New look. New vibe. Same kick-ass agency. Introducing our new brand!
MozCon is a three day conference centered around SEO, social media, community building, content marketing, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, analytics, and more. AKA a digital marketers dream, so needless to say AOR was beyond excited to attend MozCon 2016! Sessions ranged from A/B testing, to Why Keywords Matter and everything in between. Now that we are back we tried to boil all the sessions down into a few key takeaways.
Let’s take emails as an example. With emails it is really important for the user to feel that the email is FOR and ABOUT them. This means any customization you can add; the better the experience will be for the receiver of the communication. Humans want to connect with real people and if we are able to customize the email experience so recipients can see THEMSELVES in the email they are more likely to commit and convert. This customization process can lend itself to lengthy emails, and traditionally the rule of thumb with emails was the shorter the better, but we are seeing that if the recipient feels connected to the content they will pay much closer attention no matter the length. Make your recipient believe the content they receive is about them and your content will turn into converting copy. 53% of customers say they will give us more money if they get the experience they want, so focus on the recipient and map their journey through to conversion. Use this as your guidebook to what messaging makes the most sense at what time in the sales cycle. Journey mapping is now just step 1 and we need to think of moment mapping and even meta mapping to deliver the right messaging at the right time. This train of thought can be applied to any digital marketing tactic.
There are a few things that really stuck out to us in the sessions regarding website structure including information architecture, navigation optimization and internal links. When you are building your new beautiful website it is very important to understand who your audience is and what you want them to do on your website. Once that is understood applying that thought process to your website can sometimes be difficult and you end up with a site that tries to be everything to everyone instead of the best tool for your audience to convert time and time again. Lets start with information architecture (IA). Information architecture is “the structural design of shared information environments.”* Bad information architecture can have a major impact on your website. Just a few side effects to consider are: increased likelihood for duplicate content, poor internal linking (will discuss below why this is so important), confusing/incomplete navigation (also will be addresses below) and an overall lower UX (user experience). So how do we set ourselves up for success? More internal links are certainly not the answer and similar tactics are just a “band aid” to the problem. You need to take a step back and design your site with IA in mind from ground zero. Think about “where you are going” when developing your IA and translate that into a few “main ideas” that will become your top Nav. This goes hand in hand with navigation optimization. Under each of your “big ideas” you should feature supporting content that follows your marketing or sales funnel. Relevant content is powerful both for UX and SEO rankings. What this means is having your blog in a separate section isn’t always a good thing; instead see if you can apply relevant content right along side product pages. From a topic authority standpoint you want to have everything you want to rank for in the same sections so segmenting content in this way can be a helpful tool in order to understand where best to place certain information on your website. This structure will help you to grow internal links organically instead of linking all over the place with no rhyme or reason. Organize your content in a way that makes Google understand what you are trying to achieve and you will see your SEO rankings benefit. Same applies for conversions, make converting easy and you will reap the benefits.
Next lets take a look at navigation optimization. Navigation optimization can improve both UX and SEO rankings. Your navigation should always be in alignment with your marketing funnel. Don’t create a narcissistic navigation, instead make it clear what you are offering. For example: “super duper amazing new X” vs. “products.” The goal of your website should be awareness, consideration, conversion and retention*. So make sure you are setting up your navigation structure to accomplish these user goals. We want new users to be able to clearly understand who you are, what you do, and how you solve their problem. After they have become aware and are now repeat visitors we want them to consider us and educate themselves on our differentiators, and ultimately we want them to convert. Nothing beats a repeat customer, right? So once they convert we want to retain them through new and targeted content. With these three goals in mind take a strategic look at your website through user testing, Google Analytics, Search Console, etc. and analyze if your navigation needs some work in order to navigate the user through our above outlined marketing funnel. If you are setting up strategic IA your navigation should follow and you can avoid any major navigation issues.
Lastly lets take a look at internal links. When we look at internal links it is important to remember authority flows through your site via internal links so we want to make sure we are setting up the correct path for both the user and for SEO purposes. Often added sidebar navigation can add a lot of links to a page so instead of throwing every link possible into a side navigation, it is more important to focus on primary taxonomy to set up what you are linking to and how you are linking to it to reduce duplication and set up a strategic link flow through your website. This helps both user experience and SEO rankings. With internal links, less can be MUCH more. Again, a good IA can avoid bad link structure and lends itself to developing an organic link structure.
*Robyn Winner MozCon 2016 presentation
*Information Architecture for the World Wide Web by Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville – ISBN-10: 1491911689
Additional information from: Joe Hall MozCon 2016 presentation