Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Awesome List: WordPress SEO Plugins

The Awesome List: WordPress SEO Plugins was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

plugins

WordPress is a simple-to-use content management system that’s also free. It offers everyone from solo bloggers to the world’s leading brands a platform to create custom and powerful websites. No wonder almost a third of all websites run on WP!

Still, WordPress was made for users, not for Google or SEOs. That’s why SEO plugins exist — to plug in the holes with added functionality that helps your content be indexed by search engines and found by searchers.

As a marketer, content creator or analyst, how do you choose the best SEO plugin for your sites? Here, we’ll take a look at six plugins, their many features, and finally a price comparison chart so that you can compare them:

  1. Yoast SEO
  2. All-In-One SEO Pack
  3. SEO Ultimate
  4. SEO Squirrly
  5. SEOPressor Connect
  6. Bruce Clay SEO WP (our own)

Plugins often come in both free and premium versions; the premium versions unlock more functionality and service. I’ll address both versions where appropriate.

Plugin No. 6 is our soon-to-be-launched WP plugin, Bruce Clay SEO, which fills in the gaps left by other plugins on this list (see our list of what your SEO plugin is missing).

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO website logo
Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plugin. It’s easy to use, driven by a simple user interface. The majority of people use the free version.

Here’s what the free version offers (from its plugin page):

  • XML sitemaps functionality at the push of a button
  • Full control over site breadcrumbs
  • Set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content
  • Title and meta description templates
  • Content & SEO analysis to write SEO-friendly text
  • Snippet preview to show how your post or page will look in the search results (also on mobile)
  • Cornerstone content and internal linking features help optimize your site structure
  • Integrates with Google Search Console
  • Manage SEO roles to give people access to specific sections of the Yoast SEO plugin
  • Bulk editor to make large-scale edits to a site

Strengths: As a leading plugin, it’s driven by market awareness and brand presence. It’s easy to use. The free version is typically enough for most users.
Weaknesses: It’s built for everyone and no one industry in particular. As a result, some users feel the SEO recommendations are too generic. In addition, even though it’s fairly simple to use, the features may seem overwhelming to beginners.
Active installations: 5+ million
Rating on WordPress: 5 stars

Yoast’s Paid Version

Yoast offers a premium version for annual fees ranging from $89 for one site up to $756.50 for 15 sites. Additional offerings of the premium version include:

  • News SEO, video SEO, local SEO and WooCommerce SEO extensions
  • Premium users get one year free access to a support team
  • Insights tool shows you what your text is focusing on so you can keep your article in line with your keywords
  • Multiple focus keywords to optimize your article for synonyms and related keywords
  • Automatic internal linking suggestions of posts to link to
  • Social previews to help manage the way a page looks when shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter
  • Redirect manager to address redirect errors from Google Search Console, deleted pages and changed URLs

2. All-In-One SEO Pack

All-In-One SEO Pack website logo
All-In-One SEO Pack offers entry-level features to assist with SEO for beginners. It also has advanced features and an API for developers.

Here’s what the free plugin offers (from its plugin page):

  • XML sitemap support
  • Image XML sitemap submitted to Google and Bing
  • Google AMP support
  • Google Analytics support
  • Support for SEO on custom post types
  • Advanced canonical URLs
  • Redirect attachment pages to parent post
  • Automatically notifies search engines about changes to your site
  • Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
  • Provides SEO integration for e-commerce sites, including WooCommerce
  • Nonce Security built in
  • Automatically optimizes titles for search engines
  • Generates meta tags automatically
  • Avoids typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
  • For advanced users, fine-tune everything to optimize SEO
  • Override any title and set any meta description and keywords
  • Compatible with many other plugins
  • Translated into 57 languages
  • PHP 7 100 percent compatible

Strengths: As a leading plugin, it’s driven by market awareness and brand presence. Some users appreciate that you can turn off features you won’t need to use.
Weaknesses: This plugin is built for everyone and no one industry in particular. Some people comment that the user interface is not as friendly as they would like it to be, and say that for true beginners, it might be too complex to understand.
Active installations: 2+ million
Rating on WordPress: 4.5 stars

All-In-One’s Paid Version

All-In-One SEO Pack offers a pro version for annual fees ranging from $97 for an individual to $699 for an agency. Additional offerings of the pro version include:

  • Advanced support for WooCommerce
  • SEO for categories, tags and custom taxonomies
  • Video SEO module
  • Access to video screencasts
  • Access to premium support forums
  • Access to knowledge center

3. SEO Ultimate

SEO Ultimate website logo
SEO Ultimate has the most robust feature set of the all-in-one-type WordPress SEO plugins. Check out its plugin page for more details on each of the following features.

