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SEO Perth | White Chalk Road

Is Google Killing off Paid Search Keyword Data?

April 15th, 2014

There have been many articles thrown around about Google’s recent announcement they are removing keyword referral data for paid search traffic in Google Analytics. Some of these reports may be misleading. Some individuals may be led to believe that all data is lost and may probably start reacting to the news like this gentleman below:

We just want to say upfront that the news isn’t ALL negative and certainly not as bad as losing all keyword data. This update is our way of helping clear the air and clarify any misunderstandings about the recent announcement. (Don’t worry; paid search keyword data is not dead!)

This current announcement could be labelled a sequel or a continuation to the Google agenda of providing more secure search that officially started in 2011.

Following an official statement on the 4th October 2013 by Google around the withholding of referrer data for organic traffic, Google has announced on Wednesday the 9th April 2014 that it will commence the removal of search query data from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) searches on Google.com.

Google will do this by removing the search query section of the parameter (The parameter that Google Analytics relies on to provide keyword data within their interface).

The below is how it looks like on the URL string. This is a Google UK example of an AdWords URL string with the search query parameter:

http://www.google.co.uk/aclk?sa=l&ai=CS7RvDIhMU5Jzy-DxBf_PgJAE3KnZhwHqj5-Xbsr7oAcIABADKANQ2bfzgwVgu76ug9AKoAGL2Y3_A8gBAakCe6CNS3kOvD6qBCFP0HrHqK41WU8rVaQICjSub0z_
tfmr_JkGpu3OZ9iSwwCAB92mcpAHAw&sig=AOD64_1hGlIkIPJeyBgM6kHSHnkaGs_GDg&rct=j&q=
london+hotel+deals&ved=0CDwQ0Qw&adurl=http://www.hoteldirect.co.uk/london

When the referrer data is removed, the URL will end up looking like:

http://www.google.co.uk/aclk?sa=l&ai=CS7RvDIhMU5Jzy-DxBf_PgJAE3KnZhwHqj5-Xbsr7oAcIABADKANQ2bfzgwVgu76ug9AKoAGL2Y3_A8gBAakCe6CNS3kOvD6qBCFP0HrHqK41WU8rVaQICjSub0z_
tfmr_JkGpu3OZ9iSwwCAB92mcpAHAw&sig=AOD64_1hGlIkIPJeyBgM6kHSHnkaGs_
GDg&rct=j&q=&ved=0CDwQ0Qw&adurl=http://www.hoteldirect.co.uk/london

You may be asking yourself: That sounds interesting and all, but why is this important to me as an Advertiser on Google AdWords?

There is one major impact that you as a user of Google Analytics (GA) will start noticing and that is paid search keyword data will soon be hidden from any software that relies on the referrer string to display paid search keywords. This unfortunately includes the popular GA software.

For Google Analytics, you will start to notice when you go to Keywords > Paid, the (not provided) (or some other term) will start to pop up and prevent users from seeing the actual paid search query used by visitors to reach your site.

This will come to the dismay of users who regularly use GA to report on paid search performance as it will restrict the ability to gather data on particular insights. Some of the key insights we have identified that will be no longer available from within Google Analytics include:

  • The ability to quickly toggle the conversion type to report on different types of conversions (can’t be done in AdWords interface but can be done in GA)
  • The ability to report on the Behaviour metrics at the keyword level e.g. Bounce Rate, Pages/Visit and Average Visit Duration.
  • The ability to track the landing pages for each search query (AdWords does not readily show you the destination URL for all search queries, this can easily be done in GA)

Alternative Methods of Retrieving Paid Search Keyword Data

So we did mention that not all is lost and we can still view keyword data, albeit in a different format.

All third party services using AdWords through an API such as Marin, Kenshoo, and Raven Tools should be able to access keyword data, as they do not rely on the referrer strings. (Please contact relevant third parties for further details) so if you are using any third party software platform with an AdWords API, you are safe.

Users can also access detailed paid search referrer data in the AdWords search terms report by toggling the Details tab as shown below:

Next Steps

Given this will affect the reporting routine of marketing teams and consultants, we recommend disseminating this information as quickly as possible. To avoid any panic and confusion, put together a statement on this news and educate all relevant stakeholders (you could include a link to this blog post as well if it helps…).

For marketing managers, this may include your team, any senior management and other departments. For agency professionals, we recommend getting in touch with relevant stakeholders from each of your clients that are running AdWords.

Need Help with Paid Search Management?

WCR can take away the headache of managing all of your company’s paid advertising campaigns. Our well researched keyword analysis and our highly disciplined tracking and measurement process allows us to ensure that you do not overspend your budget and receive a positive return on your investment (ROI). Please call us on 9361 9534 for more information on how we can help you.

By Cheech Foo

Posted in Google Adwords, Google Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engines, SERPs |




5 Incredibly Simple Ways to Keep People Coming Back to Your Site

April 10th, 2014

Almost anyone can put together a very basic website if they’re shown how to. But to create something that hooks visitors into it and keeps generating their interest is a whole new ball game.

