July 24th, 2010

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Pay Per Click Marketing (ppc)

Sitelinks: Sweet Little Inducements

Pay Per Click campaigns now have a feature that allows you to “deep link” into a client’s website with your ads to multiple pages — a way to improve your user experience for branding campaigns.

Site links are a list of links to pages within a site that appear right below a listing within the results page — both for paid and organic search results.

Here’s an example from Bing:

Sitelinks on Bing Search Engine

Sitelinks on Bing Search Engine

Some caveats for paid sitelinks:

* Branded terms work best for sitelinks. If necessary, you might have to create a separate campaign just for branded terms, since the sitelinks option is available on a campaign-level basis. This might be a good opportunity to test whether this option actually saves you money on clicks on your branded terms. Use “phrase match” option with these keywords to ensure that the actual branded term is included in the search terms.
* The actual links *must work*. Unfortunately for large megasites, intermittent page errors is a huge problem. If you create a site link to a “Contact Us” page, then make sure that the page actually works. Then, set up a monitoring tool that scans your client’s site for 404 or other errors every day. If you do not, then you run the risk of people clicking on the paid sitelinks — and racking up PPC charges for you — even though the clickers will end up on broken pages.
* Check your metrics. See what are the most popular pages visited by organic and paid visitors– you might be surprised. And yes, the “careers” or “job opportunities” page is probably in the top 5 of visited pages. That’s okay — use those pages for sitelinks anyway.
* In order for the sitelinks to appear, the ads must appear in the first position for paid search results and have a high quality score.

Activating Sitelinks in Google

The first step to activating this feature is logging into your Adwords account, and selecting the campaign on which you would like display site links. From there you will click on “Settings” and scroll down to the “Networks, devices, and extensions” section. (see image below).


In this section, you will click on the “edit” button associated with the “Ads Extensions” category. This will bring up editable fields, where you can manage your Adwords site links.

Good luck! This is a relatively new feature with PPC campaigns, so keep in mind that you will have to monitor and measure their effectiveness against your baseline results before you separated the branded terms.

Competitive Market Research: Using Google Insights

A competitive intelligence report is one of the first items that we create for our new clients. Gaining a perspective about how an industry is doing online — and what competitors are up to — is invaluable.

Competitive intelligence will give us guidance on how to proceed — what items should take priority with our time and focus in an internet marketing campaign.

Once more, clients love (and when I say love, I mean they perk up during conference calls and pepper us with questions) to hear what their dread competitors are up to. Competitive intelligence will often produce little nuggets that can prompt wider changes in a client’s operations — such as product development, customer service and branding. Here are some scenarios that can occur when you present a competitive intelligence report to your bosses:

a) Your client, a travel agency is informed that its rival is spending a lot of time and energy in marketing African Safari packages. That sparks a discussion among the sales staff about investigating the demand for this service and how to create an alternative African safari package that is marketed online.

b) A competitive intelligence report shows that a rival countertop dealer is focusing its sales efforts on mobile home dealers and repair shops. In order to differentiate the client’s services from its rival, the client decides to focus its sales efforts on owners of new homes.

There are plenty of tools out there to use to gleam data for online competitive intelligence reports for our online marketing clients. I first head to the Google insights tool to give me some ideas. The initial search box allows you to target search trends by geography, time, search type and topic category. In this example, I wanted to see how different keywords that the ArcherSEM is optimized for (online marketing, digital marketing, internet marketing), and how search trends have changed over the last 18 months in the Phoenix area. The reason – ArcherSEM is a Phoenix online marketing agency, after all. Here’s the image of the dropdown box:

Online Competitive Intelligence Tool

And then the results:

Google Insights Tool for research

Hmmm. This shows us that the search term “internet marketing” has become the top term, over time. We will use that for our own internal optimization purposes. Sweet!

July 1st, 2010

Posted in
Pay Per Click Marketing (ppc)

Metrics and Google Location Features

Small businesses with many retail locations face unique challenges with tracking the results of their Pay Per Click campaigns.

