Smart Solutions Blog
Happy Holidays & Happy New Year from the Smart Solutions team. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients and partners for the past year. 2013 has been a great year for us, we look forward to a better year in 2014.
We will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day. Needing After Hours Support? Fill out our After Hours Support form.
Although searching the Internet, watching YouTube videos and reading blogs is a great way to learn more about web marketing, there’s nothing like sitting down in a lecture hall and having people like Danny Sullivan or Marty Weintraub speak to you about the latest updates and information in the search marketing world.
Another thing that surfing the Internet for new information doesn’t provide for you: Networking opportunities. As great as Twitter and Facebook might be—they simply don’t offer you the chance to shake someone’s hand at a meet and greet, like these conferences do.
Here are just a few coming up that we think are worth your time and money!
October 1 – 3, 2013
The SMX conference series is lead by Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman. Need we say more? They’re both editors and writers for Search Engine Land, and just really knowledgeable people when it comes to SEO, PPC, Social Media and all things web marketing.
October 14 – 15, 2013
This conference is right in our backyard, and we love it! Every year, they put on a great event—and as a sponsor, we get the chance to offer an awesome WebCAM discount with our promo code SMARTZ! Some big names in the marketing world are coming this year, and Bend in October is pretty awesome. Join us!
Pubcon Las Vegas
October 21 – 25, 2013
Pubcon is the longest of the web marketing conferences on this list—a full four days of workshops, trainings and lectures in every aspect of online marketing. This conference has ten different tracks on the last three days, and even has Matt Cutts as a keynote!
Past October, there are still a lot of great web marketing conferences! Check out the History of SEO site for more events.
From Smart Solutions
Last week we talked about structured data inside Google Webmaster—specifically through the Data Highlighter tool. Today, we’re going a little deeper into what structured data really is, and how to implement it directly onto your website.
What is Structured Data?
Structured data consists of tags within your website’s HTML that help Google and other search engines learn a little more about what’s happening on your pages. There are hundreds of different types of code that you can implement to make structured data work on your site, and as Google starts using it more and more, sites should start using it, as well.
Where Can I Get Examples of Markup?
Google suggests a few different websites to get started on structured data markup, but Schema.org is one of the best sites to help you learn. The full hierarchy list is available for browsing through different types of structured data, and you can choose from the list what type of markup fits your site.
A good place to start is the LocalBusiness tag. This is for companies with a location page that lists addresses, opening hours, telephone numbers and that sort of thing. If you read our article on the Data Highlighter, you’ll see that this is available for tagging in the Data Highlighter tool, as well.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the LocalBusiness Schema.org page, you’ll see examples of the markup that they’ve included for a few different types of businesses and business pages. These are the tags that you would add to your page in order to complete the structured data markup. We’ve included one example of theirs below.
How Do I Know if My Structured Data is Working?
So now that you’ve got it in place… how do you figure out if it’s working or not? Google makes it easy. Check out their Structured Data Testing Tool, enter your URL, and figure out if the tags you used are showing up for Google.
Any questions? Ask us in the comments! (Want something a little less complicated? Try the Data Highlighter!)
From Smart Solutions
Google likes things structured. They look for patterns within your site that they can recognize—addresses, articles, phone numbers and the like: pieces of data that are always in the same order. For the most part, Google can recognize these patterns of information, but there’s nothing wrong with giving them a little help.
That’s where the Data Highlighter comes in. Located in your Google Webmaster tools under SEARCH APPEARANCE, Google’s Data Highlighter is available for people less certain of their HTML skills, to show Google how to crawl their site—without actually setting up structured data.
We’ll discuss structured data in a later blog post, but for now—let’s talk about the Data Highlighter.
What to Use the Data Highlighter On
Google, as of now, has a limited number of items that the Data Highlighter tool will work on. The current list is below.
- Local businesses
- Software applications
- TV episodes
How to Use the Data Highlighter
Open up your Google Webmaster account and navigate to the Data Highlighter section, as shown in the top image.
- Choose the specific page you’d like to highlight, and the type of information that exists on that page
- You can also choose whether you’d like to highlight the data on just the one page, or other pages like it, as well. You’ll have the option to choose the other pages later in the process.
- Now you see your page! Highlight text, images and URLs to fit the data items, and when you’re done, hit PUBLISH in the top right corner.
- If you’ve chosen to highlight just one page, you’re done! If you’ve chosen to tag more like it, you have a few more steps, including highlighting several other example pages.
