Posts Tagged ‘Search Engine Watch’

Anyone with a New Idea is a Crank Until the Idea Succeeds

Monday, November 12th, 2012

I was reminded of that famous quote from Mark Twain recently in a Twitter exchange about the web presence optimization framework. Although the framework has been for the most part enthusiastically embraced (and dozens of people have downloaded the framework white paper), a few people on Twitter questioned the need for a “new” marketing concept.

WPO Isn't Just Another TLA

Image credit: Ajax Union

While “search plus social plus content” is inarguably inelegant, it was suggested that other terms such as “online marketing” or “inbound marketing” already covered the concept of web presence optimization (WPO). Although those are clearly important concepts, they don’t cover the spectrum of an organization’s web presence and related activities, which is why the WPO model was introduced nearly three years ago.

Since its introduction, the concept has been embraced by tools vendors and covered in publications like iMedia Connection, Search Engine Watch, Business2Community and Social Media Today, and Website Magazine.

Nevertheless, the point raised on Twitter is valid: a number of overlapping terms in use address at least parts of the digital marketing and PR mix. Perhaps the definitions below will help to clarify the role of WPO as an overarching management framework.

Web Presence Optimization (WPO)

Web presence is essentially web visibility; it’s about being as ubiquitous and easy-to-find as possible when buyers are searching for information about what you and your competitors sell. Anything about your company or products that appears somewhere online—whether owned, earned or paid content—contributes to your web presence.

Tracking over time and against competitors as well as managing and continually improving this for relevant, maximum exposure is optimization. By using unified metrics, you can manage and coordinate the efforts of specialists in various disciplines, including content development, social media, SEO, PR, online advertising, and reputation management, resulting in efficient and effective optimization of an organization’s total web presence in order to drive business results.

Content Marketing

According to content management guru Joe Pulizzi, “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.).”

Content marketing is arguably one component of WPO even though it includes offline venues such as print which don’t contribute to web presence. It’s also focused on owned (internally produced) media and does not include metrics or competitive benchmarking.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Per BusinessDictionary.com, SEO is “the process of improving traffic to a given website by increasing the site’s visibility in search engine results. Websites improve search engine optimization by improving content, making sure that the pages are able to be indexed correctly, and ensuring that the content is unique.”

SEO includes technical factors (making sure sites load quickly and are easy to crawl), content factors (keyword research, content optimization, meta tags) and linking factors (building internal and external links).

While SEO is affected by PR and social media activities, metrics, and competitive actions, it’s internally focused (owned media), cannot be used to manage PR or social media marketing activities (except as they relate specifically to website optimization) and is separate from paid search or other online advertising activities.

Inbound Marketing

In the words of HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, inbound marketing is “where you help yourself ‘get found’ by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.  In order to do this, you need to set your website up like a ‘hub’ for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through search engines, the blogosphere, and social media.”

Like WPO, inbound marketing incorporates metrics, content creation and optimization, social media, and (in some cases) search engine marketing. Valuable as it is, however, it doesn’t provide the overall online visibility management framework that WPO does because the latter also includes PR, online advertising, competitive benchmarking and earned content.

One element that none of the above concepts address, but is addressed in WPO, is that third-party content (from customers, journalists, bloggers or other influencers) has value in influencing the buyer’s decision-making process, even when it doesn’t lead directly to a lead or sale. Third-party content is often viewed as more objective and credible than company-produced content, making it critical to track, measure and share.

Online Marketing

According to About.com, “Online Marketing is the art and science of selling products and/or services over digital networks, such as the Internet and cellular phone networks. The art of online marketing involves finding the right online marketing mix of strategies that appeals to your target market and will actually translate into sales.”

Though it incorporates SEM, online advertising, search optimization, and content marketing, online marketing is transaction-oriented: it’s focused on activities that lead directly to sales for generally low-consideration items including frequently-purchased or impulse-buy consumer goods and low-value business supplies.

WPO, in contrast, has a broader focus on earned content (e.g. social and press) and overall online visibility, which is important for high-value, considered-purchase consumer goods and b2b sales where web research may lead to an online or offline sale.

Internet Marketing

While this was originally an umbrella term for various types of activities similar to online marketing, Marketing Land notes that the term has since become to large extent co-opted by get-rich quick hoaxes, pyramid schemes and other scams.

As WPO is all about building online credibility, it’s the farthest thing from Internet marketing.

