Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz is the first book I read after graduating college and it was one of the best investments I ever made.
The book helped me shift the way I think about life and what’s possible.
Don’t get freaked out by the strange title either. Psycho-Cybernetics is worth investing in if you’re serious about optimizing your life.
Self-image plays a pivotal role in your life. The way you perceive yourself will dictate how well you navigate the labyrinth of life. If you’re interested in self-help and development or in changing any aspects of your personality or behavior, you will have to first change the deeply ingrained idea of who you believe you are.
After graduating from college, the world seems like yours for the taking, but the possibility is a double-edged sword. As thrilling as the world of opportunity is, it can also be crippling. Too many options and very little direction can easily stray a young adult off their path. After I graduated from college, I stumbled upon a book that would guide me and continues to guide me still, through life.
One of the self-help classics, Psycho-cybernetics was written by Maxwell Maltz in 1960. Maltz, who was both a plastic surgeon and a psychologist wanted to answer a question he kept stumbling upon during his practice. After performing countless plastic surgeries, (typically ones to fix deformities) he realized that even though he changed a person’s physical appearance, their life didn’t fundamentally change.
Dr Maxwell Maltz came to realize that the patients who did change their lives were able to do so because of the idea of who they were also changed. Luckily, the book helped me find a sense of direction to the personal development of my self-esteem without having to go under the knife.
Here are the key takeaways and most actionable insights from Psycho-Cybernetics book review:
10 Actionable Insights from Psycho-Cybernetics
- Work on how you perceive yourself
- See and experience your goals before they happen
- Take the first step (even if it’s small)
- Remember that you compete against yourself
- Set YOUR standards
- Make mistakes
- Reframe how you think about projects
- Live and act at the moment
- Be happy now
- Set goals for yourself, not other people
1. Work on how you perceive yourself
The person you believe yourself to be is reflected in every action, decision, and eventually, the outcome of your life. For example, if you believe you are great at math, chances are you ARE really good at math. That belief compounds every time you get the correct answer or easily solve a problem in your head. The same applies to the opposite belief. If you think you are terrible at math, you will either avoid it at all costs, never developing your ill-perceived math abilities, or convince yourself you are every time you aren’t able to solve the problem.
It all comes down to positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk is the first obstacle in developing the quality of life you want.
Don’t confuse positive thinking with positive self-talk. Positive thinking doesn’t work beyond the superficialities. Self-image improvement begins with the way you speak to yourself.
I learned about “self-talk” when I was trying to improve as a baseball pitcher in college. After reading a few books, I discovered that my pitching struggles had nothing to do with my physical ability. It had everything to do with my internal self-talk. When things didn’t go well, I was devastatingly brutal on myself, not only after the game was over but while I was playing. The negative self-talk would cause my pitching to get progressively worse throughout the game and by the end, I didn’t believe I had any pitching abilities at all. For a while, my self-image was “someone who can’t throw strikes”.
In my efforts to improve, I picked up a few baseball pitching books. I was shocked to discover that most of these books focused very little on technique or the physical aspects of pitching. Instead, they focused on the mental game of the sport. This epiphany changed everything for me.
I realized that in order for me to improve at pitching, I had to change the internal dialogue I was having with myself. After a while, I started to pitch better, and that convinced me that I was a better pitcher and eventually my self-image changed to some who can and does throw strikes.
This leads us to the next insight of Psycho-Cybernetics…
2. See and experience your goals before they happen
Your mind doesn’t know the difference between an imagined and a “real” experience. If you’ve seen the movie Inception, you know what I mean.
So, here’s a little existential question for you:
Most people answer with a confident “No” (while silently asking themselves if you’re mentally all there) but let’s think about this for a moment. How many times have you been “dreaming” (what we define as dreaming anyway) and felt it was real? That’s the power of our mind and imagination. Dr Maltz in Psycho-Cybernetics argues that a human being can tap into our subjective reality for the better.
The most actionable way to leverage this principle is through visualization.
Spend a few minutes each day visualizing your goals. I know you’ve heard this advice hundreds of times, but that’s for a reason – it works. Do not underestimate how powerful this practice is. You need to see and feel your goals before you can achieve them.
