What Subjects Make Your Blog Tick?

In marketing, We all like to blog about broad and varied topics. This shows our audience that we are not only fixated on selling what we have to offer but we like to show you that we have knowledge about our industry, your industry, your challenges and your successes. I like to think of this as 360 marketing; grabbing your audiences attention by talking about topics related to them. Forming an attractive marketing content guide is essential for any business looking for more customers. It will also give you an insight to what blog titles are working for you.

“If you write for everyone, then you’re writing for no one”. 

But have you ever asked yourself what topics are working for your blog?

Here is a simple guide to getting this data on Google Analytics:

  1. Set the date at the top of your account. I did this for the last year so I have enough data to analyse.
  2. Go to your Google Analytics Account. Go to Behaviour on the left hand side. Then click on Site Content. Then to Content Drilldown. I think this is a new-ish feature…but correct me if I am wrong.
  3. Select Blog/ (if you are using this url hierarchy which most people do).
  4. This will load you most popular blog posts.
  5. I took the top 20 for my analysis.

Eureka! There you have it, all of your best performing blog posts over the last year. From here you can segment them (paper and pen guys if that works) into subject categories, high interest and low interest, exit %, Bounce %).  Healthcare is a big topic for my business so I wasn’t surprised to see this as the number one topic with 43%. But some of the other topics I was surprised about. You can also add a second dimension in to the report. I added in Traffic Source so I could see what blog posts were ranking on Google with popular search terms and what traffic I was getting from Social Media and in particular Linkedin.

Here are my stats:

20% of visitors from Google

12% Linkedin

68% others /mostly direct visits.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

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B2B Google Adwords – Don’t Make These 5 Easy Mistakes

Do not use Google’s Optimize for Conversions or Automatic Bid unless you want to rip through your budget like there is no tomorrow

If you do it will cost you money.

  1. Ok so you have set your PPC campaign’s virtual budget. Its what you think will get your ad on the top of Google’s SERP. This is the first mistake. Google informed me that you should set your budget for what you actually want to spend not what you think Google want you to spend. If your budget is too high any change in the ad management could spiral your spend out of control and end up wasting money. It happened to me recently (Unhappy face).
  2. Setting the right target location. Even though you have selected the geographic areas you want to target you still have to go in to the advanced targeting settings and select the option to not use your ad outside of these target locations. If not Google will use your ads in areas that are not relevant to you.
  3. The big one. Setting the correct “Bid Strategy”. Do not use Google’s Optimize for Conversions or Automatic Bid unless you want to rip through your budget like there is no tomorrow. Set set a manual bid strategy and keep your bids to what you think will get you on the first page of the SERP. Google’s prediction of these bids are actually fairly actuate from my experience.
  4. Selecting the right keywords. Turn off “Broad Match” modifier in your campaigns and select the exact longtail keywords that are relevant for your business. Using a broad match will bring in any search that contains one or more of the keywords. For example, if you sell “industrial weighing scales” and if someone is searching for “weighing scales” then your ad is going to come up. The latter search query is probably 10 times more volume than your normal volume for the industrial keyword.
  5. Lastly, this is a no brainer but just in case, optimize your landing pages for conversions (and track these conversion in Google Analytics).  If your pages do not contain sign-up forms, inquiry boxes, “buy now” buttons etc you will not know the value of your campaigns. It is a good idea to monitor your competitors and see what they are doing that is different to you.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Why SEO Is Like Leg Day At The Gym

The other morning I was checking my Linkedin feed for no specific reason at all, other than its a great B2B platform and I stumbled across a great little video which got me thinking, when was the last time I did any ground level SEO work on our work website? Probably months ago. So like the gym, I love doing cardio, strength and conditioning work but I’m not loving leg day so much. That’s a lie. I like doing leg day but I just don’t love it.

The other morning I was checking my Linkedin feed for no specific reason at all, other than its a great B2B platform and I stumbled across a great little video on image optimization for SEO. This got me thinking, when was the last time I did any ground level SEO leg work on our work website? Probably months ago. So like the gym, I love doing cardio, strength and conditioning work but I’m not loving leg day ever. That’s a lie. I like doing leg day but I just don’t love doing it.

So I thought I would share how I go about doing some leg work on SEO for images. According to the video, images sizes on your website should be <50kB. This will help you speed up your website’s load time and Google is really looking favourably on this at the moment. Secondly, all images should have Image Alternative Text Tags which should describe the image in plain english e.g. A Photo of The Copper Coastline. This is so search engines can crawl your info/keywords better and in turn help you get up the rankings.

