Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ Category

The Evolution of the Tech Behind Digital Marketing

October 2nd, 2018 by Dave O'Dwyer

Google recently celebrated its 20th birthday.? Over it’s short lifetime it has become an indispensable tool that millions of people rely on everyday. Can you imagine life without Google?

Digital marketing has also developed in capability over the past 20 years. Once it was enough to simply have website, and perhaps a well-placed banner ad. However technology and consumer expectation has evolved, and there are a multitude of new ways to reach consumers.
digital marketing new tools

Targeting.
You might think of Google as a search engine, but at its core, Google is the world’s most effective advertising platform.

Have you ever wondered how Google (or Facebook etc) manage to show you ads that are startlingly relevant to your needs? They use thousands of data points on every single one of us to help target the best audience for advertisements. Just like your Facebook stream is personalised to you, so are the ads you are shown on Google, based on your search and browsing history.

For advertisers it can be quite cost effective to advertise on these platforms, as your ad is only being shown to the audience you’ve selected, and that the platform calculates is most likely to respond to your ad.? With Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) you only pay when a user responds to your ad, minimising wasted budget on uninterested people.

People use Google when they are hunting for a solution to a need. They are often ready to act, so ensuring your product or service is displayed is critical to marketing your business these days. Underneath the paid ads are the organic search results – the best ranked matches for a search.??This is why Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is crucial for most businesses online. You need to be there when the consumer is ready to act, and SEO is the craft of optimising a website to rank as top answers to valuable consumer questions.

Personalisation.

Do you have a mailing list signup on your website? Perhaps you send an email every month or so, keeping your customers up to date with your business.
No longer is it enough to send out a general email newsletter to all your subscribers. Consumers expect advertising and messaging to be relevant to their needs and interests. Have you ever bought clothes online? You’ve no doubt received follow up email campaigns that showcase other items you may like to purchase, based on what you have browsed and purchased before.

Their digital marketing platform tracks not only what you purchase, but also what you’ve looked at and added to your cart, and uses that data to build a profile on you in order to send an individual email – just for you. This is dynamic personalisation and email marketing automation, and it’s a core part of modern digital marketing.
However it doesn’t end there. You may go back to the website, and the homepage banner is also relevant for you, and other users who are part of your segment.

A segment is a collection of people that fall under a certain category – gender, age, time since last purchase – there are endless ways we can use data to make offers and messaging more relevant.??In fact, segmenting your data is the best way to help keep a positive return on investment for a digital marketing campaign. Your aim is to send the right offer, to the right person, at the right time, at the right price.

Retargeting.
Perhaps you’ve looked at a product in a website but didn’t purchase. Sometimes, ads for that product seem to follow you around the internet – on other websites and social media, or you might receive an email reminding you to complete your purchase. This is called retargeting.
Retargeting is a very effective way to help persuade consumers who have shown interest, but haven’t yet purchased, or taken action.??Because the retargeting is only advertising to visitors that have already shown some interest, it keeps the costs down and the conversion rate up, leading to excellent return on investment for these campaigns.

The always on generation.
That phone in your pocket is more than just a device for phone calls. It’s your 24 hour portal to the internet. As this has become the standard, consumers also expect businesses to cater for them at all times of the day.
So how do you handle this expectation? A recent trend has been the introduction of helper chat popups on websites that can answer consumer questions at any time of the day. These popups can provide customer service using pre-populated answers, or alert you if a potential customer has a query. They are cost effective and can help convert visitors to customers by enabling excellent, on demand customer service.

As technology advances, so does the way we do business online. Above are just a few of the recent trends in Digital Marketing. If it’s been a few years since you have had your site built, or tried a digital marketing campaign, call us today on 03 8525 2082 to arrange a free consultation in order to assess your business needs, and determine cost effective digital marketing strategies that can make your business stand out online.

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Digital marketing … for those who started business more than 5 years ago

September 29th, 2018 by Heather Maloney

If you started your business more than 5 years ago, you could be forgiven to believing that online marketing was something to try out if you had a bit of spare marketing budget. Times have changed. Over the last few years, the reality of digital marketing for small business has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have for most businesses. Consumers are more connected than ever before, and their default behaviour when looking for anything ? products, services or information ? is to grab their mobile phone and search online. Even word of mouth has gone digital; recommendations happen across social media, and online reviews can have a significant impact on your business.

