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Welcome! We’ve assembled a handy list of extensions, programs, and web applications to make life easier for you on the internet. The following are tools, websites, and general ideas that we generally employ in our day-to-day operations as an internet marketing agency.
1. Screaming Frog — SEO Spider Tool great for crawling websites and identifying key issues related to architecture, usability, duplicate content, and more.
2. SEO for Chrome — Shows backlinks, pages indexed, traffic – all at a glance.
3. SEOmoz Toolbar – Shows on page elements, followed and no followed links, etc.
4. SEMrush Toolbar – Check PageRank, Alexa, Popularity Index, SEMRush Ranks, search engine view, and more.
5. WooRank Extension – An onsite analysis tool that pops up on the left side of your current page when you click the button in the FireFox toolbar. Super useful for identifying key issues and keyword focus, though it does require a membership after the free trial ends.
6. Wappalyzer – Adds icons in your address bar that tell you which types of applications the current site is using. Identifies the CMS, server type, analytics installation, and more.
8. Netbeans — Awesome editor for programmers
9. Filezilla — Great FTP client, both programmers and end users
10. Meld for Linux / Winmerge for Windows — Textfile comparison software, good to find new changes.
11. TeamViewer — Remote control / remote access to a computer. Great for troubleshooting.
13. Load Firefox up with all your extensions and handy tools, while keeping Google Chrome light and as extension-free as possible. This way you’ll have a power-house of useful tools in one browser and a super light, fast browser for regular internet usage.
14. Use Google+ for getting industry updates at a glance. It’s like a Facebook feed, but with less nonsense in your way, because right now mostly professionals are using it! Can you say easy, readily available information??
It’s not always easy picking a winning ad. As search marketers, we talk about split testing constantly, and in theory, we are spot on. You should be evaluating your ad performance continually, and replacing under performing ads with new text/images at a regular rate. But what metrics are the most important to determining which ad is the most powerful?
The answer to that question isn’t simple, especially since each business is a little bit different. Conversion points for one business may be of a higher value than another, or you may have multiple conversion points of varying values. You may put more value on traffic or click-thru rates than conversions, depending on your business model. I have developed a top-level set of equations to help determine ad performance across the board. How you use the data it produces it up to you, but it should give you an understanding of ad performance at its most basic level.
The ad performance algorithms are broken out into two parts. First, the Positional Performance Rate (PPR). To determine an ad’s PPR, use the following equation:
(Average CPC + Average Position)/2 = PPR
For example, if I have an ad that has an average CPC of $0.50 and an average position of 1.3, my PPR = 0.9. The idea behind the PPR is to have the lowest value possible. This means you are paying the absolute least to be in the highest positions. An ad with a PPR of 0.90 would beat out an ad with a PPR of 1.05 if you are only determining ad performance on bringing in valuable traffic. This works for branding campaigns across both the Search and Display Networks.
The second equation to evaluation ad performance is called the Success Rate (super awesome name, right?) or SR. To determine an ad’s SR, use the following equation:
(Click-Thru Rate + Conversion Rate)/2 = SR
For example, if I have an ad that has a CTR of 2.50% and a Conversion Rate of 10.00%, my SR = 6.25. The idea behind the SR is to have the highest value possible. This means you are getting the most traffic and the most conversions with this ad. An ad with a SR of 6.25 would beat out an ad with a SR of 6.15 if you are determining ad performance based on conversion metrics. Pretty much every campaign can appreciate conversions as long as it is bringing the business something of value, such as a sale or a lead or heck, even a newsletter subscription!
How do I use these equations if I value traffic AND conversions?
Well, my friend, you need to look at both the PPR and SR to determine a winning ad. This means you have to use a little bit of your data-hoarding abilities and a little bit of what I like to call “best judgement”. Here is a prime example:
Ad Variation 1: PPR 1.05 and SR 15.41
Ad Variation 2: PPR 0.88 and SR 15.17
These ads are pretty close in their metrics. This is most likely to be a pretty common occurrance. I specifically do not use numbers of clicks or conversions because these can be skewed by the percentage at which your ad was served. The values included in each equation should be independent of the percentage served and give you a more accurate picture of their performance. To decide between the two of these, I take a look at my hard data. Ad variation 1 has a better Success Rate, but a poorer Positional Performance Rate. Ad Variation 2 has a better Positional Performance Rate, but a poorer Success Rate. This particular client is an e-Commerce store, and since the amount of traffic that would be brought in (based on PPR) is minimally different between the two, I would use my SR metrics to determine that Ad Variation 1 is my winning ad.