As a business owner, you want people to be reminded of your brand and services when they need something in your niche. An effective website, one that is so rich in what it offers, compels its visitors to “stick around” and most of all – come back often.  A site that has the ability to hook you in (and keep you there!) is organised, user-friendly and radiates appeal; it’s a “sticky website” and all business owners and marketing professionals want one.

Encouraging first-time visitors to come to your site again is challenging, but one of the most important indicators of a fantastic website is the rate of these people returning. It takes more than just a dynamic web design and captivating content though to leave a lasting impression, there are other tools you need to consider – here are 5 tips to help you create a sticky site.

1. Create…Fresh and Interesting Content

A sticky site has new content to share with its visitors on a regular basis. Users know it’s here, and they trust it’s consistently updated so they check back in to read the latest news – that is, if it’s exciting and compelling enough.

Content doesn’t always have to be in the form of articles so aim to mix it up on your website with videos, images and interesting posts. A great way to stay in touch with your customer’s minds is to start a blog. This sparks interest and entices people to leave comments and share the article with others.

2. Create… Conversations Directly to Your Customers

Not everyone understands your industry as well as you so make sure you use the right language and conversation tools for your customers. Stay away from industry jargon and put your message and content into words they can relate too and understand. Talking down to people or making things too complicated will only direct them to your competitor’s website instead.

3. Create… An E-Newsletter

Creating an e-newsletter is one of the most effective ways to keep the conversation going with your customers. It builds relationships with new and existing visitors and directs them back to your website by offering insight into the latest industry news.

Use your e-newsletter as a trusted source of information your customer are interested in reading about, as opposed to a selling tool for your products and services. Include helpful tips, mentioning of new staff or clients to ensure they feel welcomed and hot topics they want to read about. Like your content, keep it fresh and exciting.

4. Create… A Good Reputation

Showing users your business has a good reputation is crucial when the World Wide Web is filled with scams and devious characters. If your business is consistently satisfying the growing community of customers, then don’t be afraid to show it off with testimonials.

New blurbs should be submitted by customers talking about your business, brand, services and products and published constantly by you on your website. This helps to encourage the honest impression your business has and how well you provide useful, quality and valuable services to them.

5. Create… Answers to the Questions Customers are asking

Striking designs and enticing content is a great start for an effective website, but if it doesn’t provide relevant information – people will be quick to leave. As curious beings, we all have a lot of questions running through our minds and customers want them answered.

When it comes to your niche, take the time to listen to your customers and prospects about what they want. Feeding them with the answers to their questions will give them a reason to want to pay attention to you.

by

Posted in Blogging, Content Marketing, Website Marketing |




Get Creative! 7 Content Tips when you’re Short of Time and Ideas

April 3rd, 2014

It doesn’t matter who you are or what industry you’re in, it’s not always easy brainstorming content ideas. All of us, at some stage loose inspiration and suddenly the few hours you had aside to write a new post, become two hours of frustration where no exciting topic comes to mind.

Thankfully, the world is oozing with ideas and there is more imagination locked away in you than you realise. But, if you’re still really stuck – here are some hot tips to get those creative juices flowing.

1. Get Visual

People are visual creatures so utilising the power of images and engaging short videos can spark attention. Countless studies over the years have demonstrated that visually compelling posts gain more shares and conversation starters than other types of content.

Images set an emotional tone by tapping into the brain. Look for powerful pictures that covey a story you want to tell and back it up with text. Placing emphasis on bold images or a relevant video that creates a buzz can capture a reader and make them more inclined to stay on the site. Where possible, use real life photos.

Visual storytelling is a great language to use when communicating a message and helps you to stand out from the ‘information overload’ on the internet. The use of infographics is great for data visualisation too and can increase traffic to your website, grow backlinks and revenue.

2. Get Social

The social world is booming and consumers are sucking up the excitement through their smart phones and tablets, so if you haven’t already it’s time to take advantage of it. And I don’t just mean plugging in social media buttons onto your blog or site.

Social networks and apps for your smartphone are becoming more popular by the minute and can give you oodles of creative options for content. Whatever makes up your niche – photography, interior design, website design, building products – create a “8 Pinterest Boards to be inspired by” article, “Top 6 Apps for Remodeling Your Home” or “5 Free Interior Design Apps that will halve the Hard Work”. Add images from the iPhone and android apps, complete with a detailed description to motivate people with their next project.

3. Get Tempting

The headlines of your content are what lure people in; it’s the bait you set – so you want it to be tempting. Opt for headlines that are going to generate interest without giving too much away. They should be relevant, with a bite of excitement that makes people intrigued.

Headlines with numbers give your readers a level of expectancy and are easy to comprehend, for example – the title of this blog post. Readers tend to respond well to these headings and it’s a trend that has stuck around for a while. Top 5 – 10 blog posts are also a fantastic way to give you quick ideas for content when you’re not sure what to write about.

