Archives for : September2017

Paid Social for Content Marketing Launches – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KaneJamison

Stuck in a content marketing rut? Relying on your existing newsletter, social followers, or email outreach won’t do your launches justice. Boosting your signal with paid social both introduces your brand to new audiences and improves your launch’s traffic and results. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, we’re welcoming back our good friend Kane Jamison to highlight four straightforward, actionable tactics you can start using ASAP.

Paid social for content marketing launches

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!


Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. My name is Kane. I’m the founder of a content marketing agency here in Seattle called Content Harmony, and we do a lot of content marketing projects where we use paid social to launch them and get better traffic and results.

So I spoke about this, this past year at MozCon, and what I want to do today is share some of those tactics with you and help you get started with launching your content with some paid traction and not just relying on your email outreach or maybe your own existing email newsletter and social followers.

Especially for a lot of companies that are just getting started with content marketing, that audience development component is really important. A lot of people just don’t have a significant market share of their industry subscribed to their newsletter. So it’s great to use paid social in order to reach new people, get them over to your most important content projects, or even just get them over to your week-to-week blog content.

Social teaser content

So the first thing I want to start with is expanding a little bit beyond just your average image ad. A lot of social networks, especially Facebook, are promoting video heavily nowadays. You can use that to get a lot cheaper engagement than you can from a typical image ad. If you’ve logged in to your Facebook feed lately, you’ve probably noticed that aside from birth announcements, there’s a lot of videos filling up the feed. So as an advertiser, if you want to blend in well with that, using video as a teaser or a sampler for the content that you’re producing is a great way to kind of look natural and look like you belong in the user’s feed.

So different things you can do include:

  • Short animated videos explaining what the project is and why you did it.
  • Maybe doing talking head videos with some of your executives or staff or marketing team, just talking on screen with whatever in the background about the project you created and kind of drumming up interest to actually get people over to the site.

So that can be really great for team recognition if you’re trying to build thought leadership in your space. It’s a great way to introduce the face of your team members that might be speaking at industry conferences and events. It’s a great way to just get people recognizing their name or maybe just help them feel closer to your company because they recognize their voice and face.

So everybody’s instant reaction, of course, is, “I don’t have the budget for video.” That’s okay. You don’t need to be a videography expert to create decent social ads. There’s a lot of great tools out there.

  • Soapbox by Wistia is a great one, that’s been released recently, that allows you to do kind of a webcam combined with your browser type of video. There are also tools like…
  • Bigvu.tv
  • Shakr
  • Promo, which is a tool by a company called Slidely, I think.

All of those tools are great ways to create short, 20-second, 60-second types of videos. They let you create captions. So if you’re scrolling through a social feed and you see an autoplay video, there’s a good chance that the audio on that is turned off, so you can create captions to let people know what the video is about if it’s not instantly obvious from the video itself. So that’s a great way to get cheaper distribution than you might get from your typical image ad, and it’s really going to stick out to users because most other companies aren’t spending the time to do that.

Lookalike audiences

Another really valuable tactic is to create lookalike audiences from your best customers. Now, you can track your best customers in a couple of ways:

  • You could have a pixel, a Facebook pixel or another network pixel on your website that just tracks the people that have been to the site a number of times or that have been through the shopping cart at a certain dollar value.
  • We can take our email list and use the emails of customers that have ordered from us or just the emails of customers that are on our newsletter that seem like they open up every newsletter and they really like our content.

We can upload those into a custom audience in the social network of our choice and then create what’s called a lookalike audience. In this case, I’d recommend what’s called a “one percent lookalike audience.” So if you’re targeting people in the US, it means the one percent of people in the US that appear most like your audience. So if your audience is men ages 35 to 45, typically that are interested in a specific topic, the lookalike audience will probably be a lot of other men in a similar age group that like similar topics.

So Facebook is making that choice, which means you may or may not get the perfect audience right from the start. So it’s great to test additional filters on top of the default lookalike audience. So, for example, you could target people by household income. You could target people by additional interests that may or may not be obvious from the custom audience, just to make sure you’re only reaching the users that are interested in your topic. Whatever it might be, if this is going to end up being three or four million people at one percent of the country, it’s probably good to go ahead and filter that down to a smaller audience that’s a little bit closer to your exact target that you want to reach. So excellent way to create brand awareness with that target audience.

