and analytic capability to Kissmetrics’s cloud-based infrastructure and solutions.

I asked Paul what his proudest technological achievement is. Here’s his answer:

“[My] proudest achievements are always the awesome teams [I’ve] helped to build and lead. Great technology is built by great teams.”

Paul is a team guy. We’re thrilled to have him join our rock-star engineering team.

Maura Ginty, VP of Marketing


Maura joined us in May as our VP of Marketing. She has more than 15 years of online marketing experience. She’s advised on integrated marketing at Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses, primarily for travel and software companies. She’s also written 2 books on digital marketing (one on B2B marketing and the other on landing page optimization) and is an alumni of the Google Technology Advisory Council. She’s had a number of marketing jobs in her career, most recently serving as Head of Marketing at GeoEx.

She got into marketing from the editorial and digital marketing side, back when digital was new and the underdog of marketing budgets. As we see more about how analytics, conversion optimization, and behavioral data serves both customers and marketers — marketing still proves to be the best combination of art and science.

I asked her why she’s excited for the challenges of working at Kissmetrics. Here’s her answer:

“Kissmetrics is at the heart of all of these favorites. We share the excitement of marketing and all the best techniques to make it the most fascinating and ever-evolving field.”

In her spare time, Maura travels to farflung corners of the planet as a cover for her obsessions with maps, local cheese, and obscure languages.

How This Helps Kissmetrics & Marketers

With this new leadership, Maura is going to help us introduce Kissmetrics to the right people; Paul will help us build an analytics infrastructure that is ahead of its time.

Since 2008, Kissmetrics has been building a product that helps marketers measure and optimize their marketing. We’ve built a solid product thus far, and we’re taking it even farther just this summer:

  • we launched Engage, a conversion optimization tool that nudges visitors and users towards action. We’re already iterating on the product. This past week we launched custom colors, allowing our customers to design their engagements with whatever colors they choose.
  • we’ve updated the navigation, allowing a more horizontal view of data and reduces the amount of steps to view a saved report.
  • customers can now use date range within filters. This can help answer questions like: How is my sign-up conversion rate affected if people don’t view the pricing page in the past 30 days?
  • Marketing isn’t just about first and last touch attribution. That’s why we’ve added multi-touch attribution. Using this feature you’ll be able to see the source of every conversion.
  • We’ve added LiveChat, Segment, Woocommerce and Shopify as integrations. You can see how chat customer segments behave or easily add Kissmetrics to different stores via plugins.

And we’ve got some big plans for what’s ahead. You’ll hear about them shortly. Our team is working hard everyday to help build a product customers love.

Interested in Joining Us?

We’ve got a fun road ahead. Check out our careers page to learn more about our culture and the open positions. We’re currently hiring engineers and customer success superstars.

Source: KISS


One Size Does Not Fit All: Driving Conversions Through Audience Analysis

Posted by SarahGurbach

“We need more content.”
– Every brand ever, at some point in the history of their company

Having worked as a digital consultant over the past few years, I have been exposed to a good amount of brands in various industries. Some had content teams that consisted of one freelance copywriter, while others had a full-blown crew stocked with designers, videographers, and a slew of writers. Regardless of size, though, when discussing their content needs, there was always one common theme: they thought they needed more of it.

And honestly, my reaction would be something like:

“More content?! Easy! I know just the strategy to get you ranking for all the long-tail keywords surrounding your head term. I’ll do a keyword gap analysis, some competitive research, maybe a little trend reporting and come up with 15–20 content ideas for you to send to your copywriter. We’ll optimize those bad boys with title tags, H1s, and some not-so-secretly hidden CTAs, and we’re done. We’ll rank in the SERPs and get the masses to your site. Oh! And we can share this on social, too.”

Seriously, I won’t lie. That’s what I used to do. But then I got sick of blindly going into these things or trying to find some systematic way of coming up with a content strategy that could be used for any brand, of any size, in any industry, that would appeal to any consumer.

So instead of immediately saying yes, I started asking them “why”… roughly 5 times (h/t Wil Reynolds):

1. Why do you want more content?

“Because I want rankings.” (Well, at least they aren’t trying to hide it.)

