Archive

Archive for the ‘Search Marketing’ Category

Subfolders, Subdirectories and Subdomains: The URL difference that can drive a major increase in organic traffic

March 28th, 2018
Share

We were recently asked if it’s better to use a subdirectory (also known as a subfolder) or a subdomain on a website.

If you’re unfamiliar with these two terms, you’ll know them right away when you see URL examples.

A subdirectory looks like this: marketingsherpa.com/freestuff.

A subdomain looks like this: sherpablog.marketingsherpa.com. Even www.marketingsherpa.com/ is technically a subdomain.

The difference may seem like an esoteric or gorpy concern that only developers and programmers care about. After all, why should the URL matter anyway? Most people are just clicking on links. And occasionally when they actually have to type one in (say, from a newspaper ad), you’re creating a vanity link that redirects to the actual URL anyway.

Well, search engines may care. A lot. Even if they claim they don’t. And the experts I asked said that subdirectories are almost always the better option.

Read more…

Marketing 101: What is a unique visitor?

October 27th, 2017
Share

Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

There are two metrics to look at when you are analyzing the amount of traffic coming to your website — visits and unique visitors.

What’s the difference?

“Visits” refers to the number of times your website or webpage has been visited during a reporting period. It’s important to note that a single person can make multiple visits.

“Unique visitors” refers to the actual number of people (well, sort of, more on that in a bit) who have come to your website or webpage at least once during a reporting period — this number does not increase if a previous visitor returns to a page multiple times.

So, if you visit MarketingSherpa.com 10 times in a day, it is recorded as one unique visitor and 10 visits. If you even refresh a page 10 times, it is counted as 10 visits, one unique visitor.

But, how does Google Analytics (or Adobe Analytics, etc.)  know someone has visited previously? It’s measured with IP addresses and tracking cookies. So, to clarify, if you visit the same site using the same IP address 12 times, it is recorded as one unique visitor and 12 visits.

Does “unique visitors” really tell us the actual number of people visiting our site?

It is important to recognize that these numbers can get cloudy. Many people use different browsers, browse from multiple devices, use multiple IP addresses, or clear their cookies regularly while surfing the web. Additionally, most cookies expire within one month. So, someone navigating to a site through three different browsers will be counted as three unique visitors. Someone who scrolled through a product page on their phone but moved to desktop for purchasing is considered two unique visitors.

Source: Brooks Bell

 

The great thing about both of these metrics is that when you look at them together, you can roughly see how often people (aka prospective customers) are repeatedly coming to your website.

You can also see a rough average of how many visits each individual coming to your site has. All you have to do is divide the total number of visits by the total number of unique visitors.

Read more…

Marketing 101: What is a vanity link (or vanity URL)?

September 15th, 2017
Share

Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

A vanity link is a URL that is in plain English and very easy for a potential web visitor to type in. URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator — the webpage address. Every page on the World Wide Web has a URL, even this one. To find the URL of any webpage, simply look in the browser bar at the top.

Vanity links make it easier for people to visit your landing pages

If you’re sending people to a landing page, blog post or online article from a webpage, it’s easy enough to use a hyperlink — like this — to allow your visitors to click and visit the other page.

However, there are times when you would like to create a call-to-action to a webpage that readers or listeners will actually have to type into a web browser themselves. An example might be a TV or radio ad. Or a print advertisement. For this reason, a vanity link isn’t technically a “link” at all, but rather a URL (i.e., the web address).

For example, the URL for our customer satisfaction study is fairly easy compared to some URLs: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/freestuff/customer-first-study

However, why put that on the customer? It’s in the “Free Stuff” section of MarketingSherpa, so that’s why those words are in the URL. But why make the customer type that in? Or even the hyphens between “customer” and “first” and “study.” The HTTP and www aren’t necessary either.

When we wanted to direct someone to that website and couldn’t use a link, we created this simple vanity URL: MarketingSherpa.com/ConsumerStudy

Notice how much easier that is to type in and remember. Also notice the camel casing — I made the first letter of each word a capital letter so the URL is easier to read and remember, although visitors could type the URL with all lowercase letters and still get to the webpage.

Read more…

Marketing 101: What is pogo sticking?

July 21st, 2017
Share

Pogo sticking is, sadly, not all fun and games. In fact, for marketers it’s one of the most annoying scourges of the search engine marketing world.

Essentially, pogo sticking is when a user searches, clicks on a result, and almost immediately (within five seconds) clicks back to the search result page. The implication of this is obvious — they didn’t find what they were looking for, which indicates it wasn’t a relevant result.

It’s important to note the difference between a bounce rate and pogo sticking because, while they are related, they are not the same. A bounce rate is where a high percentage of visitors visit a single page of a website. It’s not always bad, maybe they found what they were looking for on Page 1, or bookmarked it for later.

Pogo sticking is always bad, and Google will strike down almighty punishment. Read more…

Marketing 101: What is link juice?