Influencers

The next thing I’d like you to test is getting your ads and your content in front of influencers in your space. That could mean…

  • Bloggers
  • Journalists
  • Or it could just mean people like page managers in Facebook, people that have access to a Facebook page that can share updates. Those could be social media managers. That could be bloggers. That could even be somebody running the page for the local church or a PTA group. Regardless, those people are probably going to have a lot of contacts, be likely to share things with friends and family or followers on social media.

Higher cost but embedded value

When you start running ads to this type of group, you’re going to find that it costs a little bit more per click. If you’re used to paying $0.50 to $1.00 per click, you might end up paying $1.00 or $2.00 per click to reach this audience. That’s okay. There’s a lot more embedded value with this audience than the typical user, because they’re likely, on average, to have more reach, more followers, more influence.

Test share-focused CTAs

It’s worth testing share focus call to actions. What that means is encouraging people to share this with some people they know that might be interested. Post it to their page even is something worth testing. It may or may not work every time, but certainly valuable to test.

Filters

So the way we recommend reaching most of these users is through something like a job title filter. Somebody says they’re a blogger, says they’re an editor-in-chief, that’s the clearest way to reach them. They may not always have that as their job title, so you could also do employers. That’s another good example.

I recommend combining that with broad interests. So if I am targeting journalists because I have a new research piece out, it’s great for us to attach interests that are relevant to our space. If we’re in health care, we might target people interested in health care and the FDA and other big companies in the space that they’d likely be following for updates. If we’re in fashion, we might just be selecting people that are fans of big brands, Nordstrom and others like that. Whatever it is, you can take this audience of a few hundred thousand or whatever it might be down to just a few thousand and really focus on the people that are most likely to be writing about or influential in your space.

Retarget non-subscribers

The fourth thing you can test is retargeting non-subscribers. So a big goal of content marketing is having those pop-ups or call to actions on the site to get people to download a bigger piece of content, download a checklist, whatever it might be so that we can get them on our email newsletter. There’s a lot of people that are going to click out of that. 90% to 95% of the people that visit your site or more probably aren’t going to take that call to action.

So what we can do is convert this into more of a social ad unit and just show the same messaging to the people that didn’t sign up on the site. Maybe they just hate pop-ups by default. They will never sign up for them. That’s okay. They might be more receptive to a lead ad in Facebook that says “subscribe” or “download” instead of something that pops up on their screen.

Keep testing new messaging

The other thing we can do is start testing new messages and new content. Maybe this offer wasn’t interesting to them because they don’t need that guide, but maybe they need your checklist instead, or maybe they’d just like your email drip series that has an educational component to it. So keep testing different types of messaging. Just because this one wasn’t valuable doesn’t mean your other content isn’t interesting to them, and it doesn’t mean they’re not interested in your email list.

Redo split tests from your site

We can keep testing messaging. So if we are testing messaging on our site, we might take the top two or three and test that messaging on ads. We might find that different messaging works better on social than it does on pop-ups or banners on the site. So it’s worth redoing split tests that seemed conclusive on your site because things might be different on the social media network.


So that’s it for today. What I’d love for you guys to do is if you have some great examples of targeting that’s worked for you, messaging that’s worked for you, or just other paid social tactics that have worked really well for your content marketing campaigns, I’d love to hear examples of that in the comments on the post, and we’d be happy to answer questions you guys have on how to actually get some of this stuff done. Whether it’s targeting questions, how to set up lookalike audiences, anything like that, we’d be happy to answer questions there as well.

So that’s it for me today. Thanks, Moz fans. We’ll see you next time.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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SEO ranking factors: What’s important, what’s not

This week, Google celebrated its 19th birthday. A lot has changed in nearly two decades. Rather than relying primarily on PageRank to evaluate the quality of web pages, Google now uses a whole array of techniques to suggest a wide range of content in response to queries, from simple direct answers…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Restating the case for Township Tourism KoByo

However, my focus is on how our local economy can take advantage of … in local communities through the marketing of significant urban landmarks.

SearchCap: Google bugs, Bing Ads conversions & Google local finder mentions

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Google bugs, Bing Ads conversions & Google local finder mentions appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Tomtoberfest Tech Mixer features local startups

Tomtoberfest Tech Mixer features local startups … physical therapy, spas and kids zones, according to acac Co-Marketing Coordinator Meg Welch.

Moz’s Brand-New SEO Learning Center Has Landed!

Posted by rachelgooodmanmoore

CHAPTER 1: A New Hope

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, marketers who wanted to learn about SEO were forced to mine deep into the caverns of Google search engine result pages to find the answers to even the most simple SEO questions.

