Measuring Your Website Design ROI: Digital Marketing ROI Series

In this edition of our digital marketing ROI series, we are going to discuss techniques for measuring your website design return on investment (ROI). It is a well-known fact that a good website design is necessary for bringing in real profits for your online business. However, how do you measure returns for a website, especially if you are not running an e-commerce website? It is hard to measure the gains of a great website design into finite measurements such as profit margins, but it can be done.

Track Website Traffic and Length of Stay

Use Google Webmaster Tools to track website traffic. This data can easily be accessed using your Google Analytics account. Calculate your monthly average visitors. An excellent website with useful information is almost guaranteed to bring in many visitors, and this is a great sign of positive returns. In addition to tracking the number of visitors to your website, you should track how long they stay on your website. If a visitor comes and leaves quickly, then something may be wrong. Perhaps your website is not providing the information they are looking for, or maybe your design is too complicated for the average user. Whatever it may be, look into it and try to correct it.

Tally Conversion Rates

How many of your monthly visitors are converted into leads? How many of them act on your website’s calls to action? Calls to action can be anything that encourages your visitors to interact with you, including newsletter signups, contact form submissions, eBook downloads, phone calls, and others. The higher your conversion rates, the more successful your design and its translation to positive returns.

Calculate Lead Closing Ratios

Depending on your business, high conversion rates is likely not the only thing you hope for from your website. How many of your website leads actually turn into sales? What is the closing ratio? It is one of the greatest measures of website design ROI. Divide your total sales with your complete proposals or inquiries to get a closing ratio. Take the closing rate and multiply it to your leads to get a total of your website generated events for that month. The higher the number of events, the better your returns.

Find Out Your Average Sales

With the total number of events, you can now calculate your average revenue. Take the total number of sales on your website and divide it by the total number of website events to get your average sales.

Deduct Total Average Revenue per Month with Expenses

Websites are an investment, and like any business investment they have expenses. Apart from hosting fees, you may also need to pay for ads, SEO campaigns, social media marketing, paid searches, and more, to attract visitors. These digital marketing campaigns cost time and money. It is essential to deduct your revenue from your expenses to learn what your real returns are. If your returns are too low, then you probably need to reconsider your website presence, beginning with your website design.

At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of knowing your website design ROI. That is why we do take the time to ensure you understand both the tangible and intangible results of your digital marketing efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you on proving out your marketing ROI, and our strategy has been greatly successful for digital marketing clients. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.

Measuring Your SEO ROI: Digital Marketing ROI Series

In the previous article of our digital marketing ROI series, we talked about how you can measure your email marketing return on investment (ROI). We also discussed why it is a critical component in your overall digital marketing strategy for many reasons. Today, we are going to discuss the benefits of SEO, how to analyze SEO ROI in an SEO campaign, and why SEO is the key to a successful digital marketing campaign.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing solution aimed at bringing organic visibility to websites through search engine results. It is not just about creating a search engine friendly website; it is about making sites that draw an audience by having high quality, relevant, and well-presented content.  SEO is a critical marketing discipline that can bring in much traffic to your online business, but only if it is used properly.

Why Measure Your SEO ROI?

Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business success. A good SEO strategy is necessary for driving that traffic to your company’s website. The majority of this traffic will come from search engines such as Google, and Bing. However, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are also great for increasing traffic from your target audience. Measuring the success of an SEO campaign is important for determining whether the time, money, and resources allocated for a campaign is bringing in any significant returns. Calculating ROI is one of the many facets of SEO, but how is it measured?

Watch For a Rise in Organic Traffic

An increase of traffic is one of the easiest ways of measuring SEO. Google Analytics is a phenomenal tool you can use to view the changes in traffic over the course of your campaign. By looking at specific data inside of analytics you can understand what you need to watch to validate the rise in Organic Traffic.

Inside of Google Analytics, using the menu on the left, Acquisition -> Overview to see how much traffic is coming from Organic Search.  As you track more data over time, you can watch your efforts payoff as the numbers increase.

Measuring Your SEO ROI: Digital Marketing ROI Series

Monitor Inbound Links

Inbound links are important for SEO. The more your website is linked in different places on the Internet, the more visibility you’ll gain in search engines. That increased visibility will lead to better rankings and more organic traffic.

You can track your links through Google Webmaster, using the menu on the left, Search Traffic -> Links to Your Site.

