Onsite Search Optimization: Product Searches with No Results

Website consultants often analyze onsite/internal search engine results data to discover what visitors are searching for on a site and how the results page could be improved to generate additional leads and sales.

For example, one client we recently worked with that is using Google Analytics to capture search data revealed the following website search data.
Note: the key statistics have been italicized.

  • 4.9% of their total site visitors encountered a “no results” page after searching.
  • Only 80 out of 2,645 unique searches that produced a result, had more than 6 searches for the month; meaning their was a long-tail-keyword search pattern.
  • Only 50 out of 1,165 unique searches that returned zero results, the consumer bothered to use the onsite/internal search feature a second time.
  • A majority of the 1,165 unique keyword searches that returned zero results were on model numbers: 041543, 10341a, 2246d, 2290b, e.t.c.

When we reviewed the 1,165 unique keyword searches that produced 0 results it was discovered that more than half were product or manufacturer related (712) and the client had a very similar product/model in almost half of these instances (311).

Hence, we were able to add a rule to the search engine to display a similar product the client carried whenever these 311 product models were searched on the website.

Not surprisingly, this change had a positive affect on all key-performance-indicators (KPIs) (including “soft conversions” such as contact us form submissions, pdf downloads, phone calls to the sales department, etc) and ultimately resulted in more than $17,000 in additional sales the first full month the onsite/internal search engine was updated!

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Google Adwords (PPC): Measurement Framework and Optimization

Many clients understand the value of hiring a pay-per-click (PPC) web consultant to optimizee their paid media campaigns (like Google Adwords) but few understand from the start the necessary first steps to be even be able to get to the point of PPC optimization. The aim of this blog post is to explain (using Google Adwords as an example) how to identify paid media goals (also known as PPC key-performance-indicators) and implement a measurement framework that can be used as a foundation for PPC optimization.

Step 1: Identify Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Goals

PPC goals might be the same as the overall website goals but sometimes can differ. For example, perhaps the PPC channel is very important in driving new customer white paper downloads or phone calls into the sales department instead of driving returning visitor product purchases (which might be one of the client’s overall website goals). Try to identify both “soft” goals (that aren’t tied to a particular purchase) along with actual purchases that take place throughout the customer sales funnel (such as awareness and research related activities).

Step 2: Setup & Assign Values to each PPC Goals in Google Analytics

Once several PPC goals have been identified, determine how the goals will be tracked in Google Analytics (GA) and assign arbitary values to each goal. For example, a product sale (identified as a page visit to the product confirmation page) would have a much higher value than a white paper download. Lastly, setup the goals in Google Analytics.

Step 3: Import Goals from Google Analytics into Google Adwords

In Adwords, on the Tools and Analysis > Conversions page click on the “Import from Google Analytics” button and accept migrating the goals into Adwords on the next screen that appears.

Step 4: Build a PPC Dashboard to Determine the Value of the Paid Media Channel

Once you have detailed reports (in both Google Analytics and Adwords) based around goals (which can also be thought of as “conversions” in most instances) you will be able to determine the value of each individual PPC campaign down to the ad group and even keyword/ad. For example, perhaps cheap certain keywords are great at driving white paper downloads but not product sales.

Please subscribe to our web consulting blog or our RWeb youtube web channel to get notified on our next PPC blog that will focus on the optimization process once the PPC measurement framework described in blog post has been implemented.

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Advanced QR Code Tracking Techniques

Although QR codes have been around for a while only in recent years have we seen widespread use of them by marketing teams. Keep in mind that only 5% of people actively scan QR codes but used properly they can be a great tool to keep consumers engaged with the Brand or your company.

In this blog post, I explain how you can measure the effectives (or even ROI) of QR code placements by measuring impressions, scans and outcomes of each QR code.

There are many free QR code generators that are available and paid versions with the biggest difference usually that the paid versions report click-throughs (also known as “scans” of each QR code) while most free versions do not report click-throughs/scan rates. It is important to understand how many consumers are scanning your QR codes and where they are scanning them.

Hence, if you decide to use a free QR code generator which does not report scan reports make sure you use a URL shortener (like bit.ly) with the QR code instead of the longer version URL (like your website URL) so you can see how many times each QR code is scanned.

In addition, create a separate QR code for each place it is used even if they click-through to the same destination URL (like your website). The reason for this is so you can segment which placement is generating the most scans (email, hard cover magazine, 3rd party website, etc).

If the QR code is going to a webpage that has Google Analytics on it make sure you also append “tags” to the destination URL (before inputting it into the URL shortening tool or in the QR code generator). This will allow you to measure post-scan activity.

