Fast Five in Search – Week 52, 2014

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Well, it’s hard to believe 2014 is nearly done and dusted. It’s even harder to believe that I managed to publish a new Fast Five post every single week of the year!

Sometimes blogging comes easy and sometimes life gets in the way, but I’m proud to have made it through the whole year without a missed post. Thanks for keeping me company along the way and I hope you found the series enlightening.

Given the emphasis on shopping during the festive season, my final Fast Five for 2014 feature articles and blog posts about e-commerce and online shopping trends this year.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Special Report: Will People Ever Buy Through Social Media? by Martin Beck via Marketing Land. This post looks at how social channels are starting to monetize using methods other than sponsorship and advertising. While Twitter and Facebook are testing Buy Now buttons in-feed, Pinterest and Instagram are showing unexpected potential as motivating direct purchases as well.

2) Amazon’s 2014 Holiday Sees Mobile Shopping Approach 60% Of Total Volume by Darrell Etherington via TechCrunch. In their annual holiday sales performance review, online etailer Amazon revealed that 60 percent of their shopper activity came from mobile platforms, including dedicated apps and mobile websites. That’s a staggering figure and something that should make any etailer rethink their mobile marketing strategy, pronto.

3) Why People Buy Things Online by Eric Siu via HubSpot. You’re going to want to bookmark this one, trust me. I love fresh Internet statistics and this post is a collated collection of statistics gleaned from the latest reports undertaken about our online purchasing trends. For example, did you know that free shipping is the second highest factor influencing purchasing decisions on Internet retailer sites behind product quality?

4) Is Social Media Very Good for E-commerce Conversions? by Chris Crum via WebProNews. Another post looking at the monetary value of social media marketing and how it contributes to online conversions. This article concludes that social media marketing efforts only account for about 1.2% of total site conversions on average.

and finally…

5) E-commerce: Metrics That Matter by Kristin Wilston via SiteProNews. A brief post that serves as a reminder that if you run a e-commerce site, you need to track consumer behavior on your site. Kristin provides some examples of the most important metrics you should be tracking to help understand your customers and guide them towards conversion.

That’s it for 2014 folks and this will be my final Fast Five post for the time being. Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and I’ll catch you all in 2015/.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 46, 2014

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Social media seems to be dominating my newsfeeds more so than search marketing this week. Both Facebook and Twitter have released some interesting usage data, while content marketing trends seem to be favoring social media over traditional search when it comes to online conversions. Accordingly, this week’s Fast Five reflects the trend.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Facebook says Government data requests up 24 percent by Josh Wolford of WebProNews. This month, Facebook released something they call a transparency report, which provides info on how many data and content removal requests it receives, as well as national security requests initiated through FISA. According to the report, US Government requests for data increased by 24 percent in the first half of 2014.

2) How many college students tweet daily? New and updated Twitter stats by Craig Smith of Digital Marketing Ramblings. Twitter revealed their latest usage data late last month, as well as their third quarter 2014 financial results. In this post, Craig links to the report and shares some of the more notable highlights from the released figures.

3) Though people trust other consumers most, brands still have a role to play by Katy Keim of Marketing Land. In this intriguing article, Katy looks at the tug-of-war going on between traditional brand-driven marketing campaigns and consumer trust-driven social marketing campaigns when it comes to purchasing decisions. Online reputation and consumer trust are proving to have more influence over brands than ever before.

4) Search vs. social: How to drive website traffic with evergreen content by Skip Besthoff of SiteProNews. Another tug-of-war going on in digital marketing is the competition for traffic between search marketing and social marketing. This post looks at why webmasters can’t afford to ignore either when planning their content marketing strategies.

and finally…

5) 9 Real life conversion rate optimization tests to try yourself by Ginny Sosky of HubSpot. Just for fun, we’ll end this week’s Fast Five with some conversion rate tests that seem to buck the trend. The one that surprised me was the Call to Action form placed way below the fold resulting in over 300 percent conversion increase!  Looks like I’ve been designing my landing pages wrong all this time ;-)

Happy reading!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 42, 2014

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This week, I’ve been setting up social media accounts for a new start up biz. We’ve been discussing what content would be the best to invest time in and things are starting to get exciting, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

So the inspiration for this week’s Fast Five is: “Where should you invest your time in terms of content marketing and how can you use social media channels to get your shiny new content out there amongst the great unwashed?”

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Should You Invest Your Organic Efforts on Twitter or Facebook? by Ryan Ernst of Social Media Today. In this post, Ryan makes the argument that organic reach on Twitter is currently outperforming organic reach on Facebook and explains why.

2) Digital Business: Getting Real About Social Media Results by Daniel Newman of Social Media Today. I like this article, because it tears down the unrealistic expectations that many businesses have about the impact social media can have on their bottom line. Yes, you can get that occasional magic bullet social piece that goes viral overnight. But in all likelihood, your investment in social channels will take just as much time – if not more – to pay off as your regular marketing efforts.