Although you probably won’t see the results of your data highlighting for a while, Google is integrating structured data more and more—and the best time to get familiar with it is now!
Looking for more advanced ways of showing Google your website’s data? Check out our post on structured data.
From Smart Solutions
The world of AdWord extensions is a vast and varied one. In the old days of PPC, it was simple. A nice text ad, a few lines, a URL. Nowadays, Google offers a wide range of PPC extensions that can help your ad to stand out.
Listed below are Google’s current PPC ad extensions, as well as a few that they’re only starting to roll out.
AdWords Call Extensions
In this ever-growing world of mobile marketing, the AdWords call extension has become an invaluable commodity. While the call extension can certainly work for big corporations, it’s ideal for small to medium-sized local companies. This extension shows up when a Googler is using their smartphone to research. All they have to do is click to call your business!
Pricing-wise, the price for a mobile phone call will be the same as if someone clicked through your ad to the website, and the extension costs nothing to run with your ad.
Location Extensions for Ads
As with the call extension above, location extensions cost nothing extra to run, only the regular CPC. What the location extension offers for your PPC ad is an option for the Googler to expand your listing and see where you’re located. Obviously, this extension is only meant for businesses with a physical location. Being able to see where your business is on the map is a great boost for Googlers searching for nearby businesses. This extension also offers a phone number and the options to get directions.
Ad Offer Extensions
The ad offer extension is exactly what it says it is—the ability to attach an offer to your PPC ad, and market it to the people searching your targeted keywords. You can add your own offer dates and restrictions, but everything is of course subject to Google’s own rules and regulations.
Sitelinks are a favorite AdWords extension. This extension appears at the bottom of your PPC ad, and shows links to whichever pages of your site you submit to Google AdWords. You can choose ot make these sale items, highly desired pages or latest blog posts—whatever you see fit for your ad.
The cost per click for sitelinks is the same as if they clicked the headline of your ad.
Social Annotations for AdWords
With all the focus that Google has poured into Google+ lately, they would of course offer a social media extension within Google AdWords—although only for Google+. There are several requirements for this particular ad extension—and it isn’t as easy to set up as the others.
You have to make sure that your company Google+ page is linked to your website (the same site you use for AdWords), and that you are fairly active within your Google+ profile. To Google, this means over 100 followers, recent posts and high quality photos.
Seller Ratings on Text Ads
If your site is active in Google Shopping, the seller ratings extension could be a great one for your AdWords campaigns! Google takes the reviews and ratings from Google Shopping, and aggregates them with other review websites on your ad. Distribution of this feature is automatic, based on different aspects of reviews your business has gotten and what your business sells. In order for this to work, your company name and business URL must be consistent across review sites.
New and Upcoming Ad Extensions from AdWords
Google AdWords has a few updates in the queue for their PPC ads, and these are two items that aren’t super well known yet. We can’t wait to use these in the future!
PPC Review Extensions
This new review feature in AdWords is clearly aimed toward larger companies that can get reviews from reliable 3rd party sources. This isn’t like seller reviews, like we talked about earlier—this is for written reviews, and sentences of praise to feature in your ad. The character limit is 67, and we still have no word yet on what sources would be considered reputable. Search Engine Land does a great job of explaining this AdWords extension a little more.
Picture Extensions for Ads
The new picture extensions that AdWords is rolling out slowly really caught our attention! This could grab a company a top notch spot on the Google SERP. It looks like these images currently appear above the other PPC ads, at the very top of the page. This would be a great way to get more interest to your PPC ad. Search Engine Watch explains this new feature more.
AdWords offers a lot of options for extensions on your business PPC campaign, and it’s a great way to get more interest in your ad, and help Googlers find you more easily.
If you’re looking into building a PPC campaign, let us help! Give us a call, or contact the team, and we can get you started, or run your entire AdWords campaign for you!
From Smart Solutions
No matter how user-friendly and easy-to-navigate your site is, there will always be someone who puts in the wrong address—mistyping the URL, or clicking on a broken link from another site. It happens to every website: 404 errors.
What are 404 Errors?
You’ll get a 404 error when you type in a URL incorrectly. If the site doesn’t have a page created with the address you typed in, you’ll get a 404 error. Some 404 landing pages are funny and some are simple, like in the examples above—but when you get one, it simply means, something went wrong. The most likely case is that the URL in your address bar was typed incorrectly, although it could be that the webmaster deleted the page you were trying to access, or changed the URL.