So let’s use an example, to tie this all together. Let’s say we launch a new product (a Pygmy marmoset trap) on our website (hunting-marmosets.com) and want to generate exposure for our new Pygmy marmoset trap so we advertise in a local hunting magazine that has 50,000 monthly subscribers. On the advertisement in the magazine we include a QR code where hunting enthusiasts can learn more information on the marmoset trap on our website.

We create a QR code (through a paid or free solution) but use a Google Analytics “tagged” link (that might look like this http://hunting-marmosets.com/?utm_source=fall&utm_medium=magazine&utm_campaign=qr-code) that will take readers to the Pygmy marmoset product page once the QR code is scanned.

Some magazine readers might scan the QR code and some might even eventually purchase the marmoset trap and we’ll be able to associate all sales back to the QR code and even determine the ROI of the magazine ad!

For example, we’ll be able to use bit.ly or the QR generator reports to see 1,000 subsribers (out of the 50,000 monthly subscribers) scanned the QR code. In addition, we’ll be able to use Google Analytics to determine how many of those magazine subscriber visitors ended up actually purchasing the trap; let’s say it’s resulted in 100 sales (where our profit on each trap is $25). If the magazine ad cost less than $2,500 to run than we can determine with great confidence that it was a profitable investment (even when we just look at QR code generated sales) since the QR code generated $2,500 in profits from our pygmy marmoset trap.

By tracking impressions, scans and outcomes we are able to more intelligently determine the effectiveness of QR code placements as part of our overall marketing campaigns.

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Real Time Analytics – Measuring Lift

Many website analytic solutions like Google Analytics have begun to add real-time reporting capabilities. Although it takes a highly analytically organization to be able to react to these type of reports in real-time they can still be used be more novice marketers such as measuring any “lift” in website traffic from offline advertising (such as TV ads) or identifying the traffic generated from a particular online action.

For example, if you run a TV ad you can see in real-time the additional traffic generated by the TV ad and where the traffic is coming from. This can be helpful to verify where your TV ad was run and how much additional traffic it generated for your website. In the past you could only pull daily visits to your website but with real-time analytics you can more accurately correlate any additional lift in traffic to the TV ad.

Another example where real-time analytics can be helpful is isolating the effect on website traffic from a particular online action. For example, let’s say you develop an App on Facebook and “post” about it on Facebook (which you have Google Analytics tracking on) and just because you’re always thinking on about tracking you also “bit.ly” the link in your post that links to your App (to track total click-throughs). After you make the post, you will be able to see in Google Analytics real-time reports from where and how many people are using your App as a result of your post. Hence, in the example in our video we were able to see that a lot of our Facebook Fan traffic was located on the East Coast and traffic increased 5x within 5 minutes of our Facebook post.

Although watching real-time data for your website won’t have much value most of the time, it is a good idea to take a look at real-time reports when you would like to more accurately correlate any additional immediate “lift” in traffic to your website to a specific online action (like a FB post) or advertisement (like a TV ad).

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Facebook Campaign Measurement with Google Analytics

Has your company ever launched a cool App on Facebook and wondered if it was worth all the time and effort? By implementing a measurement plan that assigns monetary values to key conversions or actions within your Facebook App enables you to measure individual App performance to objectively gauge the value that the App contributed to the business. In addition, if you run multiple campaigns on Facebook over the course of the year you can compare performance to past Apps.

The first step is to assign monetary values to key conversions or actions. For example, each new Fan that the App (as part of the campaign) creates for your Facebook company page might be assigned a value of $5. A social action like a Fan posting a positive comment, “liking” or clicking through to your company website might be assigned value of $1 while a “share” action could be assigned a value of $2. Whatever monetary values your company aligns to stick with them for the year (so you can compare total values of different campaigns against each other) and keep in mind that you don’t have to think of the $ sign as a US Dollar.

Next, put together your campaign measurement plan which will include App key actions (like completions, shares, , etc) along with any other social key-performance-indicators (KPIs) you identified for the campaign like New Fans or App completions (which could be used to determine “engagement”) and identify where you will the data for each KPI (e.g. from Facebook Insights reports, Google Analytics, etc).

Lastly, setup any relevant Goals in Google Analytics. For example, if you “tagged” each “like” or “share” button in your Facebook App (using virtual page views or event tracking) setup Goals on the actions and include the monetary value your team aligned to originally.

After the campaign has concluded compile all the monetary values into a spreadsheet. For example, from Facebook Insights you might see that your company added 500 new Fans during the campaign which would equate to $2,500 in “brand value” for your business while Google Analytic reports (through virtual page views or event tracking) might show that the App was shared 100 times on Facebook and resulted in 50 clicks to your company website which would translate into another $250 worth of “brand value” that these key actions generated as part of the campaign (using the monetary values assigned in step 1).