Review Your Organic Rankings

The primary purpose of SEO is to increase your ranking on the major search engines for particular keywords and phrases. You want your website to be among the top results when users perform searches using keywords relevant to your service. It is a known fact that digital marketers agree; users typically only look at the first three search engine results. The further down your website is on the page, the fewer clicks you’ll get.

To get a rough understanding for your rankings, you can do the following:

  1. Inside of Google Chrome (or your favorite browser) do a private or incognito search.
  2. Do a search for a specific set of Keywords, for example “Digital Marketing St Cloud MN”.
    1. If you want to change your current location when doing a search you can click on the “Search Tools” to change your current location to another state or country.
  3. Scroll down past the ads and the local results to see where you are listed in the search results.
  4. Now, change the Keywords to various scenarios to get a rough estimation of how you are ranking*

Organic Local Search on Google

*This is only a rough estimation, many factors come into play for rankings.

Increased Revenue

Whether your website brings in revenue through ads, affiliate links or the sale of products and services, an increase in revenue is a clear indicator of the success of an SEO campaign. Monitor the revenues closely once you begin a campaign. This is the most obvious way of measuring your ROI.

Monitoring all these activities should give you a fairly confident idea of how well an SEO campaign is doing. However, it is important to remember that there is no magical formula for SEO that will work ideally for each specific company. Consistency and patience are also necessary. When working through organic SEO campaigns we have seen it take up to 9 months for terms to start ranking.

At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of knowing your digital marketing ROI. That is why we do take the time to ensure you understand both the tangible and intangible results of your digital marketing efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you on proving out your marketing ROI, and our strategy has been greatly successful for digital marketing clients. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.

Measuring Your Digital Marketing ROI: A Brief Introduction

As a business owner, you understand the concept that to make a profit, you need to make more money than what you spend. When you choose to invest money in a product or service, you hope to see a return on investment (ROI). While some things are easy to measure, such as the cost to produce an item versus the selling price, other investments may not be so straightforward. We realize that the money you spend on your digital marketing may be difficult to part with, primarily because understanding the return on investment is not so clearly defined. Over the next several weeks, we will be presenting a series of articles covering the different aspects of digital marketing, and how to better measure those aspects in terms of your ROI.

For this first installment, we will be discussing the measurement of your digital marketing ROI overall. Future posts will cover topics including social marketing, email marketing, website design, and several others. Our hope is that these articles will be helpful to better understand the value of digital marketing, and how you can easily measure the impact your efforts are having.

Measuring Your Digital Marketing ROI

There is a terrific quote by department store merchant John Wanamaker stating. “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Though this quote is from the late 1800’s, it can still ring true today in our digital age. Fortunately, measuring digital marketing ROI is becoming increasingly easier, making it possible for business owners to better understand their investment and ensure that they are getting their money’s worth. However, there are differing schools of thought on the way in which measuring digital marketing ROI is done most efficiently. Each type of measurement comes with its own advantages and levels of accuracy. We will look at some of the most commonly used methods, and give an overview of what information they are or are not able to provide.

Challenges of Measurement

In theory, measuring your ROI for digital marketing should be relatively straightforward. Just consider the amount invested in a campaign, examine the sales numbers and profit margins, and divide it by the investment amount. In reality, there are certain aspects that make this difficult. The first is time, and the second is unpredicted events that influence the profit numbers. The first method to help overcome these challenges used test campaigns. In this process, you run two marketing campaigns using the same medium with slightly different content, messages, and other marketing strategies. By examining the numbers for both, it is easier to determine which method was more successful for future marketing investments. However, this A/B testing process can be costly and time consuming. While tests may be an excellent option, it is not likely a method that you will often use. It can be very helpful when beginning you digital marketing strategy, or when you notice a slump in its effectiveness.

An Alternate Method

Time adds another challenge because long-term marketing campaigns can be difficult to measure. The reason is that if a campaign gains you a customer, subsequent purchases may be a result of the marketing. However, these additional sales are not easily measured. The cumulative nature of long term digital marketing creates probabilities that are prohibitive to accurate measurement. That is why the method of measuring program to program cost savings is often used. This method looks at the number of impressions against the expense of a particular method of digital marketing over another. By examining these cost per view numbers, one can detect where their digital marketing dollar is best spent. The negative aspect of this is that it does not take into account how many of those impressions led to sales. The real value of each impression is lost.