Here’s what the free plugin offers (from its plugin page):

  • Title tag rewriter and meta description editor
  • Deeplink juggernaut
  • Open graph integrator
  • Rich snippet creator
  • Author highlighter
  • Link mask generator
  • Canonicalizer
  • 404 monitor
  • Permalink tweaker
  • Meta robot tags editor
  • SEO ultimate widgets
  • Plugin settings manager
  • SEO/SEM-enhancing custom HTML
  • .htaccess editor and the robots.txt editor
  • Textboxes to the end of your posts/pages that contain automatically generated link HTML
  • Meta keywords for posts, pages, categories, tags, terms and the homepage auto-generated and editable
  • “Read more” links include the posts’ keyword-rich titles in the anchor text
  • Rel=”nofollow” settings when migrating from other SEO plugins
  • Dashboard of green/yellow/red indicators for SEO-friendliness
  • Buttons that make it easy for visitors to share content on social
  • Remove customizable “filler words” (like “the,” “with,” “and,” etc.) from post/page URLs
  • Access search engine webmaster tools

Strengths: This plugin has a nice set of robust SEO features. Also, the ability to import and export data from other sources, including other SEO plugins, is something users find handy.
Weaknesses: The free version is no longer being updated for WordPress. Because the tool is advanced, it requires training to get the most out of it.
Active installations: 100,000+
Rating on WordPress: 4 stars

SEO Ultimate’s Paid Version

SEO Ultimate+ costs from $49 for one site to $249 for 20 sites annually. $500 will get you unlimited sites. Additional offerings of SEO Ultimate+ include:

  • Structured data, schema and rich snippets
  • Global canonical manager
  • Alt attribute mass editor for images
  • Improved open graph options for social networks
  • The code inserter+ module
  • HTML and XML Sitemaps
  • Rel previous and next pagination optimization
  • SEO data transporter

4. SEO Squirrly

SEO Squirrly website logo
SEO Squirrly is an SEO plugin that aims to be an SEO advisor.

Here’s what the free plugin offers (from its plugin page – check it out for more in-depth information on each feature):

  • Keyword research
  • SEO Live Assistant
  • Audit Suite
  • Briefcase, keyword strategy assistant
  • Twitter Cards
  • Facebook Open Graph support for both images and video
  • LinkedIn titles, images and description for better sharing
  • Rich Pins for Pinterest
  • Snippet preview
  • Customize meta title and description
  • Sitemap
  • Blog feeds
  • SEO settings
  • Performance analytics
  • Works with multisites
  • Blogging assistant to help keep readers on the page longer

Strengths: Robust features. Works well with the WooCommerce e-commerce plugin.
Weaknesses: The plugin is free if you do less than five posts per month on one site; otherwise, you need to upgrade to the paid version. Some features that used to be included free are now separate paid products, such as search engine rank tracking.
Active Installations: 30,000+
Rating on WordPress: 4.5 stars

SEO Squirrly’s Paid Version

SEO Squirrly offers a premium version for monthly fees of $29.99 for pro and $71.99 for business. Additional offerings of the premium version include:

  • Up to seven sites
  • Full access to SEO Live Assistant
  • Unlimited optimized articles
  • Research on hundreds of keywords
  • Free images; find/insert tweets; find/insert wikis; find/insert news; find/insert blog articles
  • Advanced site analytics
  • Weekly audits on hundreds of pages

5. SEOPressor Connect

SEOPressor Connect website logo

SEOPressor Connect is the most advanced of these SEO plugins, in my opinion.

This is a paid plugin ($9 per month), and just some of the things it offers include:

  • Multiple keywords analysis
  • XML Sitemap generator
  • SEOpressor over-optimization check
  • Canonical link
  • Progressive LSI keywords engine
  • 301 URL redirect
  • SemantiQ density tells you if the content is related to keywords
  • On-page robot rules
  • Schema and Dublin Core markup support
  • SEOpressor site audit
  • SEOpressor local SEO
  • SEO trends
  • Google Knowledge Graph help
  • SEOpressor score manager for optimization
  • Optimize the homepage
  • SEOpressor smart link manager
  • On-page meta settings
  • Sitewide link policy
  • Facebook Open Graph customization
  • Automatic smart linking
  • Twitter Card customization
  • SEOpressor role settings

Strengths: Can be used on multiple domains and works well with other SEO plugins. Many people find it easy to use with a strong user interface.
Weaknesses: Computes its own scores and tracks them over time, but lacks a connection to performance analytics data or search results. This means that the trends could be misleading since they don’t reflect how your content is actually performing in the search engines.
Active installs & ratings: The plugin does not appear in WordPress’s plugin directory, so this data is not available.

