There can be no doubt that conducting business online has become more complex in the last decade. For a site owner to succeed in today’s multi-channel e-marketing environment requires more than building a website, bidding on pay-per-click keywords and waiting for the traffic to land.
Developing an integrated e-commerce strategy that will provide a full service capability to manage entire 360 degree online marketing campaigns now demands daily, full-time input across all key channels, platforms and networks. The expansion of the web from simple one-way search to multi social media content and communication creation and sharing has not only increased competition it has also changed the way consumers expect to experience the online world from their chosen channels and platforms.
Today, the big talking issues revolve around the ‘walled garden' effect of the social networks, global brand apps and the difficulties of sustaining rankings from the growing number of traffic sources. Implementing bespoke web solutions to optimise a company’s e-business within a comprehensible web infrastructure is key to sustained audience reach and engagement.
The essential blueprint for any business model always identifies its core purpose, products and services, channels, and the way it is to be organised to find and retain customers, generate profit and yet be flexible to allow for remodelling according to changing variables. E-Commerce site strategies in 2012 need to develop a better understanding of their targeted customers, which reflects the real-time picture of prevailing wishes, interests and behaviours. That is, why prospects look to buy, what they are looking for, when and where - and how they interact at any given time.
It’s no longer sufficient to just know, for example, which keywords are bringing in click traffic, where visitors are looking and how long they stay on site pages. Tracking traffic sources across the multichannel can now come from say, offline to online via QR codes or printed URLs, social networking sites and search engines, customer reviews, content backlinks, blog comment, images, YouTube videos, etc.
Online presence requires ever more rigorous focus by business to exactly know how they can effectively make a natural connection with their particular audiences at the right moment when their audiences want to find and engage with them. In the battle for the hearts and minds of today’s savvy consumer, there’s a delicate relationship between affirmative marketing and responsive customer interaction.
No site owner can do everything on all channels. It would be unwise and unnecessary. The key to an integrated e-commerce strategy is an appropriate voice with relevant content. Results will come from concentrating upon specific customer touchpoints and by providing a rich, meaningful online experience across selected channels in close harmony with adjacent marketing campaigns.
Posted: 24/04/2012 16:29:03
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Since the arrival of Facebook and the explosion of social networking as an alternative search method, informed by family friends and work associates, Google has been constantly developing it’s algorithms to improve the relevancy of returned site pages. So too, the mobile and tablet revolution has pushed constantly evolving platform technologies into a new multichannel e-marketing environment.
Whereas, a site domain in the era of Web 1.0 was the sole focus for content, and Web 2.0 presided over the rise of social networked engagement, conversation and content linking, the dawning of the semantic Web 3.0 sees the shift from activity to a meaning-based understanding of web content driving integrated e-commerce forward to the next stage.
The recent announcement by Google of their plans to provide more relevant results by “incorporating semantic search technology” by which, the actual meaning of words is better understood, seeks to replace the basic mechanical links between web pages with the intrinsic relationships between relevant properties.
Algorithm updates from Google are always ongoing in achieving the ‘holy grail’ of providing search results that more accurately connect with required content. Actual meaning is identified in the context of semantic customer search, i.e. results based on implicit search meaning, as opposed to simply offering site page listings as a result of applied search engine optimisation.
Dependency on main keyword and secondary keyword density and repetition, which had to be applied to every page of a website has already significantly lessened. Spam sites containing poor quality, unreadable content created only for link traffic purposes are constantly under Google Panda monitoring.
By focusing on keyword placement, keyword proximity and latent semantic indexing (LSI), rather than the number of times a keyword is repeated, patterns are identified in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in a text, and words are found, which are used in the same context and have similar meanings.
The vast accumulation of ‘verified structured data’ from across the various Google services aims to transform ‘search’ to ‘discovery’ in the bid to exactly match search queries. Thus, words which are used can be indexed according to how they can be used to obtain the meaning of the text in response to user queries.
Search results returned will be based upon the degree of conceptual similarity in meaning to the search criteria, even if the results do not actually share a specific word or number of words with the search criteria. The incorporation of semantic meaning into the Google algorithm enables a differentiation to be made between words and an understanding of actual word meanings.
Ultimately, site ranking will be determined more by relevant content and authoritative links as Google increase its ability to recognise the intrinsic value of information. The use of structured data or semantic mark-up is a key advantage to e-commerce sites, which are given more exposure by being more completely able to display rich snippets in search results.
The pervasive influence of social networks and human interaction on the internet is clear. The development of semantic meaning is a result of the way humans process and understand information, and Google seems intent to ‘blend’ new semantic search technology with its current search criteria.
Strengthening web presence requires a solid long term social content building of audiences across the multichannel using relevant content bound ever more tightly with bespoke web solutions and targeted keyword optimisation.
Posted: 17/04/2012 16:28:21
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The adoption of social media is an ongoing project for many businesses learning how to best optimise their web presence for effective audience engagement in today’s multichannel emarketing world.