Bottom line: digital marketing is more important now for small business than ever before.

We have many clients for whom we have carried out digital marketing across a wide range of platforms and strategies, many of which achieved significant increases in new business enquiries or sales. Some of our clients now receive the majority of all their incoming work through digital marketing channels.

That’s not to say that word of mouth is unimportant; it’s simply that digital marketing provides you with immediate results and a wider reach at a lower cost.

However, it is very possible to implement digital marketing poorly, and therefore not achieve the results you are seeking. That’s often why we are engaged by our clients to design, write, execute and manage digital marketing for them.

Digital marketing can have a bit of a bad reputation. Unfortunately, there are many less scrupulous service providers who use digital marketing tactics to grow their own business and then fail to deliver tangible results for their clients. Even worse, they use tactics to “game” online platforms like Google for short term gains but ultimately end up with the client being penalised.

At Contactpoint, we take an end-to-end approach to digital solutions for our clients, and digital marketing is just one part of it. It’s our holistic approach that helps us deliver real results for clients, as we take the time to discuss our client’s business needs and only then recommend an approach for digital marketing that can deliver results. We never recommend the latest digital marketing technology just because it’s flavour of the month, nor will we cheat the system to get the quick results.

Just one example of our success in delivering digital marketing results for our clients is Nortan; providers of air conditioning and heating service and installation. Via a range of activities including a great mobile responsive website, pay per click advertising and SEO, Nortan are kept very busy all year round with new incoming leads, and have grown their business significantly over the time we have been providing digital marketing services. In fact, from time-to-time Nortan ask us to pause their digital marketing campaigns, because they are too busy with new work! What a good problem to have!

Nortan heating and cooling services

We work very closely with our clients to ensure that the level of business digital marketing campaigns produce are manageable.

If you would like to revisit your use of digital marketing to grow your business, please feel free to call Heather Maloney for a chat.

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Case Study: How a Landing Page Rescue Fixed a Leaking Sales Funnel!

June 20th, 2018 by Cameron Collins

fix leaking sales funnelAccording to Wikipedia1, people in sales and marketing positions have been talking about sales funnels since the 1920s. The sale of many products and services involve a lead time from investigation through to purchase. Having a certain number of leads at each stage of the sales funnel or customer journey is frequently used as a lead indicator of your likely sales volume at a point in the future. Marketing attempts to ensure that people entering an organisation’s sales funnel have a certain problem they are trying to solve or need that must be met, and that are aware that solutions to these problems exist. The organisation then attempts to guide the prospective purchasers through their process of research, interaction with the sales team, competitor evaluation and ultimately the purchase of that organisation’s products/services.

A well-managed sales funnel perpetuates interaction with the individuals even after they become clients. Client’s evaluations of the company, employee performance, products and services are ongoing. The sales process should nurture and support clients, leading to repurchase, renewal of contracts and referrals, that is, back to the top of the funnel.

Unfortunately, in practice not all leads will emerge from the bottom of the funnel as clients. Even the best companies will lose a few leads along the way. Astute marketers will be constantly seeking to identify and improve all interactions down through the sales funnel and seek ways to fix common leaks. Improving the efficiency of their sales funnel ranks as the second highest sales priority after closing more deals2.

The Graffiti Eaters is an example of a company who understood the benefits of a sales funnel but knew theirs was leaking somewhere along the way. They came to us with an existing website, Google AdWords campaign, and frequent blog and social media content to target prospects in the early stages of the sales funnel. Relationships with existing clients were maintained through blog and social media content as well as more personalised email newsletters.

After analysing the entire cycle, it became clear that the hole in this funnel was the website. We were able to drive significant traffic to the website of people who were looking to purchase their services via first page ranks in Google search results for relevant search terms. We were able to ensure the Google AdWords ads were displayed above organic search results. We were also able to encourage relevant traffic to click on the ads. However, once traffic reached a landing page of the website, much of the traffic did not continue on through the sales funnel. Potential clients were lost and there was little to show for the advertising expenditure.

