Posts tagged google
How To: Automatically Publish Your Blog To Google+ Page

A few days back, Hootsuite announced the addition of Google+ support to their platform. Now, in addition to Facebook & Twitter, Hootsuite users can conveniently post to Google's widely loved, but rarely used social media network.

 

This is certainly handy, although not remarkable. However, with this new feature, Hootsuite has become a powerful tool for auto-posting blog posts, via an RSS feed, directly to Google+ (a feature many have desired for sometime). With the growing importance and weight of Google+ in the SEO/SEM world, it is more important than ever to populate your Google+ page with great content, especially from your website.

Here we will walk you though the steps for setting up the RSS-Google+ auto-importing:

  1. Connect your Hootsuite account to your Google+ page. This can be accomplished in a similar manner to the way you added Twitter & Facebook.
  2. In the left-hand sidebar, choose 'Settings' and 'RSS/Atom'.
  3. Choose the '+' button at the topadding an rss feed to hootsuite
  4. In the 'Add RSS/Atom Feed' panel, you'll fill out the form with the appropriate information, including your RSS feed address, the profile you'd like to publish to (in this case, Google+, possibly amongst others), how often to check the feed (I would recommend the most frequent option), how many posts to send (most likely '1 post at a time'), and which URL shortener you prefer.streaming your blog to google+ automatically
  5. Once you have your settings in place, click 'Save' and you're all done. Now you can conveniently publish your blog posts to Google+, reaping the benefits with virtually no additional hassle.
Preparing Your AdWords Account For The New Google Shopping

On May 31st of this year, Google announced that it would be transitioning its Product Search to the new-and-improved Google Shopping.

This is a major change that has the potential to greatly affect companies that have previously enjoyed a high volume of traffic through Product Search. While Product Search has always been free, Google Shopping is moving to a purely commercial service, meaning companies are going to have to pay to show up in the results. While some companies may suffer, others have a great opportunity to pick up more traffic - that is, of course, if they're willing to pay for it.

So how can you be prepared for this transition?

If you already have a Merchant Center account, my recommendation depends on whether or not you have a Google AdWords account.

Don't have an AdWords account, but would like to keep showing up in the Shopping results on Google come October? Then it's time to get into the Google advertising game! Since this post is focused on those who already use both Merchant Center and AdWords, I won't get into the details about how to go about this. However, if this describes you and you'd like to know more about how to do this the right way - drop me a comment below. (I'm happy to follow up with you and provide a Google coupon for your first $100 of ad spend.)

Google's offering an incentive

If you currently advertise on Google AdWords, there is a limited time incentive opportunity from Google for those who aren't currently using Product Listing Ads in their AdWords accounts.

If you're asking, 'what are Product Listing Ads?' chances are you don't have them. Steps to creating a campaign for these PLAs and connecting your AdWords account to your Merchant Center account can be found on Google's Help Center. All merchants who create PLAs for the first time by August 15, 2012 will automatically receive a monthly credit of 10% of all their PLA spend through the end of 2012. This is a HUGE advantage - so don't miss out on this discount!

Merchants who are already using PLAs in their AdWords account can still cash in on the fact that they've been doing this all along. Google is giving $100 of AdWords credit to existing merchants who are using PLAs if they fill out this form by August 15th.

A lot of changes are coming this fall and are already in the process of being tested. Make sure you have your AdWords account in order and are ready for this transition - and don't forget to take advantage of these incentives by August 15th!

Google Annouces Global Roll Out of Product Rich Snippets

On April 17th, Google announced they were rolling out updates to Rich Snippets that includes support of product rich snippets globally. For any webmasters out there that haven’t implemented this simple HTML markup on their site, this should be your last call.

(If you’re unfamiliar with Rich Snippet Markup, here is the 60 Second Intro from Google)

Fortunately for all of us, Google, Bing, and Yahoo have agreed to support a common standard in micro data formatting. The http://schema.org/ resource outlines most of the various tags that can be added, and provides clear documentation.

Google has also provided a Rich Snippet Tool to allow developers to test exactly how their markup will appear in the Google SERP’s before pushing it live.

On Ecommerce sites rich snippets can include price, reviews, star ratings, brand, categories, and breadcrumbs. One study showed a 150% improvement in Organic CTR.

Content Based Websites aren’t left out though. You can add the rel=author tag to show your picture and name in the search results next to the article. Barry Swartz at SearchEngineRoundtable outlines how authors are getting a better CTR simply by changing their picture!

