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Tag Archives: Organic search

The Dynamic Duo: Why SEO And PPC Are The Perfect Bedfellows

UntitledImage by Danard Vincente

The Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing strategies have traditionally pitted themselves against one another. Proponents of each have argued that their approach is better than the other. However, opinions are now beginning to change, with many companies noting the benefits of using both SEO and PPC in harmony.

SEO vs PPC

SEO involves increasing the visibility of a website or specific web page within search engine results, which is perfect for promoting your brand. For more information on SEO, click here. With successful SEO the chosen website will appear more prominently in the ‘organic’, or natural, search results and therefore receive more visitors.

By contrast, with PPC, advertisers (you) pay the search engines or content sites when their advertisement is clicked. This article is a good starting point for PPC beginners. Typically, the prices are fixed for content sites but users have to bid for key phrases on search engines. PPC drives in even more traffic, so employing it alongside SEO can really benefit your business.

Identifying The Best Keywords

Firstly, through the use of PPC, you will be able to see which keywords drive customers to your website. Once the most useful terms have been identified, these can be incorporated into SEO strategies. SEO tends to be a longer-term process. So, using the quick results provided by PPC can help you concentrate your efforts in the most important areas and not waste any time.

If PPC shows certain keywords are providing a lot of traffic, you can then ensure the landing page contains relevant persuasive information on these areas. Creating the best possible landing page will increase both your overall PPC quality score and the number of results you receive through organic SEO.

Identifying Gaps in The Market

Through PPC, you will be able to track which pages your advert is shown on. If it is consistently used on a certain website, a good strategy would be to examine that site’s content. If it includes something relevant to your business which is not incorporated into your own web pages, then you will have found a gap in your marketing. Addressing this issue by writing your own similar content may lead to more traffic and reduce your dependency on advertisements.

This method will be particularly useful for new websites or web pages. New content is unlikely to get the same amount of traffic as established sites. Therefore, PPC advertising could be invaluable. It will bring attention to recent developments, providing the company with keywords to include and ways to expand SEO.

Being Consistent

To ensure that what you have learned from PPC benefits your organic SEO, you need to be consistent with both disciplines. Occasionally, companies introduce better offers on PPC adverts than appear in the organic search results. If you offer a 50 per cent discount in an advertisement, but only 30 per cent off in the organic search, very few people will click on the latter. This will lead to spending more money on PPC as well as reducing the effectiveness of your SEO.

Alternatively, results received through organic SEO may provide some surprising keywords or phrases that can be incorporated into your PPC scheme. This demonstrates the advantages of using them simultaneously.

Investigate Conversions

In order to test whether your marketing strategies are working effectively together, you can investigate the conversion pathways. Instead of simply recording the final advertisement viewed before the conversion, all stages of the marketing funnel are logged. This will show all aspects of marketing, such as email links, different PPC adverts and organic searches, which assisted in driving traffic to your site. Analysing the conversion pathways will allow you to determine the use of each strategy and optimising your marketing.

When employing search engine marketing, it is important to recognise the relationship between different areas and strategies. This is what using PPC alongside SEO provides. PPC allows you to constantly test and develop your website and marketing techniques. This holistic approach will provide stronger results and help you get the most from your internet marketing

Bio:  Rhosanna Jenkins is a committed writer, with a variety of interests, including the rise the online marketing revolution.

Have you using both PPC and SEO in combination for your business? Share your thoughts and comments below.

 

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Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff Online

 

BY MARCUS WOHLSEN –
no company can expect to be taken seriously if it’s not on Facebook or Twitter. An endless stream (no pun intended) of advice from marketing consultants warns businesses that they need to “get” social or risk becoming like companies a century ago that didn’t think they needed telephones.

Despite the hype that inevitably clings to the newfangled, however, it’s relatively antique tech that appears to be far more important for selling stuff online. A new report from marketing data outfit Custora found that over the past four years, online retailers have quadrupled the rate of customers acquired through email to nearly 7 percent.