Landing pages play a key role in paid ad campaigns; they support the ad with more detailed content, and help the prospect to take action and interact with the vendor. After clicking on an ad, visitors should be directed to a page that provides a clear, specific solution to their problem in a tone and style suitable for the audience type. Once the visitor has interpreted the key messages, that visitor should be guided on how to act on this information. A clear, yet tasteful ‘call-to-action’, such as a form for requesting a quote, a booking form, a request further contact link or the option to make a purchase.

After analysing The Graffiti Eaters website, we found that the landing page provided an unsatisfactory user experience and had significant room for improvement (see image below).

leaking sales funnel

A cluttered appearance, with excessive text, images and animations grouped close together made it difficult for visitors to find the key information. Style inconsistencies throughout the navigation, headings and text provided a substandard appearance which wasn’t appropriate for the predominantly B2B audience. The call-to-action comprising 3 different options was confusing, and on mobile devices, it was only visible by scrolling to the bottom of a very long page.

We analysed the top performing websites in graffiti removal and similar industries which target the same audience. A design was selected which overcame the aforementioned issues (see image below or visit www.graffitieaters.com.au/graffitiremoval/).

leaking funnel

The text was simplified to demonstrate the key points that owners and managers of commercial properties are looking for when seeking a professional graffiti removal service. A video was provided for those who are prepared to spend more time on the page.

We provided a clear call-to-action via the ‘Get it Off Now’ button which leads to a simple form, handling both bookings and quote requests. This button is part of a sticky header, which stays in view while the visitor scrolls down the page. A second button was placed towards the bottom of the page with the label ‘Request a Quote’.

The mobile number listed in the sticky header features click-to-call functionality when viewed on mobile devices. This enables visitors to click on the number and automatically call head office. As with the booking/quote request form interactions, this is linked to AdWords conversion tracking so that we can monitor the number of leads the ads provide.

These changes are part of an overall re-design of the website which is now clean, modern and user-friendly on desktop, tablet and mobile devices, while retaining The Graffiti Eaters unique branding elements.

We reviewed the results of the AdWords Graffiti Removal ad group during April 2018 and compared it with April 2017 when the previous website was in use. The landing page gained an astonishing 242.85% more leads in April 2018 than in April 2017.

To put this into perspective, we compared the conversion rate of the Graffiti Removal Ad Group in April 2018 with global averages for AdWords campaigns across all industries3.

blog-landing-page-rescue-statistics

The campaign for The Graffiti Eaters achieved more than double the global industry average for conversions and more than triple the conversions gained from the previous website. Not only is the client receiving more leads, they are receiving far greater return on their investment.

The effect of the new design was felt throughout the website, with the number of quotes completed increasing by 44.95% and the number of new clients generated increasing by 25.53%. A great result!

The Graffiti Eaters are one of many clients we are proud to have assisted with Google AdWords management (PPC), website design, and sales funnel optimisation.

Contact us to discuss how you can increase sales by optimising your digital marketing.

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchase_funnel

2 HubSpot

3 WordStream

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Top SEO Issues – Why isn’t your website highly ranked in Google?

July 13th, 2017 by Cameron Collins

search-engine-optimisation-tips

In the digital marketing department of Contactpoint, I work with a diverse range of businesses and organisations to enable their website to rank higher for relevant Google searches. Those whose websites rank high on the first page of results reap the rewards of increased website traffic from their target market, an increase in sales or enquiry, and the ability to decrease spending in other areas of marketing such as paid advertising.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the practice of optimising a website for higher search engine rankings, takes time to learn and implement, and at times requires technical skills. Without any prior knowledge of SEO many business owners or marketing managers are under the impression that if they build a website and write a few pages of content, Google will automatically rank it on the first page of results and traffic will flow. In our experience, it’s rare for a website that hasn’t had optimization applied to achieve good ranks.

In the majority of searches, Google has to sort through thousands, sometimes millions of search results to select the best results for a visitors query. This is important for Google – if they frequently display unhelpful results, people would have no reason to use their search engine.

