03 Dec

Social Engagement Optimization

A few years ago SEO used to stand for Search Engine Optimization but today it could easily stand for Social Engagement Optimization.  How you get people to your site has changed.  The search engines are still the number one source of traffic but the sites that could be classed as search engines have changed.

Sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, linkedIn, Pinterst and YouTube are allowing business to do something online that they have been doing offline for years, building connections.  Companies will sometimes try and hire their competitor’s best sales person.  They do this for a couple of reasons one of which is the network of connections the sales person will bring with them to the new organization.  Social Media is the online manifestation of this benefit.

An important part of any strategy that utilizes social media revolves around knowing the audience.  Social Media is about conversations, not broadcasts.  You most likely have a different kind of conversation with your spouse than you do with your employee.  You instinctively know the difference in your audience.   It is for this reason that simply using Facebook or Twitter to have conversations with your audience will not work if it is not executed properly.  Many companies look at something like Twitter as a great way to broadcast their message.  Do these kinds of messages enrich the conversation?

I have found there are five ways to engage your audience with social media:

  1. Enlighten
  2. Entertain
  3. Educate
  4. Equate
  5. Engage

The primary goal when using Social Media should be to create something worth sharing.  Your audience will only share something that they believe has value as defined by them and not you.

02 Sep

Hosted Microsoft Dynamics Provider Signs On

I am going back to my roots a little now that I will be helping WatServ a hosted Microsoft Dynamics provider with their SEO.

I had one of the owners of WatServ as a subscriber to my SEO newsletter.  He liked the content and forwarded it to his partner.  This led to a first meeting and ultimately WatServ signing on as a client.   There new site is under construction.

06 Aug

Be Found Where People Search

There was a time when Yahoo was the best search site around.  They were quickly eclipsed by Google.  Google is now facing pressure not from what we traditionally think of as search engines but from large sites that incorporate their own search engine.

In 2007 Facebook had over 600 million internal searches per month.  According to Comscore and others Facebook has doubled in unique visits from this time in 2009.   Facebook is clearly a primary destination for many.   How are you taking advantage of people that are searching on Facebook?

YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites also have their own search engines.  Yes, some of the content from these sites can be found in the major search engines but do you want to rely on them to expose your content?   What if a visitor never goes to the search engine but rather uses the internal search engines?

In real estate the sales adage is: location, location, location.  This can also be applied to search marketing.  You must be found where people are searching.  You can’t tell some where to search.  All you can do is ensure they find you wherever they search.

28 Jul

Neglect Mobile Browsers at Your Peril

Don’t think people are going to be looking at your website via a smart phone?  Have a look at these numbers.

Mobile Subscribers:

Rogers reports that 35% of its subscribers are using smart phones.  Let’s assume that this is the same percentage across all providers.  That’s 7.7 million smart phone subscribers, in Canada alone.  

When was the last time you tried to view your corporate website on a smart phone?

At the very least you should make it easy for someone to find your contact information when they are using a hand-held device.  Treat your webpages like letterhead, put your phone number on every page.

30 Mar

What Else Does Google Know About Your Site

One of the best things about marketing via the web is the ability to measure the results of your activities. Everyone has heard someone say “my site gets a ton of hits”. Let’s ignore the fact for a moment that hits are not a good indication of a site’s performance the fact remains that marketers can use services like Google Analytics to great effect. Whether it is measuring how pages, cities, devices or some other metric is affecting performance or just making sure the general trend is going the right way Google Analytics is an essential, and free, tool.

A couple of months ago I posted a Google Analytics presentation to Slideshare. The following are another four measurements Google Analytics can help you discover.

There are a number of reports in Google Analytics that can help the site owner determine visitor engagement.  A report I like to use for this purpose is the average pageviews report.  By monitoring how many pages a visitor looks at the site owner can get a sense of how engage the visitor is.  The average pageviews report can also indicate the presense of a navigation problem.  In most cases a visitor to a site needs to look at more than one page before they take an action.  How many pages they need to take isn’t always obvious.  From the average pageviews report the site owner can determine if their are too few pages being visited or too many.  Too many might indicate that users can’t find what they are looking for.

Average Pageviews - Google Analytics

Pageview reports are an indicator of what is going on with your site but they don’t provide insight into what’s happening on specific pages.  Fortunately for the site owner Google Analytics provide several reports such as landing pages report and exit pages reports that shed some light on visitor behaviour.  Another helpful report is the navigation summary report.  With the navigation summary report you can see which pages were visited before the current page and which pages were visited after the current page.  Something I find interesting when looking at the navigation summary is to see how many visitors go back to a transition page in order to re-orient themselves on a given website.

Navigation Summary - Google Analytics

Smartphones are all the rage but are people really using them to surf your website.  The short answer is yes.  Google recently added a report to Google Analytics that will show how many visits and from which type of handsets visit your site.   This report will give an early indication of whether or not your site should be made mobile aware.  The short answer to that question is also yes but with a little insight you can determine when to apply the resources to making your site more mobile friendly.

Mobile Devices - Google Analytics

Okay, great, Google Analytics has lots of helpful reports but when are you ever going to look at them?  Unfortunately most site operators do not have an intimate knowledge of their site’s performance.  I haven’t done the actually analysis but my intuition tells me that 9 out of every 10 companies I deal with are not getting Google Analytics reports automatically emailed to them.   Click a button, enter your email address and Google will email you the requested report every month.  It’s really that easy.  Getting weekly reports can lead to report fatigue.  Who wants to look at the same report every week?  In addition to regular reports Google Analytics has a new feature that I think is indispensable.

Inside the new section of Google Analytics called Intelligence are tools that allow the site owner to create alerts for specific metrics.   Want to know if your visitor count spikes or drops?  Simple, create an alerts that let you know when visitors are 50% higher or lower today than they were yesterday.   Not all metrics are available via the alert mechanism but there are enough choices that you can build several reports to give you early warning of problems or successes your site is experiencing.

Google Analytics Alerts

The types of reports I’ve presented here have been available in sophisticated and expensive analytics packages for a long time.  It’s amazing to me that Google offers this service for free.  The price is definitely right.   As with any tool it’s not always easy to master the tool such that you get maximum value.   I use Google Analytics everyday.  I can help you gain more insight into your site’s performance.

Please share this article if you find it helpful.  Be sure and check out my other Google Analytics presentation.