Geo-targeting internet marketing campaigns can work — but up to a point. Google now has new features to help track results of Pay Per Click campaigns with a little bit more accuracy — allowing our crack team (okay — we’ll call them very talented) of online marketing specialists here to tweak campaigns and provide valuable marketing intelligence to our clients.

First: a little explanation about the differences between Google Places and Google extensions. With a Google Places account, a small business with a geographic location (ie: a store or office) can appear for free on Google maps. Google Places will help feature a business’s address, phone number and other interesting tidbits about a business — without charge.

A Google address extension is a feature added on to text Google Pay Per Click ads. There is no additional cost to this feature (yet), which allows you to type in the addresses of up to 10 business locations in an ad. We use this feature for our Phoenix online marketing clients who might have multiple locations in the Phoenix valley. We set the geo-targeting for the greater Phoenix DMA, and then include the addresses of each store location. We can set certain ad text to appear with only certain location addresses — a feature that will be handy for tweaking location-centered marketing campaigns.

If someone, for example, located in the Scottsdale area types in a request for “doggie day care”, an ad with a Scottsdale location extension will appear.

Alternatively, we can link up a client’s Google places account — which has all the store information information already loaded up in it — to the Google extensions feature in the PPC account.

But how to measure the results? Two ways: through Google Places and Google AdSense.

You can track basic impressions and clicks with your Google Places account dashboard (see below).

Google Places Dashboard

With Google AdSense, you can track actual conversions (ie — how many people downloaded a coupon, made an actual sale or filled out a lead form) and track that to a location listing.

Smart digital marketing specialists can take advantage of this feature to tweak campaigns, using the metrics as a guide.

A typical example:

An analysis of a Pay Per Click campaign for a chain of hair salons show that some locations get a lot of interest in hair weaves. We know that because we have posted hair weave coupons up on the client’s site and attached conversion tracking tags on the coupon to see who is downloading the coupons. It turns out that two of the hair salons on the east side of Phoenix attract the majority of coupon downloaders for hair weaves.

Using that information, we then revised the campaign. An additional campaign and ad group was created for hair weaves — with ad text featuring the coupon. Only specific store locations were featured in the extensions for this campaign. Voila! A happy client who booked a lot more hair weave sessions.

June 29th, 2010

Posted in
Link Development

Coupons, Google Places and Link Development

Coupons are an essential part of a web marketing strategy for mortar-based businesses with websites. We recommend’em at ArcherSEM to our clients for multiple reasons. And now that Google Places (as well as other local business web listings) are featuring coupons, we have integrated coupons into our digital marketing plans for all of our clients.

Of course, the initial benefit of coupons is the ability to entice first-time customers to come through the business doors and convert them into loyal customers of our clients. But with our coupon digital marketing concept, we use coupons as a link development tool that will:

* boost traffic
* raise a site’s rankings
* create positive word of mouth via the web sphere

Google Places is the first place we look to place coupons for our digital marketing clients with mortar businesses. The first step is obviously to create a Google Places account (see our other blog entry on Web Marketing with Google Places). Then, go to the Coupon tab on the Google Places. (see photo).
Google Places

Click on the “add coupon” link and provide the information you want about the offer.

You can find other business directory listings that do offer coupon or special offer features (like Dex and Yellow Pages) as well.

Next Step: Link Development

That’s the first step to creating coupons for our customers. The next step: link development. At ArcherSEM, link development is the hidden 50% of Search Engine marketing. By creating a network of links that point to a client’s website, we work to boost the client’s search engine rankings.

For link development, coupons are an invaluable tool. There is a vast array of coupon sites out there that will link to our client’s site — if someone takes the time to contact a coupon site and make an introduction. For our Phoenix internet marketing clients, we can work with local websites that feature local businesses in the greater Phoenix DMA. Or, we will reach out to our Mommy blogging contacts on the web — Power Mommy blogs are very open to listing coupons on their sites.

