Voltage Creative

Web Development & Design | Online Marketing

Google Partners Pumpkin

We just received a fun gift from Google and would like your help.

WHAT SHOULD WE CARVE INTO OUR PUMPKIN!?!  

We of course want to thank Google for making this the big challenge for our Friday afternoon.  If you have any ideas for us, please share them in the comments of this post or hit us up through social media.  Hurry, we aren’t going to wait long to start cutting into this beautiful pumpkin (that closely matches our brand colors, by the way).

google-pumpkin

Voltage is proud to announce the launch of the new Lyric Opera site. See it at kcopera.org, and read more: bit.ly/1bwqxu0

A nice, concise article about how the #Google “hummingbird” update will impact #SEO strategy for #B2B companies: selnd.com/GHabnp

Fascinating to consider gov website shutdowns & impact on #SEO performance — @sengineland article re: the scenarios selnd.com/1fJYQTA

RT @seobook: Time For A Content Audit nblo.gs/PEbhL

RT @sengineland: SMX East 2013 Day One Live Blog Recap by @rustybrick selnd.com/1c2mV5M

RT @GuyKawasaki: From dial-up to light speed…literally: The Internet past and present [infographic] is.gd/wm6jN6

RT @sengineland: Don’t Worry, That Google Webmaster Tool “Bug” Really Is A Bug selnd.com/18MhnXV

Note the current #gmail technical problems if you’re sending an email campaign or having trouble with attachments. bit.ly/1gTJVSd

RT @Econsultancy: Twitter competitions: how to make the most of your promotions bit.ly/15m2Oxd

RT @MariSmith: 5 Of The Best Branded Viral Videos bit.ly/1evfJQq via @Ekaterina [These are great!]

RT @Moz: Promoted from YouMoz! Google Authorship Troubleshooting: Article Attributed to Wrong Author by @marktraphagen - http://t.co/7Zq1pv…

Setting Online Marketing Goals & Expectations

goals-expectationsWhile online marketing is often much more measurable and trackable than traditional marketing and advertising, the wealth of data can sometimes become a detriment.  The level of tracking and performance data available can often lead to unrealistic expectations for immediate break-even and ROI generation.  At the end of the day, we’re still talking about marketing and advertising and while we can be smarter and more sophisticated with our online efforts due to the performance information available, we need to keep the whole picture in view.

I’m not trying to adjust your expectations too low or too high here – that’s not what this post is about.  I want to make sure we set goals, expectations, buckle up, and be patient.  While we can have a PPC campaign up and running in a day, that doesn’t mean that we’ll be making ten dollars per dollar spent the next day.  When we launch our first ever email campaign, we’re not necessarily going to see direct sales that exceed the cost of creative, strategy, and time for getting the campaign set up.  When we start and SEO campaign, we (hopefully) know that it will take months to see measurable successes (see my post about the challenges of short-term SEO thinking).

At the same time, we should not be disconnected from or oblivious to how well the campaign is performing, the actions and strategy in place to improve it, and at what point we should consider pulling the plug if it isn’t producing for us at the level of our goals and expectations.

As with most successful marketing efforts, proper strategy planning includes goal and expectation setting.  We must define what a success is, what budget and resources we are committing to the effort, and what checkpoints along the way will help us to evaluate our performance.  It is also advisable to not set concrete deadlines for milestones.  I have been a part of campaigns that were turned off too early due to the progress not quite meeting perceived instant ROI expectations, yet showing a lot of promise.  I have also watched clients and companies waste budget and resources on trying to make a success out of a campaign that realistically won’t happen.

Being patient, yet not complacent is key. It might seem challenging to balance the two, but becomes much more manageable and reasonable if proper goal and expectation setting is done up front.  The front-end discovery and strategy phase is where to weigh the expectations for online marketing channels against all other marketing and advertising (traditional or otherwise) that we’re engaged in.  Again, at the end of the day, despite all the data we have, we’re still talking about marketing and advertising.  While we all want measurable ROI–and that is often the primary goal–we don’t want to get shortsighted in our view of the big picture and impact that online marketing can have on our businesses.

The Challenges of One-Time SEO Projects

ongoing-process

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a practice, discipline, and online marketing channel has been around for nearly two decades and despite being part of a rapidly changing and evolving environment, it still holds a lot of value to companies and marketers.  While there can be a potential positive impact on rankings, traffic, and conversions from performing a one-time audit or optimization project, “one-time” activities in SEO are short sighted and will only make a small impact compared to a long-term commitment.

