fbpx

Why Digital Marketing Analytics Are So Important

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Digital Marketing, SEO Tips

…And How You Can Use Them to Boost Sales and Business

Today’s online customers expect instant, personalized engagement and gratification—and who can blame them? Technology puts limitless information at the tips of our fingers. Customers should be able to get what they want, when they want it, all with the click of a button. But not all customers are alike. The path of actions and behaviours that customers follow isn’t always immediately clear. Analytics allows for greater insight into the effectiveness of digital marketing strategies and approaches. But knowing where to start with analytics can be a challenge, especially as the data surrounding customer behaviour evolves and changes. So: how best to start?

Google Analytics

Digital marketers use the insight from this Google platform to gain a better understanding of their target markets. It’s also extremely useful when finding ways to reach that market. Useful data from this platform can be used to improve websites and customize the user experience. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

  • Most-Viewed Pages provides an understanding of the content and topics that engage users the most.
  • Most-Exited Pages are the pages where users leave your site. Either the page content wasn’t successfully set up to push conversions, or there are technical problems on the page.
  • Referral Sites are those sites that are sharing your links and sending users your way; remember, bad referrals can be incredibly harmful to your site’s traffic, so keep an eye on referrers.
  • Organic Search Traffic—this data can provide insight into what terms users are searching, allowing you to capture their attention.
  • Top Landing Pages—these pages are the first thing users see when they visit your site. Are they effective at engaging users and possibly leading to conversions?
  • Segmentation allows you to filter user behaviour based on a variety of criteria, such as traffic source, keyword search, and user characteristics.
  • Bounce Rates—figure out which pages are losing visitors. You can improve your on-page content (visual and written) to keep users on your site.
  • Click-Through Rates help you determine which ads to display by measuring click-through rates and user age groups on Google Ads.
  • Page Rankings on SERPs help you find the pages that have low rankings based on keywords, allowing you to improve them to boost rankings.

Using Analytics

As we’ve mentioned, not all customers are the same. Data analytics allows you to use and understand valuable information to help your business better cater to your customers. In many cases, these improvements focus on enhancing their experiences, which ultimately improves your sales. Analytics also helps you improve what isn’t working on your website and marketing strategy by making sense of customer behaviour. There is no single combination of metrics you can analyze to better understand your target audience. Instead, digital marketing analytics examines the whole set of data to understand individualized behaviours of various audiences, letting you create successful strategies to meet their needs. Whether your business is large or small, data analytics let you harness valuable information, putting it to work and allowing you to create compelling and effective digital marketing strategies that boost your business.

Lia

SEO: You Have Questions, We Have Answers!

09/18/2019

10 Questions All Businesses Have About SEO

When you’re just getting started, figuring out how to make search engine optimization (SEO) work for your business can seem overly complicated. Navigating through the best practices while avoiding the common pitfalls is enough to make your head spin. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve answered some of the top questions most businesses that are inexperienced with SEO have to help you gain a better understanding of how you can get the most out of your SEO efforts and start seeing results.

1. What Is SEO And Why Is It Important?

animated image of seo on a graph with traffic and hits
Animation created by Ruchira
SEO stands for search engine optimization and refers to the practice of optimizing your website content so that search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing will show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.

2. What Is the Difference Between Paid and Organic SEO?

Anytime someone searches for a particular keyword, search engines include two main sections: organic and sponsored results. Companies can pay for their content to appear in the sponsored results section based on the number of people who click on the ad. Meanwhile, the organic section is filled with results that show up naturally based on the strength of your SEO, without you having to pay a cent. So while it can take a while for your website rank in the organic section, it does not cost you anything.

3. When Should I Start SEO?

animated images of the FonzThere’s no better time than now. Some of the most successful websites have been doing SEO since the beginning. So, if you haven’t yet started SEO, now is the best time to take the leap. Although SEO is a long-term commitment, it is one of the most inexpensive investments that will help you generate leads and reach your conversion goals. And what company doesn’t want more business?

4. How Long Does It Take to See Results from SEO Efforts?

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. How quickly you will see results from your SEO efforts is dependent on the following factors:

  • The quantity of content you create and how frequently you post
  • The quality of your content
  • How your content resonates with your audience
  • The size of your website and whether or not you have strong or weak domain authority

While larger websites can see results in a matter of days if search engines are crawling them regularly, smaller sites will typically take longer since they are crawled less frequently. Be patient and wait a week to a month before changing your SEO strategy. If you are brand new to the SEO game, wait a little bit longer.

