Establish Trust To Improve Traffic & Conversions

No comments yet

Trust is just as important online as it is offline. That’s why many people use website rating reputation tools to check out websites, links and files before they decide to interact with them. Website owners can also use these tools to check the rating of their own sites to identify if they have a potential problem with how their site is rated by users or search engines.

Sites can leverage user generated content via customer ratings and reviews to display customer feedback on adverts and on your website. This can help build your brand reputation and improve your conversion rate. However, let’s first look at website reputation checkers which many people rely on to check if they can trust a website.

Customer Rating & Review Software:

Online word of mouth or user generated content can be a powerful influence on visitor behaviour. Due to our social nature people are heavily influenced by the behaviour and opinions of others. This is why indicators of social proof, such as testimonials and product ratings and reviews can be so persuasive on websites. Customer review software therefore facilitates social sharing and influencer marketing.

Customer Review Software Builds Credibility:

People use social proof as an indication of trust. If a site appears popular and has good ratings and reviews it provides trust and reassurance to visitors that it is likely to be a genuine site. Customer review software helps to automate this process and can deliver a good return on investment through increased sales.

When there are no rating and reviews visible on a site this can raise anxiety in the minds of users. Why are there no reviews? Is this a genuine site as there are no customer ratings and reviews? Customer review software has become so well established on major sites like Amazon and AO.com that the absence of such software can cause concern among website visitors.

People also know that a site with a good reputation is less likely to sell faulty or sub-standard goods or services because they might damage their brand reputation if they did so. Customer ratings and reviews are especially influential when we are faced with uncertainty, such as when buying something for the first time. This is why displaying ratings and reviews using customer review software can be so powerful.

A large number of ratings and reviews can help build trust and credibility of your site and provides guidance for customers on which products people are most satisfied with. This helps to reduce anxiety about your site and the suitability of the products you sell.

Recommended Customer Review software:

Our recommendation for a customer review software is Trustist Reviews as this is an innovative, but competitively priced solution which has been developed by people who have previously worked in e-commerce. They understand how users respond to reviews and the challenges faced by marketers to effectively use product ratings and reviews.

E-Commerce Customer Review Software:

Here are ten of the most popular e-commerce customer review software platforms to help build trust and credibility on your site.

1. Trustist Reviews:

Image of Trustistreviewer.com rating and reviews platform home page
Source: Trustistreviewer.com

A new but innovative approach to customer rating and reviews platforms. It will set up and aggregate existing reviews and customer testimonials from the web and social media to immediately get stars in your search results. The simple copy and paste code snippet integration means that all maintenance, including making changes to respond to policy updates from Google, is handled by Trustist.

You will also get stars in your natural search results for your website (not on their site). This will generate more traffic and higher click through rate. Trustist will provide you with a platform to collect on-going reviews using email and your websites. This helps keep the content current and will provide SEO benefits.

No costs are shown on the site, but I understand they are highly competitive and it is well worth getting a quote for comparison purposes. It is ideal for large and small e-commerce retailers.

2. Bazaarvoice:

Image of Bazaarvoice.com rating and reviews plaform homepage
Source: Bazaarvoice.com

Offers a suite of applications via a cloud based user generated content engine that helps you capture, manage and respond to customer input to grow your business by displaying ratings and reviews.

This covers 5 core products;

  1. Conversations encourages customers to review products, ask questions, give answers and share stories.
  2. Connections manages responses to shopper questions & reviews across their network of retail sites.
  3. Local makes authentic customer reviews available on your website and on the sites of local providers that carry your brand.
  4. Curations pull authentic, moderated social media content into your buying experience by displaying it on your website.
  5. Media engages active shoppers online and in-store via their ad targeting technology.

Bazaarvoice claim their clients see an average 65% lift in revenue per visit and 52% uplift in conversion on product pages with ratings and reviews. They also see a 98% average conversion uplift when shoppers engage in Q&A on major retail sites. Has over 3,500 clients.

3. Feefo:

Feefo rating and reviews plaform Homepage image
Source: Feefo

A customer ratings and reviews software solution that provides qualified reviews from real customers who have made a purchase from your organisation. Every review can be shared across social platforms and with the Feefo Facebook app you can automatically position reviews into the heart of your social engagement strategy.

As a Google Licensed Content Partner, Feefo submits ratings and reviews on behalf of merchants to be included in to Google’s listings. Offers a Free trial period to try out the service.

4. Powerreviews:

Image of Powerreviews.com rating and reviews platform homepage
Source: Powerreviews.com

Provides a consumer engagements engine for over 1,000 brands to collect customer reviews and answer questions from consumers.

  1. The consumer engagement engine powers ratings and reviews and Q&A solutions that have resulted in more than 22 million reviews.
  2. Their syndication network distributes reviews to all major retailers and search engines.
  3. Measures social traffic, engagement and content generation and determine how they drive traffic, conversion and sales.
  4. Provides strategy, implementation, moderation and management services to ensure best practices are established.

