Archive for August, 2011
I have owed this post for quite some time and this week’s industry news around Edgerank and Facebook’s algorithm reminded me that I had this one in the pipeline. I figured given recent events marketers and businesses either already using Facebook or planning to do so will find the post useful. Be warned that this post is specifically targeted at ecommerce business that may already have Facebook fan pages, however the approach is very much useful to any other businesses with online presence that may want to consider targeting multiple territories without necessarily over complicating their existing site. With that said and with no further ado, I shall explain the concept in hand. So we have established that you may be a successful retailer with growing sales and you have noticed an increasing number of sales and enquiries from overseas. Perhaps you have distributors or resellers in these territories, in that instance you have already considered expansion and spoken to your web development company. If you got that far I would have expected you to get a quote which might have made you fall off your chair. At this point you have probably decided not to proceed and, had you not, you would still need to consider other costs such as SEO, hosting, translation of your content and possibly PPC to get it off the ground. With all that in mind why dive directly into a multilingual site? Why not test the water and evaluate what the audience response to your product, service and brand on the designated territory might be? So why not use a platform with existing global capabilities like Facebook? If you don’t already have presence this may be a daunting task, however Facebook can be a good entry point into the multilingual arena. A great example is Clarin’s Facebook page there you can see on the bottom left hand corner they have links to other Facebook pages specific to territories. On each regional page, as one would have expected, the content served is targeted to the native language of that territory, improving the overall local user experience. To encourage some more interaction without having to go down the road of immediate interaction (which would be required in the long term) with your localised page, you could also try using Facebook shopping. For those who are not aware of what Facebook Shopping is, it may be worth a quick recap. Earlier this year Facebook began rolling out its ecommerce functionality onto Facebook pages, allowing fans of a given group/page to purchase products without having to leave Facebook. Some good examples include: Livescribe (the only niggle here is that this one actually takes you to an external site) ASOS (obviously the fashion giant has enabled the feature to buy straight from Facebook on the proviso that you become a fan first!) The combination of these two techniques may make a very appealing business case towards multi-territorial expansion, especially when all you need to do once you have the product feeds is to structure the copy and tone to appeal to the local market. If that market doesn’t work you can take the learnings and try again. You can probably recycle the same templates and product feed; all you need to do is produce the localised version. It may well be that we can say good bye to overly complicated multi-territorial projects and instead embrace the 2.0 technology to deliver the same result at half the cost. Are you engaging on Facebook on other territories? Or are you using Facebook shopping? If so, tell us what you like or dislike.
I’m often asked about the benefits of running pay per click campaigns for keywords that a website already ranks highly for in the organic listings, particularly when the keywords are brand terms. Often, it’s not a straight forward answer, because as with many aspects of search things depend on the market sector, customer expectations, type of keyword, time of year, layout of the search page and many other factors. For that reason, when I noticed the following data this week, I thought I’d seize the opportunity to blog about it and use in future as evidence of one benefit of combining paid and organic search. I always struggle to recall good blog posts and studies on this anyway. Now, it’s important that I stipulate the following conditions of this keyword and website example because the data is easy to misunderstand. Without giving away my client’s keyword strategy, I can tell you this is a non-brand keyword, 2 words long and commonly used. The client has ranked 2nd in Google for over a year. The market is not one with well-known brands and so searchers are not influenced by familiar names in the SERPs. The following graphs show daily click data for the same keyword from Jan 1st to August 10th 2011. At the beginning of April, we reduced the bids for the Adwords keyword because the costs per conversion were simply too high to justify spend any longer. What is interesting to see is what that action did for clicks on the organic ranking. Since April, there are clearly fewer clicks on the same keyword in organic search. Paid (Jan 1st-Aug 10th 2011) Organic (Jan 1st-Aug 10th 2011) It’s a decent example of one of the benefits Google posits for Adwords: using paid search can help create more clicks for your site for your organic rankings as well as the ad itself. The reason is that searchers see 2 results for your site; double the amount of information and that creates a greater reassurance that your site is relevant for their query. As a result, they become more likely to click through. It’s particularly effective when they have never heard of anyone else in the results because they have only the information in front of them to go on.
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light-hearted post on searchengineland.com and was reminded of my own experience where my unflinching trust was placed in Google’s palms. For those that are unfamiliar with the aforementioned article, Matt McGee refers to the St. Rose of Lima Church in New Jersey which has suffered from a misrepresentative positioning on Google maps, along with a misleading search query suggestion that directs patrons elsewhere. Rev. Michael Trainor explains that in some instances the map discrepancy led to mothers of the brides getting lost and causing delays to the start of wedding ceremonies. My story does not involve coffins being delivered to wrong funeral services or brides marrying the wrong grooms but, at the time, the stress levels were comparable! Alex Wares and I had organised a client lunch meeting to discuss the progress of the project and had asked the client to suggest a suitable restaurant. The suggestion was Nottingdales; an Italian style café-restaurant local to where the client is based in Notting Hill, West London. “No problem”, we thought. The evening before, I printed out a map for myself, got the post code from the London Eating webpage and forwarded it to Alex as we were coming from different directions. Both Alex and I have smart phones (being the tech savvy new media types that we are!) and assumed that if we got lost en-route we could Google Maps ourselves out of trouble.
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This is a 2 part piece. The first part adheres more to the title than the second but writing 2 separate posts is a bit of a push right now. 2 months ago I started to learn the harmonica. I bought a Hohner Big River harp in the key of C and then I went looking for tips, music and lessons online. I walked out from behind the scenes, joined the audience and became “a searcher”. Now obviously, I use search as a consumer as much as the next person, but this was different. I was thoroughly researching something and going into far more depth than the day to day searches for news, bars, information, clips etc. I used Google (because I’m a pro) and it served me very nicely, helping me fill my bookmarks with numerous guides, videos, tab sheets and forum discussions to get me started learning. That was all very well, but after a week I felt like I needed more in-depth tutelage and that I would be willing to pay for some of the many pieces of premium content. And that’s where I got stuck. common discussion around social signals are about how they affect rankings. My harmonica experiences show that if that’s the only way you view social signals, you miss a more important point. SEO and social work together to create conversions. Embracing social buttons and letting users provide feedback on a site provides an additional layer to the search process that can increase conversion rates and probably click through too. Users are now expecting to find out what other people think of websites, products and content. Ignoring this could result in a lack of initial trust in a site, particularly for less well-known brands.Searching helped me find all these handy sites and content but I had no real way of telling which were best for me. Some sites did better than others at using quotes from happy customers and displaying various accolades but I can’t help being a little sceptical about those tactics, working in marketing as I do. I wanted corroboration from social networks; to see that real people were paying for and getting value from the services I was considering buying. I realised then that I’m already taking social signals on websites for granted. It’s only been a couple of years since they’ve been in widespread use but it’s already clear that sites not using them are missing opportunities. The experience helped to crystallise a collection of thoughts I’d had about search, social and conversion rates recently. In SEO, the most
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