6. Bruce Clay SEO for WordPress (now in beta)

While many of the above plugins compete with each other, our approach is different. Bruce Clay SEO WP™ is meant to supplement and extend the free versions with powerful needed features.

We gathered input from industry practitioners on what they wanted to see in an SEO plugin. Then we designed our plugin not to replace the plugins you may be using, but to provide much more data than is available today.

Of course, our plugin provides capabilities similar to others as well, but that is just in case you’re not using any other SEO plugins.

What makes this plugin unique: It enriches your publishing workspace with SEO insights based on real-time search results and analytics. In other words, you can see beyond the page you’re working on, without leaving WordPress. It’s the integration with our SEOToolSet™ and Google Search Console/Analytics that makes this possible.

The Bruce Clay SEO plugin works like software as a service (SaaS). Rather than a static one-size-fits-all checklist approach to optimizing a page or post, our plugin uses a live connection with the SEOToolSet software to analyze your keywords and competition in real time.

As a result, the optimization recommendations you see are customized. So your page can better compete in its specific ranking environment.

There’s no free version, but it’s priced affordably at $24.95/month per domain. (Try it! The first week is free — then you can decide if you want to keep it.)

As a bonus, plugin subscribers can also use the SEOToolSet itself. Data is shared between the plugin in WordPress and the user’s SEOToolSet account. Those who want to can run domain ranking reports and take advantage of many other external tools.

Bruce Clay SEO features are powered by patent-pending technology. WordPress users can:

  • Optimize a page or post for more than one keyword.
  • See clearly where keywords appear in the content through color coding.
  • Know which pages and posts are your top performers.
  • Identify problems with mobile usability and performance.
  • Check the site for duplicate content.
  • Evaluate top-ranked pages for your keywords in real-time.
  • Get recommendations for keyword usage in tags and content (even word count) based upon competitors.
  • Find out how much content has been written on your site per keyword.
  • See how each of your pages or posts is performing, using integrated Google Analytics data.
  • View top-performing posts or pages per author/contributor to the website as measured by visitors over a selectable period of time.
  • Find out when there is a possibility of duplicate content, like meta information or the content on a page.
  • Discover the page or post’s readability and compare it to keyword competitors.
  • Use along with Yoast, if desired. Compatibility is built in.

Want to be one of the first to get the Bruce Clay SEO plugin? We ship soon. You can watch our preview video and pre-register here!

Comparing Your Options

Now that you have a sense of what these 6 awesome WordPress SEO plugins do, here is a quick price comparison chart:

Plugin Free Version? Paid Version Cost SaaS? Domains Allowed
Yoast SEO Y $89-$756.50 annually N 1 to 15
All-In-One SEO Pack Y $97 to $699 annually N 1 to unlimited
SEO Ultimate Y $49-$500 annually N 1 to unlimited
SEO Squirrly Y $29.99-$71.99 monthly Y 1 to 7
SEOPressor Connect N $9 monthly N 1 to unlimited
Bruce Clay SEO WP N (first 7 days free) $24.95 monthly per domain Y 1 to unlimited

I want to know: Have you used any of the plugins in this list? Where do you think they have strengths and weaknesses?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Facebook Attribution: View Top Sources for Conversions

Facebook quietly launched Facebook Attribution last month, a free tool that gives marketers “a more holistic view of the customer journey, both on and off Facebook.

“Holistic” is a fancy way of saying “complete.” Essentially, Facebook Attribution helps you get a more complete view of what people are doing on and off of Facebook.

I wrote a thorough guide on this tool a few weeks back, but I wanted to highlight how Facebook Attribution truly shines in this area.

Top Sources opened my eyes. Let me give you an example…

Facebook Attribution: Top Sources

Your Facebook Ads Manager helps you understand how your paid Facebook campaigns contribute to results like engagement, traffic, installs, and conversions.

But Ads Manager only provides results related to your paid efforts on Facebook. It neglects the organic side.

The beauty of Facebook Attribution is that it helps you easily compare organic versus paid. It separates out Messenger, Instagram, and Audience Network. But, it also includes conversions from other sources (like Google, Pinterest, and email campaigns).

All of that info comes with little or no effort. Copy and paste some code here and there, and you can also bring in paid efforts from other platforms.

One of the biggest advantages of this all-in-one approach is reporting consistency. As we all know by now, Facebook and Google Analytics will never match up. But having one report act as the equalizer can provide a much more accurate sense of the impact of your respective efforts.

Top Sources: Website Registrations

Here’s an example of the top sources of website registrations for a single line of business…

Facebook Attribution Sources Website Registrations

In the example above, paid Facebook efforts bring in by far the most website registrations for this line of business. It’s brought in more registrations than Infusionsoft (email campaigns), organic Facebook, organic Google, and paid Instagram efforts combined.