These are the two factors which all top-ranking websites are successful at doing:

  1. Providing a great user experience
  2. Making it easy for Google to interpret and understand the content on their website

I will now elaborate on 6 of the most common SEO issues which I frequently identify and rectify for clients, enabling them to reach the first page of search results.

1. Search Terms
Many businesses pursue SEO as they operate in a competitive industry, therefore having relevant search terms which allow you to stand a realistic chance of ranking highly in Google is crucial. For example, let’s pretend you are a builder. If we type ‘Builder’ into Google 331,000,000 search results are displayed:
selecting the best search terms for your search engine optimisation

‘Builder’ is a word that could apply to many situations, and is what we call a ‘broad term’ in SEO parlance. If we try something a little more specific, such as ‘Builder Melbourne’ 952,000 results are listed. We can search even more specifically and try ‘Extension Builder Melbourne’ we find that 536,000 results are displayed.

As much as possible, we look for search terms for our client’s websites in which less than 500,000 search results are displayed. Of course, that’s not always possible, but we have enabled many of our clients to push through the crowd and emerge on the first page of results by swapping broad search terms for something more specific.

Another consideration is the type of websites you are competing against. Do searches on the search terms you are targeting return many .gov or .edu websites? Google deems these websites to be highly trustworthy and authoritative in a specific category, so if your domain name ends in .com.au or .com, you will likely be better of pursuing different search terms.

2. H1 Headings
What is a H1 Heading? For most websites it is the first and largest heading on each page in their website. For example on the Contactpoint Search Engine Optimisation page, the heading is, of course, ‘Search Engine Optimisation (‘SEO’)':
using headings to support search engine optimisation
Google uses the H1 Heading as a key determinate of what your web page is about, therefore we recommend inserting 1-2 search terms inside this heading. Common mistakes we see regarding the use of H1 Headings in websites include:

  • No search terms
    This is especially common on the homepage of a business, with headings such as ‘Welcome to *insert business name here*’.
  • Multiple H1 Headings on the same page
    using headings for optimising for SEO
    This often arises as the website owner prefers the style of the H1 Heading and wants to use it throughout the page. The downside of this is that your headings lose their effectiveness.

3. Thin Content
Thin Content – that is, only a small amount of content, including little use of the target search terms and perhaps just in bullet point form – is a common and easy mistake to make when launching a new website or redesigning an existing one. Weeks, even months are spent focusing on achieving the right style and functionality, and the text is sometimes given a lower priority or left to the last minute.

Thin content can hurt your search engine rankings in two ways. Firstly, Google deems pages which are lacking text to provide a poor user experience, therefore they are unlikely to be ranked highly. Secondly, Google relies upon text to interpret the contents of your page, and therefore for which searches your page should be suggested. We find that clients who have approximately 500 words of relevant text, written in natural language, on each main page see significant improvements in their search engine ranks.

4. No Redirects & Broken Links
Allowing previously functioning hyperlinks to become detached from a live web page is another common mistake which can occur if a new website launch isn’t properly managed, or when changes to pages and products are made over time without considering what may have been linking to that page. What happens to those who stumble across your old page through Google, links from other websites and social media, or previous visitors who are returning? Instead of seeing the appropriate page, they will be presented with an error page, which is basically a dead end. Most people who stumble across an error page will simply return to Google and visit one of your competitors.

The correct practice is to add a 301 redirect which ensures that anyone who uses an old URL ends up on the replacement page, or whichever page you allocate as being the best alternative. This type of linking also passes on the ranking power of the old page to the new page and removes the impact on your standing with Google that can occur if you have many broken links.

Keeping track of all the dead end links which have been created over the years can be difficult – we help website owners to identify these links and redirect them to appropriate areas of your website.

We also recommend a custom error page, in the event that you miss implementing a re-direct on an obscure barely visited page. The custom error page will include a general message about your services pointing the visitor to the main navigation of your website, which will also be included. This way they are much more likely to keep browsing around to find what they were looking for rather than to return straight back to Google.

5. Demonstrate Authority & Trustworthiness
As part of Google’s commitment to displaying the best quality search results and providing a great experience for their users, Google seeks to display websites which can clearly demonstrate authority and trustworthiness in their chosen field.