5. Reviews.co.uk:

A single platform for company, product and in-store customer ratings and reviews.

  1. Product and merchant reviews to increase trust online.
  2. Retain control of the process via real-time moderation, reply function and customisable review request emails.
  3. Review booster – delivers star ratings in Google by contacting previous customers to obtain a boost in the amount of reviews you collect.
  4. Social integration – links up to your Twitter account so that you are constantly updating fresh content. Every time you recieve a 4 or 5 star rating it will update your Twitter feed.
  5. Their iOS & Android app allows you to manage and receive email alerts shortly after a customers leaves a 1 or 2 star review to provide the opportunity for an immediate response.

Has over 3,000 customers using their platform.

6. Reziew:

Image of Reziew.com rating and reviews platform homepage
Source: Reziew.com

A customer ratings and reviews software that allows companies to collect, manage and benefit from consumer reviews/feedback. It can be used by anyone with a website who wants to capture, manage and display customer reviews and ratings. Integration only requires you to paste a small JavaScript tag onto your product template to start capturing and displaying consumer reviews.

The system is available in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. Free 30 day trial available.

7. TestFreaksdata:

Image of Trustfreaksdata.com rating and reviews platform homepage
Source: Trustfreaksdata.com

TestFreaks is a Swedish-based ratings and reviews platform that allows organisations to proactively collect customer reviews. Seller reviews are also collected and moderated by TestFreaks to ensure impartiality in maintained.

The platform allows you to instantly achieve critical mass for product rating and reviews as thousands of expert and consumer review sources and will match them to your product feed. Their question and answer feature allows site visitors to post questions and receive answers directly from your customer support team. It is used by online retailers in over 30 countries.

8. Trustpilot:

Image of Trustpilot.com rating and review platform homepage - trust
Source: Trustpilot.com

Trustpilot is a community-driven customer review platform from Denmark, but is now established in over 60 countries, including the UK and U.S. The software allows organisations to proactively collect both product and seller reviews from customers.

In the UK the e-commerce retailer AO.com extensively uses Trustpilot reviews on its whole site, including on category and product pages. Trustpilot offer a free basic version to create a profile page and collect customer reviews. The subscription service allows you to create customisable review invitations, share content on social media and integrate the platform with your internal business systems.

Trustpilot collects 20,000 new reviews each day or over 750,000 each month. It has a total database of over 26 million reviews of 152,000 businesses and counting.

I’ve read some mixed reviews on Trustpilot if your site doesn’t have a high volume of visitors. The service costs from around £10,000 a year and so calculate your likely response rate to ensure it is value for money.

9. TurnTo:

Image of TurnTonetworks.com rating and reviews platform homepage
Source: TurnTonetworks.com

Customer ratings and reviews software that captures four types of user generated content; ratings and reviews, community questions & answers, visual reviews (phone-based capture) and micro-reviews at point-of-sale. The platform integrates with your business systems to deliver a personalised user experience that captures more content than most other review software on the market.

10. Yotpo:

Yotpo customer rating and reviews platform page image
Source: Yotpo

A suite of solutions including product ratings and reviews that is deeply integrated with social media which means that it is easy to share customer reviews with your business’s Facebook page and Twitter account which drives qualified traffic.

The core features cover:

  1. Review generation – Delivers automated, fully-customisable and mobile responsive emails after purchase which includes upsells in all review request to increase lifetime value. A one-step submission process also increases the number of reviews received.
  2. On-site – Full customization of widgets, with all reviews labelled with a trust badge, the ability to ask buyers questions and includes in-depth information on each reviewer to help buyers qualify relevance.
  3. Retention – Focus on lifetime value of each customer through the use of post-purchase coupons, ability to comment on reviews and community Q&A.
  4. Marketing – Social integration allows you to automatically share your best reviews on Facebook and Twitter to increase their reach. Yotpo ads and email upsells leverage your reviews to bring quality traffic to your site.
  5. SEO – Increases your SEO visibility by showing your reviews and ratings on Google and offers the ability to display your reviews across Google Shopping and search with product listing ads.

11. SoftwareHow:

Unlike other customer review and rating platforms, SoftwareHow has an expert team testing each piece of software and writing an honest review about that product. Their reviews, tips and how-to guides are all based on thorough testing and personal experience. Even if a great software has an annoying problem, they won’t hide the fact from you. Their reliability and thoroughness are what makes their reviews valuable, and different from most review sites.

SoftwareHow home page
Source: SoftwareHow

Website Rating Software & Reputation Tools:

These tools protect your online browsing from malicious websites that can attempt to steal data or infect your device. Many of the tools are backed by professional security software companies and allow users to surf without having to worry about security. The browser extensions are often free and give users an additional level of security when browsing.

