Smart Solutions Blog
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.
From Smart Solutions
Social media channels don’t stay the same for long—this is a fact that anyone who has had a Facebook for longer than a year knows. They update on a regular basis and there’s no reason to not embrace the change.
However, every change comes with a few ups and downs, and when it comes to marketing on Pinterest, these are the changes that you’ll need to be on the lookout for.
Update on Pinterest Updates:
Aww, shucks, Pinterest changed on us! They’re still in the process of updating all their new features and it looks like links and hashtags are once again clickable inside Pin Descriptions!
We’re looking forward to what other changes Pinterest throws our way too!
Pinterest Updated Links in Pin Descriptions
This is probably one of the biggest deals for people marketing on Pinterest. If you’re simply pinning for fun on your personal profile, this isn’t a big deal. If you’ve used the pin description to link to your website content, it’s a big deal. This side by side comparison (a random pin we found on our Pinterest Home Page) shows the difference. Even hashtags are no longer clickable. Once Pinterest officially goes to the new look, you’ll only be able to navigate to the original site that the image was pinned from.
Pinterest Changed the Way Profiles Look
While the new Pinterest profile doesn’t look very different, there are some significant changes. One of the major ones that we’re not particularly fond of is the way the URLs are displayed. Although it is a smoother, cleaner look—the verified link back to our site isn’t as pronounced. As you can see in the pictures below, the Pinterest update got rid of the red check mark by the verified website. This drew a lot of attention and clicks, contributing to traffic to the site. We’re going to miss the little red dot.
Do You Like the New Pinterest?
You can preview the new Pinterest and switch back and forth before Pinterest goes official with it. Try it out, play around with the new look and let us know what you think! From a business perspective, do you think the new Pinterest update will work for you?
We manage Pinterest page for pages for several of our web marketing clients, and we’d love to chat with you and see how we can make the social media site work for your business, as well! Contact our web marketing team and we’ll set up a meeting to talk about it!
From Smart Solutions
There’s an ongoing debate inside the online community on whether YouTube or Vimeo is the best video platform, so we thought we’d throw our hat in the ring.
Unfortunately, it’s not a debate that will ever have a definitive answer—it’s simply another question of audience and goals. While YouTube has a significantly larger and wider chunk of visitors, Vimeo holds its own with a particular crowd. Check out what we have to say below and choose for yourself which video platform is best for your business.
Audience – YouTube vs. Vimeo
The YouTube audience tends to be the pop culture crowd. These are the people who are watching trailers for new movies, checking out the latest music videos and uploading videos of their cats doing tricks.
The Vimeo audience puts their emphasis on art, culture and sophistication. A lot of people would call the Vimeo users the “hipster” crowd. People who scroll through Vimeo on a regular basis are usually looking for inspiration for a new project, or checking out their friends’ latest uploads.
Goal – Vimeo and YouTube
After analyzing the audience of the two video platforms, you need to decide what you want to get out of a video platform. Are you showcasing your latest work? Are you trying to promote a product? Are you trying to hold a contest?
If your goal is mainly art-related, or targeted to a small audience of viewers, Vimeo works great. It’s a beautiful platform, allows for longer videos and has a smaller community of more dedicated viewers.
If your goal is to reach the masses, promote a product to the world or get lots of viewers, your best bet is YouTube. It’s the second largest search engine in the world, owned by Google and super easy to use.
Both sites are great for their particular audiences and goals, so there’s no one better to decide which one to use than YOU—the company’s owner.
We’re always open for a chat with you about putting together a video marketing strategy for your company, so give us a call or send us a contact request if you have any questions!
From Smart Solutions
2012 has come to a close, and we’re taking a look back at some of the things that stood out to us this year. A LOT happened last year in SEO and social media—and we can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for us!
Each of these items made a huge impact on web marketing in their own way. And each of them will have a continued impact that we need to be aware of! What should we do about each of these changes? Read below:
The Pinterest Explosion
2012 may forever be known as the year Pinterest took over the world. Since January of 2012, Pinterest users have increased DAILY by 145%. The site gained visitors and users like crazy, and businesses picked up on it pretty quickly. Most major brands now sport a Pinterest page and a large amount of traffic from the website.
What can we learn? Although the Pinterest rush will slow down, it’s a website that many brands should have a presence on. Even if you’re only pinning a few pictures a week, it’s worth it to claim your brand name and keep up to date on things happening there.
This new feature that followed behind Google+ has made an astounding difference in search results. That little picture that shows up beside listings on Google’s SERP has increased click-through rate, rankings and engagement for people implementing it.
Where do we go from here? Google is going to continue integrating the Google Author results, and making Google+ more prominent. Get involved by getting the code on your site and becoming more active on Google+!
And you can add the Smart Solutions Google+ page to your circles, as well!
Mobile Usage Skyrockets
And once again, the numbers are astounding on mobile usage! On our own website, mobile was up 4.9% from last year, taking over 11.3% of our visits. Our customers’ websites ranged anywhere from 8% to 22% more mobile visits over last year.
On the “to do” list for this one is this: get responsive design or a mobile site! Make sure your website looks good, no matter what size of browser is visiting it!
Google Penguin first reared its head in April of this year, and affected sites that had gone overboard with linkbuilding and keyword stuffing. Many sites saw a downfall in visits from search traffic when this algorithm change was implemented.
Going forward, the most important thing we learned from this update was this: the importance of a quality site. Keep your code clean, your title optimized and your content fresh and Google will smile on you. Over-optimize, keyword stuff and build sketchy links and Google will knock your site down in their index.
From Smart Solutions
Here are a few Google Analytics tricks that we love and we think you will too! These are three tools inside Google Analytics that we use on a regular basis, and that you can use to help your reporting and tracking be a little more effective.
Google Analytics Advanced Segments
With the myriad of buttons available for you to click inside the Google Analytics interface, many tend to get left out in reporting and tracking. One of those is the Advanced Segments button. It’s in the top left corner of your analytics screen. By clicking that button and selecting up to four segments, you can see exactly what you want to see—whether you want to track your Paid Search Traffic, Returning Visitors, Visits with Conversions or just Mobile Traffic!
Compare Weeks, Months and Years in Google Analytics
You don’t always just want to look at one set of time when it comes to tracking visitors on your site. Instead of just looking at the month of November, why not see how it compares to the month of October? Or better yet, what about November of last year?
If you choose this option, GA will highlight your traffic from last year in orange, and compare it to this year’s in blue. This is a huge help for businesses who have seasonal traffic, who can’t accurately compare month to month.
A/B Experiments with Google Analytics
If you haven’t set up an A/B test with Google Analytics yet, now is the time! This tool can be found under the Content section in GA, and is probably the best way to figure out what your visitors think about your business website. We wrote a blog post back in 2011 about A/B testing, and we can help you set it up inside Google Analytics if you have any questions!
Those are just three of the many tricks that Google Analytics has to offer. Although we give monthly reports to all of our clients, we definitely suggest that everyone take a look inside their analytics, and learn a little bit more about the visitors browsing the site, how your site is performing and what you could do better!
Contact Smart Solutions for more information on getting a business website that performs better!