One way that a website can demonstrate this is through high-quality backlinks. A backlink is when another website incorporates a link directing traffic to your website. Google judges a websites backlinks in a very similar way to how humans judge each other – if you associate with intelligent, honest, and trustworthy individuals, it is often assumed that you also possess these characteristics. If you associate with liars, criminals and other untrustworthy individuals, then it is often assumed that you also possess these traits.

We help clients to create a backlink strategy and gain recognition from the best sources in their area of expertise.

Trustworthiness can also be demonstrated through an SSL Certificate – meaning that all of the content of your website is transmitted encrypted between the web server and the person viewing or submitting information to your website. You may notice that some websites will have a padlock and the word ‘Secure’ displayed to the left of their URL. Google is starting to show preference for websites which serve all content over SSL (“secure socket layer”), and like many other ranking factors, we expect the importance this will increase over time.

We routinely arrange the purchase and implementation of SSL certificates into our client’s websites which are attached to the website domain. Generally SSL certificates are renewed on a yearly basis.

6. Duplicate Content
One of the most common SEO issues is duplicate content. ‘Duplicate content’ refers to the situation where the same content is available from multiple URL’s. Common instances of duplicate content include:

Faceted Navigation
This is particularly common in e-commerce websites where products are placed in categories to enable visitors to navigate a large product range with ease. For example a shirt may be found in the multiple categories such as:

  • men’s shirts
  • business shirts
  • on sale

Ideally, the product page of a particular shirt would have the same URL no matter what category it is located in. However, some websites fail to do this and will show the same product page under different URL’s such as:

  • www.fancyclothing.com.au/mens/mensshirts/red-shirt
  • www.fancyclothing.com.au/mens/businessshirts/red-shirt
  • www.fancyclothing.com.au/mens/onsale/red-shirt

The Same Text on Multiple Pages

You may want to ensure that whatever page your visitors enter your website from; they can always find out about the core product/services your business offers, or the key reasons why you’re the best at what you do. Even though the pages contain different URL’s this can still cause problems. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the term ‘business consulting’ but you have the same text describing business consulting on 10 pages, which page is Google supposed to display in their results?

www, no www, https / http

It’s not entirely necessary to enter the exact URL of a website for it to be displayed. For example the Contactpoint website can be accessed by typing different combinations such as:

  • https://www.contactpoint.com.au
  • http://www.contactpoint.com.au
  • www.contactpoint.com.au
  • contactpoint.com.au

You will notice that whichever URL is used, it will always direct to https://www.contactpoint.com.au. This has been implemented as our preferred URL, and it is easy for Google to identify.
We find that some websites do not direct to a preferred URL, simply retaining the URL which was entered. Website visitors won’t notice a difference, however Google sees this as four duplicate websites instead of one unique website.

When performing an SEO review, we search for any possible duplicate content issues which may be harming your search engine ranks, and implement solutions which improve the ranks without harming your visitor’s ability to navigate the website with ease.

By now you can probably gather that search engine ranks are influenced by a vast number of factors. By helping clients to overcome these factors and implement strategies to reach their target market, we create what is in many cases a business’ number one marketing channel. Contact us now for an obligation-free discussion about how we can assist your website to rank higher in Google searches.

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Consumer Decision Journey – throw out the Sales Funnel model!

November 8th, 2016 by Heather Maloney

image-consumer-decision-journey
As the creator of a broadly used email and SMS marketing solution (eNudge) for the Australia marketplace, I thought that over the years I would see a general improvement in the way email marketing campaigns were constructed and delivered. I’m sad to say that on the whole, nothing much has changed. eNudge provides a myriad tools to help you segment, target, automate, measure and analyse, but it’s in the execution where many people fall down. Business owners and marketers get busy, and then just flick off a quick email to get a spike in sales. They are content with a spike and move on.

However, I know there is a better way … there always has been. Many marketers refer to it as lead nurturing, and email campaigns (including the eNudge Message Series functionality) are an excellent way to nurture your leads. For many years, marketing personnel have been working with a Sales Funnel model in mind – a linear movement of a potential buyer through awareness, interest, desire and finally action (buy). Lead nurturing refers to understanding where your lead is in the sales funnel, and give them the next piece of information that they need to take them to the next step in the journey; the next step closer towards being ready to buy.

