This interview with Phil Case of Fluid and McKay Allen of Convirza is part of our Webinar Series, where we interview marketing experts from across North America. To view the transcript of Phil and McKay’s entire presentation visit our webinar library. A transcript of the Q&A portion is available below.
McKay: So first question: “What do you say to those who might be working on updating a company’s website?” So it doesn’t sound like a full re-brand. “But what would you say to those who are updating their company website to help with brand growth to go about doing it directly, not to hurt SEO but also create a great design with clients in mind?”
So there’s a lot there to unpack. So let me take a stab at this, Phil, and I want you to chime in as well. So, in terms of making sure you’re not hurting SEO, there are some best practices there that we try to follow. Number one is you’ve got to make sure your redirect is clear and explanatory. I was reading an article actually about this a couple days ago on Search Engine Land about, if you do a redirect as part of a re-brand, if the redirect is not clear, content does not make sense and if it’s not the correct type of redirect, Google will ding you. So when someone comes to your old URL, goes to your new URL, then you need to make sure that it’s clear what’s happening, so that’s number one.
Number two, I would say, from an SEO perspective, it’s about producing content. You’ve got to have content on your new site because if you go from an old site that has 10 years worth of content or 5 years or 4 years worth of content on it and then suddenly you have a new site that had a blog post, of course you’re going to get hurt, even if your name doesn’t change.
Google’s not going to see that site as authoritative as your old site because of the volume content that you don’t have there. So that key also, making sure that you transition a lot of the content if your brand is staying the same or making sure you create a lot of the content if your brand’s not. So making sure you had enough content is really important. And in terms of a great design, oh, gosh, we’ve learned through this and Phil touched on this as well, that there really is, design’s very subjective thing. For example, we wanting sort of to feel like a staff site with a big hero area that you scrolled down through, but we also wanted a unique element with like the tiled look, if you look at convirza.com. There’s some unique stuff there that you don’t see a lot of on other staff sites. So, it’s really up to you in terms of design.
I’m sure there’s some best practices that Phil can share, but we’ve learned that it’s extremely subjective. We’ve had so much feedback, 80% of it’s positive and 18% of it really, really negative and 2%, they’re indifferent. That’s kind of a good thing. I think it’s better to be controversial than boring. I’d much prefer that than I would people just being like, “It’s a site” and not caring. So I want people to either hate it or love it, and I think that’s what we’ve done. And the vast majority of people love it, so that’s what we were after. Phil, anything to add to that? It’s kind of a big question, just kind of how do you do it without hurting SEO? And how do you do a great design?
Phil: Yeah. Just quickly, I’ll do the design part first. I mean, interesting, we will have our designers create an incredible site that is visually appealing, only to come to our digital and SEO team to say, “You know, you can do that but here’s what the impact will be,” and kind of the domino effect because you don’t have a place for wording and you aren’t able to help and Google and visitors quickly identify what’s important to you. So it sometimes will have to go through a couple of revisions before the SEO team is pleased with the design, knowing that Google has to weigh in there a little bit.
There’s some things from the architecture standpoint and the flow, but what’s interesting, Google has shifted more from an SEO standpoint to say, “Don’t make the website, the homepage just a video or single image. Tell people what you do and tell you story. Do something with both visuals, tagging those about tags, etcetera but also with facts.” But ultimately what they’re after is an excellent user experience. If you’re reducing your bounce rate, having more page views, more people are converting, Google sees all of that and it actually rewards that and it’s willing to send more visitors because it’s seeing that the visitors they’re sending you are being well taken care of.
So I would say start with an incredible user experience, both with text and visual, and usually good things happen from that. And secondly, and McKay hit on this is just, that continued focus on new content. Not only does McKay and his team have so much of that old content already transferred over upon site launch, but they’re fairly aggressive in turning out sometimes even three blog posts a day on the new Convirza site, and that in and of itself, is one of the absolute best things you can do to ensure, from an SEO organic standpoint, that your head and shoulders above others.
McKay: Yeah. Great, great response. The only other question that I think we may have time for is we got questions as well about the, how do you build a site map? I think sort of the jest of the question. And I want to get your feedback on this, Phil, as well. What are your thoughts on, because I think the way that we approached it is I think you guys had a spreadsheet where you were literally like, “Okay. What top headlines do you want?” What are the subs underneath that? And we just kind of went through it. And then as the site was built, there were things that were added and removed and sort of changed on that site map as we decided more clearly what we wanted. What’s you process in place for putting in a site map? Because you see a lot of different headlines on a lot of different sites that are on the top line there. Any general guidance there?
Phil: You know, it’s interesting with a site map. We’ve even dealt with some brands and LogMyCalls wasn’t with that, but they’ll have seven or eight or nine different major key parent pages. And, again, we would heir on the side of the user experience. And we really ask ourselves as we sit down as a creative team to say, “What is going to allow the users to most quickly identify with where pages or content or solutions should be?” while in the same breath trying to kind of minimize the overall parental buckets that we use.
And so, our rule of thumb is to use no more than five or six, three or four is preferred, knowing that you’ll have other ancillary pages, about us, contact us, blog, etcetera, which can be tucked away elsewhere, but usually the rule of thumb is if you have between four or five main parent pages, we can cascade from there. But it’s interesting, as we build a site map very much thinking through the psychology of the user. And so we do try to validate that from data, both our own or both the data of the brand such as LogMyCalls and there analytics. And we’ll actually delve into other related companies that we work analytics and say, “How are users using the site today?”
