During a discussion on the next big thing in internet search here in the SEO department at Morevisibility, we speculated on the future of the Open Directory. Back in the day, search directories were the first real way that websites were found on the internet and even after the web crawlers made their debut, directories were important. Those days are long gone. Does this auger the demise of the Open Directory? Well, maybe not. For one thing, as sophisticated as all the new technology and search engine algorithms are, most successful search engines still rely on human opinion. It has been suggested that the rise of social media harks back to the early early days of the internet when word of mouth was the way that a site was found — that it’s all part of a cycle of search technology development. With the rise of social media, word of mouth recommendations are fast becoming a way for sites to be found by visitors. Sites like www.stumbleupon.com and www.coolsiteoftheday.com are extending this by letting us take recommendations from strangers as though they were our friends. So, if search technology is working in a cycle, will directories assume more importance in the years to come? Maybe not for standard text search but it seems to me that human editing would be invaluable for determining keyword relevance of images and videos. In fact, Google already employs this to a certain degree with Google Image Labeler. It’s more like a game at the moment and even though the presence of an opponent does make it a little more valid, how well it works to really assign relevance to images remains to be seen. Is there a place for image and video directories in the internet of the future? Given all the new technological breakthroughs lately, this is definitely a question that is up in the air but a great place to find out more is by reading this article: http://blogs.mediapost.com/search_insider/?p=776
As an SEM client strategist of several lead generation clients, I often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of trying to generate as many leads as possible and finding the best method of tracking those leads. Tools such as Google Analytics have made the process a lot easier by embedding a tracking code in the source code of every page. The code tracks the user throughout the site and allows the marketer to see: the user’s activity, how long they spent on the site, how many pages of the site they viewed before exiting, what geographic location the visitor is in, and of course who converts by completing a “goal” on the site. Typically, the main “goal” for lead generation sites, is getting the visitor to fill out some sort of “Contact Us” or “Request More Information” form. This is an easy method to track because we can code the form and set up the confirmation page as a “goal” within the Google Analytics interface.
That being said, a lot of people visit sites to get a phone number because they would prefer to talk to someone directly. As you can imagine, tracking a phone call is not as easy as tracking an online form, but it is doable. Here are some methods to consider if tracking your phone calls would be of value to you.
Phone calls can be a valid source of leads, and often the most qualified. Most companies are very proud and confident in the product and/or service that they are offering. Therefore, most feel that if someone is interested enough to call about the product and/or service, they can definitely be sold from speaking with someone directly. The main obstacle from receiving phone leads, is the ability to track where the leads came from. Many companies participate in multi-media marketing plans such as: television, radio, print, direct mail, online, etc. Therefore, unless the sales rep specifically asks the individual where they “heard about the company”, there is no way of knowing where the lead truly came from. That being said, if you test one of the three methods mentioned above, you will potentially gain some insight into the source of your phone leads.
Here at MoreVisibility, we partner with many companies looking for us to manage their Pay per Click (PPC) campaigns. For some clients, they have never used the internet to market their business and rely on us to develop, create, and implement a PPC strategy. For other clients, they realize the scope of their internet marketing is growing and they contract MoreVisibility to manage their PPC programs because they want to focus on their core business practices or feel they need an experienced firm to take their marketing to the next level. For the latter, which have significant PPC experience one mistake many make is identifying their top keywords. A big reason for this misconception is the lack of analytics in their program and their assumption that the keyword with the highest click-thru rate is their best keyword, is often flawed.
Unfortunately, click-thru rate is not a good barometer of a keyword’s performance. Whether you are selling a tangible product online or looking to acquire new leads from your website’s online application, the number of conversions a keyword generates is a more effective indicator than click-thru rate. Many small and medium size businesses running programs in Google, Yahoo, and MSN for example, do not have a way to track conversions (they have no analytics). Without that metric, many make the mistake of assuming their top performing keywords are the ones that generate the most traffic. But what happens if none of those web visitors purchase a product, or fill out an application? You still paid for that traffic, but you didn’t get a return on your investment (ROI). The reality could be the keyword that generates the most traffic to your site is actually your worst performing keyword when it comes to conversions and this could greatly decrease your ROI.
We use Google Analytics at MoreVisibility to track the performance of the campaigns we manage for our clients. With this reporting tool we can see how well a keyword converts with respect to how much traffic it generates. Knowing how much traffic you receive from a keyword and what it costs you to get that traffic is only half the battle. You also need to know if that keyword generates a conversion, and only then can you determine the performance of that keyword.