Search Analytics & Advertising Concept Paper
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Search Analytics & Advertising Concept Paper

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This concept paper is written about Search advertising and analytics, for its implementation. Search advertising, analytics, terms and tools required for it have been explained in detail along with......

This concept paper is written about Search advertising and analytics, for its implementation. Search advertising, analytics, terms and tools required for it have been explained in detail along with KPIs/metrics used for different measurements.

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  • 1. Search Analytics & Advertising A Concept Paper Rajeev Sharma Rajeev Sharma 12/6/2013 rajeev.engg06@gmail.com
  • 2. Rajeev Sharma 1 Table of Contents 1. What is Search Advertising? ........................................................................................................................................ 3 Difference between Search Ads & Content Ads .............................................................................................................. 3 2. … and Search Analytics is? ........................................................................................................................................... 3 3. Why Search is Imperative?........................................................................................................................................... 4 3.1 Application of Search Analytics ............................................................................................................................ 4 3.2 Impact of Search .................................................................................................................................................. 5 4. Search & Clickstream Analytics .................................................................................................................................... 7 5. Where do people Search? ............................................................................................................................................ 8 6. Search Marketing – TWO Ways to Do It ...................................................................................................................... 9 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ................................................................................................................................... 9 Search Engine Marketing ............................................................................................................................................... 11 7. Strategic Role of SEM in the Marketing Mix .............................................................................................................. 13 8. Search Engine Marketing – SEO & Paid Search .......................................................................................................... 13 8.1 SERP, CTR & Quality Score ................................................................................................................................. 13 8.2 Purchase Funnel, Search Marketing Action Chronology & Goals ...................................................................... 17 8.3 Metrics & Challenges (Goals) in Industry ........................................................................................................... 18 9. Role of SEO & Paid Search in Search Advertising....................................................................................................... 28 10. Testing Tools: A/B & Multivariate – Convert & Acquire better ............................................................................. 31 11. Role of Titles and Descriptions in Paid Search ....................................................................................................... 31 12. Role of Keywords & Seasonality............................................................................................................................. 32 13. Role of Search Engines ........................................................................................................................................... 35 13.1 How does a Search Engine find you? ................................................................................................................. 37 13.2 Various Match types .......................................................................................................................................... 38 14. Site Search.............................................................................................................................................................. 42 14.1 What is Site Search?........................................................................................................................................... 42 14.2 Applications of Site Search................................................................................................................................. 42 14.3 Investing in Site Search ...................................................................................................................................... 43 14.4 Relation between SEO, Paid Search & Site Search............................................................................................. 43 15. Competitor Research & Tracking ........................................................................................................................... 44 15.1 Share of Voice .................................................................................................................................................... 44 15.2 Capturing competitors’ keywords...................................................................................................................... 44 16. Mobile Search ........................................................................................................................................................ 45
  • 3. 2 16.1 Factors to Impact mobile traffic......................................................................................................................... 46 16.2 Loyalty of Mobile Users ..................................................................................................................................... 47 16.3 Click-to-Call ........................................................................................................................................................ 47 16.4 Segmentation Criteria ........................................................................................................................................ 47 16.5 Five Metrics to Optimize Mobile Shopping Experience ..................................................................................... 48 17. Search & Social Media............................................................................................................................................ 48 17.1 Impact of Social Media on Search ...................................................................................................................... 48 17.2 Metrics ............................................................................................................................................................... 51 17.3 Methods for positive impact using Social media & Search................................................................................ 52 18. Tools & Technology ................................................................................................................................................ 52 18.1 Website Analytics ............................................................................................................................................... 53 18.2 Link Tracking....................................................................................................................................................... 53 18.3 Page Authority ................................................................................................................................................... 53 18.4 Ranking Position ................................................................................................................................................. 54 18.5 Keyword Search Volume & Competition ........................................................................................................... 54 18.6 Social Links & Social Noise ................................................................................................................................. 55 18.7 Keyword Volume or Keyword Density on Page ................................................................................................. 55 18.8 Mobile and Geographic Traffic Estimations ....................................................................................................... 56 18.9 Competitor Insights............................................................................................................................................ 56 18.10 19. Others Popular PPC Tools for Search Advertising .......................................................................................... 56 References ............................................................................................................................................................. 59
  • 4. 3 Search is one of the biggest thing in online advertising these days. Look at any growing business which is leveraging internet for its growth; is either definitely using it or planning to use it in some way or others. This has given huge boost to the idea of Search Advertising & Analytics for business to get recognized in the online world & make profit. It is imperative to measure impact of Search on business to reap the benefits of growing trend. Search engines now serve as entry points for websites. Search engine’s primary purpose is to identify intent of query. There are always two parts of any search query; Intent & Need. Search engine should be able to identify and distinguish between the two. 1. What is Search Advertising? In simple terms, search advertising is a method of placing online advertisements on Webpages that show results from search engine queries. Digital advertising has been in internet space for a long time now. Every now and then with the advent of something new, either social media, blogs, microsites, video sites etc., a new branch in digital advertising keeps getting created. Search Advertising is a similar category. People see ads about a product on different marketing channels like banners on roads, print ads, TV ads, Radio ads etc. and then go to search engines to get 360 degree view about them like reviews on independent sites, brands’ website, social network (if their friends have any prior experience with them). During this feedback gathering exercise they use search engines extensively with a trust on them that quality & relevant results will be shown. Tapping that emotion with these result pages so that the improvised content (with feedback from social network etc.) can be delivered to the user to gain user’s trust is another advertising strategy which is called search advertising. Difference between Search Ads & Content Ads There are two ways to display ads on a website, content ads and search ads. Search ads are displayed on search network; content ads are displayed on content network. Depending on the design of a website it can display either of content or search ads or both. Search Ads are displayed on the search network as a result of user’s search query or other input (such as on bing.com, yahoo.com, google.com or their syndicated partners) on syndicated search partner sites or search engines. Search engines match keywords in the customer’s search query with words (tags) provided for search ads. Content Ads are displayed in the content network on websites designed to display content ads. Ad delivery platforms match the words on the content of a webpage a user is and displays relevant banners, videos or other type of ads. 2. … and Search Analytics is? None of the marketing or advertising strategies can be built up without considering what is happening and using prediction models to estimate what may happen. A field of analytics dedicated to search to help search advertising/marketing activities is Search Analytics. To go over Search Analytics, it is important to understand how Search is being used these days and what it is impacting on. Search has been called “The Database of Inventions” and empowers people with knowledge. People are going everywhere to gain knowledge about the smallest thing they come across in their daily life, things which
  • 5. 4 impact them or their families. People want to know which toothbrush is best suited for the swollen gums, any movie playing in the nearest theatre, where do I get south Indian food in my nearby places etc. All these searches in turn give an idea about a person’s behavior, preferences, geography they are interested in and many more, if looked in detail. These preferences, behavior and location are of much interest amongst businesses to get customers and sell their services.  It is study of impact, application, usage along with prediction of Search across distribution channels like mobiles, tablets, computers for completing business goals. Companies want an important tool for better understanding of consumer/user behavior, preferences & feedback about their product and services to innovate accordingly. Major sites changing their site layout and content every now and then have much bigger influence because of online search. Thus analyzing and leveraging information from the way people search, comment and react about a product or service, using analytics tools over the data available from search for betterment of their business is Search Analytics. Wikipedia mentions “Search analytics is the analysis and aggregation of search engine statistics for use in search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). In other words, search analytics helps website owners understand and improve their performance on search engines.” Remember, Search Analytics & Advertising are not exact science! 3. Why Search is Imperative? There is a ubiquitous impact of search on online businesses. Search engines have become very intelligent these days. Their algorithms are being designed in a way so that they can relate the words entered in search box and also get the meaning & context of the sentence to know intent of user and provide the right content (Recent update in Google Search). The goal of search engines has always been to get ‘user intent’ and provide search results best suited. These intents when related with a brand’s marketing strategy in online space, gives boost to revenues. 3.1 Application of Search Analytics Search analytics helps you in a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l. m. To find out how users are trying to find you on internet Understand keywords, patterns, keyword groups being used to relate to you Finding out Links where they are entering into your websites What competitors are doing Increase traffic on your website Converting a user to customer and their retention; maximizing revenue Improve your visibility in internet domain Brand awareness, feedback about products/services Link building campaigns How are the paid campaigns doing? Planning Online(Paid/Free) and offline campaigns Understand user behavior and intent. “Intent Patterns” that brings a user to website. Improving own site search results Improving offline sales with online search marketing
  • 6. 5 3.2 Impact of Search Let’s go through some of the real world snippets to find out how search is impacting the world of marketing and advertising. Where the users are coming from, how are they impacting sales, lead generation, site traffic and others. Fig 1 – Real world statistics about search’s impact Fig 2 – Stats about where the majority leads are coming from - Study shows that integrating search analytics with other channels for marketing may increase effectiveness of all media. An iProspect study shows that when Paid Search, natural search and display advertising were combined, there is likelihood of 13% increase in purchase. For Gillette, when they used a mix of advertising, there was a cost efficiency of 7-14%. - UK internet users now spend 64% more time on Search engines than 3 years ago and 93% of all buyers(online or in-store) user search as part of their purchase process.
  • 7. 6 Fig 3 – Stats on Web-Influenced retails sales in US - Distribution of traffic on site is dependent on search result position. Recent study by Chitika in June 2013 provides following figure which shows percentage of Google Traffic with respect to Search result position. Fig 4– Percentage of Traffic by Google Results position - Impact on site traffic because of search results. Majority of traffic is coming from Search which makes it very hard to be ignored. Users coming from search do not know about the brand or company and hence there is a greater chance of brand awareness. Users who are directly coming
  • 8. 7 on site already know about the brand/company but there is always opportunity of extending customer base. Fig 5 – Percentage of Google traffic by Results page 4. Search & Clickstream Analytics Search analytics introduces some qualitative data from the search term coupled with many quantitative data points in the form of click through rates, traffic volume, conversion rates, and more. Qualitative data measures behavior and the reasons driving that behavior. For example, surveys and questionnaires can provide qualitative data; in our case, this may also come from search parameter patterns over repeat sessions. Quantitative data is numerical data, for e.g., number of site visits, unique users on a website, total number of people who purchased a product. Clickstream data measures the actions users take on your website by tracking what and where they click. Add clickstream analytics with search analytics and it will tell about - User’s entry and exit points on website, Insights into user’s intent and decision making process by looking at groups of search terms Improve on-site search data. E.g. the way Amazon has improved on-site search by providing recommendations, etc. with respect to a product. Landing page optimization Site navigation Time spent on each page, Where and what else they did on website.
