Google Analytics: Now even more powerful

Google says they’re rolling out a new feature that allows users of their Google Analytics to annotate their visitor graphs. It has not been rolled out to everyone and we have not gotten to try it out here at Leverage quite yet but it looks very useful for both our SEO and our PPC efforts. Our SEO team will be able to note such things as when content was updated to better relate to certain keywords, when good outside exposure was reached, etc. This of course allows us to very quickly view important dates without checking and comparing external notes. Hopefully these notes are also tied in with GA reporting features to make viewing these data points even easier.

Online sales up 15.5% for the 2009 Shopping Season

Online sales up 15.5% for the 2009 Shopping Season
According to data released by Spending Pulse yesterday, internet sales were up 15.5% during the November 1-December 24 season.  Free shipping and an overall increased level of comfort with shipping online helped to spur this increase in sales. It is also important to keep in mind that there was an extra day this Holiday Season this year versus last year.  Even after adjusting for this difference in days online growth could be up anywhere between 1% and 4%.
What makes this increase in sales all the more exciting is that many people were given gift cards and will likely trade these in for product in the upcoming weeks.

According to data released by Spending Pulse yesterday, internet sales were up 15.5% during the November 1-December 24 season. Free shipping and an overall increased level of comfort with shipping online helped to spur this increase in sales. It is also important to keep in mind that there was an extra day this years Holiday Season versus the Holiday Shopping Season last year. Even after adjusting for this difference – online growth could be up anywhere between 1% and 4%.

At the conclusion of the 2008 Holiday shopping season retail sales were down 5.5%-8% so it is definitely encouraging to see the 2009 Holiday season end with a positive up tick.  What makes this increase in sales for the 2009 Holiday Season all the more exciting is that many people were given gift cards and will likely trade these in for product in the upcoming weeks.  Make sure your pay per click account and site are pushing after Christmas sales and that you still make your site appealing for those looking to make those final ‘Holiday’ purchases.

What Type of Targeting do you use?

Yahoo was recently in our office and we had the day to speak with their team about many new features and advanced strategeies of their current offerings.
Almost a year ago Yahoo started offering demographic targeting.  https://yhoo.client.shareholder.com/press/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=367244
Part of the appeal is that advertisers can target age and gender in addition to time of day or  day of the week.
In a recent article https://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007422
it was reported that only 37% of publishers use demographic targeting and unbelievably just over half of all online publishers offered geographic targeting.
There are many different types of targeting available and different types of targeting work for different advertisers.  If your target market has a large enough audience – I would suggest you try time-targeting or geogrpahic targeting first and as appropriate move onto other types of targeting that may be offered by your search engine of choice.

Yahoo was recently in our office and we had the day to speak with their team about many new features and advanced strategeies of their current offerings.

Almost a year ago Yahoo started offering demographic targeting.

Part of the appeal is that advertisers can target age and gender in addition to time of day or day of the week.

In a recent article Emarketer  reported that only 37% of publishers offered demographic targeting and unbelievably just over half of all online publishers offered geographic targeting.  Kudos to Yahoo for helping to set the standard.

There are many different types of targeting available and different types of targeting work for different advertisers.  If your target market has a large enough audience – I would suggest you try time-targeting (also referred to as day-parting) or geogrpahic targeting first and as appropriate move onto other types of targeting that may be offered by your search engine of choice.

What does it take to have a successful search engine optimization campaign?

Starting the second Friday in January (the 8th) will be a series of Friday postings on the considerations one should go through to achieve success with search engine optimization. Whether you’re new to running a website, know enough to be dangerous, or are a seasoned veteran, I’m aiming to provide you with useful information that will help you achieve success with search engine optimization.

Here’s the brief game plan:

Jan 8th Determining goals and when to expect to achieve them

Jan 15th Determining and recording baselines

Jan 22nd The numbers game: choosing keywords for success

Jan 29th PPC & SEO better pair than peanut butter and jelly?

Feb 5th What the competitive landscape tells us

Feb 12th How to get the most out of your content

Feb 19th Outside looking in: what other sites say about you

Feb 26th Reviewing progress and measuring success

Mar 5th Addressing conversion issues | Website optimization

Mar 12th Am I done with SEO? The next steps

This series is roughly in order of priority from start to finish (hint: it is never finished!) but of course no two campaigns are exactly the same and the steps will differ depending on a lot of factors. No worries, many of these factors will be discussed throughout.

