Posts Tagged ‘Search Marketing’

Mobile Search [Infographic]: 72% of smartphone users look for information on the go

May 11th, 2012

I’m a fan of gallows humor. So, as a Borders shareholder (until it went bankrupt), I love the sign a Borders store employee posted as the chain was going out of business …


No Public Restroom

It’s hard to deny that e-commerce has significant advantages over the traditional brick-and-mortar store:

  • Lower overhead and inventory costs
  • Open 24/7, often to any customer in the world with a connection
  • High gas prices that convince customers to drive less
  • No sales tax (although that playing field will likely level in the near future)
  • The ability for customers to easily find what they’re looking for, comparison shop, and respond to offers

But now it’s time for B&Ms to fight back … at least when it comes to that last advantage. As this infographic created by Kaci Bower, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS, shows, 72% of smartphone users look for information on the go.


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Read more…

7 Signs That You’re Overvaluing Search Engine Optimization

April 3rd, 2012

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become such a giant buzzword, that even my non-marketing friends and family members discuss it. It seems that every person I interview for one of our job openings is an “SEO expert.” And I now see Danny Seo all over TV.

Jokes aside, let’s take a look at some research …


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According to Jen Doyle’s research for the MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, 29% of B2B marketers consider search engine optimization to be very effective — more than email marketing, content marketing, and most noticeably, paid search.

But could that be a problem? It is human nature to overemphasize something that we think works well. (The minute someone tells me I’m funny – watch out! I’ll come up with every joke I can think of, and they’ll just keep getting worse.) And also, if we overvalue our investment in any one tactic, of course it will be more effective than the ones we’ve shunned.

With so much focus on SEO from every marketing blog on the Google-powered Web, I thought it might be worth your while to question if you’re overvaluing SEO.

So put the Google Keyword Tool down for just a minute, and for a contrarian viewpoint, see if any of these seven reasons that you’re a little too obsessed with search engine optimization / SEO / organic search / natural search / search marketing resonate with you:

Read more…

Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post

February 23rd, 2012

What is the most powerful way to improve your search engine optimization?

“Content creation works the best, but takes the most work,” Kaci Bower, Research Analyst, MECLABS, said. Take a look at the data from Kaci’s research in the MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition.


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“Content creation stands apart in the cluster of tactics, both for its difficulty and its effectiveness. Good content creates buzz and attracts links,” Kaci said. “For this reason, marketers who commit to the effort required in creating quality content can improve their SEO positions.”


So what makes good and effective content?

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked by marketers. Keep in mind, mine is a skewed sample. If I made plumbing fixtures, I would probably always get asked, “What makes good and effective plumbing fixtures?”

So I was very interested by Kaci’s data that, yes, marketers really do struggle with this. I’ve noticed that, when they become aware of this opportunity, marketers tend to fall in the same common trap — they focus on things, like blog posts or Facebook pages.

Instead, let me suggest you …

  Read more…

Most-Tweeted MarketingSherpa Blog Posts of 2011: Top social media tactics, email marketing testing, and more

December 29th, 2011

It’s that time of year again … time to look back and reflect on what we’ve learned. For the MarketingSherpa blog, we wanted to focus that reflection on what you, our readers, valued most in 2011. So we created our top posts list from the number tweets you shared for each post.

And to say social media marketing dominated this year’s most-tweeted Sherpa blog posts would be an understatement. But it’s not surprising marketers have social marketing on the brain as we found more than two-thirds of organizations increased their social marketing expenditures in 2011, according to the MarketingSherpa 2011 Social Marketing Benchmark Report.

Without further ado, here are your top 11 Sherpa blog posts for 2011 along with a brief (140 character of less) description of the post from your peers …

Read more…

Search Marketing: Optimize social media, images, video and everything else

November 8th, 2011

Search engine marketers have based entire careers on improving rankings. They fight tooth and nail to reach the top of the page, win more traffic, and push all their competitors down a notch.

But what if you could get more traffic by pushing your competitors down a few more notches? Or pushing them down on more keywords? By focusing on universal search, you can do just that.

Search engines do not strictly deliver links to webpages anymore. They deliver links to images, videos, products, news and more. This is called “universal search.” Just check out the results from this recent Bing search for “storage shed.”


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This page links to five different types of content. If you become a master at creating and search-optimizing this content, then you can claim not just higher rankings — but more rankings.

Here are some key categories of content and tactics pulled from MarketingSherpa research: Read more…

Search and Email Marketing: Why these channels dominate

October 4th, 2011

I always start an interview with general questions. I ask about the company, the marketer’s role, and the company’s marketing in general. It helps frame the case study or tactics we’re about to cover.