Way down the list are paid Messenger (5 conversions) and paid Audience Network (2 conversions). The most valuable source of website registrations to this line of business is clearly paid ads from Facebook.

Top Sources: Website Purchase

Of course, a website registration may not be your final goal. You likely want a sale.

You can switch to view the sources of website purchases as well, complete with conversion value (if you track this). Here’s an example for that same line of business…

Facebook Attribution Sources Website Purchases

This time, Infusionsoft email campaigns represent the strongest source of website purchases — both in volume and revenue. Organic Google searches make up about half of the number of sales, but a larger share of revenue.

Paid and organic Facebook fall in a distant third, followed by a single sale via paid Instagram and Messenger campaigns.

What we are seeing is how, specifically, Facebook advertising is being used for this business. Build the email list with Facebook ads. Drive sales via email campaigns. And do some solid SEO to get organic website registrations and even purchases through Google search.

Top Sources: Add a Platform

Facebook Attribution automatically provides these sources, assuming you connect your Facebook pixel and ad account. But what about if you are also running ads via Google AdWords and want to get this information included in your results?

At the bottom of the source list, click the button to add a platform…

Facebook Attribution Add Platform

Scroll down to Google Ads and select the item for either display or search (depending on where you are running ads).

Facebook Attribution Sources Google

You may agree to the terms…

Facebook Attribution Add Tags

Facebook provides a tag to add to your Google AdWords account. While viewing all campaigns, click on Settings > Account Settings. There, paste the tag in the tracking template.

Facebook Attribution Sources Google Tag

Click the button to test. If all comes out well, click to save. Within a day or two, you should start seeing paid Google results appearing in your sources.

This Line of Business

If you hadn’t figured it out, the line of business above is my own. If you know much about my business, it was obvious. I spend the bulk of my Facebook ads budget on driving traffic and building my email list. Further down the funnel, I spend less (to a small and warm audience) to sell. I let my email campaigns, built and nurtured with Facebook ads, do the heavy lifting.

I’ve long been spoiled by my organic search traffic driven by Google. I admit that I take it for granted. But this report opened my eyes.

Why? Because Google isn’t just sending me traffic. It’s not just driving website registrations. It’s bringing revenue (quite a bit of it). And this is without spending a dime on AdWords.

But this report changed my thinking. Yes, Google has been great to me. But why not leverage that success? Let’s throw some money at it.

It’s been years since I spent money on Google. My strategy is heavily focused on Facebook ads, my email list, and website content. But, thanks to Facebook Attribution, I’ve decided to give AdWords another shot.

That, my friend, is one example of why Facebook Attribution is so powerful. It helps you see things you may otherwise miss — or completely ignore.

Learn More About Facebook Attribution

I encourage you to discover your “holistic view” of your own customers’ journeys on and off of Facebook. Poke around Facebook Attribution yourself. Or you can sign up for our training on this topic that occurs on Thursday, December 6 [CLICK TO LEARN MORE!].

Your Turn

Does Facebook Attribution shed any light on information you had been missing about your top conversion sources?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Attribution: View Top Sources for Conversions appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How to Edit a Facebook Ad and Retain Social Proof

One of the most common problems I hear from Facebook advertisers revolves around editing ads (or posts that are being promoted in ads) and retaining the social proof. How do you do it?

First, credit is due. Peter Frisch, a member of the Power Hitters Club – Elite (my private membership), posed this question and uncovered the solution. This post is inspired by his research.

There’s a lot to cover here. Let’s take a closer look at the actual problem and how it’s solved for published and unpublished posts.

Editing Ads: What’s the Problem?

You start an ad. It’s doing well. Then, a few days later, you spot a typo. Or maybe an area that can be clarified.

When you click the top right of a typical post that isn’t being promoted, you’ll get the option to edit…

Facebook Post Edit

But, it’s not so easy when trying to edit a post that is being promoted — or was promoted — in an ad. When you click that same area on such a post, the “Edit” option doesn’t exist…

Facebook Post Edit

This ad has been running for multiple days, and you’re getting a ton of comments, likes, and shares. You could just start over and create a brand new ad, but that social proof is valuable.

So… How do you get around this??

The Solution: Background

There’s a simple explanation for when you can and can’t edit a post. You can’t edit a post that is associated with an active ad. In fact, you can’t edit a post that is connected to an ad, even if that ad is inactive.

You can only edit a post if it isn’t currently connected to an ad — whether it is active or inactive.

When you create an ad, you can promote an existing post (published or not)…

When you select a post to promote, there is a column for the post ID.

