Month: November 2016

5 Reasons to Make a PPC Campaign Your Next SEO Move


Hitting a wall in your SEO strategy can make planning your next move kind of hard. But if you’ve exhausted your current SEO strategy and feel like your recent efforts need a ramp-up, it might be time to start exploring the idea of paid search.

I know, it sounds expensive-and intimidating-and is it really more important than the SEO efforts I use to drive organic traffic?

The fact of the matter is, paid search plays an undeniable role in the success of many websites, and in order to rank among top tier competitors, you’re probably going to have to dabble in paid search at some point. Here are 5 reasons to make a PPC campaign your next move.

  1. CTR of paid search is up, up, up!

You may recall last February, when Google eliminated right hand side advertisements. Since the elimination of those ads, paid search CTRs have risen 38%. For just 9 months, that’s a significant increase. The absence of that right hand side gives the paid ads you now see at the top of search results a red carpet for clickability.

  1. Mobile is a must.

As you know by now, user behavior continues to reveal a major shift towards mobile browsing. Google has adjusted to and accounted for this shift by assuming a mobile first design to provide a better experience for users, giving you a great PPC mobile-friendly resource. Within your AdWords account you can adjust for optimized display across any device, including mobile phones.

  1. PPC is a social affair.

Many major advertisers have increased the amount of targeted ads across social platforms. You’ve likely experienced how effective this form of paid search is firsthand, so it should come as no surprise that the share of social media visits produced across the major platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) has also increased significantly.

SocialShares 5 Reasons to Make a PPC Campaign Your Next SEO Move

  1. It works well for newbies.

If you have a relatively new website, PPC has the potential to get you a lot of bang for your buck. What many people overlook is the amount of time it takes to build up the necessary authority behind a domain to earn a top ranking spot. Organic search optimization alone will take a while, but paid search can put you right up in the top spots. You may have to pay more for keywords, but the ROI of having a top ranking website is well worth it.

  1. You have more control.

Google can basically change what your listing says at any time, so there’s really no guarantee on what your meta, title tags, etc. will say. When you work through the paid search platform

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Best Tools to Perform an SEO Audit


Editor’s Note: This post was originally publish in April 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Because SEO results are always changing, it’s easy to make mistakes along the way without even realizing what you’re doing wrong. Seeing results from your SEO strategy is a long process, and there may very well come a time when you aren’t seeing the results you want. That’s why it’s so important to perform an SEO audit every few months to make sure you’re on the right track.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, an SEO audit is something you perform to analyze your current strategy and the results coming as a direct result. If you are missing opportunities or making mistakes, an SEO audit will look at your past efforts and determine where the problem lies.

There are people and companies you can hire to perform an SEO audit for you, but there are also plenty of tools you can utilize to do it yourself. Below is a list of some of the most popular and well-rated tools to help you perform an SEO audit on your own.

Top 5 SEO Audit Tools

1.Open Site Explorer – SEO Moz seems to do it all from great blog posts to great SEO services, and one of their newest software is Open Site Explorer. This software will give you up to 10,000 links to help you tell whether or not your link building is working. It will give you information about your competitors’ internal and external links, give you on-page optimization suggestions, and will sync with Google Analytics to help you get analysis on your traffic.

open-site-explorer Best Tools to Perform an SEO Audit2. Woorank – Woorank is an awesome resource that’s always keeping tabs on the latest and greatest of SEO news and tools. Their auditing tool allows you to run an instant website review that will reveal how your website is performing across 70+ different metrics. Over 75,000 different sites are reviewed each month on this tool, making it a trusted resource for webmasters looking to improve their site performance.

woorank Best Tools to Perform an SEO Audit3. Ahrefs – Crawl reports, position trackers, and content exploration-oh my! This tool is a popular favorite for everything from keyword exploration to on page optimization. Ahrefs is incredibly detailed, giving users a full picture of not just how there site is performing, but where there’s room for improvement. The thoroughness of this auditing tool makes it a top choice.