1. AVG: 

The free version of this website rating software provides protection against fast-moving web threats. It verifies the safety of web pages and links returned from web searches. This includes:

  • Real-time scanning of links you click on.
  • Scanning of links on search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Real-time scanning of web based threats when you click on a link.

2. McAfee WebAdvisor:

One of the most popular website rating tools which blocks malware and phishing sites if a user clicks on a malicious link by mistake. It protects users if they mistype a web address and helps direct them towards the correct site. Download protection scans downloads and alerts users if there is a known risk. Finally, security check notifies users if their firewall and antivirus are activated before they surf.

3. MxToolbox:

A free website rating reputational lookup tool that will check the domain or URL for phishing and malware issues against the Google Safe Browsing and Phishing Tank lists. It also checks if the domain or URL is containing malicious code, harmful programmes or is a phishing site.

4. Norton Safe Web:

A free website rating tool developed by Symantec Corporation which identifies malicious websites. Safe Web provides information on websites based upon automated analysis and user feedback.

5. Talos Intelligence:

A free website reputation checker site that allows you to search by IP, domain or network owner for real-time threat data. The Talos IP and Domain Reputation Center claims to be the world’s most comprehensive real-time threat detection network.

6. TrendMicro:

This a free website reputation checker which scores websites based upon factors including the site’s age, historical locations, changes and indications of suspicious behaviour identified through malware behaviour analysis. The tool is adept at keeping pace with new types of criminal attacks that appear and then go very quickly or try to stay hidden.

7.Virus Total:

A free website reputation rating tool which runs a file or domain name against several dozen search engines at once and so provides an overall detection rating. Virus Total’s main strength is that it receives around one million submissions a day. New problem files and domains should be identified very quickly.

8. URL Void:

A free website reputation rating service which analyses domain names through multiple blacklist engines and online reputation tools to detect fraudulent and malicious websites.

9. Webroot BrightCloud:

A free website rating tool from Webroot which offers web classification and reputation rating, IP reputation, real-time anti-phishing, streaming malware detection, file reputation checking, mobile security SDK and mobile app reputation checking.

10. Web of Trust (WOT):

This is a free Chrome extension for a secure browsing environment which displays a website security icon next to every URL and reputation alerts for suspicious sites. The tool relies on user generated trust and reputation and users can rate a site on reliability, privacy, child safety and overall trustworthiness.

Conclusion:

Finally, website reputation rating tools are increasingly capturing feedback from users to rate the trust and reliability of websites. This means that website owners needs to monitor these tools to ensure they are not penalised by these service providers.

Visitors have also become accustomed to major websites such as Amazon displaying product ratings and reviews on relevant pages. This has led to a huge increase in user generated content and an expectation that genuine sites automatically display ratings and reviews to assist users.

This means that sites that fail to encourage customer ratings and reviews may be less trustworthy. It also likely that conversion rates will not be as high on sites that fail to display customer ratings and reviews. We recommend Trustist Reviewer, but always check out other solutions to get comparative quotes and gain that trust.

For more of our blogs visit conversion-uplift.co.uk/post/.

How Culture influences Website Design

Comments Off on How Culture influences Website Design

This post explores the science of how culture influences website design and conversion rate optimisation. Marketing is about persuading visitors to take action. But what if your visitors come from a range of different countries and cultures? Will one strategy work for all visitors even though they come from different cultures? Design and culture are highly interrelated and yet little allowance is often made for cross-cultural differences.

Culture: 

Culture has a deep and pervasive influence on how people perceive and react to web content. For global brands it is important to consider how culture influences website design because they attract visitors from many different countries and cultures. They need to understand how people from different cultures interpret, and respond to such variants as colour, language, images and technology to be able to serve optimal content.

Design does not evolve in a cultural vacuum. For example, McDonald’s has a separate website and uses different colours for every country they operate in. They do not attempt to have a consistent brand design and website for consistency’s sake. They appreciate that culture influences website design because culture affects how people respond to different design and communications.

Singapore/Russia

Image of McDonalds homepage for Singapore and Russia showing how design and culture are interrelated

Germany/Brazil

Image of McDonalds hompeage for Germany and Brazil showing how design and culure are interrelated

The most influential research studies on cultural differences in communication were conducted by the anthropologists Geert Hofstede while at IBM and Edward T Hall when he taught inter- cultural communications skills at the US State Department. Their research studies are a must for anyone wanting to understand how culture influences website design. Their work provides many important insights into how design and culture are highly interrelated.

A Framework for Understanding Culture:

Professor Geert Hofstede conducted probably the most comprehensive study of how cultural values vary by country between 1967 and 1973. Whilst working for IBM he analysed data from over 70 countries. He has since used studies, such as the World Values Survey, to validate and refine his cultural dimensions theory. This identifies 6 cultural dimensions that can be used to explain observed differences between cultures. This can be used to help align design and culture to avoid mistakes when creating an experience for a specific culture.

Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions: 

1. The Power Distance Index

How is power distributed in a culture? The Power Distance Index is the degree to which people accept and expect inequality in a society. Cultures that score low on this dimension will seek to reduce the level of inequality and expect justification for where it does exist.

2. Individualism versus collectivism

Is a person’s self-image defined by “I” or “we”? In Western cultures, we tend to focus on the needs and wants of the individual. Conversely, Eastern cultures place the needs of the collective ahead of individual.

3. Masculinity

Does a culture have a preference for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards? If so, to what degree? In this context, femininity translates to collaboration, modesty, caring and quality of life.

4. Uncertainty Avoidance

How comfortable does a society feel with uncertainty and ambiguity? A high score indicates a society that has formal rules and policies and are often intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. They also like to plan for every eventuality and are more concerned about product specifications than societies that score lower on this dimension.

5. Long Term Orientation

This describes a culture’s time orientation – long-term vs short term. Scoring low means a culture favours long-standing norms and is suspicious of societal change. Cultures that score high are pragmatic and take a long-term view of business.

6. Indulgence versus Restraint

Does a culture restrain or indulge in fun and instant gratification? A high score means a culture
encourages instant gratification and enjoying life and having fun. Low scores reflect strict social norms which suppress indulgent behaviour.

Free Resource on Cultural Differences:

By measuring how different cultures compare on these six dimensions we can better understand the common ways culture influences website design. Data from over 100 countries has been made available by the Hofstede Centre. This is very useful if you’re trying to boost conversions by aligning design and culture to improve the customer experience in a cross-cultural context.

For instance, this chart shows us that Japan scores much lower on individualism than the United States. This suggests that web content in Japan needs to focus more on the community and relationships, rather than showing pictures of individuals in isolation. Japanese people don’t like to stand out from the crowd and are more likely to put the needs of society before personal preferences.

Their high score for masculinity reflects their competitive drive for excellence and perfection, together with a strong work ethic. These values should be reflected in web content through both high quality imagery and messaging about how the product quality cannot be beaten.

At 92, Japan is one of the most uncertainty avoiding countries in the World as they like to plan for every eventuality. This means Japanese people usually won’t make a decision until they have reviewed all the facts and figures. Risk assessment and planning tools, as well as detailed and fact based information, could help boost conversions in this cultural context. Design and culture must be aligned here as otherwise visitors will seek the information they are looking for elsewhere.

6 Dimensions of Culture – Country Comparison

Image of table showing Hofstede’s 6 cultural dimension values by country that can be used to align design and culture

Cultural Preferences and Facebook

Art preferences are affected by cultural norms and tends. For example, a study of over 400 Western and East Asian portraits found that the subject’s face on average made up around 15% of the total area of the picture in Western art compared to just 4% on average in East Asian portraits.

However, one study that analysed Facebook profile photos found that 12% of Americans’ photos lacked any background – compared to only 1% of photos from the Far East. Both our art and Facebook profiles reflect our cultural ideals and preoccupations that influence our behaviour in all kinds of ways. This is just another way that design and culture are interrelated and this occurs in all aspects of society.

Western culture emphasizes individualistic and independent traits. People focus on their own face and pay less attention to the background. Eastern culture emphasizes communal and interdependent traits. There is more of a tendency to include context (e.g. the background) and other people in their pictures.

Image of how culture influences how people frame photos - design and culture

Low Context vs High Context Cultures:

The anthropologist Edward T Hall identified differences between high and low-context cultures in how they communicate routine messages:

  • High-context cultures (e.g. China and Japan) have many ‘unwritten rules’.
  • Low-context cultures (e.g. the United States) leave little left to interpretation. “It is what it is.”

Low context and high context cultures relate to a number of cultural traits, including commitment, trust, overtness – and even time. Design and culture can be easily aligned here by identifying whether the society has many unwritten rules or people leave little to interpretation.

Monochronic vs Polychronic Cultures:

People in low context cultures often have a monochromic perception. This means they see time as tangible and sequential. They follow strict time schedules, focus on one task at a time and set deadlines that they aim to meet at all costs.

High context cultures tend to have a polychronic perception of time where it is more fluid. Punctuality and structure is less important and deadlines are seen as more flexible and people work on multiple tasks at once.

Monochronic Societies Prefer Simplicity:

So how can we apply these insight to ensure culture influences website design when we launch in a new country?

Since monochronic societies dislike clutter and fluidity, a simple design with a clear action should work well. Things like:

  • A clear hero image.
  • Short bullet point messaging.
  • Clear focus on the product.
  • In polychronic cultures, rich context can be displayed using:
  • Multiple graphics, icons, boxes, and animation
  • Animated navigation.
  • Greater complexity.

Check out Chinese e-commerce website Taobao on the left and compare it with the UK’s John Lewis site. Both are very successful e-commerce sites, but vastly different website design approaches due to the cultural values of the countries they operate in. It is wise to consider monochronic and polychronic cultures when designing a user experience for cross-cultural websites. This will ensure culture influences website design in an appropriate and sympathetic way.

