All posts by Kerry

“WOW” Link Building Strategy

There are so many blog posts out there related to easy methods for link building. In the early days of SEO some of these “easy” options included directory submissions, press releases or even purchasing links (Bad!).

We approach link building here at InMarket Success by aligning our strategy with our goal.

  1. Our goal is to increase non-paid traffic from search engines.
  2. Google’s goal is to serve the best content for the query.

Going after easy links doesn’t align with Google’s goal and, thus, will not help us reach our goal.

Rather than focusing on obtaining a large number of easy links, we instead aim to earn relevant, authoritative (albeit fewer) strong links. Search engines “credit” sites that are linked to from authoritative, relevant websites. Google’s intention is to serve the best content for the query. So rather than trying to game the system or go after “easy” links we like to take a step back and make sure we are indeed providing that great content which Google want’s to serve up.

Having great content has two purposes: Google is smart enough to test if your content is worthy and your content has to be interesting or strong for others to consider linking to it.

Rather than focusing on building tons of easy links, we pool all of that effort into a larger link project. Something with a WOW factor.

We approach strong link building like this:

  1. Brainstorm and create some great WOW content/resource/tool
  2. Network and partner with like-minded blogs and websites that would be interested in #1
  3. Earn links, build relationships, network and repeat

For some industries, creating this WOW content can be a real challenge. But overcoming the challenge is what makes for a great link builder. Nothing is more rewarding than coming up with an amazing link building idea for a seemingly impossible industry/client and having the “That’s IT!” moment that drives the result.

The WOW content doesn’t have to be an amazing blog post or white paper.. We like to look at the latest trends/tech and think of big ideas. For example, does this client have the ability to make an awesome podcast? A free, informative podcast would definitely be something a like-minded, industry relevant blog would be interested in talking about. I like to consider tools, resources and more —like a podcast, a new app, an online tool, an infographic, interactive data, a great video on Youtube, all of these things provide value to the would-be-linker.

In short- with easy links you get what you put in, not much, and it could cause a Google penalty situation. If your goal is to improve search rankings and increase organic traffic- getting many low value links won’t help you achieve that goal. You need to think outside the box and focus on strong links and great content. With all SEO always keep in mind what Google is looking for—> the best possible result for the search query. Value+WOW is the ultimate goal.

Mobile App Optimization & Marketing Sort of Like SEO…

Besides building amazing websites and providing search engine optimization services… we also build, optimize and market mobile apps.

In many ways app optimization and marketing is similar to search engine optimization and online marketing… you start with a great app (or website). You ensure that app (or website) is built with a strong foundation for optimization.  For a website you want to make sure it is crawl-able by the search engines, with friendly URLs and great content.  With an app you want to be sure the app is optimized for strategic keywords. In both scenarios you start with keyword research (https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner) to identify keywords that are relevant to your app (or website) and that have the best opportunity to be searched for by your target market.

app-optimizationTitle tags are important for SEO and the title of an app (Android or IOS) is also very critical. The name or title of the app becomes the Title Tag on the app store and it usually becomes the title tag on dozens of other app review sites or sites that aggregate apps.  For IOS apps, Apple allows the app publisher to designate 100 characters worth of keywords to each app.  These keywords are also important and could be thought of like meta-keywords-in-the-early-days-of-seo.  If you don’t know what I mean.. back in the day a webmaster could “stuff” his meta-keywords full of strategic terms and the search engines used these signals in their ranking algorithms. Too many people went overboard and now meta-keywords are of no SEO value. But the 100 characters worth of keywords Apple allows, do hold value- so use your 100 characters wisely.

Once we go off page- links are important for any website. The same holds true for apps.  Building links is usually one of the most difficult SEO related tasks. F ortunately with an app, it is usually easier to get links because many apps are interesting or useful tools.  People like to link to useful or interesting tools (think about it, would you rather rank to some eCommerce website or a really cool iPhone App?).  There are also many app review websites that will review and link to apps.

Social media is key as well. Social links, likes and mentions will only help a website. These social cues are like “votes” for your content. The same is true for apps.  One of the interesting things with app optimization is that the more installs you get, the higher your app will get ranked and things can snowball.  So getting social links and buzz and links from app review sites can lead to more installs, which leads to higher rankings and even more installs. Earning a review for an app today can lead to more installs tomorrow, higher rankings the next day and more subsequent installs in the future.

When it comes down to it SEO is all about value.  Sometimes people over-complicate it.  Google wants to return a relevant result that provides the most value for the searcher.  The same is true for apps.  The app stores want to return the best app for the relevant search. Optimizing your website or your app for your target market is a very important step, but always remember that delivering a great product, and value is going to be the key to long term success.

Using Google Spreadsheets for SEO

I’m a big fan of spreadsheets… mainly Excel which is great for all sorts of SEO activities like monthly reporting, goal setting, keyword research and ontology, and on and on. I’m also a big fan of Excel’s slower, clunky competitor: Google Spreadsheets (GS). Fortunately what GS lacks in the speed department are made up for in the collaboration and live web data departments.  At times GS is slow, loading-forever-copy-and-paste-finicky, but there are some really useful upsides to this tool as well.  Being able to collaborate on docs in real time is pretty awesome.  Another great feature is live the ability to pull in webdata. GS allows for importing of RSS feeds and almost any content via the Import XML function which allows for importing web content via Xpath.