Facebook over that same period barely registers as a way to make a sale, and the tiny percentage of people who do connect and buy over Facebook has stayed flat. Twitter, meanwhile, doesn’t register at all. By far the most popular way to get customers was “organic search,” according to the report, followed by “cost per click” ads (in both cases, read: Google).

Image: Custora

Custora came up with its figures by analyzing data from 72 million customers shopping on 86 different retailer sites. They tracked where customers were clicking from (email, Twitter, Google, etc.) and what and how much they bought, not just on that visit but for the next two years.

Over those two years, Custora found that customers who came to retailers from search were more than 50 percent more valuable than average. In other words, they were more likely to shop more and spend more. Email customers were nearly 11 percent more valuable than average. Facebook customers were just about average. Twitter customers, meanwhile, were 23 percent less valuable than average during the two years following that first click.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say Twitter is inherently a bad way to do (online marketing), but we haven’t seen a lot of good Twitter strategies right now,” says Aaron Goodman, Custora’s lead data scientist. He says Twitter marketing campaigns right now tend to rely on the chancy likelihood that someone will run across a deal when they dip into their feed. Even if they do see it, within seconds it disappears.

Image: Custora

Email, on the other hand, has a certain unfair advantage in that shoppers getting the emails have already given up their addresses to a site, suggesting they already have some prior relationship with that retailer. Still, despite the avalanche of spam we all get, it’s easy to see how the staying power and greater potential for personalization of a medium without a 140-character limit gives email distinct advantages.

Custora’s findings don’t bode especially well for social media business models, especially Twitter. Of course, ads on Facebook and Twitter don’t have to lead to immediate clicks to have an impact. They still have the potential to raise ambient awareness. Yet Custora found that Google’s ads, by contrast, do lead not only to clicks but to purchases—the holy grail of “conversion.”

To be fair, Google had a roughly 10-year head start to turn search into sales. It’s hard to imagine that in a decade that social media won’t be a more important channel for selling stuff. Already its “product cards” provide a very direct way for Twitter to act as a storefront. Businesses probably shouldn’t abandon social just yet. But if they had to pick, that old-timey mailing list may trump tweets for a long time to come.

 

 

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This is why I never felt comfortable putting all my eggs in the Google basket …

Keyword “Not Provided” By Google Spikes, Now 7-14% In Cases

by Daniel Waisberg

 

Google’s new encrypted search for logged in users now appears to be blocking a much higher percentage of search terms than when it initially rolled out two weeks ago. In some cases, it might even be higher than the 10% or less figure that the company initially predicted might be impacted.

Blocking Search Queries

Two weeks ago Google announced that it would start encrypting search sessions of anyone signed in to Google.com. In practice, this means that Google stopped passing the organic keywords that referred traffic to websites whenever users are logged in Google and conducting searches.

This change caused strong reactions, both in the web analytics industry (as this means that organic search becomes less trackable) and also in terms of whether Google was protecting privacy fully (since advertisers still receive this information).

Single Digit Impact Predicted

Google predicted that the change would impact 10% or less of searches:

Google software engineer Matt Cutts, who’s been involved with the privacy changes, wouldn’t give an exact figure but told me he estimated even at full roll-out, this would still be in the single-digit percentages of all Google searchers on Google.com.

In fact, the week the changes started rolling out, various reports put the “Not Provided” percentage — which is what those using Google Analytics see if terms are blocked — at around 2% to 3%.

High Single Digit To Above 10% Now Happening

However, as of October 31, we have seen a very significant increase on the Not Provided figure here on Search Engine Land. It’s not just us, either. Looking at data from several websites across industries, we see a range of 7% to 14% of total organic keywords now being blocked.

Below you see how the “Not Provided” figure has suddenly spiked for Search Engine Land:

 

Below you can see how the percentage of Not Provided for the total organic keywords for November 1st to the site is above 10%, 12.87% in all:

 

The figure is even more dramatic, however, when you consider it as a percentage of Google-driven keywords. In other words, the 12.87% figure above means that for ALL keywords from ANY search engine to Search Engine Land, 12.87% of them were blocked.

