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Organic Growth

Demystifying Your Website Metrics

A guide to understanding and improving your site’s performance over time.

 

If you run a real business then your numbers matter. Period.

 

That means your website too. It’s your digital storefront and platform to sell customers your products or services.

 

But what are you “tracking” when it comes to your site metrics? How do you know if it’s performing well? And how do you measure the success of your website over time?

 

We know that site metrics may not get you excited in the same way they do for us. So we’ve created a quick guide to help you understand how your website is performing and how to make improvements where needed.

 

Almighty Traffic

 

Let’s start with traffic. 

 

Traffic means visitors.

 

Ultimately your traffic comes from external sources. But the engagement on your site plays a critical role in how much traffic your website will get from the search engines.

 

Google prioritizes its own user experience . . . which means that it ranks sites based on what it believes to be the best fit for a particular search inquiry.

 

By delivering a great user experience to your website visitors, you increase your chances of showing up in the top searches on Google, including Google My Business and Google Maps.

 

What Does “User Experience” Even Mean?

 

The user experience can be difficult to quantify because there’s not really one short answer. Instead, a cumulation of different metrics paints the picture of your website’s overall engagement and the experience it offers.

 

The user experience tells you how engaged your website visitors are, what content they are spending the most time on, and what they may not be that interested in at all.

 

Understanding your engagement metrics can help you optimize your website and turn it into a high-converting sales machine that’s working for you 24/7. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

 

In Google Analytics, you’ll get a clear picture of your website’s user experience by looking at:

  1. The “Bounce rate” tells you how many visitors left your website after visiting only one page.
  2. “Time spent on site” shows how much total time visitors are spending on your website.
  3. While “Pages per visit” lets you see how many pages were viewed during that time.
  4. “Top pages” tells you which pages are the most popular.
  5. And the “Returning visitors” stat shows how many site visitors came back more than once.

 

Delivering a great user experience is important because it helps drive organic traffic from the search engines and builds credibility with your brand.

 

It’s also important because if visitors aren’t converting on the first visit, then you need to understand what actions they ARE taking. And that leads us to our next topic which is website conversions.

 

Cashing In On Conversions


Your website is more than just an online brochure. It’s your digital storefront. All the traffic in the world won’t do you any good if your website is not converting.

 

So while offering a great user experience is important, that digital storefront needs to be bringing you new customers, leads, and sales for your business.

 

Now that you have a better understanding of your website’s traffic and engagement metrics, figuring out the conversion rate is actually pretty simple.

 

To calculate your websites conversion rate: 

  1. Take the total amount of customers, leads, or sales generated, and divide that number by:
  2. The total amount of NEW traffic (not returning visitors) your site received.

 

Acceptable conversion rates can vary depending on your industry and where your traffic is coming from. 

 

If your site has high engagement but you aren’t getting as many conversions as you’d like, then you may want to try adding more calls to action . . . or even simplifying your site by reducing the number of distractions.

 

Putting It All Together

 

Optimizing based on these key metrics can become a delicate dance of simplifying your website to drive conversions while maintaining a high level of engagement so that the search engines keep sending you more organic traffic.

 

Your website metrics tell the story of how well your site is performing. If you’re not tracking those metrics, or if you don’t know what they mean, then your marketing strategy is just a shot in the dark . . . and you might as well hand your customers over to the competition on a silver platter.

 

It can be a lot of work, but building a predictable pipeline of leads from your engaged audience is the most reliable way to grow your business online.

 

We hope this guide helps you understand your metrics a little better so you can start tracking the success of your website. If you’d like someone in your corner doing all the heavy lifting, then book a free 30-minute consultation with our team today.

Which Is Better for Small Businesses… Pay-Per-Click or SEO?

So you’ve decided to make an investment and completely overhaul your website.  $10,000 later, everything looks perfect. And you’re ready to sit back and wait for the business to roll in. 

Unfortunately, you quickly realize that despite your time and effort, your competitors are still seeing more leads than you are. 

The problem is, all that great work and money you put into your fancy website isn’t going to do you any good if no one sees it. 

What can you do to make sure your website is getting the visibility you need to be successful? Good, high-quality traffic isn’t going to drive itself. 

There are two main tactics small businesses gravitate towards to increase visibility and lead generation. SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (or Pay-Per-Click) advertising. 

So what does that mean? And which is the right strategy for your business? 