4. Get Inspired

If you follow a variety of blogs within your industry, or stumble across something that sparks your attention – there’s no harm in taking some inspiration from it. This is – in no way – saying to copy-paste someone else’s work and write it off as you own, but simply a catalyst of creativity that make you think about a topic or idea in more detail.

When you find a post that is relevant, put your own spin on it and write about it from a completely different angle. Maybe you want to challenge the points, or do a little extra of your own research into the topic to attract a different audience or convey a different emotion. If it’s a long-winded article on an idea that you love, perhaps write a shorter (and sweeter) version that can be compelling and interesting in its own unique way.

5. Get Guided

Everyone loves a good ‘how to guide’ for their next DIY project or even just an explanation of how to use your products and services. When you’re working in the industry the things you do on a daily basis may be easy to you but you’d be surprised how hard or confusing it may be for other people out there.

You can get inspired by billions of ideas here. Depending on your industry you can focus on a ‘how to guide’ for sanding timber floors, designing your own website, editing photos with Photoshop or taking the perfect portrait picture – the list is endless.

‘A buyer’s guide’ can help your customers (and potential customers) with questions or issues they may experience with your products. Why not put together a quick video showing them how to use your product?  Step-by-step guides loaded with pictures and easy to understand information can benefit all readers and are super handy to have.

6. Get Devilled

Arguments that are framed in “devil’s advocate” can touch on subjects that most people are afraid to tackle. Whilst this can ignite fire in some readers, challenging topics that the average consumer won’t write about can actually strengthen the audience’s position.

Taking a controversial stance to prove a point can be an effective content idea – especially if you have always done the same style of topics.  Be constructive and research wisely and voila, you have a piece of unique content for you site.

7. Get Rounded

Product reviews in your industry, news items lists or products and services you can recommend are all easy ways to round up the latest information and present it to your readers.

These lists can be as comprehensive or as simple as you like, with the latest coolest bits of materials as a focus for your monthly rotation of content. Throw in a few links to any of the sites you’ve mentioned too – this will help build authority, credibility and broaden your network.

by

Posted in Blogging, Content Marketing, Social Media, Website Marketing |




Recipe to Social Media Success – What Every Business Should Do

March 10th, 2014

Whether you want to embrace it or not, social media is an essential ingredient for businesses. Most owners are fast cluing onto the social media boom and using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to gain marketplace intelligence and develop a following of loyal fans.

According to a recent survey done by social media examiner, marketers place a very high value on social media with a significant 86% indicating it’s a critical part of their business. So it’s safe to say a lot of business owners are reaping in the benefits of social media marketing.

That doesn’t mean however, we can just race into social media success without developing a winning strategy. Good things take time, patience and a well thought out recipe. So what special ingredients should your business be using to cook up the perfect social media storm?

Have a Plan – Research First

To find a great recipe, you need to do a little research first. It’s all about knowing what works and what doesn’t, and trial and error – if you’re unsure of where to start do some competitor investigation.

What are other people doing in the kitchen? Socially, what are the businesses similar to your doing on their social media profiles? To find out, check out their websites, read their blogs and gauge what platforms they use and how they’re interacting with their audiences.

Once you have a good range of social media profiles in your industry, monitor their pages over the next month. Do they post links, videos or photos? What type of content is drawing in the attention, getting the most shares, likes and comments? How much detail is there about their company profile, brand, products or services? What sort of people are they connected with? This is a great starting point to see what other businesses are doing and how the industry responds.

Set Goals – Know What You’re Cooking

If you’re after something specific, you need to set goals to determine what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do this. There’s no use throwing yourself into the kitchen without a clear idea on what you want to make, how many people you’re cooking for and what you need to get it happening.

Social media is no different (well, not much anyway). You need specific social media marketing goals – are you trying to drive traffic to your website, and if so by how much? Without a clear online marketing strategy and set goals, it’s near impossible to have a good structure for social media success so prioritise your efforts, time, money and energy from the beginning.

Put Some Love into Your Content

Have you ever asked your grandma when you were young what the “secret ingredient” is for those amazing cookies she always bakes? No doubt she has told you that it’s simply love. But how can you put a spoonful of love into your cooking!?

Easy – all it takes is a little extra thought, feeling and engagement. One thing that will help you boost fans, shares and likes on any social media platform is great content. Something that will interest your readers, something relevant, exciting and fresh – something with a bit more love in it that your average post.

It’s important that your content is not always related to you, your business or making a sale. What are your readers interested in seeing? You want to provide regular content that is educational, entertaining and that will make your fans feel your pitching it entirely to them.  To do this effectively, you need to devise a great content plan with a schedule. This enables you to be aware of what you’re going to post and when, and give you a valid guide to follow to ensure consistency.