All of which means…

In the end, the Twitterers’ concern about buzzword proliferation isn’t misplaced. Buzzwords are often used to obscure, confuse, or spin. But WPO genuinely illuminates the actionable key metrics of online visibility, enabling marketing executives to make smart decisions about coordinating PR, SEO, SEM, social, and content marketing efforts.

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Best Web Analytics Tools and Tips of 2009

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

There’s a great scene from the original Cannonball Run in which one of drivers hops into his Ferrari convertible, rips the rearview mirror off of the windshield, tosses it out and then says to his startled co-driver, “What is behind us—does not matter.” In the world of analytics, all information is, by its nature, backward looking (you can’t measure what hasn’t happened yet). But it isn’t the historical measures themselves which are of interest to analysts, rather the trends they reveal and path(s) forward they illuminate. In short, to be valuable, analytics must be actionable; they should provide hard data to clarify what you should keep doing, what you should stop doing, and what you should do differently.

Learn more about creating custom reports in Google Analytics, improving site conversion rates, interesting tools that extend the capabilities of Analytics and more here in some of the best articles and blog posts on web analytics from the past year.

Google Analytics 101, Part 1 by Search Engine Watch

Frequent best-of contributor Ron Jones provides an excellent introduction to Google Analytics for newbies, and even intermediate users may learn something new here.

Eyes on the Prize with Custom Reports by Google Analytics Blog

Sebastian Tonkin provides step-by-step instructions for creating custom reports within Google, such as a report showing the conversion rate for visitors from a specific geography or traffic source.

Web Analytics and Segmentation for Better Conversion Optimization by SEOmoz

A detailed tutorial on using the Advanced Segments Tool in Google Analytics to gain insights into measures such as differences in conversion rates based on content viewed: sure, that popular blog post drew a lot of traffic, but was it productive traffic? Advanced Segments can help answer such questions.

6 Tools Every Google Analytics User Should Have by ROI Revolution

For technical analysts, Shawn Purtell reviews six—actually seven—Firefox extensions, Greasemonkey scripts and other tools that enhance the functionality of Google Analytics. One example is Social Media Metrics, a tools which “allows you to see social media and link bait statistics for your specific pages.”

Is Yahoo Analytics Better than Google’s? by ECommerce Guide

David Needle reports results of a CMS Watch study which gave higher marks to Yahoo’s analytics tool in a couple of areas, including higher default pageview limits for larger enterprises, and the ability to access and view raw data, which would “let you continue to maintain a historical record instead of starting over” if you ever move to a more robust paid analytics platform.

Polaris Puts Google Analytics On Your Desktop by I’m Just Sayin’

A brief but helpful review of Polaris, a free Adobe Air application that delivers eight of the most popular Google Analytics reports straight to your desktop without logging in. A slick, quick way to stay current on your web traffic stats.

New AdWords ID Data in Google Analytics API by Google Analytics Blog

Alex Lucas explains how to combine data from Google Analytics and Google AdWords to “get a (more) detailed picture of the performance of…ad creatives and keywords.”

New Google Analytics Features Can Help You Track Your Social Media Success & Failures by Social Conversations

Li Evans showcases several new features recently added or planned for Google Analytics, such as new goal tracking types, custom variables, mobile apps tracking and custom alerts.

100 Ways To Measure Social Media by MediaPost Social Media Insider

What metrics can be tracked in social media? David Berkowitz offers up his list of  “100 thought-starters.” Some are easy (e.g. numbers of fans and followers), others are more challenging and may require more sophisticated tools, but it’s a great list for generating ideas.

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Best Search Engine Marketing Tips of 2009, Part 2

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

While more than 80% of companies now use paid search in some form (primarily AdWords), many of these programs are under-optimized and not delivering the results they could be. How can search marketers use techniques like testing and keyword match types to improve results? How important are branded terms in paid search? Does PPC advertising help with branding? How can you use demographic and geographic targeting to improve results? What are the best ways to reduce the bounce rate from landing pages? What’s a “conversion path” and how can you use that knowledge to increase conversion rates?

Best SEM Tips and Tactics of 2009Get the answers to these questions and many others here in more of the best articles and blog posts on search engine marketing (SEM) from the past year.

10 tips for extending paid search growth by iMedia Connection

Noah Elkin walks through how to use testing, match types, ad text optimization and other tactics to improve search marketing success.

