There was a time and place when social media was just chat rooms and im’s; a way to keep up with friends or family. Marketers barely paid attention to social media because it seemed that there was no way to truly capitalize on it. However, that has all changed in recent years. Marketers have found ways to benefit from social media. In fact, to borrow a line from Disney’s Hercules, social media has “gone from zero to hero in no time flat.”
Social media is being embraced by many marketers, especially since they can advertise and track R.O.I. In fact, the headline of a recent article by DMNews caught my eye, “Social media gaining on traditional marketing.” According to the article, many marketers are moving marketing dollars from traditional media to social media. Social media is getting results and that’s where the advertising dollars are headed.
Social media isn’t just about cold turkey advertising, it’s about relating to the customers and fulfilling their needs. Think about it, people are following tweets online for sales, but also to find out the newest gadgets and share their stories of success or failure with a product. Facebook is allowing companies to run sweepstakes, contests and free coupons on their Facebook pages, in order to increase their fan base. Digg is rolling out more ad options, AIM shows advertisements on your AIM buddy list when you’re logged in, and blogs allow companies to share information with consumers. Social media offers marketers and companies a plethora of ways to communicate with consumers.
The new wave is here and it’s social media. For those who have been slow to get involved, now’s the time. I like to think of social media as the horse and car scenario. At one point, mostly everyone traveled via horses and then the automobile came out. There were some skeptics, but with time the automobile gained acceptance. If you look out your window, do you see a car or a horse? My point exactly.
When it comes to online marketing, generating visitors to your website is critical, however, long gone are the days when just getting a click to your website was enough. It’s not even close to sufficient anymore. With the current state of the economy, money is harder to come by than most of us have ever experienced (and hopefully will ever experience) in our lifetime. All marketers are being held accountable for where and how their advertising dollars are being spent. Therefore, the click you just paid for better be worth something!
So what did the click result in? Perhaps a whitepaper download? A brochure request? Maybe an inquiry about your product and service? Or, at best (in an ecommerce situation) an actual sale? If every click resulted in one or more of the above, online marketers would be elated. Unfortunately in some cases, it can take a whole lot of expensive clicks to generate a single “conversion”. You might be asking yourself, what exactly is a conversion? In a nutshell, a conversion equates to a favorable result that occurs when the desired action item on your site takes place.
Today, more than ever, measuring your online performance is no longer a luxury, it is an absolute necessity. Employing an analytics tool on your site to track your online advertising is the only way you will gain the knowledge to manage an effective online marketing initiative. MoreVisibility utilizes Google Analytics (GA) to track the performance of our clients’ online marketing initiatives. We were recently recognized and selected to be a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC) and are quite proud of this honor. Google has only chosen a small number of agencies to hold this title:
Our clients continue expressing an interest in learning more about GA and we have been assisting them for several years. Whether it is to code their site with the necessary java script, review their GA reports, walk them through the dashboard and interface, etc, we are here. Basically, if you have a website, you really should be tracking what’s happening on it. Where are your visitors coming from? How long are they staying once they get there? How many pages are they viewing? The list goes on and on. Money is precious and if you are being given the ability to measure and track your online performance, why wouldn’t you???
I must sound like a broken record when I suggest (much too weak a word) that my clients follow all of the above, specifically with respect to the big players in the industry: Google, Yahoo and MSN. Search Engines are smart; real smart. You might be able to pull the wool over their eyes in the short term, but eventually you will get caught if you try to utilize Black Hat techniques to gain better traction within the organic (free) results. Everyone wants to be #1 in Google for their core keywords, however, there is no way to get there (and remain there) other than by making your website as search engine friendly as possible. What does that really mean? In the simplest of terms, there has to be a high degree of correlation between the keywords you want to show up under and the actual content on your website. The more targeted and relevant the content, the better chance you have of achieving natural positions for the keywords that are mission critical to your business.
All of that being said, one of the most frustrating things for marketers is when they optimize their site for natural search, while strictly following the rules and guidelines set forth by the engines and employ White Hat techniques yet they (A) do not see significant progress being made and/or (B) see their competition showing up under their core keywords. Even worse, the competition is not following a Best Practices approach. In other words they are doing things that are heavily frowned upon by the engines, such as: keyword stuffing, duplicate content, redirects, etc. A couple of important things to consider: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be viewed as an ongoing process and it can take several months to reap the rewards of optimizing your site. The search engines are always changing their algorithms and therefore, it is crucial to view SEO as a long term commitment. Your competition might not follow a Best Practices approach and utilize Black Hat methods to “get ahead”. Just because they are not being penalized at present, does not mean that they will not get caught eventually. I recently had a client who saw their competition using Black Hat techniques and achieving great organic results. They decided to utilize the same techniques and were banned from Google as a result. The moral of the story is that the best things come to those who wait. If you optimize your site and “make nice” to the search engines, you will maintain a long term presence in the engines.
Title: Being White Hat Pays Off in the Long Run!
Description: Discussed the importance of following a best practices approach
Keywords: White Hat, Black Hat, Best Practices, Search Engines, Marketers, keyword stuffing, duplicate content, redirects, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Google, Yahoo, MSN.