Taobao – China/John Lewis – UK

image of Chinese and UK ecommerce homepages from Taobao and John Lewis - design and culture

Colours of our culture:

Colours have different meaning according to where you are in the world (nope, there’s not a colour that converts best). Yet many organisations insist on consistent brand colours across different markets. It could be that you’re losing conversions by not accounting for cultural variations in the associations of colours in different countries .

Brands that align design and culture are normally more successful because their websites and apps are designed according to local cultural preferences rather than trying to impose the cultural norms and traditions of the brand’s home country.

In his book, Drunk Tank Pink, the American psychologist Adam Alter suggests that colours have meaning partly because they are associated with practically every pleasant and unpleasant object on Earth.

As a result our interpretation and preference for colours is strongly influenced by factors such as language, climate, gender, age and context. For example, the way languages categorise colours are not universal (e.g. Russian has two words for blue). Some colours are also used to express moods and feelings in some languages which inevitably affects how we perceive them.

If you’re curious, you can see which colours mean what here: Colours Across Cultures, Translating colours in interactive marketing communications by Global Propaganda.

Colours Mean Different Things to Different Cultures: 

In 1999 American researchers investigated how people from 8 countries perceive different colours. The analysis allowed researchers to generate a colour spectrum of meaning with red at one end and the blue-green-white cluster at the other end. Red is associated with hot/vibrant and the spectrum gradually moves towards calm/gentle/peaceful that the blue-green-white cluster is associated with.

Testing by international search and conversion agency Oban International suggests that cultural preferences for particular colours may also be driven by strong national associations and brand identities taken from individual sectors of the economy. Joe Doveton tested this hypothesis in Germany where brands such as Siemens, Mercedes and Audi are renowned for promoting engineering excellence as an integral part of their USP.

In tests for global air charter company Chapman Freeborn, they discovered a strong preference among German visitors for a silver button and a big dislike for a red button. Silver in Germany is synonymous with the Mercedes brand. Red may be associated with the old Soviet Union which at one time controlled East Germany. Again, this is why it is important to align design and culture.

Germany – Silver CTA/UK – Red CTA

image of Chapman-Freeborn.com homepage for Germany and UK with different CTA colours according to cultural preferences - design and culture

Use Localised Copy For Personalisation & Conversions:

Your value proposition is the most important element of your communication. The danger of using direct translation, especially for keywords, is that you will end up with copy that uses words out of context. The term “mobile” for example is fine in the UK, but people in the United States refer to mobile phones as “cellphones”. In Germany people use a different word again, “handy” and in France “portable”. The same term can also have multiple meanings in a language.

Understanding your customers is the best way to craft a great value proposition. However, your customers preferences’ will likely vary according to their culture. This is where you can use qualitative research to learn new insights and validate or challenge your existing ideas on how to improve conversions by aligning design and culture. You can then use A/B testing to evaluate different copy and images to identify the best performing messages.

Pro tip: use loanwords in your copy – they’re often left out of copy that is directly translated.

Fonts and Font Sizes:

Fonts often have visceral connotations behind them, and they often vary culture-to-culture. For example in the United States people relate Helvetica with the US Government and the IRS because it is commonly used on tax forms. This again demonstrates how design and culture can heavily influence how visitors view something as simple as a font.

Another example is how logographic language cultures use smaller, tightly packed text, confusing American readers. That’s because the language itself (e.g. Japanese) communicates a lot of information in just a few characters. Further, as Japanese doesn’t have italics or capital letters it is more difficult to create a clear visual hierarchy to organise information. So web designers often use decoration or graphic text to create emphasis where required.

For more on font psychology read this post by Alex Bulat.

Further complicating the issue of conversion across cultures, we have the distinction between bi-culturalism and multi-culturalism.

Bi-Culturalism and Multi-Culturalism: 

In the 2010 US Census over 6 percent of the population (over 2 million citizens) associated themselves with two or more ethnic or racial groups. Psychologists have discovered that bi-cultural people engage in frame switching, which means they can perceive the world through a different cultural lens depending upon the context of the situation and whether it reminds them of one culture or another.

So we can’t assume people coming from a different culture (e.g. Vietnamese Americans), will retain all the same preferences as individuals still living in their native culture. Web analytics may help you identify potential bi-cultural visitors.

Even across monocultural people there are strong contrasts in values and behaviour. The concept of honour tends to be more strongly associated with East Asia than the West. However, even in the United States honour is known to influence behaviour more in southern and western states than in the northern states. All this goes back to understanding your customer’s journey and aligning design and culture.

Other Considerations: 

Technology:

We can’t assume people will all be using the same technology in different geographical markets.