Better Targeting = Better Leads — Demographics for SMBs by Search Engine Watch

Carrie Hill explains how to use demographic targeting tools from AdWords, MSN AdCenter and Yahoo to increase conversion rates for b2c search marketing programs.

Back to the PPC Classroom | A Disciplined Approach To Managing A Client Relationship by PPC News & Opinion

For search marketing consultants and agencies, four basic phases and an example of what a monthly report should consist of to keep the client engaged throughout the relationship.

The Importance Of Branded Search Programs (Even in Tough Economic Times) by Search Engine Land

Sami Carroll shows why branded terms are important in both SEO and SEM efforts, along with tactics for maximizing results with a limited budget.

New Research: Paid Search Builds Branding by ClickZ

Kevin Lee reports on a study showing that search increases brand awareness by 6% or more, and points out that, because PPC search marketers pay only for the click, the lift in branding due to the sponsored link is free.

What’s The Real Value of Brand PPC? by Search Engine Journal

Brian Carter uses research and client studies to support the same conclusion reached by Kevin Lee in the post above, and also provides tactical options for maximizing the branding impact of search based on your objectives. Two other noteworthy posts from Brian are 5 Ways to Maximize PPC Impressions, in which he explains how to use bid levels, keyword match types and other tatics to maximize PPC exposure, and The PPC ROI Calculator: How To Forecast And Optimize Your PPC ROI wherein he shows how to maximize the productivity of search marketing programs using an ROI calculator.

Geo-Targeting Basics: A How-To Guide on Setting Up Geo-Targeting in Google, Yahoo and MSN by PPC Hero

A guide to options and techniques for limiting delivery of search marketing ads to a targeted geographic area for local SEM.

Study Confirms Display Ads, Paid Search Work in Concert by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie Sullivan details results of an iProspect study quantifying how “display ads and search work together to provide a bigger impact on campaigns.”

X Marks the Spot! How to Get Listed In Google Local Map Ads by PPC Hero

***** 5 Stars
This post tells how to get a business listed on Google Maps, then goes on to explain the distinction between a map listing and local map ads: “that (map) listing doesn’t reach as many searchers and internet users as one might think.  To broaden your advertising reach, Google created Local Business Ads.  These ads are separate from your traditional campaign-level geo-targeting in AdWords.”

10 tactics for lowering your website’s bounce rate by iMedia Connection

Tom Shapiro explains how to analyze your bounce rate (percentage of people who hit the landing page from a PPC ad then leave your site immediately without taking any further action) and reduce it using keywords, timing, landing page design, navigation, offers, and other elements.

7 Steps to Improving Conversion Rates by Search Engine Guide

Stoney deGeyter provides a seven-step guide to using conversion paths to increase conversion rates.

How to Use Google Wonder Wheel and Related Search Tools for Keyword Research by PPC Hero

Why one of Google’s less-known tools, the Google Wonder Wheel, “is a very helpful and insightful tool for PPC keyword research” and tactics for using it.

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Best AdWords Tips and Tactics of 2009, Part 2

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Optimization—the greatest results for the lowest cost—is the goal of every AdWords campaign manager. What are two of the simplest ways to optimize AdWords campaigns? Google is constantly changing and upgrading its AdWords tools; which recent enhancements are most important to understand and take advantage of? Click-through rate (CTR) is the single most important factor in determining Quality Score, which is as important as bid level in determining how highly an ad will appear in search results. But it isn’t the only factor; what other items are considered, and how can you optimize these?

Get the answers to these questions and many others here in more of the best articles and blog posts from last year on Google AdWords search engine marketing.

AdWords Best of 2009 - WebbiquitySetting up PPC Campaigns 101, Part 1 by Search Engine Watch

Ron Jones steps through the process of structuring content for AdWords campaigns, developing keyword lists and setting up ad groups, along the way identifying helpful resources and tools such Permutator.

2 dead simple ways to optimize your Adwords campaign by CDF Networks

Chad Frederiksen recommends using the AdWords Conversion Optimizer tool and Opportunities tab to increase conversion rates while reducing per-conversion costs.

AdWords Management : How ROI, Costs, and Services Measure Up for Your Business by Pure Visibility

Although AdWords advertising can benefit a wide range of businesses, it isn’t right for every company. Steve Loszewski walks through ROI calculations to help determine the value of AdWords for a specific situation, as well as what’s involved in properly managing a successful AdWords program.