Promote Existing Facebook Post

This list includes both published (they live on your Facebook page) and unpublished (they don’t) posts.

The Solution: Published Posts

I often create organic Facebook posts to share a recent blog post. I then later promote that post through Ads Manager. Here’s an example of such a post:

Facebook Post Edit

As you can see, I can’t edit that post. The reason is that this post is connected to an ad. That ad isn’t even active anymore, but the fact that it is connected to an ad is preventing me from editing it now.

So, I find that ad (or, in this case, multiple ads)…

Facebook Ad

And I change the post that those ads are promoting…

Facebook Ad

Remember that this ad is not active. If it were, I’d want to deactivate it first since I’d otherwise mess up my metrics. Then, publish it.

Once published, guess what? I can go back into that post and edit it…

Edit Facebook Post

If I were to edit the post, go back into the ad and change the post back, I could then publish and reactivate with the edited copy.

Edited Facebook Post

As you can see above, that edited post retains the original social proof.

The Solution: Unpublished Posts

You’ll follow a similar process for unpublished posts, but the editing is a little less straight-forward.

First, find all ads that are promoting the unpublished post that you want to edit. It may only be one, but it’s possible you have created multiple ads promoting the same post.

From within the ad, select the option to view the Facebook post with comments.

View Facebook Post with Comments

When that tab opens, you may need to add “business.” before “facebook.com” in the URL to open it in Business Manager (assuming you use Business Manager).

Business Manager URL

Keep that extra tab open and go back to the ad(s).

Make sure these ads aren’t active and then change the post that is being promoted. Then publish.

Now, go back to the open tab that had the original post. You should now be able to edit it…

Edit Unpublished Facebook Post

If you now change the post promoted by the ad(s) and publish, you will be able to promote the edited post while retaining social proof.

Edited Unpublished Facebook Post

Recap

That was a lot, but let’s knock this down into the basic steps.

  1. Find the original post
  2. Deactivate all ads connected to that post
  3. Connect those ads to a different post
  4. Publish ads connected to a new post
  5. Edit the original post
  6. Reconnect the ads to the original post
  7. Republish ads and reactivate

Of course, instead of reconnecting, republishing, and reactivating, you could simply create a completely new ad connected to the edited post as well.

Your Turn

As simple as this concept is, it’s extremely easy to miss. As a result, it’s created an insane amount of unnecessary frustration for advertisers. Hopefully, this helps.

Have you been editing ads in this way? Let me know in the comments below!

The post How to Edit a Facebook Ad and Retain Social Proof appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

7 SEO Fails Seen in the Wild (And How You Can Avoid Them)

7 SEO Fails Seen in the Wild (And How You Can Avoid Them) was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

business woman realizes SEO blunder
We often get questions from people wondering why their site isn’t ranking, or why it isn’t indexed by the search engines.

Recently, I’ve come across several sites with major errors that could be easily fixed, if only the owners knew to look. While some SEO mistakes are quite complex, here are a few of the often overlooked “head slamming” errors.

So check out these SEO blunders — and how you can avoid making them yourself.

SEO Fail #1: Robots.txt Problems

The robots.txt file has a lot of power. It instructs search engine bots what to exclude from their indexes.

In the past, I’ve seen sites forget to remove one single line of code from that file after a site redesign, and sink their entire site in the search results.

So when a flower site highlighted a problem, I started with one of the first checks I always do on a site — look at the robots.txt file.

I wanted to know whether the site’s robots.txt was blocking the search engines from indexing their content. But instead of the expected text file, I saw a page offering to deliver flowers to Robots.Txt.

SEO fail on a flower site

The site had no robots.txt, which is the first thing a bot looks for when crawling a site. That was their first mistake. But to take that file as a destination … really?

SEO Fail #2: Autogeneration Gone Wild

Secondly, the site was automatically generating nonsense content. It would probably deliver to Santa Claus or whatever text I put in the URL.

I ran a Check Server Page tool to see what status the autogenerated page was showing. If it was a 404 (not found), then bots would ignore the page as they should. However, the page’s server header gave a 200 (OK) status. As a result, the fake pages were giving the search engines a green light to be indexed.

Search engines want to see unique and meaningful content per page. So indexing these non-pages could hurt their SEO.

SEO Fail #3: Canonical Errors

Next, I checked to see what the search engines thought of this site. Could they crawl and index the pages?

Looking at the source code of various pages, I noticed another major error.

Every single page had a canonical link element pointing back to the homepage:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.domain.com/” />

In other words, search engines were being told that every page was actually a copy of the homepage. Based on this tag, the bots should ignore the rest of the pages on that domain.

