March 21, 2015 by
In Chinese philosophy, yin (the shady side) and yang (the sunny side) describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. In digital marketing, yin and yang apply to the way organic search and paid search work.
Organic Search (Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the the process of obtaining a natural placement on search engine rank pages using keywords, keyword analysis and link popularity. The goal of SEO is to attract users organically without paying for it.
Paid Search (Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay Per Click (PPC)) is where web site owners pay an advertising fee to have their web site search ads shown in a top placement on search engine pages or display networks. The goal of SEM is to ensure search visibility.
Although 80% of people clicks on an organic listing first. Whether they go to organic search or paid search, 33% click on the web listing in the first position, and 90% of all click occur on the first page. So, as Ricky Bobby says, “if you ain’t first, you’re last”
How do you get the most out of organic search and paid search. Here are 12 ways to make organic search and paid search work better together.
- MORE “SHELF SPACE:” It’s no secret, when you have 2 listings you own more real estate and chances of being clicked.
- INCREMENTAL CLICKS: Google research shows even with a #1 organic search ranking, paid search ads provide 50% incremental clicks.
- GREATER CONVERSIONS: Even though roughly 80% of clicks on a search page occur on organic listings, 42% to 48% of conversions happen against paid traffic according to Forbes. That means paid ads work after a would-be customer knows what they want to buy.
- ORGANIC LINKS + PAID LINKS = MORE CLICKS: Studies show users have a higher propensity to click on paid links if your organic link is listed, as well the other way around.
- MORE COMPELLING COPY: Take your best performing ads in terms of click through rate (CTR) and conversion rate and try applying those headlines and ad copy into your meta descriptions and title tags. Additionally, take copy from top performing organic pages and see how they work within paid ads.
- FASTER RESULTS: It can take months to see progress in organic search rank. The ability to appear in the search results in a top position in paid search helps carry your brand while building an SEO presence.
- BETTER HEADLINES AND LANDING PAGES: Paid search makes it possible to test landing pages, headlines and templates without hurting your organic traffic. When an advertiser can learn what is most effective and achieves better click through rate and more conversions, everyone wins.
- COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE: There are many ways and tools for organic search and paid search for competitive intelligence. Identify who the top competitors in organic search are for a particular keyword with Keyword Spy. Find relevant long tail keywords, see what competitors’ bid and their PPC ads with SEMRUSH. Use these tools to identify competitors’ keyword priorities and strategies.
- ACHIEVE CAMPAIGN GOALS TOGETHER: Want to see how PPC & SEO work together to achieve your campaign goals? Link Google Webmaster Tools to Google AdWords which provides additional insight into the relationship between paid and organic search campaigns. Using the Paid & Organic report effectively shows any instances where a potential customer might have seen paid search results, organic search results and paid and organic search results together on the same results page.
- MORE WEB TRAFFIC: It is plain and simple; with more links pointing to your website at any given moment there is more opportunity for increased visitors.
- COMBAT NEGATIVE PR: Occasionally, someone will say something negative about your company. It happens, and when it does, combined PPC and SEO efforts can be great damage control. A great example was seen during the Gulf oil spill. For some time afterward, BP paid for PPC ads linked to the keyword ‘oil spill.’ The PPC ad led to a page on BP’s site about the cleanup effort. They wanted to make sure that whenever someone searched ‘oil spill,’ BP’s PPC ad was at the top of the list. Use this technique to help tell your side of the story.
- TARGET MORE PRECISELY USING SOCIAL: The social media landscape is changing dramatically, and part of that change has been the emergence of highly targeted advertising opportunities. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube (owned by Google) can serve up ads targeted to incredibly specific groups of people. Using Facebook user profile information, it’s possible to show an ad only to 22 year olds living in Kansas City who are interested in motorcycles and horticulture. It may be a small group, but it’s precise. The data that you collect from these campaigns uncovers granular details about your target audience to help refine your organic and paid search strategy.