Consider the Intangibles

There are other excellent options for measuring digital marketing ROI being developed and released. For example, Google has tools for this process which will be covered more in-depth in a future article. These new methods of measurement allow a more robust understanding of how one’s money is working for them. The possibility of measuring conversions and sales, instead of only impressions makes the calculation of ROI much easier. However, there are always the intangible benefits that must be considered which you cannot adequately measure. This would include things such as an improved brand image or the customer’s perceived notion of your expertise in your field. These intangible digital marketing benefits are certainly felt as your strategy continues over time. What is problematic is that though you will experience these sorts of benefits, they are not so easy to place a value on for calculation.

It is critical that as a company you are aware of your digital marketing ROI. Working closely with a digital marketing firm, who will take the time to educate you, and will provide the information needed to successfully determine ROI in the best possible manner is an excellent option. Moreover, though you can find that information about what your campaign is doing in terms of tangible numbers, you must also consider the benefits that come which cannot be.

At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of knowing your digital marketing ROI. That is why we do take the time to ensure you understand both the tangible and intangible results of your digital marketing efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you on proving out your marketing ROI, and our strategy has been greatly successful for digital marketing clients. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.

Closing the Door! Why Is Google Cracking Down on Doorway Pages?

Last month, Google released an update regarding their position on the use of doorway pages. A doorway page is simply a website or page that is specifically designed to obtain a high rank when certain search terms are used. In short, they are created to fill the search engine ranking results with similar pages that all lead visitors to the same end point. The reason this is a problem is because, as Google explains, “doorway pages that are created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the user’s search experience.” This is because a visitor can click on a site link from their search reach a page that isn’t what they were seeking. When they go back and click a different site link, a doorway page may cause them to end up on that same unhelpful page. So, now that we know what doorway pages are, it is important to understand what specifically Google is doing and which pages or sites they are targeting.

What Google Is Doing About Doorway Pages

Google stands on its mission to provide the best and most relevant search listings to their users. Since doorway pages can jeopardize the effectiveness of this, Google has decided to take action against them. They are launching a ranking adjustment to sites their algorithm views as a doorway. In other words, doorway sites will be penalized and dropped from the first-page results. While this may not affect small individual websites, it could spell trouble for sites using sophisticated doorway strategies.

What Google Is Targeting As A Doorway Page

As with any change to their algorithm, Google is careful to protect the exact details of the ranking adjustment. However, they have provided some considerations to determine if your website or pages are at risk. First, consider If you have pages, that are specially designed to funnel visitors to your key content, rather than act as a vital contribution to a visitor’s experience. It is likely those pages will be flagged by Google. Also, if the pages focus on directly drawing traffic rather than supplying any relevant information or value, it is probably a doorway. Another way you can help limit your chance of being flagged is to consider how accessible the pages in question are from your primary site. If visiting those pages from your site, instead of just finding your primary site through them, is challenging, you may also experience a sudden drop from the first page.

For Every Door Closed, Another Opens

If doorway traffic was a key driver of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, if you desire continued success you need a new method. Fortunately, page one rankings are possible with the use of organic SEO initiatives that put your website on top naturally, without the use of tactics that Google disapproves. An experienced and professional SEO website design firm can help you overcome these changes.

Wondering how your digital marketing efforts are doing? Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We are also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Google using schema.org tags to highlight events in search

~Recent Google Update

Google has now expanded the use of Schema.org tags and created a tool to check your website to see if there are any errors.  Here are 2 links that Google has created.

Structured Data Testing Tool

Prototype and test your markup

Knowledge Card

In March of 2015, Google made a change in how they display entertainment and events in their search results. Before the change, if someone searched for his or her favorite band, Google would often display a knowledge graph panel that presented a lot of great details about them. Details like the names of group members and upcoming concert dates appeared with clickable links for additional information. For Google, in their ongoing effort to provide the most accurate and relevant information possible, instead of providing information from various sources, they began providing information directly from the band’s website.

Musicians, comedians, and other entertainers could have their events shown to Google users with details about them and information on where and how they can purchase tickets. This great feature provides an exceptional way for entertainers to advertize their events, but also a super way for fans to learn more about them. However, in order to use this feature, it is the responsibility of the entertainer or their webmaster to make sure they have the correct schema.org markup tags on their website. If not, Google will not recognize and display their information.

About Schema.org Tags

You may be familiar with HTML tags that used on web pages that guide the web browser in the best way to display the information in the tag. The problem is that the browser may misinterpret HTML tags. A good example of this related to how browsers interpret HTML tags regarding dates. Because there are many different formats to display a date, the HTML tag may not display it as you’d like. The schema project is a collaboration between the major search engines to standardize the structure of the markup. Schema microdata helps to define what something is and how it to handle it. The use of schema microdata can help your SEO strategy because it has the likelihood of increasing visibility, including event information for entertainers.

How to Add Your Information with Schema.org

Schema is considered a best practice for SEO and a requirement under the new Google rules for their knowledge graph panels. That does not imply there is not some level work needed to do so. Fortunately, Google has provided comprehensive information that will assist webmasters and entertainers to appear in the feature. If you are promoting your event and would like Google to highlight information from your website, adding the schema microdata can provide a tremendous boost to your potential audience. After all, isn’t it more fun to entertain a full-house?

Wondering how your digital marketing efforts are doing? Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We are also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Websites You Can Use All Year Long

After months of cold temperatures and gray skies, the thermometer is finally beginning to rise and the sun is once again showing its cheerful face. As we recover from our annual bout of cabin fever and begin to feel the energy and motivation that spring often brings, we often look for ways to do some much needed spring cleaning. However one thing many people miss is the spring cleaning that may be needed on their website. Just like our houses and cars, after a time they need a little freshening up, and spring is a wonderful time to make it happen. Here are the top 5 tips to give your website a spring makeover.

# 1 – Scrub Your Website Content:

Content is the lifeblood of your website and is one of your websites most important attributes. It is a key component that will generate traffic and increase the amount of time people are interacting with your brand. If you have older content that should stay on your site, consider freshening it up with a new structure. Perhaps change the titles to something a bit more interesting, or include updated statistics and information. Also, make sure there are no broken links. Another project could be to add links within content that is the least visited to help traffic. Or, simply add content that is fresh and relevant to provide something new to drive people to your site.

# 2 – Sweep Your Website Design:

If your website is looking a little tired and outdated, it may be time for a bit of design rehabilitation. This type of website spring cleaning may require a bit more thought and effort, but it can be invaluable to your digital marketing efforts. Imagine yourself as a visitor to your own site and think about if the information seems well organized. Are the pages are easy to navigate? Consider the message your website is providing visitors, and determine if there are any small adjustments you can make so it is more inviting and interesting.

# 3 – Dust Your Details:

It’s often the little details that people notice about your website that seem the most unprofessional. Check out things like your copyright date in the footer, the events on your calendar page, the staff on your about us page, or the contact information. Make sure everything is current. You might also want to read through your content, or have another set of eyes do it to find any grammar or punctuation issues.

# 4 – Tidy Up Your Website Calls to Action:

Websites serve many purposes. One is for marketing and brand recognition, but another is to prompt people to take action. To really move people to take the action you are shooting for, spend some time thinking about how well your call to actions are crafted. Make sure they are very clear and easy to find. Think about if they are easily shared to social media. If you have been wondering why your call to action is ineffective, it may be it just needs a ten-minute tidy.

# 5 – Shake Out Your Website SEO:

Search Engine Optimization is pretty important, that is if you hope people will find your website. It’s a good idea to take some time to review your SEO and make sure it is clean and polished. First take a peek at your analytics and use it to determine your best traffic drivers, and also any errors that visitors may be running into. Also important, think about how you are using social media. Add links to share content on your various platforms. Consider doing some guest blogs. Review your personal and professional contacts and think about who may benefit from your content. In short, seek out new ways to drive traffic and expand your traffic sources.

Make Your Website Shine Year Round

It’s always refreshing to spend some time doing a little spring cleaning. And while the warmth and brightness of spring is a good reminder to do a little freshening up, the truth is that these same tips to tidy up your website are great things to consider any time of the year. Efforts you make with your web presence today can bring excellent advantages for a long time to come.

Wondering how you are doing? Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

 

3 Tips to Get the Most from URL Shorteners | Cohlab Digital Marketing

URL shortening is not new; in fact it has been around for many years. And while some may argue reasons why a small business should not use them, they can’t argue that there are some truly great benefits on the pro side. A URL shortener is a service that takes a long and messy looking URL and shortens it into a small and clean looking address. While this in itself can provide some obvious benefits, there are ways a small business can take the use of a URL shortener to the next level. Here are three important tips to get the most out of your URL shorteners.

What URL Shorteners Should I Use?

We recommend two URL shortening services for small business applications. The first is Google’s own Goo.gl. There are several benefits to using Goo.gl. First, people trust Google. Because a shortened URL provides little detail on what it points to, some can be leery. Knowing that Google is behind it and that they remove short URL’s used in spamming, they may not think twice. Also, Goo.gl offers some great analytics tools and is also fabulously easy to use.

