Web Analytics Tips: Unleash the Power of Internal Site Search Tracking

As a Web Analytics company who continually performs detailed analytic audits, EverEffect has pretty much seen it all.  The problems we commonly run into that stop us in our tracks and reduce the effectiveness of a company’s analytics include:

  • Not Having Access to the Analytics Account
  • Improper  Installation of the Tracking Code
  • Not Utilizing Conversion Tracking
  • Not Using Internal Site Search Tracking

While the list could be several pages long, there is an area even the savviest analytic users neglect to use and that is Internal Site Search Tracking.  As seen in the image below, Google Analytics has hidden the Site Search Tracking under Content, but there is no excuse for not setting up this powerful tracking feature.

Web Analytics Tips

Top Reasons Why Analytic Companies Like EverEffect Love Internal Site Search Tracking:

  • The idea that drives the importance of Site Search is enabling users to find what they are looking for more quickly, which in turn allows them to convert on your website much faster.
  • Site Search tracking will provide information on search queries performed on your website. This allows us to:
    • Find issues with your search navigation
    • Find new keywords that convert on your website that we can optimize for
  • Understanding how users interact with your website is pivotal to increasing your conversion rates.  Internal Site Search allows you to evaluate the conversion rates of pages which are delivered to a user for their searched phrase.  If you have low conversion rates for that search term there likely is an issue with content, call-to-action or keyword alignment.

Site Search Setup and Additional Info

Setting up Site Search Tracking in analytics is fairly simple and does not require you to use Google’s Site Search tool.  Here is an easy to follow guide to setting up Internal Site Search tracking in Google Analytics.

There is no doubt Site Search is a powerful tool and there are several options including a proprietary and non-proprietary Google option.  Make sure you speak with your developer to understand the benefits and drawbacks of the option you choose.  You will also want to understand if the site search feature you are using requires manual updates or if it automatically updates.

Posted in: Web Analytics

Dynamic SEO Increases Organic CTR on Valentine's Day

First let’s lay out some definitions:

Dynamic SEO – Are you paying an SEO Firm a Monthly fee?  Then you better have dynamic / always evolving & improving SEO.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Your SEO Firm cannot be satisfied with just getting your website to the number one ranking on Google—this is only part of the battle as shown below.

Organic CTR – Organic CTR or Organic Click Through Rate is the number of times your organic listing is clicked on divided by the number of impressions it receives. IMPORTANT NOTE:  Using Google Webmaster Tools will give you the number of impressions for your top five keywords; however, you will need to use your average local keyword search volume as a guide for your impressions in all other cases.

Why is Dynamic SEO Important?

If you are anything like me, Valentine’s Day comes with an agenda that starts out with finding the right gift for your Valentine.  Like many, I use Google and search some ideas, but always seem to end up looking for “flowers”.  For those of you in the Flower Business, Valentine’s Day is like Black Friday.  Just take a look at Google Trends for the keyword “flowers” over the last thirty days:

dynamic seo

WOW, Look at the spike on February 11th looks like a lot of people procrastinated!  Now let’s take a look at the search results in Google for “flowers”.

organic ctr

Which result stands out to you?

You will notice which link was the most related in my mind “Valentine’s Day Flowers | Florist-Designed Flower Arrangements…” According to a study published by Chitika Insights the number one spot obtains 34.35% of all traffic; but given the example above the Dynamic SEO which was performed allows the website in position #2: 1800flowers.com to actually pull in a greater amount of traffic and is better optimized given the circumstances that it is indeed Valentine’s Day.

A company that can recognize that SEO is dynamic and tests different messaging in your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions will increase your organic CTR.  Also, they will be much more successful than those who are just satisfied with ranking in the first position.

You or your SEO Firm should be monitoring your organic CTR and benchmarking it.  If your website averages position 1 for the keyword “flowers” and there are 6 million searches you should be getting about 2 million clicks per month at a CTR of 34.35% (data based on study by Chitika Insights).  However, upon analysis if you find that you are only receiving 2,000 clicks a month, the question becomes are your Title Tag and Meta Description aligned properly with your keyword or is your website only ranking locally verses nationally / globally.

This is just one of the reasons why EverEffect is different than most SEO Companies; we want to help improve the performance of your website by increasing your revenues and reach; not just claiming you as a client who obtained number one ranking for a keyword.