We dropped in heat-mapping code and being able to observe what users were doing on the LogMyCalls site, and so from the very get-go the site map architecture came from both best practice and a gut-check intuitive feel and how we felt users would like information organized, but then secondly we were able to capture large amounts of data both that had been previously captured in analytics as well as from a heat-mapping perspective to see the user flow, to see what their intent was, and that actually helped quite a bit to make sure that moving forward we did have a superior user experience.
The one caution I would add is that you’re never done, always testing as they say in the conversion world. So even with the new site launched right now we’re running a new set of conversion audits and heat-mapping and user experience. We’ll have some conclusive results at the end of this week and we’ll be doing some A/B testing. So where we began we think is a fairly good place, but I don’t think McKay and his team are completely satisfied until we’ve been able to make some additional improvements and kind of prove it out. So I think, as we look forward, that site map adjust from where we originally thought it might be, to even changing the names of the parent pages that we’re using to where things are bucketed, and so it’s always a work in progress and something to be aware of.
McKay: Yeah, I agree. The other thing I’ll mention too, if you go to convirza.com, one of the pages that we, under the About Us, for example. And in any case, what we’ve done is, for example, we did a series of sponsored webinars with vendors. So like Search Engine Land and will host webinars. We pay them a certain amount of money, they guarantee a certain number of registrants on that webinar. We did three or four of those this month to really build some awareness around the new brand. And then we’re also spending a fairly significant amount on AdWords and on LinkedIn sponsored updates as well.
So, yeah, I think for the first couple months, our budget’s been fairly significant in terms, we just getting the name out there. and then after June and about half of July we’ll really ramp down in terms of spend and going back to our normal lead gen levels. But you do have to spend some money initially. Second question is, once your name pops up in search, why would a customer chose us. Well, there’s a lot of answers to that. First answer is, it largely depends on where you pop up in search. We know 80% of clicks on a Google organic results are results one through three. So if you’re not in result one through three, you are not existing essentially on the Google organic search results. You got to be in those top three results. So that’s really the reason people pick you, is you’re in those first three spots.
The second reason is, we hope that we have described the company in a unique enough way that we get clicks when we appear in the Google organic search results. It’s really about some of the words you use, making sure that it’s descriptive, making sure they clearly delineate what you do, and the third reason is, is we’re confident. Once someone comes to our website and sees our solution, they will choose us over our competitors. So I don’t have a great answer for you in terms of how do you get chosen in an organic search result, but once someone is familiar with us, versus our competitors, we’re extremely confident at that point because of our technology. Phil, anything to add to either of those very lengthy answers that I gave?
Phil: You know, I’ll be brief, but, on the first point, hardly ever does a single or two tactical approach work, because you’re dealing with, especially in a re-brand like this, dealing with so many people in the audiences that you kind of need to meet them on their level. Several pronged approach with an aggressive social media outreach campaign, including the Facebook, more personal side and then, of course, Twitter as well as LinkedIn, among other platforms.
And so, that’s fairly key. And we’ve already talked search, we already learning paid. But there’s some other things to be aware of that Convirza is focusing on from a demand gen perspective to say, “Okay. Webinars and email marketing are key. How do we expand our reach beyond that?” And so it’s really being aware of who the type of key customers and ideal clients you’re wanting to go after and then being strategic about it with your new business team, whether it’s a outreach or going to the right shows and doing some of those traditional type tactics to even micro targeting via LinkedIn and being able to do direct outreach to a one-to-one. And since we say, “I want to do business with this one company.
They’re an excellent fit for us” and then reaching out to them and not being afraid to, you don’t have to just wait on the inbound for people to come in. Having some aggressive outbound tactics are pretty key as well, and then I’ll just shift to that other question. In Google webmaster tools, you actually get quite a good feedback from, when you appear in the search results, which pages and meta descriptions are converting at the highest amount, and you can actually AB test that as well.
So to say, “How do I get somebody to click on my listing over somebody else?” Well, Google webmaster tools allows you to run some of those testing campaigns [inaudible 00:53:16] time based on these five or six key pages we really want to get out there. Let’s test some of these messages and write-ups and ensure that when we appear on Google, are there some slight tweaks and changes in the page title and how we present it, even that initial small paragraph that will yield itself to a higher click through rate, even just from those top couple of spots? And so there’s a lot you can do there to kind of analyze and prove over time.
McKay: Yeah, that’s great. Absolutely great. Phil, thanks, man. We appreciate you taking the time on this webinar. I want to give a shout out to Fluid, their website is getfluid.com, and they just did a really good job. Obviously, as with any project of this scope, there are going to be hiccups along the way and there were in our project. But, man, they just did a great job, and so we have nothing but great things to say about Fluid. And then the second thing I would add as well is, please go to our website, go to convirza.com, wander around, see what you see, and we’d love your feedback on the site.
We’re always trying to get user feedback and that helps us as we optimize things. So, if there are no other questions, please, you’ve got a couple of more seconds to type in a question if you want to ask one. If not, we’ll conclude. So thanks, again, for your time, everybody. Watch for the recording of this webinar to be emailed to you probably tomorrow morning and, in the meantime, thanks for taking the time with us today. So, Phil, any final thoughts from you?
Phil: No. Thanks for having me on board. And I don’t just say this because we’re on the webinar, but you’ve probably been one of the best and easiest clients to work with this year so far, so thank you.
McKay: No problem. We’re fun to be around here at Convirza. We’re fun to hang out with. All right, everybody. Thank you, have a great day and enjoy your weekend that starts tomorrow. Bye, bye.
Phil: Thank you.