  • 9. 8 This aids in bringing more traffic on company’s website and then retaining users by providing right content so that they will keep coming back. Knowledge from search analytics enables companies to better relate their content with user’s intent. 5. Where do people Search? Fig 6 – Distribution of searches amongst major Search Engines Fig 7 – A Chitika report on search engine usage share
  • 10. 9 6. Search Marketing – TWO Ways to Do It Search Engine Optimization (SEO) The increase in traffic on a website means that the website is being more visible (or popular) online. The products, services or content on it is being more viewed and liked. More and more people are finding the website online because it is coming early in search engine’s results (SERP). The website is getting ranked higher in search engine’s results and more people are hitting the link. There are number of ways which decide the rank of a webpage amongst all search results for a query. It is said that for Google’s search there are more than 200 factors which decide the rank and these factors are changed very frequently. Manipulating these factors so that your website (webpages) comes up in the search results is called Search Engine Optimization. Each search engine has a different algorithm and takes different factors to rank a page. Each factor has a weight and then accordingly at the time of search query the results are displayed. The results coming on Google need not be same as on Bing or Yahoo! All these factors are not known since these are the secret recipes of these search engines but people have tried to reverse engineer and came up with some factors which can affect a webpage’s ranking. Some of the best practices like below have appeared to affect the ranking of a page in SERP. a. b. c. d. e. f. Putting links on webpages Adding images, videos on webpages and good use of flash Putting social media links Inbound links on various other websites The webpage link being referred/shared/liked in social media Using keywords more and more in the content although semantically it may not mean right many times g. Minimal content duplication h. Intelligent use of HTML text, links, descriptions i. Crawlable links for Search Engine bots j. Clean, well-structured code on websites k. Easy navigation between page l. Webpages are organized and logical, segmentation by industry, niche, content theme
  • 11. 10 Fig 8 – Components of Google’s ranking algorithm Thus modifying content on a webpage accordingly to rank it higher is a way to optimize your ‘searchability’ and visibility online and called search engine optimization. This is an organic way of increasing traffic on your website and making people aware of offerings. There is a very useful SEO factor’s periodic table created by Search Engine Land team for reference. This is useful in finding out factors useful for SEO optimization. Fig - 9
  • 12. 11 Fig 9 – Periodic table of SEO success factors To practice SEO, many tools are available in market which are fee and paid. For free, can try few online available tools e.g.. Bing Ads, Google Adwords and play with the options provided. The analytical help by these tools on your website performance will give insights like which keywords are bringing visitors on your website, which domain they are coming from, their geography, devices etc. All this information can be utilized to tweak the content and the keywords with which you want your webpages to be associated with so that it gets selected and ranked higher in SERP. The goal of maximizing revenue for a company in online domain is started by attracting people to its website. Making people aware of their offerings, brand awareness is an important step to start with. Here SEO helps to get that recognition amongst internet users by getting more attention in search results. SEO brings user. Effective tagging of content with right set of keywords, analyzing incoming traffic keywords and updating the tags again for website are all part of this optimization process. But SEO can never be the sole criteria to enhance business. It has to be coupled effectively with SEM. Bringing users to your websites is good but converting them into customers and retaining them is even better. This is referred as “purchase funnel”. Search Engine Marketing As iProspect’s Dr. Amanda Washington puts it, “SEM is the Art and Science of increasing a website’s visibility across the major search properties for a defined set of relevant keywords and phrases.” SEM refers to various techniques for acquiring Website traffic from search engines. These may include: Search Engine Submission (SES), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
  • 13. 12 SEO is an organic way of obtaining higher ranking in SERP by modifying content and also tagging web content with few keywords in search engine tools to affect the visibility of websites, SEM uses Paid Search methodology to do same thing in a little different way. SEM is the process of purchasing ads on search engines. Therefore it is also called paid search and sometimes referred to as CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (payper-click) marketing because most search ads are sold on a CPC/PPC basis. The keywords form the root of any inbound traffic from search engines. Therefore the keywords are of higher importance to affect traffic volume and in turn, number of users made aware of brand and customers acquired. For competing businesses, the same keywords may be relevant to them and thus they will compete to get traffic against those on their websites. Such high value keywords are therefore bid on search engine tools. For E.g., you can make a bid on Google Adwords to acquire traffic from few selected keywords and thus it has $ value associated with it. Word like “online sale” may be of huge importance for Myntra, Flipkart, Jabong and other e-commerce website and thus they will have to shell out money to put up their webpage links first in the search engine results every time. The paid search results are displayed little differently on SERPs, for e.g. on right side of page, at the top with grey background (typically in Google) etc. The real power of paid search is to have full control over user experience. Many other things can be controlled like the time of day results will be displayed, target specific device types (mobile or desktop) or geographies. More control means greater opportunity to optimize and improve results. Fig 10 – Anatomy of a Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP)
  • 14. 13 SEM’s primary purpose is to get more traffic and secondary is to retain customers. Once users come to website, the user experience should be able to make an impact and fulfill the intent so that they keep coming back. More traffic is not the sole criteria of enhancing revenue but the conversion rates should improve too. 7. Strategic Role of SEM in the Marketing Mix Fig 11 – Role of SEM in overall marketing strategy 8. Search Engine Marketing – SEO & Paid Search 8.1 SERP, CTR & Quality Score There is relation between user’s clicks and search engine results. Links coming up in the order have higher probability of being clicked than the others. Click-through Rate (CTR) is an important metric to be considered here which is measured by taking the total number of times a search result is presented and the total number of times that link is clicked on. CTR = (Clicks on a Link / Impressions of Link) X 100
  • 15. 14 Knowing CTRs for rankings is important because it will allow you to project your ROI. In August 2006, AOL released a large set of user data that had been analyzed to determine the average CTR of each position on Google’s results pages. Fig 12 – CTR of organic search positions Relevancy of results with respect to the keywords also has impact on paid search. Google Adwords measures relevancy through Quality Score, a metric that apart from other factors, takes into account following a. b. c. d. e. f. CTR of the keyword The historical CTR of all ads and keywords in a user’s(Google Adwords’ user) account CTR of the display URL in the ad group Quality of landing page Relevance of the keyword both in the ad group and to the search query User account’s performance in the geographical region where the ad/link will be shown
  • 16. 15 The better your quality score is during each search, the less you will pay per click. The Quality Score used to determine the cost per click is generate for every search. Relation between Quality Score and impact on CPC is shown below in Fig 13, data is indicative. Fig 13 – Relation between Quality Score and Impact on CPC The new studies around the CTR of SERPs are further acknowledging the importance of a SERP spot. Fig 14 below shows eye tracking data from Mediative (http://www.mediative.ca) about user awareness of positions based on what rankings users look at. This is called “F”-shaped pattern, known as “golden triangle”.
  • 17. 16 Fig 14 – Eye tracking based on static results courtesy of Mediative. Mediative eye tracking study shows that side sponsored ad visibility is 50% for a number 1 position, while SEO rankings one through three get 100% visibility. The difference is even greater when we look at Google Instant. Further, ComScore data reveals that paid search results receive about 22% of clicks on SERP. Thus SEO derives about three-quarters of the clicks. Another company First Rate conducted a study to estimate CTR based on ad position. Fig 15 – Relation of CTR and SERP position
  • 18. 17 8.2 Purchase Funnel, Search Marketing Action Chronology & Goals The purchase funnel is a consumer focused marketing model which illustrates theoretical customer journey towards the purchase of a product or service. This model is valid for any business which implements and evaluates the stages of the funnel. Fig 16, describes the theoretical purchase funnel. Fig 16 – The purchase funnel Each stage represents a goal for a company. In relation to search marketing, it is important to figure out these goals Awareness Viewing a specific page about a new product (or a series of connected pages about new products), downloading a brochure on a product, and so on. Consideration Looking at a product on the website and perhaps adding it to the cart, but not buying; reading a product specification page; calling a 1-800 number to learn more about a product. Preference Reading an article that compares us to our competitors, using a product configuration tool to build a product. Purchase A sales transaction, either online or offline. Retention Any repeat visit where there is a high intent to purchase or where a purchase is made. The data from search traffic should be segmented in a way to analyze how these goals are being fulfilled by SEO and paid search traffic. Better will be to build a funnel fallout report to figure out the stages where users are exiting and not completing a user goal. This data should be combined with clickstream analytics data to get pathing report to see where most of the users go from one link to another. Optimizing the exit points in pathing report and funnel fallout report may give more opportunities of selling.
  • 19. 18 All users are not going to make a purchase on their first visit to the site. They will make many visits to the site to compare products, services; they will view catalogues, shipping options, discounts etc. before making a purchase. The important thing here is, although users are re-visiting, it means users have started considering brand/company in their list of trusted websites. Now the company is an option in their list and they have moved to another stage. Probably now luring them with discount or other offers, the further goals can be completed. Accordingly, companies must create an ‘estimated’ and ‘actual’ revenues linked to these goals. Fig 17 – Purchase funnel Linking these goals with user actions in digital domain, gives a search marketing action chronology 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.3 Internet user searches the Web Clicks link from search results Visits site Purchases or just signs on Registers with the site Revisits the site Makes 1st or 2nd purchase Metrics & Challenges (Goals) in Industry The metrics for a search marketing campaign are decided when you decide a goal. It is important to know what you want to do and how are you going to measure that. For a new e-commerce website, probably the brand awareness is more important to start with than selling inventories. Once people are aware of new brand then investing more on user experience on the website will improve the conversion rates. There is some level of overlap in the metrics used for clickstream analytics and search analytics. Many such metrics which are being looked upon in industry are discussed in this section:
  • 20. 19 Traffic Volume The amount of traffic ending up on website is an important metric to give you insights about the popularity of website and planning infrastructure to support the load. Traffic volume at one point of time has no meaning therefore it is always seen with historical data. This metric should be segmented on other factors like source (mobile or desktop), geographies, domains, search engines etc. to better understand traffic. Impressions Impression count is the number of times and ad/link is displayed whether it is clicked or not. Each time an ad/link gets displayed, one impression is counted. It is important to calculate Gross impressions (duplicate visitors), Net impressions (de-duped total visitors) and average hits per visitor to further understand the data around impressions. Clicks It indicates a user action on a link/ad. If an advertisement is clicked, it is attributed to click count. Page views A page view is a view of a page when user requested a page. If user refreshes the page in browser, that page view will be additionally counted. Thus it is a good idea to report unique page views. Visits Visits indicate the number of unique sessions initiated by visitor. In a single visit, a user could have viewed 10 pages and 50 ads in total. Thus 1 visit translated into 10 Page Views and 50 Ad Impressions (assuming each impression is unique). This metric should be viewed in detail like % New visits, Total visits, number of pages per visit, keywords responsible for visits etc. for better understanding of data. Industry practice is to consider 30-minutes timeframe as one visit by a user if no action is performed in that time and user has not exited from site. Visitors Number of people who have visited the website. Although the same person could have used 3 different devices to go on a website, if not able to correlate these 3, then there will be 3 different visitors considered. This data should be segmented into total visitors, new visitors, unique visitors, visitors from search etc. Visitors who keep coming back to the same website are called Repeat visitors. Percentage of repeat visitors indicates about the loyalty of users with the website. 1st time purchase/visit Especially for e-commerce websites, this metric is very important and should be seen with other 2 metrics defined below. The numbers of users who visited website only once and made a purchase in their first visit are the 1st time purchasers. This gives insight into the user behavior related to the website experience, if it is very easy to navigate and complete the purchase or website has latest and very good items to sale that people can’t resist and buy on their first visit. Conversion (2nd purchase/visit) This metric can be understood in a little different ways in different segments of business. For ecommerce companies, visitors who had earlier made a purchase or browsed for some items on website, made a purchase on their 2nd visit or visited again, is termed as conversion. This means
  • 21. 20 customers have started trusting the website and want to check if their intent can be fulfilled. For a lot of companies, a majority of business comes from repeat visitors. Retention Industry wide, it is assumed that visitors which have come thrice to the website should be counted a retained customer. Customers making purchase or repeat visiting the website 3 or more times indicate that there is a bond building taking place and the customers may be loyal in the future. It is important to figure out frequency of visits of a customer and how frequent they are coming on website. Return frequency Frequency of a user to keep coming back from the ‘same’ search is engine is called return frequency. This will enable segmenting data on repeat visitors based on popular search engines. Conversion Rate A site’s conversion rate is generally defined as number of successful transactions divided by the number of total unique visitors. In different industry segments, the same metric can be used a little differently. For e.g. Flipkart can see it as total number of products sold in a category divided by the total number of people viewed that category whereas a technical site built up for brand awareness may treat as the number of white papers downloaded divided by the total unique visitors. Average conversion rate tells about how strong a lower funnel activity is at closing a deal. Click-through Rate It is defined as the number of clicks on a link divided by the total impressions of that link. Abandonment/Bounce/Exit Rate It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site. This is an important metric which is most of the time used as an indicator to find out where the users are exiting from. Pages with high bounce rates should be analyzed for their quality and if they are serving their intended purpose. High bounce rates should not always be regarded as a negative factor may be, users are getting what they wanted to know on a particular page and they are satisfied. Moreover this metric should be segmented on criteria like pages, keywords, campaigns or browsers (if a page is not performing efficiently on a particular browser) and then analyzed for detailed insights. Further traffic’s bounce rate should be assessed for different sources like SEO or paid search. Look for Entry page or Landing page report too to understand the entry and exit paths on site. Although Bounce and Exit rates are kept together here in the topic headline but there is a difference between the two. For all pageviews to the page, the exit rate is the percentage that was the last in the session. For all sessions that start with the page, bounce rate is the percentage that were the only one of the session. The bounce rate calculation for a page is based only on visits that start with that page. Look here for more details, https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2525491?hl=en&ref_topic=1120718.