Then, out of darkness came a new hope (with a mouthful of a name):

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…the Learn SEO and Search Marketing hub!

The SEO and Search Marketing hub housed resources like the Beginner’s Guide to SEO and articles about popular SEO topics like meta descriptions, title tags, and robots.txt. Its purpose was to serve as a one-stop-shop for visitors looking to learn what SEO was all about and how to use it on their own sites.

The Learn SEO and Search marketing hub would go on to serve as a guiding light for searchers and site visitors looking to learn the ropes of SEO for many years to come.

CHAPTER 2: The Learning Hub Strikes Back

Since its inception in 2010, this hub happily served hundreds of thousands of Internet folk looking to learn the ropes of SEO and search marketing. But time took its toll on the hub. As marketing and search engine optimization grew increasingly complex, the Learning Hub lapsed into disrepair. While new content was periodically added, that content was hard to find and often intermingled with older, out-of-date resources. The Learning Hub became less of a hub and more of a list of resources… some of which were also lists of resources.

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Offshoots like the Local Learning Center and Content Marketing Learning Center sprung up in an effort to tame the overgrown learning hub, but ‘twas all for naught: By autumn of 2016, Moz’s learning hub sites were a confusing nest of hard-to-navigate articles, guides, and 404s. Some articles were written for SEO experts and explained concepts in extensive, technical detail, while others were written for an audience with less extensive SEO knowledge. It was impossible to know which type of article you found yourself in before you wound up confused or discouraged.

What had once been a useful resource for marketers of all backgrounds was languishing in its age.

CHAPTER 3: The Return of the Learning Center

The vision behind the SEO and Search Marketing Hub had always been to educate SEOs and search marketers on the skills they needed to be successful in their jobs. While the site section continued to serve that purpose, somewhere along the along the way we started getting diminishing returns.

Our mission, then, was clear: Re-invent Moz’s learning resources with a new structure, new website, and new content.

As we set off on this mission, one thing was clear: The new Learning Center should serve as a home base for marketers and SEOs of all skill levels to learn what’s needed to excel in their work: from the fundamentals to expert-level content, from time-tested tenets of SEO success to cutting-edge tactics and tricks. If we weren’t able to accomplish this, our mission would all be for naught.

We also believed that a new Learning Center should make it easy for visitors of all skill levels and learning styles to find value: from those folks who want to read an article then dive into their work; to those who want to browse through libraries of focused SEO videos; to folks who want to learn from the experts in hands-on webinars.

So, that’s exactly what we built.

May we introduce to you the (drumroll, please) brand new, totally rebuilt SEO Learning Center!

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Unlike the “list of lists” in the old Learn SEO and Search Marketing hub, the new Learning Center organizes content by topic.

Each topic has its own “topic hub.” There are eleven of these and they cover:

Each of the eleven topic hubs host a slew of hand-picked articles, videos, blog posts, webinars, Q&A posts, templates, and training classes designed to help you dive deeper into your chosen SEO topic.

All eleven of the hubs contain a “fundamentals” menu to help you wrap your brain around a topic, as well as a content feed with hundreds of resources to help you go even further. These feed resources are filterable by topic (for instance, content that’s about both ranking & visibility AND local SEO), SEO skill level (from beginner to advanced), and format.

Use the Learning Center’s filters to zero in on exactly the content you’re looking for.

And, if you’re brand new to a topic or not sure where to start, you can always find a link to the Beginner’s Guide to SEO right at the top of each page.

But we can only explain so much in words — check it out for yourself:

Visit the new SEO Learning Center!

CHAPTER 4: The Content Awakens

One of the main motivations behind rebuilding the Learning Center website was to make it easier for folks to find and move through a slew of educational content, be that a native Learning Center article, a blog post, a webinar, or otherwise. But it doesn’t do any good to make content easier to find if that content is totally out-of-date and unhelpful.

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In addition to our mission to build a new Learning Center, we’ve also been quietly updating our existing articles to include the latest best practices, tactics, strategies, and resources. As part of this rewrite, we’ve also made an effort to keep each article as focused as possible around specifically one topic — a complete explanation of everything someone newer to the world of SEO needs to know about the given topic. What did that process look like in action? Check it out:

As of now we’ve updated 50+ articles, with more on the way!