Talk to our main link development expert  (Joe) about how ArcherSEM can create an online marketing strategy for your business that incorporates coupons!

June 24th, 2010

Posted in
Mobile Marketing, SEO Consulting

Google Places = Google Local Business Center + Caffeine

Say goodbye to Google Local Business Center…and hello to Google Places.

Yes… Google Places will be an enhanced version of the Google Local Business Center. In the past, the Google Local Business Center helped to enhance the Google maps. When you clicked on a business with a pinpoint on a Google map, a bubble would open up to give more information about a business.

Think of it as the Google Local Business Center… on Caffeine (plus some mobile features).

Caffeine is the new indexing technology used by Google to organize and categorize web sites. Caffeine is more open to multiple kinds of web media (podcasts, video, images, blogs, tweets, Facebook and other social media). With Caffeine, you are rewarded for updating your website with fresh content in multiple formats. What is the reward? Higher rankings for the search terms that your targeted visitors are using to find your site.

The same applies to Google Places, where every location (business and non -businesses alike) can have items like photos, videos, a Street View preview, nearby transit, reviews and related websites.

Example of a Google Places account

Example of a Google Places account

For our ArcherSEM digital marketing clients with a mortar presence, enrollment in Google Places (as well as the Yahoo and MSN local business centers) is always part of our marketing plan.

But now that Google Places has been enhanced, we are updating our game plan for our SEM clients. In particular, we are planning for the day when Google Places will be included in the roster of geo-targeted mobile marketing sites. Right now, those kinds of sites include Four Square, Gowalla and Bright Kite. The next big players are entering this very hot internet marketing trend: Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is now experimenting with geo-targeting features, and Facebook has announced plans to enable people to “check in” to locations with their status messages.

See more ArcherSEM Search Engine marketing blog entries in the future about Google Places — and what it will mean for marketing your business online. We will be going over the benefits of coupons, video, reviews and metric monitoring of Google Places in upcoming postings. Talk to one of our small business online marketing experts about how we can create a Google Places account for your business and website.

June 22nd, 2010

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Google Analytics: The Key to the Map

Sometimes you need a map to know where you are going. And in the world of digital marketing, a map is just another word for A Strategic Plan. And at ArcherSEM, the map begins with Google Analytics.

At ArcherSEM, the first step when working with our Phoenix internet marketing clients is to create a strategic plan that will help map out our steps. And unlike many other internet marketing agencies, the plan is a practical affair, and not a huge document full of powerpoint charts and meaningless catch phrases.

The goal of the plan is to a) find the most efficient and smartest way to help our clients and b) explain the client how we will do that.

The first step of the plan is to examine the current situation – how is our client’s web site doing? What is working and what is not working with our client’s current digital marketing efforts?

That’s when our background as Google Analytics Metrics experts comes into play. A deep analysis of a site’s Google Analytics data will give us a lot of clues about what we need to address in a search engine marketing plan, such as:

What keywords are driving sales and conversions? In other words, what are the search terms that people are using to get to the client’s site? More importantly, what search terms are being used by the visitors that you want to attract?

What other sites are bringing visitors to your sites? Google Analytics will help our clients determine what marketing efforts are making them money – and what is losing money for them. Google Analytics can provide nuggets that will help guide both the clients’ organic and paid search marketing efforts.

What are visitors doing when they get to the client’s site? By analyzing the click patterns on a website, we can advise our clients about why visitors are abandoning the site before making a purchase – or what is enticing them to stay on your site or return to your site.

Talk to one of the Google Analytics experts at ArcherSEM about creating a strategic internet marketing plan for your website.

June 18th, 2010

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No More Newsletters – Bring on Web 3.0!

What follows is a common conversation we have with an online marketing client at ArcherSEM:

“We’d like to talk to you about reaching out to your customer base with regular blog and social media tools.”

“Oh – no, we don’t do social media.”