2. Why do you want rankings?

“Because I want more traffic.” (Okay, we’re getting there.)

3. Why do you want more traffic?

“Because I want more brand awareness.” (Closer…)

4. Why do you want more brand awareness?

“Because I want people to buy my product.” (Ah, here we go.)

5. Why do you want people to buy your product?

“Because I want money.” (Bingo!)

Suddenly, it’s no longer just “we need more content,” but actually “we need the right kind of content for the right kind of audience at the right time in their journey.” And that may seem leaps and bounds more complicated than their original statement, but we aren’t dealing with the same kind of digital atmosphere anymore—and we sure aren’t dealing with the same consumers. Think With Google’s Customer Path to Purchase perfectly visualizes just how complex our consumers have become online.


And it doesn’t just stop there. At each of these interactions, the consumer will be at a different point in their journey, and they are going to need different content to help build their relationship with your brand. Now more than ever, it is imperative that you understand who your audience is and what is important to them…and then be where they are every step of the way.

Super easy, right? Let’s break it down. Here are some ways you can better understand your audience.

Who is your (right) audience?

“If your content is for everybody, then your content really is for nobody.”
Kristina Halvorson, MozCon 2015

While Kristina’s entire presentation was gold, that was probably my favorite line of this past MozCon. Knowing who your audience is (and who your audience isn’t) is pivotal in creating a successful content strategy. When you’re a brand, you have a tendency to fall into the trap of wanting to make everyone your audience. But you aren’t right for everyone, which is why you have a conversion rate of 0.02%. You don’t need to be the best brand for everyone; you just need to be the best brand for someone…and then see if they have friends.

But I’m not saying you have to go out and do more focus groups, consumer surveys, and personas (although it wouldn’t hurt to do a revamp every now and again). Let’s work with what you’ve got.


As stated before, it’s all about targeting the right audience. Let’s say, in this case, the most important people for my business are those that complete a specific goal. Well, I want to find out everything I can about those people and what is bringing them to my site.

To do this, set up a segment in Google Analytics to see only the traffic that resulted in that goal completion:

  • Add Segment
    • Conditions
      • Find your specific goal
      • Change to > or = 1 per session

From there, you can use the demographics functionality in GA to take a deeper dive into that audience in particular:

You can look at age, gender, location, device, and more. You can even look at their interests:

I would also recommend doing this for particular groups of pages to better understand what kind of content brings in users that will convert. You can create groupings based on the type of content (i.e. help articles, branded content, top-of-the-funnel content, etc.) or you can just look at specific folders.

You can also use this segment to better analyze which sites are sending referral traffic that results in a goal completion, as this would be a strong indicator that those sites are speaking to an audience that is interested in your brand and/or product.

Twitter followers

While analyzing your current followers may only help you understand the audience you already have, it will absolutely help you find trends among people who are interested in your brand and could help you better target future strategies.

Let’s start with Twitter. I am a huge fan of Followerwonk for so many reasons. I use it for everything from audience analysis, to competitor research, to prospecting. But for the sake of better understanding your audience, throw your Twitter handle in and click “analyze their followers.”

Followerwonk will give you a sample size of 5,000, which still gives you a pretty good overview of your followers. However, if you export all of the data, you can analyze up to 100,000 followers. As a cheap beer enthusiast myself, I analyzed people following Rainier beer and was pleasantly surprised to see that I am in good company (hello, marketers).

You can also use Followerwonk to better understand when your audience is most active on Twitter, so you can prioritize when you’ll post the content you crafted specifically for those people when they’re most active.

Additionally, I am a big fan of Followerwonk’s ability to search Twitter bios for specific keywords. Not only is it useful for finding authorities in a specific space, it allows you to find all of the additional words that your audience is using to describe themselves.

Search Twitter bios for a keyword that is important to your business or a word that describes your target audience. Once you do that, export all the bios, throw those bad boys into a word-cloud tool, and see what you get.

Obviously, “cheap beer” leads the way, but look at the other words: craft, wine, whiskey, expensive, connoisseur. Maybe, just maybe, cheap beer enthusiasts also know how to enjoy a fine craft beer every now and then. Would I love to read a cheap beer enthusiast’s guide to inexpensive craft beer? Why, yes, I would. And something tells me that those people on Twitter wouldn’t mind sharing it.