Did this convince you of the yin and yang organic search and paid search? Could it benefit your business if they were working better together?
March 15, 2015 by
- 50% of business owners have increased their time on social media
- 55% state they use Facebook, Twitter and the other major platforms for customer acquisition and sales leads
- 60% say they see no results (source: Forbes)
Why do so many companies put so much time into activities that don’t produce results?
A paradox is an absurd or seemingly self-contradictory statement that, when investigated, is well-founded and true. These facts say there is a paradox (or paradoxes) about the way businesses use social media. Because spending so much time and seeing no results makes no sense.
Some social media paradoxes to explain these paradoxes are:
- Social media is perceived to be an end when it is a means to an end
- Social media is so attractive because it is the least social form of communication
- There is no such thing as a strategy for social media; there is only a business strategy in which social media fits
The Socio-media-logy chart above illustrates a social media paradox. Although to “run” is the fastest way to get someplace, the paradox is companies would see better results with social media if they took the time to “crawl” and “walk” first.
Here are 6 insights into the social media paradox.
- BUILD IT AND THEY DON’T COME: On average, there are 1,500 stories that can appear in a person’s Facebook News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. Even Facebook says their organic reach is declining. Over 2,000,000 blog posts are written and 864,000 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every day. Your business may expect if you build, your audience will come, but the numbers say they don’t.
- TARGETING INVOLVES KNOWING WHERE TO AIM: It doesn’t matter how many social networks your business uses if you don’t where your target customers are most likely to be So, before you began, a little research goes a long way. Look at the social presence and growth of your competitors on their social networks. See what thy post; what is commented on and shared. Listen using keywords about your industry or brand using a social search engine like Topsy or HootSuite. Profile what social networks are used most often on Social Searcher; what days of the week, what time of day and when content is most shared on BuzzSumo.
- INFLUENCE COMES FROM KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS PERSUASIVE: 15,100,000 consumers go to social media before making purchase decisions. 81% said friends social media posts influenced their decisions; 79% like a company Facebook page because it offers discounts and incentives; 44% of women trust their favorite blogger. Do you know what’s likely to influence purchase decisions for your brand? Are you doing it?
- PERSUASIVE CONTENT TEACHES SOMETHING NEW: Social media is the least social channel if it is used to broadcast information that is put out on non-social channels. That’s why it’s most effective use is usually for a purpose not meet by other marketing channels. One that is socially oriented. Customer service, product in use demonstrates, new usages, crowd sourcing new ideas and customer feedback are just a few of the ways social media can be used to teach something new and amplify your selling proposition.
- TRUST IS BUILD WITH CONSISTENCY: Research shows that 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekend, even if it’s not during normal business hours.Being reliable, honest, timely and showing integrity and qualities that build trust. They happen not in a single occurrence but by showing up authentically day after day, week after week and month after month. They pay dividends in good times and in bad.
- IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: You can’t determine what is successful until success is defined. Success doesn’t have to involve a whole new nomenclature either. For example, it can be done with: 1) Reach = a measurement of the size of audience you are communicating with; 2) Engagement = the total number of likes, shares, and comments on a post; 3) Conversions = he number of people who achieved a desired result and 4) Sales = did your business make any money? It can also be done with just a couple of analytic tools like Google Analytics and Buffer.
Does this explain the social media paradox? Did it teach you something new? Does your business need help with the social media paradox?
March 07, 2015 by
In 500 B.C., Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who wrote The Art of War said you can’t win a war without a strategy and tactics. Why? Great tactics win battles but great strategies win wars.
That wisdom is just as applicable today. Whether it’s war, marketing, sales, research, business intelligence or personal, both are inextricably linked and co-dependent.
Sometimes, when people are creating a plan, there is confusion about whether something is a strategy or tactic. It’s important to know. As Sun Tzu states, the wrong application can influence the outcome.
Strategy or tactic? Here are 21 ways to tell the difference.
