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September 2 2009

Don’t forget about Yahoo Paid Inclusion!


I am not trying to beat a dead horse, but I just happen to think that many people do not recognize and/or understand the value of Yahoo Paid Inclusion (YPI). There is no denying that Google is the leader, holding (by far) the largest market share, but does that mean that YPI should be forgotten? It can be a very valid source of driving qualified traffic to a website.

For those of you who are well versed in YPI, this blog post might be a tad redundant. Please forgive me in advance, as I feel the need to remind every online marketer just how fruitful YPI can be!

Just the facts:

YPI results appear in the organic section of Yahoo.

YPI is fundamentally a hybrid of SEO and SEM, which is unlike any other channel that exists today.

There is no way to bid more (or less) aggressively in YPI to gain better rankings, as all results are dependent upon the relevancy of your website; the more SEO friendly your website, the better opportunity you have to get ranked higher.

Although, the platform for YPI is Cost per Click (CPC), the pricing is category based, rather than keyword based.

YPI is stricter with their guidelines. In order to maintain the integrity of the program, all websites must first get accepted into the program. Not every website is a candidate for YPI; if your site is utilizing black hat tactics (link spamming, hidden text) or has other issues like duplicate content, you will more than likely get rejected.

Don’t forget about Yahoo Paid Inclusion! It should be taken into consideration as a viable method to bring qualified visitors to your website.

August 20 2009

Your Landing Page Matters


I cannot stress enough the importance of having a solid landing page to direct website visitors to. This is especially true when you are running a Cost Per Click (CPC) Campaign. If you are going to pay to drive a visitor to your site, you ought to make sure the visitor is sent to a page that clearly and concisely represents not only your offerings, but more importantly the offering that this particular visitor was searching for. In other words, it is rather frustrating for a searcher to click on an ad for a pair of Nike shoes and instead be sent to a page for Nike shirts. If you’re lucky, your visitor will be patient enough to go through your navigation and locate the Nike shoes page they should have been sent to in the first place. More than likely, however, the searcher you already paid for will just click on the back browser and find another ad. So how can online retailers prevent bounces like this from occurring? Although there is no way to guarantee a low bounce rate, there are steps you can take to improve it and your landing pages are a great place to start.

A good landing page will possess a clear cut call to action. What do you want your visitors to do? Examples: Click here to receive your coupon, Fill out this form to generate your free report, Enter your email address to be added to our monthly newsletter, etc.

In addition and beyond just the importance of user experience, Google very specifically factors in landing page quality and relevance as part of their algorithm. This algorithm determines where your ads will appear and how much you will have to bid. Therefore, having an effective landing page will not only improve the experience for your searchers, but also afford you the ability to garner better online real estate and at a lower CPC.

What are you waiting for? Get busy and start to improve your landing pages!

July 10 2009

Why is Your Shopping Cart Being Abandoned?


If only this simple question had a simple answer! Online Retailers’ across the nation would be ecstatic. Unfortunately there isn’t a simple answer. Think of it this way, if you were at the grocery store and your shopping cart was full of groceries you had just selected, you wouldn’t say, “It sure was fun putting all of this stuff into my cart, but I don’t want to actually buy it…” and then walk out of the store without checking out at the register, right? My guess is that you’d also be even less likely to go through the checkout line, have all of your items scanned and then change your mind when it comes time to pay. Unfortunately (as far as retailers are concerned) online shoppers have the luxury of doing just that; they place items in their shopping cart and then simply choose not to complete their transaction. All online retailers are faced with the dilemma of shopping cart abandonment and it is no doubt frustrating to not know why it is happening. Whether you’re Zappos or a small, family owned business, if your site includes a shopping cart, there will definitely be a percentage of shoppers who abandon your cart.

In an effort to shed some light on the reasons for cart abandonment, here are a few important factors that you ought to take into consideration.

– Is your site 100% secure? Many people will not shop on a site which does not clearly indicate that measures have been put into place to prevent fraudulent activity. Concerns with security are a huge factor and you want to ensure that your site is fully protected. In addition, place a prominent icon or image conspicuously on every page, which signifies that your site is safe and secure.

– Price comparison shopping has always played a factor, but more so now with the current state of the economy. Many shoppers will place items into their cart and then do some comparing on other sites prior to making their purchase.  It is advisable to let your shoppers know that you will save their items for up to X # of days,  which will facilitate an effortless shopping experience when they come back to buy.  Also, if you are competitively priced, clearly state this information where your shoppers can see. If you are able to offer a best price guarantee, that would be ideal.

– The steps in your cart should be as minimal as possible. In addition, it is helpful to provide an indication of which step your shoppers are in as they checkout; you should make it seamless for your shoppers to make a purchase.

In my opinion, the best way to determine what works best is through testing. Employment of an analytics tool will provide you with a clear funnel analysis as to where you are losing your shoppers in the checkout process and then afford you the ability to tweak your shopping cart accordingly.

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