Between my portfolio and the work that ContentRefined does we end up using LOTS of tools. In the past couple of weeks we have been in talks with Sam the CEO and founder at SECockpit reviewing the new features of SECockpit.
In this article we
SPECIAL OFFER FROM SECOCKPIT:
SECockpit is increasing their prices at the end of March. If you are interested in getting access to one of the best Keyword Research tools on the market for moderate-advanced users
Additionally Maddie and I did some free training with Sam at SECockpit that I hope that will be of value to people – watch it here.
Intro: Who we are (Content Refined)
Final thoughts: Who benefits from the new SECockpit functions? (And more promo details)
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know a few things about me:
At Content Refined, I think it’s pretty safe to say at this point that we’ve got content creation down to a science. We’re on top of trends, including what’s relevant in digital marketing now, what clients want, what clients don’t know that they want but actually need, and the data behind how it all works.
We’ve tested a lot of different keyword tools over the past few years even buying one and bringing it in house; we’ve used SEMRush, Ahrefs, KeywordFinder, CognitiveSEO, MarketMuse, SECockpit, LongTailPro, and more. Of those ones, we’re still using SEMRush, Ahrefs, MarketMuse, and SECockpit on a daily basis at Content Refined. They’re integral to our systems.
Today’s focus is specifically on SECockpit, because they’ve just updated a ton of features and our teams are super excited about some of them.
Keyword research is the first step in our content creation process. We look for opportunities within our clients’ niche to rank for certain keyphrases. There are a few metrics we generally stick to (bear in mind that these are flexible site-to-site depending on where you’re starting from with your sites relative strength):
If our keyword matches all of those metrics, it’s probably a good opportunity to build an article around.
Over the years, we’ve adapted additional strategies depending on our clients’ needs. Some examples of these strategies include the following:
It’s good to have all of these tools in our wheelhouse so that we can compete to the best of our abilities with any given website.
One shift in thinking about competition for keywords is to move beyond just looking at the number the KW research tool provides but also analyzing the strength of the competitions articles. If all metrics say a keyword will be easy to rank for but the top 10 current articles are all beasts written by experts and 5000+ words long…you are going to have a tough fight regardless of how “low competition” the tools saw the keyword is!
It’s a real process, so here’s our actual internal SOP that we’ve been using for completing keyword research with SECockpit. It involves having access to SEMRush as well, but it’s not completely necessary to have that access. You can do your research for your website with just SECockpit.
Basically, we search for a fairly general keyword, then filter the metrics to suit our needs. We go into each keyword that looks like a good option to assess the top competitors’ Domain Authority. If necessary, we’ll run an audit on a competitors’ website through SEMRush as well.
Here’s what it looks like when we search for a keyword in our client’s niche using the old version of SECockpit. In this example, I’m looking for phrases like “travel backpacks” and “suitcases”, but this of course can be custom tailored to your specific niche:
So you can see that it’s a little outdated looking. That’s okay, though. We check off all the necessary boxes and begin our search.
The results can take a while to come up, so just be prepared for that. Usually our Project Manager or Keyword Specialist (whoever is doing the keyword research) will have some other work to do in the meantime while they’re waiting for results. I’d give it a solid 5-10 minutes to fully search, update, and load.
Here’s what it looks like when the results come up:
We would also apply our specific metrics to get to the ideal monthly search volume and competition score.
From this list, we can go in keyword by keyword to see more details:
I’ve highlighted the Domain Authority list in red there. We want to see that the majority of those sites have a low-moderate domain authority. An average of about 40 or below should be a good option for us.
From there, we can create a title based around the keywords that suit our metrics. In this case it could be something like, “Best Travel Backpack with Wheels for 2019 Adventures”. We would drop all the information into our Client Dashboard. When our keyword research is complete, we send it to our client to see if they want to change anything up before it goes over to the writer.
Here’s an example of a content dashboard that you can use with your teams. It’s pretty simple:
So, now that I’ve walked you through that existing process, it’s time to share the exciting new updates that SECockpit just came out with.
We’ll have to update that SOP for the new SECockpit features, because I already know it’s going to simplify our lives a lot.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that they did a ton of updating to the overall layout of the platform.
