Research shows SEO still top performer

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Categories: Findings Friday and SEO

This week has flown past and we’ve been focusing on studio work rather than keeping up with the new. One thing we did enjoy coming across was a research articles based on the opinions of 120 online business owners. This study addressed which online marketing channels would perform the best in 2015. We’re happy to see that SEO and PPC are right up at the top:

In other news, we launched a new web application, but we’re going to cover that in a separate blog post. If you’re not keen on waiting, here’s IFIII.

Here are some articles that we did read and are valuable:

Have a great weekend everyone!

Google: Mobile-friendly website as ranking factor

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Categories: Mobile and SEO

When ever it comes to Google making announcements that influence their algorithm / ranking factors, it’s usually dropped like a bomb and search engine experts / web designers are expected to pull a rabbit out of a hat and make big changes in next to no time.

In a strange turn of events, this time Google is actually giving us a heads up about a big change to do with mobile-friendly websites. Come April 21, 2015 Google will be expanding their concentration on mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. What does that mean? If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website and your competitor does, your competitor is going to rank higher than you (assuming you have similar authorities, etc, etc.).

This is a big deal for website owners who’s websites are not mobile friendly because changing your website to be responsive is not a simple matter at all. If you don’t have the time or resources to do this, it might be a good idea to get someone to at least install a script that will switch between a desktop and mobile version of your website and put a simple mobile version in place as a placeholder.

How do you know if your website is mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes? Fortunately they’ve created a tool that will allow you to check:

Useful resources:

  1. Guide to mobile-friendly websites
  2. Mobile usability report (Google Webmaster Tools users)

WWF Challenges You To Race Against A Tiger

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Categories: Thunder Thursday

The World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) has teamed up with creative agency Hungry Boys, to create a campaign which challenges you to Race A Tiger. The campaign aims to help raise awareness about the decline in the tiger population over the last few years. Currently there are only 450 Amur Tigers left in Russia, the cause of the decline in tigers is due to the rise in poaching and farming. The challenge is to run further than the Amur Tiger which on average runs 20 km a day. If you lose the race, you need to donate $5 to the WWF save a Tiger campaign – Run4Tiger.

About Run4Tiger

 

Vlad Sitnikov, creative director, Hungry Boys, said “This is the first time in the world you can compete fairly with a truly professional runner, the Amur tiger, and benchmark yourself against the best. But, if you lose, you need to donate $5 to the WWF save the tiger campaign. Sound like fun? We think so.”

Yury Sochnev, Head of Marketing at WWF Russia, the went on to add “The decline in the wild tiger population is a global issue. This is a positive and creative way to raise awareness of their plight. … You get to race against this magnificent animal whilst simultaneously generating money to help protect it”

A GPS was placed on one of the tigers in order to accurately track his position. In order to participate in the challenge you will need to install one of the following devices: Nike+, Mapmyrun, Runkeeper, Strava, Endomondo, Myfitnesspal, Jawbone, Fitbit or Adidas Mycoach. Contestants can then view their performance against the tiger or the other contestants by visiting #Run4Tiger on Twitter. It is truly great to see an add that not only encourages you to be fit but also allows you to participate in a fantastic cause.

 

Teaching Tuesday: Google Analytics Funnels

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Categories: Teaching Tuesday

Funnels in Google Analytics are one of the best ways to track what your website visitors are doing on their journey to completing a goal. By “journey”, we are referring to the steps they take on a website before performing an action such as purchasing a product or completing a form. By “goal” we are referring to completing a form or purchasing a product. So putting that all together: We want to know what steps a person follows before purchasing something or filling out a form.

A typical user journey on an eCommerce website could be:

  1. View product category page.
  2. View product description page.
  3. View cart page.
  4. Purchase the product.

In other words, a person has viewed a category page on the website that lists all sorts of products based on a certain criteria. From there they’ve actually clicked through to a specific product to read about the product. Once they’ve read up on the product, they add it to their cart and click through to the cart to purchase it. Finally, they purchase it.