Important note: I’m not saying here that there is no value in an audit to evaluate current performance or as jumping off point–see more about the benefits of an SEO audit–I’m referring to the mindset and expectations of SEO.

I’m not using the word “commitment” in regards to signing a one-sided, unfair contract that binds a company with a vendor for years.  I’m talking about an honest evaluation of website goals, of all online marketing options, and if SEO part of the mix, ensuring that the proper expectations are set at all levels of the organization.  Unlike PPC, email, or other channels, SEO takes time and focused strategic attention to build.

We can’t optimize for all search engine algorithm variables at once and even after we tackle foundational issues, build a scalable structure, perform and perfect our on-page optimization, we’re not done.  Understanding that we’re not done is important because it is true for the work done even by the best SEOs in the world.  While we think we nailed it, we still must realize that as “perfect” as it might be, we’re aiming at a moving target.  Plus, in the absence of addressing external factors to foster engagement with our sites through inbound links, social media, etc., to the search engines we’re missing peer and community validation.  That’s a key piece missing from many audits and one-time optimization programs.  Thus, mileage will vary with one-time options that only address the optimization of content within a website to strive to get to a point of “perfection.”

Ongoing SEO will also allow for updates, testing, and continued optimization of on-page factors and the site content strategy as well.  While I might think that I have the perfect set of tags, headings, image tags, and body copy on every page of the site, built into well defined content silos, the real test is in how the search engines interpret the content and compare it to those sites that are already ranking well on the keyword terms that matter.  Everything being perfect according to best practices and competitor intelligence tools and data is not good enough and I have to be flexible to make ongoing and recurring updates to test and optimize.  This is in addition to the external factors noted above.

By now, I’m starting to go in a circle with the process and get repetitive, and that’s hopefully helping to prove my point.  Good and successful SEO efforts are never ending.  With that in mind, it is critical to plan accordingly to begin the efforts and to be flexible.  While we can put all of the tactics on the table and define the strategy up front, we need to leave room for flexibility as we go.  We don’t know how well our updates will perform and might have to go through many rounds of updates to the same parts of the site before we see the successes we want.

Oh, and what about competitors and search engine algorithm updates?  I’ll save those for another post as hopefully I’ve shown enough in this one to help lay out the case as to why SEO is not a one-time activity and is best suited for a long term commitment.  Thanks for reading!

RT @Marketingland: 3 Key iOS 7 Features Marketers Should Care About by @AaronStrout mklnd.com/1a74bhh

One and Done

big-site-vs-one-page-websiteAn area of our business we’ve seen additional client interest in over the past two years is one-page websites. While this is by no means a new concept, it’s an offering we started pitching clients shortly after the downturn in the economy a few years ago.

Initially, we offered one-page websites to clients due to restricted budgets brought on by the recession. However, after creating a few one-pagers, we found these sites to be an ideal solution not only for small budgets, but for organizations who had simple or common concepts to convey to users.

As a digital development agency typically focused on creating large websites with sometimes hundreds of pages and complex functionality, creating single page websites at first seemed counter-intuitive to our core business. However, after trying to “shoehorn” one-too-many relatively simple concepts or products into multi-page websites, we decided that was no longer an advisable route for some of our clients or their money.

Virtually any organization can utilize a single-page website for their online presence, but all too often businesses feel a need to populate pages with content that few-to-no users ever access. The About page for example, which is quite commonly the least trafficked page of any site.

So how do you know if a single page website is right for you? Well, in this instance, it might be easier to determine if a single page site is NOT right for you, and the single most important determining factor is … wait for it …

CONTENT

This is key and how we initially decide if a single page website is right for a client. If your product or service requires consumer education to convert, access to company credentials, staff members, various office locations, service levels, etc., you should consider a multi-page site.

In the end it’s all about understanding your users and your sales cycle. The more hand-holding needed to educate and/or credibility building a business requires to convert, then the more content you may need to be successful online.

And even if you require a mult-page site, even hundreds of pages, we always (and I mean always) recommend applying the KISS method to your content—Keep It Simple S … ir. Remove the noise and allow your users to access content on their terms and in ways that foster conversion.

LG’s end of world interview prank–creative use of YouTube for viral video + commercial. bit.ly/13osy97 #youtube #contentmarketing

RT @RavenTools: STUDY: Almost 90% of adult Internet users have taken steps like clearing cookies to avoid online surveillance: http://t.co/…

RT @spiral16: How to Respond to a Mistake on Social Media bit.ly/1eeU9hr

RT @mattmcgee: How to Block Bots from Your Google Analytics m2.cm/15H8dZb

   
Newer Entries »