  • 22. 21 Source domains Domains which are serving as source for some of inbound traffic. May be the domains which were not intended to link are actually linking to site. Not of a big concern but gives opportunity to either restrict or enhance traffic from those domains. In some cases, some bloggers may have put up the link to site, which was never thought of as a source, in this case, site developer may reach out to blogger to check on other site content as well and provide more alerts from the site. Most Linked Pages This metric serves an important role in understanding the popularity of content on site. The pages are being highly shared across social media or being put up in other discussion forums or blogs. The Most Linked Pages report should be correlated with more popular sections of website. Link Diversity This is not a direct metric but more of a segmented study of inbound traffic. The types of links which are connecting the site, domains where they are coming from, keyword terms generating the traffic which will include synonyms of search keywords which were not thought of are some segments where the link diversity should be tracked and studied. This is one of the organic ways of improving page ranking. Page Rank PageRank is an algorithm used by Google to rank websites in their SERPs. It was named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. According to Google, “PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.” Page rank is passed to the associated links on a website and thus a page with higher ranking will definitely affect the ranking of other attached links to it. To find out PageRank of your favorite webpage, you can check it on http://www.pgranking.com/ Some other methodologies which work in search engines to rank pages over each other are described below in pics. Courtsey – SEOmoz’s blog. Keyword Usage
  • 23. 22 Fig 17 – Keyword Usage Term Frequency X Inverse Document Frequency Fig 18 – TF*IDF Co-occurrence Fig 19 – Co-Occurrence
  • 24. 23 Topic Modelling Fig 20 – Topic Modelling Domain Rank/Authority It is a measure of the power of a domain name and is one of many search engine marketing factors. Domain authority is based on three factors: Age, popularity and size. - - Age relates to the longevity and trust a website has so that search engine results can be trusted. In today’s world when websites keep coming in and out, age is an important factor for search engines. Domain Popularity is measured in part by the number of inbound links from quality sites that a domain has. This indicates that website has useful information and is worth sharing. The number of pages that exist on a domain correlate with the amount of content that can generate inbound links and thus size of a domain plays an important role. A larger website with quality content will have more inbound links than a smaller website. Domain rank/authority and Page Rank capture the value, authority and trustworthiness of a site or page. They both play an important role in rank of a page in search engine’s result. Domain rank looks at the entire site while page rank looks at a specific page. To track page rank data, SEOmoz (internet marketing software company) provides two tools: Domain mozRank and mozRank. The resultant domain and page ranks are not for any search engine but are estimated values based on the content, links and source domains for website. This data together is very important from analytics perspective to determine where the webpages will end up in search results for specific keywords/search terms. Average Position This indicates average position of a webpage in search results of a search engine thus the order in which results will be displayed on page. Google Adwords and Bing provide tools to estimate the position in search engine results. This position of ad/link/content gets influenced from the keywords associated with them.
  • 25. 24 Quality Score Quality score is an estimate of how relevant is ads, keywords and landing page are to a person seeing them. Good quality score means there is higher relevancy of the ad/keyword/landing page with the intent of the search query. This is a Google search engine’s metric too. Traffic from Search term This is to segment the incoming traffic data on the basis of search terms. How much traffic search terms are contributing is essential to know to figure out search terms/keywords which are higher drivers and for “long tail” analysis. It can be decided then if the search terms are worth for bidding in Paid search or there can be other strategy. Cost per Acquisition (CPA) Indicates cost associated with acquiring a new customer. Companies only pay affiliates for traffic that generated an action such as views, leads or sales. Dividing the total number of leads by the average revenue generated by the leads will provide an average Cost per Acquisition. Average value per visitor Calculation of total sales divided by total number of visitors who came to the website for the same purpose. This is one important KPI which should be seen along with Cost per Acquisition (CPA) metric to establish if there is any improvement in ROI. This should be segmented by SEO traffic and Paid search. Decrease in this metric is not good for long term profits. For e.g. if earlier, CPA and Average cost per visitor was $3.45 and $2.50 respectively and now it stands on $2.80 and $1.95 respectively, it means, although we have improved on CPA but net expenditure by customers is going down too which is not good. Average time spent This indicates average time spent on a website/webpage. This is an important metric in user engagement to assess how much time users are spending on the content. This metric when seen in context with others like number of page views, bounce rate etc. gives more insights about how users are reacting on a particular content. Time after Search The average amount of time users spends on pages after performing a site search. This is very much relevant in Site search. Visit link for more details https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032321?hl=en&ref_topic=1031951 Search depth The average number of pages visitors viewed after performing a site search. Visit link for more details https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032321?hl=en&ref_topic=1031951 Number of sales/leads Lead generation is a general marketing terminology which means generation of consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business. It can be generated for purposes such as list building, enewsletter list acquisition or for sale leads which will eventually turn them into sales for a company. As per study, 75% of leads will be coming via web by 2015. Number of leads is thus the count of
  • 26. 25 gathered list of pointers for expanding business. Which search term is generating maximum sales/leads is important to figure out. Customer engagement This is not a singled out metric but a group of metrics which tells about user interaction with website. The more information of ‘what’ users are doing, if it is in accordance with the expectations the more is better. For different companies, customer engagement may mean different things. For e.g. for a blogger site, the number of times people have read an article, time spent on article, number of comments posted, articles shared, RSS feed signed up would be very important set of metrics for gauging engagement of user with content. For Google, it might be the number of searches, number of words in searches, which type of search engine results being clicked most (video, news feed, images, links etc.) could be defining customer engagement. It is a complex math to come up with a single value for this metric which may include all the metrics to be considered here. A popular yet complex way of calculating this is RFM; Recency, Frequency and Monetary value of customer. Number of Links/Referrals It relates to the number of external webpages which have embedded link to the website in their own content. The more the links from external sources are connected to a webpage, the greater are the chances of the webpage to show up higher in SERP. It also accounts to the popularity and authority of the content. This data should be segmented by referring sites to figure out the top referrers. These referrers can be approached for more linking to other content on website. Most linked pages This indicates the pages on the site being frequently referred by external sources. This metric should be seen with most popular sections of the website metric to figure out good link baiting pages. Studying the source of referrals/inbound links can give insight into the type of SEO referral sites and customers coming on to the website. Percentage of Coverage of Exact Term This metric is relevant more in mobile search. Since the search terms are generally smaller than the ones being used on desktop, it is better to understand how the search is being done on a mobile device. If the search is being done for exact terms or there are longer tail terms. The percentage of search with an exact search term can be calculated as Number of exact matches divided by Phrase match. Exact matches are more likely to fare better in search results. Global & Local search count This suggests segmentation of searches being made on mobile devices globally or locally. Since it is most likely that people will search for more local results but it is better to understand the segmentation of traffic for global and local search. Clicks-to-call This is related to mobile search too. Some of the marketing campaigns may involve putting up phone numbers on mobile sites to enable Click-to-Call service. Customers can call customer service for
  • 27. 26 detailed answers and query resolution. Number of such calls generated from site should be segmented on campaigns to see how effective click-to-call service was for each of them. Device types The type of devices being used for a search is important to know to figure out the major sources. The website can be optimized for that device type. For e.g. tablets, mobile phones etc. Facebook likes, shares These are relevant in social search campaigns. The number of users who liked or shared a post is important to figure out popularity of a campaign on Facebook. For each social media since there are different ways of acknowledging content, there will be different nomenclature to metrics associated with them. Tweets & Re-tweets on Twitter One of the Amplification metric, numbers of tweets regarding a particular campaign or content on Twitter. +1s on Google This is equivalent to Facebook likes. Geography or Geo-targeting For all type of searches, geo-targeting is an important criterion for deciding where the paid search should be making its impact. A start up retail brand, say Bigbasket.com, only wants to market itself in few cities in India thus its Paid search campaign in Search engine’s tools will be configured only for India i.e. results to be displayed in India. This is more relevant when comes to Mobile Search campaigns or marketing. Average order value Total revenue for all orders divided by the number of orders is Average order value. This metric is relevant for product purchases. This indicates how much a single user will spend when making a purchase. Site performance This is a measure which involves further more metrics for consideration of site performance. Page design, speed of web server, site load time, number of HTTP links, number of background connections etc. metrics are considered in this. This metric is highly important from the perspective of user experience. Google Adword does report on site performance and consider that while ranking pages. Site Search traffic The traffic generated due to search activities on own website is site search traffic. This is not a criterion but should be viewed as a goal. This traffic gives a lot of insights into user intent too which can be used to enhance SEO and paid search programs. Keywords used on site to get content may be something which was not thought of while building keyword program for SEO & Paid search. Amazon has an amazingly good site search program.
  • 28. 27 Pathing Report This report is very much discussed in web analytics to figure out all the pages visitors browsed through and in which order. This report shows entry and exit points along with the whole path traversed in order of popularity of pages. It tells about what users are doing organically throughout the site and follow branches to understand their pathing better. A pathing report sometimes gives more options to look for behavior compared to a funnel fallout report which only tells if the goal chain was traversed to next level or not. Value of sales/leads Total amount of revenue generated with respect to the leads. Cost per Click (CPC) It indicates cost associated per click. This advertisement model involves payment by advertisers to publishers only when a ‘click’ happens on the ad. Cost of generating sale offline Amount of cost associated with generating offline sales. For e.g. displaying coupon for printing followed by in-store shopping is a case where online publicity is done for offline sale. ROI & Return on ad spend (ROAS) ROI is the universal metric associated with any business which gives insights into amount of investment (includes marketing budget, cost of equipment etc.) and the return in terms of sales. A different form of ROI popular in digital ad business is ROAS, Return on Ad Spend. ROI = ((Revenue – Cost) / Cost) X 100 ROAS = ((Revenue – Advertising Cost)/Advertising Cost) X 100 Landing page optimization This is a process oriented goal for any company in internet business. If a company wants itself to be ‘visible’ in the internet world it has to have a great user experience to set the impression right away. The entry points to the websites for the traffic coming from search have to be tested on these criteria. The first page visitor comes to is a landing page and by web analytics, it can be found that which pages are increasingly serving this purpose. Finding out how much time users are spending on the page, where they are going to, page design, page load time etc. gives insight into user’s reaction about the page/site. This process of improving landing pages so that the ultimate funnel goals can be accomplished is landing page optimization. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) This is a process oriented goal for companies. All users are not likely to make purchase on their first visit on the site. They may browse the content, leave and come back, leave, comeback and may be then make a purchase. Typical offline purchase behavior of users is visible in digital space too where users checkout more related stores for the same product to compare prices and services. While making purchases if users have to follow too many paths to complete the transaction, it makes the final step too lengthy to complete. This is one of the issue because of which an interested user may not make the purchase at the end. Finding out issues like this to optimize the conversion of users to customers so that they complete the funnel goals is conversion rate optimization.