Our funnel looks like this: Category Page > Description Page > Cart Page > Purchase

Here is an example of how Google Analytics reports this:

A another user journey could be the checkout journey:

  • View Cart Page
  • Fill out shipping information
  • Fill out billing information
  • Confirm the purchase.

In other words, we’re looking at the checkout process to determine how well it’s working and where we might be able to “better” things to make the experience easier for the shopper and in turn result in more sales for us.

Our funnel looks like this: Cart Page > Shipping Information > Billing Information > Purchase Confirmation

Why might you want to know which steps a person takes?

  1. Identify which steps may be causing confusion and thus preventing a person from making a purchase.
  2. Determine which copy/imagery to potentially update to increase the number of conversions.
  3. Pick up on bugs or problems on the website.

You create your funnels in Google Analytics when you set up your goals, if you’re not familiar with this, KISSmetrics have written up a great tutorial with examples and screenshots that will guide you through it: here.

One of the most important matters to remember when dealing with funnels is the “required step”. This feature, which is presented as a checkbox in whilst setting up your funnels allows you to force the first step of the funnel. In other words, a person on the website MUST complete this as the first step of the funnel. This is a step that most people use and there’s a very big confusion around testing it:

The Funnel Visualisation report in Google Analytics reports on this, but the normal goal reports do not!

So, if you’ve set up a funnel and made use of the “required step” feature, if you actually want to see how many goals met this criteria you need to use the Funnel Visualisation report; if you use the normal goals report you will not see the correct information – this is a hugely common problem, don’t waste time by making the same mistake many people have made.

Additional Resources:

Meme Monday: Lady Gaga & Her Oscar Dishwashing Gloves

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Categories: Meme Monday

Seriously who dresses this chick? At what point did she think, “hey, you know what would go REALLY well with this white dress? Yep, I thought so too – red gloves!”. Like, what?

It’s not like she even cleaned up any awards. See what I did there? Gosh I am hilarious.

Google AdWords & Link Building

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Categories: Findings Friday and PPC

As there hasn’t been a large announcement this week in the world of search, we’re going to look at news that covers link building and Google AdWords. Both of these practises appear to have received a fair amount of attention this week and we’d like to bring you up to speed.

Link Building

We were sitting in a pitch yesterday and the topic of link building came up at the end of our presentation. The company being presented to had received such different feedback about linking building from several of the other companies that had pitched. We took our time to explain what has happened from an algorithm and importance point of view and this sat really well with the client. The client understands SEO and link building which had him questioning what the other companies were offering. Suffice to say, we agreed that link building still formed an important part of SEO (website dependent of course) but was definitely not the metric to measure by nor something to quickly hurry into.

John Mueller (Google Employee) said this week on Google+ that webmasters should avoid trying to focus on link building. He went on to say that more hard could come from it than good and that’s exactly the point we were trying to put across during the pitch. The most important thing he said when asked, “is link building in any way good?”, John’s initial response was, “in general, I’d try to avoid that.”

You still want to do link building? Well here are 11 tactics you can use.

Google AdWords

With the rapid release of new features, Google has decided to create a website that keeps track of all the changes. This is incredibly convenient for webmasters and we’re thrilled to see Google doing this.

On the topic of Google AdWords, here are 3 automations you cannot afford to miss out on and be sure to read our article on Google AdWords Count Down Timer. And if you’re still keen to read more, how about making your adverts more profitable or the hypnotic ads that are going to take over Facebook.

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Ford Pranks Guys By Sending Them On A Date With A Stunt Driver

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Categories: Trending Tuesday

In order to advertise their new Mustang, Ford have sent unsuspecting men on a blind date with professional stunt driver, Preston Persson. The men were lured into this prank under the premise that they were auditioning for a new dating show starring Persson. The unsuspecting men were then asked to meet Persson at a bar where they would under go a “chemistry test”, Persson then states off camera that the restaurant is to noisy and she offers to take them somewhere quieter in her car, a Red Mustang GT.