Posted in: Online Marketing ROI, Online Strategies, SEM, SEO

3D Ads…Sort of: The Beauty of Google Sitelinks

Has anyone else noticed the exploding popularity of 3-D entertainment lately? I suppose it’s not really ‘lately,’ since 3-D filmmaking has been popular for quite some time, but with the advent of 3-D TVs and HD 3-D movies it seems as though good old 2-D TV is becoming passé. After all, who can resist being pulled into the action, feeling like a participant in a film, and ending up with a richer experience overall?

And so it is with search advertising. No, I’m not talking about ads that actually appear jump off of the screen at you (although wouldn’t that be cool?). Instead I’m talking about depth and richness of experience, both attributes that a simple text ad can achieve with the addition of Sitelinks.

Sitelinks are additional links within a text ad that can take a user to up to 4 separate landing pages on your site. These links not only serve to call attention to your ad, making it stand out on the page, but it allows the ad to be even further targeted to the user. The person viewing your ad will have multiple choices in terms of where they’re taken, and the links will allow access to content located deeper in your site.

Intrigued? You should be…here are a couple of other details that make Sitelinks worth checking out:

  • They’re incredibly easy to activate in your account: you simply need to go to the ad extensions section within the AdWords Interface, select Sitelinks, and then come up with link text and destination URLs.
  • While only 4 links will show in your ad, you can enter up to 10 in your account allowing for more variety in your offerings.
  • They can really boost your performance! I’ve personally found that the CTR of the Sitelinks is often higher than that of the regular ad by percentages in the triple digits. Check out some of the stats in this account—the 1st shot shows the stats for the overall campaigns, with the 2nd showing the Sitelinks stats for the same 3 campaigns:

google-sitelinks-1

google-sitelinks-2

google-sitelinks-2

  • Remember what comes with better performance: lower CPCs. So the added bonus here is that Sitelinks may actually help to lower the amount you’re paying per click.
  • Thanks to this performance boost and CPC reduction, Sitelinks can be especially powerful when used in conjunction with Brand campaigns, as they allow small- and medium-sized businesses to compete for keywords that normally command high CPCs at a lower cost.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to give Sitelinks a shot. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn you of a few limitations to keep in mind as well:

  • Sitelinks will only show for ads in the highest positions, meaning that if your ad ranks below the top 3 or so you won’t see the links even if you have them activated in your account.
  • Occasionally you might notice that some destination URLs might not work with Sitelinks. I experienced this with a client using a 3rd party host for some of their deeper content, so be sure to double-check your links once they’re set up.
  • If your website is structured such that all of your content and information is on one page.  Sitelinks aren’t a good choice for you. This is simply because if you don’t have separate landing pages for different products or offerings, there aren’t any separate links that you can provide in your ad.

Overall I’d highly recommend seeing what Sitelinks can do for you. If you agree, but don’t believe that you have a website that’s structured in such a way as to take full advantage of their benefits (see the last bullet point in the limitations section), you may want to consider adding a few pages to your site—it could be time for some A/B Testing!

Posted in: Internet Marketing, Online Marketing ROI, Online Strategies, Pay Per Click, SEM

Assessing your Pay Per Click Marketing Efforts

Below we will discuss a few of the obvious ways to measure and assess how effective your Pay Per Click Account is being managed. There are hundreds of factors that you, or the persons in charge of your account, should be reviewing; therefore, I have only highlighted some of the obvious red flags that identify an account with opportunities for improvement.

Return on Investment

The single most important tip I can offer you when assessing your Pay Per Click marketing efforts is finding your return on investment.  This requires you to track leads and sales; however, with the creation of Google Analytics and several affordable call tracking services like Marchex, such data is fairly easy to obtain.  It is important to not let the length of your sales cycle stop you from measuring ROI. Create a simple Access Database or Excel Spreadsheet to track your leads and follow them through your sales cycle.  This type of tracking not only helps you find issues internally with your sales funnel & close rate but can also help you identify if PPC is the right marketing strategy for your business.