Going forward, we’ll continue to iterate on the search experience within the new Learning Center. For example, while we always have our site search bar available, a Learning Center-specific search function would make finding articles even easier — and that’s just one of our plans for the future. Bigger projects include a complete update of the Beginner’s Guide to SEO (keep an eye on the blog for more news there, too), as well as our other introductory guides.

Help us, Moz-i Wan Community, you’re our only hope

We’ve already telekinetically moved mountains with this project, but the Learning Center is your resource — we’d love to hear what you’d like to see next, or if there’s anything really important you think we’ve missed. Head over, check it out, and tell us what you think in the comments!

Explore the new SEO Learning Center!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

SearchCap: Happy birthday Google, EU Google Shopping changes & SEO tips

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Happy birthday Google, EU Google Shopping changes & SEO tips appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

How to Track Your Local SEO & SEM

Posted by nickpierno

If you asked me, I’d tell you that proper tracking is the single most important element in your local business digital marketing stack. I’d also tell you that even if you didn’t ask, apparently.

A decent tracking setup allows you to answer the most important questions about your marketing efforts. What’s working and what isn’t?

Many digital marketing strategies today still focus on traffic. Lots of agencies/developers/marketers will slap an Analytics tracking code on your site and call it a day. For most local businesses, though, traffic isn’t all that meaningful of a metric. And in many cases (e.g. Adwords & Facebook), more traffic just means more spending, without any real relationship to results.

What you really need your tracking setup to tell you is how many leads (AKA conversions) you’re getting, and from where. It also needs to do so quickly and easily, without you having to log into multiple accounts to piece everything together.

If you’re spending money or energy on SEO, Adwords, Facebook, or any other kind of digital traffic stream and you’re not measuring how many leads you get from each source, stop what you’re doing right now and make setting up a solid tracking plan your next priority.

This guide is intended to fill you in on all the basic elements you’ll need to assemble a simple, yet flexible and robust tracking setup.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is at the center of virtually every good web tracking setup. There are other supplemental ways to collect web analytics (like Heap, Hotjar, Facebook Pixels, etc), but Google Analytics is the free, powerful, and omnipresent tool that virtually every website should use. It will be the foundation of our approach in this guide.

Analytics setup tips

Analytics is super easy to set up. Create (or sign into) a Google account, add your Account and Property (website), and install the tracking code in your website’s template.

Whatever happens, don’t let your agency or developer set up your Analytics property on their own Account. Agencies and developers: STOP DOING THIS! Create a separate Google/Gmail account and let this be the “owner” of a new Analytics Account, then share permission with the agency/developer’s account, the client’s personal Google account, and so on.

The “All Website Data” view will be created by default for a new property. If you’re going to add filters or make any other advanced changes, be sure to create and use a separate View, keeping the default view clean and pure.

Also be sure to set the appropriate currency and time zone in the “View Settings.” If you ever use Adwords, using the wrong currency setting will result in a major disagreement between Adwords and Analytics.

Goals

Once your basic Analytics setup is in place, you should add some goals. This is where the magic happens. Ideally, every business objective your website can achieve should be represented as a goal conversion. Conversions can come in many forms, but here are some of the most common ones:

  • Contact form submission
  • Quote request form submission
  • Phone call
  • Text message
  • Chat
  • Appointment booking
  • Newsletter signup
  • E-commerce purchase

How you slice up your goals will vary with your needs, but I generally try to group similar “types” of conversions into a single goal. If I have several different contact forms on a site (like a quick contact form in the sidebar, and a heftier one on the contact page), I might group those as a single goal. You can always dig deeper to see the specific breakdown, but it’s nice to keep goals as neat and tidy as possible.

To create a goal in Analytics:

  1. Navigate to the Admin screen.
  2. Under the appropriate View, select Goals and then + New Goal.
  3. You can either choose between a goal Template, or Custom. Most goals are easiest to set up choosing Custom.
  4. Give your goal a name (ex. Contact Form Submission) and choose a type. Most goals for local businesses will either be a Destination or an Event.

Pro tip: Analytics allows you to associate a dollar value to your goal conversions. If you can tie your goals to their actual value, it can be a powerful metric to measure performance with. A common way to determine the value of a goal is to take the average value of a sale and multiply it by the average closing rate of Internet leads. For example, if your average sale is worth $1,000, and you typically close 1/10 of leads, your goal value would be $100.

Form tracking

The simplest way to track form fills is to have the form redirect to a “Thank You” page upon submission. This is usually my preferred setup; it’s easy to configure, and I can use the Thank You page to recommend other services, articles, etc. on the site and potentially keep the user around. I also find a dedicated Thank You page to provide the best affirmation that the form submission actually went through.