Rich Media and Video templates in display ad builder by Inside AdWords

Emel Mutlu explains how to use the AdWords display ad builder tool to create ads for Google’s content network that display multiple products, incorporate multiple destination URLs, track unique interactions, include video, provide in-ad coupon codes and more. New templates simplify these tasks, and Emel notes that he hopes they will be “one more great reason to try out the AdWords display ad builder, and reach additional customers in new ways.” More noteworthy posts from the Inside AdWords blog:

  • AdWords Editor 7.5.1 for Windows and Mac: Austin Rachlin reports on key changes in the latest updated of the AdWords Editor tool, including the ability to import .CSV files, selectively download specific campaigns, and view and organize new keywords by topical category. In another newsworthy post, Conversion Optimizer is now available to more campaigns, Austin announced that any campaign with at least 15 conversions in the most recent 30-day period is now eligible to use Google’s Conversion Optimizer tool, and that according to Google’s research, “campaigns which adopted Conversion Optimizer achieved a 21% increase in conversions while at the same time decreasing their CPA by 14% (on average and in comparison to similar campaigns).”
  • New Interface Thursdays: Keep tabs on your account with custom alerts: Trevor Claiborne explains how to set up custom alerts to get notified about specific types of events or activities in your AdWords account, such as a spike in impressions for branded keywords or when a campaign is close to hitting its daily budget.
  • AdWords Conversion Tracking is now even easier: Emily Williams shows how changes to the interface for the conversion tracking tool make it easier to implement and monitor this capability. Of note, the “New Conversion” button allows you to quickly define new conversion actions or import them from a Google Analytics account, and the “Webpages” tab makes it easier to track conversions by page.

Is The Hype Over Google AdWords Quality Score Justified? by Search Engine Land

Craig Danuloff provides a detailed discussion of Quality Score: its importance (high), its ability to function as either a discount mechanism or a tax, why CTR is critical, and why landing page design isn’t. Two other noteworthy posts from Search Engine Land are The 6/90 Rule: 6 Reports Contain 90% Of Actionable AdWords Insights, in which Brad Geddes identifies and demonstrates the value of the six most important AdWords reports, and How important Is Click Through Rate In Google’s Quality Score Formula?, wherein Siddharth Shah illustrates mathematically the importance of CTR to quality score (it explains about 72%; all other factors combined account for the other 28%).

Learn How to Import Your Google Analytics Goals into AdWords Conversion Tracking by PPC Hero

A concise but helpful post that explains how to pull goals and transactions from Google Analytics into AdWords for unified conversion reporting. Analytics and AdWords have traditionally been completely separate systems with inconsistent data, but Google continues to bring the two into closer harmony. Two other valuable posts from PPC Hero are 5 Tips on Passing the Google Adwords Qualified Professional Exam, which provides tips such as knowing how to calculate ROI and AdWords ad text policies before tackling Google’s AdWords certification examination, and 6 Rules to Achieve Awesome Quality Scores & Increase PPC Performance, which explains five factors other than CTR (such as having well-organized ad groups and pruning under-performing ads and keywords) that can help improve AdWords quality scores.

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Best Twitter Tips, Tools and Tactics of 2009, Part 1

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

What are the four stages of Twitter enlightenment? How important is Twitter for business? How can you get more retweets and efficiently manage unfollowers? How exactly did Dell generate so much revenue by Twittering? What are the “secrets” of top corporate Twitterers?

Learn the answers to these questions and others here in more of the best blog posts and articles from last year on Twitter techniques, tools and tactics.

Sanity check: The four stages of a typical Twitter user by TechRepublic

Jason Hiner brilliantly summarizes the path to enlightenment of the typical Twitter newbie, from “confusion and indignation” through the use of tools and mobile messaging. Great advice for newbies, and experienced Tweeters will likely get a smile of recognition out of this post as well.