Here are some great Google Docs for SEO found from around the web and listed below. Simply click on FILE>MAKE A COPY to test any of these.


1)  Content Idea Generator

Need help brainstorming? With this document you can see what is popular and being talked about right now across several different types of sites. This can lead to ideas and inspiration of what Ito write about.

2)  Lost Link alerts through Google Docs

From Majestic SEO: “The tool grabs the list of the backlinks you have lost during the previous month. Then it filters the list to harvest the domain names where your links have been deleted.” – See more

3)  SEER Interactive SEO Toolbox

From Chris Le. Chris’s spreadsheet/ tool is great because it allows you to aggregate data from SEOmoz, Google Analytics, Twitter, and more into one Google Spreadsheet

4)  Check On-Page Ranking Factors

From Tedd Nemet:
“Our on-page checking spreadsheet uses the importXML() function in Google Spreadsheets. This very useful function takes two arguments, a URL to a document to be parsed and an Xpath query that tells it which information to import into the spreadsheet.” Learn more here


 

Hopefully some of these gogole docs will inspire your own, custom SEO creations. There is also a very informative post at distilled.net that teaches how to use Xpath to import live content into your GS. Do you have a cool GS for SEO? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Key Performance Indicators, Goals & Actionable Next Steps

arrowsAt InMarketSuccess we specialize in analyzing the data that really matters to your business. To help evaluate success we define KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Since each business has their own objectives or goals KPIs are often unique. The broad spectrum of data we can get from Google Analytics has it’s purpose but to really leave with an actionable next step unique KPIs are a MUST for every business.

It”s important to define specific KPIs for your own business. Looking at a website and deciding how to help increase orders, or improve conversion rates can be an overwhelming task. We have a more outlined approach starting with a KPI.

To keep it broad lets look at Conversion Rate as a KPI.  We often get asked: “What is an average conversion rate?”… there isn’t a great answer because it can vary so much from business to business and product to product. The better question is what is MY average conversion rate for the last month, last quarter, last year and what is it now. Compare Apples to Apples with the goal of improving your conversion rate over time. An even better question is “what am I doing to affect my conversion rate?”

When we talk about conversion rate it doesn’t need to apply only to an E-Commerce site. Most analytics programs can track form submissions, request for more info, webinar signup, banner clicks etc. So the objective here is to understand what level conversions rates are at and how they can be improved. We have a KPI or goal then we can create smaller objectives to help reach that goal. So here is how we’d outline it at InMarketSuccess–>

  • KPI: Conversion Rate (Look at last 12 months, monitor monthly)
    • Smaller Objectives to Affect the KPI:
        Setup a goal in the checkout process to identify where users drop off

      • A/B Test the product page
      • Offer different payment options
      • Test Sales Copy
      • Segment traffic in analytics to identify conversion potential for segments of customers (organic, paid, social mobile, new, returning etc)
      • Segment keywords by conversion potential

These are some general ideas. It is a basic concept but very helpful to get the most out of your analytics. The approach above could apply to any KPI for any business. Start with a KPI, measure it and then define smaller steps to help affect that KPI. This is our approach at InMarketSuccess to help us define actionable next steps.

Google Analytics Content Experiments- Updates

Google Analytics Content Experiments (formerly Google Website Optimizer) just launched several new updates. If you are not familiar with Google Analytics Content Experiments it is a powerful tool to A/B test your website allowing you to compare how different web pages perform using a random sample of your visitors. It is part of the Google Analytics interface.

Before spending all of your time and resources marketing your website, A/B test it to help ensure it’s dialed in to convert at it’s fullest potential.  You never know what’s going to work with your audience until you A/B test it. The best part is you are left with hard data, version A produced a conversion rate of “x” and version B produced a conversion rate of “y”. In this way there is no question in your mind if you site is set up to convert at its fullest potential. By A/B testing you can be sure there is no “money left on the table”.

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One recent update to Content Experiments is around Adsense:
“Google Analytics users who have linked their accounts to AdSense can now select AdSense Revenue as an experiment objective. Once set, Google Analytics Multi Armed Bandit optimization algorithms will shift traffic among the experimental variations to achieve maximum revenue in the shortest amount of time. This feature has been a top request among AdSense publishers and Google Analytics is excited to provide a tool to further empower our publisher ecosystem.”

This update is a great way to optimize Adsense revenue, removing the guesswork..

Another update recently made for more advanced users, provides an option to allow even traffic distribution across all experiments. By using this feature, users can bypasses the programmatic optimization that Google Analytics provides.

Learn more about Content Experiments.

Need assistance analyzing your Google Analytics data OR do you need help setting up a Content Experiment of your own? Contact Us Today!