“If we picture ourselves performing in a certain manner, it is nearly the same as the actual performance. Mental practice helps to make perfect.” – Psycho-Cybernetics, Page 35
When I am visualizing my goals, it helps me to think about what it looks like when I’ve actually achieved whatever goal I was chasing. How do I feel? What does this achievement mean for me? How do I utilize this success towards the pursuit of the next goal? The clearer you can see the goal, the better your subconscious mind can work towards achieving it.
3. Take the first step (even if it’s small)
Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“Do the thing and you will have the power.” – Psycho-Cybernetics, Page 29
Most quality goals seem impossible when you’re looking at them on the surface.
Let’s say one of your goals for 2020 is to write 12, 3,000-word blog posts. Immediately, you are overwhelmed by the thought of all the work that would entail. And in most instances, that is enough reason to abandon the seemingly impossible task.
That’s why it’s critical to set the high-level goal first. Then break down that goal into smaller, easier goals. It’s much easier to write 100 words per day as opposed to 36,000.
4. Remember that you compete against yourself
You are not inferior or superior to any other human. As Maxwell Maltz says:
“You are simply You.” – Psycho-Cybernetics, Page 57
Focus on how the “you” of tomorrow is going to be better than the “you” of today. If you aren’t beating what you were yesterday then you’re not moving in the right direction to find your best self.
Growth is happiness.
5. Set YOUR standards
We are conditioned to believe that other people’s standards are our own. Social norms and pressures have ingrained these ideas well into our psyche and when we fail to meet them, we feel like failures. The only standard that matters is your own. We all have different ideals, different perspectives on what makes a good life.
Trusting yourself and the vision you have for yourself and your life will make the standards of others seem unrelated.
“Stop measuring yourself against “their” standards. You are not “Them” and can never measure up. Neither can “they” measure up to yours – nor should they. Once you see this simple, rather self-evident truth, accept it and believe it, your inferior feelings will vanish.” – Psycho-Cybernetics, Page 58
6. Make mistakes. The more, the better.
Maxwell Maltz writes that our mistakes are building blocks for success. You’ve heard this a million times before, but it’s true. The more mistakes you make, the more experiences you attain, which means more knowledge. Those experiences transcend through a multitude of areas in your life and the knowledge from a seemingly unrelated “mistake” becomes incredibly useful, and give you unlimited power Maltz states.
The mistakes you make don’t make you less of a person because you’ve made them. No one who has ever tried to accomplish something great did it on their first try. I wouldn’t take back a single mistake or “failure” because they were all necessary (however painful they were at the time) steps for getting me to where I am today.
I also know that I’m not done making mistakes. I will most likely make a few up until the very end and I welcome them all. I know I’ll feel as if I “lost” or “failed” on the surface. But those are signals that I’ll need to break through plateaus and reach new goals.
Embrace failure, even if may seem scary at first. The end result will be worth it.
7. Reframe how you think about projects
Persuade yourself to believe that what you have to do today is easy and you will be more likely to accomplish it. Putting things into perspective takes away the anxiety and dread you feel for the day.
When I have a big project to do, I always ask myself “Is it really that hard to verbalize my thoughts into this document?” The answer is not really. But the more important question is, is it easy for me to do so because I’ve conditioned myself to believe that. I believe so.
Think back to when you were given a really big project to do, maybe a shared one. And you expressed your anxiety and the pressure you felt to them. If that person told you it will be a piece of cake, you’ve done a ton of these before –you would feel more at ease and start to think the same.
Become that person for yourself. There’s no need to psych yourself out, everything that you have to do today can easily be done. You’ve done it before.
8. Live and act at the moment
You can’t change yesterday’s emotional scars and you can’t control what tomorrow brings. The only thing you have any power over is the present moment. I can choose to continue writing this article or I can choose to clean my desk. I’m choosing to continue writing because I know it’s a higher impact action.
I know it can make a positive impact on other people’s lives. Cleaning my desk will only impact my wife’s life. Plus, the mess isn’t going anywhere. It will be there for me to clean after I’ve completed the higher impact task.