5. What Role do Keywords Play?

In its simplest form, keywords are the words or phrases people type into a search engine when performing a search. They can range from single words to longer, more complex phrases, and should be used in your website copy to help attract more organic search traffic. With the right amount of research and optimization, keywords help to funnel your content directly to your target audience. Essentially, they are searching for something specific, and you’re helping them land on your page to give them what they’re looking for.

6. What are Some Key SEO Factors?

Content Marketing

Creating quality, engaging content is no longer an option for businesses – it’s a necessity. The websites that are ranking the highest are the ones that are publishing relevant content on a regular basis. In fact, content is one of the key components of an effective SEO strategy and should have a direct impact on how you market your business online. That said, it’s not enough to churn out content for the sake of creating it, it has to be relevant, engaging, and have a real purpose for your audience. The golden rule is always quality over quantity.three people pointing at a laptop screen

On-Page Optimization

These are the measures that can be taken directly within your website to improve your position search rankings. Some of these measures include optimizing web content and improving your meta descriptions and title tags.

Local SEO

Also known as local search engine marketing, local SEO refers to optimizing your online presence in order to attract customers and clients from relevant local searches. Think of when you carry out a search on Google for a restaurant that serves a certain type of cuisine. Google compiles a list of places matching your search criteria located near you, displays them in a boxed area, and shows their locations on a map. This is known as the “snack pack” results.

Read More: Locally Sourced SEO Success

Algorithm Changes

Similar to the recipe for Coca-Cola and KFC’s secret mix of spices, Google holds its search algorithm – the code that determines how search results are displayed – pretty close to the vest. But unlike the Colonel’s famous fried chicken, Google’s recipe is constantly changing – with hundreds of minor algorithm updates per year – so it’s important to keep up to date with new developments to ensure that your site is constantly optimized.

E-A-T

animated graphic of a ribbon
Animation by Jake Williams
We’re not talking about lunch here. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and refers to a broad core Google algorithm update that determines how search results are returned depending on a user’s search terms – also commonly known as search intent. The E-A-T update was given its name based on the impact it had on verticals such as healthcare, law, nutrition, real estate, and e-commerce. Essentially, Google wants to ensure that the top results available related to these your money, your life industries are coming from resources that are experts, authorities in their field, and trustworthy. Think of it this way: You need legal advice and look to Google and discover an article from Mr. John Smith LLC. You would want to know that they are in fact a licensed lawyer, an expert in their domain, an authority on the topic, and trustworthy. You are making decisions based on their advice, after all.

Page Speed

Sites that are user-friendly and load faster rank higher in the search results than those that lag and have technical issues.

Backlinks

Links back to your website are crucial for effective SEO. Here’s how it works. Google considers another website linking to your content to be a vote in your favour. So the more backlinks you have, the higher your site will be positioned in search results. It’s that simple.

7. What is On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to the factors you can control on your own website like your content, while off-page SEO is page ranking factors that take place outside of your website, such as backlinks from another site. Off-page SEO also includes your methods of promotion, such as social media exposure.

8. What are Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO Practices?

Black hat SEO practices are ethically questionable practices that violate search engine guidelines and provide a poor user experience. So instead of earning high rankings on search engine results, black hat SEO uses shady tactics to reach the same outcome. Some examples include adding so many keywords onto a page that it doesn’t make sense to the reader, sneaky redirects, paid links, and link farms. It’s best to avoid these types of tactics, as it is likely to cause more damage to your web presence in the long run, rather than improve it. Following white hat SEO practices, on the other hand, is encouraged, as it means following search engine guidelines and implementing best practices to optimize your website and improve the user experience.

9. What are the Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid?

Even the most experienced digital marketers make mistakes sometimes. But the advantage of being new to the game is that you can learn from other’s mistakes and avoid making them yourself. Here are some of the top SEO mistakes you should avoid.

Poor User Experience

The strength of your user experience (UX) is has a direct impact on your SEO ranking. Think of it this way: While SEO aims to please search engines, the goal of UX is to make your web visitors happy. But both work together to give users the best possible experience. Ask yourself the following questions to help determine how strong your UX is:

  • Is your site easy to navigate?
  • Are you regularly publishing quality content that engages site visitors?
  • Is your site secure, mobile-friendly, and load quickly?

