On a recent trip to Mexico, I pulled out the in-flight magazine and began to flip through the pages as I prepared for a couple of hours of boredom in the usual tiny, cramped space that airlines pass off as a seat these days. The content immediately got my attention, and I was soon immersed in the descriptive prose that revealed interesting tidbits about both obscure and commonplace travel destinations alike. The photography was vibrant and seducing. I wanted to experience these places immediately. Then it hit me: This is good content, and this is what good content has always been. This magazine was obviously compiled by businesses for advertising, but it was informative, powerful, and well-researched, just as any good journalistic periodical might be. It was really advertising at its best. Read more
Posts about search engine optimization
The shift is coming and most of us already know it. The Don Draper dinosaur is extinct. Not only has most of advertising become digital, but the majority of marketing departments will also be digitally-focused. Let’s reflect on all the old mediums of advertising: radio, TV, and snail mail. All of these things are now functioning digitally through podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and of course e-mail. The future of TV and radio is through the internet, and so it is with all forms of communication, including the telephone. As the future of internet TV progresses, digital advertising will surely become more involved, and cable TV will slowly fade into the background. So as you can see, digital marketing IS marketing, the marketing of the future. Sure, you’ll still have the occasional hard copy of a newspaper, magazine, or brochure, but for the most part, marketing strategy will be internet-based and integrated. Any other marketing efforts will be secondary. Read more
These days the vacation decision-making process begins with a search query. A study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT showed that 65% of leisure travelers start their vacation search online with no idea of their next destination. So is the travel marketing industry really taking advantage of this? According to many experts in the field, they are not. Read more
Offer Time-Sensitive Deals
Offering a variety of deals that expire shortly give buyers a since of urgency, and is sure to get more traffic to your site. Maybe potential buyers already have one gift in mind that they’ve priced on several websites, including yours. Offering free shipping or a temporary 15% discount can drive them to finalize purchases sitting in their shopping carts, cutting out the competition in a matter of minutes. Advertise deals at the top of your site, in PPC ads, through e-mail campaigns, or all three.
Grab a Partner
Partner with a company that offers a product or service that compliments yours but is not direct competition. For instance, if you sell clothing, you could partner with a shoe store or website. Offer a $10 discount on a pair of shoes for buying your products while they do the same for you. This will get more traffic for both partners and help finalize sales.
Make Gift Suggestions
Many holiday shoppers are lazy or just don’t have the time to figure out what to get for their Uncle Tim or Aunt Jane. Even shopping for Dad can be difficult. Help them out with suggestions on your website or through your automated e-mail campaigns and save someone the time by coming up with a great gift idea for them.
Make Shopping Easy
If you’re missing product information or images on your website, now’s the time to get them up. Don’t lose holiday shoppers to competition just because they have more detailed information. Someone who can’t zoom in and see all angles of a product will go to a site where they can. Also, make sure the shopping cart or ordering process is fully optimized. The ease of ordering and customer service will bring shoppers back to your site. To get more traffic on top of that, make sure your site is optimized for mobile shoppers. 56% of Americans now own a smartphone while 4 out of 5 of these will use it at some point during the shopping process.
Utilize Google Trends to test search terms for your products, services or sales. Google Trends allows you to select your region and date range so that you can see how your search terms have performed historically around the holidays. This will give you a better idea of what to focus on when writing ads or web content to get more traffic over the holidays. You can also monitor current trends and create Google Alerts to notify you when your holiday search terms or terms related to your business escalate. Take advantage of the burst of traffic to post an ad or a time-sensitive deal.
Hub and spoke marketing is quite simple in theory, but not so much in practice. Many marketers think of the company website as a hub, and the spokes are the possible channels through which leads may be attracted to your website such as social media, press releases, search engines, directories and advertising. The idea is to have as many different channels as possible leading to your site. Hub and spoke is an accurate depiction of this theory, but allow us to present a better one…
Presenting the Death Star Analogy
Rather than the hub and spoke theory, I prefer to think of the company website as the Death Star and all the other online channels make up the tractor beam that pulls the ships in. Not to say that your website is deadly, but it should be an effective conversion machine with attractive landing ports (pages) and enticing content. Here we’ll show you how to start catching those ships in your tractor beam.
Building Your Tractor Beam
You want your tractor beam to be as powerful as possible to attract the right leads and search engines. In order to make sure your pull is stronger than that of any other competing death stars, strategy-based content needs to be provided on multiple fronts.
- Verbal Social Media & Blogs
Your blog should be SEO optimized and designed to pull traffic in through informative and engaging content about your industry. Many companies utilize sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to post brief content that can draw people into the website. Posting snippets from your blog, company or industry news, and information about events can motivate people to go to your site and check it out or share your information with hundreds of others, thereby increasing the reach of your tractor beam. Keep your keywords in mind when posting on social media as well.