This flows into the next insight…
9. Be happy now
I’ve struggled many times throughout my life to “be happy” despite having everything I would ever want.
It wasn’t until I realized that “to be happy” is a terrible goal.
You will never “be happy”. You just have to be happy now.
Happiness is a habit. You must practice it at every moment.
The cliché “smell the roses’ comes to mind. It’s the little things that bring simple joys and happiness.
There isn’t a person, or accolade, or material object that will bring me any more happiness in the future than you or I have right now. Be happy right now, at this precise moment. But don’t listen to Psycho-Cybernetics, and don’t listen to me, listen to a man much wiser than me.
Abraham Lincoln said:
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Psycho-Cybernetics, Page 99
10. Set goals for yourself, not other people
Some “goals” are nothing more than an attempt to impress others. People believe that by setting and achieving goals, they’ll impress others.
This is a terrible motive and will not bring you happiness.
The only reason to set and work towards any goal is to impress yourself. Knowing that you put all your heart and soul and made your dreams a reality will bring you a deep sense of purpose that will give meaning to your life. You flexed your creative muscle and took control of your life. And steered it towards something tangible and quantifiable.
Setting goals and accomplishing goals is for YOU.
“Success” isn’t defined by other people. Create your definition of success. And then go attain it.
I hope you enjoyed this breakdown of Psycho-Cybernetics. I really believe it’s a book worth investing in and really incorporating into your life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without reading Psycho-Cybernetics. Yes, it’s that serious.
Thank you so much for reading and let me know what you think about the book!
40 + AMAZING Email Marketing Statistics (for 2020)
Do you want to get an overview of what is happening in email marketing right now? Do you yearn to discover what types of emails are most successful, and what the future holds for this marketing type?
Well, then you have come to the right place. Indeed, below you will find statistics on each of the following categories:
- Email marketing and customer engagement
- The impact of emails on conversion rates
- The use of emails in customer support
- Whether customers prefer email to other forms of communications
- The future of email marketing
You’ll also find a brief introduction and summary on each section and a final summing up at the end. So what are you waiting for? Roll your sleeves up, crack your brain open, and get into some seriously sexy email stats!
1. Email Usage & Engagement
Anyone telling you that social media has killed off email marketing is sorely mistaken. Indeed, with so much potential to nurture relationships with customers and acquire new ones, email marketing is most definitely still alive and kicking.
Oh, and did you know that email marking is one of the most cost-effective kinds there is? Something that makes it pretty much vital to any successful and on-budget marketing campaign. Yep, that’s right email most definitely still holds its own in the world of marketing, and you can see there are plenty of stats to prove it below:
- 3.9 billion globally used email in 2019 (Statista).
- Global email users will grow to 4.3 billion by 2023 (Statista).
- In only 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received per day. (Statista).
- It is expected that the number of sent and received emails will grow to over 347.3 billion daily emails in 2022 (Statista).
- Welcome emails get opened 82% on average (GetResponse).
- You can boost orders by 69% by sending three abandoned cart emails. (Omnisend).
- 35% of marketers send customers between 3-5 emails every week. (Not Another State of Marketing)
- Over the last year, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement (Not Another State of Marketing, 2020)
- 31% of B2B marketers report email newsletters are the top way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
- Over 350 million dollars was spent on email advertising in the US in 2019. (Statista, 2019)
2. Email & Customer Support
There is plenty of noise about live chat and chatbots in the customer service sector right now. However, before you swap all of your customer service provision across to these tools, it may be worth taking a pause. The reason being that the stats show users still want to communicate, interact, and solve their problems via email. Indeed, email is an essential part of the customer service process. Just check out the stats below that prove it!
- Email remains the most used digital customer service channel, with 54% of customers using email customer service in 2019. (Forrester)
- Response within the hour is what customers expect when they send an email to a business. (Toister Performance Solution).