  • 29. 28 Brand Awareness This is a goal. To get a single number value to gauge this goal is a complex math to solve. The startup businesses have to spend lot of initial time in getting the recognition amongst people. Both, SEO and Paid search marketing strategies are adopted to make that brand visible on the places where users come most often, which are search engines. Higher ranks on search results have higher real estate value. Brand awareness constitutes importance of 22% of SEO and 12% of SEM goals by companies. Customer satisfaction & Customer service This is purely a goal for any company. No matter how much money is spent on Paid search and how good the SEO campaign is, if the customer satisfaction is not there, sales will not happen. Therefore gauging customer satisfaction is imperative to figure out the associated effects on sale. Online survey, customer calls, feedback campaigns etc. are part of this process to know what customers are thinking about and then accordingly change marketing and at other places. As per a study, customer satisfaction constitutes importance of 6% of SEO and 3% of SEM goals set by companies. 9. Role of SEO & Paid Search in Search Advertising Making the content more trustworthy with quality is the first step that every brand tries. Integrating own website with a search engine tool to get ranked higher organically or by PPC is the first step to move in that direction. As mentioned above, organic results are produced by search engines by taking into consideration a lot of factors. Google uses more than 200 factors to decide where the page should be ranked. There are just too many things to take into account while designing a website to be better placed in search results. Therefore users trust Organic results more than Paid search results. Professionals & Technical people who are aware of search advertising also trust organic results more than paid. This is a reason why organic search results drive a big chunk of traffic to site. Therefore higher organic search rankings are always most desirable. Besides, organic search is free. There is no bidding of keywords and you can analyze your inbound traffic for free. The catch is, you are at the mercy of search engines. A change in algorithm sometimes may just prove very un-helpful by disturbing the ranking and in turn the opportunity to drive traffic. Have money to spend, well thought out bidding strategy and want to see quick results? Go for Paid search. It instantly puts the website right at the top in search results provided the right keywords have been bid. Traffic to a site can be controlled by Paid search. When there is no more help from Organic SEM, should go for Paid search. It is cost effective too for leads & conversions if well managed. Even if conversion rate is slower at the start, impressions will be useful and for brand awareness. Having a parallel organic SEM strategy will aid Paid campaign too. It’s a truth that Display ad network has far more reach than pure search. Paid search’s biggest advantage is to quickly test users coming from search traffic. Paid search has brought the ability to ‘bid’ on keywords depending on their value to an advertiser based on many KPIs. Even social media is providing their content to be displayed in search results based on bidding of their content for certain keywords/topics. Promotions are based on bids, impressions and clicks of the post. The fluidity and bidding strategy helps in putting money for a specific period evaluate ROI and then quickly change strategy. Ad exchanges had become more popular in late 2009 and have influenced the way bidding and display happens. Ad Exchanges allow buyers to specify rules dependent on the value of an individual impression/user. The ability to buy display inventory on an impression by impression basis is known as real time bidding (RTB).
  • 30. 29 Fig 21 – Growth of Real time bidding The key metric to evaluate profit on after an investment is ‘Return on Investment (ROI)’. To evaluate ROI for paid search, a lot of expert suggested metrics are available. They ensure a good understanding of data on handful of metrics will enable business to evaluate their investment. In a searchenginewatch.com blog, author suggests that metrics can always be tied back to four basic lifecycle stages: Attracting – Find the right audience Engage – Talk about things that matter when they matter Convert – Get them to take the action you want Renew – Create loyalty and keep them coming back Fig 22 – Stages of PPC campaign
  • 31. 30 Author suggests 13 metrics which could be tied to the above mentioned 4 basic stages. Fig 23 – Metrics for PPC A successful search marketing/advertising program cannot be just an SEO or PPC effort alone. To be successful, they both must complement each other. Correlation between the two is equally important to justify ROI of each medium and maximize revenue eventually. There may be many key finding from organic search which can be useful in PPC model. SEO should be used for formulating long term strategy to take load off Paid search program. Keywords with high CTR can be targeted for some quick traffic benefits. In fact the eventual goal must be to go beyond CTR. Gaining ability to know what to do with traffic is of utmost importance. When looking to bid on a term that already has an established ranking, there are 6 KPIs which should be tracked. These KPIs must act as a baseline to evaluate if traffic has increased or decreased as whole and the impact on rankings. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Traffic from search term Cost per Acquisition Average order value Conversion rate Bounce rate Average value per visitor Moving traffic from SEO to Paid is not a big gain here, conversions and average order values must be improved. Average value per visitor and CPA will help us to figure out ROI on investment made on the search terms.
  • 32. 31 10. Testing Tools: A/B & Multivariate – Convert & Acquire The advanced techniques of landing page optimizations use the two testing techniques; A/B and Multivariate testing. They allow to test and modify elements on a page in different combinations to see which ones improve goal or task completion rate. Google Website Optimizer and Adobe Test & Target are couple of options for these testing. Establishing KPIs, making changes to website, testing their performance post implementation and analysis of that data can give a lot of insights about user reactions to the changes. Testing is thus a very important tool to improve conversion and acquisition rates. This is an ongoing process and needs a lot of digging into the historical and post-changed data to understand user behavior with respect to various changes. Segment, Segment, Segment! A/B Testing Methodology used in advertising, web development of using two variants, A and B, which are the control and treatment in the controlled experiment. The goal is to identify a change which would enhance customer engagement with the site; changing background/foreground color scheme, site layout, adding more images, etc. are elements of change. The two variants of the same content is served to a split group say 40/60 (Variant A for 40%, Variant B for 60%) with one variation to get impact on user’s behavior. For instance, on a e-commerce website, the purchase funnel is typically a good candidate for A/B testing as even marginal improvements in drop-off rates can represent significant gain in sales. Multivariate Testing It is similar to A/B testing but includes multiple element changes with different combinations on a webpage. It generally uses JavaScript to put different element changes on a single page. Since it gives chance of more detailed changes at a time on a page, it is mostly preferred than A/B testing. Multiple versions can be served at a time to see response on each of them. 11. Role of Titles and Descriptions in Paid Search Titles and descriptions along with links are things which a lot of people ignore in organic search but there is a huge focus on both in Paid search. Search engines give a good credit to these because they give a gist about the content and enhance CTR. It has been shown that title tags and descriptions can definitely enhance CTR. Although it will be good idea to figure out by how much percentage does the titles and descriptions, impact CTR. Page title is definitely one of the factors which search engines use while ranking in SERP.
  • 33. 32 Fig 24 – Configuring settings in Google Adwords for Page title and description 12. Role of Keywords & Seasonality In a field if we throw 100 seeds of mango on a field, randomly picked up from a sack of seeds (good and bad) and wait for the right time, eventually we will see mango trees. May be not all seeds were good and thus few just got wasted but we will get fruits on the some of the trees eventually. To maximize the fruit yield of a field we must make sure that right and quality seeds are picked up next time. A search campaign is analogous to this process. Keywords here are the seeds, leaves are traffic and fruits are customers. Right set of keywords will always help creating more relevance of search term/keywords with the content and thus more and more traffic will be diverted to the site. Not all keywords that ‘we thought’ will increase inbound traffic but there may be many more surprises! Thus it is very important to do keyword research and build a keyword cluster for organic and paid search programs. This process has following steps: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Track SEO & Paid Search keywords – Track the performance of keywords, ROI, CTR Segmenting keywords into clusters Short head & Long tail analysis - Identifying top & low performing search terms. Keyword research for new opportunities Track Paid Search Quality Score Tracking & utilizing keywords from site search Good and bad seeds relate to positive and negative list of keywords, with a little difference that, bad keywords may also be related to the content, which was not supposed to. For e.g. Nike may not want to be displayed in search results if someone has specifically searched for ‘adidas shoes’ or a keyword which would make Nike appear in bad light. A Coffee brand may not want to be associated with a Tea brand. The list of such keywords is called
  • 34. 33 ‘Negative List’ of keywords; the other list is ‘Whitelist’. Google and other search engine tools give an option to include negative list too so that paid search results are only displayed for terms which do not demean their brand. Brand awareness campaigns are highly dependent on keywords. After TV ads & other display ads there has always been a surge in search traffic with respect to the keywords which represent a brand. These branded keywords are of highest important for any company. Evaluation of CTR for branded terms does not always give the complete picture because IAB’s study mentions that impressions are equally important in brand marketing campaigns. People get aware about brands but may not remember the exact web address to go directly and hence use these terms in search engines to navigate to the brand’s website. This is called Navigational Search where people use search engine to take them to an already known destination with help of specific terms. For e.g. to reach BBC weather site, a user in UK would enter “weather” in Google and hit the first link with BBC. Being present on certain search terms is now not going to impact the conversion rate of users as thought earlier. Referring to the keywords, a user may come to the site but may exit after reading product reviews, will use search again to go for a competitor and probably make a purchase. IAB mentions, “The path-to-purchase has changed becoming more complex and non-linear. There is a lot of overlap being seen between SEO and PPC, and brand and generic key terms. It is no longer a simple case of generic terms feeding brand conversions.” Search engines use both on-page and off-page indicators for organic rankings. If there is a need to be present for a specific search term or if study shows there are new search terms being used to associate with, then evaluate value of the search terms (Cost to CTR ratio) and test them on Paid search. Since Paid search gives faster results and impact a smaller percentage of traffic, it should be preferred. For Search engine, it is important to pick the right keyword set to bring more relevance with search result to rank at right position and get user’s click. Irrelevance may result in high bounce rate. Keyword research program thus have two main goals: 1. Currently, which keywords are driving traffic to the site 2. In future, which keywords can drive traffic to the site Optimizing for SEO traffic, page-wide and site-wide tactics are used. Site-wide tactics include the navigation between sections, the whole site design whereas Page-wide tactics involve mapping of keywords to a page to rank it higher in search result for those terms. Keyword clustering is a very simple process of taking a targeted page on your website and understanding what traffic and terms already drive traffic to that page. These days, all clickstream tools provide functionality to find out which keywords drive traffic to a particular page. Generating this report for a page to figure out the words associated with inbound traffic helps in ‘Short head’ and ‘Long tail’ analysis. There is a very small group of keywords which may appear to drive majority of traffic but if traffic metrics for keywords in the middle-bottom of Top-N keywords is combined, it gives a different picture. For e.g. in Fig 25, ‘playday.com’ and ‘activities in canada’ appear to bring majority of traffic (Short head) but combined page views of keywords from rank 3-10 easily overwhelm them (Long tail).
  • 35. 34 Fig 25 – A piece from Google analytics report for referral keywords It is possible that the ‘Short head’ search terms are being bid aggressively by competitors and thus evaluating their worth and investing them should be done after analyzing other criteria. The ‘Long tail’ search terms though not bringing enough traffic single handedly and thus may be either very cheap to bid on or free to aide SEO traffic. Investing more in ‘Long tail’ thus may look like a profitable bet at the end but decisions should be made after considering ROI and other related metrics. Linking more pages with these terms may have positive impact on ROI. Segmenting this data based on search terms will aid in CRO strategy and finding out if the user needs are being fulfilled coming from search engine. Fig 26 – Short head, long tail While looking at the keyword list, start research from keywords with highest ROI to lowest. It should be ensured that top performing words have full coverage. Google Keyword Tool is a good candidate for keyword research programs to figure out opportunities for improving traffic by using keywords not currently being tracked. Add SERP position of search terms in the above result, get opportunity to improve traffic, see Fig 14.