As this blocking is only happening by Google, what’s the percentage of only keyword traffic from Google? That works out to 14.2%.

Of course, one might expect Search Engine Land to have a higher percentage of search-driven traffic than other sites. But as said, we’ve also looked at sites beyond Search Engine Land.

Danny Sullivan’s personal blog, Daggle, had 13.65% of its Google-driven keywords blocked. One non-tech site had 7.1% of its Google-driven queries reporting “Not Provided.” Another non-tech site we know of had 8.83% of all its keywords reporting as “Not Provided.”

We’d love to hear what others are finding — please comment below, if you’d like to share your figures.

Rollout Still Happening; Percentage Could Get Higher

The rollout was supposed to take place over the course of several weeks. The process is still happening, and it seems as if it was suddenly enabled for more users on October 31.

Google wouldn’t confirm that, nor say how complete the rollout is at this point. In general, the company said:

As we noted, this change will occur over the next few weeks. Traffic figures will naturally vary depending on a website’s audience. What we provided was an estimate.

If there are significantly more people not yet being included in encrypted search, the percentage of Not Provided queries would likely grow over the coming weeks.

Related Entries

 

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I Will Stand on My Head, Till my Face Turns Red, and I am Dead, So Give Me Your Bread!

Everybody who has ever taken an extension course at UC Santa Cruz is now an internet marketing expert.

“Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, be there for an all rubber burning  AAA fuel elimination grudge match between pay per click and organic search.  See the page rankings fall by the wayside under the awesome weight of our totally unique methods of search engine optimization.  WE CAN GUARANTEE YOU A NUMBER ONE (ORGANIC) PAGE RANKING WITH GOOGLE!

Well no kidding you can guarantee that.  All you have to do is make their URL their company name, like I did with BayIntegratedMarketing.com.  If the URL is available, it is the ONLY ONE – Duh!  As long as you enter that URL exactly, it IS the only result in position one.  Thanks for the guarantee.  I guarantee that it will rain if you locate yourself in the middle of a rainstorm.

Make sure the company you are dealing with has legitimate credentials, explains to you what they will do for you in understandable language, and takes the time to meet with you to understand your business before spouting a bunch of promises.

Goodness gracious great balls-o-fire.  This is an actual e-mail that my wife got at work, not a Bill Maher parody, honestly!  Talk about snake oil salesmen:

I thought you might like to know some of the reasons why you are not getting more organic (FREE) search engine traffic for yoursite.com

1. Your home page rank is 1 , this can be improved further

2. Open directory listing is not available.

3. Your site has 1  Yahoo back links, this can be improved further.

There are many additional improvements that could be made to your website, and if you would like to learn about them, and are curious to know what our working together would involve, then I would be glad to provide you with a detailed analysis in the form of a SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) SITE REPORT.

 To brief you about our company, in addition to SEO, we provide Social Media Optimization (SMO) and reputation management for our clients. Our efforts on behalf of our clients have brought thousands of keywords to the first page of Google organic search results with excellent conversion rates. I will be happy to provide you with a list of clients with contact details, keyword rankings, etc. Our clients will be happy to talk with you about their experience with our services.

Wow, how original.  Doesn’t sound like an unsolicited bulk email to me.

 

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Why Brand Trumps ROI: 3 Tips To Build Your Brand Online

by Matias Wigozki

ROI. ROI. ROI. It’s the mantra for most direct response marketers. But to remain competitive, marketers must look beyond direct ROI, and invest in programs that will enrich their overall brand. Let’s take a look at why.

Understanding The Shift

There are more brands competing in search than ever, but the playing field is hardly level. In fact, it has shifted. Today it favors well-recognized brands that have built brand equity. Those who haven’t invested in their brand are being left behind.