Different forms can all use the same Thank You page, and pass along variables in the URL to distinguish themselves from each other so you don’t have to create a hundred different Thank You pages to track different forms or goals. Most decent form plugins for WordPress are capable of this. My favorite is Gravityforms. Contact Form 7 and Ninja Forms are also very popular (and free).

Another option is using event tracking. Event tracking allows you to track the click of a button or link (the submit button, in the case of a web form). This would circumvent the need for a thank you page if you don’t want to (or can’t) send the user elsewhere when they submit a form. It’s also handy for other, more advanced forms of tracking.

Here’s a handy plugin for Gravityforms that makes setting up event tracking a snap.

Once you’ve got your form redirecting to a Thank You page or generating an event, you just need to create a goal in Analytics with the corresponding value.

You can use Thank You pages or events in a similar manner to track appointment booking, web chats, newsletter signups, etc.

Call tracking

Many businesses and marketers have adopted form tracking, since it’s easy and free. That’s great. But for most businesses, it leaves a huge volume of web conversions untracked.

If you’re spending cash to generate traffic to your site, you could be hemorrhaging budget if you’re not collecting and attributing the phone call conversions from your website.

There are several solutions and approaches to call tracking. I use and recommend CallRail, which also seems to have emerged as the darling of the digital marketing community over the past few years thanks to its ease of use, great support, fair pricing, and focus on integration. Another option (so I don’t come across as completely biased) is CallTrackingMetrics.

You’ll want to make sure your call tracking platform allows for integration with Google Analytics and offers something called “dynamic number insertion.”

Dynamic number insertion uses JavaScript to detect your actual local phone number on your website and replace it with a tracking number when a user loads your page.

Dynamic insertion is especially important in the context of local SEO, since it allows you to keep your real, local number on your site, and maintain NAP consistency with the rest of your business’s citations. Assuming it’s implemented properly, Google will still see your real number when it crawls your site, but users will get a tracked number.

Basically, magic.

There are a few ways to implement dynamic number insertion. For most businesses, one of these two approaches should fit the bill.

Number per source

With this approach, you’ll create a tracking number for each source you wish to track calls for. These sources might be:

  • Organic search traffic
  • Paid search traffic
  • Facebook referral traffic
  • Yelp referral traffic
  • Direct traffic
  • Vanity URL traffic (for visitors coming from an offline TV or radio ad, for example)

When someone arrives at your website from one of these predefined sources, the corresponding number will show in place of your real number, wherever it’s visible. If someone calls that number, an event will be passed to Analytics along with the source.

This approach isn’t perfect, but it’s a solid solution if your site gets large amounts of traffic (5k+ visits/day) and you want to keep call tracking costs low. It will do a solid job of answering the basic questions of how many calls your site generates and where they came from, but it comes with a few minor caveats:

  • Calls originating from sources you didn’t predefine will be missed.
  • Events sent to Analytics will create artificial sessions not tied to actual user sessions.
  • Call conversions coming from Adwords clicks won’t be attached to campaigns, ad groups, or keywords.

Some of these issues have more advanced workarounds. None of them are deal breakers… but you can avoid them completely with number pools — the awesomest call tracking method.

Number pools

“Keyword Pools,” as CallRail refers to them, are the killer app for call tracking. As long as your traffic doesn’t make this option prohibitively expensive (which won’t be a problem for most local business websites), this is the way to go.

In this approach, you create a pool with several numbers (8+ with CallRail). Each concurrent visitor on your site is assigned a different number, and if they call it, the conversion is attached to their session in Analytics, as well as their click in Adwords (if applicable). No more artificial sessions or disconnected conversions, and as long as you have enough numbers in your pool to cover your site’s traffic, you’ll capture all calls from your site, regardless of source. It’s also much quicker to set up than a number per source, and will even make you more attractive and better at sports!

You generally have to pay your call tracking provider for additional numbers, and you’ll need a number for each concurrent visitor to keep things running smoothly, so this is where massive amounts of traffic can start to get expensive. CallRail recommends you look at your average hourly traffic during peak times and include ¼ the tally as numbers in your pool. So if you have 30 visitors per hour on average, you might want ~8 numbers.

Implementation

Once you’ve got your call tracking platform configured, you’ll need to implement some code on your site to allow the dynamic number insertion to work its magic. Most platforms will provide you with a code snippet and instructions for installation. If you use CallRail and WordPress, there’s a handy plugin to make things even simpler. Just install, connect, and go.