ahrefs Best Tools to Perform an SEO Audit4. Screaming Frog– Like Ahrefs, Screaming Frog is another one of my favorite, go-to tools. There are a handful of different versions to choose from, but in short, Screaming Frog’s SEO spider tool will crawl your site pages and analyze SEO performance. Check out the video below to learn more.

screaming-frog Best Tools to Perform an SEO Audit5. DeepCrawl – This SEO audit tool is no joke, and true to the name, it digs deep into the functions of your website. The in-depth reports crawl millions of pages and reveal key insights regarding load time, links, title, URL length, and more. Most impressively, DeepCrawl has a scheduling feature that allows you to keep a recorded history of all the changes you make, task employees with specific corrections, and continue running regular audits.

deepcrawl Best Tools to Perform an SEO Audit


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3 Last Minute Social Media Ideas to Target Holiday Shoppers


The bridging of e-commerce and social media has taken off in recent years, and as the holidays close in, there’s no better time to launch a campaign. Shoppers are now accustomed to seeing advertisements and promotions, and the integration of an effective social media campaign-especially right before black Friday and cyber Monday-has serious potential to drive traffic and sales.

It might be the week of Thanksgiving, but it’s still not too late to throw together a few last minute social media ideas to target holiday shoppers. Check out some of these ideas and get started today.

  1. Give thanks.

Since many consumers will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week, a “give thanks” campaign is a great way to interact with them. Your brand can push an image or post that expresses something you’re thankful for that rings true to your brand, and asks others to share what they’re thankful for.

In such a social media push, the sentimental value is what reaches users. You aren’t necessarily promoting products or enticing followers with the hope of turning them into customers, but rather reaching them on a more human level. The personalization of your brand makes you more relatable, which sticks with consumers long after the holidays pass.

  1. Have a photo contest.

I once suggested this as a marketing idea for the Fourth of July, but it can be recycled into just about any holiday or season. A photo contest is a quick and easy way to gain followers while attracting customers. All you have to do is create a post on your social media channels that explains the terms of the photo contest, and offer some kind of prize for the winner(s).

For prizes you can offer cash, gift cards, a free item, or anything else your brand has to offer. People jump at giveaways, and with all the shopper traffic the holidays generate it’s a perfect time to host such a contest.

  1. Promote time-sensitive offers.

A little urgency goes a long way, especially in the frenzy of holiday shopping, and a time-sensitive offer might be the last factor your customers need to make a purchase. Promoting a post that offers free shipping for a limited amount of time or a BOGO deal is a great way to entice both clicks and purchases.

Something to keep in mind:

The main thing to keep in mind is the importance of activity. Consumers are exposed to many brands, especially during peak shopping seasons, and remaining present and relevant among your users requires consistent and compelling activity across all platforms.

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4 Steps to Prepare for Cyber Monday Shoppers


Cyber Monday is right around the corner, which means it’s time to cash in on the holiday shopping fever. In 2015, cyber Monday sales in the U.S. topped $3 billion in total revenues, and holiday online shopping alone rakes in almost $95 billion-and that’s a figure that increases every year.

Despite it being such a profitable time of year, you can’t expect to have huge success with holiday shoppers without putting in taking some extra steps to prepare and putting in some work. Here are 5 simple ways you can ensure you website is ready for cyber Monday shoppers.

  1. Handle the traffic.

Your e-commerce site will likely get much more traffic on the biggest online shopping holiday of the year than it does every other day, and that could cause some glitches. The spike in traffic might negatively affect your site speed, or even crash your site entirely.

To prepare for this, talk to your web host in advance, and see if your bandwidth can be increased to speed up your website.