Here is how I do the leg work for image sizes:

  1. Download Screamingfrog app.
  2. Run the SEO Site audit for your website.
  3. Export the results.
  4. Open the CSV file in MS excel
  5. Apply a filter to the topline.
  6. Sort by largest to smallest image size. The cut off is 50kB. Anything over this could do with replacing.
  7. Use an image compressor for PNG files. I used this one. And Google Picasa for compressing Jpegs.
  8. Replace and delete the larger files.

I was horrified to find one logo PNG image that was 400kB! So after I compressed it became 5kB. So thats an awesome result. Imagine over a website how much load time you can save…probably not that much but it all helps thats what I like to tell myself.

Screamingfrog will also give you the statistics and results for the Alt Tags again making this easy but you have to put in the leg work.

Final tip. JPEG is okay for your website but PNG is better as it compresses a lot small in size without losing too much quality.

And don’t skip SEO day!

An Email Critique – Good Job!

I just received a great targeted email from Canon (the camera people).

What I liked:

  1. It landed in my inbox (not promotional box in Gmail). So I must have signed up and have interaction with them before. Confirmed email address email?
  2. Time of day was good at 4.26pm (people are usually clearing emails at this time of day…also nearly going home time so people’s moods are usually good).
  3. It used my first name in the subject but not in a spammy way. I was interested to learn more.
  4. The Subject pulled me in “Darragh, we are starting your summer early”.
  5. Email was from Canon Europe so they were upfront that the email came from a mail provider.
  6. They used a count down time to build interest in the content.
  7. The main content looks great…I love story telling and photography..so I’m looking forward to see what Canon has next.

Capture1

I hope this will inspire you to wow your customers.

Why You Should Be Targeting Your Competitors Keywords with PPC

Think about it. In theory, people searching for your competitors’ products/services should also be interested in your products. This should be extremely high quality traffic.

People are rarely loyal these days. Price, value and quality are the 3 perceptional pillars in which we think about before people buy. If these factors are satisfied by your company then adding in an alternative option is fair game.

Is it legal? Google state in their Adworks Behaviour Guidelines that this is legal. Once you don’t mention your competitors brand names directly you are well in your right to target them.

So to start, create a new campaign called Competitors or what ever you like. Add in Adword groups for each individual competitor. Then use broad phrase match to target the company name, brand name, product name etc. Create maybe 2-3 ads for each adgroup. If they are similar products then the same adverts can be used across the campaign.

You don’t want to rank first on the page. Leave this to your competitor. Ranking 2-3rd position is optimum as you want to remind the person that they have another option. Therefore keep the bid as low as possible. Brand names tend to be lower cost than generic keywords so this is a great cost effective way to win some business from your competition.

Final tip: Make sure you have a valid offering or point of difference to the competition in the ad and don’t forget a good call to action (watch, listen, download, buy, access….)

 

 

3 Analytics Goals Every B2B Website Should Have

Google Analytics can be daunting to those that are not that familiar with it. There are tonnes of good online/offline/ self learning tutorials out there. I would urge you to do one structured course so you can ask questions pertaining to your own website’s needs.

The overview reports are fine for most people but when you dive deeper in Anaytics that was were it all used to go pear shaped for me. Conversion goals used to be an area I didn’t really understand.

From a Digital Marketing course that I completed (I would highly recommend) I learned 3 simple user engagement goals:

  • Goal 1: Contact us   – How many visitors are converting to the contact us page. This tells us the value and hit rate. You can monitor this every month to see if any activities are improving the rate. This can tell you how many leads your website is generating.
  • Goal 2: Session Duration Engaged >3mins  – People tend research online before they engage with you face to face, so the more visitors converting here the better your content is performing. Again monitor monthly and use in reports. The more people spending over 3 mins per session the better your website is doing.
  • Goal 3: Pages per Session >3 Same as before, the more pages being visited the better, You can then analyse what pages are contributing to the goal conversions.

I hope these tips can help you develop new goals that will give you data to help improve your website and grow your business. Some guidance on how to set up the goals in Google Analytics here.

Adwords Custom Ad Scheduling Tip

It makes sense to schedule your Adworks campaigns to pause on days of the week and hours of the day that are not relevant to your business.

It makes sense to schedule your Adworks campaigns to pause on days of the week and/or hours of the day that are not relevant to your business. For example, your company is B2B and your target audience tend to work office hours (8am-6pm) Monday through to Friday. By pausing your ads so they do not show out side of these times you can save up to approximately 20% of your total ad cost. Clicks outside these hours tend to be irrelevant and close phrase-matching variants of keyword searches.