To get your calls recorded in Analytics, you’ll just need to enable that option from your call tracking service. With CallRail you simply enable the integration, add your domain, and calls will be sent to your Analytics account as Events. Just like with your form submissions, you can add these events as a goal. Usually it makes sense to add a single goal called “Phone Calls” and set your event conditions according to the output from your call tracking service. If you’re using CallRail, it will look like this:

Google Search Console

It’s easy to forget to set up Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), because most of the time it plays a backseat role in your digital marketing measurement. But miss it, and you’ll forego some fundamental technical SEO basics (country setting, XML sitemaps, robots.txt verification, crawl reports, etc.), and you’ll miss out on some handy keyword click data in the Search Analytics section. Search Console data can also be indispensable for diagnosing penalties and other problems down the road, should they ever pop up.

Make sure to connect your Search Console with your Analytics property, as well as your Adwords account.

With all the basics of your tracking setup in place, the next step is to bring your paid advertising data into the mix.

Google Adwords

Adwords is probably the single most convincing reason to get proper tracking in place. Without it, you can spend a lot of money on clicks without really knowing what you get out of it. Conversion data in Adwords is also absolutely critical in making informed optimizations to your campaign settings, ad text, keywords, and so on.

If you’d like some more of my rantings on conversions in Adwords and some other ways to get more out of your campaigns, check out this recent article 🙂

Getting your data flowing in all the right directions is simple, but often overlooked.

Linking with Analytics

First, make sure your Adwords and Analytics accounts are linked. Always make sure you have auto-tagging enabled on your Adwords account. Now all your Adwords data will show up in the Acquisition > Adwords area of Analytics. This is a good time to double-check that you have the currency correctly set in Analytics (Admin > View Settings); otherwise, your Adwords spend will be converted to the currency set in Analytics and record the wrong dollar values (and you can’t change data that’s already been imported).

Next, you’ll want to get those call and form conversions from Analytics into Adwords.

Importing conversions in Adwords

Some Adwords management companies/consultants might disagree, but I strongly advocate an Analytics-first approach to conversion tracking. You can get call and form conversions pulled directly into Adwords by installing a tracking code on your site. But don’t.

Instead, make sure all your conversions are set up as goals in Analytics, and then import them into Adwords. This allows Analytics to act as your one-stop-shop for reviewing your conversion data, while providing all the same access to that data inside Adwords.

Call extensions & call-only ads

This can throw some folks off. You will want to track call extensions natively within Adwords. These conversions are set up automatically when you create a call extension in Adwords and elect to use a Google call forwarding number with the default settings.

Don’t worry though, you can still get these conversions tracked in Analytics if you want to (I could make an argument either for or against). Simply create a single “offline” tracking number in your call tracking platform, and use that number as the destination for the Google forwarding number.

This also helps counteract one of the oddities of Google’s call forwarding system. Google will actually only start showing the forwarding number on desktop ads after they have received a certain (seemingly arbitrary) minimum number of clicks per week. As a result, some calls are tracked and some aren’t — especially on smaller campaigns. With this little trick, Analytics will show all the calls originating from your ads — not just ones that take place once you’ve paid Google enough each week.

Adwords might give you a hard time for using a number in your call extensions that isn’t on your website. If you encounter issues with getting your number verified for use as a call extension, just make sure you have linked your Search Console to your Adwords account (as indicated above).

Now you’ve got Analytics and Adwords all synced up, and your tracking regimen is looking pretty gnarly! There are a few other cool tools you can use to take full advantage of your sweet setup.

Google Tag Manager

If you’re finding yourself putting a lot of code snippets on your site (web chat, Analytics, call tracking, Adwords, Facebook Pixels, etc), Google Tag Manager is a fantastic tool for managing them all from one spot. You can also do all sorts of advanced slicing and dicing.

GTM is basically a container that you put all your snippets in, and then you put a single GTM snippet on your site. Once installed, you never need to go back to your site’s code to make changes to your snippets. You can manage them all from the GTM interface in a user-friendly, version-controlled environment.

Don’t bother if you just need Analytics on your site (and are using the CallRail plugin). But for more robust needs, it’s well worth considering for its sheer power and simplicity.

Here’s a great primer on making use of Google Tag Manager.

