Filed under PPC Management, SEO, Travel SEO
Simply Clicks has been appointed to handle the travel SEO and PPC activities of Adventure Base. Adventure Base operates catered chalets in Morzine and Chamonix.
Adventure Base operate from Chamonix in France within the shadow of Mont Blanc. Their top ski chalet destinations are located in the French Alps at Chamonix, Morzine and Meribel. A core aspect of the travel marketing project is to extend the seasonality of the business by adding summer mountain-based leisure activities such as mountain biking, trail running and walking holidays.
Filed under Google Analytics, Mobile Search, PPC Management, SEO, Web Analytics
Sales via mobile devices have gone through the 25% barrier at kids beds retailer Simply Kids Beds. March sales to date show that more than 25% of revenue has been generated by mobile devices. By far and away the largest contributing device is the Apple iPad. The iPad accounts for more than 90% of mobile sales revenue.
Simply Kids Beds - More than 25% of sales via mobile devices
The majority of the revenue has been source via organic search. Emphasising the value of mobile SEO. So far during March, the average iPad organic search visitor has spent £4.38. A figure much than any other mobile device and 67% higher than for visitors using laptop and desktop devices. Transaction value is 8% higher than for all devices.
The performance of the website must be seen in the context of the website’s young adult age profile. The website targets parents with young children. This consumer group has a higher propensity to both own and use for e-commerce smartphones and other mobile devices such as iPads. At the same time conversion figures must be seen in the light of the website’s high bounce rate for mobiles. At 47%, the bounce rate is higher than for static devices.
Simply Clicks has managed the SEO and PPC activity of Simply Kids Beds since its inception.
Filed under Training, Travel SEO
A week ago today, 12th March, I spoke at the 2012 Global Travel Group Conference. I spoke at the Global Conference in 2011 and was asked back for a repeat performance in 2012. My theme for 2012 was how to create a winning travel agency search strategy. Most of the travel agents in the audience now have their own websites. The level of interest was definitely higher than last year. My 40 minute presentation was followed by a 20 minute question and answer session.
The issues that came up in the Q&A included mobile, the share of effort that should be given to paid versus organic search and whether you should bid on competitor terms.
Last year I had an afternoon session on the final day.Then I was followed by Hilary Devey of TV’s Dragon’s Den fame. This year I had a morning slot on the first day, immediately following Global Travel Group managing director Dave Clayton. Other speakers included Travel 2 managing director Andy Freeth and Apprentice judge Karren Brady.
Filed under Google, Google SEO, Local SEO, SEO
Google’s Inside Search Blog provides the news that Google has introduced a total of 40 improvements to search quality during February 2012. Not all of the changes have an impact on UK searches as some improvements are confined to specific countries such as Korea.
Hidden amongst the 40 enhancements are references to a further Panda update – Panda 3.3.
In addition, Google provides what appears to be a deliberately vague reference to a change in the way it evaluates the quality of inbound links. This seems to imply a change in the way Google measures topic relevance.
Many of the improvements appear to related to improving the performance of Google local search.
Filed under Google Analytics, Social Networking
Yesterday was a strange day for Simply Clicks’ blog. Out of nowhere came a stream of traffic from Facebook. The traffic landed on a 7 month old blog post about average bounce rate data. The source data for the post was a Google Analytics benchmarking report from July 2011. After I spotted the initial burst of traffic I then made a comment about this on Twitter and this then led to further traffic and comments on both Facebook and the blog. In addition, other traffic came in to the bounce rate post via LinkedIn, which also has a Twitter feed. Approximately 50% of yesterday’s website visitors originated from Facebook or social media feeds related to it. That is some sort record for us. Sadly, most of the the Facebook traffic bounced. That is, read the post and departed without venturing further into the website. Secondly, most of this traffic orginated from the US rather than the UK. So it is unlikely that many of these visitors had any previous connection or linkage to Simply Clicks or our LinkedIn page.