Using these algorithms to clean house for ad groups with 3+ ads is especially useful. It is easier to find the weakest ad in groups of 3 or more than 2. In some instances, you will find that one ad is surprisingly outpacing another. Great! It’s easy to be biased in what you assume will be a better performing ad. I do it in my bigger campaigns all the time when I have really pushed to change wording in a certain way. This helps take the bias out of determining ad winners, can be plugged into a spreadsheet easily, and looks pretty damn impressive when reported visually to a client.
Published by Miki DeHaven on May 23rd, 2013 in Google AdWords, Search Marketing & Optimization
Creating a new website is an exciting time! Whether you’re a billion dollar corporation or a guy in his basement building a website about building models out of toothpicks (Have you seen this?!), there are a few things to consider.
I’ve seen this so many times. By definition, you want your sitewide links to perform a function, for the majority of your readers, regardless of where they enter the website. From a search engine perspective, these are the big dogs – the ones which will directly lend value to the pages of your website you, and your viewers, care the most about. BE CHOOSEY! When you add a link to your footer – ask yourself – is it really important that all of my site’s viewers can access this directly from any page – or is it cool to just link to it from an internal FAQs page? Keep in mind, for every link you have on a page, each other link becomes less valuable when passing it’s authority on. Less links makes it easier to rank sub pages higher, plain and simple. Your sitewide links are some of the most valuable resources you have – don’t drop them in lightly. And, once they’re in they’re in there – TEST! After 3 months, have only 5 people clicked the link in your navigation? Time to remove! On the flipside, is there an internal page you KNOW people are checking out a lot, which could only benefit from being more accessible? Make it a footer link. They don’t have to be static – and you shouldn’t be either.
I find that lots of inexperienced webmasters look at a website like a house: with only a few defined entrances and exits. STOP THE INSANITY! On the web, each page of your website is potentially the welcome mat to a potential first time visitor. Be sure each page communicates its goal independently, while still maintaining your site’s feel , branding and benefits. Don’t assume your visitor knows you or your site already.
I hate to break it to you, but even if your onsite SEO skills are top notch – you may find that your content management system just isn’t capable of handling the things you’d like it to do. Be sure to outline your SEO expectations immediately and find out BEFORE you commit to a contract. Some common things I’ve seen
- Meta Head Tags – Are these even accessible? All of the important ones?
- Rel Next, Previous, Canonical & Pagination in General – Most CMS systems have a hard time with pagination – usually resulting in lots of duplicate content. Be sure to ask!
- 301 redirects – Can the system import them and can they be added in bulk? Huge questions for SEO AND time management
- .csv data uploads – For larger sites, this is a MUST. Just try entering meta descriptions manually into the CMS for 1000 pages…and call me in a month.
There’s no better time to incorporate new schema.org markup then when you’re building a website from the ground up. This relatively new system provides greater visibility of your site’s content on search engine results page and can generally make you stand out better in the crowd of related sites. Ever wonder how IMDB gets their movie ratings to show up in the meta description in the search results? Schema.org is your answer. Ever wonder how your biggest eCommerce competitor can get the search results to display their site’s prices? Schema.org boss. Check out what they have to offer and have the markup built into your templates from day one.
As always, if you have any questions or comments about this post, feel free to reach out at +MattRiggleman. Thanks!Published by Matt Riggleman on May 23rd, 2013 in Business, Search Marketing & Optimization, Web Design & Development
Search term reports can be ran at the Keyword, Ad Group and Campaign level. To achieve a better understanding of the relationship between the overall Ad Groups and Search Terms, I prefer pulling this data at the Campaign level:
Now you’ll have the data in an easy-to-format spreadsheet. So the next question is what to do with this data. While segregating each Ad Group into it’s own Excel sheet and searching for high occurrences/CTRs of related search terms is an option for new Ad Group/Keyword ideas, this can be very time consuming (especially with large campaigns or ad groups that contain many broad match keywords). An alternative method is to utilize the PivotTable function in Excel, which will save time and effort.