I sometimes ask, “What are your top marketing channels?” This helps me understand the team’s priorities. Some say ‘catalogs’ or ‘telesales,’ but the two channels I most often hear are email marketing and search.

Again and again, marketers say one or both of these channels are the primary drivers of their success. That got me thinking about the similarities between email and search engine optimization (SEO)/pay-per-click (PPC). I came up with three: Read more…

Search Engine Optimization: The SEO value (or lack thereof) of domain name keywords

March 25th, 2011

Search engines rank websites by attempting to determine their relevancy to the searched keyword phrase. It makes sense for a search engine to consider the keywords in a domain name as part of the equation to determine relevancy.

That said, the search engines place less weight on internal factors that can be influenced by the webmaster, and more weight on external factors such as links, authority, etc. So, while having the keyword present in the domain name is helpful, it is just one piece of the puzzle and there are many other elements to search engine optimization (SEO).

Read more…

On-site Search: How to help your customers find what they want (to buy)

January 7th, 2011

“And I still…haven’t found…what I’m looking for.” Hopefully Bono wasn’t talking about your website.

According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Report, customers who use the search box on ecommerce sites convert at nearly three times the rate of general browsers. Yet, 52% of marketers graded their internal search a ‘D’ or  ‘F.’

On Monday, I’ll be presenting on the “Exploring On-site Search with eTail, and MarketingSherpa” webinar with Jack Kiefer, Founder and CEO,, and Kelly Hushin, Editor, the eTail Blog.

But before we share some of our research and case studies about on-site search, we wanted to hear what you had to say…

Four major points

1. Understanding of misspellings and synonyms

Search today must tolerate typing errors, spelling mistakes, and other altered forms, without requiring a preset dictionary. We use our patented algorithm(FACT) to first of all understand what visitors are looking for in a shop. Phonetic is king.

On when you search for “armchair” instead of “arm chair” you get no results. It looks like is trying to maintain search by manual optimization because “sleighbed” works!

So you can point out the long tail of search again. Same for fischer-price instead of fisher-price or “chocolat” instead of “chocolate” or “sumer” instead of “summer”.

What about “schanon” instead of “shannon”? It doesn’t work. In Europe, we deal with many languages and understanding the phonetic is really important. Even spaces matter – “infantseat” (21 results) instead of “infant seat” (1000 results).

2. Relevance

The order of the right products that are displayed on the result page is vital.

Top-sellers and revenue boosters should always be placed on top, while sale items and bad sellers should be placed below the fold or on the next page.

Make sure to show only deliverable products, because nothing is more frustrating for a customer than finding out that the just-found-present takes 5 weeks to deliver.

Use an intelligent result system that incorporates information like relevance, top sellers and availability status, to avoid frustration and to turn more visitors into buyers.

3. Speed and filter

A survey of 600 Internet users showed that more than half felt that a “suggest” feature is “important” to “very important.” An additional 25% found the feature to be “rather important.”

When online retailers provide such a suggest feature, the drop-down menu should note the number of matches for each of the terms listed.

General search terms (such as “shirt” for an online clothing retailer) normally produce a very large number of results. The right filter navigation prepares the list for the user, permits sorting and selections to be made, and displays appropriate navigation tools. The user can now quickly narrow down the results according to brand, price, size or other attributes.

4. Merchandizing and optimization

Today on-site search is one key factor to understand the customer in your online shop. But you should also be able to generate insights from this data and use on-site information to generate AdWord campaigns and optimize, test and configure your shop for a higher conversion rate.

– Mathias Duda, Head of Sales, FACT-Finder

Simple things

There are many simple things companies can do to improve performance of their site search to deliver a more user-friendly experience, and potentially result in higher conversions (for e-commerce sites, in particular). Here are a few of them:

1.  Incorporate rich auto complete

This feature significantly enhances the usability of your site, by not only suggesting possible terms when visitors start typing the first letters of a keyword (like most search engines do today), but also showing images, start reviews, price, discount info, short product description, and even a “buy now” or “check availability button,” without the need to press the search button and wait for the results page to appear. This powerful feature gives people an easier way to click through to the items they’re searching for and typically results in higher conversions.

2.  Test different positions for the search box, and not which positions generate the most search traffic

One online retailer – Black Forest Decor – took this approach, moving its search box from the right-hand upper corner of its site to the center. The company made other changes at the same time, including increasing the size of the search box. The company found that site search revenue per customer increased 84% and the conversion rate increased 34%.

3.  Offer “add to cart/buy now” options directly from the site search results page

Smart e-commerce companies create as few steps as possible from search to checkout. When you allow visitors to add products to shopping carts or to go to checkout directly from search results, they’re more likely to complete the purchase – particularly if they know exactly what they want and they see it in the results at a price they’re comfortable with.