Here’s how that main page looks when you’re searching for a keyword:
You can see it’s a lot cleaner looking. All the functions are the same on that pop up, but it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and cluttered.
The other big thing design-wise is that they’ve made it mobile-friendly. Here’s a screenshot from my phone:
For digital marketers who are constantly travelling or running to different conferences/meetings, this is huge. You can quickly pull up SECockpit on your phone and find your data that way. Really impressive.
Now, here’s the most exciting part to data nerds like me.
Here’s how it looks when those keyword results come up in the new platform:
Notice anything different?
There are a few things.
If you click on that little gear in the top right, all of these new options come up:
For our purposes, those ‘DA Avg’ and ‘DA Max’ filters under the Off-Page options are amazing!
Now, instead of having to go into each keyword one by one, we can actually just filter the Domain Avg. to be less than 50!
Game changer. Now we have a list of keywords that meet all of our desired metrics. Monthly search volume, competition score, and low-moderate domain authority.
Some of these other filters are really exciting for us, too. Did you notice they now have Adsense Value? This is going to be huge for a lot of our clients:
I also really like some of the content specific filters like “Title Keyword”, which shows how many of those top 10 competitors have the exact keyword in their article title. This gives us an edge in content creation:
Clearly, some massive improvements have been made here. This was already a great tool for us, but now, especially with the Domain Authority and Adsense Value filters, we’re going to be able to deliver so much more relevant data to our clients.
Our teams will still go in and look at each keyword individually. It provides more insight on our competitors for each keyword.
Here’s what it looks like when you go into an individual keyword in the new platform:
We see the exact information for each of our top competitors.
We can also see the Google Interest Trends for our keyword over the previous 12 months:
With this information, we can make the best decisions for keyword opportunities for our clients.
If we wanted to pull some quick data and give our clients a bigger overview of a bunch of keywords at once, it is now so much easier to do so. By adding in those extra filters, we can pull data straight from those results into a spreadsheet.
It would look something like this:
Right away, we have a list of 20+ viable keyword options. That’s just from one keyword search!
Now, keep in mind that these results will vary from site-to-site. Not every niche is going to have great keyword opportunities with one search. Sometimes you have to get creative with it. Find an angle that works for you, and/or flex the metrics until it’s more appropriate for your niche or field.
Well clearly, we do. I think that was made obvious.
But seriously, these are huge improvements for anyone who really wants to more predictably rank in Google. Through using this real data, you gain so many advantages over your competitors. A lot of people will blindly produce content that they think is relevant to their audience, but they don’t actually have the real insights to show what content is necessary for their niche or field.
If you invest in consistent, quality, data-driven content marketing, you will see the results. The measures that we go to at Content Refined have proven that time and time again. It’s even working for our internal marketing efforts, as you can see here:
Consistency and quality are key when it comes to content marketing.
So, definitely check out the new features of SECockpit and let me know your thoughts. I want to hear feedback from all the data nerds like myself.
Also, insider tip: They’re actually doing an exclusive offer that’s only valid until the end of March. April 1st, prices are going up. There’s a 30 day no-risk guarantee, and once you sign up you’ll be locked in at this lower rate for life (unless you cancel at any point). Take advantage! Here’s the link they sent me.
If you have any questions about our processes or want some insights on how we can help your content strategy, reach out to our Co-Founder and CEO, Madeleine Lambert. Her email is email@example.com, or you can book a quick virtual meeting with her here.
I always get emails from potential clients asking about PBNs and whether or not they still work in today's day and age. The last time I did one of these updates was back in 2017, which you can find here. However, I decided to do a little test with one of my sites to see how it reacts to PBNs in 2019. During this test, I decided to try and improve 6 keywords by pointing 1 PBN link to each. Below are the results, most of the results were positive however there are a few that had little improvement. This could be due to competitiveness of the niche or that it may need a little more time to pass the link juice onto that keyword.
Keyword #1: This keyword was stuck around the 38-40 rank but within 2 months of the PBN link being live, it bumped up to #7.