Listen, Engage, Involve

If you start cooking a great dish in the kitchen, what happens when you just leave it unattended for too long? It gets burnt, or ruined. This is the same with social media marketing. There is no use posting great content if you’re just going to do that – post it. More importantly than anything in this mix, is to connect with your audience.

Social media isn’t just about talking ‘at’ people, but also ‘to’ people. Listen to what they want, what they need – get to know them and care. If you’re constantly spamming and pitching your business to everyone, no one will notice you (well, not in a positive light anyway).

Understand how to connect with people and spend the time doing so. It can be a noisy world online, the best way to get noticed is to reach out and meet your audience’s needs and wants.

Measurement and Reflection

No good recipe was ever created without exact quantities, so ensuring you have your measuring cups handy is essential. And, after the hard work of cooking is finally completed, there is nothing better than sitting back to enjoy the meal. This is when we take the time to measure the outcome and evaluate. Does it taste good? Maybe it’s a little salty and there are a couple of glitches in the mix. What can you improve on or change for next time?

Social media marketing measurement can be frustrating, and even more time consuming than the actual process. But, it’s vital your efforts are measured so you know (and can prove!) whether it was worthwhile or not.

Time for Dessert

Social media platforms are being used every day by marketers and business owners to help grow their business, so if you haven’t jumped on board with it yet – now’s a good time to start. Take a close look at the commitment, energy, time, benefits and platforms that others are using and how you can implement them into your own strategy.

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Posted in Blogging, Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engines, Social Media |




Boosting Your Business with LinkedIn – The Hype and How to Leverage It

March 6th, 2014

With social media booming faster than ever, businesses are taking a long hard look at their company profiles and online marketing strategies to double (and triple) check they’re being maximised. Not all of us however, want to jump on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagon – whilst they are the most popular social media platforms, some business owners don’t feel it’s the professional networking tool they’re after.

Specific business networking sites like LinkedIn and Google+ have provided a perfect opportunity to help professionals grow their careers, with LinkedIn being the world’s largest networking site for business owners. With over 238 million users worldwide, it has become the perfect platform for people to find career opportunities and connect with influencers or those in similar industries.

As it’s such a well-established online destination, it makes sense to create a LinkedIn profile page that acts as more than just an ordinary resume. Regardless of what industry you’re in, it’s only going to get more competitive so differentiating yourself from the rest and increasing your findability has never been so crucial.  Here are 7 hot tips to get you started.

1. A Comprehensive Profile

Complete a remarkable and comprehensive profile. The more information you can provide about the important details of your business, what it’s all about and how you can help clients – the better. Instead of a traditional resume format, write in a narrative form to make the content compelling and attractive for people to want to read the full profile. The idea is to make it as quick and easy as possible for potential customers to know you – right up front – and how they can get in contact.

2. Get Your Branding Perfect

The first thing LinkedIn visitors see is your cover image, so make it consistent with your branding. People should be able to easily recognise you and you company page by this banner.

LinkedIn profiles give you the option to include a standard company logo at the top of the page, and a square logo that will appear on all your updates. Consider what you use for these carefully and make sure they are of high quality and fit properly. Encourage people further by linking to your company website or any personal profiles and blogs you may have.

If this is done properly, the links you include will be attached to chosen keyword phases – thus, enhancing your SEO within LinkedIn and throughout the web.

3. Build a Wide Network, and Personally Welcome Them

LinkedIn is all about networking, connecting with people and sharing insightful and valuable information. Remember though, quality over quantity – it’s not about how many people you have in your connections, it’s about the value and how you’re utilising them.

Each new connection you make provides the opportunity to enhance your visibility but even so, it’s important you review each invitation request received. Does the person have a completed and detailed profile? Does it provide a picture and adequate information about their business or industry they’re in? Most of all, is there are relevant reason why it would make sense to connect with them?

4. Add Dynamics to Your Content

Make your profile come alive by adding a video to enhance your content. There are two applications for adding a video to your LinkedIn profile, the Google Presentations app and the SlideShare app – both enable you to showcase your work or greet your visitors. This will help people stay longer on your profile and feel like they can connect with you better.

5. Tag Your Skills and Expertise

Up to 50 skills can be added to your profile so now is a great time to start selling yourself. Whilst listing these skills don’t make a huge difference for the LinkedIn search results, its additional information that is useful for people reading your profile.

Consider what you’re good at and how your specific skills can benefit potential customers and networking opportunities. Once you have noted your skills and expertise, you can then encourage people to endorse you.  This will then give them a sense of credibility – learn how to manage your skills and endorsements for full effectiveness.

6. Get Endorsements and Recommendations

After your skills and expertise have been defined, it’s vital to gain as many endorsements and recommendations from colleagues, partners and contacts as possible. These are your customer testimonials on LinkedIn so don’t be afraid to ask clients to write a recommendation or endorse your company for its skills. Make sure you help others out by endorsing them too – this will make it much easier to approach them for one back.