Fixing a 404 Error on Your Website
If you’ve found or been alerted to a 404 error on your company website, you’ll want to fix it right away. You can do that by finding the source of the mistyped link and editing that, or by putting a 301 redirect in place. A 301 redirect will simply take the incorrect link and direct it toward the correct web address of your choosing.
If you are changing a URL on your website, deleting a page, or moving a page to different part of the site, a 301 redirect MUST be put in place. If people have bookmarked that page or linked to it from another website, not putting a redirect in place could result in lost customers. It’s important to take the time to make sure they get to the right place.
Another reason a 301 redirect should be put in place when a page is moved or changed is because link equity is involved. If Google has assigned a certain amount of link equity on that page, the equity will be passed along with the redirect.
When is a 404 Error Okay?
There are cases in which a 404 error is fine to leave un-redirected. When you’ve removed content that doesn’t relate to anything else on your website, letting them land on your helpful 404 Landing Page with a search box, or links to other content is perfectly acceptable. In general (and every case is different), if you can’t think of any place that a 404 error should redirect to, let your visitors land on your 404 landing page. An article from Rand Fishkin of Moz has some great information on which URLs to redirect and which to let 404.
How to Stop 404 Errors from Happening
There’s no way to stop a 404 error from happening on your site—but there are ways to catch them fast! If you use Google Webmaster Tools, they’ll alert you when there’s a sharp increase of 404 errors on your website. If you monitor it on a regular (monthly or weekly) basis, you can keep these at bay by redirecting them as they happen.
The other step you can take to make sure you aren’t losing your customers through 404 errors is to make sure they aren’t STOPPED by that error page, by providing a well thought-out 404 landing page. Mashable gives you its most important links at the top, and lets you search for the page you were hoping to find. Pinterest gives you a quick link to get back to the Pinterest homepage. On our site (and most of the sites we build), we like to give website visitors a friendly 404 landing page that helps them find whatever they were looking for quickly.
When it comes to your own site, it’s important to monitor your 404 errors regularly—and that’s something that we do for our web marketing clients. We’d love to chat with you more about our web marketing strategies and how we can help you! Give us a call or fill out our easy contact form.
Any more questions about 404 errors or 301 redirects? Let us know in the comments!
From Smart Solutions
On this blog, we discuss a lot of aspects of web marketing, but if there’s one thing that we can never stress enough, it’s the importance of continuing with SEO practices and tactics on an ongoing basis. Web marketing today is never “complete,” and it’s time we stopped treating it that way. User behaviors and search engine algorithms are changing on a regular basis, and we need to have SEO plans that can be as flexible and changeable as they are.
Ongoing Content Marketing
This item—ongoing copywriting—has become one of the highest priorities for web marketing in the past few years. As you’ll hear repeated across the web far and wide—”Content is King.”
Creating unique content has become even more important since Google’s Penguin and Panda updates became more regular. While gaining links is still of value in SEO, it has become much more difficult to gain links that Google won’t consider cheap.
Ongoing content marketing can help you keep your website up to date, while also giving Google’s spiders something to chew on every time they visit.
Ongoing PPC Adjustments
Managing a PPC campaign is a hands-on process. Many businesses don’t realize the hours of preparation and management that go into keeping an AdWords campaign fine-tuned and running smoothly. Like most items in the web marketing world, ongoing PPC adjustments are a necessity. If you have a PPC campaign running, make sure you’re checking in on performance on at least a weekly basis—although we typically monitor our campaigns day to day. This isn’t something you can just set to run and let continue throughout the year!
What kinds of things should be happening in your AdWords account? Keyword expansion, bid optimization, negative keyword research and ad text optimization are a few areas that can always use updating, according to a recent post on Search Engine Land.
Ongoing Social Media Engagement
How many times can we repeat ourselves in one blog post? Social Media, like copywriting and PPC, is an ongoing process that ends exactly never. Checking up on your Twitter channel for replies, or your Facebook timeline for direct messages, can be a daily occurrence for many companies. While keeping up with social media accounts can be time-consuming and seem expendable, building up your brand never is. Take the time to log in and get your voice heard on a regular basis. You won’t regret it in the long run.
Ongoing SEO Services
At Smart Solutions, we understand user behavior and changing algorithms—and that’s why we offer web marketing plans that can be as flexible as they need to be. From 8 to 800 hours a month, we can set up a web marketing plan for your business that includes ongoing SEO in all of its forms.
Call us or email the web marketing team to set up an appointment!