By breaking the list of Search Terms down into a “# of word occurrences” list, you can discover new Ad Group and Keyword divisions derived from Search Term word variations.
The spreadsheet will then be reformatted into a similar manner to the screenshot below – each word for every Search Term will now be in it’s own cell. This reformatting will remove AdWord metrics (Clicks, Impr, CTR, etc), but don’t worry, as these are not the metrics we’re concerned with. We’re purely searching for the frequency of individual word occurrences in the Search Term Report, which will be used to find variations of these words (in relation to their original Search Term) later on.
The next sub-step is to combine all of the columns into a single column. This can be achieved by cutting/pasting each column beneath the first column or the subroutine below can be copied and pasted into Excel Visual Basic Editor (props to “Gary E” in the Yahoo! Answers Software Forum). Allow your computer a few minutes to render this script:
Dim iRow, iCol, iTargetRow, iMaxRow As Long
iMaxRow = XXXX
iTargetRow = 1
For iCol = 1 To XX
For iRow = 1 To iMaxRow
‘If Cells(iRow, iCol) > “” Then
Cells(iTargetRow, XX) = Cells(iRow, iCol)
iTargetRow = iTargetRow + 1
‘Else: Exit For
You should now have one column of data that includes every word from the Search Term report (see screenshot below). Sort the Column A-Z to view a clean list of each word.
PivotTables are one of my favorite tools in Excel. They can be used to cross reference everything from Geographic Reports to Day of Week>Hour of Day reports. In this instance we will be using PivotTables to find the actual # of occurrences for each word in the Search Term Report.
The final step in this method is the most vital, as it will divulge the user Search Terms to focus on. Refer back to the original Search Term Report with the AdWord metrics to segment areas based on your PivotTable data.
And there you have it – an organized spreadsheet with potential Ad Group and Keyword additions. As I stated earlier, this is by no means an end-all Search Term Report analysis, but more of an exploratory, quarterly report to clean up neglected terms. Shoot me your opinions and/or suggestions concerning this reporting method at email@example.com
Ok, so you’re heard all of the buzz: Google+ isn’t going anywhere – make your company visible on there ASAP and develop a content strategy already! This is great advice – Google dominates search on the Internet and is going to do everything it can to promote its own service. But ROI aside, Google+ offers a wealth of tools that every marketing professional can take advantage of.
Don’t think any of the sites you care about are using Google+ yet? Think again! In fact, that’s another piece of Google+’s awesomeness – your family members and friends aren’t here yet, but the marketing community is. Avoid the baby pictures, and focus on the useful stuff!
I’m still angry over Google’s announcement to kill Google Reader, but Google+ is why they did it. As a replacement for my Reader, I simply set up a few circles on my Google+ Page and started following some folks in my interest groups. I pop in there at any time and click on my ‘SEO’ circle, or my ‘Sports’ circle, and check out the latest from the authors and websites I care about.
In addition, their ‘Explore’ feature throws down the best, most shared content about the topics I’m interested in – so I don’t miss anything important.
Want a list of marketing and SEO insiders to follow – just ask me at +Matt Riggleman
Google is the best at organizing and classifying information, and their new authorship tag opens a new frontier for this. They literally patented the technology for organizing information by particular thought leaders across the Internet and in turn, using that to influence search results. With properly implemented authorship tags, and the associated markup in your Google+ profile, you can create a map to all of the content, on all of the websites, you’ve contributed to. Imagine the day when you can go to a job interview and tell them to search for your authorship tag for a list of your copy references. As a side benefit – it makes it easier to brand individuals within your business: simply another direction to help turn the conversion needle. And it’s cumulative: as you gain more notoriety, authority and visibility, the Google patent indicates it may prioritize your listings. Just remember, when you guest post – request the authorship markup!