- Strategy is an idea; tactics are actions
- Strategy fulfills your predetermined goals and objectives; tactics and the things that make it happen
- Strategy is a plan for reaching a specific goal, while a tactic is the means you use to reach the goal
- Strategy does not depend on brilliant tactics for success; but even the best tactics can’t compensate for a lousy strategy
- Strategy identifies clear broader goals that advance the overall organization and organize resources; a tactic utilize specific resources to achieve sub-goals that support the defined mission
- Strategy is long term and changes infrequently; a tactic is short term and flexible to market conditions
- Strategy uses experience, research, analysis, thinking, then communication; a tactic uses experiences, best practices, plans, processes, and teams
- Strategy produces clear organizational goals, plans, maps, guideposts, and key performance measurements; a tactic produces clear deliverables and outputs using people, tools, time
- Srategy is the thinking aspect of planning a change; tactics are the things that get the job done
- Strategy requires a deliberate allocation of resources in a given direction; tactics are the choices one makes when executing a strategy – they are the means to an end
- Strategy answers the question: “Who are we?” Or, more specifically, what is it that we stand for. A tactic answers the question, “What do we do?”
- Strategy is done above the shoulder; tactics are done below the shoulders
- Strategy helps you understand outcomes and helps predict future outcomes; tactics are steps you take
- Strategies are a broad look at how a company will achieve its objectives; tactics are very detailed plans which must take into account the specifics of a tactical environment
- Strategy addresses the “why” of an operation and tactics address the “how”
- Strategy focuses on the big picture, the highest level scope of a particular unit in a given mission; tactics focus again on the small scale for a given unit
- Strategy is a matter of figuring out what we need to achieve, determining the best way to use the resources at our disposal to achieve it, and then executing the plan; tactics are the art and science of winning engagements and battles
- Strategy is proactive, and looks for the future. It focuses on the long term; tactics are any movement done in order to achieve a momentary goal
- Strategy and tactics are different, related, and intertwined. You won’t succeed with one and not the other
- Strategy is a general plan before the encounter and tactics is the way the strategy is played out
- Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat
Did this explain the differences between strategy or tactic to you? Does it help you with your plans? Are you applying them in the right way?
March 01, 2015 by
- 81% of internet users find desired online destinations through a search engine (source: Forrester)
- 76% of people use search engines to find local business information (source: MOZ)
- 53% of organic searches click on the website in the first position (source: Search Engine Watch)
The facts show, if your business expects results from the internet, you have to think about search rank like Ricky Bobby – “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high search rank on a Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
To achieve a top search rank for a website, it’s more like a marathon than a sprint. There are steps to be taken understanding top ranking factors. Each step gets you closer to your goal. So it’s important to know what the most important ranking factors are.
Here are 24 top ranking factors for a high search rank with search engines.
KEYWORDS: Create relevance with your audience. Here are the places where they should be seen on a website.
- KEYWORD IN DOMAIN NAME: Exact match domains tend to perform extremely well in the SERPs. But if the desired domain name is taken or, for branding purposes, if it is better to go for a brand name as your domain name, there are other ways to pursue keywords.
- KEYWORDS IN THE URL: Every URL on a website is a place to put keywords. And, there are up to 115 characters that search engines capture. Keep them clean and user friendly. For example, http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/seo-clean-urls is a simple description of keywords in a url title that describe what the webpage is about.
- KEYWORDS IN PAGE TITLES: It’s much easier to stick your keyword in page titles. Make sure that your titles also look natural and appealing because people buy what you’re selling, not search bots.
- KEYWORDS IN H1 TEXT: H1 is an HTML tag normally used to mark headings. When your keywords stand in H1 tags, they carry more weight.
- KEYWORDS IN IMAGE ALT TEXT: Image alt text is what gets displayed instead of your image when it cannot be loaded. If image alt texts reflect the rest of the keywords on your page, this sends the search engines a signal that your page is relevant to the search query, and they rank it higher.