This next bit is important.

First of all you need to switch your Adwords campaign from “Standard” to “All Features” as shown below. The Ad Scheduling feature doesn’t show up when the campaign is set to standard. Google loves to hide features like this (fair but not fair :-/)

Adwords campaign type

After that go to Settings and you will now see a tab called “Ad Scheduling”. Click on this and then create a new ad schedule.

I hope this helps.

Dont Panic…https is not a requirement for everyone.

In Hallam’s latest newsletter they claim that the latest version of Chrome is actively warning visitors when a website does not meet recommended security standards. Its great to bring this to peoples’ attention but they are also doing a little bit of scare mongering IMHO.

Is your website secure, or could you be scaring off your visitors?

Don’t panic!

The https is a protocol that is used to encrypt all the information going from the visitor’s browser to the website and from the website to visitor’s browser. While it’s not that important during normal browsing on websites it is important when you or visitors try to login to their account (like on twitter, WordPress panel or any other login where password is sent) or they provide their Personal Details  or Credit Card information on the checkout page.

It should be fairly easy to purchase the SSl certificate for the website (around €100 – €140 per year) and add it to the website.

You may notice that your website and  a”protected” one have the same (i) icon in chrome.

As the article says the shift in ranking may affect around 1% for the searches online – at the moment when you don’t have user accounts or checkout when you collect sensitive information there is not much need in moving to https://

Just remember – if you have a WP site don’t login to your WP admin panel (and to your bank, email,…) when you are using public WiFi or any other network that you are not sure about.

Surely Google will have to cut us (non https sites) some slack here. Comments welcome.

Keep the faith.

How to gain visitor email sign ups?

Following this excellent article from Hubspot which compared 3 heavy weight sports brands’ (Nike, Adidas & Under Amour) landing pages . It got me thinking about how hard it is to get people to sign up…Wouldn’t it be great for people to freely sign up? Most people aren’t that lucky.

How do you get people to sign up for your newsletters, blog posts, email updates, offers etc? I run a B2B company blog for my day job and I know more than most that it is incredibly hard to convert sign ups.

The number one factor to convert sign ups is to give the visitor something that is of perceived value to them. We as marketers have to think about that. Saying sign up to get email updates has a perceived value if you are Google or Nike as people rely on that information for their jobs, professions, knowledge etc. But if you are a SME or a fledgling company that is not going to be good enough. If you are lucky enough to have a great product most visitors are someway interested in what you have to say about it. Do you have enough expected value to get them to sign up? Thats the million dollar question.

The best way to get sign ups is to include a ‘receive newsletter/ email opt in’ check box on your website enquiry forms. If you are getting an enquiry then the chances are that the visitor is open to receiving more information over time. That and the feel that they might be compelled to give you something in return for you answering their enquiry. Once you have them then you have to keep them. Hello marketing automation and its just as difficult to keep them than to get them in the first place. Hard work here on your content and targeting the right audience should pay off.

Other tactics come straight out of the Hubspot marketing inbound playbook. Sign ups via whitepaper, guides, template deigns downloads which are also very effective.

Keep the faith.

Information overload – PPC Tips

I have hit a ceiling here. There is way too much information out there on digital marketing particularly with SEO and PPC (articles, blogs, whitepapers, guides, demos, case studies etc).

This is mainly of my own doing. I subscribed to every recommended blog out there. Searchland, Hubspot, Google, Moz, Campaign…you name it. Now my inbox is being bombarded with tips and tricks , download this guide, 6 ways to…..arrgghhhh just stop. A lot of this stuff is very repetitive. For me the best way to deal with this overload of information is to just scan through it in order to see what is of interest. Then I can digest these articles in my spare time, which is limited due to a 16 month old toddler.

Every business is different so the best thing to do is play around with Adwords and the keyword planner tool. This first step is worth doing. Complete the Google Adwords Tutorial. This takes about 1.2 hours. It will stop you making a lot of silly mistakes in your first campaign. Then its trial and error from there to see whats working. Another tip is not to thinker too much. I would give each change a week to see what the outcome is before changing it again.

Create a Adwords account, play around with the keyword planner for a while, create a plan with your adgroups (tier #1 e.g. Digital Marketing Services) and keywords (tier #2 SEO help) and create ads for your Adgroups. All of your keywords are then supported behind the adgroups to make sure you are hitting the right search queries.

Remarketing and conversion reporting are more technical and you may need some outside help from someone in the know or a web developer.

Check out this great article I found regarding using the Keyword Planner Tool here.

Keep the faith.