novastris Launches Co-op Mini-Site

Central England Co-op Mini-Site

The New Central England Co-op Mini-Site

Simply Clicks’ client novastris personal accident insurance has launched a retailer specific mini-site for Central England Co-op. The mini-site offers tailored personal accident cover to the staff of the Central England Co-op. Having detailed knowledge of its workforce, the co-operative was able to create a database of all job titles allowing the create of  a quick and easy insurance quotation.

Simply Clicks has been managing the SEO and PPC activity of novastris since August 2013. The Central England Co-op project presents a particular problem from an SEO perspective, as the site is largely populated with duplicate content almost identical to content on the main novastris website. Secondly, the insurance quotes are not available to the general public although the client would like the home page of the main site indexed by Google. The solution has been to create a modified robots.txt file. This allows access to the home page of the sub-domain only.


Google CPCs Show Long Term Decline

Google Adwords Cost Per Click Data - From Q3 2011 to Q1 2014

Google Adwords Cost Per Click Data – From Q3 2011 to Q1 2014

I have just spotted a post on Search Engine Land that refers to the long term decline in Google Adwords’ cost per click rates. See chart. The data refers to Google’s reported average Cost Per Click rates shown in the quarterly accounts.

Just making a visual check shows that Google has a cumulative problem. That is we see annual declines on top of previous annual declines. An example, and I’m using my dodgy eyesight rather than the actual data shows the following Quarterly year on year declines:

  • Quarter 1 2012 = -12%
  • Quarter 1 2013 = -4%
  • Quarter 1 2014 = -8.5%

Well if you multiply  minus 12% * minus 4% * minus 8.5% the product equals minus 23%.

The chart is shown in an article that discusses Google’s reluctance to provide detailed America’s SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) with detailed data regarding the impact of mobile use on cost per click rates. These are typically discounted.

Toward the end of 2013, Simply Clicks’ spotted that desktop based searches were in absolute, as opposed to relative decline. This presented a problem for the clients involved as not all of their sites were mobile friendly. Secondly, the average unit transaction values involved with one client are in the £00s and unlikely to take place via a smartphone style device.

The other area of potential decline is in the growth of new markets, both geographic and new market categories. Part of the problem can also be attributed to fluctuations in exchange rates. Don’t be surprised if Wall Street analysts start analysing the likely impacts of each of these factors.



Google Analytics Moves to Sessions – Goodbye Visits

I notice today that my Google Analytics screen now refers to “sessions” rather than “visitors”. New visits % are replaced by “new sessions %”. The description unique visitors has disappeared to be replaced by “new users”. In some respects this latter description brings Google Analytics into line with Statcounter, my other web analytics platform of choice. I would also suggest it is a description more easily understood by clients than unique visitors.Google Analytics Sessions Screen

The Google Analytics Sessions Screen


Google Removes Adwords Keyword Search String Data

The paid search industry has been buzzing with rumours and actual facts about Google’s latest move to remove the search string from Google Adwords searches.

The search term data is still available in Google Adwords search query reports and still available within matched search query reports in Google Analytics. However, third party systems that parse the search string will no longer be able to do so. See this example from a Statcounter report that I have just run.

Analytics Data Searches 11-4-14

Analytics data searches minus the keyword

As this image taken from a Statcounter report shows 4 of the 6 paid searches are now showing “Keywords Unavailable” and look remarkably similar to the organic searches next to them.

Apparently the data is still available via a Google API and many of the third party vendors of Google Adwords software have mounted major PR offences to push this information out into the search marketing community.

Meanwhile, a Google Analytics matched search query report covering the same period shows all the keyword detail.

The most comprehensive assessment I have seen so far is by Larry Kim on Search Engine Land.


Matt Cutts: Facebook and Twitter Signals Don’t Help You Rank

I’ve just picked up on this 4 minute video from Google’s Matt Cutts.  Covered in an article on Search Engine Land, the video is Matt’s response to the question: Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the [Google] ranking algorithm? How much do they matter?

Matt’s short answer is no. He specifically refers to Facebook likes and Twitter followers as not being ranking signals. His caveat is that this is “currently” and to the best of his knowledge. Remember he works for the anti-spam team. And does not directly oversee management of the Google ranking algorithm. Matt goes on to explain why the social signals are ignored.

My initial response was to share the video and related post on my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. I also asked the question about the implications for all those social media agencies that are still out there telling people that social media signals do have a direct relationship with Google rankings. Within the video Matt points out that an observed correlation – that is websites with lots of social signals may rank highly on Google – is not necessarily causation.


Travel Local Appoints Simply Clicks for SEO Campaign

IndoChina River Boat Travel Local

IndoChina River Boat Travel Local

Asian travel specialist Travel Local has appointed Simply Clicks to handle their organic search marketing activity. The deal was essentially sealed at this year’s World Travel Market in London.

