4 Practices for Rocketing your Product Listing Ads

4 Practices for Rocketing your Product Listing

Optimize your data feed to improve performance.

Sounds fun, huh? To us it does, but we happily do this every day for clients all around the world. It’s true. We really enjoy analyzing data and digging into details. We’re paid search nerds. That’s what we do.

If you’re like us, and you like getting into the details too, with things like product listing ads, then you’re going to need to understand the blocking and tackling of managing your data feed. We can’t give you the experience of hard knocks, but we can walk you through the minimum you must consider when starting any campaign. Lock out these parts of your data feed and the rest takes care of itself, mostly… as long as you have a plan to manage it.

Concerning your data feed and how it can affect your product listing ads, there are four crucial items, which need to be 100% organized in order to perform well on Google Shopping: relevancy, pricing, images and details.

Fake Shoe Ad

Relevancy

Focusing on your title and description is one of the most overlooked but most important parameters in your feed. You want to ensure your title includes the name of the product along with any descriptors that are well known.  However, you don’t want to include too much as it could be hard to read in the title.  Also, you want your description to include all aspects of the product such as the brand, style, color and any other product-specific terminology for which the customer might search. Google relies on these to parameters to pair, or worse, not pair your product with the user searches. The more relevant you are the better. How do you stay relevant? You have to put away your secret dreams of being the next JK Rowling. Don’t use the word onyx, when the color is black, or get too wrapped up with the particular Nike style-line, and forget to list that you are selling “shoes.”

Consider this example: Let’s say you’re selling a pair of Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic Sunglasses. Perfect. These exact words are ideal for your title as you have the brand, style name (not the style number) and type of product. Optionally, you could include the color, but keep it as straight forward as possible. This way you are reaching the customers that are looking for Ray Ban and those who are looking for a specific style name.

As a final tip with relevancy, including Adwords labels will help with categorizing your products and labeling with words that customers would use, like with flip-flops versus sandals.

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Pricing & Promotions

This is going to go in the face palm category of obvious considerations, but you might be surprised to find out how many marketers miss the obvious, and why. Ensure all your products are up to date with current pricing. (You may face-palm now or double-palm after the next sentence, your choice.) If your price has gone up on your site but is lower in your feed you will lose the customer when they get to your site. They will be disappointed and may not want to go back to your site.

Sticking with the face palm theme, keep your data feed updated with all promotions and discounts, such as free shipping, percentage discounts or price reductions. A customer who finds at check-out that their purchase is less expensive than listed will be thrilled, true, but leaving out these details could potentially lose them before they get to that point. If you’re going to offer promotional pricing, you’d be wise to make sure Google knows about it. If you’re the only retailer with that promotion, and you don’t manage your feed, you could be giving up a huge edge.

The challenge with these feed updates isn’t so much with knowing the value of managing them as it is having the plan in place to make sure you’re current. If you don’t have a plan, which includes who owns getting it updated, and a timeline for when they are to execute updates, then you may really find yourself in a real face-palm situation.

Bag For Sale

Images

The more impactful the image you have the easier it will catch the customer’s attention. Most of this work already happened when you organized the pictures for your site. For your listing you want to make sure the product pops from the image and is clear to see, so the best picture from your site will be the one that tells the best overall story about the product.

Complimentary angles and views matter in this case. Find your inner Ansel Adams. If, for example, your product needs to look big, a picture taken from below will make it appear superior. Conversely, if you want your product to look cute, you would feature a shot taken from above. In any case it should be lit well enough to easily see the details. Your ad should jump out to the customer over your competitors, not blend in. Employ every technique at your disposal, color, large file size, whatever you’ve got.

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Details

Include as many parameters in your feed as possible and keep them up to date. Check them every morning to ensure there are no errors, and if you are too busy, appoint someone to do it and report out on what they’ve done. Every day.

Staying up to date on your inventory of sizes and colors is critical; worth the time it costs you. Think of it in these terms: someone is interested in purchasing a shirt you have for sale and selects your ad. They then navigate to your site, but you are out of stock. Not good. You just lost your client’s confidence and loyalty. When your site pops up as an option in the future they may not even bother to look.

Also, make sure you have your Adwords categorization set to the most niche section as possible. This ensures that your product shows up for the correct items and also that it is not lost in a broader section. You have to give Google the best information possible so that you show up in the right search results. For example, if you have a dining chair for sale you will want to go as granular as possible. List it as outdoor chairs or living room chairs, rather than simply chair.

These are a few of the most important moving parts you will need to manage regarding your campaigns. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to labor and experience. Most account managers struggle with having the time to constantly optimize campaigns, and with having the repetitions to know what works well and what doesn’t. For this reason, smart retailers will contract out this work to organizations like DEP, where we have dedicated consultants who do nothing but this kind of work every day. Like I said: “nerds.” Proudly.

Ultimately, you have to decide how much your time is worth. Still not sure? Contact us and we’ll walk you through what we can do for you. Stay tuned for next month… we will dig in and provide tips on how to optimize your products via the user interface.

Kristina, Director of Paid Search for DEP

Influencer Marketing Will Make Your Content Blow Up

Influencer Marketing Will Make Your Content

You think you have written a golden piece of content. You think it will be a hit. So you go to your SM profiles and your blog and you click submit. You make yourself a cup of tea, and you are sure, that when you get back to your desktop with your hot beverage, there will be a minimum of 20 shares and 150 likes waiting for you to harvest. Of course, because it’s an outstanding piece of writing and it simply has to take off.  But there is nothing. It’s like you dropped a bomb and it sunken to the bottom of the ocean without a blow.