I could be placated if I saw email marketing being used more for lead nurturing … more value and information being supplied, in a logical flow, engaging with potential buyers and taking them down a path to understanding and trusting you. However, thoughts even on lead nurturing have moved on …

The changing landscape of information availability via the internet including the impact of social media, and more recent research into buyer behaviour, suggests throwing out the sales funnel model and replacing it with what is being called by McKinsey as the “Consumer Decision Journey“. McKinsey research revealed that far from systematically narrowing their choices, today consumers take a much more iterative and less reductive journey of four stages: 1/ consider, 2/ evaluate, 3/ buy, and 4/ enjoy, advocate, bond. During stage 2 (evaluate) where the Sales Funnel approach says the the options get narrowed down, this in reality is where the brands most active online often replace the brands that were in the original consideration list (perhaps added to the list because of traditional advertising). The consumer’s options actually expand during this phase and the originals often get thrown out where there isn’t enough information online or customer reviews to support them.

Even more critical in what is being seen now in consumer behaviour, McKinsey discovered that during the 4th stage (enjoy-advocate-bond) more than 60% of consumers conduct online research about the products after purchase – a touch point entirely missing from the sales funnel approach. It is during this after purchase where your customer will advocate for your product or service by word of mouth, and produce online content to help future consumers in the consider and evaluate phases.

Other recent research by the Harvard Business Review team has shown that achieving the “full” sale to a B2B client is best achieved by providing the opportunity for that client to purchase small prototypes or incremental products along the buying journey i.e. as part of the evaluate stage. For more about this read: “To Increase Sales, Get Customers to Commit a Little at a Time“.

It was no small task, but the Harvard Business Review article describes an example implementation of changing the view of marketing to that of the ‘Consumer Decision Journey’ lead to a new TV becoming the top seller on Amazon.com and the company’s best performer in retail stores, far exceeding the marketers’ expectations.

To ensure that your product or service is not thrown out by prospects during the Evaluate phase of the consumer journey, and to help new customers to Enjoy, Advocate and Bond:

  1. Make sure your product or service is present online, not only in your own website, but also in comparison sites and marketplaces (for B2C) and online communities (for B2B)
  2. Foster online reviews of your products and services via social media and 3rd party websites
  3. Provide rich and easily accessible information online for people who have already purchased your product or service to help them get the most out of it
  4. Introduce new ways to inspire existing customers to refer their friends and colleagues to you – think DropBox who give away additional storage space for referring business

Your email marketing activities should assist you with with each of the above. Email campaigns should be created specifically for new customers and should point to additional online resources, and specifically ask for reviews or feedback. Email campaigns to your wider database should reference case studies and additional information available to help prospects in the evaluate phase.

If you need help with:

  • creating incremental or prototype products to sell to your clients as they evaluate,
  • creating additional online content,
  • making your online content more engaging,
  • ensuring you have a vibrant social media presence,
  • ensuring your product or service can be found easily online (SEO), or
  • creating email marketing campaigns that engage,

don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We are passionate about helping businesses to grow using online technologies.

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Mobile-friendly algorithm update: More Than Paws

June 29th, 2015 by Trevor Robinson

It’s been 2 months since Google rolled out its mobile-friendly algorithm which was set to enhance rankings for mobile-friendly / responsive web pages in mobile search results, so now is a good time to measure the impact of Google’s latest algorithmic update by reviewing one of our clients’ websites.

In order to obtain an accurate gauge between desktop and mobile search results, we needed to select a website without a mobile-friendly website version or responsive design.

More Than Paws is an e-commerce website specialising in clothing, accessories and costumers mainly for our canine friends, as well as other household pets. The More Than Paws team have been thinking about adopting a responsive website since there was first talk of the mobile-friendly algorithm update.

More Than PawsIn order to review the impact of the change, we selected 4 search terms that the More Than Paws website had been ranking well on in the months leading up to the Google algorithm change. The following search engine ranks are for Australian only results in Google, for both mobile and desktop devices – we performed these searches manually, without being signed into any Google Account in order to get the most accurate results.