3) The Top 10 Corporate Blogs of 2014 by Nick Cicero of Social Fresh. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, if you’re stuck for original ideas, perhaps your content marketing can imitate that of the 10 corporate blogs independently voted as having the best content in 2014.

4) Tip: The Vanilla Ice Rule of Content Marketing by Jason Keath of Social Fresh. The title of this post caught my eye straight away, perhaps because I’m a bit of an 80’s tragic. But the post is basically explaining the 80/20 rule – where you can concentrate most your efforts on a single piece of content that you know has been / will be successful – just like the one hit wonder Vanilla Ice. So spend more time on less content. Easy, right?

and finally…

5) How to Increase Your Conversion Rate With Social Media by Neil Patel of Social Media Examiner. This post has actionable tips on how to use Social Login, Social Checkout and Social Sharing methods that you can apply straight away to boost your conversions. I was especially intrigued to see the use of Social Checkout – a method of allowing your customers to purchase on your site by logging in via one of their social accounts, rather than forcing them to sign up to your site first. Great tip!

Happy reading.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 40, 2014

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Lots of very interesting tech and search news this week. A couple of game changers for those of us using search channels to market products and services.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google AdWords Offers Ad Creatives at Scale for PPC by Jessica Lee at Search Engine Watch. This month, Google launched the ability for AdWords advertisers to create ads using custom parameters that you want inserted into your ads. Using a spreadsheet you pre-fill, the feature allows AdWords to retrieve product information that is most relevant to what each customer is searching for and dynamically insert it into your ad text.

2) New Panda Update Rolling Out, Google Takes Another Stand Against Thin Content by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal. Earlier this week, an analyst at Google UK let slip that a new Panda update was in the process of being rolled out to the Google algorithm. Matt has the scoop on what you can expect from this update.

3) The Yahoo Directory – Once the Internet’s Most Important Search Engine – Is to Close by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land. This news came as a bit of a shock. As someone whose job (for years) consisted of submitting client sites to the Yahoo Directory, it was an *end of an era* moment to hear the Directory would be closing down. I’m with Danny on this one – Yahoo has cruelly glossed over the closure of the Directory that started the entire company AKA “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. So long Yahoo Directory.

4) Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to Try by Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot. In this post, Pamela shares some logical testing formulas for improving your blog’s conversion rate. Suggested items for testing include Click Through Rate, content balance, calls to action and publishing rate.

and finally…

5) 14 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools Every Expert Needs by Steven Macdonald of Search Engine Journal. This one does exactly what it says on the label. Steven has provided a handy list of tools for testing your conversion rate, conveniently categorized by topics such as Analytics, Research and Testing. Be sure to bookmark this one.

Happy reading!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 22, 2014

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It’s a mixed bag of links for you this week. We’ve got three juicy links about blogging and a couple of news items relating to the search industry and search engines. Here we go!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google Hits eBay with Manual Penalty – by Search Engine Land. I did a double-take when this headline came up in my Twitter feed. But apparently it’s true! Even the big guys – in this case eBay – have been hit hard by Google’s latest Panda algorithm tweaks. But on top of that, it seems eBay have been put in the naughty corner by Google in the form of a manual ranking penalty as well. Ouch.

2) The Boring Niche’s Secret Weapon (and How to Use it) by Copyblogger – This post spoke to me loud and clear. It contains a key piece of advice I have been giving my search marketing students and clients for years: You can always find something to blog about or write copy about, related to your niche. ALWAYS.

3) Optimize Blog Content for Social Media With These 4 Effective Tactics by ProBlogger – Speaking of blog content, this article over at ProBlogger demonstrates 4 simple, but effective tactics you can use within your blog content, to help it gain more traction via social media.

4) DuckDuckGo Relaunches & Starts to Look Like a Real Search Engine by Search Engine Land - DuckDuckGo showed a lot of promise when they launched back in 2008. Their point of difference has always been the fact they are community-driven, but a big component of their appeal is their approach to user privacy. Unlike the larger search engines, DuckDuckGo don’t track your usage and therefore they don’t collect personal or private information. Their relaunch this week sees DuckDuckGo roll out some powerful search features previously lacking, which should help them compete with the big boys.

and finally…

5) Dear Hubspot, My Blog Isn’t Generating Leads. Please Help? by Hubspot – Ah yes, we’ve all been here. The nasty case of Blogger’s Block when your conversions just dwindle away and you can’t think of anything to reverse the trend. So what’s a Miserable Marketer to do? Ask Hubspot for advice! This Q and A style post outlines the problem a blogger in Milwaukee is having generating leads with his blog and some logical suggestions from Hubspot for how he can clear the blockage and kick-start his blog back into converting again.

Happy blogging!

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