If you still don’t appreciate the value of rich snippets, SEOMoz produced a definitive Q&A on the subject that’s worth a read. It might convince your boss to let you get started!

What the Wire Can Teach Us About SEM - Part 1 of 2

The Wire is everyone's favorite show for a reason. A deep well of characters, a sprawling narrative that felt intimate and alive, a searing critique of the drug war and a top to bottom post-mortem on the heart of a once-great city. It could only be described as, well, "Dickensian." Sorry, Gus! The Wire was one of those shows that kept you on the hook with long-developing plot lines (investigations, mergers, a series of major news reports) that typically extended over an entire season. It also delivered incredible quotes and moments of drama and comedy on a weekly basis - sometimes both in the same scene. It's what gave the show its weekly entertainment punch to go along with its historical level of sophistication and "reporting."

Here at Delegator we're big fans, and we even started using some of those quotes around the office to reference some of the things we were doing for clients related to AdWords, SEO, Analytics, and more. With a recent upswing in attention on the show (thanks Grantland!) we thought now might be a good time to share with our clients and readers what we've been talking about for years. Search Engine Marketing - As Explained by the Cast of The Wire. Sheeeeeeee...

“When you take a shot at the King, you best not miss.” - Omar Little

Omar Little

Taking aim at the number one Google ranking is a formidable task. That’s especially true when you happen to be going up against another entity that a) has a clearly more relevant relationship to the keyword than you do or b) can spend you under the table. Unfortunately for most companies, it’s not a realistic goal.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn't try, or shouldn’t at least set it as your goal. Sometimes toppling the king is easier than you thought (just ask Marlo). But more often than not, as Wee-Bey found out, you end up eating chicken salad across from Bunk and McNulty. What is realistic for most companies is getting a few corners of their own - corners the big boys  might not know about. The way to do this in SEO is by investigating and then investing in long tail keywords. Maybe Huge Company X has the market cornered on "The Wire Posters," but you could get a real foothold in "Michael K. Williams Posters," "Omar Little Wire Posters," or "Omar Little Season 5 Posters." You won't get quite as much traffic as you would for a generic term, but the traffic you do get will be specific, and motivated to convert.

The only way to achieve a ranking like that for a competitive keyword is perfect preparation, determination in the form of time and money, and luck.

“Look the part, be the part.” - Proposition Joe

Proposition Joe

Joe came in for some ridicule from Avon when he showed up to the annual East/West showdown in full “Pat Riley” suit and tie regalia, but his commitment to looking like a “real” basketball coach helped him coach with more authority and confidence. In other words, getting the look right helped him get the job right. That, and a hired ringer. This is a lesson that can be easily applied to SEM.

Everything starts with your site design. A newcomer to your site should immediately be able to understand what you’re about and trust that you can deliver the goods. Building that initial trust element and creating a homepage that effectively funnels users to the pages you want them to hit is a complicated, multi-faceted process, but it’s a time and design investment well worth making. When you look like a “real” site, you’ll see yourself start to perform like one.

“Our job is to report the news, not manufacture it!” - Gus Haynes

Gus Haynes and Scott Templeton Season 5 of The Wire was about the breakdown of professional ethics within the main character, Detective Jimmy McNulty, as well as the august offices of the Baltimore Sun (where series creator David Simon began his career as a journalist). McNulty, frustrated with the lack of institutional support for his wire investigations, (SPOILER ALERT) fakes the presence of a serial killer by “adjusting” bodies post mortem. Scott Templeton, a hotshot up and comer at the Sun, began his career making up innocuous stories about wheelchair bound children going to Orioles games, but he eventually begins to stretch the truth about the serial killer case - he is the only reporter the “killer” ever contacts.

In the end McNulty loses his badge and Templeton wins a Pulitzer.

When you go with “black hat” SEO - SEO that attempts to get around Google standards and practices through any one of a dozen illicit strategies - you’re taking the same chance. Maybe it will work, you won’t get caught, and your business will go up, up, up. But maybe you’ll get caught, blacklisted, and penalized indefinitely in the organic results, crippling and even killing your business. Is that really a chance you want to take?

At Delegator we only do “white hat” SEO. Be very careful before getting in bed with any firm that doesn’t, and make sure that if you’re running your own SEO operation you don’t cross the line. It’s not worth risking your entire business.

“If Snotboogie always stole the money, then why did you let him play?”

