Near Me Or Bust

I’ve always found it funny, and somewhat fascinating how the internet works. In a lot of ways the “world wide web” stands true to its name of truly being world wide, and has contributed in many ways to globalization in the 21st century. The online marketplace is thriving, and the collaboration of various individuals across multiple continents is happening every second of the day. Brands could broadcast a product or service on a global level. Global celebrities could happen overnight via a viral Youtube video.   So that’s why it’s funny to me that in the last few years local search has become more and more relevant. We have the world at our fingertips and yet our search results are tailored to uncover things in our own backyard?

There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but I think one stands out among the rest. That reason is we as a society are impatient and that impatience is a result of world wide web (talk about irony!).

“We have the world at our fingertips and yet our search results are tailored to uncover things in our own backyard?”

We have become accustomed to having answers right when we need them, to having devices in the palms of our hands that can be our wallet, communication device, and answer all of our questions. True, we can order things online and have it shipped to us in a day (perhaps in a few years via a drone in mere minutes). But we are more impatient now, we want services and things as fast as we want Google to answer “What’s the tallest building in North America?”

I think this impatience is why local search has become so important today. Also, it’s important to mention that the fact a person is using a search engine in the first place shows some intent on their part to travel to, to buy, or otherwise take action from that search. That’s also why local search matters so much because someone can act on their intent right that second. They can drive to that hair salon right now.

As a business owner it’s important to recognize local search and to leverage it. This all ties into an announcement from Google recently that caught my attention. Google announced a study that shows “near me” searches have surged 34 times since 2011  and 80% as to be expected came from mobile devices. The study goes on to say that brand loyalty did not seem to be a factor in these searches, users actually preferred the closest, or most convenient location for whatever particular service or product they needed.

So have we officially entered a new era of the internet? An era of localization? I don’t think it’s safe to say we’ve completely gone local, as there are still aspects of search that will forever be global. But being “near me” is definitely more valuable these days.

The Simple Guide To Multi-Channel Funnels In Google Analytics

No Conversion Is An Island

Just like no man is an island, no conversion happens without the help of multiple marketing channels. True, there are plenty of these “assists” that we cannot track. For instance, word-of-mouth is nearly impossible to track. If a friend tells you she loves her new shoes, and you go buy the same pair of shoes that shoe company may never know that it was your friend’s endorsement that got you to type their brand name into a google search bar. However, in the online world we do have the ability to track these assists to some extent, we call them “assisted conversions.” So what is an assisted conversion?

Here’s the technical definition via Google:

“This is the number of sales and conversions the channel assisted. If a channel appears anywhere—except as the final interaction—on a conversion path, it is considered an assist for that conversion. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the channel.”

And here’s another way of explaining things, let’s say instead of hearing about that shoe company from your friend offline, instead you saw her comment on a photo on their company’s Facebook page. I go to that shoe company’s Facebook page, decide I really want to know if the shoes worn by the model in the cover photo come in red so I venture over to the site. BINGO! I get to the site and see that yes in fact they do come in red. But before buying, I just want to be sure there’s no other place I can find these shoes for less. So I check out a few department stores online, but they carry this specific red shoe I want. At this point I google the name of that shoe company again (because its’ easier to google things than type out the whole URL, right?) and I end up ordering those red shoes. In Google Analytics, organic search will be the channel that gets credit for this conversion, but since my first interaction with the shoe company was on social it will be considered an “assisted conversion.”  Social assisted organic in making the final conversion.

So why does this matter? Because oftentimes the assisted conversions provide us with some of the most valuable insights and we ignore it because frankly its hard to see. However, Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics is here to solve that problem!

If you think “multi-channel funnel” is slightly intimidating, don’t worry, it’s actually one of the easiest things to understand in Analytics (in my opinion). You can get to it by navigating to the conversions tab on the bottom left hand side of your screen and then clicking Overview under “Multi-Channel Funnels.”

On the first half of the page, itScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.23.17 PM breaks down how many conversions you had and how many were assisted.

As you scroll down to the second part of the page this is where things get interesting. You can place up to four channels in your Venn Diagram. It will show in the time frame selected how many times Direct & Social, Direct & Organic, and so forth assisted each other in making a Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.27.24 PMconversion.

I normally only look at two channels at a time. You can scroll over the shaded area where the two circles overlap to see the percentage of conversions the two channels assisted each other on, as well as the actual number (in case you didn’t want to both doing the extra math).

This is a fantastic way to see which of your various channels are assisting each other in Google Analytics. And the best part is Analytics does all of the work for you!

The A-List and Other Tools of the Twitter Elite

  1. List building is great Twitter tool because you don’t have to actually follow someone to keep an eye on what they are tweeting. You can add them to a list so that you are able to put them into a feed to watch in programs such as TweetDeck. You can have your “A-List” companies you want to work with if you are a brand and you can engage with them on a regular basis so that you are able to attract their attention. Other lists could be industry-related influencers or news outlets that let you keep up on the changes in your field.

    Some of my very basic lists on my personal profile. Helps me to keep organized!