I have to admit that I am not a great fan of Facebook or concepts such as F-Commerce. But, based on yesterday’s traffic, I may have to start taking it more seriously in future.
Filed under Google, Google Adwords, Google+, PPC Management, Social Networking
Google has disappointed stock markets with its Q4 2011 financial performance. As a result their share price is down 7% in today’s trading.
Google is now such a large and complex company that it is difficult to isolate any particular feature. However, Google remains highly dependant on pay per click revenues from the Google Adwords and Google Adsense products. And of these, more than 10% come from the UK. It seems that although revenues are up 27%, profits have risen by a measly 8%. Indicating that costs are now rising much faster than revenues. Some of this trend is due to acquisitions and external events. But some will be due to Google’s spending on pojects such as Google+.
On the pay per click front, paid click volume rose by 34%, whilst average cost per click fell 8%. In my opinion this is a function of Google “sweating” the paid area of the search engine results pages. By this I mean the observation that Google has increasingly reduced the overtness of paid, or sponsored, results versus organic results. This trend cannot continue indefinitely.
Once I’ve had time to analyse the Google’s Q4 financial results in more detail, I will add some more feedback.
Filed under Google, SEO, SEO Spamming
This is the first big SEO spam news story of 2012. Every so often a big SEO spam story appears. The surprise this time is that it is Google that is guilty!
Essentially the Google Chrome division of Google has been found to be breaching Google’s own webmaster guidelines in an apparent deliberate attempt to manipulate its rankings on the Google search pages. The technique employed has been to pay for upto 400 sponsored posts across a number of influential blogs. The sponsoring of such posts is not in itself a breach of the guidelines. It is the apparent fact that these posts have been specifically written and placed with the intention of boosting PageRank for the Google Chrome browser.
The Google Chrome campaign has ignited a flurry of indignation across the SEO community. Even the head of Google’s anti-spam team, Matt Cutts, has weighed in on the debate. Google has acknowledged the error but has blamed SEO agency Essence Digital for going beyond its brief. Google claims that Essence were asked simply to buy ads on behalf of Google Chrome, not attempt to boost the browser’s PageRank. The ads were linked to videos produced by another digital agency called Unruly in a campaign designed to boost Google Chrome’s standing in it three-way battle with Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet explorer. Apple’s Safaris browser is seen as a niche player in the browser market. Regardless of all the Google denials it seems that the campaign had the impact of illicitly lifting the ranking of Google Chrome above Firefox, Microsoft and other Internet browsers for the “Browser” search term. Today, the Google Chrome page has disappeared from the first two pages for that search term. See the image on the below for a recent search for the term “Browser”. Does this mean that a ranking penalty has been imposed on Google Chrome?
Google optimisation is a difficult task. It is why agencies such as Simply Clicks can charge a premium for our services. Rankings for key terms are difficult to deliver and even harder to sustain. We often debate the issue of avoiding the short-term rankings fix versus a longer term visibility across a range of terms. It seems, this time at least, even people inside Google couldn’t resist the short-term but illicit option.
The problem couldn’t have come at a worse time for Google as it faces allegations of abusing its dominant position in the search market. The case has echoes of the problems face by Microsoft in supporting Internet Explorer by bundling the browser software with its dominant Windows desktop operating system.
Google Chrome - No Longer Visible
Filed under Google, Google Adwords, Google Analytics, PPC Training, SEO Training, Web Analytics
Following on from the launch of our SEO training brochure, Simply Clicks has added two new single page brochures for our PPC training and web analytics training courses. The training brochurse cover the key features of each course. These include the training course content and details of delegate pricing.
Simply Clicks has been delivering SEO and Pay Per Click training courses since 2004. About 80% of our training enquiries are split equally between SEO and PPC courses. Web analytics enquiries represent about 20%. On the Pay per click side most enqirors want to focus exclusively on Google Adwords. Likewise, when it comes to enquiries for web analytics the focus is firmly on developing knowledge of the Google Analytics system.