- 62% of customers want to use email to communicate with a business. Beating phone, live chat, and contact forms (HubSpot Research)
- 57% of customers prefer to contact companies via digital media such as email or social media rather than use voice-based customer support. (Ameyo)
- 45% of executives with web or mobile self-service capabilities report noticeable reductions in phone inquiries, and 39% report less email traffic. (Information Today)
- 81% of retail businesses say reply on email for customer acquisition (Emarsys)
- 80% of retail businesses depend on email for customer retention. (Emarsys)
3. Email & Conversion Rates
While conversion rates for email marketing may not be quite as high as in 2018, the figures and the ROIs show that the email approach is still successful, a great deal of the time. Of course, a more targeted approach is preferable here, with triggered and segmented emails doing best.
- The average email conversion rate was highest in 2018 at 18.49%. (Barilliance)
- In 2020, the average email conversion rate remains high at 15.11% conversion in 2020. (Barilliance)
- Emails accounted for 19.8% of all transactions. Only paid search (19.9%) and organic traffic (21.8%) did better. (Custora E-Commerce Pulse)
- 306% higher click-through rate is what you can expect from Triggered Email Campaigns– vs. non-triggered emails. (Barilliance)
- 36% of total email revenue comes from segmented emails. (Barilliance)
- For every $1 invested, you can expect an average email ROI of $38. That is a 3,800% increase. (Barilliance)
- B2C marketers using automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. – (eMarketer)
- Conversion rates are used by 60% of marketers to evaluate an email’s effectiveness. – (DMA)
- Click-through rates can be raised by an average of 14% (and conversions by an average of 10%) by using personalized email messages – (Aberdeen.)
- Email has the highest conversion rate (66%) for purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message – (DMA)
- Conversion rates rise by 28% when a call to action button rather than a text link is included in an email. (Campaign Monitor)
4.Consumer Preferences With Email
Do customers like emails from your business? That is the critical question here. After all, you won’t want to send them if they will do more harm than good. Of course, the stats show that emails are still a very welcome form of communication from the users’ point of view and that they are associated with a range of other benefits as well, as you can see from the info below.
- 80% of respondents said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)
- The type of email with the best customer response rate is Email My Cart at 22.64%. (Barilliance)
- 43% of consumers will choose whether to open an email based on who sends it. (MailChimp)
- 43% of email users will report spam if they don’t recognize the senders’ name or email address. (MailChimp)
- First thing in the morning is the most popular time for consumers to check their emails, with a whopping 58% doing so. (Optinmonster)
- 60% of consumers prefer email over any other promotional channel. (Optinmonster)
- Users check their emails for deals from brands at a rate of 44%. (Optinmonster)
- After receiving a marketing email, 60% of consumers have made a purchase. (Optinmonster)
- Consumers hope for rewards when signing up for marketing emails at a rate of 85%. (Disruptive Advertising)
- Users open 40% of all cart abandonment (SaleCycle)
5. Email Forecasts & Predictions
What does the future hold for email marketing? Well, the answer, as you can see from the numbers below, is many things, including an overall rise in email daily usage. More personalization and better targeting are likely too. At the same time, marketers are likely to show more respect for customer privacy. Perhaps most notably, email marketing shows the potential further to increase business ROI by a massive 22%!
- By the end of 2022, over 347 billion emails per day will be sent and received. by the end of 2022. (Statista)
- By 2023 global email use is predicted to reach 4.4 billion. (Statista)
- By 2021 email clients such as Gmail will readily accept video, and it will be commonly used for email marketing. (Jarrang)
- Expect to see an increase of personalized images in emails in 2021, such as live-data weather reports. (Jarrang)
- Hyper-targeted emails will become the norm. (Campaignmonitor)
- Interactivity and animation are set to become the next significant trend in email marketing. Designmodo
- In the coming years, marketers will focus more on subscribers’ privacy, embracing privacy laws like GDPR or CCPA (Litmus)
- In 2020 and beyond, email personalization and segmentation will be increased and boost ROI up to 22%. (Litmus)
Despite the rise of newer forms of marketing, emails still have an essential role to play. Indeed, they continue to promote engagement in healthy numbers. Not to mention that they help to foster quality connections with potential customers.
