All posts by Searchology

Online Privacy – Why big media is ignoring the issue

Online spying and privacy is the biggest issue that media is not talking about…at all.

There is something big coming around the bend. Our online privacy, freedom of speech, Constitutional rights and our very personal freedom is now inches away from being lost forever. This is not conspiracy theory nor is is some tin-foil-hat crazy talk.

We are embarking on a new terrible reality: everything we do and say online can and will [ultimately] be used against us in the court of public opinion, by our employers, by our prospective employers, by our government. But you won’t hear about any of this in the main stream media. You won’t hear any of this coming on your local news but it is the most important issue facing our collective rights and our very democracy. Why is this not in the news and why are we all terribly uninformed?

What is happening out in online privacy land?

Wired recently reported on the NSA building the nations biggest spy center. The center is designed to protect the US from cyber attacks but holds incredible computing power and can spy on US citizens as well. So you may think, well a little loss of our privacy and freedom in exchange for our collective security is okay. You should reconsider and quickly.

After 911 our world was turned upside down and the events of that day haunt us all and the impact is much greater than we could have ever possibly thought of or considered. In a recent article on The Raw Story, describes a journalist who was targeted by the US government for her work on the Occupy Wall Street movement. The US agency tied her work on OWS to some  type of terror group…which in turn led to her termination.

“There is no provision in there to protect journalists at all, or anyone. Anybody can be swept up under this. You don’t want to hand these kinds of powers to the state, because history has shown that, eventually, they will use it.” Chris Hedges from The Raw Story

The National Defense Authorization Act allows the US government to indefinitely detain US citizens without trial, without council…without evidence. Moreover, the content you post online via social media, blogs or online articles can be used against you. In other words…watch what you say online as your words can be used against you.

Employers and potential employers want to spy on you

It is not just the US government who wants to spy on you – employers are asking for Facebook passwords. CNN and several other news organizations have recently reported on job candidates and current employees being asked for their passwords to Facebook and Twitter accounts. To compound this massive intrusion of privacy, the US House of Representatives recently shot down a proposed law which would make asking for passwords by employers illegal. Facebook states that-

“You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account,”

This is not stopping would-be employers,current employers or the US government from spying and is as good as pouring acid on the Constitution. Where is the media on this? The main stream media is busy blowing smoke at all of us with the year long presidential election cycle. It has juicer headlines and makes for a continual loop of ‘he said she said’ which continually keeps many of us literally turned off from potentially important information.

We as a society have decided to become stupid and have an average reading level of 8th to 9th grade. We buy everything that is put on the media sales block and look no further than our selected sources…which are primarily based on closed world views and not on facts. Case in point: Fox News views know less than those who don’t watch news at all.

We as a society need to make a big decision…and it will be a decision that will impact all of us, our children and our concept of democracy. Where does our privacy begin and exactly what is privacy? What is the media’s responsibility to report responsibly? The longer we collective ignore the massive implications of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression…the closer we get to a totalitarian government.

Your off your rocker and are throwing out conspiracy theories.

In order to call an event a conspiracy we only need: 1. act of plotting 2. two or more people planning an illegal or wrongful act 3. an agreement by two or more persons to commit such an act. The Supreme Court recently ruled that [Citizens United] corporations are people.

If this is the case…then Verizon, AT&T and other massive entities have and are continuing to cooperate with the US to spy on Americans. The very same companies have shares and are owned by major cable providers which control media and communication methods. Consider NBC Universal who is owned by Comcast. Moreover, these very corporations are not covering the online privacy issue because it is not in their best interest. If our government can data mine from it’s citizens…then the corporations can to right? Right.

It is our duty to pay great attention to our rights, freedoms and hold those accountable for failing to tell the truth and for withholding the truth. We may have very few opportunities to protect ourselves form very dark and sinister results. My post [possible rant] is not about a rebellion or revolution…it is about protecting ourselves and our freedom. Knowledge is power. Knowledge in the wrong hands is dangerous.