  • In Africa, for example, mobile commerce is much more established in certain sectors, (e.g. banking), because of a lack of fixed-line internet infrastructure.
  • For various reasons, iPhones have failed to establish a large market share in Spain, so Android and other operating systems more relevant to the Spanish mobile user.
Browsers:

Browser usage is also fragmented at an international level.

For more detailed information check out data from StatCounter.

Search Engines:

The major search engines use different algorithms for different countries and languages.

  • Although Google has increased its penetration in Russia, the local search engine, Yandex, is still an important search engine in the country.
  • In China, Google is not used at all, with Baidu being the top search engine with a market share of over 50%.

For more details of search engine market share see an article from extraDigital.

Payment Methods:

There are different payment methods. This means having a single cashier or ecommerce check-out design is unlikely to be optimal for a global audience.

  • In Europe, credit card penetration is much lower in Germany, Netherlands and Poland. For cultural reasons many Germans dislike credit and as a result the single most popular payment method (38%) is (ELV).
  • In the Netherlands a similar payment option, iDeal, is the referred method of payment for 55% of online shoppers.
  • Security-conscious Russians still like to use cash as a quarter of them use Qiwi to make online payments. This allows people to deposit cash into ATM style machines and then make payments online without having to transmit sensitive bank or credit card numbers over the internet.
  • Even in Turkey where credit and debit cards are very popular (87% market share) you won’t see Visa or MasterCard on most cards.
  • In Islamic countries Sharia law prohibits the acceptance of interest or fees for loans and so potentially limits the use of credit cards and other Western style financial products. The expansion of Islamic banking is making e-commerce more accessible to Muslims, but again adds to the complexity of online payment processes and demonstrates the importance of aligning design and culture.

6. Culture Implications for Optimisation:

Websites that use identical content and colours across all countries and cultures are at a major disadvantage because of the impact diversity of values, norms and other differences have on how we interpret the world. Here are the key takeaways for optimising a global website by aligning design and culture:

1. Research competitors:

To obtain a feel for whether your website is out of sync with the local culture conduct a competitor review of sites in the country concerned. This will give you the opportunity to look for similarities across your competitors’ websites that may indicate areas for A/B testing. (Just don’t copy your competitors; they don’t know what they’re doing either).

2. Focus on colours and words:

There is sometimes a tendency to focus on purely transactional matters (e.g. payment methods) when adapting websites for an international audience. This is a mistake and I would recommend paying attention to your website colours and the language you use to ensure the site conforms to local preferences.

3. Use qualitative research to get a local perspective:

In addition, use local contacts, such as colleagues and suppliers to obtain feedback on your site in different countries. I’m surprised how often I come across websites and apps where it is obvious that a key page or journey has not had input from someone in the targeted country. Don’t fall into this trap as it is dangerous to rely solely on website experts who are not embedded in local culture.

4. Consider cultural dimensions and context:

Utilise the country comparison tool to understand the cultural dimensions of your audience and how contextualised your website needs to be. The more your website can reflect local cultural preferences the more likely your visitors will happily engage and interact with your content. However, use testing to ensure you validate your hypothesis as there needs to be a return on investment as otherwise you may be better spending your money elsewhere.

4. Serve targeted content:

A/B testing is also ideal for evaluating the use of dynamic content to target images and messages that are responsive to how different cultures see the world. This allows you to increase conversions by using geo-targeting (i.e. based upon country IP address) or other cultural indicators and let the data guide your website design.

Singapore/Chile

Image of Hertz homepage for Singapore and Chile - design and culture
Source: Hertz.com

Both of these Hertz websites are on the same domain and root directory (Hertz.com), but have different languages, visuals and appropriate text.

5. Analyse customer behaviour:

Cultural targeting has perhaps the greatest potential for your existing customers where you can track and analyse their behaviour over time. Use your customer database to analyse behaviour by cultural indicators to see if you can identify key cultural drivers to their behaviour. Alternatively try A/B testing personalisation based upon cultural differences to see what impact this has on your KPIs.

6. Multiculturalism:

Due to the increasing influence and spread of cultural preferences across the globe there are likely to be opportunities to segment by cultural indicators even in your home country. There are strong cultural and racial indicators, such as customer names, that you can utilise to segment your customers by and test the performance of targeted content.

Given the complexity of the human psyche and the pervasive power of cultural influences on our behaviour it is dangerous to assume anything when trying to improve website performance. Make A/B and multivariate testing your friend and guide in the multicultural jungle.

For more of our blogs visit conversion-uplift.co.uk/post/.

Featured image from Amazon – China

How To Do Keyword Research!

No comments yet

Keyword research remains an essential part of SEO strategy for both organic and paid traffic optimisation. With the Hummingbird update long-tail keywords became more important to SEO. As a result keyword research needs to consider optimising a website on a semantic level to inform a site’s architecture and segment site topics into thematic areas. It’s important to allow for how search engine spiders crawl sites to deliver relevant content on the search engine results page (SERPs).