A recent study underscores this point. According to a recent Kenshoo report, “the number of clicks on search ads increased by 54% from 2009 to 2010, while the number of search ad impressions (the number of times these ads appeared) increased by only 1%.”

This finding demonstrates that while the overall number of searches remained flat, traffic increased drastically for those brands already running robust search programs.

The Importance Of Integration

Many marketers think they can leverage paid search to drive ROI without investing in brand. Unfortunately, this thinking is delusional. To win in this arena, you first must invest in creating a well-known brand that is top of mind with consumers. Doing so will build volume that you can then capture via search.

The significance of this dynamic is supported by an iProspect and Forrester Research study on the integration of search and display. It reveals that display advertising is effective at producing brand lift, particularly when it is used in combination with paid and natural search.

In fact, the study indicates that “almost as many Internet users respond to online display advertising by performing a search on a search engine (27%) as those who simply click on the ad itself (31%).”

This finding underscores the importance of investing in display advertising to boost brand as it will increase the number of branded searches. In turn, it will yield a higher direct ROI as these terms tend to be cheaper than non-branded terms.

Learning A Lesson

Clearly, investing in brand is key; however, it won’t drive ROI by itself. Connecting branding efforts with paid search is essential. A major home electronics manufacturer helps us see why.

The company was running an aggressive display campaign, evident by their ads being found on a large majority of consumer electronic review sites. This was an ideal branding initiative as it hit consumers when they were in the shopping mindset. It also communicated the brand’s unique value proposition. Fortunately, the effort produced a substantial increase in search query volume for the brand month-over-month and year-over-year.

However, the manufacturer did not run any paid search campaigns to capture the demand they had created, and only one retailer capitalized on the manufacturer’s newly-created brand interest. Consequently, the lack of connection between the branding effort and the search program hurt the conversion and click-through rates. Ultimately these disconnects resulted in lower online sales for the retailers carrying this brand and for the manufacturer itself.

Taking Action To Build Brand Search Volume

Below are three tips to help you build your brand online to create more volume and better connections:

1.  Leverage the content networks

Both Google and Bing/Yahoo! have comprehensive content programs that can be managed from paid search interfaces. If your brand doesn’t have display creative, utilize the best performing ad copy from your search campaigns and leverage it in the content networks.  If creative is available, test between text and other types to see which combination of copy produces the highest return.

By expanding to where your consumers are digesting content, you will inevitably build brand recall. This is particularly true for the retail industry. Another iProspect study indicates that online display ads produce a brand lift of 5% in regard to the likelihood of purchasing from a particular retailer. It is also worth noting that the same study found that the combination of paid search and display advertising produces a 15% lift in unaided brand recall.

2.  Leverage social media

Until recently, measuring the value of social media interactions has been difficult unless the vehicle being used was a direct sales tactic such as a coupon. According to research done by Syncapse and hotspex, the value of a Facebook fan is $71.84 more than a non-fan. This data alone supports the value of a Facebook campaign focused on acquiring fans; however, there are more benefits.

By generating social media buzz, you can drive consumers to search for your brands. Therefore, it’s imperative that a brand’s unique value proposition be communicated in a consumer-friendly manner in order to generate awareness and chatter. Without conversations, the value of Facebook and other social media mediums is limited, and without buzz, there are no incremental queries on the search engines. By generating incremental brand queries, sales will increase online, and thanks to Facebook fans, off-line as well.

3.  Leverage online videos

According to a study conducted by YuMe, more than 66% of respondents watched more online videos than they did 12 months ago, and 48% said they planned to increase viewership this year. Taking these statistics into account, it is easy to see why video should be considered for more than just funny clips. Today, videos are a means to gain mass media recognition.

Given that, brands need to leverage online video to grow their awareness, not just as a way to repost their TV spots. By creating branded content, marketers will be able to build deep relationships with their consumers and generate greater brand awareness. In turn, this will lead to higher branded search queries.

