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Usability and A/B Testing – A Special Relationship

Any successful Internet Marketer worth their salt, will always stress the importance of testing your landing page.

And with so many metrics available to you now, landing page testing results has never been more accurate.

In the not too distant past. If you owned a bricks and mortar off-line business.

It would be almost impossible to gather reliable information regarding…

…just how many people walked past your shop, and saw your poster in the window.

But thanks to the ever improving technology of today’s Internet.

You can now see exactly who looked at your advert, and how long they spent there.

 What is landing page usability testing?

This is a form of landing page testing that involves the people who are actually going to use your website. It is where you test your design ideas on the representative users of your landing page and website.

 Usability testing is about expectations and real-world use

 It allows the designer to see where the user’s expectations differ from the designs that he or she has created.

It also helps to point out where the designer’s expectations and predictions bear credence.

There are landing-page-usability-testing companies out there that will help you to find appropriate subjects for your usability tests.

 Testing your landing page’s usability is not expensive

You can quite often cover the most serious and significant problems with your landing page with just a small group of people (just so long as the group is diverse in a number of varied ways).

There are several protocols and systems you can set in place to create very complicated and specific tests, but because you’re looking for qualitative results it should not matter.

Probing the users and making sure that they approach the landing page in different ways is more important than setting up strict and measurable tests.

 What is A/B testing and when does it occur?

 A/B testing is a fairly simplified form of testing that usually occurs post-design and post-usability test. It tests a landing page’s conversion performance. Conversions are measured differently depending upon what you are trying to achieve. The most common is a sale or lead conversion.

 Put simply–when a person lands on your landing page, they can do a lot of things (bookmark, comment, sign up, etc).

If your primary goal is to have them buy something, then your conversion rate is calculated by the amount of people who make a purchase, divided by how many people land on your page. So if you had 85 visitors, and 17 purchase something, then you would have a conversion rate of 0.2, or 20%.

 What does Google suggest about A/B testing?

 Google suggest that if you are having more than 1000 hits per week, that you should really conduct an A/B test.

Google also suggest that you do not take your A/B testing too seriously unless you are getting at least 100 conversions per page. Anything less than that is not conclusive enough to warrant you changing, adjusting or trusting your landing page.

So if you are A/B testing three or four landing pages, and one of them is getting over 100 conversions per page, then you may consider your landing page a success.

 Where do Usability and A/B testing have their relationship?

 Where they converge would seem blindingly obvious. If the landing page is not suitably tested and optimized for your target audience, then the resulting A/B testing will be a diabolical mess. Your landing pages may gain no conversions at all, or at the very least you are going to have unpredictable results. You may also develop a lot of anomalous results.

 Does this mean that usability testing and A/B testing should go hand in hand?

 If you are new to the idea of testing, or you are looking for a clean testing process, then it is a good idea to keep your usability testing and your A/B testing separate.

 How you may conduct your usability test and A/B test

 You can do this by creating multiple landing pages. The very first landing page that you create–you should keep along with any other alternatives that you have come up with. After usability testing you should also have quite a few suggestions on how to improve your landing page.

 Create a landing page that takes into account as many of these suggestions as possible, and then a number of other pages that account for a mix of the suggestions. All of the pages should then be A/B tested to see which ones work the best.

 Common sense would say that if the usability tests were good enough, then the page with all the suggestions may get the most conversions.

But this may not be the case, and upon occasion it is the original design (with maybe a small tweak or two) that wins the conversion race.

It is a good idea to keep running usability tests and A/B tests. If you have a good landing page that provides a constant conversion rate, then there is little point in messing with a good system. But, do not be afraid of usability testing a few changes anyway, because sometimes perfection can be improved.

A Webmaster’s Guide to Surviving Google Panda

 

If you own a website, you’ve probably heard of Google Panda, if you haven’t already suffered the effects of a Google slap. It changed the algorithms the Google search engine uses to rank websites. It made sure Google focuses on quality content over traditional SEO techniques.

It meant people who had attempted to manipulate the rankings saw their websites tumble down the rankings. Google Panda was designed to end this and focus on genuine web users who wanted to add value for users.

Clearing Out the Dirt

Google Panda worked towards removing the rubbish published online. It has a lot of definitions for what a poor quality website is. For a start, the update brought in real humans to judge some websites and make a decision on how it enhanced the user experience.

Installing human reviewers for the first time changed the game and now people have to cater to real users, rather than a few technical definitions. It’s no longer about checking lots of boxes.

Google Panda Update Updates

The ‘Google Dance’ shows Google Panda is receiving regular updates. Google Panda wasn’t the solution to fix everything. It was merely the start of Google’s plan. We have since seen lots of different updates which have closed loopholes and further strengthened the emphasis on quality content.

Google tends to have at least 30 updates every year. It’s just most people don’t see or hear of them as they aren’t widely publicised.

Panda’s Victims

Google Panda claimed a number of victims in its push to destroy the useless websites poisoning the search engines. Link farms and content mills suffered first. If you were spamming links or posting pointless content for the purposes of SEO, it’s likely your site was completely removed from the search engines.

Human reviewers saw lots of lower quality websites were getting through. Updates and changes were made to Panda and even more websites were hit. These were websites not necessarily linked to nefarious practices.

Here’s how you can ensure your site survives any further Panda updates.