Fortunately, Google is smart enough to figure out when these tags are likely used in error. So it was still indexing some of the site’s pages. But that universal canonical request was not helping the site’s SEO.

How to Avoid These SEO Fails
For the flower site’s multiple mistakes, here are the fixes:

  • Have a valid robots.txt file to tell search engines how to crawl and index the site. Even if it’s a blank file, it should exist at the root of your domain.
  • Generate a proper canonical link element for each page. And don’t point away from a page you want indexed.
  • Display a custom 404 page when a page URL doesn’t exist. Make sure it returns a 404 server code to give the search engines a clear message.
  • Be careful with autogenerated pages. Avoid producing nonsense or duplicate pages for search engines and users.

Even if you’re not experiencing a site problem, these are good points to review periodically, just to be on the safe side.

Oh, and never put a canonical tag on your 404 page, especially pointing to your homepage … just don’t.

SEO Fail #4: Overnight Rankings Freefall

Sometimes a simple change can be a costly mistake. This story comes from an experience with one of our SEO clients.

When the .org extension of their domain name became available, they scooped it up. So far, so good. But their next move led to disaster.

They immediately set up a 301 redirect pointing the newly acquired .org to their main .com website. Their reasoning made sense — to capture wayward visitors who might type in the wrong extension.

But the next day, they called us, frantic. Their site traffic was nonexistent. They had no idea why.

A few quick checks revealed that their search rankings had disappeared from Google overnight. It didn’t take too much Q&A to figure out what had happened.

They put the redirect in place without considering the risk. We did some digging and discovered that the .org had a sordid past.

The previous owner of the .org site had used it for spam. With the redirect, Google was assigning all of that poison to the company’s main site! It took us only two days to restore the site’s standing in Google.

How to Avoid This SEO Fail
Always research the link profile and history of any domain name you register.

A qualified SEO consultant can do this. There are also tools you can run to see what skeletons may be lying in the site’s closet.

Whenever I pick up a new domain, I like to let it lie dormant for six months to a year at least before trying to make anything of it. I want the search engines to clearly differentiate my site’s new incarnation from its past life. It’s an extra precaution to protect your investment.

SEO Fail #5: Pages That Won’t Go Away

Sometimes sites can have a different problem — too many pages in the search index.

Search engines sometimes retain pages that are no longer valid. If people land on error pages when they come from the search results, it’s a bad user experience.

Some site owners, out of frustration, list the individual URLs in the robots.txt file. They’re hoping that Google will take the hint and stop indexing them.

But this approach fails! If Google respects the robots.txt, it won’t crawl those pages. So Google will never see the 404 status and won’t find out that the pages are invalid.

How to Avoid This SEO Mistake
The first part of the fix is to not disallow these URLs in robots.txt. You WANT the bots to crawl around and know what URLs should be dropped from the search index.

After that, set up a 301 redirect on the old URL. Send the visitor (and search engines) to the closest replacement page on the site. This takes care of your visitors whether they come from search or from a direct link.

SEO Fail #6: Missed Link Equity

I followed a link from a university website and was greeted with a 404 (not found) error.

This is not uncommon, except that the link was to /home.html — the site’s former homepage URL.

At some point, they must have changed their website architecture and deleted the old-style /home.html, losing the redirect in the shuffle.

Ironically, their 404 page says you can start over from the homepage, which is what I was trying to reach in the first place.

404 error message example

It’s a pretty safe bet that this site would love to have a nice link from a respected university going to their homepage. And accomplishing this is entirely within their control. They don’t even have to contact the linking site.

How to Fix This Fail
To fix this link, they just need to put a 301 redirect pointing /home.html to the current homepage. (See our article on how to set up a 301 redirect for instructions.)

For extra credit, go to Google Search Console and review the Index Coverage Status Report. Look at all of the pages that are reported as returning a 404 error, and work on fixing as many errors here as possible.

SEO Fail #7: The Copy/Paste Fail

The site redesign launches, the canonical tags are in place, and the new Google Tag Manager is installed. Yet there are still ranking problems. In fact, one new landing page isn’t showing any visitors in Google Analytics.

The development team responds that they’ve done everything by the book and have followed the examples to the letter.

They are exactly right. They followed the examples — including leaving in the example code! After copying and pasting, the developers forgot to enter their own target site information.

Here are three examples our analysts have run across in website code:

  1. <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://example.com/”>
  2. ‘analyticsAccountNumber’: ‘UA-123456-1’
  3. _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-000000-1’]);

How to Avoid This SEO Fail
When things don’t work right, look beyond just “is this element in the source code?” It may be that the proper validation codes, account numbers and URLs were never specified in your HTML code.

Mistakes happen. People are only human. I hope that these examples will help you avoid similar SEO blunders of your own.