Is this mind blowing? Not necessarily. Does it take 5 minutes, help you better understand your audience, and give you some content ideas? Absolutely.

Facebook fans

Utilize Facebook insights as much as possible for figuring out which audience engages with your posts the most—that’s the audience you want to go after. Facebook defaults to “Your Fans,” but check out the “People Engaged” tab to see active fans.

Simon Penson talked about how you can use Facebook to see if your audience has a greater affinity to a certain product/brand/activity than the rest of their cohort at SearchLove last year, and I highly recommend you play around with that function on Facebook as well.

What do they need?

Internal site search

I like to look at site search data for two reasons: to find out what users are looking for, and to find out what users are having a hard time finding. I’ll elaborate on the latter and then go into detail about the former. If you notice that a lot of users are using internal site search to find content that you already have, chances are that content is not organized in a way that is easy to find. Consider fixing that, if possible.

I usually like to look at a year’s worth of data in GA, so change the dates to the past year and take a look at what is searched for most often on your site. In the example below, this educational client can easily tell that the most important things to their prospective students are tuition prices and the academic calendar. That may not be a surprise, but who knows what gems you may find in your own internal site search? If I were this client, I would definitely be playing into the financial aspects of their school, as it’s proven to be important.


Similar to site search, it’s important to understand what questions your customers have about your product or industry. Being there to answer those questions allows you to be present at the beginning of their path to purchase, while being an authority in the space.

Don’t hit enter

This is an oldie but a serious goodie, and I still use it to this day. Start with the 5 Ws + your head term and see what pops up in Google Autocomplete. This isn’t the end-all be-all, but it’s a good starting point.

Use a handy tool

I haven’t been able to play around with all of Grepwords’ tools and functionalities, but I love the question portion. It basically helps you pull in all of the questions surrounding one keyword and provides the search volume.


This is a fun one. If you know that there are popular forums where people talk about your industry, products, and/or services, you can use advanced search queries to find anyone asking questions about your product or service. Example: inurl:”brand name” AND “product name”

You can get super granular and even look for ones that haven’t been answered: inurl: “brand name” AND “product name” -inurl:”answer”

From there, you can scrape the results in the SERPs and siphon through the questions to see if there are any trends or issues.

Ask them

And sometimes, if you want to reach the human behind the computer, you have to actually talk to the human. If you are a B2B that has a sales department, have someone on the marketing team sit in on 10–15 of those calls to see if there are any trends in regards to the types of questions they ask or issues they have. If you are a B2C, try offering a small incentive to have your customer take a survey or chat with someone for ten minutes about their experience.

If you are not comfortable reaching out to your current customers, consider utilizing Google Consumer Surveys. After collecting data from GA and other social platforms, you can use that information to hyper-focus your audience segment or create some form of a qualifier question to ensure you are targeting the right audience for your questions.

While Consumer Surveys has its issues, overall it can be a great way to collect data. This is not the platform to ask fifty questions so you can create a buyer persona; instead, pick some questions that are going to help you understand your audience a bit more. Example questions are:

  • Before purchasing [product], what is your research process?
  • Are you active on social? If so, which channels?
  • What prevents you from purchasing a product?
  • What prevents you from purchasing from a specific brand?
  • What are your favorite sites to browse for articles?

Side note: I am also a huge fan of testing potential headlines before publishing content. Obviously, this is not something you will do for every blog post, but if I was Zulily and I was considering posting a major thought leadership piece, I would probably want to set up a 2-question survey:

  • Question #1: Are you a mom?
  • If yes, question #2: Which of these articles looks most interesting to you?

The great thing about that is you only get charged for the 2nd question if they pass the qualifier round.

Give ’em what they want

Now that you have a better understanding of the kind of people you want to target, it’s important that you spend the time creating content that will actually be of value to them. Continuously revisit these research methods as your audience grows and changes.

I rambled on about my favorite techniques, but I would love to hear how you go about better understanding your own audience. Sound off in the comments below, or shoot me a tweet @TheGurbs.

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Source: moz