This morning’s keynote speech is by SiteTuners.com CEO, Tim Ash, on the four pillars of building online trust. He states that the most important things you learn about online marketing have nothing to do with technology. It is important to build trust as this is essential to humans. We naturally have trust within close quarters such as our friends and neighbours but we are not designed to be in large groups. In large groups, the social structures break down.
If we want to buy something online, we have to trust.
Problems with this include the following;
- It has to be done instantly - You need to build trust with your users within 1/20th of a second, so you must impress them instantly.
- Users are anonymous – you don’t know them; their browser or location tells you nothing, so how do you build trust?
- They don’t know you – Unless you are a well-known brand, you’re out of luck with instant trust.
The Four Pillars of Trust
Appearance: The fact is we do judge a book by its cover, so it’s imperative that we relay quality and professionalism through appearance as standards are rising all the time. Instead of trying to grab the attention of your visitors, the design of your site should be like Zen, sparse and neat.
Transactional assurances: 70% of people abandon online shopping carts due to a lack of trust. It’s crucial to give assurance of trust at the point of sale.
Don’t bury your trust symbols where no one can see them – they are extremely powerful. If placed at the bottom of the page, your visitors will never see the trust symbols. People read images 400-500 times faster than text, so symbols and seals of trust are important.
Authorities: Authority is powerful. You can ‘borrow’ authority by using better known brands, such as reviews and awards, marquee clients, media mentions and trade associations. However, don’t overdo it but ensure they are visible.
Consensus of peers: If everyone is doing it, then users likely to do it too – peer pressure matters. The number of peers is the number of clients, downloads or transactions you’ve had on your site. Let your visitor know and say it in numbers. Say “54,344 satisfied customers have bought this”. Be specific.
PPC versus SEO
Here are some interesting facts from the session: PPC or SEO? The ultimate search marketing battle.
- PPC has a higher conversion rate than organic SEO; 1.2 times more, in fact
- Who gets more traffic though? SEO gets 7.3 times more traffic than PPC does
- Marketers spend more on PPC than on SEO
- PPC is great for testing keywords
- PPC is good due to full flexibility over spend (CPO, CPL, CPC)
- PPC is good because you can make adjustments within short notice
- PPC is good as results are quicker to achieve and there’s little to no changes to be made to the website
- PPC is good because various targeting options ensure happy visitors, such as customised landing pages.
But in the end, SEO and PPC like each other and work well together. The data generated from both can be exchanged for optimisation. It’s possible to remove space for bad reputation by saturating both organic SEO and PPC spots on the results pages which in turn equates to less space for competition to muscle in.
Duplicate content is difficult to define as it’s not always an exact replica of a page, but search engines are looking for a resemblance.
Why should we care?
Duplicate content lowers the index count – fewer pages are available to rank due to duplicates being crawled and indexed.
The best converting pages (money pages) may not rank due to duplicates in the index, resulting in a loss of conversion.
Duplicate content is a tremendous waste of resources; crawlers won’t crawl as frequently or at all if they stumble upon duplicate content on your site. Bad for usability as users find duplicate content frustrating if they find duplicates of the same page in the results pages. Plus, it has a negative brand impact.
Ways to deal with duplicate content:
- It should be prevented in the first place – information architecture, site navigation and page interlinking should be well thought out beforehand.
- Robots.txt – are you preventing the web page from being crawled?
- Robots meta tag – if articles are shared across your network of sites, are you implementing noindex, nofollow appropriately?
- Canonical tag – this should be used as a last resort.
After three days at SES, I feel like I’ll be leaving with a barrage of cutting edge tips, information and thought-provoking ideas from the industries finest. I have gathered many tips, which I’ll be able to apply immediately, and the thoughts and ideas generated will no doubt spur me to approach SEO from a different perspective from now on. While I was only able to briefly cover limited topics in my daily blog post with you, my intention is to further expand on my notes – taken from all the sessions – when I return, and share them with you in much more detail. If I could sum up in one sentence what I have learnt from this experience, it would be that anything that can be searched for can also be optimised.