Without a solid content promotion plan in place, this is a very likely scenario, no matter how good is your content.

But what if you have found the people that have mutual interest in your subject, and much more influence online: more likes, thousands of followers on twitter and visitors to their blog? Surely, if you convince them to share your content, they would convince more people to read it than you yourself alone.

Influencer Marketing & BuzzSumo

Influencer – People who have an established credibility and audience; who can persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity. Influencers have a pre-established audience who are already receptive to their ideas and recommendations. 

Influencer Marketing – Form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential readers/buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

Here we have gathered some tips and tools that we are using to generate more buzz around your content.

This method of tapping into influencers to help amplify your content marketing strategy is now well established in the world of content marketing and there are some great online tools to help you:

  1. Find influencers online
  2. Make the first connection
  3. Find most popular content online to help you write the right piece 

BuzzSumo

buzzsumo

1. Find influencers online.

BuzzSumo can be used to search for the right people to help you share your content. There are so many potential influencers, that without this tool, you really wouldn’t know who’s best to target. Simply type in the ‘industry’ or keyword of interest, and you will generate a list of people with the highest number of followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

Example: type in ‘fine jewelry’ to find bloggers and influencer in this field.

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A list of suggested top influencers is generated. Now check their DA, PA, Retweet Ratio,  Reply Ratio and even Previously Shared links.

Buzzsumo 2

2. Making the first connection

You have your list of influencers, and you are ready to go. Are you? Do you know exactly how you will approach them and what you have to offer? To answer those questions, make sure you review their work, read their blog and get a feel of the type of person they are, what interests (other from your shared one) they have.

There are a few ways you can start to make connections with your target influencers:

  • Give them some social media love, either through a reply, retweet, or mention.
  • Provide thoughtful comments on their blog posts.
  • Connect with them on LinkedIn, introducing yourself and why you’d like to connect.
  • Make old-school phone calls (yes, people still do those).
  • Shoot over an e-mail.

Influencers have the ability to be much more selective, and they expect to be respected for the talent (and audience) they bring to your projects, so offering them money in your first approach and even later, is not going to impress them.

Find most popular content online to help you write the right piece 

With Buzzsumo you can easily find content that gets the most mentions and shares across all social media platforms around any ‘keyword’ or topic area.

Example: In content research search box type in again any topic or keyword your content will be about. We used ‘fine jewelry’ as an example. Click on search and you will get a view of the most shared and popular content relevant to ‘fine jewelry’.

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This data can help shape your promotional plan. BuzzSumo allows you to understand performance at a higher level. By getting an understanding for what performs well and what doesn’t, you’ll be able to tailor further promotional efforts to be in line with what your audience responds to the most and what topics are driving the most social shares. 

Influencer marketing is needed in any good content promotion plan. Hopefully following these steps will help you come up with the best content strategies for your business. If you want more direction with this, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to help in whatever way we can.

Google+ | One Thing You’ll Wish you Considered

Google+ Dead- (3)The question about whether or not Google+ is dead has been debated amongst the same six people since early 2014, when the man formally in charge of Google+, Vic Gundrota, resigned. There are basically two camps; Google+ is dead, and Google+ is not dead. Both camps are just vying for traffic to their respective sites.

So, what exactly has happened?

Since we wouldn’t be anywhere near the front of the pack reporting on this, I’ll summarize what is by today’s standards old news: Google is untethering their YouTube and Google+ services. People are talking about it. Google+ is dead, or dying, or not dying, depending on whom you ask. 

The same hubbub arose when Google+ untethered Hangouts, and when they did the same with Google+ photos. Never mind the fact that not one soul made the same claims when Facebook did the exact same thing with their Messenger service.

Here’s our take on why: Facebook, unlike Google+, never forced preexisting channel subscribers to join Facebook in a thinly veiled attempt to create order where there was no previous disorder. When Google+ launched, folks in YouTube suddenly had to start a Google+ account to manage certain aspects of their YouTube administration or to comment on videos. 

The outcome was a backlash and overly inflated Google+ membership numbers. Many users, in confusion toggling between their Gmail, YouTube, and other Google accounts, inadvertently created additional Google+ pages.

The fallout from the chaos apparently created wounds, the depth of which were too profound for many to heal. The “many” having been praying for Google+’s demise from the beginning. They are the same three saying “Google+ is dead.”

Whether or not they will get their wish now seems to be on the table for reals. 

Google+ You Tube Breakup

We propose a third camp.

In reality, both camps are probably kinda correct, in that Google+ as we once knew it is dying, but is far from dead. Whatever you believe to be the case you would be better off keeping a level head about everything. After all, it IS the Google.

And please, don’t you dare Bing me for my opinion, Yahoo my leg or DuckDuckGo my ear off. We all know who wears the pants in this internet. Whatever Papa Google decides to do, when he decides to do it, you’ll want to be sitting on the right side of the fence.  

Some considerations.

  • It’s still Google.  
  • Search is still #1 for traffic. 
  • Something will come out of the mayhem.
  • Right brand for the platform
  • Opportunity knocks?