In today’s competitive search landscape, the best way to drive ROI is to first invest in building your brand, and the above tactics can help you do just that. Then, you’ll be in a great position to tap into paid search to capture the demand you’ve created.

 

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8 Necessary SEO Steps During A Website Redesign

By George Asplaud

Following these simple steps could help improve the immediate impact on search results for a new website, and help avoid the often significant reduction in search traffic after a website is re-launched.

Website owners often wait until after their site is redesigned and launched before getting a SEO expert involved. Unfortunately, this can lead to expensive site design changes that could have been easily implemented during the design process.

Sometimes, it’s difficult or impossible to correct issues after a website is launched without essentially rebuilding the site again.

In addition, traffic from search engines can be severely reduced for months after a site is redesigned and launched. This impact can be minimized by taking the proper steps during the redesign process.

Here are 8 search engine optimization steps you should consider during a website redesign.

1. SEO Site Audit

Having a search engine friendly website  means designing a site with no barriers to the search engines. This is critical for success with “organic” search engine results. The best time to ensure a search engine friendly site is during a site design.

If you have an existing website, consider performing some level of a site review or more extensive audit on it. In a site audit, a SEO consultant or agency examines the current website to look for problems with the site design or other limitations that might impede organic search engine results, so that the issues can be addressed during the design of the new site.

See How To Improve Organic Search Results With A Simple Site Audit for some steps you can take to flush out most issues with a small to midsize website.

2. Design Reviews To Develop A Search Engine Friendly Website

During the site design, an SEO should examine wireframes or storyboards and site prototypes or development test sites at various stages in the design and development process to ensure search engine friendless.

3. Determining Important Keyword Phrases

It’s very helpful to have an understanding of what the important keyword phrases (search terms) are for your website in the design process. This understanding can come from a few sources:

Determine what phrases people are searching on to find your products and services as well as related topics in the major search engines.

If you have run a search engine advertising campaign (a PPC campaign such as Google AdWords for example) an SEO can examine the campaign results to see what keyword phrases brought significant targeted traffic to the site and more importantly, which phrases resulted in engaged visitors (as measured by metrics such as Time on Site, Page Views, Bounce Rate, Views of key pages, etc) and conversions (signups, leads, sales etc).

Keyword phrases that pay off in a search engine advertising campaign are ideal candidates for improvement in organic search results.

Using web site analytics (such as Google Analytics) you should be able to determine what keyword phrases brought significant targeted traffic to the site by keyword and again, more importantly,which phrases resulted in “engaged” visitors and conversions.

If advanced analytics are not available, you may have site reports that will at least show you what keyword phrases are bringing significant traffic to the site.

If you have Google’s Webmaster Tools running, you can get a fair amount of information about the keyword phrases for which your site is being found such as impressions (how many times a page on your site appeared in a search result for a keyword phrase) and click-throughs (Webmaster Tools / Your Site on the web / Search queries).

A cautionary note regarding relying on analytics and site reports only:

If you only use analytics or site reports to determine what keyword phrases reached the site in the past, you may be missing many important keyword opportunities. Your site may not have the relevant content or the link popularity to have attracted search traffic for many important keywords, especially competitive keywords.

In some cases, it may be advisable to consider delaying a site redesign if possible, in order to perform keyword research and possibly run a search engine advertising campaign for a number of months to determine which keywords bring engaged visitors to the site that convert.

4. Use Important Keyword Phrases In The Site Design

Once you’ve determined the important keywords for your site and the approximate numbers of people searching on them in the major search engines from within the territory you cover, here’s how to use the data:

  • Are enough people searching on your target keyword phrases?

If this hasn’t already been determined in the past, then use the keyword data to help you estimate if there are enough people searching within your anticipated territory to indicate whether search marketing might become an important marketing channel for you. This will help you decide how much effort to put into search marketing during and after a site design.

  • Do you need to add content to the site?

You should consider adding content to the site to better focus on important keyword phrases if needed. In addition, do you see people searching for related topics?