  1. Create gift guides.

As a loyal online shopper, I LOVE when brands create holiday gift guides.  It’s a helpful resource that allows holiday shoppers to view products as potential gifts for stocking stuffers, a hostess gift, for their friends, or maybe even assemble their own wish lists. Check out Madewell’s “Gift Well” guide:

Madewell 4 Steps to Prepare for Cyber Monday Shoppers

The categorization of gifts within certain price ranges and the top items facilitates a pleasant and streamlined shopping experience. Creating a gift guide as a landing page could drive conversions significantly during this holiday season.

  1. Implement live chat.

Excellent customer service is always in season, but it’s especially necessary when you’re going to be swamped with customers. So, what can you do when you’re customers aren’t actually in a store, but on your website? I recommend implementing a live chat feature. Take a look at how Patagonia does it:

Livechat 4 Steps to Prepare for Cyber Monday Shoppers

Customers are bound to have questions before they check out and complete a transaction. Will it shit in time? Is it on sale? Is there a gift wrapping option? Having a live chat feature gives those customers a channel through which they can ask their questions, making a completed transaction more likely.  You can easily add this through a chat software service, such as Olark.

  1. Prepare your inventory.

The last thing you want is to run out of products when there’s profit to be made! Prepping your inventory before cyber Monday is crucial to being prepared.

Go back and see how much you typically sell of an item on big sale holidays. You might even analyze how much traffic your website received last cyber Monday to determine how much of everything you’ll need this year.

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4 Facebook Advertising Tips for the Holidays


If you haven’t been working on your holiday advertising game plan since September, you’re actually late to the party. Many successful marketers start holiday-specific advertising early in the fall to get exposure among users and influence consumer shopping early on, especially on Facebook. In fact, I can recall seeing gift-giving, holiday-related advertisements on Facebook as early as the beginning of September.

The good news is that if you haven’t made any advertising moves yet, there’s still time.

More than half of the people in the United States say Facebook is somewhat or very influential on their holiday shopping. The platform has become a super spot for e-commerce, as strategic posting and visual ads are wildly successful among users. Here are few ways you can make the most of Facebook advertising over the holidays.

  1. Decide who you’re targeting.

Having a little clarity about your target audience will help you focus your ads with better precision. Are you going to try and reach your loyal, existing customers? Are you trying to reach out to new customers? Maybe both?

Depending on your answers to these questions, your approach to constructing an advertisement will vary. Get to know the audience you’re speaking to before you actually start speaking to them and you’ll produce ads that yield high conversions.

  1. Retarget, retarget, retarget.

Retargeting-the practice of advertising to users your brand has previous experience, exposure, or transactions with-has an impressive transaction improvement rate. If there’s one sure way to drive conversions and spike sales this holiday season, retargeting is it.

The Facebook Conversion Pixel and SDK can be added to websites and mobile apps, helping advertisers reach their audiences with specific, targeted ads. There are also plenty of other great retargeting tools that can help you reach your audience.

  1. Use ad targeting at holiday shoppers.

This sounds exactly like retargeting, but it’s a bit different. Facebook actually offers ads that are targeted specifically at holiday shoppers. So, if you have a highly engaged user who browses through content related to holiday shopping, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, you can use that as a segment to target specifically.

Facebook puts together the audience of engaged holiday shoppers, and your targeted ads get displayed to them. Last year, this targeted segment ran from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and was accessible through the Facebook self-service dashboard>Behaviors>Seasonal and Events.

  1. Be strategic with your Facebook page maintenance.

Now is no time to get sloppy with the upkeep of your Facebook page. To thrive through the holidays, you must regularly populate your business/brand page with compelling content while responding and interacting with consumers as much as possible.

You can make your cover photo holiday related, ensure that your business contact information is updated and clickable, and execute all the musts for an awesome Facebook page.

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This Will Be the Biggest Visual Marketing Trend in 2017


As I’ve said before, visuals are a critical component of marketing strategy. They drive views, accelerate campaign calls to action, and stick with users better than a block of text.

Real time streaming through channels like Facebook live or Snapchat have helped some brands find significant success personalizing their business among users-putting a face to the company, if you will.