Feel free to bookmark this page and come back in the New Year as links to the new posts will be added on a weekly basis.

New Google Adwords Phishing Email- All Beware!

Their is a new Google Adwords Phishing email that is going round with the following link address:

https://www.google-dp.com

Here is what the basis of the email is:

Hello,

Your Google Adwords Account has stopped running this morning.

Some of the ads have stopped running today (Thursday, 17 December

2009, 06:30:00). We had encountered a number of problems with some of

our servers that crashed this morning and at this time we cannot check to see what

customer accounts are now running 100%.

Click <https://www.google-dp.com/accounts/signin.html>  here to confirm

that your account is up and running 100% at this time.

Please verify <https://www.google-dp.com/accounts/signin.html>  the

status of  your ads and notify us if you see any problems.

Please note: if you do not verify <https://www.google-dp.com/accounts/signin.html>  the status of your

account and notify us if your ads do not appear online, we cannot help you.

If you ever receive an email that is requesting any personal information from Google, always be cautious.  There are plug-ins and alerts all over the internet that will inform you of the latest attempts.  Here is a great link to a tool that will alert you of Phishing links:

https://www.google.com/tools/firefox/safebrowsing/

While its great to be alerted of all changes in your account, always be sure of the messenger!!

How Google’s Real-Time Web and Personalized Search is Re-Shaping the Search Landscape

The internet is abuzz with news of Google’s real-time Web and personalized search queries and the potential implications for users and search marketers vary across the board. With live updates from Facebook, Twitter and Myspace appearing in the search results, marketers may need to add a stronger emphasis on social media to their rosters in the coming months.

In the initial rollout, the feeds show in a real-time scroll box above and below the fold. While these live updates don’t currently use a large amount of retail space, the ubiquitous nature of social media and the influence these feeds posses may urge retailers, especially business to consumer, to implement overarching and in-depth social media pushes. As the updates appear on the first page, this change could also push weaker sites to the second and third pages of search results indicating businesses may make a heavier push to PPC marketing to boost first-page present.

As the rollout for the real time search was only recently launched, only keywords such as Taylor Swift and Tiger Woods prompt the real time search.  Keywords such as Oprah and Obama SERP still do not contain the scroll box.  This demonstrates that although having the social media presence on the result page, that the real effects will not be seen until the update is fully integrated.  In the future if this real-time scroll bar does take up more real-estate, this will make the top organic listing highly competitive and a SEO campaign almost crucial for all online marketers.  It also seems that a social media marketing campaign is needed for online campaigns as well as top search results will show tweets from Twitter.  It almost seems that the roll out of this product creates the need for a blended online marketing campaign including PPC, SEO, and SMM.

2010 Online Advertising Forecast

Here is an interesting article that I came across.  The article takes a look at the forecast for online advertising for 2010.  You can read the full article and we have also listed some high level insights below:

Video Usage:

  • Senior Analyst David Hallerman suggests that more marketers will embrace online video advertising, and that more sites will support the growth of video.

Ad Targeting and Privacy

  • With the main stream availability of consumer behavior online comes more scrutiny about privacy policies:  What this means to us is users are becoming aware of ad-blocking software or add-ons and more deletion of cookies that makes the availability of what you’re doing, where you’ve been, and where you go online a lot harder to companies to gather.
  • On the government side there is potential for more federal legislation limiting website tracking
  • Again what does that mean: in order for search engines to get ahead of this legislation there needs to be a greater deal of transparency
  • In 2010 we should start seeing websites letting users know what data is being kept about them and give them access to remove themselves
  • Ultimately publishers will need to come up with better trade-offs if they want to garner any information from an individual

Search

  • Social sites and video results is something to change in search.  You will start seeing more of these results as part of general search queries.
  • Advertising is also predicated to continue increasing as we come closer to 2010
  • 2010 spend = $11.4 billion
  • 2011 spend = $12.2 billion
  • 2012 spend = $13.6 billion
  • 2014 spend = $15.8 billion

Internet Users and Usage

  • As we move into the new year internet usage is predicated to increase as the ease of accessing the internet continues to grow with the use of laptops, smartphones, and gaming consoles.
  • It is predicated that we see the most change within the adults ages 55 and older, who are now discovering social networks.
  • Number of internet users will begin to stabilize, as penetration reaches 66% of the US population, or 205.3 million people.