A Twitter Marketing Sanity Check by iMedia Connection

Yes, another Twitter “sanity check.” In this article, Daniel Flamberg explains why he is “stumped and frustrated” by Twitter (maybe he needs to read Jason’s post above?) but in the end concedes that “Twitter is ripe for experimentation,” and advises marketers to “be true to your brand personality and ethos and play with this (not so) new tool.” In another iMedia Connection piece on Twitter, Twitter brand smackdown: The winners and losers, Rodney Rumford highlights lessons from the Twitter successes of Ford, Zappos and Dell. And in a third piece from the same publication, Twitter now a business ‘must-have,‘ Madhuri Shekar quotes a MarketingProfs survey showing that “84 percent of respondents (most of whom represent small businesses) claim that their company’s Twitter usage will increase and 46 percent say it will increase by a ‘significant’ margin” in the coming year, and quotes the conclusion of Ann Handley, chief content officer for MarketingProfs, “Much like Facebook, Twitter is now moving into the business mainstream.”

What’s a Retweet? by Social Media Today

The title may not sound promising to experienced Twitterers, but in this excellent post, Jill Kurtz notes that less than 1/5 of 1% of all tweets get 100 retweets—the level considered a “home run” for a Twitter post—then provides helpful tips for getting into that retweet stratosphere, such as including “pls RT” with tweets, keeping tweets short enough for others to retweet without editing, and asking for RT’s only for relevant content.

5 Twitter Tools to Help You Manage Unfollowers by WebProNews

Jeremy Muncy reviews five helpful Twitter tools, from the ubiquitous (Twellow) to the less well-known, such as Twitterless, an online application that not only notifies you when someone stops following, but also supplies “a graphed out ‘follower history’ over a period of time to help you understand where your (sic) gaining or losing followers.”

Dell Says It Has Earned $3 Million From Twitter by The New York Times

Okay, the figure quoted in the headline is now outdated (the most recent Twitter revenue claimed by Dell on Twitter is $6.5 million), but Claire Cain Miller does an excellent job of outlining how Dell has generated, and continues to generate, significant sales through Twitter. She also notes that “Twitter made exactly $0 from those Dell sales, something that will very likely change.”

Pro Twitterers Share Their Secrets by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Mark Walsh reports on the secrets of highly successful corporate Twitterers from Comcast, Dunkin’ Donuts and Six Flags. Among the tips: be human, authentic, even a bit immature. Favorite snip: “Frank Eliason, director of digital care at Comcast…drew hearty laughter when he described the cable giant as being known for its customer service. ‘I can’t wait until people stop laughing at that joke,’ added Eliason.”

Twitter in B2B – a Velocity Slideshare by The B2B Marketing Blog

Doug Kessler outlines his firm’s presentation on seven ways to use Twitter for b2b marketing. Advising b2b bloggers on the use of Twitter, Doug writes “Twitter is already playing a role in content marketing campaigns — for finding topics, inviting input and promoting the finished pieces. It’s all about the engagement.”

10 ways to get your business in on the microblogging craze by iMedia Connection

Clay McDaniel offers some basic but solid advice in this guide to making Twitter work for marketing, such as pick a leader (so there is “one personality driving the charge”), establish a regular rhythm, and “talk like a real person” (not as obvious as you might think). Three other articles from iMedia Connection worth reading are 7 marketing mistakes to avoid on Twitter by Rodney Rumford, Meet the brands that ‘get’ Twitter by Michael Estrin, and 7 tips for the perfect Twitter profile by Jason Baer.

Twitter 101, Part 2 by Search Engine Watch

Ron Jones reviews popular Twitter tools, offers tips on finding the right people to follow while growing your own following, and provides a basic guide to understanding Twitter lingo. This post is an excellent starting point for those new to Twitter.

Case Study: How I Used Twitter to Generate 35,967 Extra Hits to my Site in Just 14 Days by Winning The Web

Gyutae Park details a real-world case of how to use Twitter to drive traffic to worthwhile content, using a hot topic, your network of followers, social bookmarking sites, the Tweet This WordPress plugin, a helpful follow-up article—and a bit of luck.

Twitter background guidelines by Croncast

For anyone still using a “canned” Twitter background found somewhere on the web, or worse, one of Twitter’s own default backgrounds, this post provides the technical specifications—file dimensions, size, coordinates and instructions—for creating a custom Twitter background image.

Twitter FAIL! The 8 worst brands on the world’s hottest microblog by Revolution

Gareth Jones heaps scorn on eight global brands that got Twitter wrong, and explains why their strategies (or lack thereof) went awry. Astoundingly, as of May of this year, major brands like McDonalds, Pepsi, Vodafone and Gucci each had less than 1,000 followers. This article lets you learn from their mistakes.

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