Friday, 11 April 2014 12:46
One thing that people have enjoyed in Google for years now are Google Product Listing Ads. Merchandisers have been able to upload their product feeds through Google Merchant Center with the ability to show their products to searchers looking for relevant products. The Bing/Yahoo Search Network hasn’t been able to offer this until recently. With millions of monthly retail searches, this now promises to be a highly sought after vertical of the Bing/Yahoo Search Network. As of March 26th, 2014 the new Product Ads will be available in the United States. By including product details like images, descriptions and price you can now increase your qualified clicks to your website by using Product Ads. Here is a short video released by Bing explaining the new Product Ads.
This is an updated video
Worth noting as well is that Product Ads for Mobile (BETA) was launched for companies that hold mobile traffic in high regard.
Written by: Ed Cehi – PPC
Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:08
By now, everyone has heard of Reddit, but learning the ins-and-outs of this community can be challenging, to say the least. This especially applies to brand strategists who want to engage Redditors, and often fail miserably. Redditors can spot brand manipulation like few other audiences.
Reddit has been around since 2005, and the community can be quite influential; take a look at some of the charitable and fundraising efforts launched by Redditors, for example.
If you decide that Reddit might make a valuable addition to your marketing strategies, do not plunge right in. This is a community, with its own rules of governance. It is imperative that you take the time to learn and respect these rules. Reddit provides a great FAQ that addresses how to become a valuable member of the community. Taking a few minutes to understand how to operate within the community can provide great dividends for your brand.
Nissan did just that in November 2013 when it partnered with Amazon to engage Redditors. The managers of this campaign did a great job of being authentic and transparent, two absolute musts that are sacred within Reddit. For an overview of the campaign and the results, check out: http://digiday.com/brands/nissan-reddit/ or http://digiday.com/brands/brands-reddit/
This case study, coupled with understanding the Reddit community, can help brands engage in a new way that leads to strong relationships among this consumer base. Brand strategists will have to decide for themselves whether this platform is worth the investment effort.
Written By: Mandy Wettstein – Director of Strategic Alliances
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 13:37
If you feel like you spend hours upon hours of time on Social Media Campaigns and you struggle to determine if it is successful… you are not alone! Many struggle with this and I am here to make some sense of this conundrum. ROI is merely the validation which shows your marketing efforts are effective and bringing the expected results. Here are a few ROI tactics:
Set Social Media Goals
Whether you want to track customer sales, lead generation, revenue, clicks, followers or likes… you must determine what is your ultimate goal. This will help you to identify your short comings and show what success looks like… not to mention saving time.
Determine The Right Platform
Your Social Media goals and resulting strategies must align with the platforms you use. Some fans or demographics are mainly on Facebook, others on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Google+. If you find where your audience spends their time, you can position your efforts in the same space or platform in order to connect with them.
Track Your Campaigns
To quantify the effort made, you need to track time spent, A/B testing, costs and the results of your campaigns. There are a ton of tools that can help you with the reporting and many are free or very reasonably priced. Some of the popular metrics include: audience size, interaction (often referred to as engagement), your activity, clicks, actions of others and unique visitors.
Report Your Findings
Come up with length of reporting time which makes sense to your situation. Reporting can be produced weekly, monthly or quarterly or a custom period based on your goals. Track your results against time to see trends.
Review Your Results / Adjust Goals
Once you have the hard numbers, you now can calculate your ROI and examine the results. Over time, you can see what is effective and what didn’t work. This will allow you to examine your goals and see how closely you came to hitting your mark… and adjust if necessary.
Social Media ROI is simply a numbers game when it comes to tracking measurables. It should never have it’s focus on somewhat intangible concepts like brand awareness. Track finite aspects, adjust and re-target to hit your goals as you move forward.
Written By: Nate Lumpkin – SMM
My last blog was on the importance of Titles. This one deals with Title tags’ little brother, Meta-descriptions. First and foremost, Meta-descriptions need to be unique. Matt Cutts from Google said that web pages were better to have no Meta-description at all than to have duplicate Meta-descriptions on several pages. Many folks, apparently, took that as a sign that Meta-descriptions were not worth a lot of effort. That is not the case. Case in point for a large national educational institution we have the privilege of working with.. At our request, they made some changes to Meta-descriptions and also some Titles.
