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The role of a marketer has always been to place a product in front of those who are likely to purchase it, at a time when they need it. This basic principle still applies in the world of digital marketing, in fact, it could be argued that it is now more important than ever before. Today, an unoptimised digital marketing campaign will quickly deplete its budget before ever reaching a real customer.
Keyword targeting has been central to search engine marketing since AdWords was first launched – displaying adverts to users who have just typed in a keyword search phrase that perfectly matches the search terms that you are bidding on is a sure way to reach your market – at least, this was always assumed to be the case. However, the Internet has moved on and this has given rise to new and better opportunities. Targeting users by keyword alone will spread your marketing net far too wide, and many visitors will likely be outside of your target demographic.
Social networks changed this. Facebook was built on the idea of gather information about individuals, and this data was soon used to help businesses target potential new customers. Suddenly businesses could target customers by age, gender, location, and a range of other factors that were simply unavailable previously. However, even with targeting focused to the correct demographic, it is not possible for many businesses to really know when an individual will need their product.
Where Facebook fails is that it is only possible to target an entire audience based on location or interests – it cannot predict when a person wants a product, and the result is that many ads are displayed to people who simply do not wish to buy anything.
Combine Purchase Intent and Demographics?
While targeting both by purchase intent and demographics is highly rewarding, there is not currently a way to effectively combine these. But, Google is making some exciting progress, which we can already offer you through their Google AdWords platform.
AdWords Introduces Demographic Targeting
AdWords cannot provide the same level of detailed demographic targeting as Facebook, simply because it cannot be sure who specifically is carrying out a search. But Google can make a very well educated guess about who is searching, which it determines based on a variety of factors such as search history, IP address, and stored cookies. However, it is when people are logged in to Google that the system becomes very powerful.
It is now possible to target the following groups with your AdWords ads:
For the average Google AdWords account, around 50% of all searchers will be classified as “unknown”, but this does mean that for half your market, you can target people by age or gender. Whether your target market is middle-aged men, or young women, you are now able to display ads just for them, and this should help reach a more engaged audience.
If you need help setting up and optimising your AdWords account, speak to our PPC consultants today who will explain to you what we can do to make your advertising campaign work better for your business.
Content marketing is a major part of digital marketing and search engine optimisation today, but without measuring its effect you won’t know how well it is working for your business. Today, we’ll look at the content marketing metrics that will allow you to monitor your KPIs.
Content marketing covers a wide range of activities, so naturally its measurement requires you to gather variety of analytics data. The below metrics will help businesses and agencies to understand how content marketing is improving business. Although the bottom line in increasing sales, we need to have solid data to prove that the strategy is working.
Unique Visitor Count
Arguably the most important metric is the number of unique visitors on your website. As your site content improves and becomes better ranking in Google search and more shared across social media, your site will become a more important source of business leads. While unique visitor count is not everything, it is a vital metric to view.
While getting unique visitors is a good sign, if it is accompanied with a high bounce rate, this indicates a problem with your campaign. Content marketing should be driving relevant customers to your website – this is the core principal of marketing, to introduce your product to your market.
If your site has a high bounce rate it could indicate that your marketing efforts are attracting the wrong sort of readers. A typical example of this is when people use humour to drive traffic to a website. You may get a lot of interest across social media, and many site visitors on the back of this, but the fact is these visitors are usually looking for another joke, not your product or service.
If your product or service is only available to a specific geographic market, you must measure the location of your website visitors. Many unscrupulous overseas SEO companies will promise an increase in traffic, but what they won’t tell you is that your readers will all be from outside your geographic market. If you are running a UK business, 10 visitors from your target market area is far more valuable than 1000 visitors from the Far East.
Local SEO is the fastest growing area of digital marketing for a very good reason – it helps drive relevant visitors to your business, rather than taking a shotgun approach.
Monitoring device usage is a relative new metric to follow, but one that is becoming increasingly important. More people are now searching Google on mobile devices than desktop computers, and people are even more likely to search for local products and services on a mobile device.
If your web analytics show that a majority of your readers are on desktop, this may indicate that your website is not being ranked by Google for mobile. If this is the case, have a website health check carried out, as this will highlight potential problems – speak to our technical consultants for advice on this.
Also, when analysing bounce rates, filter down to device level – a significantly higher bounce rate on mobile would suggest that there are some mobile user experience problems that need fixing.