Avoid sending mass messages out asking for endorsements or recommendations. If you want people to take the time to honestly comment on your skills or company, take the time to personalise your request.

7. Optimise Your Profile for Search and Ranking

Every day, millions of people are searching on LinkedIn so if you want your hard work of creating and maintaining you profile to get noticed; you need to craft your content for search.

Consider your ‘profile language’ and be sure to include relevant keywords to your industry. This way, you significantly improve your chances of being found. As you do with your website, think about what keywords people will search to find your brand, product and services and then incorporate them into your heading and profile content.

by

Posted in Content Marketing, Personal Branding, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engines, Social Media, Website Marketing |




How to improve your website in 1 hour

February 25th, 2014

Like any good relationship, making things work between you and your website takes time. If you don’t devote any time to your website, how can you expect it to work for you?

White Chalk Road is trying to start a website love revolution. Try devoting just one solid hour per week to do one thing to improve your website, and we promise that over time you will see some incredible benefits. Set a rolling appointment in your calendar for just one hour each week – and really stick to it.

But what should you spend that hour doing we hear you ask? Here we have three really quick, simple and effective ideas that will help you improve your website in one hour:

#1: Write one blog post that will benefit your customers

Your customers aren’t experts in your area, but you are. Every day interested and potential customers are typing all sorts of questions about your industry, products or services into search engines, and you should be the one providing answers to these questions – thus ranking for these topics and being in front of a potential customers’ eyes right at the time they’re interested in your area of expertise.

How do you find out what types of questions your customers are asking or what information they need? There’s a number of ways you can do this:

What questions do customers typically ask you?

Ask your client-facing/customer-facing staff what questions they’re frequently asked by customers. You can use this to create a catch-all FAQ style page for your website to begin with.

In the following weeks you can then use your ‘website improvement hour’ to delve deeper into some more technical or complicated questions and create a separate blog article for each of these to provide customers with a more comprehensive resource.

Use Deeper Web to find out what potential customers are interested in

Google’s relatively recent ‘Hummingbird’ update has put a greater emphasis on ensuring your website is a good source of information on broader themes related to your industry, not just staying specific to your target keywords.

Deeper Web is a really useful tool that will let you quickly explore what types of topics are related to your products or services, as well as questions people have posted online about these topics, recent research published in the area, trending news etc.

See for example below a Deeper Web search for the very broad topic of ‘Car sales Australia’. The owner of a car sales website can find related keywords in the ‘Deeper cloud’ (maybe an article on good fleet cars):

Deeper Web search

Deeper Web word cloud

The ‘Answers Search’ shows top questions asked about the industry (a great blog topic for the taking on ‘what do I need to know about buying a new car’). It could even be worth transparently adding some comment to these forum threads as well as writing a blog on your own website:

Deeper Web answers search

And in the ‘Metrics Search’ and ‘News Search’ you will find fantastic resources, recent statistics and facts about your industry, which you can use to provide depth to your blog articles:

Deeper Web Metrics and News search

Give it a go by typing in some of your own keywords and see what ideas you can come up with.

Use Google Keyword Planner to find out what questions get most traffic

It’s really simple to use the Google Keyword planner, not only to get some topic inspiration, but to find which topics are searched more than others. Just follow these steps:

• In the ‘Search for keyword and ad group ideas’ section you can either input your industry/products/service areas or choose your relevant niche from the ‘product category’ dropdown menu:

Google Keyword Tool blog ideas

• When your results show up click into the ‘Keyword ideas’ tab (not the ‘Ad Group ideas’ tab) and you might see some keywords to spark your imagination straight away.

Keyword tab

• However, the list will likely be too broad, so look to the filters to the left of the screen and click into the ‘Include/Exclude’ box. Type in the 6 golden question starters (who what when where why & how) to really filter down to those Q&A ideas you need:

Keyword tool filter menu

Who what when where why how include exclude

How will you benefit?

• Adding useful and relevant information to your website on a regular basis will not only improve your rankings in search engines, it will also bring in increased traffic and leads to your website
• As we mentioned, by providing informative answers to your clients’ FAQs you will begin to rank for these ‘long-tail’ search queries, meaning you will be in front of their eyes at the exact time they need you
• You can demonstrate your wealth and depth of knowledge in your industry, showing your customers you are a knowledgeable thought leader in your industry
• Providing a free and invaluable resource for your customers will build their trust in you as a ‘value-added’ provider
• If the tips you provide are really useful, this could well result in your customers sharing a link to the resource with their colleagues or friends via their own websites or social media – benefitting your online marketing efforts as well as bringing in additional website traffic and word-of-mouth marketing.

#2: Improve one existing page of content

The content on your website’s static pages (such as your homepage, category pages and service or product pages) can become stale and out-dated pretty quickly – and it’s highly likely the content on your website has been the same since your website was first set up – are we right?