- Visual Social Media
Most marketers are aware that images and photographs can significantly boost conversion rate. Unlike verbal communication, visuals attract attention quickly and can draw people into your site with a one-second glance. Pull people into your tractor beam by sharing attractive and informative images on sites like Pinterest, Flickr or YouTube. By informative I mean that a consumer should be able to see what your product or service entails in your images. When it comes to a photo of your product or service, a picture really is worth 1,000 words.
- Press & Directories
Getting an article about your company in the press, whether it’s traditional paper press or digital media, is a great way to get more traffic coming in. Start by finding a local industry blog or small publication that provides news from your industry and provide an informational piece. Or, find an industry site where you may be able to guest blog. There are also several online directories and consumer review sites where your company can be listed to pull in more traffic. Start with Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo Local, small business directories, and industry-specific directories.
Good old advertising. PPC campaigns and Google Adwords may not be free like organic search. (Well, hopefully you do pay your content writers.) But, these ads are guaranteed to get people to your website and directly to one of your landing pages. Ads should never lead to your homepage. People who click on your ads already have a product or service in mind and should be directed to an informative landing page where they may be easily converted to a customer without much fuss. Make sure your landing page headline matches your ad campaign, or you may not end up with the droids you’re looking for.
Hub and Spoke, or the new and improved Death Star Theory, is a simple concept but it does require time and strategy. If you need help building your tractor beam, or you aren’t finding the droids you’re looking for, give us a call. We’ve got tractor beam engineers at the ready.
September 2013 was a big month for Google. Marking their 15th Anniversary, Google announced the major algorithm update Hummingbird, which will no doubt expand Google’s ability to parse search and lead to more exciting capabilities in the future.
While Google upgraded their algorithm, they downgraded the data webmasters can see in Google Analytics. Specifically, the keyword data associated with a search will not be provided to site owners. This change comes as a byproduct of Google switching all searches on its engine over to encrypted search.
Google started down this road in late 2011 by redirecting users signed into their Google accounts to secure search. Such searches appeared as “(not provided)” in web analytics packages, including Google Analytics. At first this was a fairly small percentage of searches. Now, it is 80-90%, soon to be 100%.
Why Google Made This Change
Google hasn’t offered much comment as to their motive for making this change. A Google representative commented to Search Engine Watch that they are “working to bring this extra protection [secure search] to more users who are not signed in.” It’s a simple explanation, but as with all things Google, any number of factors could be in play. For instance, keyword data is still available…in your AdWords account. If you’re willing to spend money with Google, they’re willing to let you know more about your industry space. Google is not a charity, but SEOs have taken note of this fact.
What You Can Do
Keyword data in Analytics served several purposes. You could compare keyword traffic projections to traffic realities. You could discover which keywords converted best organically, or find long-tail phrases to target with expanded content. You could also identify which keywords were bouncing most off of which page, and adjust your content strategy accordingly so searchers would be directed to a page on your site that better meets their needs.
These are all important functions, but many of these insights can be gained without the assistance of Google’s full keyword data. Google’s Webmaster Tools will provide some limited keyword data. Bounce rate will still be available, and the keyword data from engines like Yahoo & Bing can help you get a handle on how the page is being searched for. Rank trackers, while subject to inaccuracy due to personalization, still provide important clues to the nature of a site’s traffic. If anything, Rank Trackers will now be used more dynamically, not just for one or two word “head” terms, but more complex queries. Seeing your site underperform in the rankings on “red girl’s bicycle,” and perform well on “red boy’s bicycle,” will tell you where you need to add content and make you reconsider the focus of your page all the same.
For a long time now Google has been emphasizing to webmasters and SEOs that on-site content and on-site engagement are more important to them than any other factor, including links. Their technology continues to catch up to their stated aims. While we won’t be able to see, on a granular level, the keywords that are coming to your website from Google, the keys to getting traffic remain the same – provide a lot of content about something people like, and make the experience enjoyable, sharable, and memorable. This is perfectly in line with our values as a company, and at Leverage we’re excited to help our clients create such experiences for their users.
As the world’s most widely used search service, Google is constantly making changes to adapt to new user needs and the technologies supporting and creating those needs. Mobile in particular has grown more influential, as more searches and different kinds of searches are being performed on mobile devices. In response to this new reality, Google has unveiled a brand new algorithm update for us all to get to know – Hummingbird.
How Does Google Hummingbird Compare to Penguin & Panda?
If you haven’t noticed any significant changes in traffic or rankings, it’s because this update isn’t aimed at devaluing certain kinds of links (Penguin) or devaluing and ignoring certain kinds of content (Panda). It’s not intended to eliminate spam or come down on black hat SEOs that go against Google’s guidelines (those guys are our enemies, too!). Instead this update is about new features, expanded functionality, and the Google search engine adapting to the contemporary search world.
Google’s last major update of this nature was Caffeine, an upgrade to the Google engine designed to index the massive amounts of content being produced each second online. Hummingbird is an update to the Google engine that is designed to answer more complex questions by interpreting the relationship between words in a query rather than just deliver a list of content containing keywords. For example, Google is addressing questions that deal with comparison or knowledge seeking such as, “Is sugar or Splenda better for me?” or “What is best way to get to the mall and avoid traffic?”