That’s why videos, more so than many other marketing strategies, are expected to be the biggest and most important visual trend in 2017.

Why It Works

As opposed to an article or another block of text, videos have the power to create gripping, lasting memories in the minds of consumers. Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about:

Now, I am probably not the target audience for this product as I don’t suffer from adult incontinence. However, I saw this commercial weeks ago, and still remember it in detail.

Why do I remember vivid details from a commercial for a product I don’t need?

Because it’s emotionally compelling and has a narrative that reinforces the product, making it stick. That’s why 51.9% of marketers across the world say videos have the best ROI, and why shoppers who view a video in the pre-purchase stages are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase than non-viewers.

How to Get Started

To get started on your visual marketing story, start by messing around with video construction programs. Animoto and Shakr are good places to start, and you can always extend your learning of video production through an online course (Lynda has plenty).

If you don’t have someone in-house who is familiar with video, you can (and probably should) consider outsourcing the task. Outsourcing video production through a freelancer or other marketing resource will ensure a certain level of quality. And, in order to have an effective video, quality should be ranked high on your priority list.

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3 Tips for a High Performing Etsy Shop


Managing your own e-commerce can be a lot of work. Keeping up with maintenance, activity, and security, all while trying to promote the site, is a lot to balance. The demanding nature of e-commerce sites might be why many people looking to sell their goods online often opt for a platform requiring less work, such as Etsy.

Etsy, a peer-to-peer e-commerce platform, has been marked by significant success and growth throughout its development. In just a decade, Etsy grew from 5 to 54 million users, with an average of 25 million active shoppers and 1.6 million sellers. That ratio of shoppers to sellers is promising, and with a built-in consumer base, it’s easy to see why many artisans and goods providers opt for an Etsy shop in lieu of their own e-commerce site.

However, having an Etsy shop as opposed to your own e-commerce site doesn’t get you off the hook completely. There are still many avenues for the optimization of your Etsy site that can give you a top performing shop. Here’s how you can make sure you’re ready to compete.

  1. Fully develop your product.

There are 35 million products listed for sale on Etsy. So, before you can even start the optimization process, you need to fully develop your product to make sure it’s in the top tier of the other 35 million products it’s competing against. A few things to consider in evaluating your product:

  • Uniqueness: What does your product have that makes it superior to others?
  • Presentation: Is the delivery and presentation of this product exceptional?
  • Improve: How can you make what already exists better?

Thorough optimization starts with a well-developed, quality product, so make sure you have that as a starting point. Tip: seek feedback from existing/previous customers or host a survey if you need ideas on how to improve your products.

  1. Be thorough on your Etsy shop page.

Before you optimize your Etsy shop internally or externally, be sure to have all the necessary components of your Etsy page filled out with current information. On your page, you should have a banner showcasing the name and logo of your shop, location and sales information, an about section, links to social media accounts, policies, reviews, and much more. A polished shop looks like this:

unnamed 3 Tips for a High Performing Etsy Shop

This serves as an important point of branding for your business. You can easily create your own logo, add pictures, and make your shop look like the whole package.

I recommend using the About section you’re provided to make your brand more personable. Tell users who you are, what you make, how you got started. Putting a story behind the brand will compel users to give you their business over the next competitor.

Etsy2 3 Tips for a High Performing Etsy Shop

  1. Keywords, keywords, keywords.

Using the right keywords is an important part of Etsy optimization both internally and externally. To start, ask yourself what words and phrases potential customers would likely be searching for to come across your product. Conducting some keyword research to see with phrases and terms best suit your products will help you narrow down your focus for SEO. You can also look at the keywords your competitors are using their copy to get started.

Once you determine which keywords and phrases you should be targeting, use them in your product titles, descriptions, and Etsy page copy. The copy in the Announcement and About section of your Etsy shop play a critical role in how your page gets search for both within Etsy and on search engines at large. Curating this copy with unique, specific, and high quality keywords and descriptions will help drive your page’s searchability.

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