Quality Scores (QS)

Locating your quality scores is simple: click on the keywords tab in AdWords; then in the status column hover your mouse over the dialogue bubble.  The proper completion of this action will show you the quality score for that particular keyword (each keyword within your account will have a QS).  It is common knowledge that Quality Scores directly impact your cost per click.  A general rule of thumb is 8-10 = Great; 6-7, you’re hanging in there; 5 and lower equals danger, danger, danger.

Account Structure

Are you limiting the number of keywords per AdGroup to 10-15 keywords (not including match variations, i.e. Broad, Phrase, Exact)? Do you have at least two Ads per AdGroup? Are you using keyword match variations such as Broad, Phrase and Exact? Are you using negative keywords? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you likely have a situation where your Account Structure is being poorly managed, and you’re seeing an increase in your average cost per click and cost per conversion as a result.

Account Settings

Have you reviewed your Geo-Targeting Settings and do they reflect the area where your target market resides and excludes other locations you’re not currently servicing? For example, car dealerships in NC, MS, CA showing up in local search results here in EverEffect’s hometown of Indianapolis. This results in lots of unnecessary Impressions, and likely increases everyone’s costs due to poor execution. Does your ad delivery schedule match that of your business (i.e. if your primary method of sales is via the phone, then your ads should only be running when someone is available to answer the calls)? Do you have your ads set to rotate evenly? Have you set up conversion tracking? Again, if you answered “No” then there is an issue with your settings and account management.

Account Management

Are you or the PPC Management Firm you have hired measuring, testing and identifying ways to improve your account daily?  You can find out this information by clicking the “View Change History” as seen below.

PPC Adwords Management

If you have answered “No” to any of these questions you need to ask yourself “Is my business currently getting the best ROI possible?”, “Is my PPC account being managed properly?” Likely the answer to both of these questions is also a resounding–NO!

At EverEffect our PPC Management Team reviews over 25 AdWords’ Key Performance Indicators daily.  We also provide each of our clients with weekly & monthly performance scorecards and recommendations. If you would like a free assessment of your Pay Per Click Account feel free to contact us.

Posted in: Online Strategies, Pay Per Click

Snow Day Online Optimization

Conversion Optimization

Sitting on my comfortable couch in my warm living room, looking out over our quiet ice-coated neighborhood, it’s easy to assume that everyone else in town is hunkered down in a similar fashion thanks to the recent ice storm that’s enveloped Indianapolis. While it may appear that everything and everyone has ground to a complete halt, it’s important that Internet Marketers not underestimate the affect that snow days can have on their business.

Think about it. When you’re holed up at home, with nowhere to go thanks to the condition of the roads, what are some of the things that you do (aside from taking naps and drinking hot cocoa)? Browsing the internet is at the top of my list, and I can guarantee that it’s right up there for many others, too. Is your website ready for this onslaught of new traffic? Have you ensured that your ads are optimized, and that your budgets are set such that they’re showing up as frequently as possible for those of us who are busy Googling, shopping, and e-reading?

Here are a few tips to make sure you’re making the most of your snow days:

  • Give your website the once-over: are you prominently featuring any current specials? Is your checkout process easy and clearly defined? Are there any error pages or issues that you need to remedy?
  • Look into your ad scheduling: have you set your ads to run only during parts of the day, based on usual traffic patterns? If so, you may want to change this since these traffic patterns may not remain the same while many people are staying home during the day.
  • Check your budgets: based on the severity of the storm and the amount of time the news and weather folks estimate the town will be out of commission, you may want to adjust things so that your ads are showing more often for a day or two while everyone is snowed in. In order to keep your spend down this may mean reducing spend a bit later, when life returns to normal, but it’s worth testing things out for at least the first day of the storm in order to see how click traffic and online conversions may improve.
  • Special offers: if you have a seasonal business that’s big during the winter, or even if you don’t, it may be a good idea to look into running specials while there may be increased traffic viewing your ads and website. See about featuring special ‘snow day coupons’ or other enticing offers to get consumers to your site.

The wonderful thing about online marketing is that changes are relatively easy to make, and none of the items on this list should require huge amounts of time and effort. This leaves plenty of time for you to get back to enjoying that cup of hot cocoa, and probably even an afternoon nap.

Do you have any additional tips for optimizing e-commerce during bad winter weather? Or any questions about the above recommendations? The folks at EverEffect would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or two—good online conversation can help ease some of that snow day cabin fever…

Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, Internet Marketing, Online Strategies