Let’s take a look at both and see what they have to offer.

SEO

 

The goal of SEO is to improve your site’s visibility within search engine results, leading to more traffic on your site. One of the most important parts of SEO is including content on your website designed to attract people who are searching for topics related to your business.

 

When you type a question or keyword into Google or another search engine, pages of results come up with the information you’re looking for. You might end up with hundreds (even thousands) of links that match your search!

 

You know it’s unlikely that you’ll choose a link buried on page 8, right? Of course – you, as well as everyone else, are probably only looking at the first 5-10 hits on the first page of results. 

 

As a business owner, you obviously want YOUR website to be one of the top results. 

 

So how does a search engine know which links to post first?

 

Search engines crawl around the internet to retrieve all relevant information. All of that info is then indexed and ranked by an algorithm made up of over 200 factors. 

 

SEO is what you do organically to make your website easier to be indexed.

 

Pros of SEO:

 

  • Cost-effective. You don’t need to pay search engines to rank your website high if you’re following good SEO techniques.
  • Trust. Many consumers find SEO more trustworthy and will skim past paid posts automatically.
  • Lasts longer. With PPC, you need to keep paying for results for them to keep delivering. SEO just gets better the more you work at it.
  • Return on investment. In the long term, organic search traffic is likely to provide a better ROI than traditional forms of paid advertising.
  • Broader scope. PPC costs can add up quickly, so you need to carefully choose which information you put out there. SEO can cover a broader range of topics without adding cost.

 

Cons of SEO:

 

  • Slow Results. Don’t expect to see results immediately. If time is important to your campaign SEO isn’t going to offer much help. 
  • Time-consuming. While SEO is technically free, it is time-consuming and requires a lot of resources.
  • Changing algorithms. When factors that control the algorithm change, you might find your site suddenly dropping its placement without a clear reason.
  • Requires Constant Attention. You need to keep your copy relevant and keep adding new content to keep up with your competitors and stay relevant. 

 

PPC

 

Pay-per-click is a form of paid advertising where advertisers pay each time someone clicks on one of their ads. 

 

You know how when you type your search into Google, frequently the top 2-4 hits will start with the word “ad” at the beginning? This is PPC advertising. Companies pay Google or other search engines to push their product to the top of the search results, giving them a visibility boost. 

 

But it’s not quite as simple as just paying a search engine to feature your posts at the top of the page. For PPC, businesses participate in “Ad Auctions” where they place bids on specific keywords relevant to their target audience. 

 

The goal with PPC is to get the business generated to be worth more than the cost-per-click. Bidding on keywords can get expensive, so it’s important to only focus on the ones most relevant to your business.

 

PPC is great for small businesses with less time on their hands to get attention quickly to target a specific product or campaign, but it can be expensive.

 

Pros of PPC:

  • Visibility. The top 3-4 results from a search engine are typically PPC businesses and are placed higher than any organic results.
  • Immediate results. You can expect to see leads and conversions in days or even hours. 
  • More details. PPC ads give you room to include more detailed info, such as hours and how to get in touch. 
  • Stand out. Ads that feature products can include pictures, making them stand out even more.
  • Target your customers. It’s easier to tweak your ads to appeal to specific people or demographics.

 

Cons of PPC:

  • Expensive. Costs add up quickly, especially with more common keywords that are more expensive to bid on.
  • Constant Investment. Once you stop paying for your ads, your leads will dry up.
  • Ad blindness. Some people are inclined to automatically skip over any hits with the word ad in front.
  • Limited growth. Paid ads do not have the same long term potential to grow as SEO.

 

So Which is Right for you?

 

Now that you know more about SEO and PPC, have you decided which is better? It’s not that easy, right? That’s because the answer depends on a lot of individual factors. 

 

Some things to consider:

 

  • Are you targeting a specific fast-moving campaign?
  • Are you looking for short-term or long-term results? (Maybe both?)
  • What’s your budget?
  • What kind of resources do you have at your disposal?
  • What’s your timeline for the project?

 

PPC can be extremely valuable to get visibility to your site quickly on a short-term basis. It’s also a really great resource for promoting a specific campaign or project.

 

SEO can take months to show results and you may just not have that time to wait. But as you start to pull your money away from PPC, your organic visibility is increasing because of SEO.