In this case, the changes in Meta-descriptions were much larger, both in the sense of being search engine friendly and user friendly. We do not have any data on how this has improved organic click through rates. However, in one week, these changes pushed a half dozen keywords from pages two and three to page one, including a very competitive keyword with more than 15,000 monthly searches. The Meta-description is important to SEO from a technical, keyword-centric perspective, so it is vital to include the keyword(s) in the descriptions, preferably near the beginning. Meta-descriptions should be completely unique, and 130 to 160 words long. The Meta-descriptions are also important from a user experience perspective, since it is often what Google displays in the SERP results. The messaging should solicit the click and encourage clicks to the site. One emerging theory is that including the phone number in the Meta-description actually boosts credibility and click through rates. It might be worth limited testing on some pages of your site. Check your Meta-descriptions to improve your site for both the search engine and the potential client.
Written By: Derrick DeYarman – Director of SEO
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 12:39
There are essentially three major parts of SEO—content, off-page (or back-linking) and on-page SEO. On-page is probably the easiest to do, and perhaps for that very reason, one of the most often overlooked parts of SEO. I am going to write a series of blogs discussing the benefits of getting on-page optimization right. Far and away the most important part of on-page optimization are Titles. The correct title has a huge impact on SEO and can effect click thru rates when an organic listing appears in the search results. Let me describe a client in a very competitive marketplace who had been with us for about 4 months on a 6 months contract. The had an older site that had not been well SEOed. The client had experienced major gains as a result of our efforts, but those gains did not make much difference in their traffic and conversion numbers, because so many of their SEO rankings were on pages 2 and 3. Finally, they agreed to let us re-write their Titles and Meta-Descriptions on their pages. Before all of the proposed changes had even been enacted, we began to see positive traction on the first pages that were completed. Within a week 4 coveted keywords had moved onto the first page, and their favorite, most competitive keyword had jumped up over 20 positions. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting the Title right.
And what does that look like? Titles should be briefly descriptive, be keyword centric, and be interesting enough to solicit a click. They should be between 50 and 70 total characters long, with the keyword(s) as close to the beginning of the Title as possible. It is also important that each Title be unique. The time you save in copying Titles from page to page you pay for in SEO.
Written By: Derrick DeYarman – SEO Director
Monday, 24 March 2014 13:02
Do a search on Google, and you’ll see ten organic links on the first page. Almost nobody clicks over to the second page, so your goal as a business is to replace one of those links on the first page with a link of your own. It probably won’t be easy, but you’d like to know what you’re up against, and how hard the climb is to page one.
Guess what? Not all of your competition is on the first page. Most Google searches not only return the most relevant results for a particular keyword; they also tell you how many pages use that keyword in a way the search engine considers relevant. So a search for the key phrase “golf swing” might return those ten organic links on the first page, but Google will tell you right at the top that there are about 70,500,000 results for that term.
As if that’s not depressing enough, one also needs to consider how many searchers are actually using that keyword. There are ways to find this out using various tools. For the sake of argument, let’s say that 18,000 searchers in the United States search for “golf swing” every month. That’s a respectable number, even with so many pages chasing the term.
At this point, you could plug these two numbers into a mathematical formula often referred to as the Keyword Effectiveness Index, or KEI. This formula compares the number of monthly searches on a keyword with the number of pages that use that keyword. The result gives you one measure of how hard it will be to rank for that keyword in relationship to the potential volume of that keyword. Ideally, one looks for keywords with lots of searches but relatively little competition.
KEI does not show you the full picture, however. Say there is very little competition for your keyword in relation to the number of searches for it. But say you’re competing against strong, trusted, well-respected, authoritative websites that have been in existence for a long time. The KEI formula does not take that into consideration. Say those ten organic links on Google’s first page for your key term are all the equivalent of ten members of the Pro Golf Association going head-to-head with the weekend golfer. You have quite a fight on your hands – especially if your website is not as authoritative or well-trusted by Google as their websites.
But this brings up an interesting question. Are these websites ranking for your search term because they are actively trying to rank for that term, or simply because they are generally authoritative in the field? Believe it or not, there are ways to determine this, and it certainly affects how much of a fight you’ll have on your hands trying to climb to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). You can sometimes beat Tiger Woods on your best hole of your home golf course.
A good SEO company takes these factors and more into consideration when helping you to rank for the keywords that will bring you the most traffic…and the most business. Knowing the competition is half the battle on the way to the green.
Written By: Terri Wells – SEO
Friday, 21 March 2014 13:42
Hello this is Derrick De Yarman Director of Search Engine Optimization again. My last blog was on the importance of Page Titles. This blog deals with Title tags’ little brother, Meta-descriptions. First and foremost, Meta-descriptions need to be unique. Matt Cutts from Google said that web pages were better to have no Meta-description at all than to have duplicate Meta-descriptions on several pages. Many folks, apparently, took that as a sign that Meta-descriptions were not worth a lot of effort. That is not the case.