Keyword #2: This keyword lost its rankings back in October, where it fluctuated between 55-60. I wanted to try and bring it back to life as it was a high volume keyword. The link went live on Feb 20th so less then a month later it popped back up in the charts at 48. I am hopeful that after a few more weeks it will move a little more.
Keyword #3: This keyword is one where it either may need a bit of time or it may need more links in order to help it move more in the rankings. The PBN link was added Jan 5th, it did drop its rankings in October and the link seemed to help it gain back its rankings. Hopefully in a few more weeks it will move a bit more.
Keyword #4: This keyword was consistently sitting at 5 in Google for a long time. After getting a PBN posted on Jan 3rd, the keyword took a bit of a ranking hit but soon increased its rankings and is now sitting at 1 for a keyword with a volume of 2K/month and is a buyer intent keyword as well.
Keyword #5: This keyword was sitting at 4 for a while. After the link was posted, the keyword lost its rankings completely, however about a week later the ranking came back and within 2 months, the keyword bumped up to #1.
Keyword #6: This PBN link was posted on Jan 10th, it initially had some good traction and climbed to 29th but then dropped to 32. It would of been nice for it to stay up but it is ranking higher than it was prior to the link, so although not a huge push, it still moved a bit.
PBN (private blog network) are sites that are built up with the intent to link to your site. We find expired domains that still have quality links pointing to them, build a similar website on the expired domain and link to your money site. The end result is you can create network of high authority and relevant sites linking back to your money site and increasing its rankings in Google.
There are two approaches you can take when building PBN links. One is to create your own sites, which I have created a how to guide here. The other is to use services such as LightningRank who will do everything for you.
This is a very hard thing to judge as there are so many factors that are involved in the process. What we usually like to do is look at a few similar sites that are ranking higher for a particular keyword and look at how many links are pointing to that page in Majestic. If there are 10 links but 7 of them are very low quality (ie TF<10 and CF<10) we do not count them. So we would only count 3. Meaning we believe that we would roughly need about 3 links to rank that keyword similar to that site.
Just like any links on the internet, there are risks associated with using PBN links. You must decide if the risk is worth it to see if you can improve your rankings. We do keep up with Google algorithms and make changes to our process so that we keep up with building sites that are able to mostly withstand Google.
You don’t need to wait 3-6 months to make money like other new builds. Since these are sites from my own portfolio, they have been making reliable money for a few months. This means that when you buy the site, you are already going to be making a return from day 1. These sites are also already ranking for hundreds of valuable keywords.
Over the last few years, I have dabbled in the e-commerce space and have owned a few different stores. Although finding things to sell takes a bit of digging into, the return can sometimes be substantial if done right.
With the eCommerce business being the fastest growing market projected to hit 4.058 trillion in sales in 2020, many have been stepping into this industry but get stuck along the way in various aspects, one being how to boost their sales. Just like Daren DeMatas rightly said, “Building an e-commerce business takes more than choosing a brand name, writing product listings, and starting to sell products online. Even the best business ideas can flop…”
This is something I have at times struggled with, and continue to work on to boost the revenues of my stores over the different quarters.
In the e-commerce industry, consumer habits change continually, and this is the reason why methods that once worked soon become obsolete. In other words, to continually gain new customers and generate sales, you just have to keep up with new trends. There’s no magic to it.
Having studied and analyzed the dynamics of the business and have used my connections to connect with some of the best in the industry, I have come up with easy and practicable tips that will help you boost your store sales.
Whether you’re entirely new to E-commerce or have been in the business for years, the tips I have shared here will hopefully work perfectly for you.
Here are 5 smart ways to boost E-commerce store sales:
Simplifying your checkout process eliminates the friction associated with the “wear and tear” of potential buyers.
This practice is arguably one of the easiest and effective ways to boost E-commerce store sales. In fact, one company recorded about $300 000 000 increase in sales right after simplifying their checkout process. What did they do? They simply provided people with the option to check out as a guest.