5 Google Analytics Productivity Tips & Shortcuts

The amount of data available within Google Analytics is amazing.  It’s not uncommon to spend an hour or two digging around in your Google Analytics reporting and then leaving scratching your head, with no clear action items or next steps. Data overload! While it can be fun to poke around and dig into the depths of your website data, time is money. Less time analyzing analytics can result in more time to improve your website.

Here are 5 tips to help Optimize your Google Analytics Analysis:

1) Search (Hey it’s what Google Does Best, Right?). Google Analytics keeps improving. This time next year we may not be able recognize  the Google Analytics interface. Over the years I’ve relied heavily on the Google Analytics navigation to find a report, which requires several levels of clicking and sometimes stumbling around. On the upper left corner of Google Analytics you can type in the name of a report and the user friendly interface will make several suggestions which really speeds up the process. I think this search field is often overlooked.

To quickly access the search- simply press the [S] key while on any Google Analytics Page.

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2) Customize Your Dashboard.  Once you dig in and find that amazing report that you know you will want to use again and again… Add the report to your dashboard. Then drag and drop to organize your dashboard to your preferences.  Bonus tip.. Google recently announced that you will be able to share your Google Analytics Dashboard.

3) Create Shortcuts. Shortcuts allow you to produce important reports with a single click. Shortcuts save your settings so you don’t have to configure a new report each time you open it. Any setting you apply to a report stays applied in a shortcut until you manually change the settings. To create  shortcuts, go to the Shortcuts menu under the Home tab of your dashboard

4) Keyboard Shortcuts. This little known feature can really speed things up. Over the years I have manually tweaked the date field countless times. With a simple keyboard shortcut you can change the date range. Press “d” and then “y” to change the date to yesterday… press “d” then “m” to set the range to last month. There are many other keyword shortcuts that take a second to learn but can save a great deal of time over the long run. Press [shift]+[?] to view a list of all of the keyboard shortcuts available.

5) Browser Bookmarks.  Sometimes its nice to open a few tabs in your browser to view various reports side by side or to tab between. Create a bookmark folder like “Google Analytics Reports”.. then bookmark the reports you use most often. In most browsers you can chose to open all pages within a bookmark folder at one time(Firefox> Open All in Tabs). By doing so, you could open up several reports at one time, all in separate tabs, instantly.

Do you have any Google Analytics tips or shortcuts? Leave a comment!

 

New Google Analytics Filter Fields

One great feature of Google Analytics is the ability to make filters and dig in deeper to analyze traffic data.  Google Analytics recently launched some new filters around mobile and social. Use these new filter fields for improved data analysis and for more refined and targeted reporting views. I particularly like the mobile filters. To see all of the documented filters go here.

Mobile
  • Is a mobile device
  • Is a tablet
  • Mobile brand name
  • Mobile model name
  • Mobile marketing name
  • Mobile pointing method
  • Mobile has QWERTY keyboard?
  • Mobile is NFC supported?
  • Mobile has cellular radio?
  • Mobile has wifi?
Social
  • Social network
  • Social action
  • Social action target
Content & Traffic
  • Hit type: (page, social, transaction, etc.)
  • Internal search term
  • Internal search type
Audience / Users
  • Browser size
  • IP version
E-commerce
  • Local currency code

Is Your Website the Center of the Universe?

Integrated Marketing Ecosystem

Well, that might be taking it a bit far. But, gone are the days of brochure websites that just provide information about you and your products. Your website should be more than paying for itself in lead generation, whether for retail sales or new business leads.

In our economy, your marketing dollars have never been more critical to your success, and spending them wisely means knowing that they are producing results. What used to be “just another channel” has now become the hub for all of your marketing efforts. Why? Because it’s measureable, you can see results immediately, and you can make informed decisions on how to spend your marketing dollars.

Take the example of a mid-sized company with a standard brochure website. The site says who they are and what they do, but doesn’t connect these things with their marketing programs.

  • They write press releases, but don’t link them to the products they offer.
  • They have product information, but no context about how these products are used.
  • They email customers, but don’t have corresponding pages on their site that support the emails they send.

This is a typical situation where the website is a postscript rather than a lead generation tool. The site content needs to support each outreach program so potential customers have context and more information when doing their research.

Using these examples, an integrated marketing program would:

  • Perform keyword research to understand how potential customers are seeking the products they offer.
  • Post the press release on the site, using these keywords, with links into the products it discusses, and supporting testimonials and case studies for the reader to get context and learn about successful implementations.
  • Create a landing page on the website for each marketing activity. The landing page will ensure potential customers have clicked to the right place, offer expanded information about the subject or promotion, and contain a form to collect contact information so a follow up can be done from your sales team.
  • Make the site content tell a story. Ensure that each product description ties to a corresponding implementation or case study.

What’s great about using this best practice is that it’s entirely measureable. Using web analytics to track marketing activity extends across online, print, and broadcast activities. By creating that special landing page link back to the site, you will immediately know the impact of your message and be able to predict an outcome. And, most importantly, know what’s successful.

Watch for my next post that discusses the importance of CRM software and how integration with it can provide another valuable measurement in this equation

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