But some SEO issues are more complex than you think. If you have indexing problems, then we are here to help. Call us or fill out our request form and we’ll get in touch.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

How I Used Facebook Lead Ads to Create a Quiz

One of my favorite things to do is solve problems by using a tool in ways it wasn’t meant to be used. In this post, I will outline how I did that by using Facebook lead ads to create a quiz.

First, credit goes to Lucas Elliott of our team. A few weeks ago, I talked about using quizzes as a lead magnet. Lucas suggested creating a quiz with a Facebook lead ad. I balked, knowing that it wouldn’t be as dynamic as what I wanted to do.

A few weeks later, I was inspired to try it out. Now I feel crazy for not trying it sooner.

Ultimately, I warmed to the idea because this would be one of a few strategies involving quizzes. While the Facebook lead ad may not function the way a quiz would on my website, the benefits of experimenting with this would be huge.

So, let’s take a closer look at the thought process, creation, and results. Why quizzes in the first place? How did I set this up? What kinds of results am I seeing?

Background: Why Quizzes?

My email list is the backbone of my business. When it comes to generating revenue, it’s my list that is responsible for much of it.

In many ways, I use Facebook ads backwards compared to most advertisers. I spend most of my budget promoting content (building a remarketing audience) and growing my email list. While I do run ads to promote products, my email marketing is then mostly responsible for the heavy lifting.

During the past couple of years, my primary list builder has been a monthly webinar. But even if the content is largely the same from month-to-month, it takes a great deal of effort to do this.

That’s why I stopped my monthly webinar after April’s edition. As a result, the growth of my list — though you could still register generally to my newsletter — lurched to a stop.

And that, of course, is a problem. I need a fresh, active list to help drive revenue. When list growth stops, revenue is at risk.

And so, I finally restarted my monthly webinar, albeit temporarily, in November. I’ll run it at least one more time, if not two. In the meantime, I’m on a mission to find a more manageable replacement.

I’ve thought of turning my webinar content into a video series. But I also decided I’d experiment with quizzes.

I learned a year ago with my 30-question quiz how engaging they can be. But what if I had more than one quiz? What if they were all 5-10 questions? And on a specific topic? I could create dozens of them.

So, the first thing I did was find a quiz software (I chose TypeForm). I would use a single quiz to invite people in. If you wanted access to the (eventual) quiz library, you’d need to register.

Here’s that quiz…

Strategy: Lead Ads and Quizzes

Okay, so what do quizzes have to do with Facebook lead ads? Can I use them to drive registrations to the quiz library? Or could I create a quiz directly within a lead ad form?

Why not both?

Lead ad forms allow the flexibility of creating custom questions. I can, then, add my questions to the form itself. And if you want to see the answers — and participate in future quizzes — you provide your contact information to subscribe.

The hope is that this form will be engaging enough to get people through a nine-question quiz (I’d use nine of the 10 questions from the embedded quiz above, removing one with long answers).

My Facebook Lead Ad Quiz

To kick off this experiment, I created a VERY simple ad. I find that simple is the key to any experiment since it limits or eliminates delays.

Facebook Lead Ad Quiz

If you click on my ad, the form opens. You can scroll through all nine questions before entering your contact info and submitting (click the image to get a close-up view)…

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

After submitting, you are presented with a thank-you screen within the form…

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

If you close the form, you’ll still receive an email from me with your answers as well as the correct answers (more on that later). If you want, you can click on the “See the Answers” button and you’ll be redirected to a page on my website with an explanation of all 10 answers.

Set Up a Lead Ads Quiz: Campaign

So, let’s walk through, step-by-step, how I did this — and how you might be able to do something similar.

First, make sure to use the Lead Generation campaign objective…

Lead Generation Facebook Campaign Objective

Set Up a Lead Ads Quiz: Ad

Create the copy with text, headline, and news feed description. You can now use a square image to take up more vertical real estate in the news feed. Facebook recommends a 1080x1080px image.

Facebook Image Size

For the call-to-action button, there aren’t great options for a quiz, unfortunately. I went with “Learn More.”

Facebook Ad CTA

Set Up a Lead Ads Quiz: Form

When creating the form, I used the “More Volume” form type.

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

I don’t know that it matters much in this case given anyone who submits the quiz will have to go to a lot of effort. But feel free to experiment.

I added an intro that included a shorter (1200x628px) image and a prompt to provide contact info at the bottom so that I can send the answers.

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

Within the “Questions” area, first I added a simple headline (“Ready? Let’s go…”) and selected the contact info I would need. In this case, I asked for first name, last name, and email address.

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

Next, I created custom questions. These would be the actual questions for the quiz. I chose to use multiple choice questions.