Content is king, sure, but Google is Lord Emperor

No matter what opinion you may have about Google+, or any of the prior Google stabs at social media (Buzz was pretty sad), at the end of the day the people behind those attempts are the same people who brought you the “I’m feeling lucky” button. Ask any online marketer out there where the majority of traffic comes for most sites, and they will sing to you in harmony: Google.

Google’s market value, albeit less stable at times, is currently beating Exxon near the $400-million mark. They can probably afford to make a few more Google+’s before the investors start to question them. They are not going anywhere anytime soon. 

King Google

Search still rules referrals in analytics 

As the director for social media at DEP, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across articles claiming that social media will someday replace more traditional online media channels, namely SEO and PPC. Heck, I’ve even been guilty of making that statement, and there may come a time when that statement becomes true.

Case in point, nobody would have believed you in 1980 that computers would be standard issue, right next to those cordless phones we keep in our pockets, but here we are. Maybe someday social media will beat out other forms on online marketing, but not anytime this week.

The name Google+ may go away. 

Probably not, though. Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of streams, has said repeatedly that Google+ isn’t going away. Good enough for me. That said, I could see the Google reimagining the leftover parts of Google+ with a new name, which would be metamorphosed over time.

In a recent Mashable article, they point out that Horowitz quietly informed us that Google has started referring to their social media services as “Streams, Photos, and Sharing.” It’s a little clunky for a new or reimagined platform name, but the message between the lines is nobody internally wants to associate the word “plus” in combination with “Google.”

Whatever happens, it should be interesting to watch unfold.

Alphabet+

Does your brand belong on Google+?

Nobody in my job is going to advise you against creating a Google+ business page, but whether or not it’s a place you spend all your time will be case-by-case. If you are in tech, marketing, or anything nerdy, then you may find an audience and community on Google+. You’ll find an audience for your bikini company too, but you’ll wish you didn’t. 

Like any social network, there are plenty of creeps milling about, and hardly any of them are shopping for new bikini bottoms. Pinterest would be a better bet for your bikini company’s audience.

If you’re just a casual user, you will find that there are very active corners of Google+ where the conversations are real, and someone isn’t just trying to get clicks to their site. There’s not many, but they are there. You just have to search.

If you can find a home for your brand on Google+ expect all the fringe benefits that go along with it. Google’s search results will bump your posts in the SERPs for those who follow you and are logged in when searching, and you will get generally better engagement with your posted content.

Google+ fans are active, liking posts and commenting when motivated. It still works. 

opportunity

One final consideration…

I don’t know about you, but I always feel like I am behind the eight ball with social media. Whatever becomes of Google+, this could be the calm before the storm. It could be your shot to build a super loyal following.

Whatever it becomes, it will still be Google’s product, so there will always be that value. When all the kids come running back to the playground it would be nice to have your seat on the swings reserved.

Without carving out a ton of time, this is what we are doing with Google+ right now; casually but carefully involved. It seems to be what many brands we respect are also doing. We are actively posting, bucketing posts with other social media channels using Hootsuite to save time, and making sure we engage the active followers we have.

In the background we are using the app Circloscope to slowly build our circles. After all, an engaged audience is a good audience, no matter where you find them.

If you are looking for better ways to strategize your social media channels, Google+ or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Advice is free, and we would be happy to look through your channels and advise you on what you could do to maximize your returns.That’s what we do: save you time with online marketing solutions that work.

– Damon Mitchell | Social Media Director for DEP

Content Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.)

Content Rules Everything Around Me

In any SEO related research you find these days, having good content is still one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. As the phrase goes–content is king–or as I like to put it, “C.R.E.A.M, get the money (dollar dollar bill, ya’ll).”

But what makes good content for SEO? Does Google favor long or short copy? How hard should we work to get our keywords placed in the content? Where do video and images fit in?

We’re going to outline some of the best practices to use in the creation of quality content for your site.

Write for your audience – The first rule of content is that it has to be compelling.

In order to place your article in the “high-quality content” box, it needs to have relevance and value. So, pay attention to your desired audience, write for that audience, and write something that offers substance; that is unique and useful.

Focus on writing naturally. Don’t worry about how your content will rank with Google; worry about how it will rank with your readers. As they say, “Follow your heart, and the money will come later.” They do say that, right?

You're on

Keywords – Going with our earlier statements about writing naturally, it only makes sense that keywords should appear naturally.

It is officially safe to say that ‘keyword density’ is a defunct concept. We don’t want to get in the habit of trying to stuff keywords into our content in ways that appear forced or unnatural.

That said, there are legitimate ways to get keywords into your content naturally and effectively. You can start with keyword research. There are a number of online tools you can use for your keyword research (try Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Google Trends, Wordtracker Free Keyword Suggestion Tool, just to name a few).

Our goal should be to optimize our keywords for what is actually being searched. For instance, let’s say you own a surf school and you want your next blog to be about surfer etiquette. If ‘how to avoid other surfers’ is a more commonly used search query than ‘surfer etiquette,’ you might want to consider using the more commonly used term.

Also, using related keywords and grammatical variations can make your content more relevant for search engines.

Don’t Fear the Long Tail – Shorter keywords can be super competitive.

Try inserting long-tail keywords from your keyword research. Those longer related terms can be much easier to rank. They also tend to have higher traffic quality, as those visitors will have greater motivation and are more likely to convert.

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Show off that big brain of yours – We’re seeing evidence that articles that are more in depth get more likes and shares than shorter, more superficial articles.