A great way to spend your ‘website improvement hour’ is to take one landing page each week and work to improve the content on the pages. We recommend working through all the pages of your website, but begin with the ones that need it most (i.e. those that are not converting too well or have high bounce rates). Use this great resource to help you identify weak pages of your website. Improvement can include:

Improve spelling, grammar and punctuation

Something as simple as an awkward sentence or an obvious typo can put potential customers off your brand or make them lose interest in what you have to say. You’ve spent a lot of time and money on both your online and offline marketing efforts to get people to your website in the first place, so don’t let something so rudimentary lose that lead.

Spell check in Microsoft Word is notoriously unreliable, so for something a little more intuitive try Hemingway. This is a fantastic resource that lets you paste and edit your content right on their homepage. It will highlight questionable areas of text such as rambling sentences, adverb overuse and overcomplicated language, making it clear what changes you need to make.

Get your message right

Contrary to what some SEO companies will have you believe, you shouldn’t have content on the page just to fill space and squeeze in keywords – your content should have a clear ‘raison d’être’ – and here’s what that is:

Tell customers why they need your product/service (what need it fills in their life) and why your product/service fills this need better than your competitors’ solutions.

It’s that simple. The reasons your product or service is better will include your USPs and the options available to customers.

Visuals visuals visuals

Don’t underestimate the power of the visual. The main drawback of online shopping is the reduced ability to fully experience a product before making a purchase, so give your customers the closest possible experience to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ shopping you can get. Provide product images from all angles and allow high quality zoom so they can see the minute details. If a product comes in more than one colour then show all of these details for each colour.

But what if you provide a service? The same lesson still applies. If you provide a trade service then show your tradespeople in action. If you provide a business service show screenshots of your deliverables or show your staff at work. Help customers to really visualise what they’ll get for their money and how it will improve their lives.

Add testimonials & social proof

Try as we might to be different, people are inherently flock-like. We want to do what other people are doing, and if we’re thinking about straying from our norm then we want to be sure we won’t regret it. Get potential customers over that final hurdle by showing them others have successfully bought your product or service, or even just heard of your brand.

Do this by allowing comments/reviews on product pages, show social shares on articles, show social followers on your homepage, add case studies, real and detailed testimonials – video testimonials if possible. People don’t just want to take your word that your offerings are great; they want to hear it from others too.

How will you benefit?

Because you are adding more useful content to your website and keeping it fresh you will enjoy all of the benefits from tip #1, as well as one more very important one: increased conversions. Whether that’s more online sales or leads from quote requests, contact forms or calls – by improving your content and images and adding social proof you are knocking down all those barriers of doubt that stand in the way of people clicking that all important ‘submit’ button.

#3: Tell your customers what to do & make it easier for them to do it

While you’re spending all of your time writing about how great your company is and why people need your products or services in their life, telling people how to go about actually getting them can sometimes slip through the cracks.

You must decide what is the purpose of your website? What do you want people to do once they’ve read about your company and what you have to offer? Do you want them to buy online? Should they visit your street store or office? Do you want them to request a consultation, contact you via a form or pick up the phone?

Whatever it is, you need to tell them. Each product or service page should have a clear sign-post telling customers what to do next. As well as putting this in writing with a text link to the relevant conversion page (shopping cart, contact form, store locator etc.) you should also add a bright button, making it absolutely clear what the next step is.

Conversion Buttons

How will you benefit?

With this one you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll notice an increase in conversions. It might seem to you that you’re stating the obvious, but giving busy customers a shortcut or quick route to completing their journey on your website will increase the probability of them actually making it there.

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Posted in Blogging, Conversion Optimisation, Search Engine Optimisation |




Google Avoids Major Fine By Striking a Deal with EU Regulators

February 11th, 2014

Following a three year investigation, the European Commission has announced that a provisional agreement has finally been reached between EU and Google. This antitrust issue was first explored in 2010 with concerns Google had decreased the visibility of its competitors in the EU versions of search engine results, including google.ie, google.fr, google.co.uk etc.

As part of this proposed deal, Google will roll-out changes in their search results to display three of its competitors alongside its own results. This will affect GoogleNews, GooglePlace, GoogleMaps and the results from ‘FlightSearch’ and ‘Shopping’. All search engine results will be marked in a way that is clear for users to see.

According to the EU’s Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia, this proposal is the “last opportunity” to address these concerns. If this deal isn’t confirmed, Google will run the risk of being fined more than $5 billion, or ten percent of its annual worldwide turnover. This proposal will apply to both Google’s existing services and also to the design changes of any new services Google may introduce in the future.

Almunia has also stated her mission, as the one in charge of the competition policy, is to “protect competition to the benefit of consumers, not competitors”. She believes that this new proposal obtained from Google after such a long saga can now address the Commission’s concerns and will not prevent Google from improving its own services in any way. Instead, it will provide users with a real choice between competing services presented in a comparable way, leaving it up to them to choose the best alternative.