Creating Content for Content’s Sake

Creating out quality content is crucial to effective SEO and is something you can’t afford to skip out on in this increasingly competitive digital space.

graphic of a computer on fire
Graphic by Liz Zvereva
Even still, many businesses make the mistake of publishing weak content just for the sake of putting out content. So what exactly makes for bad content? Here are some of the core elements of low-quality web content:

  • No value to the reader
  • Misleading titles
  • Too long or too short
  • Stuffed with keywords
  • Repetitive
  • Overtly self-promotional
  • Boring
  • Inaccurate information
  • Mistakes in spelling, grammar, vocabulary

Read More: Forget Sticks And Stones – Words CAN Hurt You

Keyword Stuffing

Despite being considered a black-hat SEO tactic, keyword stuffing – adding as many keywords onto a page as physically possible to trick Google – is still being used in many business’s SEO strategies. But does this actually work? While keyword stuffing can initially have some short-term benefits, it only ends up hurting you in the long run. If Google catches you stuffing keywords in your content, they will penalize you by demoting you in rankings or removing you from search results altogether. So, ask yourself: Is it really worth the risk? It’s still critical to include keywords in your content, but like anything in life, they need to be used in moderation. Focus more on people rather than bots, and create valuable content that uses keywords modestly, and appropriately.

  • Failing to Focus on Local SEO

When optimizing their websites for search rankings, a lot of businesses tend to focus on conventional SEO. However, this can be difficult for smaller local businesses who are competing with large, established corporations who have mastered their SEO strategies. For this reason, it’s incredibly important for smaller businesses to direct their efforts towards local SEO. There is a lot of value in being listed in the Google Snack Pack results as it gives your business a greater sense of authority. And, it doesn’t hurt that businesses in the Snack Pack Section generate more clicks and web traffic.

  • Ignoring Paid Search

While organic traffic is the most relevant and rewarding, that doesn’t mean you should avoid paid search altogether. Paid ads can be incredibly valuable, as it allows you to target more keywords and test out different campaigns. Plus, when your paid ad appears above the search rankings, it helps to strengthen your brand identity.

  • Putting Off Audits of Your Own Website

Arranging for an audit on your website is important, as it reviews your site’s performance from the point of view of both the client and search engines, and reveals ways you can improve your website. An audit will also look at SEO, loading speed, the checkout process, and the quality of content.

  • Not Creating Unique Meta Descriptions for Pages

A meta description is a short blurb – around 155 characters – that summarizes your page content. Optimizing your meta descriptions is a critical component of on-page SEO because search engines will display your meta description in search results mostly when the phrase being searched for is in your meta description.

  • Placing Important Messaging on Graphics Rather Than on The Page

While graphics can be a great tool for audience engagement, when it comes to SEO, any information included in the graphic will be ignored by search engines. Since the Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images or graphics, it’s crucial that you avoid putting important information like names and links in your graphics and use text instead.

10. Can I Do SEO Myself?

While a professional marketing agency will generate better results quickly, you can still do your own SEO if it’s something you want to try. But you will only be successful at it if you have the proper knowledge and resources.

Here’s a guide from Google: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

If you decide to do your own SEO, here are some tools you can use to help you with optimization:

Benefits of Hiring an Agency

While some businesses can find success doing their own SEO, it doesn’t always work let alone yield the best results. Don’t leave the success of your SEO efforts up to experiments and guesswork. Without the proper knowledge and experience with SEO, you could end up doing your business more harm than good. For this reason, businesses that are about to dip their toes into the SEO pool should consider finding an experienced marketing agency specializing in these services to help map out a tailored SEO strategy for optimal results. A marketing agency will also track your progress and make adjustments to make sure you are on the right path and will achieve the best possible results.

Read More: Finding The Right SEO Company

An agency will work with you to evaluate your website, your goals, and your competitors in order to develop a comprehensive plan that will help increase your visibility in search results and ultimate boost your conversions.

read more

Common SEO Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

04/20/2018

Agency-Tested Tips to Help You Avoid All-Too-Common Pitfalls and Errors

We all make mistakes. It happens – it’s human nature. The thing is – mistakes don’t define us. We’re always improving. Think about Eric Clapton for a second – a guitarist who spent a portion of the seventies responding to the nickname “GOD.” Even he had to start somewhere, and even he made some mistakes. If you’ve tried to optimize your website, but it still isn’t performing well, chances are you’ve made some common search engine optimization mistakes. That’s okay! While these mistakes can hurt your rankings, as any SEO agency will tell you, they can be fixed! With the right tools and approach, you can course-correct your business’ content marketing and SEO strategy and get it back on track.

Interested in learning more about SEO? Check out our rundown of Google’s latest update here!

