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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Share the Love - Blogger's Unite Featured Artisan (2)

Share the Love - Blogger's Unite Featured Artisan (2):

'via Blog this'

This weeks Featured Artisan is Debbi La Rue - Flower & Bud Handcrafted Jewelry!

You can find Flower & Bud on:

You can grab the code for your blog here:

Google News Launches “Standout” Tag for Featured Content

Google News Launches “Standout” Tag for Featured Content: Today at the Online News Association conference, Google introduced a new link rel attribute that news organizations can use to mark their best work. You can mark up to seven pieces of content per week. Google News will use this information as a signal for labeling news stories as...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Understanding and Reducing Google Analytics Bounce Rate Pt2

Understanding and Reducing Google Analytics Bounce Rate Pt2:

This is continued from part one

As we said in the last post, there are two main factors in reducing the bounce rate;

  1. Engage people enough that they read the first paragraph of your page
  2. Give people something to do, or encourage people to take action, before they leave your site
There are many factors that come in to play with keeping people interested, as Toby Zigler said, its the science of listener attention. You have to try to distil the idea down, and use words that are surprising and interesting to the reader.

Source of traffic

Each source can result in a different Bounce Rate. We have found out that the traffic driven by search (paid and organic) and other sources other than the campaign had a much lower bounce rate than traffic that is driven by ads. Buying a high searched keyword is ultimately useless if you do not provide what people are searching for those words actually want. If the message on your banner or search ads do not comply with the messages on the landing page then chances are you have one of those 50% + bounce rates.

Page load time

Long load times can lead visitors to bailing out on the site leading to a higher bounce rate. You can reduce your load times by following our handy guide. If your site is plastered with pictures and other bells and whistles users with slower connections may be leaving because they have to wait too long.

Too much clutter

Make sure your pages are clutter and interruption free. People will not hand around and search for what they are looking for if there are too many things in the way.

Links to external sites

Pages that contain links to external sites (or sub domains / pages that do not follow the same data warehouse) will show higher bounce rates. High Bounce Rate is most likely due to incorrect application of the tracking code.People can also leave your site from your entrance page because of site and usability issues.

Create Related Content

Providing links to other related content on your site can go a long way in keeping visitors engaged. We have related content links on the side and below each of our posts.

Take Action

There are plenty of free or inexpensive Web Analytics tools out there. These tools can provide a serious amount of data, but the information here is not the end game. But do not assume that going to work. You should consider performing A / B and multi-variant tests when making even minor changes to your site. If you are using WordPress it is easy to change the design of your site, or to try different themes. Mix things up, you never know what might attract people to stay on the site.

This is continued from part one

Related posts:

  1. Understanding and Reducing Google Analytics Bounce Rate Pt1
  2. Sitemaps And SEO – Do Sitemaps Help Your Google PageRank?
  3. WordPress – Increasing Speed, Reducing Time to First Byte

Understanding and Reducing Google Analytics Bounce Rate Pt1

Understanding and Reducing Google Analytics Bounce Rate Pt1:

Bounce Rate is the percentage of single page visits or visits in which the person left your site immediately from the entrance page. There is much speculation about whether Bounce Rate site actually has an impact on ranking. At the moment there is no confirmation that there is a connection, but it is still worth thinking about, because it has been included as a possible factor in the recent update Panda.

We had to split this post over a few days, so click here for part 2

Most bounce rates fall between 18 – 30% on the front page and site in general. Any site with Bounce Rate is greater than 30% should be looked at closely. Retail sites and drive targeted traffic 20-40% bounce. A simple landing page (with a call to action such as add to cart) I saw a much higher bounce rate, anywhere from 70-90%.

If you see a higher Bounce Rate, even if your site has a blog and has more than one page, make sure you mark all your pages with tracking code. If you have just marked the home page, Google Analytics account will not be able to identify any other web site page views. You can use Google Analytics Site Scan tool to verify that all pages on your site containing the tracking code.