The great challenge is to create an integrated ecommerce policy that involves a company’s traditional online marketing campaigns linked to compatible social media content / message delivery processes. In truth, over three quarters of businesses have staked their existence upon qualified lead generation through email marketing followed by pay-per-click campaigns.
It’s not surprising that paid search is the second most used category of online marketing, just ahead of general event marketing, presentations and the sending out of Press Releases in third place. Diversity of channels, platforms and social sites has led to increasing fragmentation of consumer behaviour and expectation towards online search, user engagement and customer experience.
Most independent surveys reveal that one of the greatest of challenges to over half of today’s businesses online is being convinced to develop bespoke web solutions designed to raise lead generation (and conversion potential) while at the same time under pressure to move away from “tried and trusted” methods, such as email marketing. Studies have often found that B2B organisations, in particular, have yet to more fully take social media on board when compared to B2C uptake.
Ideally, businesses should already have integrated search engine optimisation with PPC to feed directly into building a more responsive email marketing base. Once again, it is more likely that B2C companies would show greater leanings towards the “sales ready” lead rather than consider the lead potential that may benefit from an email optimisation set in motion by a subscription conversion process.
While it may be readily observed that there is not necessarily a straight arrow from email subscription to an immediately qualified sales prospect, nevertheless, setting goals coordinated with email acquisition sets the stage for more effective conversion attribution in SEO campaign evaluation.
Despite an understandable concern over the quality of email information entered on a form submission, substantive growth can be obtained in overall email information and quality of email address details, combined with seeing a conversion rate of email acquisition at the page level and by keyword strategies. Integration with landing page keyword optimisation is always a critical component of any search engine marketing strategy, yet still many websites have yet to carry out an initial optimisation process or regular keyword updating, let alone think about optimisation for mobile!
New Nielsen research reveals that nearly 40 per cent of emailing now occurs on mobile. A Google sponsored study in April 2011, found that over 80 per cent of smartphone users check and send email with their device. A separate 2011 survey showed that email opens on mobile / smartphone account for just over a fifth of email opens, a rise of over 50 per cent on 2010.
Multichannel integration across mobile and tablets is set to make traditional platforms and communication channels much less user responsive. Full search optimisation rather than holding on to “one or two eggs in the basket” is now vital for any online business to flourish in their future multichannel emarketing and lead generation endeavours.
Posted: 10/04/2012 17:37:36
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It’s understandable that some business owners, whether SME or mid-size, may simply prefer to consolidate most of their multichannel e-marketing into more traditional online campaigns. This is despite the rapid evolution of social media networking, which has influenced Google and added to the 200 plus ways its algorithm indexes for site authority.
The simple truth is that for business to deploy social engagement within an integrated e-commerce strategy requires a long term vision. Site owners tend to want to see immediate, tangible traffic results and the implementation of pay per click campaigns and search engine optimisation can produce the desired ROI, as measured in clicks, page hits and conversion ratios.
The importance of quality backlinks can never be underestimated in the building and maintaining of a trusted web presence and is one of the most important of search engine optimisation factors influencing both human visitors and search engine ranking. While personalised bespoke web solutions are critical to the onsite journey, it is the creation and circulation of relevant content that is a key driver to delivering powerful backlink activity, integral to a brand’s visible social value.
Links should be made from a variety of sources and related industries, as well as appropriate random links, and not just from an immediate business sector. It should be remembered that there are also different qualities of links and levels of relevancy which are scored as either more or less valuable. Not all content directories, for example, are quality ranked themselves by Google or highly rated by Alexa, and were adversely affected by last year's Google Panda algorithm downgrading ‘thin content’ link farm sites.
Much of the problem stems from years of unscrupulous scammers preying on site owners by offering budget driven instant results. Established ecommerce sites understand that the processes of successful organic online marketing and optimised link strategies are never the same as instant PPC advertising.
Google has been in constant battle with blackhat tactics, which would gain a peak in the rankings using keywords unrelated to content. While a brief spike in click traffic might be the overnight result, the longer term result will be damaging in the longer term when rankings, inevitably, drop and visitor numbers fall away.
Undoubtedly, there is always going to be some degree of ‘grey’ overlap between black and white hat activity to gain the hard fought for rankings – and some legitimate sites have briefly fallen victim to Google Panda. But there are key differences between genuine content sites and the spam link merchants.
A brand’s social activity is now considered highly important to underpinning site credibility as increasingly, search is conducted via social sites and away from search engines. Optimisation of content is therefore, still crucial, in whatever genuine context it is to be used.
It is therefore, still vital to include backlinks within key content, being second only in importance to implementing search engine optimisation for securing long term results. Incredibly, in the age of optimising for social media, there are still an enormous number of websites where keyword optimisation has not been carried out whatsoever.
Posted: 03/04/2012 16:26:01
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