UTM tracking URLs & Google Campaign URL Builder

Once you’ve got conversion data occupying all your waking thoughts, you might want to take things a step further. Perhaps you want to track traffic and leads that come from an offline advertisement, a business card, an email signature, etc. You can build tracking URLs that include UTM parameters (campaign, source, and medium), so that when visitors come to your site from a certain place, you can tell where that place was!

Once you know how to build these URLs, you don’t really need a tool, but Google’s Campaign URL Builder makes quick enough work of it that it’s bound to earn a spot in your browser’s bookmarks bar.

Pro tip: Use a tracking URL on your Google My Business listing to help distinguish traffic/conversions coming in from your listing vs traffic coming in from the organic search results. I’d recommend using:

Source: google
Medium: organic
Campaign name: gmb-listing (or something)

This way your GMB traffic still shows up in Analytics as normal organic traffic, but you can drill down to the gmb-listing campaign to see its specific performance.

Bonus pro tip: Use a vanity domain or a short URL on print materials or offline ads, and point it to a tracking URL to measure their performance in Analytics.

Rank tracking

Whaaat? Rank tracking is a dirty word to conversion tracking purists, isn’t it?

Nah. It’s true that rank tracking is a poor primary metric for your digital marketing efforts, but it can be very helpful as a supplemental metric and for helping to diagnose changes in traffic, as Darren Shaw explored here.

For local businesses, we think our Local Rank Tracker is a pretty darn good tool for the job.

Google My Business Insights

Your GMB listing is a foundational piece of your local SEO infrastructure, and GMB Insights offer some meaningful data (impressions and clicks for your listing, mostly). It also tries to tell you how many calls your listing generates for you, but it comes up a bit short since it relies on “tel:” links instead of tracking numbers. It will tell you how many people clicked on your phone number, but not how many actually made the call. It also won’t give you any insights into calls coming from desktop users.

There’s a great workaround though! It just might freak you out a bit…

Fire up your call tracking platform once more, create an “offline” number, and use it as your “primary number” on your GMB listing. Don’t panic. You can preserve your NAP consistency by demoting your real local number to an “additional number” slot on your GMB listing.

I don’t consider this a necessary step, because you’re probably not pointing your paid clicks to your GMB listing. However, combined with a tracking URL pointing to your website, you can now fully measure the performance of Google My Business for your business!

Disclaimer: I believe that this method is totally safe, and I’m using it myself in several instances, but I can’t say with absolute certainty that it won’t impact your rankings. Whitespark is currently testing this out on a larger scale, and we’ll share our findings once they’re assembled!

Taking it all in

So now you’ve assembled a lean, mean tracking machine. You’re already feeling 10 years younger, and everyone pays attention when you enter the room. But what can you do with all this power?

Here are a few ways I like to soak up this beautiful data.

Pop into Analytics

Since we’ve centralized all our tracking in Analytics, we can answer pretty much any performance questions we have within a few simple clicks.

  • How many calls and form fills did we get last month from our organic rankings?
  • How does that compare to the month before? Last year?
  • How many paid conversions are we getting? How much are we paying on average for them?
  • Are we doing anything expensive that isn’t generating many leads?
  • Does our Facebook page generate any leads on our website?

There are a billion and seven ways to look at your Analytics data, but I do most of my ogling from Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Here you get a great overview of your traffic and conversions sliced up by channels (Organic Search, Paid Search, Direct, Referral, etc). You can obviously adjust date ranges, compare to past date ranges, and view conversion metrics individually or as a whole. For me, this is Analytics home base.

Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium can be equally interesting, especially if you’ve made good use of tracking URLs.

Make some sweet SEO reports

I can populate almost my entire standard SEO client report from the Acquisition section of Analytics. Making conversions the star of the show really helps to keep clients engaged in their monthly reporting.

Google Analytics dashboards

Google’s Dashboards inside Analytics provide a great way to put the most important metrics together on a single screen. They’re easy to use, but I’ve always found them a bit limiting. Fortunately for data junkies, Google has recently released its next generation data visualization product…

Google Data Studio

This is pretty awesome. It’s very flexible, powerful, and user-friendly. I’d recommend skipping the Analytics Dashboards and going straight to Data Studio.

It will allow to you to beautifully dashboard-ify your data from Analytics, Adwords, Youtube, DoubleClick, and even custom databases or spreadsheets. All the data is “live” and dynamic. Users can even change data sources and date ranges on the fly! Bosses love it, clients love it, and marketers love it… provided everything is performing really well 😉

Supermetrics

If you want to get really fancy, and build your own fully custom dashboard, develop some truly bespoke analysis tools, or automate your reporting regimen, check out Supermetrics. It allows you to pull data from just about any source into Google Sheets or Excel. From there, your only limitation is your mastery of spreadsheet-fu and your imagination.