Write about things that HOLD people’s interest

Factual posts about things that people will search for are all well and good, but they WILL lead to a high bounce rate. It is also not enough just to have interesting content, it has to HOLD their interest. Once people have found the information they were looking for, what next? The best way to lower your bounce rate is to give people an incentive to see what happens next by writing about topics that people will always want to know more about.

  1. Write posts in a series
  2. Make your pages have links to further information
  3. Don’t give readers EVERYTHING they want in the first few paragraphs
  4. Refer back to past information on the same topic
  5. Write about topics that are ongoing, like events, fashions, news items, and keep people updated
  6. Keep your pages between 300 and 500 words and spread your information out

Give People Something To Do

This is probably the most obvious one, but it is often overlooked because bloggers think they are just putting out information, and it doesn’t matter what happens next. The difficulty is the balance between putting up other interesting related information, putting up your call to action AND keeping the reader engaged.

  1. Apparently adding links to videos on your site is a good way to get more clicks
  2. Encourage people to leave a comment, or start a discussion
  3. Make pages interactive, allow people to take tests and fill out forms etc
  4. Add quizzes to your site

We had to split this post over a few days, so click here for part 2

Related posts:

  1. Understanding and Reducing Google Analytics Bounce Rate Pt2
  2. 1 Week Google PageRank Jump
  3. Google Panda Questionnaire

Recruitment SEO – Targeting Clients

Recruitment SEO – Targeting Clients:

In a job market where there are plenty of candidates, a recruitment firm needs to make sure their online marketing targets clients. With the job market changing, and most firms starting to go direct through services like LinkedIn, there has never been a more important time to make sure you are maximising the leads generated through your website. Firstly, there are three things you should do with your website to make sure you are going to convert, before you start looking at SEO or online marketing

  1. Make sure you have a page just for client companies that shows off how you are different. Talking about experience is a good thing, but also talking about some of the processes you go through to find the right candidate can help too.
  2. Make sure you have testimonials and links to client websites already there. Some companies worry about competitors stealing their clients, but really you should expect your competitors to be looking to do this anyway, having a few client links isn’t going to change that fact.
  3. Focus on one niche, or one geographical area. In our experience websites that focus on one or two core areas convert at a far higher rate than just “Sydney Recruitment Agency”. This will also give you your keywords that you can use to target with your SEO.
When you start looking at SEO you need to know the difference between keywords that clients will use, and keywords that candidates will use. Candidates look for “IT Jobs Sydney” where as clients will use words like “North Sydney Technology Recruitment Agency”. Using a mix of the long and the short keywords will net you both, but make sure you focus your content on the words that the clients will use.
  1. The first step in Recruitment SEO is getting your website in order. Your client landing page should use your target keywords in the title and in the body of the page. When using it in the body of the page you should be looking at wrapping the keywords in H1 and <b> tags.
  2. Make sure you encourage people to share your jobs on twitter and Facebook. Most modern websites have some sort of a plugin that you can make this happen.
  3. If you are using a jobs board, make sure that the jobs posted there can be indexed and are included in your sitemap. The best way to check this is to copy a section of the job description and paste it into Google. If your job shows up, then they are being indexed.
  4. If you have a jobs board, then there is a chance you can syndicate your jobs out to websites like, etc. They usually only take the first paragraph of a job, before linking back to your website.
  5. Every modern website should have a blog. You should use this tool to write about changes to the landscape of your industry. This will show that you know your market, but it will also give you a chance to target longer tail keywords, and generate internal links to your clients page. The best content for your blog is if you can report in overall changes to the jobs market in your industry, or if there have been any significant changes to the number of clients/candidates you have.
  6. Link partners. Use a service link, and find other recruitment firms to exchange links with. Link exchange is the first step to generating links to your site. As long as you do it with other recruitment firms across the globe, there is nothing wrong with that.
  7. Guest blogging. A few years ago article websites were the best way to generate a volume of links back to your site. Now, guest blogging is better. Article submission is on the wane because Google has started to remove the value of links from sites with a lot of duplicate content. There are a few ways to get Guest blogging gigs. The best way is to look for recruitment media that have a blog. Most blogs will be happy to take comment and content from someone who has experience in the industry. When you guest blog, this will give you a chance to get your name out there, and to have a profile page on another website that can link to yours.
  8. Find recruitment directories. There are some directories that are worth listing in, and there are others that are not. The best way to tell the difference is to search for recruitment agencies in your area. If a directory comes up, then it is probably worth looking at. You are looking for the ones that will allow you to have a logo and a link back to your website. Some industry associations have a directory, which is usually worth investigating.
  9. Sponsor local events. Find and host local events worth talking about. Sponsor a local office footy team. This will get people talking, and generate links back to your website. It will advertise your business to your target market, and it will generate buzz, which is an important part of SEO.