We’re also seeing that the average site that ranks on page one of Google has more than 2,000 words. Let’s take advantage of this by getting in depth with our content.

Share your knowledge and expertise and provide real insight in your content creation. Even if your content is longer, if you’re staying on topic with your expertise, your readers will be more engaged. The more you inform your audience, the more likely they are to share your information.

Sharing is Caring – Sharing your content via social media will definitely get you traffic.

The more ‘shares’ you get, the more likely that Google will recognize your content as relevant and popular. So blast it over your all of your social media channels, encourage your friends and family to share it (as long as they do it from their own computers. Google reads IP addresses), and do the work to find industry influencers, forums, blogs and newsletters who will be willing to share your content.

Don’t neglect your title tags and meta descriptions – Without getting too technical, I’ll explain what title tags and meta descriptions are for the uninitiated. A title tag is, simply put, the title of the document or web page. It’s meant to be an accurate description of a site’s content. It also creates value in the search engine results pages.

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that also describe the content of a site, but can be much longer than title tags. Meta descriptions should also contain your highest-ranking keywords. Work with your tech guy to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions to make it easier for Google to find and categorize you (you want this). 

Go With Google

Go with God… I mean, Google – If you don’t have a Google Plus business page at this point, you’re behind the curve. Google Plus is going to play a larger role in SEO. In addition, Google will be introducing Author Rank, which will begin ranking authors and not just the sites that host their content.

Once you get your page set up and verified, and build your AuthorRank (and actively update your page), your content will gain an extra shot of authority, no matter where you post it.

Creating content can be awesomely fun. Staying informed with the latest SEO trends, and focusing on a few key initiatives isn’t particularly time-consuming, but it can yield awesome results, and take your content to that place only reserved for rock stars and fighter pilots.

If you have any questions regarding content creation, or would like to know more about the impact it can have on your rankings, please email or call us, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Your Mobile SEO Campaign Questions Answered

Mobile SEO 101… class is in session.

Your Mobile SEO Campaign Questions

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been consulting many clients on mobile SEO campaigns. There’s a number of questions that continue to come up as it pertains to the setup. Similar to SEO campaign setups for desktop there are a few items which need to be addressed.

1. Keyword research 

2. Website Architecture 

3. Content

4. Link Building

Below we expand on how to perform each for a mobile SEO campaign. For speed and efficiency (important in mobile) let’s assume you know the questions already. What follows are simply the answers.

Keyword Research for Mobile SEO

First, let’s take a look using a couple of our tools.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner – Here you see a screenshot of Google’s keyword planner trend analysis for the keyword “Mobile SEO”. The blue bar graph in May shows that there was a TOTAL (across all devices) of 720 searches in the month of May with 52 searches specifically from Mobile.

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SEMRush – Has settings for running keyword queries however it appears to be pulling the Google Keyword Tool anyways.

Mobile Keyword Reseach

SEMRush can also track rankings in mobile SERPS

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Website Architecture for Mobile SEO

There are three ways to construct a website for mobile. The number one consideration for all methods is SPEED! How fast can we have the site render? 

>> Responsive Design – This appears to be the golden boy of options for building a website for mobile, largely because it provides one URL for both Desktop and Mobile.

Pros: Much easier to maintain, one URL for all devices, and no need for device detection.

Cons: Can be extremely slow to load for mobile devices.

>> Separate site for Mobile – There are three different ways to host them on a different site:

m.example.com – Sub-Domain

example.mobi – Separate Domain

example.com/mobile – Sub-Folder

Myth debunked around separate URLs: We hear lots of complaints about duplicate content as a result of different URLs sharing the same content. The easy solution is ensuring the correct directional annotation is setup.

From Google Webmaster tools:

Annotation in the HTML

On the desktop page (http://www.example.com/page-1), add:

and on the mobile page (http://m.example.com/page-1), the required annotation should be:

This rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile URL pointing to the desktop page is required.

Pros of separate domain: Options for mobile specific content

Cons: Higher cost, higher possibilities for error, if not annotated correctly can have issues with duplicate content.

>> Dynamic Serving –  Using one URL you can dynamically serve the mobile version of the site based on the user agent. 

Pros: One URL for all devices, possibility for mobile specific content

Cons: Complex to set up and costly.

Again the recommendation on which one to go with should obviously be based on time, labor, cost, but most importantly SPEED!

Speed

Content for Mobile SEO

When talking about content in this context, we are speaking about the text content (Titles, H1s, Alt Tags, Boilerplate) that are used to target keywords. The content that is served on the desktop can be the same as what’s served on the mobile version of the site. You just need to make sure to use the annotations listed above if the website is using a separate site for mobile or dynamic serving. 

Link Building for Mobile SEO

There is a handful of sites where you can list the mobile version of your site. You can find 125 directories specific to mobile by clicking here. In general a website’s ability to rank in mobile SERPs will be contingent on its backlink strength in desktop SERPs. Value and trust are typically passed from the desktop version to the mobile version of the site.

If you having issues with the mobile version of your website please reach out when we will do a free consultation.  

Building a Social Media Audience for Ecommerce

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There’s an antiquated saying which applies here: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him share your Facebook content. The other one that comes to mind is, I could fish for you and feed you today, or I can teach you to add followers and you can go get them yourself.

There’s a lot to unpack there, so let all that wisdom sink in… Okay, long enough.  