 

Sometimes it’s not so much of an either/or as it is figuring out how the two strategies can work together. Overall a two-pronged strategy can help drive traffic and grow your business in both the short and long term.

 

How Can We Help?

We get it. You’re a busy entrepreneur with 100 things on your plate and no time to spare. We are masters at saving you time, while making your business stand out from the competition. If you give us just 7 minutes of your time, you’ll be surprised to learn how much Americreative can help your business move forward. Get on our schedule today.

Why Copywriting May Be the Best Investment For Your Website and Business

No matter how good of a marketer you are . . . how fancy your website looks . . . or how big your marketing budget is . . . 

If you can’t connect with your target customers in a way that pushes them to choose YOU, your business is going to go nowhere.

The truth is, one of the best business decisions you can make is to invest in a professional copywriter.  

While it may seem unimportant or a waste of time to some, copywriting can actually go a long way towards making or breaking your business. 

Copywriting isn’t just words on a page. 

GOOD copywriting is what leads the horse to the water and then offers it a drink at the end. 

You can’t just build a website and expect that to be enough to win your clients’ business. 

You must connect with them on a direct level, engage them, answer their questions, and convince them you are the almighty expert. 

Your website is a huge component of your business – don’t throw your hard work and money down the drain with a lack of content . . . or worse, bad content.

Here’s why copywriting may be the best investment you can make for your business:

 

It Frees Up Your Time

As a business owner, it is NOT your responsibility to be a pro at everything. 

It’s also pretty impossible and wildly inefficient to handle everything yourself. It is completely acceptable to hire pros who can handle the work outside your scope of expertise. 

Consider this when deciding whether it’s worth it to outsource your copywriting . . . 

A professional copywriter will free up your valuable time. You’re the business owner and the expert when it comes to your own product or service. Why waste valuable time stressing over what to write when you should be focusing on running your business?

Also, even though you’re an expert in your field, you may not be able to convey that expertise in writing the way a copywriting professional would. Typos, unclear thoughts, and generally sloppiness will rapidly take away your credibility as an expert.

 

 

Your Website Is There When You Can’t Be

Your website operates like a mini sales and customer service department. It works 24 hours a day. And it never takes a vacation. 

Your potential clients may come across your website at all hours of the day or night. So it’s imperative to find ways to make the site work for your business and your customers.

  • Your landing page can introduce you to your clients and specify why and how you are going to solve their specific problem. 
  • Blogs can provide customers with interesting, useful, information relevant to their project or problem. 
  • Videos can engage and educate your audience in different ways. 
  • FAQs can provide your clients with simple answers to basic questions. 
  • Additional pages can offer clear information on how to contact you and how to move forward.

 

Good Copy Makes You Stand Out

You aren’t the only one in your industry. Other businesses are vying for your prospects too. Copywriting can set you apart from the competition. 

People want to connect and relate to your business on a personal level. Rather than throwing general information out into the world, a good copywriter can address your customers and their specific pain points directly.

Your website also lets you open up to clients about your passion for your business and why you do what you do. It shows your customers you want them to have the best experience possible and why they should choose you over the competition.

 

Copywriting Can Improve Trackable Goals

An investment in copywriting is one of the best ways to measure your pages, set goals, track conversions, and monitor ROI. 

While it may seem like a heavy expense at the beginning, good copy will eventually lead to direct conversions and increased sales over time.

Search engines have a lot of standards when it comes to the information they share with users. Knowing how to work within these guidelines is something that takes time to learn . . . and it’s a skill a good copywriter takes pride in. 

Website content gives your business visibility by improving SEO and driving organic traffic to your website . . . when it’s done right. That means FREE ADVERTISING

Writing copy isn’t just about words on a page. Good copy can provide valuable information to your customers. Copy and content can act as a sales tool, a guidebook, and a way to connect.

While it may seem like you’re saving money to skimp on copywriting for your website, taking the cheap route may end up costing you more in the long run. Choosing to write your own copy or dash something off quickly can potentially even detract from your business. 

In order for your business to be successful, you need to have a solid website that is built for conversions. Copywriting is one of the key pillars in creating a website that works for you.