  • 36. 35 Fig 27 – SERP position in keyword traffic report The all-time favorite metrics for keywords have been Quality Score, CTR & ROI. These metrics must be analyzed along with estimated value of other metrics like Potential Traffic Increase and Expected Total Page Views. To estimate change in traffic corresponds to each keyword on the basis of moving the position up or down, use following formula: Expected Total Page Views = Current Page Views X (1 + Projected SERP CTR% Converted to a decimal) Potential Traffic Increase = Expected Total Page Views – Current Page Views Seasonality Seasonality refers to the unusual spikes at a specific period in the year. The traffic could have dropped or increased sharply during a specific time due to various reasons like, change in SEO campaign, bidding on different keywords, experimentation with high performing search terms in Paid/SEO search, any changes with site layout/content, political reasons, holidays, new product launch by company or competitor, weather etc. For e.g. Apple may receive spike in traffic and sales during September/October period because of annual launch of new products. Gift sites may see spikes in orders during Valentine’s Day or other holidays. To track for seasonality, keep looking at Year over Year (Y-o-Y), Month over Month (M-o-M) and Quarter over Quarter (Q-o-Q) reports. Traffic for certain search terms may change significantly because of unexpected events. To figure out drop in traffic, the data should be segmented on campaigns, search terms or to the detailed level to figure out the root cause. Seasonality is one important factor to impact sales/traffic prediction models. Bidding strategies also get changed because of seasonality thus it is important that the factors are well incorporated in PPC strategy. For e.g. it is most likely that the first purchase will be made within 1 st month of visit by a user rather than the first session! Seasonality affect bidding rates as user’s buying behavior changes during holiday periods. 13. Role of Search Engines All search engines are NOT equal. Google and Bing have many differences in their algorithms to display search results. The difference lies even in the type of results and their order in which they are shown, for e.g. results from
  • 37. 36 social media, video sites (youtube.com), images, news feed etc. Each search engine gives different importance to different result types. Industry experts have often commented about delivering lower traffic from Bing with better conversion rates than Google! Keyword match algorithms are implemented in slightly different ways thus for SEO and Paid Search, keyword research program must include search engine as a criterion too. Bing is more focused on tasks and portallike activities (booking trips, getting weather updates, etc.), while Google focuses on information searches (and, more recently, local search results). Segmenting data based on key KPIs like ROI, Abandonment rate, Average order value, CPA, Return frequency (from the same search engine), Conversion rate, Total sales volume, Total number of referrals must be done in order to understand about which search engine delivers quality leads. Although Bing & Yahoo constitute around 20% of market share, but with a better conversion rate from these search engines and lower competition (since most focus on ranking well on Google), there is a great opportunity. A well thought-out search practice should be easily transferrable on other search engine with few changes. An optimized search practice must include the influence of local search engines too. If the business is spread across continents then it will be worth investing in marketing on local search engines as well. Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia and Yahoo! in Japan are good candidates for specific markets and regions (China, Russia & Japan). Local search engines may be biased towards local search results and may rank sites developed in local languages (Russian, Mandarin) higher in results. To get opportunity in such case, business should be able to cater those local markets and web content developed in local languages. Also, user behavior and preferences in regions play an important role in planning online experience. Recent study has tried to establish how Ad-CTR varies when users come to that website from different search engines. According to research, Ad CTR was highest when users came from Ask.com!
  • 38. 37 Fig 28 – Ad CTR by referring domain All search engines keep themselves updating always. Google had announced launch of its brand new algorithm mid-year 2013, Humming bird. New algorithm uses more than 200 major “ingredients” that go into recipe of Hummingbird for PageRank algorithm. Google has said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. Humming bird is designed to apply the meaning technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge graph facts, which may bring back better results. Speculation across the industry is that PageRank is DEAD now but Google says otherwise, in fact it has been improved. Experts have pointed out that page ranks have not been updated in months since early 2013. Page ranks are updated internally on a daily basis and results are pushed to Google toolbars through a pipeline. This pipeline has been observed as broken for months now thus, page ranks are being updated internally but not being pushed to toolbars. 13.1 How does a Search Engine find you? Frequently asked question about search engines. What sort of words would a search engine find relevant for a content being developed? For organic rankings, search engines use both on-page and off-page indicators. Further, there are two important theories behind the question; Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA). Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) The contents of a webpage are crawled by a search engine and the most common words and phrases are collated and identified as the keywords for the page. LSI looks for synonyms related to the title of your page. For example, if the title of your page was “Classic Cars”, the search engine would expect to find
  • 39. 38 words relating to that subject in the content of the page as well, i.e. “collectors”, “automobile”, “Bentley”, “Austin” and “car auctions”. Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) This can be seen as an extension of LSI. Recently published articles on SEOmoz’s blog explain that they have found linking between LDA and Google’s ranking algorithm. LDA relates to a new methodology of ranking pages which is called, “Topic Modelling”, method of relating words to each other. This model uses Term Vector Model to relate words with topics and then display results. For details, please visit http://moz.com/blog/lda-and-googles-rankings-well-correlated. The goal of both the models is to provide some semantic context to terms, words, or group of words. In layman’s terms, the search algorithms try to provide context to words, to understand synonyms, and to recognize that some word pairings have different meanings when together than they do separately. In a Wired article published in 2010, Google admitted to using user behavior as a way to ‘educate’ its algorithm even further about variations in synonyms; the article also discussed how important the proximity of words to each other is to understanding the differences in context of a set of words. Thus frequency and context of words within a page play a role in determining on-page factors. For e.g. use of term “hot dog” alongside terms such as “ketchup” and “relish” indicates a food based context. 13.2 Various Match types Especially for Paid search, it is important to configure the Ad tools with a search/match type for the keywords, group of words. The type of matches can be divided into following categories: Broad Match The Google’s way This is default option. Your ad will be eligible to appear when a user’s search term contained either or all words in any order, possibly along with other terms. Your ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms and other relevant variants of your keywords, and phrases containing your keywords. E.g. keyword group is ‘tennis shoes’ then your ad will appear for either of the words or for both the words. For broad-matched keyword web hosting, ads may show for the search queries like web hosting company or webhost. The Bing’s way It triggers the display of your ad when individual words in your keyword appear, in any order, in a customer’s search query. For e.g. your keyword ‘red flower’ would match search queries that include red flower, flower is red, and other variations and not just red or flower. Broad match can expand to include words that are closely related to your keywords. Fig-29 shows results for search queries for Black Cats on Broad match for Google and Bing.
  • 40. 39 Fig 29 – Black Cats on broad match Application of Broad match The selected keywords will now be matched against a broad array of related queries which has 2 important ramifications: a. Discover and bid on new, useful broad matched keywords. Broad match can provide whole lot of new set of keywords which search engines deem relevant to the business. Phrases which were not in the list which analysts came up with. b. Discover and bid on completely irrelevant broad matched keywords. Search engines will unearth such terms which might not be relevant with business but traffic is coming from those terms. If a company does not want to be associated with those terms then better build up a negative keyword list. Phrase Match The Google’s way – If you enter your keywords in quotation marks, as in “tennis shoes,” your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches on the phrase tennis shoes, with the words in that order. It can also appear for searches that contain other terms as long as it includes the exact phrase you’ve specified. Quite similarly, the Bing’s way – It triggers the display of your ad if the word or words in your keyword appear in a customer’s search query – even if other words are present in the typed query. Your keyword red flower would match searches for big red flower and red flower, but not yellow flower or flower red. Application of Phrase Match Sometimes the results of broad match are too broad thus bringing irrelevant traffic and exact match would be somewhat limiting. It will be more useful in ‘long tail of search’. Phrase match lies between broad and exact match thus sometime a company could be paying for bad clicks and also missing out on traffic opportunities. For e.g. Company has bid for “tennis shoes”, traffic coming from “cheap tennis shoes”, “tennis shoes which are not good” should be termed as bad clicks because they impact negatively on the brand. For Missed opportunities, “tennis shoe”, “buy shoes for tennis” or other related relevant queries. Thus, better alternative is to keep broad match on and keep updating the negative keyword list.
  • 41. 40 Fig 30 – Handling phrase match by Google and Bing Exact Match The way Google does it – If your surround your keywords in brackets – such as [tennis shoes] – your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches for the specific phrase tennis shoes, in this order, and without any other words in the search term. Bing sounds similar but differs in some ways as – It triggers the display of your ad only when the exact word or words in your keyword, in exactly the same order, appear in a customer’s query. Your keyword red flower would only match searches for red flower, with no spelling variations. With exact match you might see fewer impressions but a higher CTR, because your ad is shown to people who might be more interested in your product. Bing seems to ignore the words like “the”, “a”, “an”, etc. Application of Exact Match Importance of exact match grows because of the flaw of ‘expansive’ match in broad and phrase match. For a much targeted campaign and well thought of keyword research program, exact match may be a good option. Changes should be carefully done in keyword bidding because exact match would still be leaving a big chunk of traffic. ‘Long tail’ analysis of keywords has more importance here. Fig 31 – Google and Bing’s handling exact match
  • 42. 41 Negative Keywords Keywords for which you are definitely sure not to run ads for your website are the negative keywords. For e.g. a pet store has only cats to sell and wanted to make sure that they do not show up for black kittens. Google allows for different match types on Negative keywords: a. Negative Keywords You can add negative keywords at both the ad group level and the campaign level. Adding a negative keyword at the ad group level means that the term will only affect the ads in the ad group. A campaign level negative keyword will apply to all ads in all ad groups in that campaign. b. Negative Phrase-Matched Keywords You can create a negative phrase-matched keyword by surrounding the term with quotation marks. Rules for phrase match will apply here too. For e.g. if “free trial” is added as a negative keyword then for search query “free trial lesson” will not show you up but it may for “free one-day trial” . c. Negative Exact-Matched keywords Surround the intended keywords with square brackets. Same rule of exact match will apply here too. Good idea will be to add variants of keywords like singular, plural forms. Bing has only one type for Negative keyword match which is phrase match. However they can be applied at different levels; Campaign level, Ad level and Specific keywords. Fig 32 – Black Kittens as a negative keyword Therefore, gist is that the keyword match type should be well thought of. It is worth investing in broad match and then keep looking for keywords which are irrelevant to business and keep including words which were not part of initial plan. No single match type is ideal thus a combination with a good tool to analyze has to be adopted.