“I see. How do you reach your customers now?”
“We have a newsletter.” (proudly) “We mail it out, then even put it up on a .pdf file and put it on our website.”


And then we gently lead a discussion into bringing their newsletter into the era of Web 3.0.

Newsletters are great – and we recommend them as a way to keep in touch with your customer base. By keeping your customer base engaged, your business can benefit from the loyalty of your customers, ensuring positive word of mouth reputation and steady new referrals for customers.

ArcherSEM will help bring businesses out of the era of print newsletters into the era of Web 3.0. Instead of one large print download of information in the form of a newsletter, we advocate sending your customers a slow, steady stream of new information across multiple mediums – via a blog, RSS feed, email blasts, Twitter and Facebook.

Here’s a summary of the reasons why the Web 3.0 approach to digital marketing works over the old-school newsletter method:

*Searchability: Search Engines can search through .pdfs and index the files, but the technology is still limited. Files in a .pdf format tend to get lower rankings.

*Saturation: By using different formats and Social Media media, you have a better chance of populating more spots in the search engine results. As a result, Internet searchers who are looking, for example, for the term “Phoenix Internet Marketing Agency” will find ArcherSEM in various Search Engine results, instead of just one.

*Steady Flow of Fresh Data: Search Engines – particularly Google’s new Caffeine indexing technology – want to see websites that are updated frequently with new, relevant data. By providing a steady flow of updates to your website, you will improve your Search Engine rankings over competitors.

Talk to the Search Engine marketing consultants at ArcherSEM about how to employ Web 3.0 methods for your company newsletter – a free consultation is always available!

June 12th, 2010

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Caffeine – Changes for Your SEO Strategy?

Google is finally acknowledging its rollout of its new way of indexing web pages, code-named Caffeine.

A little background on Caffeine: It is an indexing system that takes into account that “with the advent of video, images, news and real-time updates, the average webpage is richer and more complex.” In addition to indexing all these new Web 3.0 innovations, Caffeine is supposed to index pages more quickly, allowing Internet searchers to get fresh data sooner.
What does this mean to the Search Engine Optimization experts at ArcherSEM?
It means that we will have to ramp up our SEO strategies to take advantage of the advancements in technology – and keep our SEO techniques up to date for our clients.
In the past, so-called SEO experts offered two basic solutions to optimizing a website – metatags and lots of content.
Now, with the advent of Web 3.0, we are working to take our clients’ websites to the next stage in optimizing. Some of the basic features that need to be included in this SEO strategy:
•    Blogs
•    Optimized video
•    Twitter
•    Facebook
•    Social bookmarking
•    Link development
•    Optimized press releases

But more importantly: Once these tools are set up, they must be constantly be updated. Caffeine appears to reward websites that show fresh, relevant data. This requires coordination of managing the content – and making sure that your site reflects any new changes in the market or customer interests.

For example: A client is an e-commerce site that sells high-end toys made by artisans in the U.S. News appears about faulty Chinese toys that are dangerous to small children. In response to this news, our digital marketing specialists would recommend the following:
a)    Blog entries explaining the safety of our toys
b)    Press releases urging parents to check the origins of the toys they purchase
c)    Creating videos featuring the artisans creating the toys
d)    Twitter feeds about this topic
e)    Sharing the data on the company Facebook page and ads

A word of warning to anyone out there who is hiring a so-called SEO Agency – ask them what they are doing to respond to this new Web 3.0 version of indexing. If you have an SEO consultant, ask for a plan on how to change your website, taking into account these new changes.

If your digital marketing agency simply says they plan to refresh your meta-tags, you might want to reconsider your choice in online marketing consultants. Give ArcherSEM a call for a quick, free consultation – and decide for yourself!

Using Bing’s Webmaster Central Tools

The Bing Search engine is turning out to be a pretty sharp tool for Internet searchers – prompting SEO consultants to take a closer look at the webmaster tools provided by Bing.