As a small business owner, we know you don’t have a lot of time to spare. That’s why Americreative has perfected the art of getting down to business quickly. With just 7 minutes, we can show you all the ways we’re ready to make your website work for you and stand out from the crowd. Schedule a no-obligation 7-minute call today.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Benefits of Google Maps Marketing

There seems to be somewhat of a disconnect between the overall functionality of Google Maps and the general understanding of the service by most internet users—as well as business owners. Generally, Google Maps is regarded as just an easy way to navigate the world around you, and point you where you want to go.

Being a business which undoubtedly wants to utilize all of the internet’s marketing capabilities, it would be fatal for your organization to have such a narrow view of the Maps service. But here is where you can gain an advantage, not just on how your customers find your business, but also on how your business can gain marketing leverage against your most fierce competitors.

Understanding how to successfully utilize local maps search marketing and integrate it with your own SEO strategy is crucial to strengthening your foothold for your industry. Don’t be alarmed by that. It’s something that is completely accessible to businesses large or small.

The overall goal of this technique should be to increase the likelihood of being included in what are called google’s “Map Packs,” the coveted space which appears at the top of Google SERPs when the search query indicates a location based intent. This spot, if your business is featured, allows potential customers to easily find your business location, website and more based on a combination of factors.

To discover how to be featured within these results, it is important to review the variables—and how to successfully manipulate them—so your business is more likely to be included.

Strategically Design Your Marketing Efforts to Capitalize on Your Ideal Customers:

Before you begin with any SEO project, you need to do a bit of self reflecting. Most importantly in this case, your business should think about your ideal customers, like the ones who you believe have the highest likelihood of converting to a sale. Then ask, Why are they picking THIS company?

Is your target demographic interested in your specific product or service because it is unique? Are they looking for convenience in areas like locality or responsiveness? There are countless reasons why a customer might choose YOU, but the more you can narrow down this list of general customer avatars, the more you can begin to cater your efforts to capture their search energy. This will also help you when you are working to influence the Google Maps results as well, as you can specify the tools and techniques your company uses to do so.

For our purposes with Google Maps Marketing, let’s focus primarily on location based customer preferences. This will likely be one of several SEO strategies that you implement within your marketing roadmap, but thinking about how it connects as a whole will help as your digital marketing efforts become broader in scope.

These initial questions will drive the success of your entire marketing campaign, so spending some time to think critically is important. Some questions that you should consider, and that we will address later in this article can be derived from the following;

  • Why are people searching for business close to them?
  • Where (and how far away) are your ideal customers?
  • What is the search volume like for your niche?

These questions can each generate an abundance of follow up questions. This is a good thing, because the more you refine your parameters for them, the better you can cater to specific markets and customers. This in turn helps you capture those customers with more authenticity and sincerity, especially since you have generated entire marketing campaigns for that specific group. As an added benefit, you can also use similar techniques as you broaden campaigns.

For the first of these questions, also consider your customers’ motivations for searching for a local business. Is it because they want a well regarded and trusted company, where there are on-the-ground testimonials from people in the area? Do they want the convenience of having a local business that can provide quality results to them fast and without hassle? Or are they looking to judge local businesses against each other and see which one is the most competitive in the area? Regardless of the answers, these questions can help you dial in your marketing techniques to provide targeted responses to some of these questions before the search engine users even enter the search phrases. If you’re local and show up in Navigational search results, your content will answer the questions before your customers have the time to ask.

Likewise, you can cater your content to where your potential customers are searching from. If you provide online services, or can service a wide area, you can focus on having a multi pronged approach in several locations. There are strategies to build a network of media assets that encompass a large area, with each asset targeting a specific hub of search traffic. You can organize this from a business that is centrally located without ever having to expand your brick and mortar operations.

Finally, once you determine the search volume for your niche, you can take steps to capitalize on those metrics. By using information from your competition you can try to outrank and out maneuver them so your business commandeers a greater percentage of the initial search volume. There are plenty of highly successful SEO techniques to jump ahead of local competition for certain keywords and phrases, ones that the competition might not be paying attention to. This is especially true of ones that you research and find to be generating significant search traffic.

Optimizing Platform Performance as it Relates to Your Techniques:

The barebones approach to Maps Marketing is to ensure that your digital media assets, along with your Google My Business information are updated, detailed and thorough. If your My Business is missing key information, your organization is already at a disadvantage without even considering the impact that Google Maps has on visitation and success.

In fact, companies that do not have detailed My Business profiles are generally considered to be 50% as trusted as those that do, with customers citing that they are “less reputable.” Once you have, at a minimum, filled out and updated your search platform information on spaces such as Google My Business, you can turn back to your previous findings about your ideal customer.