From Smart Solutions
We, as business owners and marketing teams, are always looking for new ways to market our products and services. Whether it’s starting a Pinterest account or putting up flyers all over town—we understand the value of widening marketing avenues and we want to get our products into the right hands. Wanelo is one new and interesting way for ecommerce websites to grow their followings.
What is Wanelo?
Wanelo started in 2010, and has had a steady growth since their initial launch. Wanelo functions as an online shopping site—aggregating and pulling in great content from a variety of different online stores—everything from jewelry to bedding to posters is featured on the site, and many of the top online shops around the country have a presence there.
Wanelo vs. Pinterest
An initial look at Wanelo will remind many people of Pinterest. Wanelo operates off of the same “visual social network” idea, but it caters to a different group of people: it caters to consumers with actual buyer intent. While Pinterest contains infographics and DIY projects and travel destinations—Wanelo is strictly online shopping.
When your potential customers are browsing Pinterest, they could be looking at or for any number of things—when they’re on Wanelo, they’re ready to shop.
Is Wanelo Right for my Business?
Wanelo marketing is currently only relevant for companies that have online stores. Makeup brands, swimsuit manufacturers and scrapbook craft providers are all companies that could benefit from a presence on Wanelo. Posting your products on Wanelo and interacting with other users is a great way to get your name and your products out there.
The target audience for Wanelo is women, and the majority of their followers are girls from between their teen years and their thirties. If your business’s target audience is the same, there is no excuse to hold back! Create a Wanelo store account, and start posting your products! Be sure to be social (it IS a social network, after all), post other things and be interesting—make your profile stand out!
Wanelo offers some great tips for store owners on their website, and if you’re interested in setting up a social media plan with Smart Solutions, we’d love to help you figure Wanelo out! Give us a call or contact our web marketing team to set up a meeting.
From Smart Solutions
You probably have heard that Google has upgraded AdWords by rolling out Enhanced Campaigns. The announcement is significant because all advertisers who currently use AdWords must transfer their campaigns to the new format by mid-2013. While advertisers have mixed feelings about the new format, there are definitely some pluses for multi-channel (online and offline) local businesses. Before we share the two biggest pluses, let us first explain Google’s rationale for the change.
Google’s Rationale for New AdWords Campaign
Google, in partnership with Nielsen, found that consumers are increasingly moving fluidly between devices throughout their day to search, shop and progress with buying decision. This new “constantly connected consumer” is bringing advertisers the opportunity to target them more relevantly based on added context, i.e., time of day, general location, and the type of device they are using. Each context signal, they believe, provides powerful insights into what a prospect might be looking for and where they are in the researching and buying cycle.
Now for the pluses for local businesses.
First: Chance to Geotarget Prospects nearest You
Potentially, you can improve your Adwords results by using a broad target location in unison with bid refinement in select areas. Before, you had to set up a new campaign for every location you wanted to bid differently on. Now, with enhanced campaigns, you can reach those most likely to stop-by, shop and buy from you by increasing or lowering bids based on a target location. The sample below shows an adjusted—and higher—bid for 2.0 miles around each location extension.
Second: More Offline Purchases with Offer extensions
Timing is everything when it comes to an offer. With new offer extensions, you can drive offline purchases and higher foot traffic with a redeemable offer shown on your search ads across devices. When a prospect clicks on your offer, they will see details including your company brand and your locations, plus how they can redeem the offer.
Smart Solutions is helping businesses of all sizes embrace the new campaign format and evolve their marketing strategy to take advantage of the new Adwords campaign. We can help you too reach customers nearest you and drive more online/offline purchases. Contact us for more.
From Smart Solutions
Yesterday morning, we were excited to get an email announcing the analytics tool that we’ve been waiting for—Pinterest Web Analytics seem to have come along with the new Pinterest update.
This is a feature that business Pinterest users have been anticipating for some time, and the wait is finally over! We’ve started exploring through the data, and we’re pretty impressed with what they have to offer.
Analytics only go back until November of 2012, but from then on, you’ve got a pretty good list of how you’ve been performing on Pinterest. You can only view analytics if your site is verified through Pinterest.
Pinterest analytics give you four different categories—your basic site metrics, most recent pins, the most repined of pictures from your site, and the most clicked images to get back to your website. You can also export the data, through the button on the end.
Go exploring for yourself! Make sure your site is verified, and then click around through the analytics Pinterest offers and get familiarized with it. This is going to be a great tool as times goes on, so the time to understand it is now! If you’d like some help managing your business Pinterest account, contact us and we can put together a plan.