“Got to. This America, man.” - McNulty and Man on Stoop

Anybody can play the AdWords game. Doesn’t matter if they don’t understand it, try to cheat it, or run their accounts into the ground. Because it depends on the quality of your site much less than the value of your dollar, it’s as open as it gets in the land of SEM. The only thing you need to play is money - Google allows you to set up your account and start spending faster than you can run down to your neighborhood game of bones (though your ROI is likely to be higher with Google). You will almost certainly need an expert to guide you through the weeds with no pain and plenty of profit.

Active AdWords management is the best way to navigate the choppy waters of paid search. Active management means going in every day and making changes, re-organizing, raising and lowering bids, and identifying and exploiting new best practices. That's the only proven way to consistently stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the wide open AdWords game.

Come back for more Wire action next week!

Part 2 of 2.

Delegator.com’s New Years Resolutions! (This time we’re really going to do it!)

1. This year, I will stop focusing on the numbers on the scale. I will stop focusing on keywords only when I write SEO content.

2. This year, I will do something active and physical every day. I will regularly add to and refresh the content of my site.

3. This year, I am finally going to get organized - my house, my office, and my life. I am finally going to start utilizing Google Analytics - to track and analyze my traffic, my users, and my conversion statistics.

4. This year, I will quit smoking once and for all. I will stop using Flash to create large or important sections of my website.

5. This year, I’m going to put myself out there and try to meet some new people. I’m going to kick my AdWords campaign into high gear, try some email marketing, and optimize my site every chance I get.

6. This year, I am going to start saving money. I am going to let professionals actively manage my AdWords account, and stop over-paying for keywords that are too competitive or that aren’t going to get me the customers I’m looking for.

7. This year, I am going to be on time wherever I go. I will use Google Calendars to give me reminders about important dates, deadlines and meetings.

8. This year, I am going to learn something new. I am going to try a different online marketing tactic to see if I can improve my results.

9. This year, I am going to indulge my artistic side. I’m going to create banners for my site and start using Display Networks to attract and re-target users.

10. This year, I am going to give some time or money to charity (This is one that should stay on the list). Check out Causeway.org if you need some ideas in the Chattanooga area!

A Look at Google AdWords' Call Metrics

Last Tuesday, Google announced Call Metrics would be rolled out to all AdWords advertisers.  If you're like us, you're always looking for better ways to track what's happening with your AdWords and Analytics data.  Google's Call Metrics provides a missing piece of the puzzle that allows advertisers to track when someone manually dials the phone number listed under an ad without clicking on it.

While Call Extensions data (visible from the Ad Extensions tab) can show you when someone clicks-to-call from a mobile device, Call Metrics tracks phone calls by "assigning and placing a toll-free forwarding number" next to your Google AdWords ads that forwards to the number of your choice.  Each of these manually-dialed calls cost $1 each, while clicks-to-call using Call Extensions relies on your bid.

To enable Call Metrics, you'll need to set up a new Call Extension and check the box to enable Call Metrics.  Once you've enabled Call Metrics for one or more of your campaigns, you can view the data from the Dimensions tab.  Make sure you've selected "Call Details" from the drop-down View menu.

As you can see from one of our accounts below, Call Metrics tracks the start time and end time of the call, status, duration and caller area code.  Based on your lead and sales tracking processes, advertisers now have the ability to attribute specific phone calls to an AdWords campaign in their account.  Being able to attribute these calls to AdWords will be valuable when trying to calculate the most accurate ROI for your ad spend.  For more information about Call Metrics and how to enable it on your current campaigns, read the AdWords help section for step-by-step instructions.

Top Six Ways to Write More, Yes Even More Content

Okay, so you’ve spent months writing content for your new site. You’ve written about every little detail of every product or service you offer, filled in every bit of background information you can think of, and generally driven yourself crazy trying to fill as many pages as you can. But you’re still not quite where you want to be; you need more content. How do you do it? How do you dig down deep and come up with meaningful, useful content when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Let this long-time content writer show you the way with my personal Top Six content fixes.

1. Top Five, Top Ten, Top 15, even Top 27 Lists

One of the easiest and most fun ways to bulk up your on-page content is what you’re reading right now - a top (whatever number you choose) list. Come up with something that’s interesting to your readers, and then rank or list them - there’s nothing more compelling to a reader than a numbered list with a juicy headline. Just look at the magazine stands during football or Oscar season and you’ll see what we mean. Because lists are so popular with readers, they are excellent link bait. If you’ve got a great list with a compelling title, you’re sure to generate some interest from other sites and aggregators.