While Google search and social media are the biggest draws of online traffic today, email marketing still plays an important role. You should have a regular newsletter that provides informative and engaging content for your market.
If people are opening your emails but not clicking through to your site, this indicates that your email marketing campaigns need to be updated.
Social Media Shares
How much your content is shared Facebook, or retweeted on Twitter, is a good indicator of how good its quality is. However, today comments and shares are the considered to be the best metrics to follow for Facebook. When people comment, or share content, they are truly engaged with that content. Clicking Like no longer carries the same weight as it did a few years ago.
Of course, conversion rate is the most important metric for a website that is selling a product. You need to see an improvement in the percentage of visitors who purchase from you, otherwise your marketing efforts are being wasted. If your conversion rate is falling while visitor count increases, this indicates that your website is attracting people outside of your target audience. If you are paying for these visitors, it is money down the drain.
By measuring each of these metrics monthly you will be able to quickly identify campaign successes. Speak to one of our SEO marketing consultants to learn how to use these metrics in your campaigns.
If you sell anything online, you either need a content management system that can also double up as an eCommerce platform, or a stand-alone product. eCommerce software is not only for large stores with thousands of products – even a small businesses with just a few products can save time with a good eCommerce system.
Before we look at some of the best eCommerce platforms on the market in 2017, consider what your business needs. Do you just need a way to process a sale, for which a basic shopping cart with payment portal will suffice, or do you need a system that includes stock management, label printing, invoicing and accounting? Here are our recommendations.
Magento is possibly the most famous of all eCommerce platforms today, thanks largely to it being an open source platform. It has been well developed and has a large, active user base that provides support. Magento is a very flexible platform that can be used by large retailers too.
Magento has many extensions that enhance the core features, such as the Nosto extension that provides visitor tracking and personal recommendations based on visitor behaviour.
Because Magento is Open Source, it is free to download, install and use. And while some themes and extensions are free, there is a growing number of high quality, premium themes and extensions.
Magento’s biggest downside is that it is a relatively complex platform with a steep learning curve, so if you are not very confident with computers, you either need to pick something more straightforward or outsource your eCommerce management.
CommerceHub is a cloud based service that provides easy scaling and good support. CommerceHub is more than your average retail software – it actually puts businesses in touch with suppliers who can fulfil orders through your website.
Because it is cloud based you can very quickly launch your online retail business, and the unique supplier management helps businesses grow rapidly. Some businesses use CommerceHub to test which products work best before moving to a self-hosted platform.
Drupal Commerce is a module that is installed alongside the Drupal CMS. Drupal, like most content management systems today, provides a wide range of modules (known as plugins on WordPress) that enhance a site. In some ways, Drupal is more of a framework for a website than the finished product.
Drupal Commerce allows users to create custom workflows, which can benefit business managers who are not familiar with working with eCommerce. It is also very versatile and can be configured to meet a business’ exact needs. However, Drupal is a complex system that requires a web developer.
Shopify is a pure retail management platform. It is a powerful platform that aims to meet the needs of all retailers, which is how it has become one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in use today, with over 100,000 businesses using their software.
Shopify allows bulk product uploads, which can great save time when starting a new website, and manages inventory, checkout and delivery well. There are also over 1,000 apps for Shopify, which means that it can be turned to just about any use. There are apps to help with your SEO and marketing, as well as social media integration apps. The biggest downside to Shopify is that it is now so huge that finding the best apps for your business can consume a lot of your time.
WordPress with WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a plugin that turns a WordPress blog site into an online retail portal. The biggest benefits of WooCommerce is that it is free (as it WordPress) and has a huge support network, which is responsible for creating hundreds of useful extensions. WooCommerce provides retail management for both physical and digital products, so can be very useful to businesses that are selling services, as well as those selling physical products.
Our web developer has been building WooCommerce sites for several years and can advise when if it is suitable for your business, or if something more powerful may be needed.
If you are planning to start selling online in 2017, call Freelance SEO Essex to make an appointment with our eCommerce experts.
We all know that content is the main driving force in SEO today, but what type of content will help your business grow? A poorly planned content strategy may deliver good quality content, but if it is not the right sort for your market, it may not be as effective as you hoped. So, let’s look at the most important types of SEO content you can create.