Customers also prefer email contact when it comes to customer service, which is, of course, a massively important aspect of customer retention that shouldn’t be ignored. Indeed, providing the most positive experience for your customers by communicating with them in the form they choose is just good business. The reason being that you are much more likely to be able to present them with additional buying opportunities later on.
Target and segmented email continue to show excellent promise for high rates of conversions too. This means that if it’s an effective marketing strategy you are looking for, email is the answer.
Customers also continue to like emails over most other forms of communications. That they continue to open and respond to them, and they enjoy deals and rewards delivered via email. However, privacy is a significant concern for most users, and businesses need to respect this if they are to optimize their email marketing results.
Finally, things seem bright regarding what we can expect from email marketing in the future. Indeed, we can expect developments such as integrated video and personalized images to be commonplace, which will only make email marketing even more effective than it already is!
Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost
- Featured snippets account for a 35.1% share of all clicks.
- The featured snippet and knowledge panel SERP give a better click-through rate together.
- Users click on featured snippets that seem “informative”.
- Users who prefer the regular search results listings don’t click on featured snippets.
- “People also ask” boxes are an unpopular choice showing the lowest amount of clicks.
- 24% of users consider a featured snippet as an ‘Ad’ and don’t click on it.
Featured snippets are probably the first thing people see when they perform a search query. Acquiring the position ‘zero’ on the SERPs, the featured snippets dominate the page and immediately capture the attention of the viewer.
However, does it make an impact on the visitor? Do the featured snippets get more clicks when compared to the top results? How does the audience perceive them?
To answer these questions and more, we at Engine Scout recently conducted a study and analyzed how featured snippets influence searchers’ behavior and overall experience.
The methodology applied for the featured snippet study
In our study on featured snippets, we collected data from 3552 testers, who were asked to look at four different SERPs with snippets. They were required to make a search on Google related to a specific keyword and make a selection from the results.
To collect an unbiased opinion, featured snippets were not mentioned anywhere in the survey.
There were three choices for the testers to choose from: Ads, featured snippets, and regular result listing.
They were later asked which section they clicked on to estimate the Click-through rate (CTR).
What is a featured snippet and how does it boost website traffic?
The featured snippet is a summarized extract from a post that answers the user’s ‘search query‘ most accurately. It is placed above all the Google search result listings, occupying position zero.
This means no matter what your website’s ranking for a certain post if Google chooses a featured snippet from your post, it will appear on the top.
According to Ahrefs, it is 99.58% true that Google will only consider your content for a featured snippet if it is already ranking on Page #1. The other 0.42% pages that Google considers account for their ‘People also ask’ box SERP feature. This feature only receives a total of 6% click shares, for the same reason.
The ‘concise and direct‘ nature of these featured snippets motivates users to click on them. According to our study, they account for 35.1% of all clicks which translates to getting ‘extra traffic‘ to your website.
Optimizing a post to rank for a featured snippet can be tricky. Any content can be worthy of becoming a ‘Featured-Snippet,’ including a paragraph, a list, table, or even a video.
Try these three quick strategies to win more featured snippets that get clicks to your website.
1. Include direct answers to a search query in a paragraph snippet
Paragraph snippets account for 82% of the total featured snippets.
These snippets give the most relevant response to a query in a paragraph form. They usually also display a pertinent image alongside or above the text.
Here is an example of how Google shows a paragraph snippet when asked about ‘What is SERP?‘
2. Make the best use of keywords in your paragraph
Attaining the first rank in Google for a keyword requires quite an effort.
Enriching your optimized content for featured snippets with the right keywords increases your chances of that ‘Position Zero‘ in the SERP.
Try to include question-oriented keywords in your content. People find search results with keywords resonating with their question as “trustworthy” and “informative.” This is the primary reason why they prefer a featured snippet over all other organic results.
Take a close look at your competitor’s featured snippets for some inspiration. Make a list of keywords that have triggered a featured snippet for them, and make your content surrounded by these keywords.
Several online tools can lessen your workload by retrieving information and keywords from the competition’s snippets. You can use them if you find it time-consuming to manually optimize your content for featured snippets.
3. Include a knowledge panel in your content marketing strategy
A box with information relevant to a search query appearing on SERP’s right panel is called a Knowledge Panel.