Let’s assume you are a business owner, and you’re sold on social media for your business. We’ll call you “Bob.” You’ve set up your page, but you need to get people to follow your business.

Your hope is that not only will they follow your page, they’ll endlessly like, favorite, reply, @mention, circle, and pin your content until the cows some home. The question on your mind is “how do I build up my followers?”

That’s not the question you should be asking, Bob. We’ll come back to what you should be asking in a minute… Bob.

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Followers, as the name implies, are people who would follow you about. In this case, we are talking about following you in social circles. There was existed, once upon a time, a world where you could get users to follow you on a channel and those users would see everything you posted. People were on social media a lot because it was new and they were not-yet-jaded.

Then came the masses and what followed them was the algorithms. Nowadays nobody has time to read their feed endlessly, even with the help of algorithms, and what users do read they tend to skim.

But back to our question, Bob.

Channel depending, you may decide that the best way to build your followership is to engage in what is commonly referred to as, “buying likes.” For a fee, you can navigate to a site where there is cloud software which promises to pay you in kind with X-number of followers in exchange for your hard-earned Bitcoins. 

So let’s say you decide to invest. For $9.99 you can get 1000 followers, but for $29.99 you can get 5000. The obvious deal is the mere thirty dollar investment to become the most popular kid in school. From a business standpoint, everything is above board. You give them your credit card info, and they compensate you with the promised minions.

At first, you are super-excited about your newfound popularity. You blast Facebook with your new follower number, sheepishly thanking all of your followers for their loyalty. Your REAL friends, the ones who’ve been following your new venture, wonder if maybe they shouldn’t have made that investment you asked them for last year.

Good for you Bob. Looks like you’re doing okay.

But then all your super-stardom unravels. You notice after the first few posts you make that very few people engage what you are posting. In fact, on Facebook, the total reach of your posts starts to nosedive.

Frantically you go to your channel insights to do some research of your new peeps and find that many of them aren’t even in your area. In fact, they aren’t in your country! Most of them are in Indonesia, and parts unknown, where click farms have been set up to pay users to like your page.  

Not these sort of minions.

Not these sort of minions…

You got exactly what you paid for Bob: followers. Sort of. They’re technically following you, but not really.

Let’s stop clamoring for followers like your follower count was the equivalent to that lift kit on your pickup truck. You can stop trying to cover up for smaller things in your life by getting bigger things elsewhere.

Rather than measure the success of your social media audience on the sheer number of people following your page, start to measure your success on the number of people that are engaging your content. 

Bob, don’t add followers. Add Engagers.

Move like the tortoise, not the hare.

The tortoise route to getting this done is through your posts. Posts which are properly labeled with keywords, hashtags, and descriptions that engage the casual observer, will over time build your followership. [READ: OVER TIME]

There are other above board tactics which will build your army faster, but you should carefully consider the outcome of any technique you apply.

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You add engagers by tempering your follower build with wisdom.

For example, an easy way to add followers on Twitter is to go and follow a bunch of users from your business account. This will get you nearly automatic followbacks at a 10-40% ratio. Some people follow back as a rule.

A smarter way to accomplish this same tactic would be to get very specific about who you follow. In short, follow people who would be interested in what you have to say. Follow those that could potentially be customers. Follow engagers.

For Facebook, the tactic is a little different. After you get all your friends and family to follow your business, you will need to buy engagers on Facebook if you really want to build up your audience.

The great thing about Facebook is you can get very specific about who those people are and where they are. The bad part is that you will likely have to buy them. Buy them right, and they will engage your content. And about your family and friends, the same rule applies. Don’t just add warm bodies.

Google+ functions a bit like Twitter, but with different daily restrictions. You can use a tool like Circloscope to navigate around those restrictions, but the same rules apply. If you just add warm bodies, that’s what you’ll get in return.

Pinterest and Instagram are also followback platforms. The only real exceptions are the aforementioned Facebook and LinkedIn.

The network for professionals is a grassroots engager-build. LinkedIn users will engage your company’s LinkedIn page when your brand has become more of a household name. Think brands like Apple, Virgin, or Coca-Cola. 

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So now you know… You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t teach him to fish from it. And, you can corral followers to your business page like cows to a pasture, but you can’t make them eat all the hay. Never mind. All you need to remember from this is one concept: Don’t add followers. Add engagers. The rest of the work is getting in there and engaging them. 

You got this one… Bob.

If you don’t, we can help. This is just one aspect of what we do with your social media channels. We add engagers, feed them relevant content and engage them wherever we can.

Content for SEO: Find Your Voice

Find Your VoiceYou have a voice…so speak up

Whether you are a brand, a business, a blog… you need a voice. What will you provide your readers with and why will they read it? How will you present yourself? Consider your brand’s voice before writing any type of content. Spending some time finding your voice is worth your attention and effort. THIS is how you will truly connect with your readers and build a community around your blog. Some tips to finding your voice:

Some tips to finding your voice:

  1. Describe yourself in three words. Does your written work reveal this about you?
  2. Ask yourself, “Is this how I talk”? Be yourself when you write. Reveal your personality
  3. Make a list of six blogs or magazines you read. Study them and discover what the connecting link is that makes them your favorites
  4. Free-write.
  5. Read your last couple of posts. Ask yourself if this is something YOU would read. And did you enjoy writing it?
  6. Outline who your demographic is. Who is your ideal reader (age, marital status, hobbies, goals)? 