- KEYWORDS IN ANCHOR TEXT: Internal linking is important for higher rankings. To attain the desired effect, use your keywords in the anchor texts on web pages.
- KEYWORD DENSITY IN COPY: Keywords should be present in copy. The exact number of keywords to increase search rank the on the industry. There is no ideal keyword density that’ll work for every site.
LINKS: Establish authority with your area of expertise. Here is how to use them.
- OUTBOUND LINKS: Linking to authoritative pages sends trust signals to the search engine. It shows you want your audience to learn more of the subject. This is a huge trust factor for Google.
- INTERNAL LINKS: Interlinking pages on your site can pass their strength between them. It also makes it easier for your audience to get to specific areas of the website.
- NUMBER OF LINKING DOMAINS: The number of domains linking to you is one of the most important ranking factors.
- AUTHORITY OF LINKING DOMAINS: Not all links are equal The authority of the domain used is an influencing rank factor too.
SITE FACTORS: Help search engines and your audience understand what your site is about; the better is the understanding, the higher the search rank.
- INDEXED PAGES: The number of pages on search engine that a website appear. More is generally better.
- SITE MAP: A sitemap helps search engine to index all pages on your site. It is the simplest and most effective way to search engines what pages your website includes.
- SITE LOADING SPEED: To search engines and your customers, site loading speed impacts search rank. 47% of web users expect a website to load in under two seconds. 51% of online shoppers in the U.S claimed if a site is too slow they will not complete a purchase (source: Search Engine Journal)
- SITE ERRORS: Numbers are often used to account for errors that may be occurring on a website. A 404 error occurs when a webpage is served to a user who tries to access a page that cannot be located at the URL provided. A 401 error happens when a website visitor tries to access a restricted web page but isn’t authorized to do so, usually because of a failed login attempt. A 500 error is a general-purpose error message for when a web server encounters some form of internal error. For example, the web server is overloaded. There are some of the most common site errors.
- MOBILE OPTIMIZED SITE: 46% of searchers used mobile exclusively to research. And the number are increasing. Having a mobile optimized site is having a bigger impact on search rank as time goes by. (source: Positionly)
- GOOGLE (OR BING) WEBMASTER TOOLS INTEGRATION: If you site is verified by Google Webmasters Tools, it help with your sites indexing. Webmaster Tools in general provide valuable data to better optimize your site.
GOOD CONTENT: Amplifies relevance and authority. No website get to a high search rank without good content.
- CONTENT LENGTH: Searchers want to be educated. They won’t satisfy with basic information. The authority and informativeness of content is very important.
- DUPLICATE CONTENT: Not all factors can influence your rankings in a positive way. Having similar content across various pages of your site can actually hurt your rankings. Avoid duplicating content and write original copy for each page.
- CONTENT UPDATES: Search engine algorithms prefers freshly updated or “dynamic” content. It is one reason blogs have such strong value for search rank. This does mean that you have to continually edit web pages. It does mean, on an annual basis, you should have a strategy for freshening up page content.
- IMAGES AND VIDEOS: Good content doesn’t have to always involve words. Images and videos are just as important. They provide opportunities for Alt Text with Keywords and Links.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Provides additional sources of traffic, links and web pages. They are important contributors to a high search rank.
- SOCIAL REPUTATION: Just as search engines don’t count all links equally, they don’t view all social accounts as being the same. Having your own social presence that is well regarded is important. You want to gain references from social accounts with good reputations. Participate on relevant social platforms in a real, authentic way.
- SOCIAL SHARES: Similar to links, getting quality social shares is helpful. Good things happen when more people see your site or brand. Nowhere is this more apparent than Google+.
- SOCIAL PRESENCE: Having more than one entry on a search page can only increase the chance of a click. Your social network are additional web pages that help people get to know you and drive traffic to your website. And people like to do business with people they know.
Do these ranking factors help you understand search rank? Does you business need help getting to a top search rank? Are there top ranking factors you would include that we missed?