We’re going to look at some of the most common mistakes and pitfalls made with regards to your site, and what you can do to fix them. Let’s get started:

PROBLEM: Keywords Aren’t Getting Traffic SOLUTION: Keep Things Topical

Keyword research must be one of the biggest challenges in the SEO world. Even with all the tools you’ve got at your disposal, there are plenty of small snags and hang-ups that can significantly affect your search rankings. Say you’ve done your keyword research. You’ve prepared site content around these keywords. Your site is live, and you’ve flipped all the switches on your end… but you’re not getting the traffic you thought you would. “But the search volume!” you may say. Yes, search volume for a given keyword indicates this term is getting significant traction, but volume doesn’t equate traffic. Competition and difficulty increase alongside search volume – more people are trying to rank for it, after all. We’re going to let you in on a little secret here: opt for longer search terms. Finding relevant keyword phrases and related variations and topics will pay off in the long run. The broad, generic, one-to-two-word search terms get a lot of traffic, it’s true, but that broadness cuts two ways: exact keyword matches are much harder to rank for. The more specific you get, the more you can cater your site’s content to specific searches and nail down long-tail keywords that provide consistent results and traffic. Here’s a quick rule of thumb: think of keywords as topics you want to develop authority in. Search engines are trying to deliver information to users, so provide authoritative, informative content to meet user needs.

Don’t Forget URLs, Titles, and Tags

Remember what we said about phrase matching? There’s a time and place for it. Your keyword research likely gave you several variations and phrases that read like questions. Page title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs are a fantastic way to capture those searches! Don’t forget your headers, either. Content headers (your heading tags in HTML) can identify strategic keyword phrases. And we can’t overlook short descriptions for image alt text: these are used to improve site accessibility for people who can’t see images but are also a great way to add a string of text that can catch a reader’s (or crawler’s) attention and draw them in.

A man gestures with his hands at a conference room desk, with his laptop, notebook, and phone open before him.
Technical issues often collide with strategy – that’s when it’s time to rethink and reassess.

PROBLEM: Technical Issues SOLUTION: Time to Troubleshoot

Technical issues on your website can severely impact performance and SEO strategies. In fact, if you’re thinking of site performance and technical details as distinct from your SEO efforts, stop! If a website ranks well, chances are it runs well, too. Crawlers and robots that index your website get confused by messy, unintuitive structures. When they run into issues, they take notes – and your site’s rank is affected accordingly. So, here are a few things to keep in mind when troubleshooting your site to work out potential issues.

Are You Mobile-Friendly?

Google’s index is now mobile-first. This means that they prioritize the mobile version of a site over the desktop version. Simply put, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, i.e., responsive, adaptive, and functional across a range of screens and devices, you’re going to have trouble ranking.

Slow Page Loading Time

High-speed Internet is the gold standard for web browsing. Users want to digest content and navigate sites quickly. But if a page takes too long to load, users will go elsewhere. In fact, Google themselves recommend a maximum load time of 2.5 seconds – but they strive for 0.5 seconds or less.

Broken Links

Broken links are born from typos and human error. Sometimes you rename a page and forget to update 301 redirects – it happens. But returning a 404 error is giving Google’s bots a dead end when you want them to crawl as much of your site as possible. And returning a 404 kills all the good SEO karma you’ve built up with that URL. From an SEO perspective, they’re not great. From a user experience perspective, they’re even worse. A user hitting a 404 error means, at best, they’re bouncing back to a home page and starting their search again. Maybe they’ll find their way to the right page, or maybe they’ll hit the error again. Chances are they’ll bounce at that point, though. At worst, a user will hit a 404 error and bail entirely to find their info elsewhere. Take the time to crawl your own site and double-check your links. This is much easier on smaller sites, but even a 15-page site can become cumbersome if you’re interlinking pages. Try using a crawling tool to return any 404s or broken links and take the time to fix them up with new links or 301 redirects to preserve traffic.

A frustrated young woman chews a pencil as she glares at her laptop screen.
301 redirects prevent this exact reaction from causing users to bounce.

Site Security

If you haven’t made the switch over to HTTPS from HTTP, your site isn’t on the Google-preferred secure connection. This could hurt your rankings and send signals to your users to run away. We’re serious – you know those “Not Secure” warnings Chrome, Google, and other engines and browsers give you? How often do you actually click through despite the warnings? HTTPS helps you avoid all these issues and keeps users feeling relaxed and at ease when using your site. Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS is time-consuming but working with a knowledgeable SEO agency and web development team can make the process smooth and seamless.

NOTE: Google considers HTTPS migration a site move with a URL change. As such, you’ll likely see some change in your traffic temporarily – this is totally normal, and your numbers will recover.