December is traditionally a quiet month for training activities. However, January generally starts with a bang.
Filed under Google, Google SEO, PPC Training, SEO Training, Web Analytics
Simply Clicks has a new SEO training course brochure. The brochure outlines details of our individually tailored SEO training courses including course content, structure and prices.
We believe Simply Clicks takes an entirely different approach to anyone else in the SEO training market. We tailor each course to the specific and individual needs of delegates. By this we mean that we believe that the SEO learning objectives are more fully met when delegates focus on their own training needs, their own websites, the websites of close competitors and undertake this exercise in the context of the competitive nature of their own market category. Our courses are therefore small, with typically 1 to 3 delegates. We focus our training courses on delivering the best learning experience for a single company or organisation.
During each training course we review the both the technical and marketing aspects of issues such as website design, website structure and website navigation. We review website content in terms of copy as well as other media such as images and videos. As well forensically analysing URLs, page titles, meta tags and code. We look at both “on page” and “off page” aspects of SEO performance. This means understanding the role played by inbound links and how to go about a link building strategy. In so doing we give training course delegates access to a wide range of SEO tools and resources. In addition each delegate receives a 20,000 word SEO training manual that also serves as a long-term learning resources.
The course principally focuses on how rankings are organised by Google and Bing. This requires an analysis of the Google and Bing algorithm. The knowledge gained is useful in the wider context of online marketing.
Simply Clicks has been delivering SEO and PPC training courses since 2004. We also organise courses on web analytics and conversion optimisation.
Filed under Forensic SEO
I have just created a new page for Forensic SEO on the Simply Clicks website. We define forensic SEO as the structured, perhaps scientific, process of analysing the components behind a website’s performance. The “why?” and “how?” of keyword rankings and website visitor performance.
Simply Clicks has undertaken SEO analysis 2004, when we first introduced SEO training. However, from client presentations and questioning we can tell that the issues behind website performance are becoming a more important client issue. Such questioning may range from the simple, “why does site A rank above site B?” to “Who much is competitor B spending on link buying?”.
Forensic SEO Investigations
Indeed, we have launched our own forensic SEO investigations when a long term client of ours bought into a social media service. The social media agency tried to claim that the client was receiving large amounts of valuable traffic as a result of activity on Facebook. The client web analytics showed no such thing. What we eventually established was that from nowhere a number of “junk” links began pointing to the client website. These links were the classic bottom end rented links sold by the link marketing organisations at £25 per go.
Internal vs External Forensic SEO
Other cases of internal forensic SEO have involved over inflated claims by salesmen. For example “Our links have delivered x thousand visitors”. A simple check of the web analytics revealed that the large spike in visitors coincided with the visit by the salesman. It looked like someone had clicked many time from the same I.P. address. Another common one is “Why has my site been banned?”. Usually after some illicit activity is the answer. But many clients are not aware of what SEO companies are doing on their behalf. Which begs a question, “What is my SEO company really doing on my behalf?”. Very little, is a surprisingly common answer. When is comes to the actual delivery of a website we are often asked why a website doesn’t perform. A simple check of web analytics will typically reveal high average bounce rates, poor keyword selection, poor landing pages, few page views, little time spent on site, complex enquiry forms etc. Establishing what is wrong with a website and drawing up a solution to put it right is a structured process.
The examples of where internal forensic SEO is a vital tool are many and varied. However, the real strength of a forensic approach is the analysis of competitor websites. In external analysis it is unlikely that you would have access to internal web analytics data. In this case the investigation relies on external tools and analysis. Tools that track rankings, tools that estimate traffic. Tools that monitor on site behaviour. In virtually all cases we are dealing with samples and calculated estimates. Nevertheless, attempting to observe, analyse and quantify the impacts of the individual and collective impacts of on page and off page SEO activity are as much a science as an art.
Forensic SEO can present a stimulating intellectual challenge. It is definitely one of the most enjoyable aspects of working in search engine optimisation. Let me know if you want some help.