Great, economically optimized businesses are always looking for ways to trim costs. Well remember that collaboration, teleconference, or meeting software you’ve been paying for since the early 2000s? Dump it in favor of Google+’s free Hangouts feature. Hangouts allow you to share and collaborate on items from Google Drive, share your screen, and video chat. The only caveat is the fact that each participant has to be a Google+ member. Why not turn that into an advantage? Throw all meeting participants in a unique circle for follow-up later. At the least, use it to collaborate among your own staff.
I loved this post by David Mihm on ‘Barnacle Reviews‘. To put it simply – you can act as your business’s page and leave reviews on other Google+ Pages. I know what you’re thinking: no one is using this thing – what’s the point of placing a review? But in this case, that’s exactly the point! In offices across the country, you have one lonely content manager looking for a sign of life on the company Google+ page – now, more then ever, you can stand out in a crowd simply by placing a solid review! Receive great service from the restaurant next to your office? Jump on their Google+ page as your business and drop a quick line – it’s quick, simple, and they’ll love you for it. Relationships are the new SEO – what better place to start your strategy than within Google’s own Brainchild?
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Google+ at +MattRiggleman. Thanks!Published by Matt Riggleman on April 24th, 2013 in Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Technology
Can’t they do this already? Well, sure, using redirects and basing content on a detected language only, though not a language-region combination. This change creates a work-around for multi-national companies so they can keep all content on their main domain, and serve substantially similar content to same-language-different-regional audiences while avoiding a duplicate content filter/penalty (Panda).
Google’s regional search engines prefer regional, or country specific, Top-Level Domains like .de for Germany. In the past, if you were not using one of these domains, you would have a difficult time showing up in search results in non-US Google searches. The “rel=alternate” and “hreflang” elements seem to be a significant change to this historical behavior. Google’s Search Quality Highlights throughout 2012 covered many improvements to search results for countries outside the US, and for results relevant to searchers from one region, but requesting info from another:
“Ref-16.[project codename “Other Ranking Components”] Changes to an “official pages” algorithm to improve internationalization.”
This change, on the heels of so many others, is a move to make it possible and easier to rank specific content on regional search results without a country specific TLD. Those who will reap the benefits of this change the most are big brands that already have the content for the audience, but maybe not enough domain authority to immediately rank in a search engine like Yandex in Russia or Baidu in China. Imagine Coca-Cola, hypothetically speaking, wanting to move into China. If they used the .hk for Hong Kong, they would be like every other new business that wants to move into Hong Kong – starting with zero domain authority. Now, when a big brand wants to move into a new region, they can build on their existing domain authority, which will give them a boost above other regional brands (potentially) and any smaller competition. Nice for brands, isn’t it?
Well, we all know that Google prefers brands. That is not even a point of discussion. And some of you may recall all of the hype in news outlets like Bloomberg last year surrounding Asia as the new frontier due to their growing consumer-led economy.
Now we are seeing a partnership between Google and Yandex, Russia’s market leading search engine, on this new Rel=Alternate/HREFLANG attribute.
The point of this new attribute is to provide a way for webmasters to tell Google, either via a header tag or their sitemap, what part of their site to serve users by region according to their specified language. The “x-default” element allows the webmaster in question to also specify a landing page to serve users with no specified language or region.
What does this do for websites and brands? It removes the necessity of housing content on a country-specific TLD to get into regional search results, and allows brands to keep all of their content on a single TLD, consequently hoarding all of their domain authority in a single place.
This will further give major brands a leg-up on search domination They already have multiple websites, with content for multiple regions and languages, but they may have been faced with some difficulty in getting to the top of search results in new markets – China and Russia specifically – where their brands may be relatively unknown. This change allows them to keep the authority to rank, but removes all prior risk of duplicate content issues.
One barrier to quick adoption and success of this new approach is that those in other countries have come to trust the ccTLD for their specific country. I can’t speak to their willingness to click on a dot-com, but it seems dot-com was around before ccTLDs, and, therefore, should still be familiar enough NOT to inhibit a click when the title and description elements are in the correct language.
