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Would your business cope if Google stopped sending you traffic?


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UHI workshop, part 2 in the emarketing series for business

UHI workshop, part 2 in the emarketing series for business

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  • 1. Would your business cope if Google stopped sending you traffic? UHI eMarketing Course Workshop – Part 2
  • 2. eMarketing courses at UHI 15 week online courses in web value optimisation & emarketing next course starts August Find out more: An introduction to web value optimisation
  • 3. Board Director of WAA eMarketing & web value course developer for UHI Associate lecturer in web analytics, UBC Canada Workshop leader for the WAA, MRS, Internet Marketing Conference and the eMetrics Summit Rabid blogger at Co-founder Highland Business Research & digital marketer for a decade Who am I? An introduction to web value optimisation
  • 4. Part 1: Just how important is search? Part 2: Why might Google stop sending you traffic? Organic search, SEO & paid search Part 3: How would you even know if there's a problem? What are the right proportions of web traffic? Part 4: Google-proofing - what can you do about it? What we're going to cover... An introduction to web value optimisation
  • 5. Part 1 – why search engines matter Just how important is search? March '08, UK saw 33 million people make 4 billion searches – 124 searches pp per month. 80% of those were with Google. The top 10 Google properties drive 36% of all UK Internet traffic . Search engines are the primary way Internet users navigate 68% of searchers only ever click the first page of results
  • 6. Part 1 – why search engines matter Just how important is search? Source: Hitwise
  • 7. Part 2 – Google owes you nothing Why might Google stop sending you traffic? 1. The search landscape is constantly evolving – stay still and traffic will drop Blended/universal search Changing searcher behaviour Behavioral targeting of results 2. Competitors may out perform you or outspend you 3. You may be punished for bad SEO tactics
  • 8. Part 2 - search is constantly evolving Universal/blended search News, image, shopping etc results are now blended together on same results page. Implications? Diversifying of content, Vertical creep – traditional text results being pushed down & off page one
  • 9. Part 2 – changing user behaviour “ Google gullibility” (or how users search)‏
    • Jakob Nielsen:
    • Search users face 3 problems:
    • Inability to retarget queries to a different search strategy
    • Inability to properly evaluate each site's likely usefulness
    • Inability to sort through the mass of poor results
    • “ Given these difficulties, many users are at the search engine's mercy and mainly click the top links — a behavior we might call Google Gullibility. Sadly, while these top links are often not what they really need, users don't know how to do better.”
  • 10. Part 2 - Competitors may out perform you Search engine optimisation
    • Ensuring that your pages are accessible to search engines and are focused in ways that help improve the chances they will be found:
    • Relevance, relevance, relevance
    • Humans not machines
    • All stages of the search cycle:
    • Interest
    • Research
    • Purchase (or Resolution)‏
  • 11. Part 2 - Search engine optimisation myths Beware of the SEO BS No one can guarantee you the number 1 position on Google .... except Google There is no such thing as “no work” SEO – optimising involves changing your site Adding keywords to meta tags is not SEO, nor is adding you to 1000's of search engines It takes time & effort (=money)‏
  • 12. Part 2 – Competitors may out perform you Optimising for organic search
    • Key factors include:
    • The titles, headings, text & image tags on your page
    • Links from other sites
    • The HTML coding of your page & meta-data
    • Relevancy & recency
    • Accommodating changes in technology, content, and information distribution (eg blended search)‏
    • Advantages: More clickthroughs: 70% organic, 30% sponsored)‏
    • Perceived as more believable
    • No incremental cost + huge long-term value
    • Disadvantages: Constantly changing & ultimately at the mercy of the search algorithm
  • 13. Paying your way to number 1 Part 2 – Competitors may out spend you
  • 14. Part 2 - why search engines matter Paid search marketing 1. Paid search engine ads, Pay Per Click/sponsored listings A fee is charged for every click of each link, with the amount bid for the click determining the position 2. Content-network paid-search advertising Displayed on 3 rd party sites, both get paid when someone clicks on a link in one of these ad Paying for a click is not the same as paying for a customer Bounce rates ~ Conversion rates ~ Cost per acquisition
  • 15. Part 2 - why search engines matter Paid search marketing Advertisers pick keywords they want to target Advertisers bid on a price they are willing pay per click You only pay when your ad is clicked Ranking is affected by “quality score” related to conversion (so Ad copy + Landing page are significant)‏ Advantages: Immediate & significant exposure Can target key terms including trademarks Controllable & measurable - driven by ROI You only pay when you get traffic Disadvantages: Requires constant financial investment Competition and price inflation Click fraud
  • 16. Part 2 – and you may be punished for bad behaviour Bad SEO: 10 ways to get banned 1. Cloaking - designing so that search engines see one thing & visitors another 2. Doorway pages - optimised for one key term but lead you to different content 3. Keyword stuffing or duplicate content 4. Hiding text – making the background colour the same as the font colour 5. Links to bad neighbours (spammers & link farms)‏ 6. Robot use - to write your web site – eg “instant AdSense” - or to crawl rankings 7. Long lists of irrelevant keywords & overuse of your key terms 8. Title stacking – more than one title tag per page 9. Distribute viruses, trojans, or other badware 10.Build your site entirely for search engines & not people
  • 17. Part 2 - search engines matter & Google owes you nothing Rounding up part 1 & 2 Search continues to evolve Blended search is being introduced so subtly that you may not even notice Paid search alone is not the answer – optimize for free traffic Don't mistake cost per click for cost per customer – understand and measure conversion Please beware of the SEO scoundrels
  • 18. Understanding how you're doing Part 3 – how do you know if you have a problem?
    • Know your key terms & search on them regularly Free tools can show search trends and terms over time
    • Google Trends
    • Google Keyword Sandbox
    • Measure your own site with a web analytics tool
    • Where did traffic come from
    • Did they do what I want them to
    • What works best
    • Did it cost me more than I made
  • 19. Wonderful, wonderful web analytics Part 3 – how do you know if you have a problem? Understand what proportions of your traffic are referred from search What key terms and phrases are used (what are missing)‏ Which terms convert best? Are key search engines missing? How much third party or direct traffic do you get? Are you visitors disappearing again? (Exits and bounces)
  • 20. So, which site is doing best? Part 3 – how do you know if you have a problem?
  • 21. Are there right proportions of traffic to have? Part 3 – getting the balance right Image by cobalt 123 on Flickr Balancing act: Third party referrals – affiliates, links, bloggers, news Direct – email marketing, RSS, bookmarks, offline Search – balancing paid & organic to avoid cannibalisation Are you primarily acquiring or retaining customers?
  • 22. Are you focussing on acquisition, retention or both? Part 3 – getting the balance right
  • 23. Balancing organic & paid search Part 3 – getting the balance right To spend or not to spend? Factors: -navigational -offline conversions -competitor activity -cannibalisation -uplift via halo effect -other traffic sources
  • 24. Search is not the only marketing tool Part 4 – What can you do about Google-proofing your site? Yes, search matters a lot - let Google love your site If Google delists you, learn from your sins and fix it: But.... -you can drive the second visit by your own marketing -you can avoid over dependence by balancing sources -you can anticipate blended search -you can measure what is & isn't working & act on it
  • 25. Thanks! Vicky Brock eMarketing at UHI