By identifying a measurement plan (with key actions assigned monetary values) before you launched your App on Facebook will allow you to objectively gauge the return-of-investment of the campaign (which includes your App) and compare it’s value to past campaigns.

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Blog Optimization: Auditing my own Blog for SEO Best Practices

After reading Google’s own search engine optimization (SEO) audit of its own web site, I was inspired to evaluate my own Blog and see if I was always following common SEO best practices. I was surprised that as a SEO web consultant I was often giving clients SEO advice that I myself wasn’t always following!

Below are some SEO issues that I have identified and am planning to fix in the next couple of months so read quickly!

Use Keyword Phrases in the Headline of Blog Post - I have my website optimized for the primary keyword “website consulting” along with many secondary keywords (eg. web consultant, seo consulting, ppc consultant, etc) but am rarely using these keywords in the actual Blog Headline.

Hyperlink Keyword Phrase to Webpage– Whenever a keyword phrase is used, it should be hyperlinked to the relevant webpage on the site. For example, if I mention a keyword related to”ppc consulting” I should link it to that page on the site (like I just did here now : )

Use the “TITLE” tag in the Hyperlink – You have the ability to add a “title” tag on the hyperlinks. For example, if I use the keyword “ppc consulting” in the Blog and link it in the HTML source code I should add the Title tag as follows: ppc consulting. I can either use the exact keyword being linked or a very similar one.

Category Labels – You should have a Blog Category strategy laid out based on your SEO keyword research and not just create the Category Labels on the fly every time you post a Blog. For example, my categories might be website consulting (which would include general blog posts), seo consulting, ppc consulting, etc which would include those relevant types of Blog posts. Rotunda’s Blog about scheduling software does this well.

Contact Us - If unique, high quality, optimized Blog copy is being produced and search engines start to rank it highly on certain keyword phrases like “website consulting”, the Blog should start receiving direct traffic from Search Engines. Hence, a Contact Form should be added directly to the page (in the left or right side bar) instead of just having a “Contact Us” link at the top of the page. Make it easy for potential customers to contact you!

Social – The Blog has the ability to share the content to sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc which is great but it is not receiving many comments directly on the posts. Search Engines like Google have confirmed they have started to use social media signals like comments to rank webpages.
See any other Blog SEO best practices that aren’t being used on this Blog? Drop our web consultants a comment on the Blog below. Thank you!

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PPC Adwords Optimization with EXACT Phrase Match

As Pay-Per-Click (PPC) web consultants, we often discover clients aren’t aware of the significant amount of money they are spending on non-relevant or poorly converting keywords.

Google makes a majority of their income through PPC ads and although they try to provide incentives to advertisers to optimize their PPC campaigns (with good ads, landing pages and keywords being bid on) they adequately fail to provide enough insight into how a small business can lower their monthly budget.

Although, it is important to use the “broad match” types with wide range of keywords at first (in order to “discover” keyword phrases your consumers are using) you will eventually want to evaluate what keywords have a high click-through-rate (CTR) and/or conversation rate.

When using the “broad match” type with a small monthly budget you will most likely hit your daily or monthly spend limits and Google will start suggesting ways to increase your budget but most instances this is the opposite of what you want to do (unless you are using an advanced technique like Google’s Conversion Optimizer and are seeing a positive ROI).

After you have a good idea on what are some of your best keyword phrases are (based on conversions, click through, relevancy to the products/services on your landing page) setup a new campaign with extremely focused ad groups set to EXACT match type only. Extremely focused ad groups should met the following criteria:

1. Keyword Phrases – All keyword phrases being bid on should be very similar to each other. For example, the ad group should contain keywords like “men’s blue sneakers”, “male blue sneakers” “adult male blue sneakers”, etc.
2. Ad copy should contain the keyword phrase in the title. Include a keyword variation a second time (in the URL or 3rd line of the ad copy if possible).
3. Landing page – should prominently contain the keyword phrase (eg. in the headline) and variations of the keyword phrase should be used throughout the copy of the page. In addition, put an image of the keyword phrase on the landing page – a men’s blue sneaker in our example.

Most importantly setup all your ad groups to EXACT phrase match. This will force Google to only display your ads when consumers search for the exact phrases that you put into your ad group thus lowering your total campaign spend (since Google won’t show your ads on semi-related keyword phrases). In addition, your click-through-rate (CTR) will increase significantly.