Meanwhile…Goldman Sachs may have ties to an online sex trafficking ring…but this type of activity or association poses no direct threats to national security…therefore let us look the other way.

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Nonworking Media Spend: Another Buzz Word With Teeth

A recent article in Advertising Age discussed the idea of ‘nonworking media spend’ vs. working media vs. earned media and [for the love of Pete] owned media.  In short, the article discusses the rising requests from large companies, asking agency partners to trim down the cost of content production.

For example: spend less on creative, creative thinking, concepts, content, production and just give us red meat to throw at the masses. But whatever you do Agency Types…quit charging us for what you do best…creativity. God forbid we pay for your time…we just…can’t do…it.

The emergence of nonworking media spend is utter B.S. The idea that you take the creative out of the process and demand a lesser fee so the client can dump it into working media is understandable…however it does not work. Agencies create. They have entire teams who’s job depends on their creativity. Take that out of the mix and what do you have? Crap. That is what you have.

Here is the interesting thing: a recent article in the New York Times shows worker productivity growing while wages remain stagnant. Corporations bottom line continues to grow and only they [shareholders] profit from the work of their work-force. I can see a direct correlation between corporate America now turning to their ad agencies and asking the same. “Give us more for less.”

Companies are frequently asking for 45 plus hours a week without equal pay. Managers say, “Hey, you are lucky to even have a job.” More work, less pay means higher profits for shareholders. Really simple math.

On the agency side…I see the issue as well. Huge overhead and large personnel count equals large fees. Large fees do not always equate to quality or value. During my time spent in agency life I could not believe what was charged for the work preformed. It was a little mind blowing. Again, huge overhead…lots of bodies means large fees not necessarily large profits.

So where does this leave us? It will inevitably leave us in the hands that feed us. Unless you can prove value and take ownership of the job at hand. Even then, it may not be enough to survive heavy client demands without the compensation for time, effort, content, creative and execution.

There is the matter of self worth as well. What do you think your time is worth? What does your client think your time is worth? Who is right? You or them. I believe it is very subjective. Corporate wants more for less and agencies want what they believe is fair pay for fair work. The danger lies somewhere in the mist: making creative types commodities. Making peoples time a commodity.

Time waits for no one. Time is all we really do have control over. Or at least what we do with our time. As time is not promised to anyone…is time not our most valuable commodity? I believe so.

I do know that if the current trend turns into a norm…we will continue to have some pretty major socioeconomic issues. There is a filed that we can all play on – and all play on equal terms. Time is precious for all of us. Ergo – time is not free for others to ask as they will of us. Nonworking media spend is another buzz word with very very big teeth. But full disclosure of where time goes and what it is for may help take the bit out of this monster.

 

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Why You Have Social Media All Wrong

[excerpt from my upcoming Ebook: The Truth About Digital Marketing (a working title)]

Just about everyone I’ve ever talked to about digital A&M always throws in the importance of social media. Business owners, industry professionals, and laypersons seem to believe that social media is the solution to all of their digital marketing needs. I kindly submit; everything you know about social media is wrong. Before you click away…consider the notion that social media is not an all-encompassing concept, rather it is a multi-tiered channel of communication.

Additionally, social media is not a high producing digital channel. It does not produce a significant supply of website traffic nor does it produce high conversion rates. I have been in digital marketing and advertising for over a decade now…and was working in the industry when social started to rear its head in 2006-2007. The reality is, social media, as a general channel, converts well below 1% while other channels like paid, direct, referral, and email are much higher [Average between these channels is around 2.5%]. Moreover, social signals and their importance/impact on your SEO and website are very nominal. And play little role in your overall success if a ‘share’ action isn’t taken.

With some of these number in mind, it is paramount to your business goals to take a deep breath and let us all put social media in the right place. Communication, branding, listening posts, marketing, and publication. Most certainly NOT conversion and a primary traffic source.