The SEO goal here:
• Make it easier to for Bing robots to comb through your site and index it correctly
• Do SEO link development research
• Gather keyword research data to help optimize your website and run a PPC campaign

As digital marketing consultants at ArcherSEM, the SEM specialists use all of the Search Engines’ webmaster tools for digital marketing research. Each search engine tool has its own pros and cons – and is useful for crafting SEO strategies that are honed for each search engine.
The first step: verifying your site with the Bing Webmaster Center. You can do that by placing a code file in your root directory of your website, or in the meta tags of your home page.

Verifying Your Site: First Step for SEO

Verifying Your Site: First Step for SEO

Once that is done, the data will start to give you clues about the indexing. That includes:

a) Are some of your pages being blocked from getting indexed? That can happen with a poorly written robots.txt file or pages written with a content-type that is not accepted by Bing’s crawlers.
a) Is there malware associated with your site?
b) Are some of your pages broken and producing 404 errors?

The next step in digital marketing planning: keyword research. The Bing Webmaster Central has an Excel 2007 add-on called Microsoft Advertising Intelligence to help you do internet marketing keyword research. The tool (and it IS very handy to use this with Excel) will help you build keyword lists, and then create strategies based on data such as relevance, volume, cost history, demographic and geographic factors.

Link research is the first part of a SEO strategy. The Bing Webmaster Central has link research tools to provide backlinks and outbound links. Even more importantly, you can download the results and then analyze what Bing is looking for in links – and how that effects your Search Engine rankings.

Talk to a digital marketing consultant at ArcherSEM about crafting an internet marketing strategy for your business!

May 31st, 2010

Posted in
Link Development, Social Media Marketing

Online Marketing in Phoenix: A Clever Case Study

At ArcherSEM, we are always on the lookout for Phoenix businesses that have found clever ways to use social media to enhance their online marketing strategies. As online marketing consultants in the Phoenix area, we find constant inspiration and ideas from other small businesses and digital marketing experts here.

Lucky for us … we found a great case study to follow in our back yard in Gilbert, AZ, where a local restauranteur has been tweaking the use of online marketing for establishments in the East Valley suburbs of Phoenix. Here are some of his Internet marketing strategies for promoting his businesses:

• All of the restaurants have their own websites. Staff have their own blogs that interact with the regulars at the restaurants – and promote any positive reviews or mentions in the press.
• Facebook. And yes, a lot of other restaurants use Facebook pages for their establishments. That’s not the innovative part – but the constant updating and promotions on the pages is the key to the success in this venture. Any new addition to the menu is touted and photographed on status updates…then customers are asked for their feedback on the menu items.
• Twitter. The same as above for Facebook – but with a lot more interactivity. The staff at Joe’s restaurants monitor Twitter feeds to see if anyone is commenting about their restaurants …and then respond warmly to compliments and questions. A typical interaction on Twitter follows:

@libertymarket are you open tomorrow on memorial day?
@thesettingsun07 we are open 7a to 9p today (Monday). see you!

• Lots of Internet marketing done via press releases: Any mention in the media or special promotion is promoted via online press releases.
• Promotions galore. Any promotion is tweeted and retweeted, sent out on SEO press releases and put out on the Facebook.

To celebrate the fact that Joe’s Farm Grill was going to be re-featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” one month, a flurry of promotions was created to encourage regulars to participate in contests, give-aways and games.

Any meal special is released and promoted on local discount/bargain sites. When the promotions appear on these sites, Facebook and Twitter send out links. An example of a Facebook status update that promotes a blog site that is owned by the largest newspaper in Phoenix:

Once again we tip our hats to azcentral.com for helping us get the word out about our upcoming customer appreciation day, where everyone eats for free http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/realdealsblog/79778

In digital marketing, this local Phoenix business has figured out that by creating reciprocal relationships with local online media and blogs, everyone benefits.

As the premier online marketing consultants in the Phoenix area, the staff at ArcherSEM believe in working with our clients in innovative, exciting ways! Talk to us about a digital marketing strategy for your Phoenix business!