TL;DR

So that’s a lot of stuff. If you’d like to skip the more nuanced explanations, pro tips, and bad jokes, here’s the gist in point form:

  • Tracking your digital marketing is super important.
  • Don’t just track traffic. Tracking conversions is critical.
  • Use Google Analytics. Don’t let your agency use their own account.
  • Set up goals for every type of lead (forms, calls, chats, bookings, etc).
  • Track forms with destinations (thank you pages) or events.
  • Track your calls, probably using CallRail.
  • Use “number per source” if you have a huge volume of traffic; otherwise, use number pools (AKA keyword pools). Pools are better.
  • Set up Search Console and link it to your Analytics and Adwords accounts.
  • Link Adwords with Analytics.
  • Import Analytics conversions into Adwords instead of using Adwords’ native conversion tracking snippet…
  • …except for call extensions. Track those within and Adwords AND in Analytics (if you want to) by using an “offline” tracking number as the destination for your Google forwarding numbers.
  • Use Google Tag Manager if you have more than a couple third-party scripts to run on your site (web chat, Analytics, call tracking, Facebook Pixels etc).
  • Use Google Campaign URL Builder to create tracked URLs for tracking visitors from various sources like offline advertising, email signatures, etc.
  • Use a tracked URL on your GMB listing.
  • Use a tracked number as your “primary” GMB listing number (if you do this, make sure you put your real local number as a “secondary” number). Note: We think this is safe, but we don’t have quite enough data to say so unequivocally. YMMV.
  • Use vanity domains or short URLs that point to your tracking URLs to put on print materials, TV spots, etc.
  • Track your rankings like a boss.
  • Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels is your new Analytics home base.
  • Consider making some Google Analytics Dashboards… and then don’t, because Google Data Studio is way better. So use that.
  • Check out Supermetrics if you want to get really hardcore.
  • Don’t let your dreams be dreams.

If you’re new to tracking your digital marketing, I hope this provides a helpful starting point, and helps cut through some of the confusion and uncertainty about how to best get set up.

If you’re a conversion veteran, I hope there are a few new or alternative ideas here that you can use to improve your setup.

If you’ve got anything to add, correct, or ask, leave a comment!

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Global WordPress Translation Day 3

On September 30 2017, the WordPress Polyglots Team – whose mission is to translate WordPress into as many languages as possible – will hold its third Global WordPress Translation Day, a 24-hour, round-the-clock, digital and physical global marathon dedicated to the localisation and internationalisation of the WordPress platform and ecosystem, a structure that powers, today, over 28% of all existing websites.

The localisation process allows for WordPress and for all WordPress-related products (themes and plugins) to be available in local languages, so to improve their accessibility and usage and to allow as many people as possible to take advantage of the free platform and services available.

In a (not completely) serendipitous coincidence, September 30 has also been declared by the United Nations “International Translation Day”, to pay homage to the great services of translators everywhere, one that allows communication and exchange.

The event will feature a series of multi-language live speeches (training sessions, tutorials, case histories, etc.) that will be screen-casted in streaming, starting from Australia and the Far East and ending in the Western parts of the United States.

In that same 24-hour time frame, Polyglots worldwide will gather physically in local events, for dedicated training and translations sprints (and for some fun and socializing as well), while those unable to physically join their teams will do so remotely.

A big, fun, useful and enlightening party and a lovely mix of growing, giving, learning and teaching, to empower, and cultivate, and shine.

Here are some stats about the first two events:

Global WordPress Translation Day 1

  •   448 translators worldwide
  •   50 local events worldwide
  •   54 locales involved
  •   40350 strings translated, in
  •   597 projects

Global WordPress Translation Day 2

  •   780 translators worldwide
  •   67 local events worldwide
  •   133 locales involved
  •   60426 strings translated, in
  •   590 projects

We would like your help in spreading this news and in reaching out to all four corners of the world to make the third #WPTranslationDay a truly amazing one and to help celebrate the unique and fundamental role that translators have in the Community but also in all aspects of life.

A full press release is available, along with more information and visual assets at wptranslationday.org/press.

For any additional information please don’t hesitate to contact the event team on press@wptranslationday.org.