PROBLEM: Weak Content SOLUTION: Content and Backlink Strategies

This is the meat-and-potatoes stuff. Content is, at its core, a delivery system for SEO. It’s how it’s packaged, and how you put SEO into practice. Your content strategy should cover a significant part of who you – or rather, your business or site – are. Backlink strategies are much more complex. These efforts focus on building, well, backlinks to your site – links from other locations that refer to you as an authority and source of information. Building backlinks can be a full-time job in its own right, but there are still a few things you can do that will help your efforts with an SEO agency further down the road.

Developing Authority with Original Content

If you’re still operating on the assumption that “good” content depends on exact matches for keywords, it’s time to get up to speed. We discussed this earlier, but basically, you’re not trying to cram in as many variations on a given keyword as possible. Sure, it’ll let Google know what you’re trying to rank for, but it’s not enough to throw in your chosen keywords and leave it to the crawlers. Content should support your brand by developing authority through useful, relevant information that helps users meet their needs. We recommend developing a clear content strategy to help support your SEO. Effective content is a massive boon for your brand, as you’re providing meaningful info that addresses user needs. Measuring your strategy’s success using key metrics and quantifiable data helps you rework and retool the things that aren’t doing so hot. Chances are when developing your site’s content, you’ve spent some time researching what the competition is doing. Maybe you see an approach you like, and you want to use something similar. People spin content all the time, especially with high-ranking pages and highly competitive markets. But there’s a fine line between taking an idea and putting your own spin on it and running a quick find-and-replace program to sneak things in under the radar. As an agency, we’ve come across sites that try it all, and we can tell you one thing for certain: it doesn’t work. Duplicated content might not bear a strict penalty from a search engine, but it won’t get any of the valuable link juice or authority of the original content. Remember, if it’s copied from somewhere else, that other location has already been indexed and ranked by Google’s bots. You’re using the same content but at a severe disadvantage from the get-go. Our rule of thumb? If you want to rank (and outrank) the pages you think are doing it right, your stuff needs to be ten times better. Take the time to do the research, do the work, and create something unique that speaks to your audience and reflects your business and experience. Inform, educate, and…

Build Backlinks

A backlink strategy takes time to research, plan, and implement. Some businesses offer it as a full-time service and employ teams whose entire job is to build backlinks from other sites and locations to your own site. It’s challenging, time-consuming, and sometimes incredibly stressful, but it can generate some seriously impressive results. Essentially, backlinks are links back to your website. That’s it. And on the surface, that might seem incredibly straightforward. In practice, how do you build natural, organic links from other sites and communities?

A wearing a suit giving a thumbs-up to the camera.
Links are a way of giving a thumbs-up to a website, sort of like citations or votes in favour of a given page. This signals to Google, “Hey, this is worth checking out and has some value.”
We like to think of links as votes – Each link to your site is a vote in its favour. Each link you include to another site is a vote in that site’s favour. It’s a combination of cold call-style outreach, syndication, and social sharing – not to mention significant backend analysis and research. On your end, you need to:

  • Use best-practices anchor text for links – and not just on keyword strings!
  • Link in kind – choose the sites you link out to carefully, as they’ll reflect on your site in turn.
  • Develop relationships and partnerships with other sites – AKA outreach!

And that’s just the start of it! Meanwhile, you need the sites linking back to you to follow similar guidelines. In time, you can develop editorial links (like the links you might find in a blog), manual links based on relationships you build business-to-business, and links in forums, blog comments, and much, much more. Backlinks from other websites are good for your site’s rankings, but only with quality backlinks from high-ranking, trustworthy, and relevant websites. It’s easier said than done (and a lot can be said about backlinks), but it helps to know where to start.

PROBLEM: What’s Next? SOLUTION: Keep At It!

At long last, our final tip: SEO isn’t a fire-and-forget process. You’ve got to keep at it! Optimization is ongoing, with regular checks, monitoring, and updates to adjust as needed. Analytics provide tremendous insight into how your site is performing and can give a clear indication of how a strategy is playing out. See what’s working and what isn’t so you can keep improving. Don’t let mistakes slow you down! Remember, Eric Clapton didn’t arrive on the scene a fully-formed guitar god. He had years of practice and development. You can even hear him improve over time. We’re not saying you’re guaranteed to be the Clapton of SEO – but you’ll improve, too. Chances are you’re going to make some all-too-common mistakes with your SEO efforts, especially if you’re just starting with the process. That’s okay! It’s not the end of the world, and you can always check in with a few dependable experts at a local SEO agency to help you get back on track.

read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *