Ever been in situation where you shopped online and were presented with an item of something you need? You’re first inclination might be to drop it in your cart since you’ll be using it along with the rest of your items. These affords you the convenience of not having to dig through a massive site to find it on your own, while the retailer picks up a sale they might not have made otherwise.
This situation is the result of behavioral targeting and is frequently used by businesses you want to optimize their website for the customer.
(Courtesy of Flickr User: StockMonkeys.com)
The Definition of Behavioral Targeting
What is behavioral targeting exactly? It’s a set of techniques that are utilized by advertising networks, online publishers, and content providers to display relevant and targeted information to their site visitors.
When a user first visits a website that uses behavioral targeting technologies, information such as the pages they visit, the time they spend on each page, and the links they click on are recorded. Also of note are the user’s interactions with others online and how they respond to content. Based on this data, a user profile is then generated.
Behavioral Targeting in Action
Behavioral targeting is most commonly used on eCommerce websites and online retailers for product recommendations. Blogs also employ this optimization strategy in the form of recommended articles that will interest the viewer into exploring the website further.
For example, after reading articles about “how to chose the right job prospect,” more articles that containing recruiting advice will be displayed to the user on his or her succeeding visits.
Behavioral Targeting and Improving Conversions
Behavioral targeting increases conversions by giving your site visitors more of what they want to see or read about. Blogs, news sites, and online stores have layouts where areas are reserved for dynamic content. This space is where highly targeted content is displayed—be it product suggestions, a list of article recommendations, or a relevant ad.
Onsite Behavioral Targeting
There are two ways that behavioral targeting can be applied: onsite behavioral targeting and network behavioral targeting. eCommerce sites and online retailers commonly use onsite network targeting. If your goal is to increase site conversions or enhance the user experience, this technique is also beneficial. The first phase of the process involves the creation of generalized user profiles from information that has been pulled from the site’s visitors. Each profile will have a set of preferences and specifications associated with it. Once users arrive at the site they will be placed into one of the profiles and have targeted content displayed for the duration of their site visit.
The technique can also be applied the other way around with the use of self-learning behavioral targeting engines, which provide relevant content in real time as the user browses through the site.
Network Behavioral Targeting
The second type of behavioral targeting is network behavioral targeting. This type is often employed by those who deal with larger groups of people, such as ad servers. Because of the massive size of their user base, they are able to generate an approximate demographic makeup for the users on the sites in their network. Only ads that are relevant to the site’s audience will be displayed once the makeup is determined.
Finally, it’s important to mention that everyone may think that high traffic means that you’ll have the income coming in, but it goes without saying that these tools at your disposal are highly critical. The final step to any form of internet marketing should always be testing. What may work right may not work anywhere between 3-6 months. So it’s always important to keep an eye out for the amount of traffic coming, whether your websites are ranking and most importantly, whether your traffic is even converting to sales. So never forget, testing is not only crucial, but also an ongoing process that should never end. You can learn more about these tools like behavioral targeting at Maxymiser.com
We’re just wrapping up the 2nd month of this year and, already, we’re seeing the rise and fall of many trends on the World Wide Web. No, it’s not the Harlem Shake that’s gotten everyone on craze mode.
I’m talking about the onslaught of new trends in SEO that are both promising and terrifying. Promising because they’ll surely bring down unsuspecting spammers, and terrifying because what if those “unsuspecting” people include us? What if the trends we so look forward to slap us right in the face and boot our sites to the lowest position on the SERPs?
Scared yet? Don’t be! Worst-case scenario is you will get booted. However, you still have a second chance at redeeming yourself and your website.
But in the first place, what “fads” will take root in our industry this year?
It’s hard to find people these days who don’t have a smartphone. Whether it’s iOS, Android, or even Windows Mobile, smartphone users are definitely now a huge part of the Internet browsing audience. On top of that, Web searches through mobile devices are garnering attention, especially as the numbers go up and higher each month. It won’t be long before websites clamour for updated strategies to make their pages more appealing to the mobile-using industry.
Hold on to your haunches, this one’s a major surprise! Well, not really. We all know how our link profiles influence our rankings on SERPs. This year, it won’t be any different.