A benchmark CTR of between 1-5% percent is considered good in the industry but using the EXACT match bid method described above you will most likely see your CTR’s above 10% and as high as 20%! Best of all, you will be spending less money on the PPC campaign while increasing your CTR’s and most likely your conversion rates at the same time.

Have you tried the tactic above? Did it work for you? Feel free to leave your comments below orcontact RWeb Consulting to have one of our PPC web consultants look over your PPC campaign.


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Internal Linking your Blog – Website Best Practices

Website blogs can be used to generate traffic to your site by having individual blogs rank directly in the search engine results pages and/or by increasing the rankings of your main website.

Many blogs have great, unique, keyword rich content but search engines are still not ranking the webpages high for those keywords. This blog is meant to provide you some tips on how to internally link your Blog to your other website pages so search engine “spiders” rank your Blog and website higher for the keyword phrases you are targeting.

Let’s assume you have done your keyword research and identified high volume keywords with relative low competition which you want to rank on. If you haven’t done this yet then please subscribe to this Blog since we will discuss “keyword research” in our next blog posting. Note: RWeb Consulting does not receive your email address nor is it used for any other purpose than to delivery monthly Blog updates).

First, all Blog titles should contain a keyword phrase. You’ll notice on Rotunda Software the Blog titles contain keywords like “ministry scheduling software”“ministry software” and “volunteer software”.

Second, internally link the keyword to the appropriate page on your website within the first paragraph. This will confirm to search engines spiders that the page is highly relevant for that keyword phrase.

Third, use “long tail” keyword phrases related to the primary blog post keyword to link to relevant pages on your website. This will continue to send signals to the search engines that both the blog post and webpage that is being linked to is highly relevant to the keyword phrase.

Lastly, use the title tag in the hyperlink of the keyword. It’s not necessarily to use the same primary keyword phrase in each hyperlink’s title tag but at least use secondary keyword phrases that you might not be able to naturally incorporate into the copy of the blog.

Additionally, don’t forget to use the keyword phrase in the title tag of the webpage you are linking to. For example, in the “Why Invest in Ministry Software” Blog the keyword phrase “ministry software” appears in the title of the blog and several times in the blog copy with the “ministry software” title tag.

Wherever relevant (in this example the first 2 links in the Blog), the primary keyword should link to another page on the website that is optimized the keyword phrase “ministry software”.

For additional information on website consulting services contact us or if you have any of your own internal linking blog strategies let us know in the comments below.

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Back to the Basics: Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Its amazing how many paid pay-per-click (ppc) ads appear in search engine result pages (serps) that are poorly written or irrelevant to what I was searching on.

    Here are some basics principles to keep in mind when launching a pay-per-click campaign:

  • Keywords – Only bid on keywords that are highly specific to your business and are likely to convert into a sale. Limit your ads to only display in certain geographic regions if it makes sense to do so.
  • Ads – Include the keyword in the ad headline and then explain your “unique selling point” (USP). Basically, whatever makes your product or service better than your competitors. If you can, offer a teaser of some kind; a free gift, a discount or a trial sample of your product.
  • Landing Page – Include the keyword you bid on, reinforce the messaging of the ad, include product screen shots and a clear call to action.

See our video below to see how we used the basic principles described above to achieve a 10.15% click-through-rate (CTR) and 4.79% conversion rate for a client during a 6 week PPC pilot program (even before we did any keyword analysis or A/B testing on the landing page).

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Creating a Video Sitemap

In this video blog we’ll discuss how to create a video sitemap file so search engines can better understand your video content.  We’ll also briefly discuss some other basic video SEO best practices.

A web consultant probably does not have to tell you that search engines are including more videos in their results than ever before. Articles such as this one in Tech Crunch explain the benefit and effectiveness of getting your videos optimized and appearing in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs)

Try searching for anyone famous, your favorite sport or drunken monkeys (see the video for an explanation) and chances are you will see videos returned near the top of the search engine result page (SERP).

There are less videos (10 billion approximately) than webpages on the Internet and many video producers are not providing Google with enough information about what the video contains in order to get them indexed nor are they optimizing the videos for search engines.

In addition, actual searches are tending to favor videos over traditional web copy which is resulting in greater click-through rates for video over web pages. Wouldn’t you rather watch a video on drunken monkeys than reading about them?

When creating a video for a blog, your corporate website or social media campaign its important to add information about the video to a videositemap.xml file that Google can spider and index in order to help them understand the video’s content.

The video below explains how in less than an hour you can create a video sitemap and submit it to search engines like Google in order to increase the chances that the video will appear in the top positions of search engines.  The video also briefly discuss how to upload the video using SEO best practices.

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