  • 43. 42 14. Site Search 14.1 What is Site Search? Users when come to website and interested in more content might want to try out the search options on-site. They navigate from one page to another to fulfill the intent. The words used on site search are like a gold source. Analytics done on site data will provide insights into popular pages, Pathing report along with search analytics practice on keywords used in search can tell about user behavior and keywords which can be fed to SEO and paid search campaign. Analytics on this data can enrich user experience by providing recommendations or links to other popular content on site. Tracking user behavior and providing personalized experience becomes easier. Amazon is a perfect example of site search. It provides product recommendations and popular accessories, seller’s feedback, user comments and user ratings about a product to enable a customer to make better decisions. Either the user makes a purchase or not, the rich user experience will definitely impress them to come back for re-consideration, thus retaining the customer. Rich user experience with support from site search analytics can help users move further in the purchase funnel. 14.2 Applications of Site Search It is a wonderful tool to enhance navigation amongst pages. The better the site search is, the more you are able to make suggestions to user hence navigating to the right content. Time spent per page and page views can further give insights into user engagement and if the intended content was delivered or the user had to make multiple searches for it. Keywords used by users on site are a gold source. What if company calls a product something else but users may have a slightly different name for them. Some keywords which were not part of initial keyword research output may be obtained from this data. Use these keywords to enrich SEO & paid search campaigns. Testing search terms for paid search first on site search can be a good idea. To address exit rates, site search data may be very much handy. Scenario where user enters keywords into site search but exits without clicking any link may indicate failure of a search engine. Check for search volumes for the search terms and exit rates to figure out concerned search terms. ‘% Search exits’ can be added as a KPI for site search. Users may do a secondary search i.e. a search after another search on the site. These searches are called secondary searches and KPI related to it is ‘% Site Refinements’. Analysis of these search terms conveys the relation between two searches and where the users would end up. The final search tells the relation of all the successive searches done and what the ultimate goal was to find out on the site. This data can be used to further refine site. Capturing the second term is therefore important to figure out the more relevant search terms for product/sections. Site search traffic can aid clickstream analysis tools about high interest pages. These pages may be better connected with search engines. The further navigation between pages and looking at the exit rates with respect to them can give us information about navigational issues and opportunities to improve on them. Site search can be used to track campaign effectiveness. Same as it is done in organic and paid campaigns, the similar analysis on own website will be helpful too and interesting to know the ROI in relation to them.
  • 44. 43 Web crawler’s speed of crawling the site’s own pages to index them is another application area. The metrics related to this offers insights into how effective the external search engine crawlers would be. One’s own crawler’s poor performance on own website can be linked to poor performance by others too. Trend tracking is definitely one application area of site search. Figure out the popular searches being done on website, keywords used and show them on a corner of website or side-trail to the users to enhance user experience. Amazon’s “users who viewed this item also viewed these” sort of suggestions come from the utilization of their own search data. Top trending tweets in Twitter is another example. To improve conversion rates on own site search data, following data points may be helpful: - Search and Refinement Language use Depth of Search (Viewing multiple pages versus single pages) Repetition of search Average ranking clicked on These data points can be used to segment data and create a model of user profiles. Though not it can be exactly replicated but enough to study about own generated traffic. 14.3 Investing in Site Search Site search needs investment too and thus ROI should be calculated for the same too. The metrics remain the same but the source is in-house. Comparing the same metrics for site search traffic with inbound traffic from external search engines can give interesting results. Fig 33 – Sample data to track for site search campaigns Seasonality affects site search too. E.g. for a florist business, Valentine day may bring spikes and thus the search should be well prepared to suggest top trending bouquets at that time. 14.4 Relation between SEO, Paid Search & Site Search There is a fundamental difference between the kinds of traffic coming from each of these sources. Users coming from SEO may or may not be aware of the brand. They come there with either little information about the brand and click to see if there is anything worth considering. SEO provides link or relevancy between the search terms and the brand. Paid search traffic is more sort of a testing ground of search terms that a business thinks thematically can be connected to the product/brand. The search terms about which the company is certain of getting traffic from. Site search on other hand is being used by people who already know about the brand and want to understand offering better. They may be regarded as loyal users who keep coming back in search of more insights.
  • 45. 44 Fig 34 – Search source cycle 15. Competitor Research & Tracking One of the very important applications of search analytics is competitor tracking and research programs. Figuring out how the competitors are performing, which keywords they are betting on, ranking is imperative to design own strategy of fetching more business. Properly thought out keyword research programs study the keywords being used by competitor so that a distinction can be made between own and competitor. 15.1 Share of Voice In search world, competition is on Words not only Products. It is imperative to figure out how much volume of traffic is going to competitor’s site for the same search terms. Is the difference because of page ranking, CTR or paid search etc. must be figured out. Figure out for each SERP position what is the percentage that own website is getting. Share of Voice = ((Total Expected CTR for 1st position Ranking X Number of 1st Position Rankings) + (Total Expected CTR for 2nd position Ranking X Number of 2nd Position Rankings) …) / Total Terms 15.2 Capturing competitors’ keywords Mining metadata Large websites embed their metadata, including keywords and page descriptions within HTML of the page themselves. This data can be read, although not useful to optimize for organic page ranking but to know what tags are being kept in the metadata because of high degree of trust that the site search algorithm can place on the terms. Page title and descriptions for better CTR. All this information can provide insights into what the competitor is thinking about relevance with search terms to bring traffic. Mining Links Links are another well-known factor for SEO. Looking at how competitor has created architecture on their site, classification of information, linking between pages etc. give knowledge about how they view their sites and products. To really understand how pages have built up links organically on competitor’s site, use a spider to crawl the site and identify page with large number of inbound links. The best tool to do this is Majestic SEO. Mining Footers
  • 46. 45 Recently, footers are becoming more popular utility to enhance navigation. They are heavily populated with links to other and own domains. These may be the areas for keyword research. Some footers are filled up with keywords although there is not direct relation with content but they associate well on SERPs. These keywords are important for analysis. Surveys Not a methodology to get the keywords which are converting well for competitor but putting surveys on own website and asking questions like, “where else would you purchase this from” may indicate the higher competitors. RSS Feeds These feeds can be used for finding out how the competitor is relating himself in online space. Also looking for the branded keywords on their own site can give more insight into it. 16. Mobile Search The new wave in Search is definitely coming from mobile devices. Tablets, smartphones, hand held gaming devices are the new traffic generator because they are with users for most of the time. Being closer to people, they come as handy tool for them to go to Facebook, Twitter or search anything they want. People are no longer bound to a laptop (which is less easy to carry everywhere) and desktop machines. Mobile search is typically location or task oriented for quick and immediate results. They are using them on the go. Since they spend most of the time on these devices, at a very healthy rate, search traffic has started coming from these devices. Google has recently introduced its mobile version for Android in India which is faster than the default search engine bundled with Android. It was estimated as per a report that by 2012, 20% of searches would come from mobile devices and in next 5 years the mobile search volume will increase by 40-fold. eMarketer had predicted that in 2012, over 70% of tablet owners would use their device while simultaneously watching TV. It was thus observed that during Prime Time TV hours, web traffic rose up to 94% of web traffic in US. The peak usage was during morning (6-7 AM) and late evening hours (9 PM). Figures below make a case for these arguments.
  • 47. 46 Fig 35 – Time spent on mobile devices and web traffic from them Fig 36 – Peak web traffic from tablets during Prime Time TV Hours in US Thus importance of these medium has been established. What is more important, is to understand if there are any differences in search patterns, what other metrics should companies be looking for and what kind of things may affect their revenue when the site shows up on mobile searches. 16.1 Factors to Impact mobile traffic A mobile web browser is although theoretically similar to the one on desktop, defers on many factors. The page rendering capability, screen size, performance with device type, performance with operating system of device, input format like joystick/buttons/touchscreen, GPS receivers, built in camera, voice commands etc. All these factors impact user engagement with website. If the site is not visible properly on screen, user will have to do pinch-in/out multiple times to view the content which will drift them away. A site not optimized for the leading mobile operating system versions will impact speed and other performance parameters thus hampering user experience. Search patterns/intents in mobile do vary. Given the smaller screen size to fill in details, users prefer to put short search terms to get results faster. Probably the search terms would fall more in the exact match category here. Users will be more interested in using branded keywords to keep their typing activity short and get very specific results. More is the query complexity, lesser is the competition there in search results. Carefully segmenting data coming from mobile to get such keywords will help to design paid search campaign and long tail search opportunities. Brands must prioritize their strategy on use of such branded keywords. A study mentions, mobiles contribute to 20% of total searches and out of these queries, 1 out of 3 search are regarding position. Smartphone Apps these days are GPS aware to result more local results and thus very popular amongst users. A Delhi metro app, understands the location of user, suggests the nearest Metro station and asks to where he/she wants to go. The user experience with such localized results induces the need of same when they search on mobile. Users expect that results should have included their position while display or suggest better results if they type-in the location. Mobile websites which have used Geo Targeting are expected to perform better in such cases. Figuring out percentage of local searches would be a good idea to design strategies. Paid searches can be Geo-Targeted.
  • 48. 47 Device type is surely one big factor which may impact mobile traffic. Segmenting data on device type and other related mobile features enable companies to optimize their sites for most used devices and O/S. Google had announced mid 2013 that they have pushed an update into their search algorithm to penalize the sites which are not mobile optimized. Thus optimization is a big factor in mobile search result. Sites hosting videos using Adobe Flash will be penalized as it will not work on an iPhone or Android phones with versions 4.1 or higher. 16.2 Loyalty of Mobile Users Return frequency of mobile users will be affected by the user experience of site on his mobile device. Because of screen size limitation, a lot of navigation and links can’t be embedded in mobile site. In such cases, content may have to be very specifically segmented across sections. Apart from sites like Facebook and Twitter, where users frequently go back to update their status, other sites may not expect the same behavior. For a detailed research of a product, a user may still prefer using laptop in his free time than a small screen mobile phone. Mobile phones are useful to get very quick feedback or information and thus users may not come back. In this case, bounce rates may be too high, which should not be straight away seen as negative, because it is possible that a user came to the site for whatever he was looking, he got it and went off. Mobile user’s CTR is another measure which has not found to be too different than desktop users. This means that conversion rate of a mobile user is almost similar to that of a desktop user. 16.3 Click-to-Call Click-to-call technology is by companies where they put up a number on their site or search result link which users can click to directly call customer care. This is one important paid search campaign tool to gauge and engage customers directly. To figure out the percentage of users which used this feature, Google Adwords provides fantastic capability. Fig – Example of metrics that can be tracked for a mobile campaign 16.4 Segmentation Criteria Though not limiting but these are few segmentation criteria to have better understanding of mobile traffic on site. - Service Provider Mobile Input selector – Whether Joystick, voice command, camera, touch screen, keypad are data feed options. Operating System Screen Resolution – Data will be very much beneficial for web designers. Device type Device brand Mobile web browser
  • 49. 48 16.5 Five Metrics to Optimize Mobile Shopping Experience Though this is not directly related to Mobile Search topic, but found this to be something important from marketing point of view. An increasing number of users are making purchase using their mobile phones. Google estimated that around 62% of mobile phone users make at least 1 purchase in a month from their mobile devices. To enhance user experience to make them more purchases, following five metrics have been found important for consideration 1. Search function usage within App/mobile web – Evaluate how effective the site search option on mobile site is. Is user going to search engine rather than App to make decision and make a purchase? 2. Pinching/zooming usage during a given interaction – Repeated zoom in and out indicate customer struggle. 3. Average number of keystrokes/clicks per app/site during an interaction – Fewer is better 4. Device orientation changes 5. Dwell time on a page or screen 17. Search & Social Media Social media, at the most basic level is content. Search engines use this content with some additional parameters in their algorithm to serve queries. These days, the term Social search describes the interconnection between social media and search. Influence of social media on search engine is gaining acknowledgment from all the corners. Impact of social media on brand awareness programs, lead generation, customer satisfaction, customer feedback, cannot be questioned in today’s world. Bing and Google have already changed their algorithms to take feedback from Social media before giving results to a search query. People on social media do a lot of things, for e.g. sharing content, liking and commenting on the content shared by their friends & acquaintances, giving feedback in the comments, re-sharing someone’s status. All these activities between closed user group across the social media impacts on popularity, authority, feedback, sentiments of the content being shared. The higher they rank on these factors higher are the chances of them being ranked up in the SERP. As far as analytics on social media and search is related, following mediums must be measured 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Facebook – Likes, shares, re-shares, comments, follower count Twitter – Tweets, Re-tweets, follower count Google Plus - +1s, comments, links, follower count LinkedIn Content sharing sites like Slide share, Flickr, Instagram etc. 17.1 Impact of Social Media on Search The sharing activities help search engine algorithms to decide on popularity and authority of content. A link being shared on Twitter if re-tweeted multiple times and by diverse group of people is definitely going to impact search engine’s ranking. They provide a lot of weight in decision making process almost faster than link building campaigns. A tweet from one user may be more valuable than many tweets from other users; retweets may have bigger influence than what the original author wrote. For e.g. if president of US tweets about an issue or on a link, definitely the number of followers are going to re-tweet the same and coming from a person with more value will push up the search result position of the link.