Google and other search engines will still set their sights on proper link building strategies, condemning website owners who are still participating in black hat SEO cults and other I-can-get-away-with-this SEO techniques. 2013 is no longer the year of link spamming; instead, it is the dawn of the era of organic link building. In a gist, it won’t make sense if 2,000 links sprout up overnight in your backlink profile.
It cannot be denied that Google is indeed the king, no, emperor of the search engine market. Because of this, it has the unofficial privilege of changing the course of the entire Internet industry at the mere snap of its fingers. Why? We are ALL clamouring for a spot in its coveted search results.
This year, expect the “clamouring” done through the help of Google+ and Google Authorship. Both services allow website owners or authors to claim their work or content by linking the Web page to their G+ accounts. Sure, it’s a genius way for Google to promote their brainchild social network, but that’s beside the point. To put it as simple as possible, if you’re not on Google+, you’re committing a BIG mistake!
Pretty soon, we’ll be bowing down to our benign robotic overlords, watching as they lead humanity into a better more advanced never-before-imagined inter-galactic future.
But that’s just me trying to make a joke. Though seriously, robots are the next big thing! They’re not just hot and awesome on cinema screens, but sizzling as one of the most efficient digital marketing techniques ever.
I’m talking about robots.txt files. This year, more and more people will realise the importance of utilising and maximising robots.txts, particularly in building their websites. Since Author Tagging has become an immense part of our SEO strategies, site builders will know exactly how to play with their robots texts to, shall we say, please Google and satisfy its hunger for top-quality Web pages.
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMISATION
Remember this because you’ll be hearing about it for the next, say, couple of years! CRO is the new buzz around the Internet because EVERYBODY wants conversions! Who doesn’t, right?
In the context of online marketing, this is the method of enhancing browser experience on a website with the goal of “converting” visitors into consumers. It’s a pretty straightforward technique that goes a long way towards increasing your potential on the World Wide Web. It is an excellent addition to actual search traffic, particularly because some sites rank for specific niches, but don’t actually get “conversion”.
In a gist, there’s a reason CRO and SEO rhyme, and it’s not because they both end in optimisation.
TITLES, TAGS, HEADINGS
It’s not surprising that these are dominating headlines in 2013. After all, they’re one of the most crucial aspects of our SEO strategies.
As it turns out, Google and other search engines will look into title tags and headings on our content to gauge the quality of our posts. No longer are content and links the main focus, so are anchor texts and alt attributes. As long as it’s applicable, SEO writers should sub-divide their write-ups into keyword-based sections, if only to up the chance of ranking on the SERPs.
QUALITY AND DERIVED CONTENT
I’ve said this over and over again, quality is what’s important people!
But other than that point, content marketers are no longer just concentrating on single-faceted Web content. Take for instance a single topic, which you can turn into an article, a podcast, an infographic, a Slideshow, and a stop-motion video. Scatter all of these on forums, blogs, websites, social networks and you already have an arsenal of relevant marketing campaigns.
Better yet, save your “more meaty” content on your website and entice Internet browsers to your original page by giving previews through social media. Not only will you be generating links, but you’ll also be amassing traffic by the numbers!
THE FINAL SAY
2013 is no longer “just around the corner”, but is already strutting down the street and intimidating us with its awesomeness. But before we bask in the sure glory that is two-oh-one-three, we must first understand the possibilities that lie in our future, particularly with our standing in SEO.
Only then can we assure ourselves that, “Yes, I will rise from the ashes and come out alive come 2014!”
When performing website SEO audits there are going to be certain specifics that are common to all of them and certain aspects that are unique. It is thus important to keep the needs of the specific business in mind when executing any SEO audit because the needs of any one business may be completely different from another. For example, if the website is for a B2B lead generation website with only a dozen or so pages the SEO needs and focus will be much different than if the website is for a large e-commerce site like Amazon. The different needs of both will have to be closely considered and the audit tailored to meet them. The 5 key considerations for any website are outlined below.
Image Source - SEO Outsourcing Chick
Scalability and Flexibility of Information Architecture are 2 vital things to consider before beginning. How much new content will be added, when it will be added, and the time-sensitivity of that content all need to be analyzed so that SEO demand can be met. If a business adds several content items per week, including those that refer to imminent sales or promotions, the SEO will be vastly different than that of a business that adds 1 or 2 pieces of content a month and doesn’t use them for promotions but to brand and attract new customers.