Low Quality Pages

Remove any poor quality pages. Ask yourself what’s the point of a certain page. If you can’t figure out a compelling reason, remove it. Don’t keep something in place just because you think the added keywords add more value. Cut things down to the bare bones and you’ll maintain your SEO ranking.

If you intend on updating these pages, you can mention the page is under construction. This is perfectly acceptable and Google won’t penalise your website for having this text on one or two of your pages.

Aim to go through your pages regularly and make any changes to make the information as updated as possible.

Same Keywords

You have lots of primary keywords. What you should never do is have the same keywords on every page. It’s seen as spamming and it won’t help your ranking. Instead of having exactly the same keywords, concoct some variations and use those instead. Synonyms will still influence your search engine ranking positively.

Duplicate Anchors

Duplicate anchor texts are another area where you can be accused of spamming. Be wary of duplicate anchor text. Make it relevant and use synonyms like you would keywords. The easiest way to deal with this is to choose a different keyword variation for each anchor text. It accomplishes the same thing as before without incurring the wrath of Panda.

Alternatively, link to different pages. You run the risk of being flagged if you’re constantly linking to exactly the same page.

Content Spinning

Any content which you’ve spun or automatically generated is a huge problem. Not only could it be considered duplicate, it could be poorly written. Remove any tools which automatically generate text, especially if it’s geared towards ripping stories from news reels.

Spun content is a highly debated issue. If you look at most of the Internet, every piece of content has been spun in some way. If Google removed it all there would only be a few thousand websites remaining in the search engines.

This sort of content becomes a problem when it becomes too similar to another piece of text. It must add something new whilst being sufficiently different from something else. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from someone else, but make it original.

Remember, Google uses human reviewers now so it’s not just a matter of fooling the search engines.

Yee of Little Text

Pages with only a small amount of text on can inadvertently damage your rankings. Obviously, you’ll be fine if it’s a contact page or a product page where there’s only supposed to be a tiny piece of text. Google aren’t stupid and they know when it’s acceptable for a page to have almost nothing on it.

On a conventional page, such as your home page, they expect it to be rich in content. It should offer real value to users. Every click should reveal something new and ground-breaking, if you want to elevate your site to the first page of Google.

The Different Methods of CPA Tracking

 

CPA stands for Cost Per Action, and is a form of affiliate advertising. 

It involves running adverts on your website.

If the advert is clicked then the reader is sent over to that website where he or she may perform a certain action.

With PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, the webmaster would be paid for the fact that the viewer clicked on the advert.

With CPA the viewer must click the advert, land on the landing page and then perform a certain action.

The action is usually a sale, but it can be a number of things and under a number circumstances. This article explains some of what those things are and/or may be.

A sale in the most general terms

You may think that this is the most common CPA action, but you would be wrong.

There are very few CPA programs that will pay you for just a sale. There are often time limits for how long it takes for the buyer to actually buy the product, or which product they buy, etc.

The CPA program that pays for just any old sale is rare, and you will often find that there are certain rules that are not apparent right away.

Your affiliate CPA program may tell you that they pay for all sales no matter what the circumstance, however, you may find that if the viewer puts a product in their shop basket, and comes back to it later, you are not paid.

Sale on landing page

This is a common CPA program offer, and the rewards are often very high.

This is mainly because it is incredibly hard to get a user to buy from just looking at a landing page. However, the process is often very quick and simple and the rewards are often large.

Sale completed within a few days

This sort of CPA program tags you as the referrer/lead, which means that if your sale is completed within a few days then you are still paid. However, the amount of time between the initial viewer visit and the sale will often matter…

…For example, Amazon CPA program sales are often limited to a single day, where after you are not paid, even if the viewer makes a purchase.

Sale completed immediately

This is another common CPA program deal, where the buyer must make a sale during their initial visit after coming from your site.

This however is not a terrible deal from your end, as the customers first visit to the site is their most probable purchasing time. And, if the sale includes any item on the website (not just one landing page or category) then it is possible you will make money.

Sale within the same category

If for example your CPA program advert is for cars, but your viewer clicks the advert, visit’s the site and then buys a motorcycle; you are not paid under this scheme.

It works on the idea that you cannot take credit (literally) for sales made if they have nothing to do with your CPA advert.

The action is a subscription

Not all CPA program actions have to be sales. Some people pay if your viewers sign up for a subscription. As you can imagine, you are paid more if the consumer is signing up for a paid subscription.

The action is quiz taking

Some companies want their traffic to fill out a quiz or questionnaire as part of their market research. If this is the case then your advert will have to lead to the viewer participating in the quiz or questionnaire. These types of CPA program do not often pay much.

The action is signing up for a newsletter

Some webmasters want emails to be added to their newsletter list. If your viewer signs up for their newsletter then you are paid, albeit not much.

A final thought on the subject

You really need to examine the terms and conditions of the CPA program that you sign up for.

Do not forget that you are not paid for clicks on your adverts, so you could end up sending traffic to other websites for free.

When you sign up for a CPA program, make sure the adverts hosted on your site are good ones.

For example, taking on a CPA advert that pays for newsletter subscriptions is okay, but when you visit the site, is the newsletter signup widget on a forgotten part of the page? Would you sign up if you saw the landing page?

Don’t forget that a large part of the “action” in CPA relies on the advertiser having a good advert, and their landing page/website being highly salable.

Do not become a sucker who is sending traffic to a website that is not truly trying to generate the sales/actions that are going to pay you.

 

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