I break down the concept of social media into five primary segments. Social media communication. Social media listening. Social media A&M. Branding and brand reputation. And social media publication.  Each portion should be treated as a collective and individually. In doing so, less work will lead to better experiences for both your business, social communities, and would-be visitors.

Social media communication is simply that. How you communicate with your audience on the various platforms. The individuals who have opted to join your group, cause, or business want to hear from you. They want to engage with your brand. They are not on social media to buy anything or to be sold your newest trinket. They want insights, information, and unique content that they cannot get anywhere else. Provide these things to your audience and you will gain more authority within your group and have a much better opportunity to spread your message far and wide. Continue to be self-promotional and you will eventually find your hard earned audience turning their collective backs. In short; unique, high-quality, relevant content will help you engage and communicate.

Social media listening give you, the brand/company, the opportunity to listen to your audience. Much of business and corporate communication is one way. We are speaking and messaging our clients and customers but we are not actively listening to their ideas, thoughts, complaints, and compliments. Therefore, active listening and contemplative responding is key to a successful social media endeavor.

 Social media A&M is the active practice of advertising and marketing within various social platforms. Yes, it is paid inclusion. Yes, it can be very intrusive. And yes, 4 out of every Facebook ads are ignored. And yes, MySpace went out of fashion due to too many ads and poor content. Marketing and advertising on these platforms are best for brand awareness but not so much for conversions. The good news is they are very cost effective for a CPV [cost per visitor] standpoint.

Branding and brand management is critical in the age of big data and in light of public demand for corporate transparency. Leverage social media networks to take over your brand name and mitigate future negative comments, features, and commentary. Without question there is a social component here and one you and your company should not ignore.

Social media publication is one of the most important aspects of all social media efforts. What you publish and what social media outlets you publish on matter. If your business target is B2B your best publication option is on your site [of course] and on LinkedIn. If your target is B2C in nature, Facebook may be your best shot. Of course, mixing it up and sending out high quality content is the name of the SEO game more than the nature of social media. However, the two work hand in hand depending on how good the content is. Truly unique and excellent articles can have a very far reaching impact [consider ‘going viral’] and can produce excellent website referral traffic.

I encourage you, dear reader, to reconsider how you are approaching social media. It is a challenging endeavor and careful consideration should be given to how much time, effort, money, and ideation is need prior to diving in. More importantly, understanding the different areas of social media can help you make smarter decisions and work more efficiently. At the end of it all, digital marketing and social media is not about working harder…but smarter.

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How Google Ad Words Is Getting You To Spend More

Google Wants to Help You To…Spend More…and this is how they do it

Fair warning. This post is more digital marketing [industry related] and may not be intended for the general business audience. As such, this may be painful reading for those not yet ensconced in the search. Read on at your own risk. Fair warning delivered. Moving on…

I wrote an article…one of my first, where I complained about the lack of service from those at Google Ad Words. You can read about it here. Not much for a post in 2009 but a post nonetheless. There was a time when the Google Ad Words team wouldn’t help you unless your business was spending at least $10,000.00 per month. Yes, it is true. I have been working in the search since 2002 and during the early years of the Internet [and yes, those were the early days], Google did offer whole teams to help optimize account for maximum effectiveness. Times were much different then. Easier in many ways and more difficult in others.

SEO was a twinkle in just a few marketing mangers eyes and paid search could make a company millions. In fact, PPC can still pull in millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands. I am a huge fan of PPC, in fact. Without question, PPC and drive highly qualified traffic and produce excellent ROI. However, over the past few years, the folks at Google Ad Words have been taking their collective jobs a little too far for my taste and I assume too far for the likes of other companies like mine.

You see, the folks at Google have been calling on clients regularly. Calling on as may clients as they can to help optimize campaigns and improve performance. Mind you, not just calling…but emailing…and following up…and emailing…and calling…and following up…getting you to spend more money. It seems as if the folks at Google Ad Words have gone a little too far. Their exuberance is surpassing their patience or surpassing their collective understanding of good business. In other words, their desire to help has had some negative affects on some highly performing paid search campaigns.

