Why Does Digital Marketing Cost So Much?

Let’s be clear: digital marketing isn’t cheap. If you’re a small business owner, any four or five figure expense is something you’ll reasonably view as painful and expensive. However, it’s also important to approach any form of marketing not only by asking “what’s the cost?”, but also by thinking “what can this do for my business?” Digital marketing is a good investment for some businesses and a poor investment for others. So how do you identify where your business falls? Measurement is the key. Any business that isn’t measuring what’s coming in and what’s going out isn’t going to be in business for long. So rather than measuring the costs on their own, here’s how you can look at your next marketing investment in a way that measures your business outcomes. Continue reading “Why Does Digital Marketing Cost So Much?”

How Can I Analyze Phone Call Tracking Data?

Phone call tracking is an often overlooked tracking tool to begin with, but when it comes to analyzing the results, most of the companies that utilize phone call tracking don’t use it to the fullest. If you aren’t using phone call tracking already to track your online marketing efforts, then head on over here to learn more about how to track calls from your digital marketing channels. If you are using phone call tracking, but simply look at the total number of calls in aggregate as the definition of success or failure, then this post is for you (and so is this post from Avinash Kaushik). Don’t feel bad though – you aren’t alone. We all look at data in a reporting manner instead of analyzing it. It takes less time, the reports are usually prettier, and in many cases it’s “not my job” because the results of the analysis may create more work to implement changes. It doesn’t have to be this way though; there are many fairly easy ways to take advantage of the great insight that the phone call tracking data may currently be hiding from you. Continue reading “How Can I Analyze Phone Call Tracking Data?”

How Do We Know What’s In Google’s Algorithm?

Let’s start with a disclaimer. The reality is, we can never fully understand every piece of Google’s search algorithm. Only Google can. But here’s the other reality. We’ve developed a firm grasp on what’s in Google’s algorithm by understanding:

  1. What kind of search experience Google wants to create
  2. What kinds of results we see by implementing different SEO tactics
  3. How Google’s algorithm has changed over time

Google’s Mission and You

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” If you’ve made your site easy to use and navigate, and if you have rich content that addresses potential customer questions and pain points, you’re way ahead of your competitors already. Why? Because you’ve already addressed most of the factors that Google could even use in their algorithm. You’ve done a huge part in helping Google succeed in their mission, because your information is organized and ready to consume. You’ve made it universally accessible, because your site is easy to use. And you’ve done such a great job  answering customer questions and pain points that your site is now awesomely useful. Complex algorithm, huh?

Our Experience with Google’s Algorithm

It doesn’t hurt that we have tens of thousands of hours of experience and education understanding how certain actions affect the way Google’s algorithm handles results. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve been around since 2007 (approaching 70 years old in digital marketing years). We know some things work well; some things help a little bit; some information is outdated; and some things that used to help no longer help. We also know what hurts. Whether you call it SEO or knowing the algorithm, the goal is to attract the right audience and lead them to purchase. Over the years, we’ve learned how specific actions improve rankings. This has helped us safely estimate what the algorithm does consist of.

With that information, we can prioritize areas of emphasis when outlining our recommendations. That way, our clients get the healthiest mix of improvements based on a cost/benefit analysis. For example, we know that bolding text on every landing page isn’t going to be worth it, since there’s nominal (if any) increases in rankings. What we do know, though, is that when search visitors immediately find the search term they used on the page, they are more likely to convert. For future redesigns or landing page improvements, clarifying the information people are looking for will only improve your results. Sure, page design, layout, content structure, and sizing are all important factors. But choosing between SEO or user experience? If Google sees that someone went to your site and left quickly, they won’t let you keep that improved ranking for long!

The biggest gray area in the perception of the algorithm is the understanding of link building and general “popularity” around the web. Again, rather than worrying about how Google thinks about things in their algorithm, how do you think about things? Do you prefer companies that showcase expertise and are visible in the industry and major publications? Or do you prefer a company that stays under the radar and doesn’t prove knowledge? Certainly doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about users on top of the algorithm, does it?

5 Tips For Using Google Analytics Site Search Reports

I tend to find that most Google Analytics users are primarily looking at how people reached their website and hoping that the traffic graphs get bigger over time. George wrote a great piece last month on setting up goals so that you can see what actions users performed once they reached your website – this is very important! This can show you the value of the traffic coming to your website and how well your marketing is working for your business. All the upward trending graphs and thousands of visitors don’t mean much for reporting purposes if you don’t know what actions those visitors took. Now the next step is figuring out how the users interacted with your website and one great way to understand both user action and user intent is through the Site Search reports. Continue reading “5 Tips For Using Google Analytics Site Search Reports”

New Addition to the Digital Third Coast Family

A little late on posting this, but we’d all like to congratulate George and Kim on the birth of Elliott Dmitry. Mom and baby are happy and healthy. Elliott already has his own Google shirt too!

Elliott and George Zlatin

2008 was a great year for all of us, but 2009 will be very new and exciting for George and family. Congratulations buddy!