Related posts:

  1. Finding your strongest link sources
  2. SEO Consultants – Who will get you results?
  3. Free Seo Report

Google Adwords Cost Falls 30% In Australia

Google Adwords Cost Falls 30% In Australia:

We have been tracking the cost of advertising using Google Adwords for well over a year now. Using a basket of keywords that range from “Plumbing” to “Business Supplies”, we have been looking at the average CPC and the competition for over 90 different keywords. Comparing the costs to advertise on Google for those keywords gives us an idea of two things. We take the data from Google’s keyword tool, which shows the estimated average cost per click in dollars and the competition for those keywords in %.

First we can see if there has been increased competition for particular keywords, or if there has been an increase in competition overall. This could give anyone a good idea of an improvement in the economy, or an improvement in advertising spend online.

Second, being able to compare the competition levels from one month to the next allows us to see if Google is manipulating advertising costs. All things being equal, a keyword that has the same competition from one month to the next should also have the same advertising cost. Overall, across all keywords, increases or decreases in competition should have similar changes in the cost to advertise.

We still think that Google Adwords is THE most effective advertising method when done right. However, understanding how the costs work, and what fluctuations there are is an important part of being and Adwords manager.

Here is the full data.

Apologies for the quality of the data on two counts. One the tables are all over the place. The data is all there, but it is just not formatted very well. Second, we did have data for every quarter, but that was all lost two months ago, so we had to go back to a quarter that had data missing.

Most Keywords are Less Expensive

For Australia, the most notable changes in keyword costing over the last year has been to mobile phone keywords. When we started this experiment “3 Mobile Phones” and “3g Mobile Phones” were some of the most expensive keywords to buy. As people are now searching for “smartphones” and other keywords associated with the new iPhones and Android Phones, the competition has dropped, and so has the advertising cost.

Across the board, generic keywords like “money”, “flowers”, “trucking” and “lawyers” have become significantly less expensive over the last year.

Adwords in the US Costs More

Advertising that targets the US costs more per competition, and when they have reductions in competition, the cost to advertise does not decrease. Since November the US has seen a reduction in competition for adwords by about 6% but has seen no fall in the cost of advertising. Time and again we have seen the cost of advertising in the US change in different ways to the rest of the world. At the start of last year there was an almost 40% increase in the average cost of advertising to the US.

Our Methodology is not Perfect

The data is not perfect by any stretch. We have seen the data change from quarter to quarter retrospectively. Because we are relying on Google to provide the data, we expect all types of shenanigans. We know that Google adjust all sorts of data by the IP address of the user, so it could just be that it is expensive to advertise to the US for Australian IP owners. However, the data is generally good and it is the best we can rely on. The one other minor thing that clouds our data a little is that words associated with mobile phones make up about a 10th of the data. This is mainly because when we started the experiment, a large portion of all searches online, and all keywrods targeted were associated with mobile phones.

The Winners and Losers?

The top 5 increases in advertising cost went to;

  1. web design
  2. mobile phone insurance
  3. business mobile
  4. health
  5. seo

The top 5 decreases in CPC went to

  1. 3 mobile phones
  2. three mobile phones insurance
  3. computers
  4. appliances
  5. business mobile phones

Related posts:

  1. Cost of Australian Adwords falls 10% in October
  2. Google Adwords cost goes up again
  3. Adwords Cost rises for US advertisers, drops for Australians

How eCommerce is hurting Myer, and how they should fight back

How eCommerce is hurting Myer, and how they should fight back:

Bernie Brooks, the CEO of Myer, has estimated that they online sales currently are worth around 5 million dollars with around 2500 SKUs. On the ABC’s Business Insiders Brooks has said that online sales for the retailer are tripling “each year”, and if things change online then they will be in a good position to take advantage. Currently, it is estimated, that online sales make up around 2-3% of retail sales in Australia, which Brooks expects would only increase to about 10%. Overall Myer’s profit is down 3.5%, and as with a lot of other retailers, they are claiming to struggle against not only online sales, but also consumers having a range of concerns including interest rates and the carbon tax.

Old fashioned retailers, like Harvey Norman, struggle with online retailers, not just because they can’t or wont compete on price, but also because they can’t compete with the breadth of offering and the speed of delivery. In the interview with ABC, Brooks suggested he had a few ideas with how they are going to compete, but there is more they should do.

There are a few key things that offline retailers have that online retailers can never compete with;

  1. Relationships – face to face allows you to build strong relationships
  2. Community – offline you can build relationships faster and in more directions
  3. Store space – Touchable, always present, store frontage and product availability.
  4. A thousand ways to contact someone – a large portion of online retailers have no way of calling someone
  5. Exclusive Product - has shown that consumers will buy product combinations when presented with them. Most online retailers also struggle having a range of odd sizes.
  6. Returns Policy - Without a physical presence it is hard for online retailers to have a returns policy that people are comfortable with. Even blanket returns policies, where they accept everything, still mean that the product has to do two more legs before the customer gets a replacement.
  7. Knowledge – Some online retailers try to have online sales reps or an extensive FAQ. However you only need to look at the Mac stores to see what a difference knowledgeable sales staff can make. This is certainly an area that Harvey Norman could improve on.

Related posts:

  1. Ecommerce Success
  2. Required Security for an Ecommerce Store
  3. Free eCommerce eBook – SEO, Internet Marketing and Sales

Google News Launches “Standout” Tag for Featured Content

Google News Launches “Standout” Tag for Featured Content: Today at the Online News Association conference, Google introduced a new link rel attribute that news organizations can use to mark their best work. You can mark up to seven pieces of content per week. Google News will use this information as a signal for labeling news stories as...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Polar and Tropical, Hot and Cold, Share Your Creations!

Polar and Tropical, Hot and Cold, Share Your Creations!: Michigan sure has had its weather extremes this year. Polar-like weather during our winter months which is typical and this summer has been Tropical-like weather due to such high temperatures and dew point temperatures which is not so typical. So the current theme is polar and tropical. Here’s a handy website to check your current weather conditions: NOAA’s National Weather Service

To post your item(s), use the 'Click to Enter' button located below the images. Post only HANDMADE item(s) related to cold (polar) and/or hot (tropical) weather. For greater exposure, be sure to share this blog. Happy posting!

Handmade Dangles and Charms

Handmade Dangles and Charms: To post your item(s), use the 'Click to Enter' button located below the images. Post only HANDMADE item(s) related to dangles and charms. For greater exposure, be sure to share this blog. Happy posting!

Featured Artisan, Vanessa Martins of Heavenly Shop

Featured Artisan, Vanessa Martins of Heavenly Shop:
Heavenly is Vanessa's handcraft jewelry project that was born from the simple idea of designing pieces and collections with different inspirations and moods in mind. Every piece is thoughtfully created and has meaning and a story behind it. Here are some pieces from her Collections.

These earrings from the Daya Collection, are made with jade beads and brass. The Daya Collection is an amulet collection, entirely handmade and composed by three themes: Daya Tanah, Daya Laut and Daya Jiwa.

This ring from her La Rocca Collection is made with Swarovski Crystals and Copper. The La Rocca collection is divided in two ocasions: La Rocca Giorno and La Rocca Notte. This ring represents the collection, La Rocca Giorno.

A lovely necklace from the Carmel Collection. This necklace is made with teardrop shaped natural carmine jasper stones, Swarovski crystals and wooden beads.

You can find more of her designs in her Etsy Shop Heavenly

Listen, Analyze and Keep in Touch: Chatting with Pam Sahota

Listen, Analyze and Keep in Touch: Chatting with Pam Sahota:

Pam Sahota is one of many individuals who has included us in their toolkits on the popular OneForty – a social business software hub we’re a big fan of here at PostRank. Last month I had the chance to chat with Pam about a king called content and her experience with PostRank Analytics.

Pam is a Marketing Communications and Social Media Manager at Intronis Cloud Backup + Recovery in Boston, MA. Pam recently graduated from Suffolk with an MBA. She’s a freelance blogger, social media geek, and avid Red Sox Fan. While working for Holland-Mark, Pam was able to use PostRank Analytics to listen, analyze and keep in touch with what was happening with client’s online content.

“Online content is important because without content you have no value to offer the target market online. You can use social media, but without the content, social media cannot do as much for your brand.” said Pam as we discussed the importance of online content for the clients she worked with. “Content shows what a company does, the people behind the brand and give consumers what they want (or what they will want). As many say ‘content is king’.”

Like many PostRanker’s using our tools in an agency environment, Pam found that PostRank Analytics does a great job of demonstrating to clients what content is relevant, valuable and shared among audiences on the social web. When using PostRank with clients, Pam found that “it assisted in seeing whether the client’s content was relevant, as well as the content of the competition, bloggers in the sphere and others. It was great for curating content, as well as keeping track of what was being said online and analytics.” Specifically she said that “PostRank is great for assisting clients in starting out with their content hub, especially those who had not used social media in the past and needed to start fresh.”

I want to personally give a big shout out to Pam and thank her for taking some time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about her experience. The thoughts and insights she shared have help us here at PostRank learn more about how our tools are being put to use.

New White Paper Release: Listening Beyond Keywords

New White Paper Release: Listening Beyond Keywords:

Today it’s impossible to have a conversation about social media for business – regardless of one’s level of experience – where the topic of monitoring and measurement does not come up or become a focus of discussion. The business world is built on numbers: everything is measured. The energy and resources that a company devotes to utilizing social media is no exception to this rule. To be used successfully, it must be crafted, monitored, measured and analyzed.

As the need for social media analytics tools has become increasingly important, the industry has responded with a variety of solutions. Early developments included social media listening platforms that used searches to locate and track keyword mentions around the Web. These platforms have become the gold standard, and providers of these solutions count the world’s most recognizable brands among their customers.

But has something been overlooked in the race for a solution to the problem of social media monitoring? Where does content figure into the process? Businesses are spending more time and money than ever creating compelling content and marketing it online.

Monitoring the performance of that content across social networks and hubs is key to understanding that often elusive concept: return on investment. Do the messages your online content contains resonate with audiences on the social web? Where, when and who is interacting with the content your company has painstakingly crafted?

In our newest white paper – Listening Beyond Keywords – we hope to spark conversations with companies and organizations already actively using social media monitoring techniques, as well as those who have more recently begun to dip their toes in the waters of the social web.

View and Download

PostRank Data Services offers a variety of solutions for brands, agencies and organizations of any size who are interested in discovering, monitoring and analyzing online content about them and their competitors. Using our advanced URL-based techniques and complementary keyword-based strategies, we can help you better understand your content’s performance across social networks, discover your audience, and facilitate relationships with your influencers. Check out or contact our Data Services expert to learn more about raw data and customized reports.

PostRank + Webtrends: Data Beyond the Tag!

PostRank + Webtrends: Data Beyond the Tag!:

Analytics is crucial to the success of your business. However, even before you dive into the data, first you have to gather it. On the web, this usually means instrumenting your websites with special tracking codes, decorating your links with campaign IDs and so forth — it’s an involved process! In fact, in practice, managing all these tags can easily become a full-time job in your organization, and even there, often times you will end up missing something.

No tags, no data? PostRank can help! Earlier last week the Webtrends team announced the integration of PostRank data with their new Webtrends Analytics 10 product, and Justin Garrity (Directory of User Experience – Webtrends) gave a sneak preview:

WebTrends Analytics 10, which includes PostRank integration, will be going live at the end of April, and a lucky few are already testing it out in their organizations! In the meantime, check out the screenshots (1, 2) to preview the PostRank integration.