Sure, I have learned some new tricks. That is an easy task when Google continues to roll out new components and assets for Google Ad Words. For the help, I am thankful. But for the changes they have imposed on some of my clients and past returning clients…it has not been a very good thing. In short, Google wants to improve your overall performance to create a better search environment for users. Fully understood.

However, with many of the changes, they request or suggest; bigger monthly and daily budgets, higher bidding on keywords, and additions that will cost advertisers more money in the short and long terms. Yes, I do the same thing IF the situation requires it. But those people at Google carry some great authority and they can be very convincing. Of course they have done a great many good things within these campaigns as well. It can be very hard to decipher the difference between someone wanting to help just to help and someone wanting to help in order to increase the corporate bottom line. Make no mistake about it…Google makes BILLIONS off of Google Ad Words.

I fully respect Google, the founders, and those folks I have had the great pleasure to work with. But Google has to stop being the daddy of the Internet and paid search. There are hundreds of digital marketing professionals that know how to do the same job just as well as the insiders. Those of us that touch these accounts daily don’t need the insider/outsider creating more conflagration on the PPC cabin that has already been built. If I need any assistance, I reach out to Google Ad Words. And for all of their assistance I am grateful. I have stated such in several surveys.  But until I or any of us running PPC campaigns ask for help…or until internal folks at Google verify who is managing these campaigns…they should hold off on the calls, emails, and constant contacting. It is just a little too much.

Is it too much to ask just one more question prior to pilfering clients or asking for more budget? The question is…are you agency or proprietor? I believe it will open a door of opportunity and create better relationships. Thanks Google Ad Words team. I’m sure we will talk again real soon.

 

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What Smokey Robinson and Motown can teach corporate America

Find a new groove and improve company morale with Smokey

Smokey Robinson is unquestionably one of the best and most wondrous voices in all of rock and roll, R&B, and blues. He is a true icon, poet, songwriter, intellectual, leader, and epic to behold on stage. In a recent article published on the Huffington Post, Smokey told H.P., how the song “My Girl” became one of the first hits for Motown and started a brilliant string of smash hits.

Smokey explains that the intention of the song was not about a girl but the idea of sharing his talent and gifts with other musicians [The Temptations, David Ruffin] and Motown for the good of everyone involved. The idea was more about sharing for the greater good over the importance of self. Sure, top brass asked Smokey to get some hits, however, the notion of doing something to benefit everyone was Smokey’s primary goal explains:

“I always was so happy whenever I got a hit record on one of the artists,” Smokey says. “They were my brothers and sisters. If I could do something to enhance their career and make things better for them, that made me happy.” [source]

Moreover, the article explains Motown’s management and their collective idea that if you wanted to work with any artist…you could. The idea of sharing for the greater good was equally as important and doing good for all involved. Music by its very nature is the oldest, greatest and most internationally known form of communication. It is no surprise that musicians and those involved in the business were the leaders way ahead of their time.

Motown produced some of the most influential, important, classic, brilliant, and rocking artist and groups in the history of music. The likes of Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations [my personal favorite], Stevie Wonder [another favorite], Michael Jackson, and many others.

So what can corporate American learn from Motown? The immeasurable benefits of cooperation across departments to improve workflow, communication, and production is a start. The importance of sharing individual and teams skills for the greater good of the entire organization and the realization that work should not be a four letter word. If you want to make great music it takes a full band of individuals to make that music shine and move the soul. This can absolutely be applied to big business. We just have to say, “YES!”

We spend over 60% of our lives working. Not for he good of mankind but for revenue, a board of directors, faceless shareholders, and the bottom line. So how about we take a few pages out of the most successful label in rock and roll? How about we start to share with one another. How about we work with each other as a team instead of backbiting and internal sabotage for that next promotion. It is time we learn to enjoy what we do [possibly for the first time in history]. It is time we realize we are all humans and we are truly in this together. Let’s drop the beat, pick up the mic, sing loud, and kick out the jams. Sounds a hell of a lot better than pulling another 9 to 5.