What Does This Mean for Search Results in the Future?

Before the proposed changes are legally binding, the antitrust watchdog will discuss the alterations with Google’s competitors. Once the terms are accepted by all parties, local and search results will display competitors, with links to their services, alongside traditional advertisements on both smartphone devices and desktop computers. The deal will need to be abided by Google for the next five years.


At present, Google’s own results are displayed prominently over all other search engine results which led a number of rivals, including Microsoft (owner of Bing search engine), making formal complaints that Google had abused its dominant position in the market for web search services.

It was reported on January 29th that the EU’s competition authority and Google were close to seal the deal in hope to resolve the investigation.

Outside of Europe

Whilst this proposed deal is only binding within the EU, Google may find it efficient to change its search engine results page in the same way for other places like Australia. The way Google presents its search results and whether consumers understand the variances between the different parts of the results page has also been an issue in Australia. However, in a case study last year done by the High Court they found that a hypothetical reasonable user would understand the differences between Google’s sponsored links and organic (unpaid search results). For now, the results on google.com.au will remain unchanged.

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Posted in Google Places, Local Search, Mobile Search, News, Search Engines, SERPs |




4 Guest Post Outreach Opportunities to Avoid in 2014

February 7th, 2014

Given Matt Cutts’ recent post announcing the death of guest posting for SEO purposes, I thought it might be fun and helpful to have a look at four guest post outreach opportunities we should be avoiding in 2014.

1.     The Old Switcheroo Webmaster


This slippery fella buys a bunch of expired domains with a bit of PageRank regardless of the theme and points them all at his new whizz bang ‘content’ site. This inflates the new site’s PR making it look at face value like a quality guest post target. However, this site’s link profile is dirtier than a toddler’s face during mealtime. Using Open Site Explorer or MajesticSEO to look behind the scenes and you’ll work out what’s going on fairly quickly. It’s not unheard of to see this site advertised on Flippa.com at the same time, too.

2.     The One-Stop-Shop Portal Webmaster

This guy’s website covers every possible niche under the sun. You know the one; it lists content about autos, alongside computers, employment, business, green tech, landscaping, home improvement, and leprechaun sightings etc. He’s the ‘authority’ on all things everything and he’s spreading himself thinner than a boarding house scrape of butter. In Google’s eyes he’s a bit like a Jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.

3.     The Wheeler Dealer Webmaster

Webmasters are inundated with guest post requests these days and they’re working out there’s a quid to be made out of us marketers hungrily looking for somewhere to publish our content. You reach out to this guy and he responds with: “yes, but my fee is $200/year”. You leave the conversation there and after a couple of days he emails you, dropping the price and continues to reduce the fee hoping you’ll be enticed back – everyone has their price, right? There’s more discounting going on here than you’ll see at a Persian rug fire sale.

4.     The Pseudo Webmaster

This shady character will pretend he’s the owner of multiple authority sites and reach out to you offering to publish a piece of your content for a fee (usually between $50 and $100).  The email is usually written in broken English and the whole affair smells worse than a wet dog and what gives him away is his lack of bricks and mortar contact details, spammy Gmail address or both. A little reconnaissance work through Whois, LinkedIn and the authority sites themselves soon ensures that for this charlatan, the jig is most certainly up.

While most seasoned SEOs and inbound marketers can pick these off a mile away, hopefully we can help those who are a bit greener to the online marketing world steer clear of some potentially very harmful link building.

Do you know of any other breeds of webmaster to avoid like the plague? Find me on Google+.

If you’d like help with formulating a content strategy for your business, reach out to us here or by phone 08 9386 9534.

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Posted in Blogging, Content Marketing |




Up Close & Personal: Why Separate Your Business & Personal Profiles

February 6th, 2014

Getting up close and personal with business profiles seems to be a growing trend these days with social media sites seeing professional profiles take on a more personalised role causing the two worlds to collide. The line between personal and professional used to be so clear, but over time it’s become smudged and what was once so distinguished has become blurred and undecided.

Whilst both have their pros and cons, they also have their own intended uses and business owners should be conscious about mixing their personal and business lives in the online world. To start with, most people used social tools for very distinct purposes – LinkedIn was for connecting with former and current colleagues and potential networking, and Facebook was for friends. We have our rules on who we connect with on which social media channels and how we behave there but now recruiters, fellow employees and prospective clients are all using social media to find information about the people they encounter.

So is there any real separation in our business and personal profiles anymore? It seems as though, no matter what we do the two worlds are going to keep colliding. The difference between our professional and personal identities however, must be defined on social networking sites. Although the difficulty in separating the two is becoming more pronounced as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ establishes themselves firmly as professional networking tools, there are a few simple rules that can be followed when communicating through social media.

Business Page and Personal Profile

Creating a specific business social media page allows you to separate your personal profile with your professional one and sort your contacts into two distinct groups – personal friends with a regular profile, and business fans. Using Facebook as your business page opens up more opportunities – not only does it get your business noticed when you engage with other pages with similar interests, but it allows people to view your profile with your business pitch as specific related content.