This has made keyword research more complex but it is still an important element of SEO strategy. Below are 18 of the more popular keyword tools that are often recommended by SEO experts. But first here is a 6 step guide to how to do keyword research:

1. Identify important topics to your business.

Draw up a list of all the important and relevant topics that relate to your business. Start with general topics (e.g. landing page optimisation & web analytics) for your keyword research.

2. Produce a list of keywords for general topic.

These should be keyword phrases that you consider, it will be important to rank on SERPs. The key here is to capture all your ideas as this won’t be the final list of keywords. Remember to use your web analytics to identify what keywords your site is already getting found for.

3. Examine related search terms.

Go to Google and start typing one of your phrases and see what related search terms are suggested by Google. These suggestions may generate more ideas for new keywords that you hadn’t previously considered. You can also take them a step further by typing some of the related search terms into Google to see what their related search terms are.

4. A mix of head terms & long-tail keywords.

Head terms are short keyword phrases, usually one to three words. Long-tail keywords tend to contain three or more words. People generally search using head terms more frequently and so they tend to be more competitive and harder to rank compared to long-tail terms. On the other hand long-tail terms are more specific and give you a better understanding of what people are really looking for. For this reason your keyword research needs a good mix of both types of terms.

5. How do your competitors rank on keywords?

Undertaking keyword research into what your competitors are targeting is useful from two perspectives. It can provide ideas for reviewing your own list of keywords. Additionally, where you are both targeting the same keyword it means that you may have to work harder to improve your own ranking.

However, don’t just copy the keywords that your competitors target, they may not always be relevant and it will also make it more difficult to improve your rankings. By targeting keywords that your competitors are ignoring may give you a quick win by allowing you establish high ranking for these terms due to a lack of competition. Use tools like SEMrush and others outlined below to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking on.

6. Keyword list reduction.

Use tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner to reduce the number of terms in your list. This will help to ensure you are focussed on terms that have reasonable number of searches (i.e. neither too little or too much). Use Google Trends to find out their trend history and forecasts so that you don’t remove terms that have potential in the future.

18 Awesome Keyword Research Tools:

1. AuthorityLabs:

Track historical rankings and view graphical representation of how a keyword is ranking over time. Allows you to automate your SEO monitoring, track local rankings and recover (not provided) keywords.

30 day Free trail for keyword research is available. The Basic plan is priced at $24 a month and offers 100 keywords and up to10 domains. The Plus plan costs $49 a month for up to 250 keywords and 50 domains. The Pro, their most popular plan costs $99 a month for 1,000 keywords and 100 domains. The Enterprise plan starts at $450 a month for 5,000 + keywords and unlimited domains.

2. Bing Keyword Research Tool:

All data is based on organic searchers over the last 6 months and provides ideas and suggestions for your content. Just sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools to access the keyword research resource.

3. Blog Post Headline Analyzer:

This Free tool is from CoSchedule and will analyse headlines for length, how powerful or emotionally engaging the words are, how uncommon the words are and provide recommendations to improve your headline.

4. Google Adwords Keyword Planner:

A Free Adwords keyword research tool that allows you to search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical data, see how a list of keywords might perform and set up a new keyword list by multiplying several keywords together.

5. Google Keyword Suggest Tool:

An easy to use keyword research tool from SEOChat.com for identifying longer and more specific phrases to narrow targeting. Enter a term and it will generate a list of the most popular keyword phrases that all begin with the base word – using Google, Amazon, YouTube and Bing “suggest” data bases. The tool generates phrases for every letter of the alphabet. Choose a phrase and then move to the next step to generate more phrases.

6. Google Trends:

Is a Free keyword research tool that allows you to view what people have been searching for with Google. It graphs how often a term is used over time and how this varies geographically. It allows you to generate predictions of how search volumes are changing. You can also compare more than one term to view their relative popularity.

7. iSpionage:

Provides insights into competitors’ effective keywords, ad copy and budget. A highly recommended tool for finding out what your competitors are up to.

Free trial available for all plans. For keyword research the Silver plan costs $69 a month with unlimited searches and 10,000 data exports a day. The Gold plan comes in at $99 a month for unlimited searches, 50,000 data exports a day and 10 competitor alerts. For additional services such as daily landing page and web page monitoring, the Campaign plans costs $129 (Pro) and $299 (Premier) a month.

8. Keyword Discovery Tool:

One of the most popular keyword research tools that provides keyword search statistics from all the major search engines. It will provide the search phrases that people use to find a product or service. It should help you identify the search terms driving traffic to your competitors.

The Standard plan is currently at a special discount price of $29.95 per month for up to 3 domain research results and 20 projects. The Professional plan costs $199.95 per month for up to 100 domains and unlimited number of projects. Both plans allow up to 1,500 searches a day, with 1,000 results displayed and 10,000 terms per project.