July 14th, 2017
Share

Link juice is a valuable commodity in the search engine optimization world — and it doesn’t come easy. It’s a strategy game that gets more out of less and rewards marketers who prioritize value.

For the uninitiated, link juice is marketing jargon that is used to explain the power (i.e., relevance) that external links can give to another webpage. Based on various factors, the amount of “juice” your website gets from an external link can be a little or a lot.

According to the almighty Google, the search engine’s algorithm determines which pages have the best information for a query on a subject, mostly by other prominent websites linking to the page.

Basically, link juice is a quality, not a quantity game.

The more high quality pages that link back to your page, the juicier it will be — which translates into a higher ranking on Google.

A page is considered high quality if it meets the following criteria: indexable by search engines, swimming in link juice itself, independent or unpaid, has linked to you and only five others (not five hundred), and, lastly, the link has relevant, keyword-optimized anchor text.

How can I get more link juice for my website?

In the game of link juice, either you win — or you die.

Read more…

Website Optimization: How Brian Gavin Diamonds overcame ‘mobilegeddon’

July 22nd, 2016
Share

For most companies and its marketers, ensuring good placement in search engine results is crucial.

In 2015, Google updated its algorithm. The update earned the name “mobilegeddon.” Why?

“If someone is doing a search on Google using their mobile device, Google is going to show websites that are mobile friendly before websites that are not mobile friendly,” said Danny Gavin, VP, Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, in his interview at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE. “You can imagine that people who don’t have a mobile friendly site they lose a lot out because naturally they’re going to fall to the bottom of the first page or even on the second page.”

Danny sat down with Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, to discuss how his company addressed the update and the impact seen from the rollout.

As a high-end jewelry retailer, Brian Gavin Diamonds didn’t see the early mobile traffic burst that some companies saw online. Danny shared how their mobile traffic was very small in 2012, but steadily increased as the years went by.

“As we saw that our customers are using their mobile device more so naturally we need to make sure that our website is more mobile friendly,” Danny said.

This became even more evident with the announcement of Google of the new algorithm.

Read more…

Six Places to Focus to Make your Website a Revenue Generator

May 24th, 2016
Share

We have more digital marketing channels than ever before, but it’s become even harder to connect with customers. In my role as chief evangelist for MECLABS Institute, MarketingSherpa’s parent company, I get to talk to marketers and thought leaders daily.

One thing’s become clear, that there is a growing divide between those who are fully engaged with digital marketing and those who are still figuring out the fundamentals. When I read the report by Kristin Zhivago, President of Cloud Potential, on “revenue road blocks,” I wanted to see what she’s discovered to help marketers quickly close this digital marketing gap and do better.

If marketers directly address getting six key focuses right, you can move forward and close the gap between digital and customers.

Brian: What inspired you to do your research on revenue road blocks?

kristin-zhivago-president-cloud-potential

Kristin: Actually, it was our day-to-day experience working with company managers that drove us to these conclusions, combined with our research on the best practices of digital market leaders in more than 28 industries. The gap between the companies that are successfully using the newer methods and those who are not is growing wider by the quarter.

What is really concerning is we are seeing otherwise solid, successful companies slipping behind their more digitally adept competitors, and they can’t figure out why. They’re doing what they’ve always done, and it’s not working anymore.

Of course, that’s the problem. Buyers have radically changed the way they buy, especially in the last couple of years, and these sellers haven’t changed the way they’re selling. Mobile and the cloud have changed everything; today’s buyers are not the obedient, pass-through-your-funnel buyers that we used to be able to depend on. They are looking for any excuse to say no, because they are sure that there’s another solution only a click away. There is absolutely no risk for them to reject you. In fact, rejection is the safest option for them.

Read more…

Search Marketing: Can your marketing team identify your buyer personas?

November 15th, 2013
Share

Developing a strategy to identify the personas of your customers can be daunting.

How specific do you get?

More importantly, how do you make these personas real to your marketing team?

In a recent webinar, Jacob Baldwin, Search Engine Marketing Manager, and Christina Brownlee, Director of Marketing Communications, both of One Call Now, discussed the important role of customer personas in an overall conversion strategy.

They identified four different personas applicable to a wide variety of verticals within their target audience: spontaneous, competitive, humanistic and methodical.

In order to make these characteristics identifiable for the team, each trait was assigned a “Star Trek” character: Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty, aptly called the “Spock Project.” 

 

The One Call Now team used an outside consultant to brainstorm different buyer personas.

During brainstorming, the team decided to map out all of their markets using these personas, and they discovered some markets shared personas. For example, McCoy, the humanistic customer, was found in both K-12 education and sports management markets.

 

Assigning customer characteristics to familiar television characters helped the marketing team design webpages and content tailored to each persona.

For example, competitive persona customers are likely more interested in information specific to the bottom line and which product or company offers more than the others.

On the other hand, a humanistic persona is more interested in testimonials and case studies – how the product affects a person after adoption. One Call Now packed each landing page with content that appealed to each of the personas.