Ford mustang GT - Speed Dating Prank

When she first steps into the Mustang, she cleverly acts like she has no idea how to drive the car. In the end she takes them to a parking lot where she shows them what the car can really do. The men’s reactions are rather amusing as some looked shocked by this rapid style of driving and others look like they are having the time of their lives.

We are seeing a huge increase in the number of prank videos in the advertising world. Last year Pepsi Max released Tess Gordon’s Test Drive Pranks, where Tess Gordon, race car legend, took an unsuspecting salesman on the test drive of his life. Fords effort does not fall short as the video has quickly gone viral and saw over 9 Million views in 8 days. Ford have stated that they hope to do more prank videos and that they are aiming to stay ahead of the social media curve. Andrea Zuehlk, Ford’s car digital marketing manager stated,  ”For any real-time relevant topic or anything social trending, we always ask: How can Ford, in a meaningful way, enter the conversation?”

 

 

AdWords: Countdown Timer

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Categories: PPC

This isn’t brand new, but most advertisers aren’t using this functionality yet, despite it being incredibly beneficial. One of Google’s new ad customisers includes the ability to include a countdown timer in your Google AdWords advert. So if you’re running a promotion and there’s a time limit, you can actually include a countdown timer in your advert. Human’s hate missing out, leverage FOMO to get those clicks.

When you’re setting up your advert, simply type “{=” into the description line, set up your parameters and your adverts will automatically update with the correct countdown time remaining. Here’s an example:

Google announced that some trial campaigns saw a 32% uplift in Click Through Ratio (CTR) as well as a conversion increase of 3% for static adverts.

Give it a bash, we’re sure that an additional 3% would look good on your bottom line.

Teaching Tuesday: Subdomain or Subfolder

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Categories: SEO and Teaching Tuesday

We’d arrive at work in Ferrari’s if we got a dollar every time we were asked whether it’s better to use a subdomain or subdirectory. This topic seems to come up at least once for every company trying to make strides with inbound marketing. There are so many arguments around this online, but when push comes to shove there is a correct way.

Before we get onto the story, let’s just refresh what subdomains and subdirectories are:

  • Subdomain: http://blog.yourname.com
  • Subdirectory: http://www.yourname.com/blog

Tim Reitnauer from iwantmyname.com, a company that offers domain management, published an article on Hacker News a few weeks ago where he shared his experience with subdomains and subdirectories. This article hit the front page of Hackers News and has gone on to be incredibly popular. Matt Cutts from Google announced that it doesn’t matter whether you use a subdomain or a subdirectory, but time and time again we’ve seen problems with this. Tim and his team decided to move their blog from a subdirectory to a subdomain based on what Matt Cutts has said and the assumption that Google would be geared up enough to understand this and therefore no impact would occur. Unfortunately, this was a bad move.

When you move from a subdomain to subdirectory, there’s a natural slow period whilst Google understands the move and URLs are remapped, but this shouldn’t last more than a couple of months. For Tim though, after 6 months they were still suffering, here’s a graph of their traffic:

That’s a really unhappy graph, from averaging around let’s say 14,000 page views a month to around 8,000 page views a month. Almost a 50% drop in page views just from switching from a subdirectory to a subdomain! Tim and his team decided to move the blog back to a subdirectory after suffering such a loss for such a long time.

Our advise is to use a subdirectory if you’re debating this topic. We’ve been through this a number of times with clients and in some cases there is no choice but to go with a subdomain (hosting, technical reasons) and in situations like this, the results are not nearly as favourable as a subdirectory. So, if you’re trying to decide where to put your blog or content, go for the subdirectory.

How To Use A Meme Correctly

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Categories: Meme Monday

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have come across a meme and have been blown away by just how badly the meme had been misunderstood. Certain meme’s are designed to portray certain feelings or moments. Below is a great image that shows the meme, and how you should be using it. Ain’t nobody got time for the wrong meme.

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