Dog Bandanas
Desktop: #5
Mobile: #5

Dog Clothes
Desktop: #12
Mobile: #12

Dog Costumes
Desktop: #6
Mobile: #8

Dog Hoodies
Desktop: #3
Mobile: #5

The above results show a small impact on our client website’s Google ranks, with the search terms: ‘Dog Costumes’ and ‘Dog Hoodies’ both showing a 2 position rank deficit compared to the desktop.

We also reviewed the number of impressions for the More Than Paws website via desktop compared to mobile devices, pre and post the algorithm change.

Impressions from March 25 to April 21 (mobile-friendly algorithm introduction)
Impressions pre algorithm change

From the 23rd of March up until the advent of the mobile-friendly algoithm, the More Than Paws website received 5,752 impressions via desktop and 3,530 via a mobile device, which equates to a 47.87% difference.

Impressions from April 21 to June 22.
Impressions after algorithm change

Since the introduction of the update, up until the 22nd June, the More Than Paws website received 20,488 impressions via desktop and 11,931 via a mobile device, which equates to a 52.79% difference, or reduction of 4.92% of impressions between mobile and desktop devices.

It should be noted that most of the websites ranking well for similar search terms do not yet have mobile friendly / responsive websites. We expect that the difference pre and post the algorithm change would be more significant where well ranking competitors have mobile responsive websites. We also expect to see the difference between the ranks to become more significant over time, as Google adjusts the algorithm to achieve its aims in this area.

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Reach Mobile Melbournians billboard

June 27th, 2015 by Heather Maloney

After passing the billboard on the Westgate freeway several times, I just had to know what the advertising was all about. I mean … a Google search box containing the search phrase “reach mobile Melbournians” had to be somehow relevant to the endeavours of Contact Point!

So I grabbed my mobile phone (hubby was driving so that presented no problem) and typed in the search term “reach mobile melbournians” only to find a collection of random unrelated search results for page after page. Very frustrating! I am fairly of-fey with searching, having been involved in search engine optimisation since it began, so I continued on regardless to find what the billboard was all about. I refined my search to ‘reach mobile Melbournians billboard’ and was fortunate enough to get to the right place. The answer? A big new digital billboard coming into Melbourne City. So the ‘mobile’ in those search terms referred to people on their feet (rather than on a mobile device), and the Melbournians was actually people visiting the heart of the city of Melbourne.

Actually, to be completely honest, this was the second I had searched for this search term – the first time, after passing the sign at a pretty good speed, I searched for ‘reach mobile Melburnians’ because I thought that was how it was spelled.

Today I was glad to have my curiosity satisfied, however it struck me that the effort I was prepared to put in so that I could find the answer to the burning question raised by the billboard surely wouldn’t be the norm, and therefore the cost of that billboard wasn’t capitalised on with a complementary search engine marketing campaign.

If Contact Point had been engaged to assist the promoter we would have recommended the following:

  1. Write an article or two like this, explaining the meaning of the billboard advertising, and publishing the blog a day before or on the day that the billboard ad appeared.
  2. Ensure that the blog was well optimised for the search engines.
  3. Include a custom, short URL in the billboard to help the curious find it.
  4. Use social media simultaneously on the launch day or just before, to talk about the billboard, pointing to the explanatory webpage, and using useful hash tags to help searchers find it (eg multiple spellings of words if necessary)
  5. Once the billboard was actually out in the public, take a video of it and post that on the company YouTube account, including appropriate hash tags and including a URL that points back to the landing page on the website.

There’s more you could do if you have budget, but all of the above could be done for very little cost and effort, making it much easier for me to solve my burning question. That’s my two cents worth!

We love helping businesses to grow using technology, so if you are planning to reach mobile Melbournians or Melburnians for that matter, especially through search engines or through the use of mobile apps or a mobile responsive website, feel free to get in touch.