Once you find your voice, continue to develop it. Your blog’s voice should remain consistent with the language you use in your other marketing tactics. Keeping it cohesive from post to post will help build your brand and will emphasize the message you are sending. This will help in laying a solid foundation for the long-term growth of your blog. Still struggling? Read this guide to finding your voice.

How will you chose the content you will present to your readers? Besides relevancy, what is key? 

Bookstore

Your content must be engaging and purposeful. Everything you publicly post is an expansion of what your brand represents so make it good! Be a point of reference, be a resource. Write helpful and useful articles. And remember what matters to your readers. If your blog is about creating a small garden, write about how to care for small size perennials and annuals. A post on how to plant a tree may be irrelevant since you would not normally plant a tree in a small garden. Speak about creative space-saving tips for garden tools, pots and other equipment rather than a review of the latest in lawnmower technology. Do not forget to consider what matters to them! 

Use tools to find content that is trending.

So you may still need some more inspiration for content. Remember, you can still have an original voice while following trends. Following trends is not a bad thing and in terms of content, it is a good thing! You just have to share it in your own voice. Here are a couple useful and simple tools to find content that is trending.

Google Alerts is basic and free. It will help you monitor the web for specific information that is supplied by you, and delivers the results to your inbox. You create your alert by adding your business name, keywords, selecting your source, region and specifying how often you would like notifications. 

Google Alerts

How is this helpful? In this case, we want to find content that is trending. When you add your keywords to Google Alerts you will be notified on what is being published about that specific subject. So, let’s say you’ve added your garden blog keywords: small gardens, tiny garden design, and mini garden maintenance; then you will be notified on all articles being published on these keywords.

So now what?

You want to collect these articles, monitor how much they are being shared. Who’s the audience, who’s commenting? Specifically, what topic is coming up over and over…is it small garden design, or is it which space-saving veggies to plant? This should help get the creative juices flowing and get you brainstorming.

Buzzsumo

Next up, Buzzsumo content alerts. Like Google Alerts, this tool lets you set up custom alerts to notify you whenever someone mentions a specified keyword. This is a big help when it comes to searching for topics that are current. However, Buzzsumo is a bit more advanced than Google Alerts. You can be more specific with your search and results are more streamlined. You can specify whether the alert should monitor the brand or keyword mention in the title, article text or both. You can also get notifications in real time.

The most useful feature here is the social share threshold, allowing you a detailed insight to the highest performing content and who is sharing it. You have the ability to start networking right from the Buzzsumo platform. If you see that @TinyGardenSpaces just posted an article about landscaping that was shared 800 times on Facebook, well then you may want to follow @TinyGardenSpaces on Twitter, Facebook, and all their other channels.  You may get a follow back. And you just may be able to start and build your audience too! 

Buzzsumo2

So, now you have your voice, your content, and your tools. These are the main components you will need for putting your work and personality out there and to start to build a strong following. This will take some time, so be committed! There are plenty of other tools available so stay updated and do your research. Happy writing!

Google PPC Support Alternative Tools

Google Support making you crazy-

If you manage your own Adwords account or are an agency managing one for a client you have probably spoken to Google Adwords support team. The support specialists are here to solve your questions by dialing an 866 number and being directed to the correct department. Once you have reached a specialist you are able to ask any questions pertaining to your client and they will assist you with instructions and dig further into your account. This is a free resource that is available to anyone with a Google account (Adwords, Analytics or My Business).

Working on multiple accounts we often speak to Google support on a weekly basis regarding accounts and questions. Recently we have noticed the decline of expertise on these calls. In the past, the majority of specialist could walk you through and answer your questions or troubleshoot your account but over the last six months we have seen a drastic decline. We’ve found ourselves waiting as many as 20-minutes just to be handed over to a specialist that asks “how can I help you?” and then puts you on hold to search the support section of Adwords. 

However, if you do receive a specialist that can answer all your questions and assist you at a reasonable time make sure to ask all your questions and request an email. By requesting an e-mail, you can send over any follow-up or further questions you may have in the future.

Over the last several months, we have questioned specialist on why the decline in support and they don’t have a direct answer only to the fact there is a higher demand. So has Google lowered their standards? Why do we have to be put on hold and listen to answers we have already read online or have them tell us they will call back but never do?

For example, a call was made in relation to Google Merchant Center and a problem with a feed being under review for longer than 24-hours. The rep said let me dig into this and we will contact you and let you know. After 11-days and several follow up emails sent to them we received a response that linked back to the help section where we first started.  We replied back to them asking if this was the only information they could provide and never heard back. 

Throughout our experience of working with specialists over the phone and via email, you have to wonder if there is a high turnover rate or Google has let their qualifications for employees lower?

Does a customer that is paying Google to run ads on our site deserve to have top-notch support or is it something of the past? The fact is we will never know.  Although we cannot rely on Google 100% for all our questions and quick responses there are other resources and tips you can utilize.  

Below is a list of tips and resources you can use to help find answers to your Adwords, Analytics or any other Google channel: 

Google Implementation Team

This is a great resource to use when you have questions and need assistance with implementing tracking or scripts onto your site or via Google Tag Manager. However, you have to call Google support first to set up a call.

Tip – Make sure when you call you skip explaining the issue and directly request an appointment with the Implementation team. The support specialist will create one for you. 