On top of the mental barriers of the audience, there is also the difficulty of “votes” from external sources in the region where you want to rank. Rule of thumb up to this point is that you host your ccTLD in the country where you want it to show in search results because the hosting IP address will indicate you “belong” – for lack of a better word.
This is not always possible, and is not, I believe, going to be the best course of action in the future. What’s the alternative? Well – international link building, of course. If a brand is producing high quality content in region-specific dialects, and providing value to that audience, then people will link and share naturally. A brand big enough to have taken this approach should have marketing plans to target each region, and have social media and other brand/audience building tools set up, and a consistent execution strategy in place. Assuming all of these things are happening, the brand’s dot-com site will be able to dominate regional search results. Further international PR and website promotion would augment this work, and help boost that success.
The rel=alternate/hreflang attributes effectively canonicalize region/language pages so Google knows the pages have substantially similar content, and that they are meant to serve different audiences.
You place this on the page (or in the site map) showing Google the “alternate” versions of the page for different region-langauge combinations, specified by ISO standards 639-1 and ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2. Region is optional, and will be most widely used for companies with a different marketing message for regional audiences.
So, this new attribute also helps provide a way around Google’s Panda. There are many smaller brands that may be looking at expanding into new markets. For those of you looking to do this, moving to a brand new site would be a mistake. You can now take your existing domain authority with you, but serve the right landing page to the right audience to provide the best marketing and user experience.Published by Lorianna Sprague on April 16th, 2013 in Business, Google Algorithm, Sales & Marketing, Search Marketing & Optimization, Web Design & Development
The Federal Trade Commission’s Anti-Trust Suit against search giant Google ended in January of this year with the conclusion (interpretation provided by Google): “Google’s services are good for users and good for competition.”
Whether publishers agree with the statement or not, Google was required to allow an opt-out option for webmasters who want their content removed from Google’s properties. So, which properties are included?
A short list:
There is some confusion as to HOW Google was including content on their pay-to-play properties, such as Shopping, but Google and others have included reviews as potential scraped content. I had found something on one of Google’s blogs that said “ratings” as well, but I was not able to find that source to include it – so that can’t be verified at this time.
The core of the suit seems to be around better competition. A separate change Google made in response to the antitrust suit is to allow Google advertisers to export their campaign data easily so it can be placed on competing search ad networks. Google has released this change to their advertisers already, and it will remain in effect for 5 years. The anti-trust agreement covered the following, including:
“Google will give websites the ability to “opt out” of display on Google vertical properties[.]
Under the same commitment, Google also has promised to provide all websites the option to keep their content out of Google’s vertical search offerings, while still having them appear in Google’s general, or “organic,” web search results. The FTC investigated allegations that Google misappropriated content, such as user reviews and star ratings, from competing websites in order to improve its own vertical offerings, such as Google Local and Google Shopping. Some FTC Commissioners were concerned that this conduct might chill firms’ incentives to innovate on the Internet.”
The opt-out options presented are all or nothing. Oddly, Google Maps is not a part of the opt-out option, which I found interesting. Also, the opt-out is only valid for a period of 3 years, and does not prevent Google from “innovating” search and pulling data into new products – only innovations of the currently listed properties are restricted in their use of publisher data as protective measures.
Once you have opted out, you can view your opt out history to verify the length of time since the request was made, etc.
Finally, it will take 30 days for the data to be removed. Google doesn’t allow specification of sub-domains or sub-directories, and reserves the right to make website owners verify ownership, of course. No word yet if there are any glitches in the process – but we’ll keep an eye out.Published by Lorianna Sprague on April 16th, 2013 in Business, Sales & Marketing, Search Marketing & Optimization
Recently, we took on a PPC campaign that has years and years of Adwords data to play with. I couldn’t have been more excited to dive in, improve their revenue, lower their costs, and completely WOW them with their new and improved ROI.
Unfortunately for me, that is not how the first two weeks of this campaign played out. Let me start by saying that I will not disclose who this client is, or what they do. I will say that they are an ecommerce store and that they have approximately four years worth of conversion data for me to work with. Their products are highly seasonal, related to holidays, and they had approximately 20 active campaigns, all of which had ad groups containing less than ten broad match keywords with no other match types. Sounds like a PPC dream, right? All I need to do is pop in some phrase and exact match keywords, set up a couple of algorithms, rewrite the ads for best practice, and let it glide its way to a home run.