Webinar #2 – Using PostRank Analytics to Improve Your Blogging

Webinar #2 – Using PostRank Analytics to Improve Your Blogging:

Web and social media analytics are important for anyone creating content online. Whether you’re an independent blogger, part of a network, or writing for a corporate blog, analytics and the metrics they offer are telling you something important about your content.

In a 30-minute live webinar on March 31st, 2011 we would like to help you learn about some of the insights you can gather from your blog posts and audience using our analytics service. Understanding what posts are engaging your audience by looking at social engagement events and scores is the first step. But finding what it is about those posts that’s catching people’s interest and identifying your own best practices is a key component to making every post a success.

PostRank Analytics is an intelligence service that presents off-site data and metrics about how your blog engages audiences on the social web. This data is presented to you within the context of the content of your unique RSS feed, benchmarking yourself against your own performance over time. What it can clarify for you are opportunities for self-improvement as a content creator because it’s all about you – the stories you tell and how those stories engage others.

There are many things to be considered when comparing posts that engage and those that don’t. Style, topics, the effect of networks and the influencers within them all play a role in generating engagement. Join us online for a brief guide to some of the ways you can begin to use analytics to optimize the performance of your posts, engage your audience and grow your influence through your blog and the content you create. Registration for this webinar is now open.

E-book for Evolutionary Entrepreneurs

E-book for Evolutionary Entrepreneurs:

PostRank’s suite of tools for monitoring, measuring and analyzing social engagement with online content have been proven useful for companies and organizations of different sizes and areas of expertise. Unsurprisingly, many of our customers and avid users are entrepreneurs, just like our founder, Ilya Grigorik, and indeed, by extension, everyone here on the PostRank team.

About a month ago, I had the pleasure of being introduced to a brilliant entrepreneur by the name of Natalie Sisson. Natalie is a Suitcase Entrepreneur and adventurer who travels the world running her business from anywhere while literally living out of a suitcase. As a former co-founder of a technology startup herself, Natalie loves demystifying tools and cutting through the technical jargon to show others how to find and use the right tools to streamline their business and save time and money.

I was incredibly excited to learn that Natalie would be including PostRank in an exciting and timely e-book called: The Ultimate Toolkit for Evolutionary Entrepreneurs. The Customer Development team here was so thrilled about this opportunity that we decided to sponsor the digital publication.

The e-book is a simple yet powerful guide, designed not to overwhelm but to help entrepreneurs immensely. Every tool outlined has been made easy to understand and organized by function, price and ideal business use. This clear and concise digital publication can help:

  • Create professional marketing campaigns for less

  • Optimize your website to attract more of the right customers

  • Better understand your customers’ needs

  • Do more of the important stuff in less time

  • Master cost-effective self-promotion

  • Create multiple streams of income on your website

  • Track and monitor your social media return on investment

  • And much much more!

While reading through the e-book myself I discovered some amazingly useful tools I only ever dreamed existed. Natalie has done a fantastic job at discovering and providing succinct overviews of some of the many free and paid tools for website building and optimization, personal productivity and time management, marketing design and public relations, social media management, and other facets of running a small business that matter to entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial. The Ultimate Toolkit for Evolutionary Entrepreneurs is a great resource: check it out.

PostRank Analytics: now in HD!

PostRank Analytics: now in HD!:

Well, kinda… :) Recently we rolled out some great updates to PostRank Analytics, and we’ve just finished adding even more polish to the site.

When you login, you’ll notice that things look a little different. A little more crisp, a little clearer, a little easier to read. Earth-shattering? Perhaps not. But we do think it’s just as important to look marvelous as to analyze marvelous(ly).

Web technologies change constantly, and savvy designers (like our own) can do some amazing things. We think it’s important to keep up with changes that can give our community a better user experience.

PostRank Analytics updated

Guess it’s time to do a bit of a makeup touch-up on those team photos now… :)