Answering Questions in Your Account 

The Google support section online – A great resource for basic questions in the account. Try looking here before calling support (It will probably be quicker).

Google Adwords community forum – A useful place to search, review and/or post questions that you may have. Within the community, there are many others similar to you that could have posted in the past and others have answered. Check it out here.

Tip – search for your question directly and you may see several results.

PPC Chat on Twitter – This is a great place to meet and ask others questions and support related to paid search. Here you can post questions or difficulties you are having and you will see quick replies from users around the world.

Ultimately, we have to find our answers somehow to continue with our account and obtain our goals in the account. If you have exhausted your efforts or need one more resource contact DEP Online Marketing Agency. Allow us to answer all your questions and look for new opportunities while managing your account. 

Social Media Tools For Everyone

The Fish Specials

Time versus ROI

Your greatest pain point with social media is time. For most business owners, they know they need to be on social media in some capacity, but simply lack the resources to create profiles, and manage them. And then there’s the whole question of which channels to use for your business? Obviously there’s a lot to talk about on the subject… for bottom line P&L operators, the most important question they want to have answered is “what’s the ROI?”

However you measure ROI, you’re going to want to go into the battle armed with some power tools. Here’s a list, some of which we use, and some of which we’ve tested but haven’t found a use for yet. 

Managing Followers

If your plan is to just set up your channels, invite your family and friends to follow, post some cool content, and hope users come in droves to follow you, you are going to find yourself quickly disappointed. You will need a plan to increase your followers, and it will help to have some tools to accomplish this feat. Outside Facebook* there are tools for most channels, which help you manage your followers.

A word on Facebook.

Here, watch this video on Facebook.

The Twitters

imgresFollowerwonk is an extension of the MOZ network, specifically for managing Twitter. It allows you to look at who you are following that is not following you back, as well as the opposite. You can make your cuts or adds as you see fit, but they must be done user-by-user, and if you go too fast you’ll get a message from Followerwonk telling you to “slow down or Twitter will get mad.” It’s pretty funny actually, but to the folks at Twitter it’s no joke. They really don’t want you managing your followers in bulk. Followerwonk also has a nice feature where you can analyze another user’s tweets, follows, and followers. We use this tab for finding like audiences.

The downside to Followerwonk? It’s free unless you want all the features, in which case you will pay for the MOZ pro account starting at $99 per month. The free version isn’t really what you need to make a difference. Chances are you’re going to pay the $99 if you like it. Every month. The silver lining is you will get all the MOZ Pro tools for SEO along with you subscription.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 1.57.08 PMSocial Bro works similar to Followerwonk but doesn’t require you to have a MOZ account. For small companies, it may be the better alternative. Our experience using it is limited at this point, but we may use this tool more in the future as Social Bro allows more bulk actions, similar to Circloscope for Google+. It also offers helpful tools for best posting times, monitoring (beta as of this writing) and integrating your Google Analytics. Plans go from $0 for two accounts and 5000 social contacts to $149 for forty accounts and 200,000 contacts. They will also custom tailor a plan for really big dawgs.

The downside to Social Bro? This platform has so much functionality, we found all the dials and levers a little much at first. Presumably that feeling goes away with aptitude, so not really a downside then.

Google+ is not dead.

With the recent addition of the collections feature to Google+, the crew at Google is not making any indication that they intend to close shop on their social media platform. Some panicked when they pulled hangouts last year, but nobody flinched when Facebook separated Messenger from there IOS app. Rest assured, you haven’t seen the last of Google+. At DEP, we are big fans of leveraging all that Google+ offers for the right clients. Here are some tools you can use to get the most out of the channel.

cshpCircloscope is a browser extension for Chrome, which means you’ll not be able to use it unless you use have Chrome installed. To report “it’s worth it,” doesn’t even begin to capture the value. $47 is the exact annual spend you incur if you want to get past the free version (recommended) or $178 if you are one of the aforementioned big dawgs. Once you install the extension on your browser you will access the app by clicking the browser button. Circloscope will allow you to add users to circles from the profiles of other users, and communities. For better or worse, you can add large groups of people to circles at a time, up to 5000 circled folks. Past 5000 and Google+ has a problem with your social behavior. No worries, you can go back through your list of circles and dump the rotten eggs, by sorting out non-followers, those who are not active, and even blue-heads. You can keep peeling back who you follow until you have pristine lists of contacts. Google+ users will follow you back at about a 10-30% rate.

The downside to Circloscope? It’s easy to get carried away and add large groups of people with the hope they follow your business back. While that may seem like a win at first, the goal with followers is to acquire those would engage your posts. People who manage their social media profiles like robots, following back every Tom, Dick, and Harry may have no long-term value to your strategy.  

circlecount3Circlecount is an SAAS tool for measuring one’s influence on Google+. You can also measure the influence of your business page. It has a nice interface for metrics, tracking your circled by count over time and the individual performances of your posts. You can also look up which Google+ pages are ranked on top, rising the fastest and have the best engagement.  

The downside to Circlecount? It may not be worth the time you spend on it. We find most of the data on here interesting, but outside the metrics on our client’s pages, we haven’t been able to leverage the information for anything measurable yet. This is one to play with and then think about how you can use it to your advantage later. Email us when you do, or better yet follow us on Google+, and message us there.