Case and point are the results we produced for a large national educational institution we have the privilege of working with. At our request, they made some changes to Meta-descriptions and also some Titles. In this case, the changes in Meta-descriptions were much larger, both in the sense of being search engine friendly and user friendly. We do not have any data on how this has improved organic click thru rates. However, in one week, these changes pushed a half dozen keywords from pages two and three to page one, including a very competitive keyword with more than 15,000 monthly searches. The Meta-description is important to SEO from a technical, keyword-centric perspective, so it is vital to include the keyword(s) in the descriptions, preferably near the beginning.
Meta-descriptions should be completely unique, and 130 to 160 words long. The Meta-descriptions are also important from a user experience perspective, since it is often what Google displays in the SERP results. The messaging should solicit the click and encourage clicks to the site. One emerging theory is that including the phone number in the Meta-description actually boosts credibility and click thru rates. It might be worth limited testing on some pages of your site. Check your Meta-descriptions to improve your site for both the search engine and the potential client.
Written By: Derrick De Yarman – Director of SEO
Monday, 17 March 2014 18:32
Most people who think about the keywords that they’d like to rank for tend to go for the words that are the most popular keyword terms and don’t often think about how contested those keywords may be. While it may be a good idea to pick one or two popular keywords and slowly work on getting yourself shown for them, it will take a lot of effort to remove those companies that have already been building on those keywords for a while. So what is the solution? Long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are words that are ultimately a more exact search phrase. You still need to perform the keyword research on them to ensure that there is traffic, but you may be surprised at how much traffic is out there on those long tail keywords once you have a nice group of them. Long tail keywords also help you find better quality customers. There search is more specific because they’re looking for an exact item/service so if you offer that item/service you can expect a greater conversion rate than a page visit driven by a broad keyword.
This is definitely the direction that local businesses need to take as their marketing. The online space will likely be difficult to grow in if they don’t look for these long tail keywords. The Adwords Keyword Planner is a great way to check search volume on keywords, and to help you find new keywords to choose. You’ll have to register and sign in to use this tool, but it is very beneficial when you need to find the right long tail keywords for your business. Good luck!
Written By: Doyle Clemence – SEO
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 17:24
ALERT! Adwords account Counterfeiters be put on notice that Google is coming for you! Dear reader, I hope you’re not concerned and are acting ethically, and here’s some good news!
Google has been on top of their game in 2013 and have removed 350 Million Adwords accounts in the battle against the abuse from both Adwords advertisers as well as AdSense publishers. This is great news considering this is over 100 million more Adwords accounts then they removed during 2012 so its safe to say that Google is moving in the right direction. There are several things that Google is looking for when they review these bad Adwords accounts such as compliance of Adwords Terms, The usage of all capital letters as well as having URL’s that are in no way connected to their site and send you to an unrelated web page.
Google went out of their way to mention the battle that they have been fighting against counterfeiters and the agreement made by Google Adwords as well as many other ad agencies to lower the advertising of copyright infringement as well as counterfeit goods.Whatever Google is doing seems to be working seeing as how the number of complaints about counterfeit advertising dropped as much as 85% in 2012 and another 78% in 2013. This is sending a message to all of the Adwords account Counterfeiters out there that Google is not going to put up with this and will be proactive in their efforts to stop it.
Written By: Matthew Enix – M.A.D
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 13:45
In general, many clients are new to the search engine optimization process. They have been exposed to the search engine optimization process during the sales cycle; however to get started off on the right foot, it is good practice to run through the procedures of the search engine optimization process again at the start of the seo project.
Reminding your client of the procedures that you will be employing during the project keeps their eye on the ball, educates them about why/what you are doing, and paves the way for better understanding and acceptance of your seo practices as you work through your process. When your client understands what you are doing, why you are doing it, and by continually providing measurements of success along the way usually leads to a better working relationship during the course of your project.
Simply marching down the road without an informed client generally leads to client confusion and frustration, as well as time consuming questions to be answered that, if your client had been more informed in the beginning, may not have been needed to be asked. Keep your client informed and educated as you work your project and you will be able to apply and implement your seo practices without having your back to the wall.
Save the worry for when a search engine changes its algorithm. If you have educated, informed, and communicated with your client over the course of your project they will better understand what changes to an algorithm means. Ultimately, they will have built trust with you which is incredibly important to a lasting relationship.
So I hope this simple reminder of setting proper expections with your client helps you get started on the right foot.
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