Travel Local specialises in authentic private tours in Central Asia and the Silk Route, the Indian sub-continent, China, Taiwan and Mongolia and IndoChina and south east Asia. The full list of destinations includes the following destinations:

Central Asia and the Silk Route

SE Asia & Indochina

Indian Subcontinent

China & Mongolia

The key point of difference for Travel Local is that they utilise local travel companies to organise local transportation.  Organising travel components locally leads to a better, more authentic trip – as no-one knows a country like a travel company based there. UK consumer payments are protected by the Travel Trust Association.

Simply Clicks was appointed to handle Travel Local’s PPC management in September.


The Content Marketing Show – Strategy

Last Friday I attended the Content Marketing Show in London. This is just the third show in the series. The show is put on by the same people as Brighton SEO. My rationale for attending was to keep up to date with the latest trends in content marketing and the impact it is having on SEO practise.

Content Marketing Strategy Model - Brilliant Noise

Content Marketing Strategy Model – Brilliant Noise

There were several good presentations over the day. However, for me, the most informative was the presentation on content marketing strategy by Lauren Pope of Brighton digital marketing agency, Brilliant Noise. Lauren showed us a model for content marketing strategy, then explained how she goes about sourcing, creating, publishing and amplifying relevant content.

As in all of these models and constructs, the key is how each of the elements link together. Getting a clear idea of purpose and sharing and agreeing that idea with others in the marketing and PR team ensures that content marketing is built on strong foundations.

Conveniently, and as a aide memoire, all of the key elements begin with a “P”.

  • Purpose
  • Principles
  • Platforms
  • Processes
  • People
  • Performance


Winning the Work – Digital Marketing, Analytics, Big Data

Following yesterday’s Workforce Revolution conference I have put together my initial thoughts on Winning the Work into a presentation.

At this stage it is very much a work in progress. I will be adding and amending content. And will be pleased to accept any thoughts from other delegates to the Workforce Revolution conference.

Brand Client Engagement

Brand Client Engagement

The discussion covered a number of areas in relation to digital marketing and social media. I also expounded my thoughts on reskilling and repositioning one’s expertise to match market opportunities and demand. Three areas of mention included digital marketing in general, digital analytics specifically and the current flavour of the month, big data.


The Great British Workforce Revolution

The Workforce Revolution Conference

The Workforce Revolution Conference

I am out of the office on Wednesday 16th October attending The Great British Workforce Revolution conference in London. The conference aims to discuss and tackle the issues surrounding the growth of the independent director. As well as attending the conference I am involved in a panel discussion entitled “Getting the Work“. My specific brief is to cover the areas associated with utilising digital marketing and social media.

The conference is a collaboration between leading interim management agency Russam GMS and Angel News. Angel News is the leading European news service for the investment market, especially for business angels, investors and the companies they back.

The conference’s main sponsor is Santander Breakthrough.


Google Analytics Improves Interface

This morning Google has improved the way it presents data in Google Analytics. This has a high relevance to us at Simply Clicks. Not only does Simply Clicks provide a web analytics service for most of our clients but we also undertake web analytics training, key component of which is Google Analytics. The constant changes underway at Google, including amongst many other things the growth of “Not provided” search and the changes to Google Adwords, have meant that many of our training schemes need more than the usual updating.

Google Analytics Acquisition Panel October 2013

Google Analytics Acquisition Panel October 2013

The first change I have spotted is the change of the “Sources” panel on the left hand side. This has panel has been renamed “Acquisition”.

The panel then contains a number of sub-headings. The old sub-heading for “Search” has now been replaced by “Keywords”. Ironically this splits in paid and organic search. I use the term ironically because of course organic keywords are now dominated by the “not provided” category.

Two new sub-headings are “Overview” and “Channels”. These two sub-headings allow you to see at a glance the performance by the major sources of traffic i.e. Paid search, organic search, direct, referrals and social.

The explorer bar now also has the addition of a summary view. This provides a complete overview of the performance of your website, combining most of the relevant data that used to be contained over the three separate views of Site Usage, Goal Set and E-commerce into 9 columns. These columns are grouped into three and shown separately as groups of three metrics under the headings “Acquisition”, “Behaviour” and “Conversion”.

Google Analytics Summary View October 2013

Google Analytics Summary View October 2013

I have taken a screen shot of a 7 day, this year vs last year comparison.

This shows all nine columns of the summary view. In many respects, this summary view has made the other views redundant as it contains the most important metrics.

I have only used the new version of Google Analytics for 10 minutes or so but it is already growing on me. Unlike many of Google’s other recent changes.