4.  Show ratings and reviews in search results

Site visitors place high value on the opinions and feedback of other people who’ve shopped for similar products or services, and showing the average rating in search results helps them better determine what they want to click on. You should allow visitors to further refine or reorder their search results based on ratings. You should also show, in the search results, the number of reviews that a product has.

5. Be sure to include refinement options that are relevant to the search query

Refinements are a useful way for visitors to narrow down results by certain criteria – for example, brand, gender, price range, etc. Refinements should be relevant to the search term, so will vary from one search to another.

For example, if a visitor to your site has searched for “camera,” it may be useful to have refinement options for the number of megapixels and the screen size. If someone searches for “TV,” then you may want to offer screen size and resolution refinement options. Apparel retailers can offer refinements for men’s and women’s items, as well as size, color, or other relevant attributes.

The trick with refinements is to keep them relevant and useful. This can be done by tracking the most popular and related search terms for each product category, and dynamically creating the refinements based on the keywords that people have entered.

Shaun Ryan, CEO, SLI Systems

The new slang

Know your audience’s slang. Aside from plain old keywords, there’s going to be all sorts of wacky short-hand terms, acronyms and inside jokes you ought to be aware of. You can nab your market from folks inside the bubble already that way.

Erica Friedman, President, Yurikon

Related Resources

Internal Search Data Inspires Store Page Re-Designs: 4 steps to boost revenue 50% – Members’ Library

Four Simple Steps to Tweak Site Search Box & Lift Conversions 20% – Members’ Library

How Eretailer Tripled Conversions with Internal Search Changes – Members’ Library

How to Improve Your Company’s Internal Search and Lift ROI – 9 strategies and tips – Members’ Library

How to Use Internal Site Search Data to Revamp Your Home Page: People’s Bank – Members’ Library

photo by WellspringCS

Seventh Annual Search Marketing Benchmark Survey Now Open

April 13th, 2010

This week marks the opening of MarketingSherpa’s Seventh Annual Search Marketing Benchmark Survey. If you’re involved in search marketing, please take the next 5 to 15 minutes to share data and insights via the following link:

As a thank you for your time, we are offering a complimentary Executive Summary Report that includes key charts and insightful commentary. You will also be invited to attend a free webinar to review highlights from the study.

In the last year, the search landscape has seen a number of dramatic changes. Between social media’s continual growth, search innovations like mobile search, real time search, and search personalization emerging and gaining importance, accompanied by increased competition, search marketers face greater challenges than ever before.

How are marketers perceiving and reacting to these new changes in search? This year’s Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report will be stacked with information on balancing search and social media to achieve optimal success, as well as sections dedicated to search innovations.

In the meantime, let’s take a deeper look into the social media content that will be covered in this year’s report:

Applications and benefits of social media integration with search campaigns

-> Search Performance

The search landscape is growing more competitive, and this is partly due to social media. Social media has added another venue in which marketers must up their SEO ante, so to speak.

What tools and tactics are most effective these days in SEO? How many marketers are integrating social media into their search efforts? What are my industry’s current performance benchmarks? These are just some of the questions this year’s report will answer for you.

-> Search and Social Objectives

There are a number of target business objectives that can be achieved with social media, and improving search rankings is a popular one indeed.

Other popular objectives include:
o Increasing website traffic
o Increasing lead volume
o Driving sales revenue
o Improving brand reputation and awareness.

These objectives, of course, can also be achieved with SEO. The key is to balance your SEO efforts with social media in order to achieve success towards these common objectives.

Sections in this year’s report will include the effectiveness of search and social against key target objectives, and insights on search marketer’s greatest success stories and challenges.

-> The Impact of Social Integration

When used properly, social media can have a great impact on SEO. One of the most effective and most difficult SEO tactics is generating inbound links.

With social media, you can generate highly relevant inbound links to your site by attracting links from blogs, forums, social networking sites, and other social media channels.

Another great benefit search engine marketers are reaping from social media is increasing the number of listings that get displayed for their brand in the SERPs, pushing their competition to lower rankings and increasing the click through rates on their own listings.

We want to find out what specific goals are being most widely targeted for integrating social media into search campaigns, and what impact social media has had on results. As responses to this year’s survey start to come in, we’re becoming more anxious to see final results.

Stay tuned! The 2010 Search Marketing Benchmark Report is scheduled for release soon!

Please feel free to tweet or post the following invitation:

Search marketers share your insights. Take the 2010 Search Marketing Benchmark Survey @MarketingSherpa