Popular E-commerce sites like Apple, Nixon, Amazon and a few others use this tactic to greatly increase their conversion rate. You can see how they have done that comprehensively here. I love the way Catalin Zorzini, Founder of ecommerce-platforms.com, has grouped these great sites up and explained every single step they’ve taken to set their checkout page right. He gives fantastic advice on what you should and shouldn’t do, for example he states, “one of the most common reasons for basket abandonment is forcing users to register their details before they checkout”. He then discusses how you can go about fixing it. I can hardly recall a time I’ve worked on a checkout page without making reference to his post for inspiration.
One of the most common reasons for basket abandonment is forcing users to register their details before they checkout.
Catalin Zorzini Ecommerce-Platforms
These are really important tips to keep at the back of your mind at all times. Try them out on your store, and you’ll experience a rise in sales.
Ask top level sale killers to put their arms up, and you’ll surely find resubmissions or automatic redirects sticking its arm highest. Less than a handful of customers will go ahead to restock the cart on your store once there’s a redirection and they lose their items. To avoid such situations, be sure to maintain a smart cart that will save customer items whether they navigate away from the cart or mistakenly follow a link out of the checkout page. While this may seem too ordinary a task to make any difference to your store, I consider it one of the easiest ways to boost E-commerce store sales.
Not too long ago, Frank, a friend of mine asked me to help him take a look at his Shopify store. He complained of a decline in sales he had started to notice shortly after improving the mobile experience and adding extra products to his store. Immediately, I suspected the problem was from the new product categories he had added. I did some little tweaks here and there, and sales climbed up again. He had created the problem of choice unknowingly!
“Choice,” is a straightforward expression of free will, and customers love when they can find this expression. However, making too many choices available for customers could reduce sales. In fact, according to analysis carried out by Shopify: offering more products for sale will often get more people to visit your store but will cause very few to buy.
Well, you don’t necessarily need to take down your extra products if you already have them up. Simply sorting the products well enough to reduce the complexity associated with choice over a variety will boost your e-commerce store sales. Just categorize your products “seductively”. This tip worked for Frank, it will definitely work for you too.
Email marketing is one of the most reliable and profitable ways to boost your E-commerce store sales.
It can be simple or complex (not difficult) depending on what E-commerce marketing strategies you apply. For example, you can simply get across to people who abandoned their shopping carts and get them to buy.
On the one hand, it could go as complex as preparing and putting out several campaigns that will work closely together to greatly improve sales. All the same, the aim remains to build trust with existing and all potential customers. Whatever be the case, there’re some great Email marketing apps you can use to make certain processes easier and smoother.
What we will look at here is the simple approach to growing your E-commerce store. To accomplish this, you need to have emails of people who have previously bought items from your store, or that are likely to buy.
If you already have an email list of customers (probably provided during the checkout process), that’s great! If you don’t (maybe because you’re new to the business), we’re still good but you’ll have to start by building a list. Here are 3 ways you can get people on your email list:
So, once you have got the email list, the next thing to do is sell the people on the list! Here are 2 ways you can go about that.
If you plan on cross-selling, I recommend you start email marketing them a week or two after they buy a complementary product.
However, keep the words of Darren DeMatas on e-commerce marketing common pitfalls where he advised, “once you build a list of potential customers, resist the urge to blast them with generic sales promos!”, as this could turn them off. Darren offers a pretty detailed roadmap on the use of email marketing to boost sales on his website, be sure to check it out.
Once you build a list of potential customers, resist the urge to blast them with generic sales promos!
Darren DeMatas EcommerceCEO
Have it in mind that upselling takes a little more effort to close than cross-selling, as it requires some more convincing. You’ll definitely need some knowledge on building customer loyalty if you plan on upselling your customers.
In any case, these two methods will help you reduce abandoned carts, and go on to record fresh sales. However, as mentioned earlier, there’s more to Email marketing than I’ve discussed within the few lines above. If you’re looking to have all the nitty-gritty of Email marketing in your fingertips, there’s no better place to go than Ecommerceceo.
Most people have crossed out the idea of boosting sales via paid traffic from their to-do list based on negative stories they’ve heard. Stories of how people have spent loads of cash on paid traffic without getting any ROI. And frankly, paid traffic can be very expensive and yield you no result, but only if you’re going about it the wrong way.