February 22, 2015 by
- 91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
- 90% of the world’s total data has been created just within the past two years (source: IBM)
- 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
These facts say loud and clear companies believe data helps them make better business decisions.
Big Data is a broad term for data that comes from places like web browsers, social networks, census, surveillance and sensors. It’s stored in computer clouds, and searched for patterns, predictive analytics and insights.
According to IDS, in the next 12-18 months, organizations plan to invest in skill sets necessary for big data deployments, including data scientists (27%), data architects (24%), data analysts (24%), data visualizers (23%), research analysts (21%), and business analysts (21%).
But is bigger better?
Here are 10 data experts who explain why little data is the new big data.
- “Big data has been hyped so heavily that companies are expecting it to deliver more value than it actually can. The exception. Companies that have a culture of evidence-based decision making, tend to be more profitable than companies that don’t have that kind of culture.” – Jeanne W. Ross, Cynthia M. Beath and Anne Quaadgras, Harvard Business Review
- “What we track determines where we focus and what we are motivated to improve. Why do people obsess over LinkedIn Connections or Twitter followers? SAT scores, golf handicaps, or even gas mileage? Because they are observable metrics that are easy to compare. Before you obsess over a particular metric, make sure it’s the right metric to obsess over.” – Johan Berger
- “How to beat the big data giant? Start by thinking little data, as in David vs. Goliath. The first step in the little data process is to identify key business objectives that your organization would like to have data solve. Make big decisions and eliminate the need to capture and manage the irrelevant data within the 2.4 quintillion bits of digital data generated each day from the big data stream.” – Gary Drenik, Forbes
- “Size in itself doesn’t matter – what matters is having the data, of whatever size, that helps us solve a problem or address the question we have. For many problems and questions, small data in itself is enough. The data on household energy use, the times of local buses, government spending – these are all small data.” – Rufus Pollock, Open Knowledge Foundation
- “Corporate decision-makers often would be better served if they rely on tried-and-true tools and systems from the world of Little Data, rather than illusions from Big Data. Sampling theory teaches that if the sample is random, one can measure the behavior or mood of the whole by talking to very few people. A sample of 1,500 is sufficient to predict who will win a presidential election. A sample of 200-300 respondents is generally sufficient to predict how much the whole population will like a new product or service.” – Jerry W. Thomas, Decision Analyst
- “Big Data is what organizations know about people — be they customers, citizens, employees, or voters. Data is aggregated from a large number of sources. Little Data is what we know about ourselves. What we buy. Who we know. Where we go. How we spend our time. Without Little Data, Big Data has a tendency to become Big Brother. We’ve all experienced that unsettling feeling when ads follow us on the web.” – Mark Bronchek, Harvard Business Review
- “Log daily. Reflect quarterly. Plan yearly. This simple model can provide the data and structure you need to take control. Your yearly reflection will provide you the insight needed to make clear, data-driven decisions.” – John Caddell, author The Mistake Bank
- “Big data’s little brother is ‘small data’ or traditional KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that help to measure success in companies. Any data, and in particular ‘big data’, only becomes meaningful and relevant in the context of the business success, measured by KPIs.” – Bernard Marr, Advanced Performance Institute
- “Little data constitutes the nuts and bolts metrics of running a business. For a Web property, that means getting a handle on issues such as the bounce rate, SEO session starts, social session starts, funnels of how users flow through a property, and page views per session. Too many people lose sight of these simple but critical metrics.” – Peter Varad, Cnet
- “So if you’re wondering whether to use big or little data, fuhgetaboutit. Instead you should be wondering whether your company is good at using data period. If it isn’t, then that’s the battle you should fight.” – Pam Baker, Fierce Big Data
Is your company good with data? Let us help your company get there. Or consider taking a Digital Marketing or Social Media Mini-MBA at the Rutgers Business School Executive Education where I teach Web Analytics and ROI for Better Decision Making.
Do you think little data is the new big data? Which is going to help you company make better decisions?