There is little doubt that I am an AdWords bigot but the website traffic strategy needs to consider all types of traffic. In most cases we need our traffic to come back to the site and move down the sales pipeline to make the business work. Right now I am working with a client that has been 100% AdWords for way too long. While I believe it is a good approach to start with PPC because of the data it gives you, but a business needs to consider all the types and manage each of them to their strengths.
After you get the search traffic stable with acceptable performance the next step is to explore and test remarketing. Remarketing is a way to continue the conversation with a highly qualified audience since you can deliver ads to people that have been to your website before. In the typical site we will see a 2-5% response from search traffic meaning that we have a 95-97% failure rate. The other upside to this is the ability to bring back other sources of traffic including organic. The other really cool thing about remarketing is that you can deliver image ads which make branding impressions possible.
Remarketing data can also be used to extend into the Display Network and the concept is fairly simple. Your best prospects act very much like your best customers so good prospects are likely to visit the same sites as good customers. You can create a remarketing group of customers by isolating the traffic to your thank you page and then use the sites that appear in that group as placements in the Display Network campaign.
Next is to pursue SEO traffic. One of the first things you will learn about SEO traffic is that it only looks simple. Your AdWords data can help you make smarter decisions in SEO. We commonly calculate the click potential of a keyword to understand the value of the SEO position. Here are the steps: *
|Top Position CTR
|Cost Per Click
|Quality Score Potential (Quality Score = 7/10)
Quality score potential is the remaining potential of the keyword. Scores range from 1 to 10 so a quality score of 7 leaves a potential of 3 represented here as 30%. Calculating this for all your keywords and then sorting by the SEO value gives you a targeted keyword list based on the value to your business. The relationship here is that the quality score and your SEO score are closely related. We have found over the years that if you have a quality score problem in AdWords you have the same problem in your SEO score. The relationship is not perfect but quality score is very useful data for your SEO strategy.
The first step in SEO is what the industry calls on-page optimization and we start here because it’s simpler than the off-page items. Since we have our target from the research in the prior paragraph the next step is to examine the current pages and look for a chain of support for the first keyword. The chain of support should mean the existence of the keyword at the page title, meta tag description, h1 to h6, then body text and anchors. As you do this you will quickly discover the problem with SEO traffic and it gets down to a simple statement. The more keywords you are about the less you are about any of those keywords. This is just simple math and it is an unavoidable compromise. I was looking at a simple example of this yesterday with an account that had therapist and psychologist. These are synonyms but for search purposes they are very different words. The client had a 2 score on psychologist and a 7 score on therapist and they wanted both of them to be 7 scores. The more they push the 2 score up the more likely they are to pay for it with a decline in the other keyword. The only way to solve this problem is to increase the authority of the site so it has more SEO juice to share.
The second step in SEO is building the off-page optimization. This is what others say about you, while the on-page is what you say about yourself. In the physical world the most powerful thing you can have is a referral from a trusted party and on the net this is the same. The higher the authority of the site the more valuable the referral link becomes and this is the core of the formula used by Google. Often the way this is done is by creating interesting content related to your business that people are likely to want to share with their friends. There is no shortcut here to building your online reputation and just like the real world it takes a lifetime to build a positive reputation but only a second to destroy it.
Next on the click-list is social media and what makes this area different is that this is managing a conversation. The mistake that many businesses make is that they do not understand that the rules have changed. This is not paid advertising but rather networking and much of the conversation is about what makes you interesting. This can be about your business but it needs to be conversation not a presentation and certainly not an advertisement. Important issues here are establishing and staying true to your business persona.
EMAIL, BLOGS, ETC.
The last item is publishing, aka email and blogs. This activity has a huge connection to the SEO strategy and helps paint an image of the business in the readers mind. The topics you decide to talk about and the positions you take are key to the development of your online reputation. In academic and professional services they have always known that you either publish or perish and this is true on the internet as well. This is the opportunity to talk but again remember that the goal is to create a conversation. Publishing is connected to your social media with summary postings for your articles to your social media network and then linked back to your blog.
These are the channels that apply to almost every business but this is far from a complete list. The challenge to your business is to figure out how each of these channels fits to your business and then use them to connect to your market.