2. Q&A’s

Post question and answer interviews on your site. Talk to the people who started your business, the movers and shakers in your particular sphere of influence, or people who produce the things you sell (if you’re an e-retailer). If you run an appliance business, for example, you might want to send a few emails to the designers and manufacturers of the things you sell and then publish the resulting interview on your site. Make sure these are informative, interesting, and relevant to your site.

3. Transcripts

Transcripts of speeches, videos, or promotional material are a great way to add content to any site. If you work in the real estate business, a transcript from a realtor’s speech or promotional video is a great way to get keyword-rich text on your site. Just make sure the transcript mentions keywords you’re interested in ranking for on Google, Yahoo and Bing (and that you have the rights to publish the material!)

4. FAQ’s

The Frequently Asked Questions section is a great place to serve the readers and the search engines in equal measure. You can create an FAQ on any of your landing pages by collecting real questions from readers/buyers/users, as well as some of your own, to create compelling and helpful content. Make sure to mention the keywords you want to invest in by name, and make sure the answers to the questions are honest, helpful, and easy to understand. Some of the most popular search queries are in the form of questions. How many times have you typed in “How do I...” or “How to...” into a search bar? With well written and thoughtful FAQs, you can make it easier for these users to find your site. FAQs benefit all three parties involved in SEO - the search engines, the users, and you.

5. Compare and Contrast

This is when you take the product you sell, or a particular feature of your site, and compare it to a similar product or feature somewhere else (in a favorable light, of course). You might compare the quality of your product to that of another, or the advances your product has made in reference to an older or more well known model. Just make sure you pick products, services or specialties that make you look better than your competitors, and that the content is sharp and informative.

6. Product Reviews

Similar to Compare and Contrast, except you don’t give your competition any exposure and you get more control over your message. There are plenty of companies who will do independent reviews like this (Delegator is one of them) and still work in plenty of SEO-goodness with keyword-rich content. On page reviews are also a proven reader and link magnet, with users of all stripes wanting to get a little inside information when it comes to buying your product or service. Product Reviews are where you can sell your products, utilize SEO and provide a great service for your customers all at the same time.

These are just my proven techniques. If you know any other great strategies for writing more and more content, let us know in the comments! No matter what strategies you use, just remember that Black Hat SEO is never worth it. Do things the right way, and always create unique, keyword-driven content. You don't want to be on notice, do you?

Tagging Your Emails for Google Analytics Tracking
In my last post I discussed the basics of campaign tagging and how it can help you track the performance of your inbound links. In my next few posts I’m going to focus on tagging specific mediums starting today with email. In my opinion, email is the most important medium to tag. My reasoning is threefold.

Mail - All Traffic Sources   Google Analytics

First, your analytics will be terribly skewed if you just send out email campaigns and fail to tag them. People using offline mail applications like Microsoft Outlook will click on your links which will open their default browser and go to your site. This will register as a direct visit which is far from the case. Even worse can be online mail providers like Yahoo which will show up as any number of random referral sources like "us.mg1.mail.yahoo.com" and "36ohk6dgmcd.yom.mail.yahoo.net" that would take a lifetime to sort through, consolidate and make any sense out of.

The second reason tagging your emails is important is that your mail provider’s stats only tell part of the story. Typically a mail provider will tell you your email campaign’s open rate, unsubscribe rate, and maybe your click through rate but it stops there. These basic stats are great but what happens after the open, and the click? If you tag the URLs in your email then you can tell what those visitors who clicked through did on your site, and compare it to the other mediums you are using to drive traffic.

Third, if you can’t accurately track visits from your emails how do you plan to measure ROI? Your costs could include mail provider’s fees, design costs, content costs, the cost of your mailing list and at the very least somebody’s valuable time. Tagging your emails allows you to associate visits from email to your ecommerce or conversion events on your website that, if configured correctly in Google Analytics, will have $ values associated with them allowing for some basic return on investment numbers.

So how do you accurately tag your emails using the URL Builder? Before diving in remember that your data in Google Analytics will only be as good as the data you put into your tagging, so be descriptive.

Using the URL Builder, here is how I suggest tagging your email URLs:

Campaign Source:

The source will indicate who sent out your email. If you’re sending it out, use your company name. If your vendor or partner is sending it out for you to their list, use theirs.

Campaign Medium:

This should be “email”. As with every field, make this lower case to keep things consistent.