It only appears when the search is about an entity, for example, business, person, or location. The information inside this box lets the reader know about the entity and gives them a way to reach out to it.
Featured snippet alone offers a close competition to the organic listing for the total click share.
But pages ranking for both the featured snippet and the knowledge panel outperform the organic listings for the CTR. A double featured snippet leaves behind the CTR of organic listings, getting 42.1% of the total click share.
Therefore, it is an added benefit if you strategize your featured snippet to trigger a knowledge panel.
For reference, check out this post to see how Gennaro Cuofano structured his featured snippet with his Amazon author page reference. Google considered this reference and used it to display a knowledge panel alongside his featured snippet.
The other side of the story
Featured snippets can sometimes work opposite to their intent.
According to our study, 24% of users confuse featured snippets for Ads.
Therefore, merely optimizing content to target the featured snippet doesn’t ensure a high CTR.
Google keeps altering its interface to make the Ad label on the paid search results barely noticeable.
As featured snippets also acquire the top position on SERPs, it is very natural for someone to get confused and not click them.
According to Dr. Pete Meyers, the Marketing Scientist at Moz:
“The lesson for SEOs is that we can’t just target a feature — we need to understand query intent, what our buyers expect from that feature, and how they perceive that feature.”
Try to make your content look like a straightforward, quick answer to a query with images for references to appear very different from an ad.
Google introduced the featured snippet to make it easy for searchers to find relevant answers quickly. With voice search technology becoming a common search tool for half of the smartphone users, featured snippets catered to the trend and enabled users to read the answer out loud.
To make Google identify your content worthy to pick snippets from, you have to optimize your content so it’s relevant and appropriate for voice search SEO, so it helps to bring in more traffic to your site.
What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021
- Google page experience metric goes live in 2021.
- Rewarding pages that offer a better user experience.
- The signal measures a site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness.
- To prepare for 2021, get a fast web hosting service, optimize your content for mobile users, and install security measures (firewall, SSL, etc.).
- Avoid pop-ups and whole screen banners that restrict the visitors’ access to content.
The newest search ranking benchmark that’s cooking in Google’s development lab is the Google page experience metric.
In short, this upcoming metric aims to measure (and rank) the overall responsiveness and user experience of websites that show up in Google’s search results.
Google plans to introduce this metric alongside the current ranking factors. However, there isn’t an exact date announced when this metric goes live.
As Google’s developers officially state in their blog:
“The ranking changes [Google page experience] described in this post will not happen before next year , and we will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out.”
You still have plenty of time to react. However, we suggest planning ahead and implementing some of the best practices as soon as possible.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this ranking update and how you can prepare your site from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.
Elements of the Google page experience metric
Google is mainly building the new metric upon the Core Web Vitals that their Chrome team launched earlier this year.
The overall goal with Google’s page experience metric is to ensure the Google Search users are getting a mobile-friendly, safe, and straightforward browsing experience.
Let’s look at each element that contributes to the page experience metric.
1. Core Web Vitals
Google developed the Core Web Vitals because the average user enjoys fast and seamless web surfing. They also created a Chrome User Experience Report, which you can use to evaluate your site’s current performance according to these signals.
The Core Web Vitals consist of three separate signals:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – quickness of the largest content piece’s loading time.
- First Input Delay (FID) – responsiveness to the user’s clicking, scrolling, and typing.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – visual stability of the page.
To tick a box in each of these signals, your pages’ LCP should be below 2.5 seconds, FID below 100ms and the CLS score less than 0.1.
2. Mobile-friendly site
Google already favors sites that are optimized for mobile users, and rightfully so.
Research conducted by Statista reveals that there are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users this year, with this number growing to 3.8 billion in 2021. It’s safe to say that sites that aren’t mobile-optimized will miss a lot of traffic.
Therefore, it makes sense that Google only wants their search to display mobile-friendly sites.
Google puts a lot of emphasis on security and weeding out potentially harmful sites from their search results. After all, if the top search results harm users, it won’t look good on Google at all.
One of the signals with the upcoming page experience metric concludes if the indexed site contains any malicious or deceptive content. Some straightforward examples are malware, spyware, social engineering scams, and false information.