If you heard of a machine that turns one dollar into more than $1, wouldn’t you invest in it? Paid traffic is such a machine, and you should invest in it. The reason lots of people lose their money through paid traffic is that they go all the way in without testing the waters!
What do I mean by “testing the waters”? I mean spending little amounts of money running several campaigns to see which one makes the most hit, and then spending more on it.
“Spending anything within $20 – $50 on each ad variation is considered OK”
While running the campaigns and multiple ad variations, monitor the metrics to see which of them brings in the highest numbers. Once this is found, kill the rest and invest more in the winning campaign. This way, you will find boosting your E-commerce store sales more affordable and profitable.
That said, one other thing you should pay attention to while utilizing paid traffic is proper targeting. With advanced tools on great advertising platforms like Facebook, for instance, you can target people who are more likely to buy.
For example. Let’s say you sell T-shirts with stars from the TV series, Game of Thrones printed on them, and you want to run a Facebook ad to increase sales. The best thing to do is to target people who follow and like pages related to the TV series. The chances of selling are bound to be higher since the set of people already have an interest.
If your ads get to the right audience, there’s a higher chance of getting more bang for your bucks. You can generate tons of sales on your E-commerce store from Facebook ads, but there’s a lot to learn.
I love finding and trying out new ways to boost E-commerce store sales, skyrocket returns and build quality relationships with customers. And of course, ecommerceceo and e-commerce-platforms are two sites that help me achieve these.
I’ve tried out, and continue to use every tactic mentioned in this post extensively, and they work perfectly for me. If you put them to good use, they will work for you too.
Whether you’re entirely new to e-commerce, or you’ve been in the business and your sales are stalling, the way out is to try new tactics. Good thing you’ve come across this article through which I aim to help you explore practicable and highly effective methods that will increase sales on your E-commerce store.
Hopefully, reading this has provided you with the required skillset to achieve great results, all that’s left now is for you to get started.
Surely, there are several other smart ways to boost E-commerce store sales. Are there some you’ve tried that I’ve not discussed here? Which did you find to be most effective?
Today I want to share something that’s been really useful for us, especially at Content Refined, to make proposals and contracts for clients. We had always done this in a pretty laid back way in the past – we would talk to the client over Skype or Zoom, and follow up with a recap of their needs via email. There might be some back and forth, and then we would send their payment link via email.
We still do some of that, but earlier in 2018 we started using this tool Qwilr to make things a lot more streamlined. One of our Project Managers, Mona, actually introduced us to this tool. It’s basically a drag-and-drop, intuitive document builder with awesome templates to work from. They have their own stock photography too, so you can switch up the backgrounds to make it more suited to your brand. The overall tone looks really hip, clean, and professional.
Now taking a closer look at each of those…
As to be expected, there’s a lot of subjectivity in the world of content creation. Everyone has different preferences for writing requirements, format and style of articles, publishing needs, etc. So this overview is a great way to let our clients know exactly what we do (and what we don’t do).
Full overview here:
This has been great to send out to people who have shown interest in our services, or who want to refer us to a colleague. It looks professional while detailing everything. Plus they’re directed to Laura to email any questions/hesitations or to book a call.
We do a lot of custom work for people who have particular requirements that differ slightly from our standard process. We’ve also started working on more long-term contracts for our clients, like 6 or 12 month commitments. So this sort of proposal is perfect for those as well.
They have an option where you can add an ‘accept’ button and/or a signature requirement at the end of the document for contracts.
We’ve been pitching the content upgrades more over the last few months, because it’s an offering that not many other content marketing companies are doing (especially at this level) so it really sets us apart. Then we started doing personalized cold outreach, so whoever was sending out the emails (Laura, one of the other Project Managers, or a Sales Rep) would have a proposal customized to them; it would include their bio, their contact info, and their booking link. Again, this is just a nice, professional, streamlined way to keep everything looking consistent with the Content Refined branding.
I’m not an affiliate or anything for Qwilr. I just wanted to share it with all of you guys because it’s been a great solution for streamlining some of these documents and proposals for us! What do you guys use to send out proposals and contracts, etc.? Let me know in the comments!