Campaign Term:

Term doesn't have a great fit for emails but you can always add extra info here if needed (e.g. sending the same email out with 4 subject line variations.)

Campaign Content:

Content will be used to describe the link in the email and help differentiate between multiple links that point to the same page on your site. You might have your homepage linked to from the logo in the header, a text link in the body and again in the footer. For those I would use “header company name logo”, “body company name”, and “footer company name”.

Campaign Name:

This is the name of your email campaign. It could be “june newsletter” or “10 percent off offer” or “widget x product announcement”.

Once you have tagged your links you simply point the actual links in the email (e.g. your logo or text link) to go to your tagged link. After sending out your tagged email you will be able to find your new data under Traffic Sources > Campaigns. Once there, you can drill down on a specific campaign or toggle the secondary column between “Source”, Medium”, or any of the other components of your tagged link to gain insights on what is working and what isn’t in your emails. With Goals and/or Ecommerce properly configured in Google Analytics you can track the conversion rate and revenue of your visitors from your email campaigns and do a quick ROI calculation to compare to other mediums. Overall, tracking the success of email campaigns is an important task for any online marketer and Google Analytics offers a free and relatively easy way of doing so (note that MailChimp is now offering to auto-tag your emails.)

Longtail Geo-Targeting Your Content and Keywords or, Why It’s Good to Be “Chattanooga SEO Experts” instead of “SEO Experts.”

Many of our clients came to us at first because they had become frustrated trying to do their own SEO copywriting. The big terms they wanted to rank for, like “personal injury lawyer” or “office furniture” just weren’t seeing much traction on the Google results page, no matter how hard they tried and no matter how much content they wrote. They came to Delegator wanting to know why - and, if we were so smart, how could we fix it? For a large percentage of these clients, the answer was very simple. They were going after keywords that were much too competitive for their budget. For instance, the term “personal injury lawyer” gets 368,000 searches per month and a competition ranking of “High,” according to Google, which has over 12 million indexed pages for that single term. For small to medium sized law firms that can be a tall mountain to climb with a limited budget. In cases like this we often recommend that our clients employ geo-targeted long tail keywords. Which is a fancy way of saying, “Put the name of your city, state or region in front of the term you want to rank for.”

Geo Targeting Keywords

“Personal injury lawyer” then becomes “Tennessee personal injury lawyer.” The second term, as you might imagine, gets fewer searches per month than the first (1,600). However, because there are fewer searches, and often less competition, there is more opportunity for small to mid-sized businesses and firms. Yes, you will be fishing in a smaller pond with less fish - but because you won’t be competing with 12 million other fisherman, you’ll be more likely to bring in a great catch.

But that’s not the only advantage of geo-targeted long tails. Not only is there less competition, the people who are performing searches for your new keyword are more likely to click and convert. Why? Because the use of a longer, more specific keyword has filtered your results. Instead of getting calls from Montana and Ottawa, where you might not be willing or able to do business, you’re only going to get hits from local, interested searchers who have self-selected for their viability and availability as clients.

Less work and administrative headaches, more interested and viable searchers, and a higher ranking--that’s the beauty of a geo-targeted longtail keyword. You can trust us - we’re “Chattanooga SEO Experts!”

Campaign Tagging with Google Analytics

“Half of our marketing is working...we just don’t know which half.”

Those of you using Google Analytics can probably point to some basic reports that explain at a high level which half of your internet marketing is working, but why stop there? Why not pin point much of your online (and even some offline) efforts more specifically to gain better understanding of how each part of each campaign contributes to your online marketing success?

With Google’s Campaign Tagging, you can do just that by adding valuable information to the inbound links that you have the ability to control. This data can be found in Google Analytics under Traffic Sources then Campaigns.

Google Analytics Campaigns You may already be familiar with the Campaigns section under Traffic Sources if you’re using Google AdWords. While your AdWords data will also show up in the newer “AdWords” section of the Traffic Sources, AdWords campaigns will continue to show in the Campaigns section as long as you have auto-tagging turned on in the Analytics Settings.

So AdWords is auto-tagged, but what about other inbound links? Enter Google’s URL Builder. This is the tool that makes custom campaign tagging a breeze.

Google Analytics URL Builder

Over my next few posts I’ll explain how to use the URL Builder to tag various links including links in emails, cost-per-click links, banner ads, press releases, Facebook posts, Tweets, shortened URLs, and even some offline efforts.