Blog posts are currently the most effective form of content for SEO. Analysis of a range of websites in Google reveals that sites with regular, relevant blog posts are outperforming those that do not have a blog.
Short Evergreen Articles
Evergreen articles are possibly the second most important tool. Unlike blog posts, which are often a personal account or have only a short lifespan, evergreen content in the form of informative and actionable articles keep readers coming back for years. Our content strategies always include a combination of blog posts and evergreen articles for optimal results.
Long-form Evergreen Articles
Longer articles are very important too. Longer articles, which we define as being over 1000 words, are often ranked highly in Google. These must also be evergreen in nature and they can generate the best link building opportunities in the long-term.
Good quality images are important and help to engage a visitor. If you have a gallery on your website, you should find that images are shared by your readers. These days, they are often shared mostly on social media, but sometimes bloggers and forum members will use a picture from a gallery and reference your website.
Lists used to be huge. About 10 years ago every SEO knew to create lists of important and interesting information as these are very linkable. Although the Internet has changed, lists do still play a part in creating quality SEO content, and a good quality list with detailed information can become an authoritative information source.
Interactive Tools and Calculators
Some of the best performing pages are those with tools and calculators on. Tools such as mortgage calculators, BMI calculators, editing tools and SEO tools. In the highly competitive SEO world, some of the biggest agencies have developed toolsets that have become almost obligatory for SEO consultants – tools such as MajesticSEO, SEMRush and Moz’s DA and PA search are used by almost every SEO agency, and this helps increase their business.
Infographics have almost had their day, but some are still very effective at generating positive interest in a company. More useful still are interactive visuals that provide complex information. These resources can generate a huge amount of interest from third party bloggers and businesses alike, but they are very costly to do well. The key to a good infographic is to have good quality and useful information – all too often, people create infographics that fail to tell us anything new.
Video content is rapidly growing in popularity, you only need to look at your Facebook stream or Twitter page to see how much video is now shared online. You can create a YouTube channel or embed videos on your own website. Like interactive content, video is more expensive to produce, and as with any form of content, it might fail to generate any significant interest, but it can get great results when it works.
If you want to enhance your marketing strategy with quality content, speak to one of our SEO consultants today.
One of the oldest features of Search Console was the Content Keywords list, which was a feature from the very first version of Webmaster Tools in 1997. This week we learned that Google has decided to scrap it – the change went almost entirely unnoticed.
The Content Keywords report from WMT / Search Console showed webmasters how Google understands a website, based on the frequency of different keywords. The report was very basic, just offering a list of keywords (not keyword phrases) that are assumed to be most important, based on the frequency of use.
However, Google has decided that the content keywords report is no longer of any use – at least, that is what we must surmise based on its removal.
This is not the first time Google has taken keyword data away from webmasters. A few years ago Google removed keyword search data from Google Analytics, much to the horror of SEOs all over the world. Suddenly, webmasters could not see which search terms people were using to find their website – one of the most important SEO metrics was deleted.
Fetch and Render
Of course, there is no reason to feel panic over this news. Google provides far more useful tools in Search Console than content keyword data. One of the more useful tools in understanding how Google views a website is the fetch and render tool. This provides you with invaluable information on how Google sees your website, and when combined with search analytics, you will better understand what people are using your site for, and how Google ranks it accordingly.
Google does still display a lot of keyword information though. In Search Console, for example, you can still see data on which search terms your website shows in search for. This is arguably far more useful that simply showing which terms people visit from, because by knowing the average position in search and click through rate, you can work to optimise pages to perform better. Without this data, you cannot know how big the potential market is, and therefore will never know how far to take your optimisation efforts.
Content is Still King
There is no doubt that content is still king for Google. When it comes to page analyses, the content on the page literally everything. Google has made this clear, and explains it simply as: “The words on your pages, the keywords if you will, are still important for Google’s (and your users’) understanding of your pages. While our systems have gotten better, they can’t read your mind: be clear about what your site is about, and what you’d like to be found for.”
The way Google ranks websites has changed immeasurably over the past 20 years so it stands to reason that it will update its own search tools to reflect this. Google still provides a wealth of data in Search Console and Google Analytics, which can be used effectively to rank websites better. If you need some help understanding your Search Console data or optimising your SEO campaign, contact Freelance SEO Essex today.