Archive for April, 2013

How NOT to Measure your Web Presence

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On April - 22 - 2013

I originally posted this Blog article on Hotfrog.com a couple of months ago. I was just talking with a client and the subject came up again. I think this one is worth posting again: 

With Google changing their algorithms like the rest of us change our underwear, what were once sound SEO techniques are now little more than a pipe dream for those of us in the industry. That includes YOUR in-house Digital Marketing team.

Traditionally it was all about page rank. Still a good indicator of your popularity and certainly an influence on your website traffic, it’s not in itself a goal with much significance any longer. Why? Because search engine ranking reports show only one view of the world. The reality is everyone sees something different for the same search. The two big offenders are:

Wild card #1: Personalized Search:

Suppose that you are an outdoorsman and frequent sites like Field & Stream and Outdoorsports.com. Now let’s suppose that I am a musician and often visit music sites like GuitarCenter.com and Musiciansfriend.com.

Now let’s suppose that we each search for the word “bass”. Is that the guitar or the fish? Well Google is going to show you (the sportsman) websites like basspro.com and tacklewarehouse.com. However Google is most likely going to show me (the musician) websites like bassexchange.com and fender.com.

Google knows your search history and wants to show you what they THINK you are looking for. So where does that leave your search ranking reports when different people may see different results regardless of where your report tells you that you rank?

Wild card #2: Local Search:

Just like the search engines try to outguess what we are looking for by our search history, they also assume that we are more interested in businesses that are local to our individual locations. Since they know where we are by the IP address of the Internet connection we are using, the search results are skewed to the location of the searcher, not the location of where the report is being generated from.

So, if I (the alleged musician) am searching for “guitar center” from my San Clemente CA location, I will see all the local stores around me. If you searched on the same thing from your (fill in the blank) location, you will see a completely different set of locations.

Google search results

 

So where does that leave your ranking reports?

 

Now that I’ve bashed page ranking reports, it’s time to confess that they are still an important part of our improvement strategy. They just shouldn’t be the goal any longer. As a Web Presence Optimization firm those reports are just for reverence. They are one of several different tools that should be used to measure performance.

What I believe is a more important measurement are the actual keywords that are actually driving traffic to your site. Search engines have become smart enough to rank good quality websites for keywords that aren’t even mentioned on the website because they understand what the website is all about. They understand the “Theme” of the website based on other related phrases that are used on individual pages and throughout the site.

Web presence optimization techniques are now more about organizing groups of related keywords into themes. If done properly, various combinations and synonyms of those phrases are going to start driving traffic. 

The example below shows that over a 30-day period we drove 3,142 visits to the website from 2,035 different keywords. I can tell you that we are NOT optimizing 2,035 different keywords. We are optimizing this private investigative website across specific themes like “cheating spouses” and “private detective”.

The end result? The website is drawing traffic for phrases such as: “signs your husband is cheating” “signs your wife is cheating” “signs your partner is cheating” etc.

So what’s more of an indicator of success; the fact that this website is currently ranking number 1 for “full service investigation” on Google, or the fact that they got many hundreds of actual targeted visitors with questionable marriages?

Advice for Business Owners: Your SEO team (In-House or a professional firm) should be using a variety of different criterion to measure success. The best indicator? If your phone isn’t ringing, something (or someone) is not working.

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Landing Page Love… Optimization in 2013

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On April - 15 - 2013

Landing page design is more about psychology than anything else. The idea is to persuade a visitor to your page to do a very specific thing (give you their contact info, request a demo, or the holy grail of marketing… a transaction).

What is the goal of any marketing campaign?

The obvious answer would be to generate leads. Whether it is organizing an event or advertising on television or in the print media, the end goal is to generate leads that can be converted into sales. Every branding activity that a business engages in has to support this objective.

This brings us to the next question;

What is a landing page?

Simply put, a landing page is a web page that helps businesses capture leads. It is different from a Home page, which usually serve as the doorway to generic information about the various products, solutions, and services offered by the business. As such, a typical Home page has too many elements vying for the visitors’ attention. A targeted landing page will work towards compelling a visitor to take the specific and desired action.

There are several ways a visitor can be directed to your landing page:

  • Search engine results link when someone runs a query for your keyword
  • Clickable links in your pay per click ad or other online advertisements
  • Links pointing to this page incorporated in social media posts
  • Email campaigns providing links to this page
  • Organic search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns throw up links to this page during relevant keyword searches

The impact of your landing page can be measured by analyzing the number of visitors who convert. Tools are available to measure the number of visitors. These tools will also provide you information on the means by which they landed there – was it your SEO strategy or your PPC campaign or your social media activities or even your direct mail campaign. 

If your campaigns are attracting a lot of visitors but none are converting into leads then the problem might lie with your landing page. The solution lies in enhancing and optimizing your landing page to maximize conversions.