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

Here’s how it looks as I added my questions…

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

After updating the privacy policy, I created a thank-you screen.

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

Note that I have given people the option of viewing all of the answers on a new page I created on my website. You can send people wherever you want here.

Targeting

Whom you target with these ads is completely up to you. But something that can apply universally is how you exclude.

In my initial test, I targeted people who are in the top 5% of those who spent the most time on my website during the past 180 days.

Time on Website Facebook Custom Audience

After a successful initial test in the US, I created new ad sets for audiences in other countries. Another day later, I would create ad sets targeting lookalike audiences.

But again, you shouldn’t necessarily copy that targeting approach. The people you target depends on the resources available to you.

Exclusions

What is mostly universal, though, is the group of people you should consider excluding.

Facebook Lead Ad Form Quiz

In my case, I am excluding the following groups of people:

  • Subscribed to Quiz Library (Website Custom Audience thank-you page)
  • Subscribed to Quiz Library (Email Custom Audience)
  • Subscribed to Quiz Library (Submitted Lead Ad Form)
  • Opened (but may not have submitted) form within past 14 days

Some explanations may be in order…

Notice that I’ve excluded the people who have subscribed to my quiz library in three different ways. The reason for this is that no one way will capture everyone.

Recall that some people could register via the form on my website while others do from the lead ad form. By excluding all three methods, there’s a better chance that I avoid targeting people who are already registered (though never guaranteed).

Finally, I have excluded those who simply OPENED the form during the past 14 days. This way, I cut out those who poked around but maybe didn’t submit — at least for the time being. I’ll hit them again in a couple of weeks. This is a way to control frequency to a point.

Another approach I like to take, but didn’t here, is using video instead of a static image. If you do that, I would also consider creating an audience of people who already watched the video (or a portion of the video) and exclude those people (either using the 14-day method or longer). Once again, this is a way to manage frequency.

My Quiz Automation

First, know that people who complete your Facebook lead ad forms aren’t automatically added to your email list without some third-party automation. I use Zapier for this (not an affiliate link).

I create a Zap with a trigger of those who submitted my lead ad form.

Zapier Facebook Lead Ad CRM

I use Infusionsoft as my CRM. The first action, then, is to tag the new contact in Infusionsoft.

Zapier Facebook Lead Ad CRM

I then create another action of sending a Zapier email.

Zapier Facebook Lead Ad CRM

While I can also just rely on my email campaign in Infusionsoft, there’s a special trick that you can pull off in this Zapier email. Since it’s connected to your lead ad form, you can pull in the exact answers. That can allow you to craft a more personal email.

For mine, I list out the question, the answer you provided, and my explanation of the answer. Here is what it looks like through the first couple of questions…

Zapier Facebook Lead Ad CRM

I’m sure there are ways to feed this info into your Infusionsoft contact and then craft a personalized email from there as well. But again, I opted for simplicity (Infusionsoft is always a beast).

And that’s it!

Early Returns

I’ve been pretty amazed by the early results. For the first four days of this campaign, I generated 61 leads at $.66 per lead. Keep in mind that the audience I was targeting was very small (top 5% of website visitors from the US who spent the most time on my website during the past 180 days).

Facebook Lead Ad Quiz

There are a couple of reasons why this cost per lead is impressive. First, all of the registrants are in the United States, typically the most costly country for a lead. These results aren’t being puffed up by a cheap country.

Second, it takes a significant amount of work to complete this form. Normally, we’re told to limit the amount of information we request in a form. The more form questions, the higher the quality of the lead — though more costly.

So, this is certainly a good start. I then created two more ad sets…

  • Ad Set #2: WCA Top 5% Time on Website (UK, Canada, Australia)
  • Ad Set #3: WCA Top 5% Time on Website (Tier 2 Countries with higher CPM)

I combine countries in this case due to budget and sample size. For more info on how I determine countries to target and the budget, check out this recent blog post.

The results? So far, another 61 leads for $.36 per lead.

Facebook Lead Ad Quiz

Look, these are small sample size results, and the costs are bound to increase in the coming days as I exhaust my audiences. But this is seriously encouraging stuff given 1) The typical cost per lead, and 2) The amount of effort that goes into completing this form.

I created three more ad sets today based on the same countries but using lookalike audiences. It’s still very early, of course. While the costs are higher (not surprisingly when targeting a cold audience), we’re still looking at cost per lead from $.72 to $2.40, depending on the ad set.

Not bad!

Your Turn

This is one of many examples of using tools in ways that may not have been intended. I’m encouraged by the results so far.

Have you ever used Facebook lead ads in this way? What types of results have you seen?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post How I Used Facebook Lead Ads to Create a Quiz appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.