Pictures are worth a thousand likes 

canva-circle-logoThe first thing you’re going to need for any content plan, besides something to talk about, is pictures to illustrate your points. Unless you’re shooting video, blogs, your site, and your posts will go much further with pictures. If you are using Pinterest, your pictures will take center stage. Canva is a lovely tool for creating high definition photo files in a myriad of sizes. Signing up for Canva is free, but if you want to use their photos you will pay $1.00 per file. You can also import your own pictures and vectors for free. Once your creation is done, it will save in your designs, and you can then download it if you want. 

Bringing it all together 

hootsuite-logoHootsuite is the low-cost, no-muss, no-fuss application with which all social media managers should start. From single-unit managers to massive enterprise operations, no tool gets more usage than Hootsuite. At DEP, we’ve worked with Sprout Social and Meet Edgar (still being developed) but went back to Hootsuite on both occasions. For our money, Sprout Social didn’t offer much more than Hootsuite, and for so much more in cost.

So just what do these social media management (SMM) tools all do? They help you organize your posts and allow you to manage multiple channels in one place, both with monitoring and with outreach. Sounds great, right? 

It is, really, but there are some things to consider before you go posting away to all your channels twenty times a day. While Hootsuite will allow you to post to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn Company Pages all in one fell post, and will even tell you how many characters put you over the 140 Twitter-barrier, you shouldn’t always do that. Your followers on your respective channels are likely different crowds, but some of them will follow you in more than one place, and they will feel your non-individualized posting is a little spammy. 

Facebook users will typically not click on links that take them outside the channel, but if your links are owl.ly links, as the standard Hootsuite shortened URLs appear, you can almost guarantee they won’t click it. On Facebook, you will get more clicks to your blog (for example) if they can see the whole URL, but if you try that stuff on Twitter you will run out of characters really fast. 

Emojicide

Hashtags are allowed just about everywhere these days, but outside Twitter and Instagram they can be perceived as weird. So, in other words, you can’t just send the same content with the same caption on every channel, not if you want to make your time spent worth it. We have, however, found that some posts are okay to syndicate in this way: news articles with photos do just fine, and stand-alone photos too. 

The downside to Hootsuite? The monitoring UI for Hootsuite isn’t quite what we are looking for. We are in the market for a monitoring system that works something like Google Alerts or Social Mention but in a feedy-type way. If you know of one you like, please let us know. We are all ears. (IMO) All of the SMMs offer analytics, and all fall short of getting us what our clients want to see, regardless of the cost. 

Monitoring and Analytics

Hootsuite also offers monitoring of your channels, much like the other SMMs out there, and analytics for end of month reporting. We’ve utilized reporting from Hootsuite and Sprout Social in the past but have been pulling data from the native apps more than anywhere else, and plotting them on in a spreadsheet. All the pretty graphs and pie-charts in most SMM don’t add up to much when there are big gaps in the data. It seems not all of the social media channels have API’s which play nice for analytics.  

logoCyfe is nice little tool for putting together your own analytics sheet and pulls data from many places. You can customize as you see fit, adding widgets for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. We used it for several months, but, in the long run, felt it was still missing some critical analysis tools like year-over-prior data, and some of the functionality we’ve grown accustomed to with Google Analytics. Assuming you know how to use Google Analytics, or Piwik, you will find that between that data and the data from your native apps you can get better details and historical data.

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to how much time you can put into your channels. Most of our social media clients simply don’t have the resources to install a full or part-time team member in charge of managing their profiles, even with tools. They also aren’t sure how to measure success. It stands to reason: social media is still a young beast. Even the best in Social Media Management are struggling to measure ROI, but if you want us to take a look and tell you what we can do, you’ve already found us. You just have to ask for help. Conversation and advice are free. We get paid when you put us in charge. Let us help you now.

Mobile PPC – Is it the Way to Go?

Mobile is everywhere and pretty much everyone is on smartphones browsing, reading, shopping etc. In this day and age, mobile PPC has become a frequent conversation when discussing marketing strategies. So if everyone is using it and talking about it – is it really for you?

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Let’s consider some strong data

PureClick, a leading click fraud detection company, and partner of ours, ran a test on two of the largest ad networks to determine the quality of users clicking on mobile ads. They created a doorman where the user had to confirm that they wanted to visit the site.

The test included 4,868 paid clicks with the following highlights:

  •     *1,946 spend less than 4 seconds on the landing page
  •     *1,058 spent more than 5 minutes  (outside the staleness window)
  •     *Only 222 clicks came from real people intending to click the confirmation and continue onto the site.

This means only 4.7% of visitors confirmed that they wanted to visit the site verse as much as 80% of intent from clicks on paid search. 

Looking at the test results mobile PPC may not be the right way to go. Spending money on non-quality clicks or real intended people is a waste of time. 

Additionally, considering the do’s and don’t’s of mobile PPC you see that the average CPC is higher than desktops due to the smaller amount of space and high competition. Does your company really have a need for mobile PPC? Does your company create an immediate need or is a local business near buy? 

If so, create a mobile campaign and test it for yourself. We recommend testing with PureClick where you can measure the intent of your users coming through mobile. 

Below are a few tips when running a mobile PPC test:

  1. Have a mobile friendly site
  2. Create a campaign only for mobile
  3. Make sure your landing pages are effective (simple & easy to convert)
  4. Fast site load time
  5. Effective & simple ad copy
  6. Clear call to action

If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and/or contact us.