  2. I could talk all day on Twitter Chats and how they are the greatest thing out there. They let you engage with people who you share are common interest but would likely never interact with otherwise. How do they work? Basically at a specific hour once a week or once a month everyone follows a specific hashtag for that time and tweets answers to structured questions, asks questions, or simply just answers other people’s questions. Twitter Chats help you troubleshoot problems or find better ways around doing things. I’ve made plenty of twitter-friends in my industry through them and despite never having actually met theM, they are great to keep in touch with, especially since they are typically working in the same field as me. They have twitter chats for nearly every topic and if by chance you see one they don’t have out there, by all means start it yourself!

    Style Chat and Ask Forbes

    Two of my favorite chats-#stylechat & #askforbes

  3.  Sprout Social, if you aren’t on it you should get on it, especially if you are a brand. It gives you detailed reports, lets you do comprehensive brand monitoring, and the coolest feature-it lets you search conversations, twitter bios, or random tweets by location. The ability to search by location is very helpful and slightly creepy but it can do wonders for a brand looking to localize their messaging.

    sproutsocial

    Example of some Sprout Social Reporting Metrics.

Keys to Client Relationships

Communicate 

Be available to them and keep them in the loop. Always making the client aware of your actions is good because it lets them see the work you are doing as well as helps you make sure you are doing what they expect. Generally, as time goes on some clients may want less communication, which is normal and understandable. On that same note, there is one thing be cautious about, and that is devaluing their time by sending emails  that too long, or pointless. The general rule that I abide by is that if it takes writing a long email, it’s probably worth meeting in person. Also try to respond to their emails promptly, I’ve found they will treat you with the same respect and respond quickly to yours as well.

Anticipate Their Questions 

Anticipating what your client will need next is extremely important because it can be what sets you apart from not only other companies but in your industry looking seduce a lucrative client, but everyone they deal with on a daily basis. So, the next question is how do you go about this? Next time you give them suggestions for a project go a few steps further and think through all questions they might have.

Going into a business meeting an agenda and expanding on that agenda certainly means extra work but it shows you really through things through. It will make you stand out; so go ahead and shine.

Treat them like people not clients

Learn their subjective biases. It isn’t sucking up, it’s learning how to present your information to them in a way they will best understand. If your client isn’t good with certain programs, find what they are familiar with and adapt to them. Clients want someone they can trust, and treating them like a person will help establish that trust. It is easy to get caught up in formalities, but don’t forget to be a friend.

SEO Basics

I thought I would go ahead and share some basic tips them here to give people some background on SEO principles as well as some places to go to get your SEO questions answered.

1.Title Tags

The title tags on a site should be optimized to have  keywords in them so they have a better chance at ranking for them. This is a relatively high-priority item since it is arguably the second most important thing related to SEO on a site. Why are they so important? Title tags show up in browsers, search engine results, and even other websites.  An example would be if you have a site that sells shoes, instead of having the title tag just be the name of the item like “black pumps” try editing it to this phrase that a user might search for such as “stylish black pumps.”

Determining the keywords should be simple, right? If you know your brand, of you course you know what people should be searching for to find it. Not exactly…think about it this way, people often search for phrases as opposed to just words. Just think about Siri, how many times have you asked Siri to look something up? If you ask Siri for the best place to buy leggings in Chicago…it’s going to search for just that (unless of course, Siri interprets it as” the best place to buy Legos in Chicago”).  With the Hummingbird update recently Google has certainly updated in understanding what these semantic searches, searching for the phrase as opposed to the string of words appearing in any order on a page.

Beyond the phrasing, if the keyword you pick happens to be common, for example, leggings, there are probably a great deal of people searching for it. This makes leggings a highly competitive keyword. If your site and 15,000 other sites are all competing to rank for the same keyword it is going to make it harder to become visible. However, there are plenty of related keywords or phrases you can add into your title tags that will ultimately benefit your ability to show up in search results.

title_tagexample

2. URL Structure 

While we’re talking about title tags it makes sense to touch on URL structure. The URL should also include keywords. Ever paste one of those links that looks a mess of a foreign language? (Example: http://www.shopforclotheshere.com/urban/catalog/category.jsp?id=BRANDS&brand=adidas).  Everything after the question mark is not search engine friendly to Google crawlers. By adding keywords they would allow Google crawlers to pick them up and help them rank. You’re basically wasting space in your URL if you have that, why not 1) make it look a hell of a lot better and 2) add some relevant keywords for your brand.

URLStructure

3. Google +

I’m a big proponent of Google + because it really does matter, establishing Google Authorship for yourself is really important because it gives you legitimacy on the web, for more of an explanation, read my blog post on it here.

4. Blog Away

Text is really important because that is what Google crawls so keeping an updated blog that is relevant to what your site is about is really important.  If you’re not the blogging type offer guest posting on your site, whatever it takes to create new and relevant content on your site. Don’t steal content from other sites, create your own to make your site more legitimate and beneficial to the readers. Google basically just needs to know that you are offering value to those on your sites, then they will help you show up in search results. Think about creating a spreadsheet that keeps track of which pages and which relevant keywords relate to those pages on your site, it will help a bunch.

These are some quick tips, these are  far from in-depth but totally worth implementing on your site! To ask some SEO questions try participating in the weekly twitter chat on Thursdays at 11am PST for SEO appropriately called #seochat.