What this means is that the content must be placed in an area of the website that will best use SEO. The more time-sensitive the closer (click-wise) it should be to the main page or sales page, keeping in mind that the aggregate of al the content will drive up the organic searches on the website.
Using Tags and Categories is another vital SEO audit consideration. In many cases neither of the 2 has been given much attention but the fact is that both are vital to better ranking. Questions that need to be asked are;
- Who in the organization id tagging the content?
- What criteria is being used to tag content?
- Are too many or too few tags being created?
- Is the category structure well thought out?
- Do the tags and categories offer value to the person who is using the website?
All of these need to be considered, most likely with the aid of the business owner.
Including Google News and optimizing the website for it is very important during an SEO audit. Many businesses won’t have this on their site at all and some will but won’t be using it correctly. Having Google News and using it correctly will enable a website to regularly have their content reviewed and published on Google News, increasing traffic and ranking and pushing SEO. If a business has unique and newsworthy content its vital that Google News be incorporated into their site to spread that news on the internet simply because the SEO and ranking benefits are so high. Some of the best are;
- Using the ‘standout’ tag. This allows a business to basically say ‘hey, this is really good stuff’ and get more attention for it than ‘thin’ or re-written content.
- Using Google authorship to increase a website’s click-through rate and increase their SERP.
- Using a free online tool to test performance like http://www.webpagetest.org/ and http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/.
Finally there’s Scalable Keyword Research to consider and devising and implementing a strategy that will support the different content that is being added from different sources. A large e-commerce website like Amazon will obviously be using thousands if not hundreds of thousands of keywords, both long and short tail. A smaller or very small business website may only be using a few dozen. Having a system in place to research, check and decide which are best, as well as being able to increase or decrease those tasks when necessary, is vital to any websites’ SEO.
In the end what you need to accomplish with all SEO Audits is to not only find the areas that are lacking and make valuable recommendations as to needed changes but also to leave the customer in a position that they can implement those changes and execute them in a manner that lends itself to the improvement of their SEO and an increase in their most important need, revenues.
Building and maintaining a successful AdWords campaign is mostly about following the same recipe over and over again.
The ingredients will vary and sometimes you’ll use less seasoning because you’ll know your guests aren’t that into spicy food.
Your basic rules, routines and procedures for properly-building your campaigns hardly ever changes. Only if you find a new tool (like when I found MergeWords.com) or when you see that you can optimize your time spent on certain tasks.
As for me, I’ve followed the same basic recipe for a long time now and have had great success implementing clusters of it into the White Shark Media Search Team’s standard operating procedure when the Department was first conceived.
The recipe has since evolved to better suit our target audience, but my original rules still apply. I use them regularly for my own search efforts and have seen great success for 5 years straight using these rules. They have become better and clearer over the years.
My 7 Rules for Getting the Biggest Bang for your AdWords’ Buck
Even though I mention 7, it’s not the full list. Other AdWords experts might completely swear by other key strategies, but that’s what makes AdWords wonderful. You can have success in so many different ways that it’s just about finding the best approach for you.
Always Do your Research
Prior to building an AdWords campaign, I will visit competitor websites, search on Google, click on related searches and enter a state of trance. I don’t have any real goal in mind, but rather I’m trying to just take everything in and get an overall feel for the industry. I tend to ask myself:
- Who are the industry leaders?
- What’s the pricing look like for the main competitors?
- How do people talk about the industry?
- Are they active in forums, communities and blogs?
- Who usually uses the product and how do they feeling about it?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you be a lot more specific about building your campaign and particularly your ads.
Some industries are not eager to talk about their product, such as with the case of flatulent underwear (yes, I watched a Shark Tank re-run). I’ll try to be more serious now and get to the point with my ads.
Know your Product and your Audience
One of the keys to achieving success with any kind of advertising is to thoroughly understand the product in question and your audience.
You need to be intimately brand-known. Furthermore, your products’ advantages and disadvantages must be established and be compared to that of your competitors. If you don’t know why your competitors are better than you (some competitors are always better in some aspects), it’ll then be hard to find a way that will make your product seem superior.