To get a sense of how this works, check out Google’s Security Issues report. You can also scan your website to see if any issues pop up at this time.
Following the security topic, Google also prefers secure sites with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Visibly, the difference is between http:// and https:// (where the latter is SSL secured) in the website’s URL.
The SSL certificate’s job is to encrypt any data that travels between the user and the servers. Even if a cyber attack occurs, the hackers are unlikely to make sense of the data.
If you’ve used the Chrome browser, then you might have come across a security warning with a suggestion that the connection is not secure. This is mainly due to the site missing an SSL certificate.
5. No intrusive interstitials
Last but not least, Google aims to punish sites that aggressively keep the visitors away from quickly accessing the content they are looking for in the first place.
The main culprits here are the pop-ups that cover the entire screen, are difficult to dismiss, or keep popping up while consuming the content.
However, disclaimers, cookie usage information, age-sensitive content confirmations, login dialogs, and reasonably sized banners aren’t going to affect your ranking.
Five steps to optimize your site for 2021
Google’s new page experience metric isn’t going to substitute the current ranking elements. It becomes an additional ranking factor, but the most essential part from an SEO perspective is still the quality of the content.
Still, since the page experience metric IS going to affect the ranking results, it’s a great idea to know what you can do to prepare.
Here are a few steps you can take to get your site ready for 2021.
1. Get an excellent web hosting service
Your site’s performance is already one of the key ranking factors today. Either you have a server in-house or using a hosting service, it’s wise to make sure your site is fast and responsive.
You can analyze your site’s responsiveness with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or use a website performance monitoring tool such as Pingdom.
Additionally, you can check out sites that gather and share performance data on web hosting providers.
2. Keep your page’s size lite
Images go hand-in-hand with today’s websites. However, overstuffing your web pages with visual content is going to make your site slow.
There are a few ways to approach this problem, depending on the nature of your site.
You can optimize your images and make them weigh less by using an image compressor such as ImageOptim. If your page is already content-heavy, consider spreading the largest items to multiple pages within your site.
Alternatively, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as CloudFlare to cache your content closer to the visitor’s access point.
3. Optimize your site for mobile
As we proved earlier, the world is heading rapidly to mobile. It’s not enough for your users to access your content with their smartphones; they also expect your site to adjust to the smaller screens.
Therefore, your site needs to be mobile-optimized.
The good news is that most modern website creation platforms, such as WordPress, already have mobile-friendly templates that don’t require extra coding efforts.
You can quickly test if your site is mobile-responsive by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool.
4. Install security measures
Website security definitely deserves a separate article to cover all the bases, but let’s only focus on Google’s perspective.
First, don’t knowingly add any malicious scripts or deceptive content to your website.
Secondly, protect your site from malware and other hacking attempts by adding a firewall. While it’s not clear yet if Google will check your site for a firewall, you should have one in place either way.
And finally, install an SSL certificate that encrypts your data since Google is already keeping tabs on if a site is secure or not. However, most of the modern hosting services already include an SSL certificate with their plans.
Overall, investing in website security is worth it for peace of mind and from the SEO perspective.
5. Tone down or remove large pop-up banners
Google considers anything that keeps its users from accessing the content they search for as a nuisance.
Therefore, a piece of straightforward advice – don’t put a giant banner on your site. Make the promotion more subtle, and you won’t have any problems with Google.
As a reminder, cookie information, age-restriction policies, and login dialogs are the exceptions. Although, please don’t go overboard with these either for the sake of user experience.
Google’s page experience metric will become one of the search ranking signals in 2021, but there isn’t an exact launch date yet.
Still, you can start preparing your site for the upcoming changes. Even if it’s unclear how much weight this new metric has on the search results, offering your visitors a great user experience is a substantial value on its own.
Start by testing your site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness. The results give you a pretty good idea of what to tweak and add to your site.
However, remember that the most important ranking factor is still the quality of the content.
Gert Svaiko is a professional copywriter and mainly works with digital marketing companies in the US and EU. You can reach him on LinkedIn.
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