Types of Landing Pages

Depending upon the objective you want to achieve, your landing page can be of two types:

  • Informational landing page: If you want to present yourself as a thought leader then you can create an informative landing page, which displays content that is relevant to your visitor. Ideally, the information should center around the keyword that brought the visitor to your landing page in the first place.
  • Action-oriented landing page: This is a landing page with a clear call to action.  It could be oriented towards convincing a visitor to buy a product or capture contact information through an online form. If making a sale is the objective, you have to ensure that previous interactions with you provided the visitor enough compelling reasons to do so. If capturing information is your goal then you can do so by offering valuable content.

How to Optimize Landing Pages in 2013

A good landing page needs to target a particular action. Leading visitors to your Home page, for instance, can prove confusing. The visitor might have been searching for information on a particular keyword. Now unless your Home page immediately offers information related to that keyword it is likely to leave your visitor confused. More often than not, this will result in a quick exit from your website, and thereby, a missed opportunity for you.

You need to be very clear about what you want your visitor to do once they land on your website. Only then can you increase the possibility of converting your traffic into actionable leads.

Below we have listed a few measures you should take to optimize your landing pages in 2013.

  1. Singular purpose: You need to be absolutely clear about the targeted traffic and the action you desire from them. Minimize distractions.  Eliminate unnecessary copy, graphics, form fields, and links. Provide clear and simple call to actions. Do not confuse your visitor. Make it easy for them to focus on your call to action.
  2. Short lead form: Visitors hate filling forms, so the longer your lead form the more the number of visitors who are likely to drop off. Keep it short. Capture only information that is necessary to stay in touch. 
  3. Relevancy of content: Ensure that the content on your landing page is relevant to your keyword. Highlight the benefits of engaging with you for business. Ideally, your landing page headline should match the link your visitors clicked to get there.
  4. Call to action: Make sure your call to action (CTA) is clearly visible. Use directional cues to direct attention to your CTA. Have CTA links spread across the page in order to make it easy for visitors to take action whenever they are ready.
  5. Responsive design: Think like a user. Test your page to check whether it provides information that is relevant to the keyword they used. Is it visually pleasing? Is the messaging consistent throughout?
  6. Transparency: Visitors will always be wary about sharing their contact information. Clearly state what you intend to do with the information you collect. Ease any concerns they may have about the information falling into wrong hands. Highlight your contact information such as phone number and address. Provide links to your social media handles at the bottom.
  7. Test thoroughly: Creating a landing page is only the first step. Use real-time A/B or multivariate testing to continuously test the various elements on your landing page and determine what resonates best with your visitors. Improve your page accordingly.

Landing Page Webinar:

On April 25, Chuck Bankoff, Director of Web Services for Kreative Webworks will be conducting a public webinar where he will outline the common mistakes businesses make when it comes to their landing pages and why these can instantly kill your campaign conversions.  In addition he’ll also share 6 steps to effective landing page design that will help ensure your overall paid advertising success.

You can register at: www1.gotomeeting.com/register/824345448

 

 

Kreative Webworks is a Digital Marketing firm in Orange County California since 1999.

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Mobile Websites are Dead. Long Live Mobile Websites.

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On April - 9 - 2013

With web traffic from mobile devices set to surpass that from desktop computers in just a few years, how can mobile websites be dead? While mobile traffic will continue to increase, what’s coming to an end is the practice of building a separate mobile version of a site. New technology now allows us to create one website that will elegantly adapt itself for smart phones and tablets by using responsive website design.

Anyone who has tried to navigate a conventional website on their smart phone knows how frustrating that can be. Most of them just aren’t “thumb friendly”. The solution until recently has been to build a separate mobile version of a site with a simpler design, less content and larger more finger friendly navigation. The site server would recognize when a visitor is coming from a mobile device and serve up a stripped down version of your website. Since the mobile site would have a different URL (often with an “m.” added to the beginning) mobile sites have sometimes been referred to “m dot” sites.

kelly_mobil

A responsive website will recognize the type of device you are on and adapt its size, scale and features accordingly. It can add, change or even delete features based on the capabilities of the device. This not only makes for an improved user experience but it eliminates the need to maintain and update multiple websites saving time for webmasters and marketers. You can also expect to lower your bounce rate and increase the time users spend on your site. The major search engines have made it clear that they prefer you maintain one URL, so responsive design is now the best practice for SEO as well. The initial development time for a responsive site is greater but that’s investment that’s should pay off over time. While it may or may not be worth the effort of updating existing sites to make them responsive, if you’re developing a new website it’s most definitely the way to go.

 

About Vin DeCrescenzo

Vin is the Digital Marketing Director for WSI Online Solutions. He has over 15 years of experience in Digital Marketing and is both a Direct Marketing Association and Google Adwords certified search engine marketer. Vin is a graduate of Colgate University with a Degree in English. Prior to starting his career in Digital Marketing, Vin worked in Film and Television and as a journalist in his native New York City where he still resides. He travels frequently to South Florida and throughout the country to consult with businesses and organizations on how they can benefit from Digital Marketing.

 

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