  • For instance, are your customers defined by close proximity to you? This would be especially important for businesses that operate brick-and-mortar locations and provide local services.
  • Are your customers looking from around the country, but interested in your business because you are the “Best in ________,” which is another modifier you can use in your content.
  • Are you able to capture search volume from a specific area of your city or town, or would you rather target broader regions like your county or state?

All of these are important questions to ask, because they allow you to dial in your approach and harness the search volume for your desired area, niche or customer base. They can also help you determine what Geo Modifiers you choose to use in your content. You can have narrow ones such as City-Specific Modifiers, or modifiers that target a broader area.

If you know that your target audience will be searching for a business in a specific location like a city or town, you can use the more narrow modifiers in your targeting. If they are more concerned with your general area, you can likely broaden the modifiers you use in your content and descriptions.

It’s also important to understand the types of searches your customers may be conducting. Generally speaking there are three common forms of search queries.

  • Transactional
  • Informational
  • Navigational

For the purposes of Maps Marketing, you will want to focus primarily on the latter form. This is most often the only type of search that results in the Google Map Pack being generated in the Search Engine Results Page.

There are plenty of other strategies that you can use for broad scope SEO which can handle the first two types of search entries, and there are certainly merits to implementing those in a full throttled SEO campaign. For our purposes, focusing on Maps Marketing, we will narrow our focus to capture as much of the Navigational search energy as possible.

Once you have adopted the strategy of focusing on this area of Google search queries, you can begin to tailor your content to include Location-Based Intent Keywords. Intent Keywords are the words and phrases that indicate to the search engine processor what information the user is attempting to access.

Some search engine users will be generic with their searches, using phrases like “buy _____” or “rent ______ near me” and so on. These basic forms of entering a search phrase will indicate to the search engine what they will present to the user in the form of search results. This has certainly become more refined in recent years, with greater ability for the program to determine intent. What we need to focus on is how to anticipate, to a broad extent, the Navigational types of questions and phrases that your ideal customer might present, and how to manipulate Google to present your business among the results that such an entry may generate.

For Navigational searches, a large part of influencing the Google results rely on your geographic location to the search engine user, and their desired (if applicable) search area. By filling out the Google My Business information, as well as thoroughly updating and clarifying your other media assets such as social media, website and any other digital hub, you have already done the bulk of the work to be visible. This is what is sometimes called the “low hanging fruit” analogy, where you “pick” or complete the most accessible and easiest task. But this can only propel your efforts so far.

The more difficult task is creating and modifying specific content so they can capture your ideal customer when they request Navigationally targeted information. Essentially, you should include in your keyword research a healthy amount of information which includes your geographic details and other locationally relevant information. Avoid looking like mapquest to avoid penalties, but also keep a sort of nuance to the way you include this information. It is important to remember that you are creating content that is judged by both machine and human, so it needs to sound authentic to both. Most crucially, BOTH flesh and blood users and the algorithms that drive them to you should know that you are looking to be found.

Measuring Campaign Success with ROI Metrics:

Unless your organization knows how to measure the success of your campaign, there’s no way you can use benchmarks to justify changes or reassessment down the road. It is important to take this into consideration before you even begin your Maps Marketing Campaign. Take some time to generate a baseline assessment of your current traffic, sales and any other key metrics that you would prefer to use as data markers.

You should also set up functionality to determine if your traffic is generated organically, through ad spend, through social media reach, or from Map Pack listings. Separating these further into call data, search data, and directional request data will help you to further refine your marketing process as time goes on.

If you are anticipating augmenting organic results with paid advertisements, you should catalogue this information as well, compartmentalizing the time frames in which you expect to operate paid campaigns. Also incorporate and track your ROI from paid SEO campaigns that are separate from your paid advertisements. If one is working while the other fails, you will have no way of distinguishing which expenses are more worthwhile in the long run.

Ideally, when you combine and incorporate the various strategies touched upon in this article, you will have a higher likelihood of manipulating the Google Search Results to include your business listing among the famous Google Map Pack, as well as benefit from other navigationally based search results. As with any SEO effort, it will take time, hard work and dedication to generate results. But with these concepts being used in conjunction with other successful SEO strategies, your business should have an advantage over your local, and broader, competition.