  • 50. 49 The Klout Score is one metric that is already in use which measures influence based on data collected from sites such as Twitter and Facebook regarding the size of a person’s network, the content that person creates, and how others interact with that content. But Klout Score is not currently a factor in search rankings. Social media is these days impacting search results by personalizing them. For e.g. if a user adds certain people in social circle and +1d their content then in future Google will try to bring results which have been shared, generated or liked by them. This means, what your friends are sharing and talking about in social groups or what your friend’s experience has been, chances are that they will be ranked higher in SERP although their usual page ranking does not deserve that position. Thus you get results based on what your friends are doing and sharing since you would always trust them more than others. Google gives importance to: 1. Content shared by anyone in social circle 2. Content shared by anyone outside the circle but +1’d by someone in circle 3. Google+ Posts – Google’s results are directly affected by Posts. New search algorithm which is a complete rewrite, takes in other signals too while deciding on rank of posts. Unlike Facebook & Twitter, there is no crawling involved here. Google+ will have impact on non-personalized results too with Hummingbird coming into picture 4. Hashtags – Hashtags used on Google+ aids in quickly identifying the topic with which a post is related. Hummingbird has high visibility of hashtags in organic search results on Google & Google+.
  • 51. 50 Fig 37 – Example of personalized results in Google Google passes page rank whenever the link is shared on Google+. An influential user sharing a link will add more weight in page rank of it in future. Bing has partnership with Facebook to get personalized results while Google gives a lot of importance to Twitter and +1. Bing and Facebook call the personalized results as “Friend effect”. User can search for friends even using Bing. Facebook and Bing maps integration allows Facebook pages to be tied to a location. Integration of webpages with social media is another impact factor in SERP. The more social media buttons or sharing options are there the more quality is of that content and eventually higher chances of being ranked up in the search results. Google’s +1, Facebook’s Likes and Twitters Tweet enhances visibility of a page in search results. This is one effective way of promoting keyword-optimized material. Hashtags, an efficient and popular way of communicating to social search and search engines that the post is related to a topic or sentiment. Hashtags were earlier only used by early social media adopters but were later highly used by marketing and advertising industry. Users accuse companies with bad feedback using hashtags.
  • 52. 51 Posts with hashtags are expected to show up better in search results than others in social media. Topsy.com is one of the effective tools to see the life of a hashtag through links, tweets, photos, videos and people across web. Couple of other tools like socialmention.com and Klout are very good to get insights about not only what is being said, but who is saying it and what the general sentiment is. 17.2 Metrics Making investment on social media and integrating it with search need to be assessed based on ROI. Following is a figure from CMO survey reported by Forbes, lists common metrics used to measure social media investment. Fig 38 – Most common metrics for social media investment Fig 39 – An example of metrics covered for search and social media campaign Following metric categorizations are important for Social media – 1. Conversion Rate – Number of comments per post 2. Amplification rate – Facebook & Google shares per post, number of re-tweets per tweet, number of share clicks per Post (or Video) on a blog or YouTube.
  • 53. 52 3. Applause Rate – Number of Favorite clicks per post on twitter, number of likes per post on Facebook, number of +1’s for a post on Google plus, blog and YouTube. 4. Economic value – This refers to the value per visitor. 5. Engagement rate – Defining with respect to Facebook, for Posts, People who commented, liked, shared, clicked divided by the number of people who viewed the post. For pages, Total engagement (Likes + Comment + Shares) / Total Fans. 17.3 Methods for positive impact using Social media & Search 1. Search directly improving social search a. PPC – Presence on social media and visibility of it can be highly improved by PPC campaigns on Search engines directly linking to social media pages. b. Search Intent – Analyzing user behavior to figure out search intents can enrich the campaign on social media. Concerns can be better handled by pointing to the right set of pages which are not quite visible at the moment. c. Social network pages – Getting more traffic from search and making them aware of your campaign will be effective. More traffic from first time visitors will have greater opportunity of adding more sign-ups etc. 2. Social media directly improving search Pages from social media are going to be ranked higher in SERP which gives chances of impacting larger audience with your offerings. Re-directing them to own blogs, microsites etc. through SERP will be an added advantage. 3. Social media indirectly improving search Social media creates buzz about a brand. This buzz can be indirectly utilized to generate more traffic from search engines. 4. Social Search Social search engines within each leading social network are getting richer in their ranking algorithm. Keyword based approach and ability to show ads based on location, gender and age is an added advantage there, an opportunity not to be missed. Twitter’s real time search is a great tool coming up for the same. Moreover ability in social search to refine results based on images, videos, news feed should be tested. 5. Customer Relationships All of us now can acknowledge that companies these days take special care of what their customers are posting on their pages in social world, what concerns they are raising and companies go to extra mile to contact users for such issues and update them about resolution. One of my personal experiences with Domino’s Pizza in Thane impressed me with the swift action and calls by store manager. For a late pizza delivery, I posted on Domino’s page on Facebook and next day I was contacted by Store manager to understand whole incident which was followed up by a status call! 18. Tools & Technology There are lots of tools in market these days for analysis of web traffic data. Leading search engines provide their own tool to setup analytics on data coming from that search engine. This section will give brief introduction on the popular tools available according to a classification for their usage.
  • 54. 53 18.1 Website Analytics Google Analytics One of the fastest growing web analytics tools in the market. It requires adding a JavaScript to every page that needs to be tracked; it is highly configurable & robust. Several functionalities available within the tool itself and a lot of cracks available in books and blogs for other functions. It provides an API to extract data out of the report suite. SEOMoz uses the same API. It’s FREE! Adobe SiteCatalyst Formerly known as Omniture SiteCatalyst, is a very popular product for web analytics. It helps tracking paid and organic search data, Test & Target for A/B & Multivariate testing. It also provides a JavaScript to be added to the pages to track them. Presence of ecosystem of tools to directly read data from SiteCatalyst. Unlike Google analytics, SiteCatalyst can import data from multiple points, and user can also access data behind the scenes through the data warehouse. Enabling this in something like Google Analytics is a big deal. 18.2 Link Tracking Web CEO It is a multipurpose tool rather than just a back link tracking programs. It allows for bulk submissions to lots of smaller search engines, as well as monitoring uptime, responsiveness, and rankings and enabling auditing of some elements of user’s web pages. As a back link checker, it provides high level insights into the domains linking to a site, words used to link to site, and other information such as whether the links are no-follows. Majestic SEO This tool also provides deep insights into sites linking to domains which are controlled through its Backlink History tool & Bulk Backlink Checker. Its Majestic Platinum plan offers subscription based reports for deep competitor analysis. It also includes a Neighborhood Checker that can be used to determine whether there is a chance that other hosted domains may burn that IP with poor SEO tactics. Another tool offered with it is Clique Hunter to look for domains linking to other domains for better link-building campaigns. SEOmoz Open Site Explorer One of the powerful tools from SEOmoz team. It gets its data by independently crawling the web. The tool offers flexibility to segment data on multiple filters including links that are nofollowed, links from images, alt text and regular links. Detailed analysis of data on links from external and internal pages and targeting a single or multiple page is available in this tool. 18.3 Page Authority Google PageRank It is a free tool made available by Google toolbar. Google toolbar can be installed on Firefox or Internet Explorer which has an icon for indicating PageRank. PageRank is a significant invention by Google to determine the order of results on a search result page. The only problem with this is, Google
  • 55. 54 updates its PageRank data only twice a year at most thus most of the time the PageRank shown is suitable for approximations. It’s Free! mozRank SEOmoz team has developed this tool which can be used as a sanity checker against PageRank since Open Site Explorer develops its logic and reports by independently crawling the web pages. It also suggests domain rank and ranking of the page based on inbound links and popularity of the page depending on the pages that link on the page. mozTrust SEOmoz mentions that “It quantifies the trustworthiness of a web page relative to all of the other web pages on the web. It is based off of an algorithm developed by Yahoo! search engineers that is likely similar to the trust algorithms used by Google and Bing search engineers. Just as links express global link popularity, they also express information about the trustworthiness of URLs. Receiving links from sources which have inherent trust, such as the homepage of major university websites or certain governmental web pages, is a strong trust endorsement. By measuring the occurrence and frequency of these endorsements, mozTrust can quantify trust on the web.” 18.4 Ranking Position SEO Rank Monitor It focuses on tracking SEO position in SERP. This allows tracking position in the search results. It can track competitors, and break down keywords and stats. The tool shows top movers and losers in terms of position, as well as flagging words that are about to break into the number 1 position. AdGooroo Paid Search Insight It provides tracking for both Paid & Organic search position and share of market. The focus is although on Paid search but provides some good features for SEO and estimates for competitor’s organic traffic. It looks at 6 search engines across 43 countries, as well as doing side-by-side domain comparisons. The features like estimating competitors’ budgets and information about their campaigns and ability to compare them with own metrics is highly beneficial. Google Webmaster Tools Being part of Google, it provides wealth of information. The account is free to set up and it provides a lot of insights into data direct from source. It also sets up alerts and highlights issues on web site and regarding any broken links to the web page and provides best practices to fix them. Words which are sending traffic and their average positions are also indicated by it. The only issue with Webmaster tool is that data is not kept for a large period of time and thus biweekly and monthly reports should be stored somewhere. 18.5 Keyword Search Volume & Competition Google AdWords The Google AdWords Keyword Tool provides insight and suggestions regarding terms a company may be interested in targeting through paid search or SEO. It provides a competition density estimate for paid search, as well as the number of global and local monthly searches. The Keyword Tool also shows
  • 56. 55 trends over time to help understand if there is any seasonality. While the tool is geared toward paid search, it can also be leveraged for SEO. You can use it for guestimating search volumes by making sure *Exact+ is selected under “Match types” on the left. Exact matching will likely underreport the SEO volume as Google will also take into account misspellings and some other variations, but for SEO purposes this is the closest estimate you will get on a specific word or pairing, and the tool has recently undergone some changes to make the search volumes more relevant. Trellian Keyword Discovery It is one of the older keyword research tools available. It offers insight into common spelling mistakes and seasonal search trends, as well as keyword density analysis and domain researcher tools. It typically returns more keywords than Google tools and during keyword investigation; it looks to provide more long-tail terms and helps finding other related terms. Google Global Market Finder This is a relatively new offering from Google to explore more opportunities by exploring autotranslated keywords and provides an analysis of the global opportunities on these words based on the country and language. It provides insight into volume of English queries in each country and a tool worth exploring if intention is to go international. 18.6 Social Links & Social Noise SM2 A good tool which scans across many different social sites to look for mentions of terms a company is interested in. Email alerts can be setup whenever there is a new mention. Limit the searches across sites, filtering data and reporting on a nice dashboard to segment mentions, tweets and other pieces of information. It’s Free! Radian6 It was recently acquired by Salesforce.com and is one of the larger enterprise level brand management tools for social media. It provides very slick and clean dashboards and is focused on identifying trends and brand evangelists. Socialmention.com For a real time monitoring of social media, one can look at web based tool socialmention.com too. Just feed in the keywords you are interested in tracking it will show where all the keyword has been mentioned and even its sentiment impact. User can limit searches in images, videos, blogs, microsite etc. 18.7 Keyword Volume or Keyword Density on Page SEO Book Keyword Density Analyzer Tool SEO Book provides a variety of tools out of which Keyword density analyzer is one. Taking URL as an input, it goes through the content and provides group of words, two-word phrases and three word phrases and their frequency. It is a web based free tool to quickly check the content for the keyword density. It gives meta tags attached to a URL and meta descriptions entered for the page. You can export the output of tool to a CSV for future storage and detailed analysis. There are multiple other
