Google / Bing – if you want sites to follow guidelines, make it fair

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Duanne Foster of Bing came out and spoke against artificial link building. You can read the full post here. In summary, Bing appears to be gearing up to take action against people getting links for the sake of ranking. I can understand taking action against Black Hats that are doing what they can to spam… Read more »

Duanne Foster of Bing came out and spoke against artificial link building. You can read the full post here.

In summary, Bing appears to be gearing up to take action against people getting links for the sake of ranking.

I can understand taking action against Black Hats that are doing what they can to spam the engines for irrelevant sites. However, what about the legitimate website owner who has absolutely no chance of ever ranking against large companies with huge PR budgets. These companies by default have a very natural linking profile. However, the little guy, with very little marketing budget, has no hope.

Google and Bing can continuously pitch that they are trying to level the playing field. However, what they are doing is the exact opposite. Most commercial searches done are full of big box sites dominating ranking as their smaller counterpart doesn’t have enough links or they were penalized for simply trying to compete against them.

I hope one of these days they wake up to this massive imbalance and give some power back to the little guy.

CRO is Imperative for Any Successful Paid Search Campaign

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A couple weeks ago our CRO Director Keith Lovgren wrote an excellent piece on “5 CRO Tools That Make Conversion Rate Optimization Better”. I wanted to follow up on this and why I think CRO is important for the success of any Paid Search campaign. Over the years I have managed hundreds of Paid Search… Read more »

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A couple weeks ago our CRO Director Keith Lovgren wrote an excellent piece on “5 CRO Tools That Make Conversion Rate Optimization Better”. I wanted to follow up on this and why I think CRO is important for the success of any Paid Search campaign.

Over the years I have managed hundreds of Paid Search accounts with very little emphasis on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).  This always blew my mind considering the amount of money that was being poured into Paid Search.

Clients were willing to spend thousands and thousands of dollars into buying quality traffic but rarely analyzed the on page experience once the traffic, at times as much as $50 per visitor, landed on their site.

Getting the relevant person to your website is only the beginning of a successful Paid Search campaign.

With the online space more competitive than ever, and the ability to compare retailers and service providers with ease, it has become very challenging for advertisers to generate a “converting” user.

On many occasions I was at the mercy of a website that was not optimized for conversions, crossing my fingers that somehow we would be able to generate a lead or a sale.

Many times website owners focus on the aesthetics of a site instead of the user experience. It’s a mistake that costs them money on a daily basis.

Once a user gets to your website, we need to maintain consistency, relevancy and usability in order to ensure we don’t lose customers that we just paid for.

I compare this to a brick and mortar store; just because you get people into your store does not necessarily mean they are going to make a purchase.

You need to create an experience that resonates with the customer whether that is customer service, product placement, product demos, self -checkouts, etc.

For example, the Apple store is designed to facilitate the user experience by encouraging customers to engage with their products. Their laptops, iPads, iPhones and iPods are set up to encourage a passerby to experience & use their products.  Grocery stores display candy bars and magazines in the checkout line to facilitate impulse purchases.

These retailers have “optimized” the customer experience and maximized the probability of every single customer into making a purchase.

Here at Incubate, we are constantly testing new layouts, content, offers, headlines, images etc. on an ongoing basis so that we can maximize revenue and ROI for our clients.

Optimizing is a never ending process, just like brick and mortar retailers who are constantly testing the consumer experience.   With the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) being well understood in the Paid Search world there is going to be a point where there is only so much we can do (search query analysis, new ad copy, bid optimizations, day parting, geo targeting, etc.)  to move the needle with any significance.

At the end of the day, if you are not optimizing your on page experience you are leaving money on the table.

Give us a call to assess your website.  We’d be happy to help optimize your traffic and on page experience.

The Problems With Selling Lower Priced Point Items Online

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Long ago, in an internet day far far away, you could very easily sell a $30 or lower price point product online. These were the days when traffic was cheap and getting your site ranked in the search engine organic rankings were practically guaranteed. Those days are over. The average cost per visitor through paid… Read more »

Long ago, in an internet day far far away, you could very easily sell a $30 or lower price point product online. These were the days when traffic was cheap and getting your site ranked in the search engine organic rankings were practically guaranteed.

Those days are over. The average cost per visitor through paid means (sponsored search and paid media) is nearing $2.00 a click (compared to $.50 per click in 2000). SEO is now much less predictable and often times takes much longer than it did in the past. It is certainly more difficult and not something you can build a business exclusively around anymore.

The biggest issue is that despite the increased cost in traffic, conversions haven’t really moved up at all. Unless you are a big brand, or you do a tremendous amount of off-line direct response advertising, the highest you are going to convert at is in the 2-4% range. Meaning, for every 100 visitors you pay for, at the very most, you are going to convert 4 of them into a buyer (the average is closer to 2% for a product under $50).

So if you do the math, the picture looks bleak:

1. Cost per visitor of $1.00 (Probably higher, but trying to no be so doom and gloom)
2. If you convert at 3%, it will take you $33 to create a purchase.

How on earth is a retailer to live off of a net-loss margin? There are a couple of options for you:

1.Continuity – have something that someone needs on an on-going basis. Figure out a way to bill monthly or quarterly.
2.Upsell into other peoples products – After someone checks out on your site, offer up a complimentary product from another company. You have seen this probably with magazines.
3.Sell in packages. If you can get away with it, force people to purchase 2 or 3 products.
4.Dangle Free Shipping – Find a price point that makes you profitable, and dangle a free shipping coupon if their order hits that number.