Posts Tagged ‘trends’

Normalizing Search Engine Traffic Reporting

We’ve all known about Google Trends for a while. I’ve had a thought about using Google Trends to normalize our search engine optimization campaign reports. Let me explain.

If your campaign is producing 1000 visitors per month in month 1, then 1100 in month 2, then 1200, that’s great. Let’s say that the trend in month 4, 5, 6 then goes 1200, 1150, 1100. Well, that’s not so good, it was going up ~10% per month, now it’s falling about 5% each month. Well, if the site is optimized around a set of target search terms, and then other traffic comes from halo terms, then to assume that the SEO is providing more or less traffic is also to assume that search volume for this family of terms is constant.

If we used Google Trends to normalize, we might find that the number of times a term was searched on fell 15% during those down months. So, the 10%/month upward trend was actually sustained.

google-trends

Another way to look at this is to simply ask, what percentage of potential clicks did you get? If this percentage is trending up, then you’re in good shape. This means you’re taking more market share.

Another way to think of this is the following: Let’s say that you’re doing search engine optimization for a site that sells air conditioners. Let’s further assume that you start the SEO campaign on January 1st. Well, no one is really looking for AC units in January. Then, in April, you start to see an upward traffic trend, it goes higher and higher and peaks in August. Then, by mid September, you’re not seeing any traffic from the search engines. You start Googling around and see your site, but no visitors.

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that people just aren’t buying air conditioners in October. So, you’d pretty much expect to see less traffic. In this case, the best way to judge if the SEO campaign is succeeding is to either look a target terms and catalog placement in search engine results pages, or to normalize your numbers. Take a benchmark at the beginning of the campaign, say a ratio of traffic to searches, then, each month you’d want that ratio to climb. This way, you’ll know if your SEO is working, regardless of market trends.

Let’s talk about Yelp baby

I’ve recently learned some new things about YELP and I figure our loyal readers would want to know them too.

Some of you, I’m sure, haven’t heard of Yelp. You should check it out. Here’s a link to our profile on Yelp. Yelp is a site where you can write a review for any business with a physical location. People put up reviews, good and bad, of the businesses that they interact with. I recently reviewed a coffee shop that I like a lot. I mentioned that people like it too much and there’s  a long line almost every time I go, but it’s worth it. This is the kind of real world reviews you’ll see on Yelp.

BTW, we’d love it if you wrote a nice review about Boston Logic on Yelp. Click here to review Boston Logic. Thanks.

Here are some interesting and important facts about Yelp:

Reviews
First, the reviews that show up highest, by default, are the ones written by users who have written a lot of reviews. It’s not just the most recent review. You’ll notice above the reviews and below the profile of a company, there are sort options. The default is “Yelp Sort.” If you want to see the most recent just click on “Rating.” Notice also that there are lots of other ways to sort reviews. I don’t know how much this gets used, but while you’re on there, you may as well play around. If you like a review, then you can click “useful” the nice thing about this is that you can sort reviews by how useful other folks have found them.

Bad Reviews
Business owners, if you get a bad review, it’s not the end of the world. First of all, I’ve noticed that truly mean and bad reviews are usually short and often put up by people with fake accounts or accounts with little personal information and fake names. My account is linked to my Facebook account. So, I’m standing behind anything I say. Also, you can flag a review. This won’t make it go away completely, but it can put the review off your page and mostly out of reach of people. The casual user would need to dig in order to find it.

Paid Ads
Next, Yelp does sell paid ads. Or, really, they offer a ways to make your profile on Yelp more prominent and more engaging. For example:Yelp search

  1. You can pay to have your listing appear at the top of search results. This is like using Adwords to have your link come up on the first page of Google’s search results.
  2. You can also pay to enhance your profile. So, if someone does find your biz on Yelp, then they’ll be more likely to stick on that page and maybe pick up the phone and call you.
  3. Also, it should be noted that Yelp has tile ads on their home page and tower ads on other pages.

Social Network
Also, Yelp is more than just a site to post reviews. They’re a social network too. You can upload photos of yourself, give more details about your life, “friend” other members, become a fan, send a compliment, follow someone, and send a message all within Yelp. I’m not too sure how much this stuff gets used by the average user, but I’m sure the power users are making good use of it.

Like all Social Media sites, Yelp’s value increases as more people use it. If all anyone did was write a review, it would just be opinions stacking up. But Yelp has taken the time to make the more relevant content come up first. In some ways, this makes them a go-to search engine when looking for something great. I’ve often complained that Google is great for finding information, but horrible for rating that information’s quality, trustworthiness, and value.  Sure you can find pizza using Google, but there could be a great pizza place around the corner from you that has no website! This means it’ll never come up on Google at all!

Yelp is showing you the reviews by people who do the most reviewing and by the nature of the site and its use base, they’re probably showing you a more comprehensive results set. If you’re looking for a service provider, I highly recommend Yelp.

Competitors
To be fair, I wanted to point out a few Yelp-like sites. Maybe I’ll write a comparison post soon?!?

