Archive for category SEO
Google is taking the biggest step towards its own social network (without actually building its own social network) then it has ever dared to with the “+1″ button release. As much as it appears to be a copycat of Facebook “Like” that’s already become a web standard, Google’s biggest selling point for this feature may be the ability for users to filter search results into something more manageable. The +1 icon will start to appear throughout Google’s search engine allowing you to instantly review what you have just read. To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful for the +1’s to then start appearing in Google’s search results. (See demonstrative illustration below)
Google, explain it In their own words by saying “for example, you’re planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif. When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area”. You will be able to control items you’ve +1′d and you’ll be able to share pages with everything you’ve +1′d also, but remember that anything (and EVERYTHING) you’ve +1′d can show up in Google’s search results for all to see. Of course, at the end of the day, search is still the one place where Google dominates. Enhancing search to make the results more relevant is central to Google’s strategy. So undoubtedly this will take off, however, not without its obstacles.Obstacle 1. Google said it plans to work with Web sites to get +1 buttons on those sites the same way that Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons appear. Until that’s part of the equation, +1 is an incomplete tool. People want to recommend sites that they’ve visited and like – not the ones they found in search results as they have yet to formulate their opinion of said site at that point.
Obstacle 2. Facebookers have shown to love “liking” a site/email etc as they know it’s like telling their friends and acquaintances that they’re happy to promote that site or email article or video etc, without having to justify why into context. For me, my friends know that I’m a digital geek so a “like” from me, the person they know (and see as reputable… well maybe not) on means something to them (I hope). Moving this logic over to people around the Internet who I don’t know putting their “+1″ stamp on my search topics, it doesn’t do much for me.
Overall, as Google’s answer to the “like” button +1 was an inevitable catch up move. We can’t always be the first to market with concept, though I can’t help but think it would have been better if it had been rolled out as a button on individual web pages, instead of on the results pages. Given all of the other enhancements that Google has done to get Web searchers out of the results page and into the sites they’re seeking out, it doesn’t seem that users will really get to know +1 right away.
Although affiliate marketing is a high volume area which should not be avoided by marketers I have my own personal reservations with regards to affiliate companies and programmes and the possible cannibalisation of your existing loyal consumers. In the past I dealt with a reputable company of 25+ years which back in the early 90’s successfully evolved their business from a catalogue and postal order based selling strategy to a cross-channel sales strategy which included various new and exciting (at the time ) digital marketing disciplines. Currently, in the TwenTeens (My take on this decade’s abbreviation) the company sells products to a diverse range of young and old consumers. They rely on regular purchasing as a result of their weekly email broadcasts, monthly snail mail catalogues and PPC marketing campaigns.
2007 and business was great; we had managed to drive their email and pay per click ROI’s to an all time high and very much enjoyed watching the revenue tracker tick over month on month. As all was peachy in the Email, PPC and SEO marketing of their brand the most intriguing revenue channel to explore at the time was affiliate marketing.
It’s simple! They bring you ‘X’ amount of clicks which gets ‘X’ conversions and you pay them a small percentage accordingly. All involved parties make a return on their initial investment. Great, what could be better?
Although it started off small, over a few months we saw a gradual but significant ramp up of affiliate traffic and conversions which seemed very promising and rewarding at the time. What we also realised a few months later was that on the flip-side there was a gradual decrease in Paid and Natural search conversions.
Let me explain. You have a database of regular purchasers, each month they search on Google (as you do) to find your brands website. The first paid and natural search results will (most likely) display your brand. You then decide to take on affiliate companies to promote your brand and the results start looking different. Now the first paid or natural search results may be the affiliate company offering your product at a slightly reduced rate and you find yourself competing to get the top spot.
Based on this, what your brand suffers from is an existing long time customer who has always been more than happy to pay the full price for your products now finding the same goods at a lower price or with an incentive to go through the affiliate site which you then pay commission to.
In many instances the affiliate companies will have more in their budget to punt your brand on Google than you are willing to part with. After further investigation and cross referencing who the buyers were we terminated all affiliate activity and took back full control of the brand.
In conclusion, companies should carefully research who they affiliate themselves with. My advice is to keep clear of the larger players and cash back type companies.
Let me know if you have found similar instances where crossing channels has caused more damage than success.
When last did you pay the full price for a pizza?
Are online shoppers becoming wiser or possibly more desperate to find the exact deal that they have in mind when searching the web for these coupons and voucher codes? Is it due to this that they are now referencing brand names directly into their coupon/voucher related search terms?
It may be thanks to the younger more tech savvy bargain hunters that websites such as MoneySavingExpert, MyVoucherCodes and www.vouchercodes.co.uk are seeing a decrease in the overall voucher search traffic? Based on more intelligent and targeted search terms being used I believe these are certainly contributors to the turnaround. From my experience and in my humble opinion this may stem from users searching for a voucher code or discount coupon, being led to a voucher code affiliate site and not finding the discount deal that they are looking for.
Try searching the exact term ‘Voucher code’. You will notice that the natural and paid search results are flooded with affiliate based coupon/voucher code sites. Then scroll down and take a look at the related search terms below these results as shown in this image. >>
We can see the way that larger high street brands to the likes of Burger King, McDonalds and Pizza Hut purposefully adapt their coupon, voucher code marketing strategies to avoid any relation in online searches and terms. They pay close attention to what the prospective and rather hungry individual may discover when they journey towards making their online choices.
As I am admittedly not a search expert, I would like to hear the view on this from industry experts, please comment on this post or send us an email directly to email@example.com if you would like to share your views on this topic.