 

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5 Things to Know When Working with a Search Agency

It’s time to finally get your SEO project done that you said you were going to take care of months ago. Your executive team knows it’s important, but that’s about it. You have to outsource the project because you know it’s too complex for you to completely take care of along with all your other projects and initiatives. The goal was to hand the keys on to someone else who knows SEO and paid search to get the job done right, but now you need to figure out how to be the liaison between your own team(s) and the search partner you have chosen to work with.

Here is a list of 5 items that will help you manage expectations in that relationship.

 

  1. You Will Not See Results Overnight

Search professionals evaluate SEO performance using pre-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs are a combination of metrics that are specifically measured and defined to chart on-site performance or improvement. Most SEO projects do not see any improvement in on-page metrics for up to six or nine months after the project is completed. Depending on when and how you implement your fresh SEO can impact performance as well. For example, when Mobilgeddon hit in April, our clients that had just undergone a mobile-friendly updates didn’t see an impact immediately. Instead, they had to chart specific KPIs over the following weeks to see how mobile users’ interactions with the site had changed. Since those mobile updates time on site, pages visited, and visit durations began to incline incrementally.  These KPIs indicated that the user experience on mobile had improved.

 

  1. Micro Managing Someone Else’s Project Will Get You Nowhere

It’s imperative to know what your SEO partners are doing at any point in time, but trying to manage the project yourself is only going to make things more difficult. Your search professional is going to be spending hours at a time working on your project(s) and will not have meaningful updates for you every day. One meeting a week can even be too much. Two meetings a month and a call here and there is more than substantial for even larger projects. However, when too many people are in the mix messaging can get confused. Keep a schedule with predetermined deadlines with flexibility in mind. Some items are going to take extra time due to checks and balances. Work will need to be approved before one party can move forward. It can be difficult to get everything when your bosses say they need it, but remember, they don’t always know the methods behind these processes. This makes it all the better to outline duties [internal and external] ahead of time and scope the project with your search partner before you get started.

 

  1. Content is King

There’s a lot of hype in the digital space about “minimalist” and “one pager” websites. It seems like a great idea because everybody is doing it. Big brands in your industry are doing it too, so shouldn’t you be? Well, no. There are very few cases in which a one page website can be recommended. It is a proven fact that websites with more pages and more text get crawled more, and websites that get crawled more get more visitors, and websites with more visitors get more conversions. It’s that simple. If your business offers a variety of products and services you should have a page dedicated to each individual product or service. The better that copy speaks to your users the more likely they are to fill out a lead form or pick up a phone. If you don’t have good, quality content with specific, clear calls-to-action then you’re going to be missing out. Period.

 

  1. Don’t Panic If Your Traffic Dives

I see this happen every day it feels like. The second a website’s traffic tanks everybody wants to freak out. That helps nobody. There are a vast amount of variables to consider and a myriad of consequences that could result from a paid search perspective, a search volume perspective, and a web hosting perspective. We’ve seen sites go down without warning, traffic stop overnight, and anything in-between. The fact of the matter is that we aren’t always able to foresee when there is going to be a shift or dive in traffic to your site. However, when it does happen your digital partner is going to have protocols to figure it out in due time – that’s our job. Some people also seem to think that the traffic dips will last forever. Guess what? They won’t. Picking up a phone at 2am on a Saturday isn’t going to help anyone. The best thing you can do is document your findings as best you can, offer any insight you might be able to think of, and then let us do our job.

 

  1. Help Us Help You With Understanding What We Do

Another thing I cannot stress enough is how frustrating it can be when a client doesn’t know what questions to ask. Sometimes we will work with a team member on the client side that thinks SEO and PPC are the same thing, or reversed, or identical, or who knows what. We do not expect you to know everything, or even half of it. However, it is your job to know which questions to ask us. Simply put – we do not know what you do not know. I love teaching my clients new things about search. There are insights you can gain from your Analytics and reporting dashboards that can help marketing and sales teams immensely if they understand that data in context. There’s also a vast amount of research out there to keep yourself busy if you’re trying to break into the search industry. One thing I have learned over the past few years is that there is major news that impacts our industry every day. Whether it’s a monster update from Google or a new feature added to any Google product, there’s always a new tip, trick, or piece of information that can keep you ahead of the game.

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://media.licdn.com/media/p/8/005/063/2b5/3dcb6cb.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Colin Mumma is a lead Searchologist at Searchology. He lives and breathes all things SEO and loves quality content. Colin has managed client campaigns at Searchology since 2014.[/author_info] [/author]

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The dirtiest word in corporate America is…

There is no top ten list in this post. Only one word incenses and assaults my gray matter more than almost any other word or name in the English language. Sure, Ted Nugent is horrible. Yes, Trump is right up there too.  Covered rock and roll. Covered what-ever-the-hell Trump is now. Moist. Yes, that should go as well. Same for all of the truncated words that used to be full words but are not just too complicated for some of us to fully pronounce or text. There is just one more word I’d like to see drop off every list in the business world…VENDOR.

I’ve long believed that the most important tangible thing in life are the relationships you create and keep. There is nothing more comforting than knowing the known and knowing those who know you. The relations you keep help craft and define the future. A solid relationship continually perpetuates mutually beneficial goals and spurs personal improvement. A good relationship is much like finding a unicorn sleeping in a hollow – sun-drenched in a rainbow. A thing of wonder, magic, and beauty. Yes, it’s corny but it is a vision, no?  And come on…unicorns are cool. Although a liger or growler bear may suit just as well.

With a good relationship, or a really great one, you cannot associate a monetary value with it. Placing a value on such a thing is mostly impossible and should be avoided at all costs. Yet, in corporate America that is exactly what has happened. Relationships equal real money. Real returns. And, at times, real heartaches.

Over 60% of the US economy is service based. Manufacturing and producing consumable goods takes the remainder. As service providers, by default, we must commit to a relationship with clients, and other service providers. And it is during our calls, meetings, emails, Skype sessions, and other digital interactions, we are indeed creating relationships.

During our interactions we create mutual bonds of understanding, compassion, and empathy during our communications…building something more than a binding contract between two parties. We create support systems, sounding boards, call-chains, ideas, openness, and collaboration. We attempt all of this in the face of corporations and business that may want us all to pull the company line.

Vendor is the dirtiest word in corporate culture

As such, we use the name vendor when we refer to companies that provide us goods or services that are not delivered or provide from within our own corporate structure. Vendors help us move products globally, manage systems, monetize new digital channels, discover new areas of opportunity, improve workflow, deliver our latest gadgets, drive ROI, and in some situations, stay up all night to make sure the job gets done. Vendors can make the management team complete, the boss look good, and the board members happy.

However, most of the time…vendors are just that. Vendors. Or hucksters, street merchants, sellers, traffickers, hawkers, traders, and peddlers. Yes, we exchange services and good for money but do the majority of us not do much more? We do indeed. As vendors do we not strive to achieve the holy grail of business…the mutually prosperous relationship? Most certainly. Then why the horrid name vendor? It is demeaning, unsettling, repugnant, and certainly displaces the possibility of a healthy relationship. So let’s stop using the term.

Some change agents needed – lets bring back the warm and fuzzy

In order for business to run at its maximum, it requires people. People, by nature, require relationships and societies. We need to create more meaning and context in what we do as it pertains to our lives and livelihood. Why not? It can only better the human experience and erode the commoditization of those who work with and for our company and cause.

Sure, if we can really get this movement going, I believe we will have to make a few changes. We will have to come up with a new name for VMS [vendor management systems] and come up with some new terms to replace the crappiest term of all…VENDOR. But we can certainly do this together if we try. It shouldn’t be that hard. The Searchology team is willing to go first if you would like to build it together.

Alternates for the word vendor

  • Support team
  • Strategic partners
  • Vertically integrated specialists
  • Exterior experts in residence
  • Granite Team
  • Brand Champions
  • Dedicated account personnel
  • Team Wolf
  • Company name is always nice when tied to surname
  • Collaborative consultants
  • Searchologists

Whatever you decide to run with, you will have my full support as long as it’s not vendor.

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What Your Executive Team Needs to Know About Your SEO Project

What Your Executive Team Needs to Know About Your SEO Project

Being the only marketer in your company puts a lot on your plate. Your executive team has given you the go for your new SEO project and you may be asking a lot of questions.

You know SEO is important and you know it’s a critical component to your online success. However, it can be extremely difficult to truncate the information for your executives in a way that makes sense. They are going to expect you to have a handle on major aspects of this project at any point in time. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when getting started with your new SEO initiative.

SEO Projects Are Not Short Term Solutions for Long Term Problems

Your boss might be wondering how your SEO project is going to directly impact leads or sales in the short term. The answer is that SEO is not a short term solution. SEO needs a lot of time and attention in order to be effective in the long run. It takes time to research keywords, write content, and optimize all your on page components [title tags, header tags, body copy, etc.]. However, if done properly your SEO work will pay you back in spades down the road. This is especially true if you back up your on page efforts with off page efforts – like paid content marketing and pay-per-click advertising.

Out-sourcing Costs Less than In-sourcing

Unless you have a quarter millions dollars to solely devote to SEO – you’re going to want to hire a firm to take care of the SEO work for you. If you were to choose to keep everything in house then you’re talking about hiring a team full time to take it on. There are many components of your digital marketing initiatives that will tie directly into your SEO project including pay-per-click and social. Relying on a less experienced marketer to produced desirable results in all these facets of digital marketing is a risky move. If you’re going with the option to out-source then there are ways to make sure you select a firm that’s best for you.

Each Business’ Website Strategy Is Going to Be Different

A website that sells car parts online is going to have a different marketing strategy than a project management firm looking for clients. Different types of organizations have different goals for their marketing teams. Showing ROI for an e-commerce site’s performance is different than a company that is investing their marketing dollars in quality, paid content and investing in other digital strategies. How do you assign monetary value to a view of a blog page or product page? It depends on how much these actions are worth to your business and assigning attribution value to each touch point there is with a visitor. Some businesses may want their website’s primary purpose to be for lead generation while other organizations in the same industry may be focused on producing content for that industry. Both strategies work, but they yield results in different ways.

Depending on where you’re trying to make an impact will determine what needs to be measured, why you need to track it, and how you’re going to use that data to make beneficial changes to your content and campaigns.

Think Long Tail for Keyword Solutions

Broad match terms with high search volumes are going to be much harder to rank for than long tail searches with lower search volume and less competition. Here’s an example:

“patio furniture” is a term with over 201,000 searches a month on Google. It’s a monster term. A term with that much search volume is likely to be competitive. However, that particular term doesn’t show nearly as much intent as “buy used patio furniture”, or “purchase used blue patio chairs” which are terms that demonstrate more intent. The searcher is most likely in the purchasing phase of the buying cycle and has already done their research about which patio furniture to buy. The searcher knows they want to “buy used” and therefore Google wants to serve up the best result to fit your query. The way to go about your long tail strategy is to think creatively and find terms that you can utilize in your content and PPC strategy.

Just because a search query may have a lower search volume doesn’t mean the term is weak. In fact, they should be considered the opposite – an opportunity.

Ask the Right Questions

Keeping all of these things in mind will help you ask the right questions when you begin your SEO project. What’s most important is having all the vital components of your website working properly so you have a foundation to build on. This means making sure all your analytics platforms are set up correctly and that Google Webmaster tools is installed properly. Without solid SEO you’re going to run into problems with inbound marketing programs and wonder where you’re falling behind. Make sure you’re collecting all the data you can and start writing quality content. The more content you produce the more likely your site is to get crawled, and in turn, deliver qualified traffic with directed intent to research or purchase.

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Keyword Level Tracking for Calls Now In AdWords

Website Call Conversions Are Here

At Searchology, we love it when our clients see their click-to-call metrics. What gets us excited about these reports is that not only do we know where the call was made from, what time of the day they were made, or how long the calls were, it’s that they don’t cost our clients anything. When a visitor clicks on your phone number extension in your ads it doesn’t count as a click, and therefore costs you nothing. It’s having your cake and eating it too. How great is that? But wait – it gets even better. Now, in Ad Words, you can see which keywords are driving your phone conversions.

Seventy percent of all mobile searchers have called a business directly from PPC ads. This new functionality helps marketers get more information out of these calls.

A happy client makes for a happy business owner, so now more than ever seems like the perfect time to optimize your AdWords call extensions to see how they can be used to drive more conversions, or at least, more leads for your sales team. Here are some top-level reasons why this is good for marketers:

  • Associate more value of your PPC efforts to your sales team
  • Strengthen campaigns where calls are the highest form of conversion
  • Know which calls are more valuable
    • [i.e. Calls from page A aren’t converting as much as page B]
  • Automated bid adjustments target pages that drive the most qualified calls
  • Geo target areas with the highest amount of calls

How You Can Get Started with Website Call Conversions

In order to implement these new features and start putting them to use you must currently have a Google AdWords account with call extensions enabled and a valid phone number. If you already have those things in place head over to AdWords Help for setting up website conversion tracking for calls. Or heck, call us and we can do it all for you. (312) 316-7202.

Useful Links:

Visit Google’s Official Blog for AdWords for more information about how to implement click-to-call ads and website call conversions.

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://media.licdn.com/media/p/8/005/063/2b5/3dcb6cb.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Colin Mumma is a lead Searchologist at Searchology. He lives and breathes all things SEO and loves quality content. Colin has managed client campaigns at Searchology since 2014.[/author_info] [/author]

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Net Neutrality At Risk – What’s the worst that could happen?

Verizon just won a major battle against Net Neutrality. A US appeals court struck down the notion that the FCC can require major ISPs to treat all Internet traffic as equal. Put another way, this ruling opens Pandora’s box of paid channels for the rich and poor. Those that can and are willing for access to websites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Netflix, Facebook and other major sites may have to pay top dollar. The possibility now exists for companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other provides to package websites and search engines much like you currently pay for cable packages.

Individuals who cannot pay for this access will not have access to major search engines, websites or access to small business website. Individuals with the ability to pay [potentially high prices] can have full access to information. So, what is the worst that could happy if we loose Net Neutrality?

  1. Small business websites and owners may have to pay premium prices to have their websites show up or be found at all.
  2. Individuals who cannot afford access to the Internet [above the price they currently pay for ISPs] will no longer have access to online information.
  3. Only the wealthy or well-off will be able to have full access [based on what the ISP deems worthy].
  4. News channels and independent news outlets will be shut down.
  5. The majority of websites on the Internet will loos massive amounts of website traffic, data, revenue and exposure.
  6. Small business who focus on e-commerce, m-commerce and rely on the Internet for their livelihood will be driven out of business.
  7. Small business who rely on the Internet to drive sales leads will see the lead flow choked or completely shut down, resulting in business closure.
  8. Large companies will have the ability to fully control what you see online because they have the budget to pay for what YOU see.
  9. The very basis of the Internet is: it is free for everyone. no one person or company has control of the Internet. opens the door of ‘freedom of information’ for all.
  10. The very thing that makes the Internet so unique is access and the level playing field that is created for all.

There is hope…Internet users beat SOPA and PIPA…they have not gone away but with consistant attention, debate and objection from the masses – be prepared to loose one of the most important inventions of all time.

 

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