Our Analytics, SEO, Social Media and SEM Blogs provide an informal platform for us to share our insights on the digital media industry. Practically every member of the MoreVisibility team contributes to one or more of our blogs with their real-time, in the trenches strategies and observations. Our goal is to provide you with up-to-date information and trusted industry opinions on what's happening in search and beyond. To stay up to date on our blog, subscribe to our feed.
Before I left the NFL Experience, billed as “… pro football’s interactive theme park. …” last Thursday night, I thought I found the perfect place to pick up an extra Chicago Bear’s shirt to bring my team good luck for the big game. (This strategy backfired: It’s not the Defense’s, or Grossman’s fault: it’s mine. And for those of you that only tuned in for the commercials, the Bears were the team in the dark jerseys.)
Inside a massive tent, which could have housed every item from the historic Marshall Field’s department store in downtown Chicago, lurked every piece of NFL, Bears and Colts paraphernalia ever made. There were jerseys, hats, helmets, footballs and jogging suits adorned with the SuperBowl XLI and Colts and Bears logos. As I took it all in, it quickly became apparent that although there were thousands of items for the big game, the selection was limited. While there were many styles and colors, almost every item included a team logo with both teams.
You could buy a Chicago Bears SuperBowl shirt or hat, but right there across from the insignia of my beloved Bears was an ugly, blue horseshoe (The Colts logo.)
Are you wondering how this translates to you SEM efforts? It’s quite simple:
1. Know your customers. In this case, the NFL was on the right path, most people that come to a SuperBowl game are more interested in the event and not the individual teams. But there were fans of each team there who would have appreciated some more team specific options, and like me, walked out of
there without buying anything. Remember when McDonalds only served hamburgers? How many sales are you missing by not looking at a more diversified product mix? Do follow up research on your customers; ask them questions about their interests and how they spend their time online.
2. Keep an eye on your business. Use an analytics package that can help you track what your customers are doing. How did they come to the site and what keywords were they looking for? Which keywords and engines have the best ROI? Looking at your data and understanding it is the equivalent to walking around and watching your customers in a brick and mortar store. Are they searching through the racks or simply breezing through the aisles?
3. Interact with your customers. If your customers are abandoning the shopping process — find out why. Are your prices too high? Is your site too difficult to navigate? Do they try very hard to buy from you or do they rarely browse through your inventory? Do they look diligently through your selections
and compare items? Leverage surveys and user registration data. E-mail your customers or pick up the phone and ask them what they like about your site and what they don’t. If you talked to one customer a month, what kind of free feedback and consultation could you get for your business?
The bottom-line is that an effective PPC campaign only can do so much to generate extremely targeted traffic to your site, but you need to invest time and effort into what happens when your customers arrive on your doorstep.
Everyone knows Google, and as a result new online advertisers are relatively comfortable to dabble with its Adwords program and its seemingly simple interface. They usually will also experiment with Yahoo and even the new MSN AdCenter. More sophisticated Internet advertisers, familiar with cpc marketing, may also venture into Shopping Feeds or Comparison Engines and/or Travel Portals, if sites are within those verticals. But what else is out there?
An option to consider is some of the lesser known or newer entrants into the cost per click market, including contextual platforms. Based on your industry or vertical, some may be more applicable than others. These can potentially deliver some very qualified and targeted traffic at a reasonable cost. Again, any new marketing venture should be carefully analyzed for performance and ROI data prior to making a long term implementation strategy or large financial investment.
Here are some Ad Networks/Engines to consider:
ASK– listings override those supplied by Google AdWords. Pricing is determined by Engine and is typically market priced to Google. There are only 3 advertisers accepted per Keyword — Engine gaining marketshare; it’s about 6% currently.
SuperPages (previously Verizon) — this popular offline brand provides online premium ads via Yellow Page listings (local or national) through Keyword / Category cpc advertising. They also offer a Pay Per Call program — great for those advertisers preferring a phone call from web traffic over a click to their website.
Quigo — Adsonar program allows content-targeted advertising through a cpc model. Option of ads to be displayed on specific pages selected, in relevant sections of sites requested, within targeted RSS Feeds or email newsletters.
Amazon/ClickRiver — Sponsored ads on Amazon.com search results and product details pages via cpc, which compliment the shopper’s experience. Not all advertisers accepted, based on competitiveness to company (Amazon) itself. Program still in Beta but is performing well so far
Industry Brains – Contextually based cpc and cpm advertising — ability to target specific sites/portals that match your demographic or are complimentary to your target market.
Banners and text ads offered — targeting by industry offered.
AdKnowledge – contextually driven cpc advertising, based upon category and sub categories self-selected. Text ads can appear in header/footer of network emails.
StumbledUpon & Performancing — Very new opportunities; these are geared toward advertising within Blogs or social media platforms, via CPC or CPM contextual ads
Recently, a coworker asked me an SEO question, “If I have a blog, is it better to have it on my site or do I get more credit for having an external blog link to my site?” This is an excellent question.
From an SEO perspective, I think it is better to have the blog on your own site for the following reasons. When you create good content, people will link to it (a blog, if written well with keywords in mind, is good content). If you host your blog on an external site, you will only have 1 link to your site (from the external blog site to your page) and other sites will link to the site where your content lives (giving the external blog site credit for those links in the engines). When considering organic engine rankings, multiple links to the content on your site will always benefit you more than having only one link from an external blog site.
Its simple, when building a website with SEO in mind, it is important to build community and content. The more topics you can add to your blog, which are relevant to your site, the more reach you have. When people see the content is relevant to their site as well, they will link to it, and when they link to it, you are more likely to reach your target audience. This is all contingent on relevant copy of course.