It may make sense to include that content on the web site to make the website more useful and to help get those web pages found by people searching for that information. During the site design process and after the site is launched, work on ways to get theses visitors interested in your products and services.

  • Optimize pages for target keywords.

It may make sense to optimize most site pages during the site development process, for the best chance at appearing in search results for your important keywords when the site is launch. In many cases, optimization of specific pages can be enhanced after the site is launched, and often has to be because of time constraints or in the case of bringing in an SEO after the fact.

  • Develop  relevant tags.

Develop a short list of keywords to focus on. Use them to develop the important tags, such as HTML Page Title tags and Meta Description tags for most (if not all) the web pages, ideally before the site is launched. Again, as long as you have developed a search engine friendly site, you can do more specific optimization after the site is launched.

5. Develop The Navigation And Linking Structure

Once you’ve determined the content for the site, you can develop a navigation structure that allows site visitors to easily navigate through the site.

Give some thought to organizing your site around important keyword themes which can help improve search engine rankings. (Internal site linking also affects search rankings.)

However, remember that your visitors come first. The site must be designed so that visitors can find what they are looking for and be designed so that the site effectively engages these visitors and persuades them to move along to a conversion. Thinking about keyword themes can help you accomplish this and improve search engine rankings at the same time.

For example, I was the SEO consultant on a large e-commerce B2B site design. They sold toner and ink worldwide and they weren’t sure how to organize the site, perhaps by type of machine (printers, copiers, faxes, etc) or by type of product (Cartridges, Ribbons, etc).

The keyword research clearly showed that people almost always searched for toner and ink by manufacturer such as “hp toner” or more specifically with model numbers (e.g. Brother ic61 ink cartridges). Therefore, we designed the site with manufacturers as the main categories leading to an internal linking structure based on how people typically search.

6. Determine Which Pages Bring Traffic To The Live Site For Important Keyword Phrases

Using a combination of website analytics (Top Landing pages: keyword in Google Analytics), Google’s Webmaster Tools (Your Site on the web / Search queries /Pages), or manual searches, determine which pages on your current website are appearing near the top of search engine results.

Determine whether those are bringing significant traffic for the keywords that are important to your website, and whether it is traffic that is engaged and converts.

For these pages you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Reuse important content.

If possible, reuse much of the content on pages of the new site, ideally using the same URL structure if possible.

  • Minimize the impact of URL changes.

If the URL structure must change, it could impact your search results for months after the site is relaunched as the search engines need to recrawl the site to find the new pages. You can minimize the impact of changes to URL’s for important pages by applying 301 redirects to as many of these pages as possible.

7. Review Incoming Links To The Site From Other Websites

Determine which links to your site from other webpages on the Internet are bringing targeted traffic to the site, and which links in particular may be helping the pages of your website reach higher positions in search engine results.

If any of these incoming links point to inner pages of your current website and the URL’s to those pages will be changed, then you need to apply 301 redirects to these pages so that they redirect to the most appropriate page on the new site.

You’ll want to try to contact as many of these site owners as possible after the new site is launched to ask them to update their links (this also gives you a way to start a relationship with these website owners if you don’t already have an ongoing relationship).

  • Important note about links to the home page.

Some incoming links to home pages may include the complete URL, http://www.domainname.com/index.asp rather than just http://www.domainname.com, for example.

If the URL to the home page will change when the site is relaunched, for example, from http://www.domainname.com/index.asp to http://www.domainname.com/index.php, you’ll want to apply a 301 redirect in this case too.

Then, after the new site is launched, contact any site owners whose incoming links point to the old home page URL and ask them to update their links.

8. Ensure That An Effective 404 Error Page Is Setup Before Launch

Don’t forget to set up an effective custom page not found error page (404 error page) before launching the redesigned site.

This is very important to have in place as the site is relaunched becuase many people may be clicking on search results that link to pages on the site that have just been moved or deleted.

Learn much more about an effective custom page not found error page in this video and accompanying article.

Related reading on the Web

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

 

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