  • 57. 56 features included in the tool to get stop words, ignore words under a certain length and those which have less frequency than the threshold. URL: http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/. A similar tool is SEOmoz Term Extractor. 18.8 Mobile and Geographic Traffic Estimations Google AdWords & Google Global Market Finder Both the tools already discussed earlier are good for mobile and geographic estimations. Adwords allows setting geographic targets, as well as tracking search volumes on desktop and laptop devices, all mobile devices, mobile WAP devices and mobile devices with full internet browsers through the advanced options. Global market finder does not give mobile statistics but it does provide geographic information as well as translations. The nice thing about it is to know differences on both geographical and linguistic distribution. 18.9 Competitor Insights Compete Compete uses tracking technology in the web browsers of panelists who opt in to be part of their data source. It offers some information for free but deeper information for paid version. Up to 3 sites can be compared for free, getting data on number of unique visitors, top search terms, referring sites, categories, destination sites, top tags, and more. Data going back to two years is made available. They also offer JavaScript to put into own pages to provide basic web analytics features. A similar product to Compete is Hitwise. Google Trends is also a good tool which gives trending data based on data collected by Google. The charts and visualization over the time of branded terms can be compared with competitor’s branded terms. It provides a view of patterns between competitor and own performance. 18.10 Others Popular PPC Tools for Search Advertising DoubleClick Search Back in 2009, Google bought DoubleClick which develops and provides internet ad-serving services. DoubleClick, then used to sell its tool DART to publishers and advertiser but later Google did some change in DoubleClick and in 2010, DFP and DFA were born. DFA, DoubleClick for Advertiser is an ad management and ad serving solution to quickly plan their entire scope of digital ad programs. Similarly, DFP, DoubleClick for Publishers is a platform for publishers to plan how to sell ad-spaces to advertisers and manage bidding on the spaces too. Later DoubleClick came out with one more tool, DoubleClick for Search. This tool fits right in the space where search comes in. Similar to Google Adsense, DoubleClick has created this tool to let search marketers, advertisers and agencies to quickly plan their campaigns. It offers great reporting and its bidding management tool is a hit amongst many agencies. A customer can have access to near real time data and can use automated bidding features available in the tool to change bidding strategy. For making the best campaign decisions the data is accurate and fresh. DS3 (DFS V3), data from AdWords and adCenter is updated automatically every 15 minutes. DFA serves as a backend for DoubleClick for Search (DFS) and all these tools from DoubleClick use Google’s infrastructure. DS3 is integrated with all the leading bidding platforms and thus any
  • 58. 57 changes are quickly reflected on internet. iProspect which is a leading advertising agency in UK is a customer of DoubleClick. So, if DoubleClick is already there, then why does Google have AdWords and AdSense? Because Google did not want to kill the brand DoubleClick which was already a hit! So, What is the difference between Google’s AdWords and AdSense? Launched in 2000, AdWords is for advertisers and AdSense is for publishers. AdWords lets people advertise on Google.com, the Google Search Network (including sites like AOL search and Ask.com), and the Google Display Network (content sites that are not search engines). Businesses use AdWords to bring traffic on their own website with expected goal of generating some sales. Advertisers pay Google amount based on click per ad. Ad content & design flexibility rests with advertiser. Launched in 2003, AdSense let publishers monetize their websites or blogs by earning money from relevant AdWords ads displayed next to their content. The publishers receive payment against the ads clicked on their websites. It can limit ads per page and the size of those ads but not the content of the ads. Ok, then what is the relation between AdSense and DFP? At a high level, DFP is an Ad Server or channel through which Ads can be served. In terms of AdSense, DFP acts as the intermediary to do so, or serve AdSense Ads. You can either look to serve AdSense Ads directly on your web pages or through DFP. The benefit of doing this through DFP is a process called Dynamic Allocation, or competing with other Network Ads based on CPM. Many Publishers use DFP to manage their direct sold campaigns, as well as maximize remnant inventory through AdSense. Essentially, it allows you to house both systems in one. Facebook PPC Simply put, PPC model implemented for Ads served on Facebook. Pay to Facebook for each ad clicked by a user. It works very similar to Google’s AdSense program. It’s expensive because of it’s reach and level of targeting is more deeper than others. Google has been targeting ads based on search keywords by showing them to millions of users everyday regardless of the fact that those users are the interested audience or not. In contrast, Facebook has become so popular that everyone has kept their life events on the social network. All the stuff that is bought, liked, shared, concerns regarding a product is put up in the posts and comments. Finding users who are talking about a particular brand or have liked the sidebar ads or subscribed to the product’s FB pages are easy targets. Thus targeting is going to an individual level or group of people who are really interested. Therefore ad-targeting on FB is much beneficial compared to other platforms. Following are some of the important aspects of Facebook’s ad serving tools which are important while planning on ad-delivery on Facebook. Custom List Targeting If a business already has a list of users which can be targeted in FB Ads, this list can be merged with existing list of contacts in CRM database. Upgrade the list of email addresses and phone
  • 59. 58 number and precise show ads on FB to these users. FB’s Ad tool allows to take these as input line by line and then keeps a list which business knows that users are aware of what is being offered. CTR on an average FB ad has been found around 0.3 compared to CTR above 0.15 of custom audience targeted ad which is unheard of. Lookalike Audience A lookalike audience is an audience of users generated by Facebook that best matches the imported contact list. FB examines demographic, geographic similarities, precise interests and broad categories (information like marital status, children, job title etc.) via an algorithm to find best possible matches for the next ad. Concept of lookalike audience is very important because once a business has already identified leads, it will be easier to figure out more users with similar profiles and interests and thus same model can be reused. Re-targeting Re-targeting is like lookalike audience, exactly what it sounds like. With FB, the advantage is that an advertiser would precisely know which users have come to the pages on its site and if they really got converted or not. If they were only interested and could not be converted, the ads can be modified again to lure them into buying something on their site. Thus the audience for re-targeting is also clear. Bing Ads (MSN AdCenter) Last year in September, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced about their search alliance to build a common platform to deliver ads on Microsoft, Yahoo! search engines and partnered websites, and thus Bing Ads was born. This search alliance was named Yahoo! Bing Network. Earlier Microsoft built a system, MSN AdCenter, for selling PPC advertisements in 2006 which would also deliver ads on Yahoo! search engine. Yahoo! Bing search network together contributes to 30% of online search in US. Bing has been favored more towards a search engine for better targeting and online sales research because of their algorithms and effort to distinguish from Google’s AdWords. Collaboration between Facebook and Bing also make it an interesting platform to invest. Bing Ads is very similar to Google AdWords in many ways. Same PPC selling structures have been implemented in Bing along with many other features and tools. In fact, to enable advertisers to seamlessly use Bing Ads for their campaigns, Bing Ads provides an import feature for campaigns from Google AdWords into itself with some minor changes. Thus there is effort saving in campaign design by exporting it to Bing Ads and also create new campaigns. Hmm, so how does Bing Ads differentiate itself from AdWords? Well, here is the list of few differentiators … 1. Bing’s Index Explorer, which allows for drilling into some very specific user behavior data. Bing provides sophisticated information to advertisers about customers like their location, age, gender and sometimes, their level of wealth.
  • 60. 59 2. The most fundamental difference, Bing Ads delivers ads on Bing, Yahoo and their syndicated search partners. AdWords is used for advertising on Google and its partners. 3. Both platforms offer users the ability to limit their spend on campaign on a daily basis. Bing provides a monthly option too i.e. maintain budget by choosing a monthly rate for campaign. Bing has different minimums and maximums for budgets and bids. 4. Google uses two description lines for Ad copy while Bing uses maximum 71 characters. The Ad texts (in search engine results) thus have to be modified when imported into Bing. 5. Bing does not use broad match negative keywords. A broad match negative keywords sets in Google will be referred in Bing Ads as phrase match negative keywords. 6. Targeting option is definitely one of the other big advantages for advertisers in Bing Ads which other than Google’s offering, includes location targeting and time of day targeting. 7. The algorithm to determine quality score in Bing Ads is different than AdWords. The criteria of deciding are different in both tools hence while importing Ads it must be kept in mind. Quality score is set through 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. Quality score is based on search traffic for the previous 30 days on Bing and Yahoo! owned and operated websites. Note, traffic in content network and the Bing and Yahoo! syndicated search partner sites are not included when calculating Quality score. Marin Software It is a leading provider of online advertising management solutions, offering an integrated platform for managing search, display and social marketing. Marin does a fantastic job of acting as a single point to plan, manage and report paid campaigns. Rather than going after each individual platform for campaign running, Marin Software integrates them all. Currently 1900 companies plan their over $5 billion worth of paid campaigns through Marin. 19. References While writing this paper, a lot of material has been referenced and hence I mention the sources to acknowledge the same. At few places direct quotes from articles have also been taken. Books: Mastering Search Analytics – Brent Chaters Independent PDFs shared: Search for Integration - www.iabuk.net Microsoft Search Social Media Report - www.iabuk.net Search The Complete Guide – www.iabuk.net Search Engine Marketing Overview BMA Aug 2013 – Erick Holladay, Global Marketing Director, Intertek Commodities Business Lines - www.slideshare.net Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide – www.google.com
  • 61. 60 Basic metrics for Web Analytics and SEM – Gloria Buono, www.slideshare.net Search Analytics – Vivek Bhargava, Communicate 2.0, www.slideshare.net Value of Google Results positioning – Chitika Insights, www.chitika.com Online articles: https://support.google.com/adwords http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki http://www.wordstream.com http://itechcloud.blogspot.in/ http://www.skillsprojects.co.uk/ http://www.iabuk.net http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/paid_search.html http://www.brickmarketing.com/define-domain-authority.htm http://www.seo-blog.com/latent-semantic-indexing-lsi-explained.php http://moz.com/blog/lda-and-googles-rankings-well-correlated http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-paid-search http://searchengineland.com/google-hummingbird-172816 http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2302900/Goodbye-Google-PageRank-Data-Maybe-Just-for-Now-But-More-LikelyForever http://searchengineland.com/seotable http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2307741/Search-Engine-Traffic-Drives-Most-Ad-Clicks-on-Websites-Study http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/239330/file-61331237-pdf/ChitikaInsights-ValueofGoogleResultsPositioning.pdf http://searchengineland.com/google-mobile-query-growth-dramatically-higher-than-pc-38203 http://www.chitika.com/insights/2012/second-screen-study-tablet-based-web-traffic-peaks-during-prime-time http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2308358/What-You-Can-Learn-From-Google-Analytics-Mobile-Reports http://online-behavior.com/analytics/mobile-shopping http://online-behavior.com/analytics/mobile-search http://www.chitika.com/chitika-blog/2013/Google-SERP-penalty-targets-sites-not-optimized-for-mobile http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2307518/Google-SEO-How-Google-Impacts-Search-Results
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