Imagine my surprise when the next day my CPA had doubled from the previous day. In a panic, I undid the changes that I made, but the damage had been done. The next day, the CPA was still too high. Google was telling me that it didn’t appreciate me messing with the years and years of stuck-in-a-rut auctions it had been running. My colleague likened this campaign to dating a girl with emotional baggage and a bad credit score. You can tell her all day long how she SHOULD improve, but you can only lead that horse to water. You can’t make that train wreck drink it.
This pattern went on for about a week and a half. I would make a change, Google would slap my face and send me into timeout the next day, and I would undo what changes I made. It was getting incredibly frustrating.
I finally had an epiphany. What the hell am I doing? I wasn’t even giving Google enough time to adjust for the changes I was making. Don’t I tell all my clients that patience is the only way to successfully get through the first month of a PPC campaign? Aren’t I CONSTANTLY asking others to be patient? Why am I not following my own advice? Google’s algorithms need time to adjust where and how often your ads are shown based on keyword match type, budgets, bids, and a number of other factors that I was changing daily.
Finally, I felt like I had a solid plan. I made a change, and then I forced myself to not touch it. A day went by – things didn’t look great, but didn’t look horrific either. Another day went by – ever so slightly better. I let it run over the weekend and came back on Monday expecting the absolute worst, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it did once I gave it a chance to catch up. I was so worried about the short term that I didn’t allow for success in the long term.
The campaign is not running at the ROI I would like it to. It’s been about 3 hours since our last success in Adwords, so I think I will give it a little more time. I do have to say that we are 5% closer to our goal than we were when I left the office on Friday. If we continue with incremental successes, I think they will add up to something amazing.
It’s important to remember that not all campaigns start off with a win. This is why it’s important to have experienced eyes on it, even when no changes are being made. If you are of the “set it and forget it” sect, I pity the money you are losing in PPC right now. Constant tweaks should be done on a regular basis to keep your campaign neat, efficient, and making you money. So have a sympathetic heart for your PPC Account Manager. We probably stress over your campaign more than you do, and it’s not even our dollars being spent. Oh, and remember to tip your waitress.
That’s right, folks. Web Talent Marketing has hired yet another employee since our last newsletter. We are proud to be able to provide better and more readily available service to our clients, and each employee adds to that particular pot of #win for both us and our clients alike.
Tommy is the name of the new fella. He’s our newest member in the SEO department, and as our resident Jr. SEO Specialist, he’ll be helping increase rankings and traffic for our clients’ websites, as well as contributing his incredibly gifted brainwaves toward other goals for our clients’ marketing efforts. Among his personal interests are disc golf, playing bass and singing in a punk rock band, and spreading a cheery vibe around the office.
We’re happy to have Tommy on board, and we can’t wait to see what his future with Web Talent will bring.Published by Mike Green on April 10th, 2013 in Web Talent News
We’re feeling political this week at Web Talent. Mayor Rick Gray of Lancaster City stopped by to see what the fuss was about, regarding our constantly growing internet marketing company in his lovely city.
The mayor had a good chat session with Web Talent’s two owners, Mike Canarelli and Oliver Feakins, after which he came around the office and introduced himself to each one of our employees. It is great to see that our mayor is so well grounded (he likes motorcycles!), and we are glad that our hard work and honest approach to business has grabbed the attention of our mayor. He seems to appreciate the fact that Web Talent is growing and providing more jobs for Lancaster citizens, hosting internships, and that we contribute to the local business scene through various small business seminars and speaking engagements around town.
Mayor Gray (Democrat) assumed office back in 2006, after a successful career as a lawyer and the Director of Legal Services for Central Pennsylvania. Gray’s campaign for the office of mayor was mainly focused on reducing the local financial deficit of our city, and then turned his attention to the local crime scene.Published by Mike Green on April 9th, 2013 in Web Talent News