In order to appeal to each persona, One Call Now created various types of content and calls-to-action. Although customers all come to the site for the same reason – to purchase a messaging system – the way that various customers decide to buy differs. 

 

For a spontaneous persona, a shiny green “BUY NOW” button beckons. But, for a customer that needs to do more research, testimonials, case studies and requests for a quote are readily available.

Introducing the marketing team to familiar characters helped them think about “How would I sell to Spock, the competitive, as opposed to Kirk, the spontaneous buyer?”

Testimonials and fancy buttons wouldn’t cut it for a buyer labeled as a Scotty, the methodical buyer, as effectively as strong content, numbers and being able to compare features build a better case.

Content development rapidly took off within the organization in order to appeal to different characters.

By generalizing four basic characteristics across the sub-vertical customers, One Call Now developed a strategy to appeal to decision makers in the way that they make decisions. The team is able to expand and fine-tune the way they approach customers on the Web, in a way that speaks directly to them and addresses their concerns.

To learn more about how creating customer profiles can aid your marketing efforts, you can watch the free on-demand MarketingSherpa webinar replay of “Search Marketing: Insights on keyword research and customer personas.”

  Read more…

Search Marketing: 3 common mistakes marketers make using Google AdWords

May 17th, 2013
Share

Through testing with our Research Partners, I’ve discovered a few common mistakes marketers make when crafting paid search campaigns using Google AdWords.

So, in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, my goal is to provide you with a few fundamentals  to aid  paid search marketing efforts and, hopefully, help you avoid a few pitfalls along the way.

 

Mistake #1: Grouping all keywords into one ad group

Keywords are the heart of your ads and relevance is their soul.

So, if you lump all of your keywords into one ad group, the impact will be some keywords become highly relevant to the ad group while others are not.

This is a common mistake marketers make under the guise that the tactic will boost impressions. It will – but this approach is more expensive and those less relevant keywords that boost impressions are also likely to underperform.

Think of it this way … would you run an ad for plumbing fixtures in People magazine with the expectations that it will perform like an ad for the latest celebrity perfume line?

 

Mistake #2: Not testing ads

Another common mistake marketers make is not testing their ads.

Although testing is something we live and breathe every day at MECLABS, it’s important to understand in digital marketing, there are no sacred cows. Speculation on campaign performance is for the birds – unless you test, you’ll never discover what really works.

So, my suggestion is that you test. With AdWords, having two or more tests running is ideal as there is no other way to effectively benchmark an ad’s performance efficiently.

Read more…

Search Engine Marketing: Navigating Facebook Graph Search

February 15th, 2013
Share

One aspect that makes digital marketing both exciting and challenging is always having something to contend with – such as new social media platforms, new technology and new ways to reach your target audience. Facebook Graph Search is one of the most recent of those digital marketing challenges.

Jonathan Greene, Social Media/Business Intelligence Analyst, MECLABS, said, “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has defined ‘graph’ as the network of one’s friends, relatives, favorite brands and products.  A ‘graph search’ therefore is a search that leverages one’s ‘graph’ or ‘network’ to provide more interesting, relevant results.”

He added, “The biggest implication for marketers is that Graph Search, if successful in stealing significant market share from Google, will flip SEO on its head. Links will be replaced by ‘likes’ in the SEO hierarchy, and building social capital will be the new optimization strategy for organic search improvement.”

Currently, Facebook Graph Search is only available in limited beta with a significant waiting list for platform-wide adoption.

Although Facebook Graph Search has not rolled out across the entire Facebook ecosystem, it’s certainly worth thinking about for a head start in creating a strategy to meet this new search engine marketing avenue.

To learn more on how marketers should approach Facebook Graph Search, and learn some tips and tactics to share with MarketingSherpa Blog readers, I had the chance to interview two SEM experts: Dan Sturdivant, Account Manager, Speakeasy, and Chairman, DFW Search Engine Marketing Association; and Rob Garner, Principal, Rob Garner Consulting, and author of Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing.

 

MarketingSherpa: Marketers have been told Facebook “likes” are much less important than Facebook clicks – to a landing page for example – or converting those “likes” to a database entry for the email list and other purposes. Does Facebook Graph Search change that equation a bit and make “likes” in and of themselves more valuable?

Dan Sturdivant: Yes, the equation changes with Graph Search; the importance of “likes” will be greatly increased. [For] some businesses, local retail in particular and restaurants especially, this is critical. Consumers will use Graph Search to research companies and services.  Businesses “liked” by their friends will reinforce an immediate connection with that business.

Taking that further, engaging consumers, asking them to “like” the page is important and then engaging them through a newsletter or other marketing tactic and pushing them back to the Facebook page is critical.

That last part is a big change, as well. It used to be you would want to drive folks back to your website, and while it goes against the “digital sharecropper” concept, driving people back to the company’s Facebook page is a good idea.

Read more…