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Mobile Responsiveness just became even more important for high ranks in Google

April 19th, 2015 by Trevor Robinson

As of the 21st April, 2015, the Google search engine, globally, is giving weight to the presence or absence of mobile responsiveness in your website for people searching in Google using a mobile device. For example, if you are searching for a local cafe while using your mobile phone, the local cafe that has a website which is optimised for viewing on a mobile phone is much more likely to appear in the top search results for your Google search.

Google have been warning about this change for some time, so if you don’t have a mobile responsive website yet and if people searching for your business are likely to do that using a mobile device (tablet, phone, mini-tablet etc), now is definitely the time to act.

In a nutshell, a mobile responsive website is one that lays out differently and potentially functions differently, depending on the size of the screen being used, and whether the device has a touch screen or not.

Below is an example of a website which has been built responsively (the Contact Point website):
responsive_contactpoint

You can read more about what it means to have a mobile responsive website here.

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SEO for Beginners: Inbound Links and Online Directories

April 29th, 2014 by Trevor Robinson

Beginner’s guide to inbound links

Not so long ago SEOs (Search Engine Optimisers) were able to exploit Google’s PageRank-based algorithm. The PageRank based algorithm would count the number and quality of backlinks to a webpage which would indicate a webpage’s authority and determine search engine rankings based on backlink anchor text.

SEOs began to manipulate Google’s algorithm by submitting a client website to as many online directories as possible and acquiring backlinks, through mass produced and largely useless or uninformative, but keyword rich, articles and press releases. In addition, website owners were being enticed into participating in Link Farms in response to guaranteed page 1 ranks. An example of a link farm is a scheme involving including code in the home page of your website which dynamically selects another website to link to from a pool of participants.

Amid growing frustration about exploitative SEO techniques, evident flaws in the algorithm and ‘spammy’ websites appearing in the search engine results pages, Google introduced updates to their ranking algorithm in a bid to stamp out black hat SEO tactics. The first update was nicknamed ‘Panda’ in 2011. Panda reportedly affected around 12% of searches and was aimed at preventing websites with poor quality content from holding high positions in the search engine results pages.

In 2012 ‘Penguin’ was introduced.  Penguin targeted websites engaging in black hat link building tactics such as paid links, link networks or ‘link farms’ and ‘spammy’ directories. As a result, a large number of black hat associated websites’ rankings plummeted in the Google SERPs.

To ensure you don’t incur Penguin related penalties from Google, stay away from paid links, dubious article directory links, low quality press releases, low quality online directories and link exchange networks.

Gaining backlinks in 2014

As it has always been, the best and safest strategy with respect to gaining backlinks to your website is to produce unique, quality content. Focus on creating valuable, captivating content that people want to link to and share through their social media channels, email marketing and website content. We find that links to your website from related, high authority sites (e.g. those with a high Google PageRank) are the most useful for your search engine ranks.

Effective content marketing techniques may include the creation of video and infographic content, regular blogging and hosting webinars and/or online events.

Implementing a social media strategy is a very important component of every content marketing strategy, especially if you are just starting out and/or don’t have a large following. Sharing your content frequently through social media can enhance the opportunity to gain inbound links, build the image and reputation of your brand and increase traffic to your website.

Should I still submit my website to online directories?

Submitting your website to reputable, authoritative online directories (Hotfrog  and True Local are two examples) is still great for search engine ranks. Overall, directories are not as important today as they once were in terms of link value, however submitting your website to a reputable online directory will still benefit your website by increasing website traffic and boosting exposure for your brand. It has also been speculated that listings in trusted directories can enhance your website’s performance in local search results.

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Google testing in US, large banner ads at the top of search results

October 26th, 2013 by Heather Maloney

Recently Google has been seen testing the display large banner ads (images) across the top of search results in the US for just particular big brands including South West Airlines.

You can read about this further, and see an example of the banner ad in this article in The Age newspaper.

It will be interesting to see if this change is made widely accessible in the near future, and of course, whether it comes to Australia – this is the usual path of tests of new Google functionality. I expect these banner ads to have strict requirements regarding their look and feel, and to be very expensive, given that Google is being accused of going back on a promise to keep the search engine free of large, flashing ads, ever.

Would you welcome banner ads like the one shown in the top of your search results?

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