Another great service is called Bit.ly. Like Goo.gl, Bit.ly is also a powerful analytic tracker with a full functioning dashboard to make things very easy and understandable. Also with Bit.ly, you are able to create branded short domains so that your short links are clearly recognized as coming from your company. Whichever platform you choose, it’s always good to use your short links wisely to get the most out of them.

Pay attention to your analytics

One of the best uses for shortened URL’s is the ability to better analyze your statistics. This is especially true for your social media. In fact with Bit.ly, you can even have a different short link for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that points to the same content, and find which social media platform performs better. It can provide invaluable information about your audience and make your marketing efforts significantly more effective.

Use them in unique ways

Shortened URL’s are great for online marketing. Just don’t overlook ways in which they could be useful for traditional marketing as well. A great example would be to use alternate short links on different marketing materials to see which garner the most response. They are also great for things like billboards or signs so you can match specific content with an easy to remember address. Using a little creativity can make them go a long way for you.

Target Your Marketing

Shortened URL’s make it exceptionally easy to track click-through rates, and even determine in which areas you are finding the most response. This helps you to segment your audience and target the right people based on how they interact with your brand.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your digital marketing efforts compare with others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

3 Ways that Tesla and Digital Marketing are the Same

Tesla Motors has slowly made its presence felt in the United States car industry. A combination of product differentiation, and supreme customer service has taken Tesla motors from a small start up to a major player in the automotive industry. Initially viewed as an overpriced boutique car for the rich, Tesla barely registered on the radar of most major car dealers. Now the brand is seen as a viable threat to the entire automotive manufacturing and marketing industry. But sleek and sophisticated car design, and cutting edge technology, are not the only reasons that Tesla Motors is becoming a consumer favorite. Many in the automotive industry attribute its success to a well-designed digital marketing strategy. Check out these three ways that Tesla and digital marketing in general have taken the world by storm.

Digital Marketing & Tesla Blow Away the Competition and Deliver

Digital marketing is not a buzz word, it’s the lifeblood of the modern company. Investment in a solid and progressive digital marketing strategy is an investment in the prolonged success of your company. Digital marketing is more than just a company webpage; it exploits all of the digital tools at the disposal of the modern consumer. This includes websites, television, smartphones, email, QR codes, augmented reality, and more. At the heart of any impactful digital strategy is knowing the way that your target audience prefers to communicate and exploiting these channels.

Tesla has differentiated itself from the competition by actually being as good as they claim. Like digital marketing, the brand simply performs when utilized to its full potential. For example, Tesla’s Model S creators claim that the car can travel 250 miles on one charge. This has been tested and proven true, and has even been exceeded by some drivers.

Use of Social Media and Support

Social media is one effective instrument of digital marketing. Social media spaces like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumbler, Vine, and Youtube have connected businesses to their customers in new and unimaginable ways. Today’s customers expect an online presence. Companies who manage to establish daily interaction with customers develop customer and brand loyalty, plus their customers have a more positive view of them. Loyalty combined with trust and optimism leads to more sales.

Tesla has a reputation for going above and beyond in their customer support efforts. For example, Musk is working with Tesla to create a network of charging stations across America so that Tesla customers can charge up for free. Owners of Tesla’s Model S can look forward to having follow-up service delivered to their door.

Connect with Customers

Digital marketing will only really work if it connects companies with their consumers. Proper market segmentation and analysis will allow for companies to send specialized messages to different segments of their base via mobile phones, emails, and other forms of personal devices. This drastically increases the likelihood of sales and conversions.

Tesla’s level of dedication to customer service sets them apart from other car companies. A stroll through their retail store shows how much Tesla cares about satisfying their customers. Brand representatives float through the crowd to answer customer questions. A design studio allows customers to customize their own vehicles, surfing through various interiors, exteriors, and accessories.

Tesla and digital marketing share a few important traits that make them both highly efficient. They both deliver great results when handled properly, use social media and support to create loyalty, and connect with customers on deeper and more profitable levels.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

5 Tips to Use MailChimp Effectively for Your Email Marketing Platform

The web is filled with different tools and services that are designed to help small businesses successfully implement an email marketing campaign, and for good reason. Email marketing continues to provide a phenomenal return on investment. One of the best known of these products is MailChimp. The service is fairly straightforward and easy to learn quickly. However, knowing how to send an email marketing campaign with MailChimp, and knowing how to maximize the use of it for the best possible result are two different things. In this article, we look at 5 ways your small business can maximize your success and use MailChimp more effectively.