YELP PR PEOPLE – I’m sure you’ll find this article. Would love some feedback, thoughts, etc? Tell us how Realtors are using Yelp?

Real Estate SEO, the en vogue investment for the fall season

Every year we notice a trend. Real Estate brokers and agents from back from their summer vacation with new knowledge. They’ve been reading, we say. They’ve been thinking, we say. The result is that we get score of you great folks asking us for the same things.

Almost without fail, it’s something that we’ve been telling you to invest in for at least a year or two. This year, what are people calling us about? You guessed it Real Estate SEO!thinker

Now, this is not a great big ‘I told you so’ post. We’re not that kind of SEOs. I want to know why the real estate industry just woke up during the summer of 2009? Here are my theories.

Real Estate magazine published a cover story on Social Media. Yes, we got some calls about this, we’re even designing a class around it. But the ripple effect that this had was to send real estate professionals running to the web. There they noticed just how hard it was for consumers to find them. They reasoned that if they had better search engine placement, they’d sell more real estate. It’s not a tough conclusion to draw.

Here’s another theory: after a dismal spring, the real estate brokers realized that they needed to finally cut their print marketing budget and find a new horse to bet on. They’d heard of this thing called blogging and started to write. So, what do these realtors want to know? Why isn’t my blog ranking? Sometime we get, “My blog ranks, but my site doesn’t!?” Of course the answer to these folks is that their blog should be a part of their website. Blogging on blogger.com or WordPress.com is fine, but it’s going to bring the users to those sites and not to your website.

Here’s my final theory. Every fall, real estate brokers and agents realize that they didn’t take initiative in the spring. They were too busy selling homes. They woke up on the first of the year and said, “I’m going to invest in real estate seo this year.” But one thing led to another another and they didn’t get around to it. Now, it’s time to act.

That’s ok, 8 months isn’t so long…

But really, this means that the message got across a long time ago. You didn’t need us to remind you. You just needed to remember that you wanted more leads all along.

Last word: Stay tuned for the new BostonLogic.com launching soon! You heard it here first!

Where can this really go?

I saw this post on a Yahoo Group that I’m a part of. It’s amazing to me that anyone would even consider this business in 2009.

Hello to all
I am looking for some help. I’m looking for an investor or angel investor. I am looking to start a hobby store in my area. What I would be selling is. All kinds of sports cards. Video games and acssereis, (I think he meant Accessories) and lastly all kinds of coins. If there is any one that could help me. I would be very thankful for the help. If you would like to contact me, my email address is xxx@yyy.com or my phone # is 555.222.4444. if I don’t answer my phone please leave me a message. thank you for the help.

Sincerely.

Wow, this brings back memories. I was a hobbyist when I was a kid. Baseball cards were all the rage. There were coin collectors and memorabilia shops, but those are tough businesses these days. Let’s look at why.

Well, it’s obvious that the internet has changed things in big ways. eBay really killed the collectibles market. Think about it. If you wanted a rare coin and you live in the countryside, well, you’re really pretty limited in your options. So, there’s the local hobby shop or memorabilia shop. Maybe you have a book that tell the prices for things. Remember those books? They were published annually and gave you the going rate for a 1989 Gary Carter baseball card in Mint Condition. PUBLISHED YEARLY.

These days, you can go online and see the last 100 transaction where a Gary Carter baseball card changed hands. The market and the buyers in that market have MUCH more information. The result is that people know what they should pay and the margins are razor thin.ebay-logo

Now you’re thinking, ‘I’m a realtor. What’s this got to do with me?’ Remember, the buyers you’re working with have access to information. They have more than they ever did before and they can get their hands on more every day. The thing about real estate is that you work on a percentage. The guy at the office around the corner is likely charging the same rate for his services. Probably 5 or 6 percent. So, you don’t have to worry too much about eBay coming along and taking your business. In fact, you’ve been able to sell a house on eBay real estate for years and the impact on the industry has been small.

This means that to get ahead of the other real estate agents in your town, you need to capture the market. You need to get your marketing in front of more people. Then you need to provide great service. Now, we’re here to help you with the first part, Real Estate SEO is how you capture more of the market. Providing great service is your job.

You should also realize that the buyer can find out a lot about homes and they can find out a lot about you! They can look you up on LinkedIn and Facebook. They can Google your name and your real estate firm’s name. You need to have your Social Media profile in order, just in case someone goes out looking for you. Luckily we wrote a post about this a while back. Check out how to do social media right.

Lastly, realize that we’re not going into hobby shops any more. We’re shopping on the internet. We’re searching on Google and letting our fingers do the walking. The Real Estate search starts on the web. Realtors come second. Yes, it’s true. The first thing they’re going to know about you is that they found your site and it was helpful! If your site isn’t findable then you need to do some real estate SEO work NOW. If, when they find your site, they’re leaving or not signing up, that’s an issue of design. We can help there too.

Thanks for reading.

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