Knowing the Audience will Facilitate your Keyword Research Incredibly
Let’s say you’re selling broadband services. It’s an industry I’m intimately familiar with in Europe so I basically know everything concerning the matter.
All broadband connections are sold with an accompanying phone line. You don’t pay for it if you don’t use it, but a lot of people don’t want the phone line or think they’ll have to pay for it.
By knowing this, we were able to set up an ad group focusing on keywords such as:
- Broadband without a phone plan
- Broadband without phone
- ADSL broadband only
We could then approach the sales leads generated specifically with promises of a $0 phone plan or offer the choice to not include it.
Know your audience.
Use Negative Keywords Early and Never Stop
I’ve seen many advertisers kind of skip over negative keywords. They add a couple of negative keywords from a general list and then move on.
Building a thorough negative keyword list is one of the key ingredients to making sure your campaign is profitable from the get-go.
Getting slammed with a lot of impressions and low CTR is the super fast-track to low Quality Scores. Quality Scores can be very difficult to recover and will take you a lot of time to recuperate decent scores.
Start from the Beginning
Take the time in the initial research phase to build up your negative keywords. I always keep a notepad open where I write everything down I find that I consider to be a negative keyword.
My philosophy is that I’d rather exclude too much, than too little.
Use Negative Keyword Sculpting to Control Impressions
Another part of proper-utilization of negative keywords is what I like to call negative keyword sculpting. I build my campaigns with a pretty simple structure:
- High-volume keywords get their own ad group
- Low-volume keywords are bundled together until they reflect a decent amount of clicks or conversions
I like to bid aggressively on my high-volume keywords. This can cause the smaller, higher-volume keywords to take away impressions from the long-tailed keywords in my low-volume ad groups.
A good example are doll clothes.
Doll clothes are high-volume.
Seventies-style doll clothes is long-tailed and low-volume.
If my Ad Rank (see this video for calculation) for doll clothes is higher than seventies-style doll clothes due to a higher bid, then doll clothes will run with all clicks.
My campaign structure might as well be non-existent.
I therefore make sure to implement cross-referencing negative keywords from the beginning.
I will take my long-tailed keywords, turn them into negative keywords and implement them in my other ad groups for that campaign.
This is super effective and not that time-consuming.
Bid Higher on Exact Match Keywords
I like to know what I’m getting. That’s why I’m a sucker for exact match keywords.
I always start out bidding higher for exact match keywords. They’ve almost always had a bigger success rate for me – especially when the keyword is high-volume.
Another example is if you’re bidding the same for phrase match and exact match keywords, then you might end up having your phrase match keywords get all the clicks.
It shouldn’t happen, but it often does.
Don’t be Funny – Funny Kills Sales in AdWords
To all the aspiring David Ogilvy’s out there, I’m sorry to disappoint you: Funny AdWords ads rarely do well when it comes to generating profits.
I simply believe the reason lies in the format. There’s very little room to be funny and still convey a message. You therefore end up with an ad that looks kind of odd and doesn’t make much sense.
Yes, of course I’ve seen funny ads have success, but I never start out my campaigns with funny ads.
Focus on benefits, USPs and a call-to-action in your ads. It will take you to attractive numbers much quicker.
Never Activate a Campaign the Day You Finish It
This is a frequent mistake I used to make. I would get so excited about a campaign that I would instantly call my Client, do a quick review and then activate it the same day.
I’ve had sufficient situations where there were just too many bad mistakes made and then felt forced to have to stop campaigns that same day.
I found that the more you rely on search-and-replace and other AdWords Editor features, the higher your chances are to overlook mistakes.
Give yourself a day and review your campaign again. It doesn’t hurt and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.
Golden Rules Are Not Truly Rules
To be honest, after working with AdWords for 5 years, I consider achieving success in AdWords search to be rather easy if I just follow my key principles.
The golden rules mentioned in this blog post are by no means my entire list, but they follow my basic principles on how to achieve AdWords success:
- Simplicity, but do the nitty gritty work too
- Don’t leave anything in the hands of Google
- Know your customer
Some of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen during my career come from not being thorough enough. If you have an eye for detail, put in the required hours and set up the proper structure from the beginning. Your potential will be endless.