The Migration to Your Business Page

Once the two have been separated and your business page built up (you can build your page with content before it even goes live), then it’s time to invite your friends from your personal profile list. Most people will immediately become a fan, whilst others take longer and require more invitations. After a few weeks or months, you may want to consider sending a message to remind people about the transition.

Your ‘Friend List’ Matters

After this migration has been completed, it becomes easier to segregate your professional and personal presence. The people on your friend list should be just that, friends. Once the business contacts on your personal profile have migrated over to your business page unfriend those contacts from your personal profile so they are disconnected from your private life.

If you’re concerned about offending anyone you have a professional relationship, send them a message explaining you appreciate their business and happy to stay connected with them through your business page. This will protect your personal space from business connections.

Engaging the Community and Professional Views

Once your business and personal profiles have been divided it’s time to engage your community on your business page. Letting them know they’re important to you by incentives and special offers is vital.

The greatest advantage of effectively separating your business and personal presence is the ability to express yourself on each. By having two social media accounts you can comment freely without it being linked back to your professional persona all the time.

If you want to keep your work and personal lives separate, though, use either multiple accounts or different networks for different purposes. It can be more complex, but may be better for work-life balance.

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Posted in Blogging, Content Marketing, Social Media |




Optimising Your Content Calendar to Capture Seasonal Traffic

January 15th, 2014

Creating content on a regular basis can be a very challenging task. In addition to creating quality targeted, relevant pieces of onsite content, take your strategy further by investing time into creating an optimised content calendars.

Content calendars (aka editorial calendars, content schedules etc.) are used commonly by media verticals such as magazines, newspapers and online publisher sites to coordinate content efforts. However any business can create a content calendar that is optimised according to a set of targeted keywords and the seasonality of a business.

Why is optimising content calendars so important?  An example would be, you may not find too many visitors looking for ‘singlets’ in the middle of winter and the term ‘tax return’ probably won’t be so popular during the Christmas break.

To optimise your content calendar consider the following points: The What, When, Why & How.

The What: Determine your industry topic and associated keywords

I run a hat shop, so I will focus on the hat (specific) and clothing accessories (broad) industry throughout this post as an example. Therefore keywords that are relevant to my business include ‘hats’ and  ‘caps’.

The When: Analyse keywords through search trend intelligence tools

I have decided to analyse the search term word ‘hats’ in Australia for the past two years. The primary tool I use is Google Trends (formerly Google Insights).

The results that you want to pay focus two are the peak in search interests in the graph. As you can see below there appears to be peaks around April as well October, November and January of every year.

The Why: Develop explanations for seasonality

Remember we want to be able to create content topics that are not only relevant and targeted but also timely. So the question you need to ask here is: Why is it peaking?

Start to draw from your personal as well as industry knowledge of the market to determine the causes and origination of these topics in order to make an educated guess.  Think about special occasions, events, deadlines that may trigger the peak in interest. If you can’t come up with anything solid, ask your colleagues to get that brain juice flowing.

Regarding my hat shop, let’s start with the peaks in April. Looking at the surge in April 2012, it appears that date of 8th April 2012 coincides with the Easter break of 2012. To cross-reference my inference, I analysed the search interest around the Easter 2013 break (31st March) and lo and behold, there is also a surge in traffic! With the October-November traffic, I believe that this has a connection with Melbourne Cup and in particular the fascinator hats.

Now with my hat shop (similar to many retail businesses) the origins and causes may be easier to identify, given they are common knowledge.

If your business is say a B2B company such as an accounting firm that focuses on tax returns, you could look at certain deadlines set by ATO that may influence the search trends. For example, the below shows the search trends for ‘tax returns’ peaks post July (most likely due to the start of new financial year), sharply decreases as it approaches October and has another small surge in traffic (one reason could be that they are rushing to meet the deadline for e-tax tax return services) before trailing off.

The How: Brainstorm topics & develop a content calendar

By now, you should have recorded all the peaks and the possible causes of the spike for the targeted terms.

We want to now utilise the intelligence we have to design a content calendar to get the best return of investment not just from an SEO but also from a social media angle as well.

The last step is to put together an editorial calendar (aka content calendar, content schedule, whatever term is being adopted) and start to map out when you should write an article on each topic and also what to write about.

Now that I know my hat business is a boom during Easter, I will schedule in an article to be published on the 1st April 2014, giving the article 4 weeks to capture all the seasonal traffic (Easter day is 29th April).

If you do not already have a content calendar, Crazy Egg has a great post on free calendars you can download. If you like working with Excel then you can easily create one yourself!

I hope this has been helpful and I hope that all your content will ‘make it on time’ for whatever surge in search interest is coming up this year!

By Cheech Foo

Posted in Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engines, Website Marketing |




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