9. Keyword Multiplier Tool (Clever Clicks):

This is a free keyword research tool that allows you to generate a list of all possible keyword phrases. Just type in your list of keywords and the tool will produce a list of every phrase variation possible.

A simple tool that requires you to enter the following information :
1: Primary keywords
2: Secondary keywords
3: Location

10. KeywordTool.io:

The Free version is excellent for finding out what people are looking for as it produces around 750 suggestions for each keyword. The suggestions generated depend on the specific Google domain and language that you select.

The Pro plans start from $48 a month and offer:

  • Up to 1,440+ keywords from Google and YouTube, 1,875+ from Bing, 3,750+ from App Store returned for a single search.
  • On average 2x more keywords than in free version
  • Google search volume
  • Level of competition on Google AdWords
  • Suggested bid on Google AdWords
  • Ability to export all the data to a CSV file
  • Ability to sort keywords by any parameter

The Lite plan ($48 a month) offers 2 times more keywords than the free plan and the ability to export data in CSV. The Pro Basic ($68 a month) also gives you search volumes to understand how popular a keyword is. In addition Pro Plus ($88 a month) provides CPC and competition on AdWords.

11. searchmetrics:

Essentials is their standard keyword research tool. The suggest function will show you where the specified domain ranks for a particular keyword, plus you can add and tag keywords using the tool.

The Essentials plan costs $69 a month for limited access to their database, $2,000, up to 1 year of visibility history, up to 3 countries, up to 10,000 rankings per report and current historic keyword rankings.

The Suite Business ($2,000 a month) is an integrated SEO solution built for smaller brands and beginners. This provides complete visibility history, all countries, up to 20,000 rankings per report and historic keyword rankings for the last 6 months. Additionally this provides content and site structure optimization, extensive backlink analysis and other services.

Prices for their Suite Enterprise and Suite Ultimate plans can be obtained by request.

12. SEMRUSH:

The industry standard keyword research tool identifies your main competitors based upon the keywords you plan to target. Click on your competitors and it will show you what other keywords they target ad to and the ad copy they use. Highly recommended for seeing who your top paid and organic competitors are for the keywords you plan to use.

It allows you to easily combine and visualise SEMrush data to compare competitive domains and estimate keyword difficulty. For projects it enables you to launch global campaigns and view all the key metrics regarding competitors, keyword rankings, and on-page health in once place.

Plans start from $69.95 per month for Pro which offers 10,000 results per report, 3,000 reports per day, 5 projects and the ability to track 500 keywords. The Guru plan which costs $149.95 per month provides up to 30,000 results per report, 5,000 reports a day, up to 50 projects and the ability to track 1,500 keywords.

Finally, the Business plan comes in at $549.95 per month and delivers up to 50,000 results per report, 10,000 reports per day (for each of 4 users), unlimited projects and resources for tracking up to 6,000 keywords.

13. Soovle:

A very easy to use and Free keyword research tool which generates a list of the best keywords by analysing search engines Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, Answers.com, YouTube, Bing and Yahoo!

14. Spyfu:

A great tool for identifying all the places where your competitors show up on Google. It will show you all their keywords and the ad variations they have employed. Excellent for understanding your competitors’ most profitable keywords.

The Basic plan costs $79 a month with unlimited keyword and domain results, track up to 400 keywords, over 9 years of AdWords and organic history, and 250 sales leads and domain contacts. Professional costs $139 per month, and offers everything in the Basic plan in addition to rank tracking of up to 800 keywords and access to their API.

Lastly the Agency plan is priced at $999 per month and delivers unlimited custom reporting and keyword rank tracking. Further, you can search monthly data which allows you to track a domain’s weekly rank updates on keywords that you select. You can save up to 47% on the cost of a plan by choosing an annual subscription.

15. StoryBase:

StoryBase have spent 3 years creating this very easy to use keyword tool. It now has more than 5 billion long-tail keywords, 100 million question keywords and 2 billion related LSI keywords.

A free plan is available for a single user with to 10 searches a month, 15 results per search and one list. A starter plan for a single user costs just $9 a month with unlimited searches, up to 400 results per search and ten lists. The Premium plan for up to 5 users costs $79 per month for unlimited searches, up to 1,000 results per search, 1,000 lists and offers priority support.

16. Tinyranker:

A simple, but flexible all-in-one SEO tool. As well as keyword analysis, Tinyranker provides for tracking keyword rankings, on-page SEO and competitor keyword rankings.

30 day free trial available for all plans. Prices start from $19 a month for up to 100 keywords. An agency plan is available for $119 a month for up 2000 keywords.

17. Ubersuggest:

A simple and Free keyword research suggestion tool that begins to pull in keyword suggestions from Google and other sources the second you start to type. Often used for PPC and SEO keyword research.

18. WordStream’s Free Keyword Suggestion Tool:

A Free tool that allows you to run a limited number of searches in its massive keyword database. A fast tool which holds over 1 trillion keywords in its database. Excellent for long-tail keyword suggestions.