Voice Search Optimization
Google is heading towards the optimization of voice-based search, so that when someone asks a device complex and conversational questions, Google will be able to return accurate results. Hummingbird also focuses on remembering the topic at hand so that various questions may be asked about one item without repeating the subject. For example the question, “Where was Shakespeare born?” can be followed by “Where did he study?” and Google search will interpret he as Shakespeare.
What Does Google Hummingbird Mean for SEO?
This still means that original and relevant content is key, and SEO writing may become easier and definitely more natural as search engines will go about searching for answers as a human might go about research. Hummingbird will focus on the overall concept of a question rather than the individual words of the question. We’ll keep you up to date on more Google Hummingbird details as they come out.
If your company relies on generating leads or selling products online, landing page optimization (LPO) is essential to your success. Depending on the size of your company, you could be losing thousands to millions of dollars a year due to something as miniscule as the text on your call to action button. Let’s take a look at some of the factors on your landing page that could boost your customer conversion rate between 20%-300%.
The most important thing any business needs to do to survive is reach customers. Traditionally, this can mean cold calls, billboards, flyers, and a slew of other advertising means. However, inbound marketing allows businesses to create a web presence that encourages clients to seek out and make use of the company. Harnessing this ability can be difficult, so being aware of the options and goals of this type of marketing are vital to being effective.
Social media is an amazing way to connect with clients immediately and intimately. Being able to post updates about your business and useful tidbits that would intrigue clients is a great way to connect with people and keep your name in the forefront of the customer’s mind. Moreover, your clients have a way to give praise and discuss concerns directly with you. As soon as they contact your business, you can reply and meet whatever needs they put forth, even if it’s just needing a thank you for a compliment.
Blogs are a great way to share your expertise with your clients. You have knowledge about your field that is both useful and powerful. When you give that information in a simple and accessible way, your clients will be able to take advantage of your knowledge and you’ll be establishing your company as an expert in the field. When it comes time to buy product or start a service, those clients will be drawn to you.
Though one of the most underutilized forms of inbound marketing, eBooks are a great way to find leads. In essence, an eBook is a source of information about something your clients want to know in depth. You can post the first page or two as a taste, then ask the client to download the eBook if they want to read the rest. In exchange for the download, you ask only for contact information. Every person who reads this free literature is someone who is interested in your company and someone you can reach out to.
For many people today, the first way they try to find a product or service is online. Making your company’s website appear on search engines is an absolute necessity to be found. There are many tactics that can accomplish this, but basically you want to create a site that has a significant amount of relevant content and keywords that people are likely to search for. You can also create a site map that helps search engines determine exactly what you offer and where it’s located.
Bringing customers to you is essential to thriving in today’s marketplace. Whether your company is a one person start up or a fortune 500, a social and content driven site will bring more people in. When you’re ready to see your leads and site visits increase, explore Leverage Marketing to see what they can do for you.
The boom happened before the birth of the iPhone, but it leapt into astronomical figures after 2007. Mobile internet began its quest for supremacy and never looked back. With the ascent of various tablets and further advanced devices, mobile internet devices and ISPs have increased their reach to provide customers with more access. Status updates, online purchases, cloud computing, photo sharing, streaming video, games, and other apps have increased the number of mobile users. Searching on a mobile device now allows our society accessibility we never had and can no longer do without.
Smartphones and other mobile devices are often more readily available than laptops or desktops when it comes to internet searching; therefore the desktop is lagging behind. In today’s right-now mindset, searching via mobile is often the way to go. IPhone4s users can simply ask a voice activated search tool named “Siri” for directions, reviews, emailing, weather and more.
Many factors drive the mobile search phenomenon, such as time. Time of a day is an important factor when it comes to internet searches, whether on a desktop or mobile device. Various studies illustrate that internet searches conducted during the am hours are done on a desktop/laptop, whereas searches toward the end of the day and bedtime are conveniently on mobile devices.
Advertisers are seeing the phenomenon of mobile searching technology and its new effect on growth in business. Advertisers with mobile-optimized sites and targeted campaigns have 11.5% higher clickthrough rates than non-mobile optimized sites. If you are a smart phone user, you know how annoying it can be to search for a site only to find out they don’t have a mobile version, and companies are definitely taking note of such problems. Mobile technology users are, with more frequency, not dealing with businesses not optimized for mobile search due to accessibility and time constraints.
Number one on the mobile search juggernaut list is, non-surprisingly, Facebook. Photos, status updates, video, file sharing, posting articles, all with the ease of a mobile device. Facebook has essentially been the forefront of PR machines because of its reach and accessibility. Not only is Facebook the most searched for, there are also nearly 2,500 variations of search queries with the word “Facebook.” In second place is Google and third place is YouTube owned by Google.
Desktop searching is still kicking, though on its back. Desktoppers are still alive, but the transformation has taken over. There is no doubt that mobile searches will continue to boost. Look at the infographic presented by Startapp to dig deeper into mobile search trends.