Your Audience

Without a good list and a number of quality subscribers, nobody is even seeing your email campaign. A good subscriber list is the foundation on which any great email campaign is built. Generating a list of people who wish to receive and read what you are sending takes time to build, but it is worth the investment. More importantly, once you have a list, take the time to segment it into targeted groups. Separate them by demographic, their activities, purchase history, or other specialized groups. Once your list is segmented, you have the ability to specifically target certain groups with specialized content that will have the greatest effect on that particular segment.

Your Statistics

One of the great things about MailChimp, is that it provides a great deal of information that can help determine if your content is hitting the mark. Those stats aren’t just there for MailChimp to look professional. They are there to be used. Pay attention to your statistics like open rates, unsubscribes, and click-through rates. If you sent an email last week that had a 60% open rate, and your email this week is only at 20%, what made the difference? Taking the time to review and evaluate your statistics can greatly increase the impact your campaigns will have.

Your Opening Line

It has been shown that 33% of your audience opens an email strictly based on the subject line only. If your subject line isn’t something that entices recipients to open the email, you are eliminating a third of your list immediately. Use creativity, clarity, personalization, capitalization, powerful words, conciseness, and make it compelling. Sounds easy right? Don’t panic, if you are taking advantage of tip 2, knowing your exact target will make crafting a great subject line much easier.

Your Timing

Knowing when to hit the big red launch button that MailChimp ceremoniously provides takes a little research. Fortunately, the research has mostly been done; all you need to do is follow what it tells you. MailChimp did their own study and found that emails sent Tuesday through Thursday around 4 PM have the best open rates. You may find that your own segments have their own open rate sweet spot. And, MailChimp even provides a send optimization tool to help hit the moving target that is your audience.

Your Content and Layout

Even if you have a masterful subject line that is simply impossible for people to skip, the stuff inside that email is critical to achieving any action taken by the recipient. Various studies give an average email reading time of 7 to 15 seconds for over half of the population. That’s not much time, and chances are that whatever is at the top of your email will be the content that is viewed. Whatever your mission for the campaign, whether it’s information about an event or a call to action, make sure it is at the top of your layout. Structure your email so the most important information comes first. Use color, use images, use infographics, and use different design elements that capture their eyes like you want the written content to capture their mind. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to do this successfully. MailChimp has pre-made templates that guide you through the process and help find that balance between catching and overbearing.

Don’t Waste Your Time

As the old saying goes, time is money. Any activity you do, any investment you make regarding your company’s marketing strategy should be successful and provide a great return on the investment. MailChimp, and other email marketing products can be a tool that slingshots your marketing efforts into the stratosphere. But they can also be an utter waste of time. Before you decide to start your own email marketing campaign, take the time to familiarize yourself with how it works, and then follow these tips to maximize the result of your efforts.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

 

Meta Tags That Google Recognizes

In our article titled Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Keywords Meta Tag, we discussed the reasons why you should stop focusing on keywords meta tags. Google decided that because of widespread misuse, they would no longer be a focus. Instead, other on-page and off-page optimization techniques should be used that will have a real impact on ranking. And, while keywords meta tags may no longer be of use, there are other types of meta tags that you should continue using that are recognized by Google.  The below list is not exhaustive however it does cover all of the meta tags recognized by Google, any meta tags not recognized by Google have been ignored.

Meta tags are added to the <head> section of the HTML page and typically look like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en”>

<head>

<meta charset=”utf-8″>

<meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=Edge,chrome=1″>  <meta name=”description” content=”Organize anything, together. Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, know what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.”>

<title>Trello</title>

Google Recognized Meta Tags

The following list includes the current Google recognized meta tags.

  • Description: <meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />
  • Title: <title>The Title of the Page</title>
  • Robots: <meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” /> and Googlebot: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />
    • “noindex”
    • “nofollow”
    • “nosnippet”
    • “noodp”
    • “noarchive”
    • “unavailable_after:[date]”
    • “noimageindex”
    • “none”
  • No Site Link: <meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />
  • No Translate: <meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />
  • Google Verification: <meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />
  • Content Type: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” /> and Character Set: <meta charset=”…” >
  • Refresh (Redirect): <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

Google Recognized Meta Tag Descriptions

<meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />

Description meta tags provide a short description of the page, and should be unique for each page.  A readable tag that contains important keywords and entices the searcher to click on your link is the goal. They can be any length; however typically will work best at 160 to 170 characters long. Anything longer will likely be truncated by the search engine so it is important to write quality description meta tags.

<title>The Title of the Page</title>

The title tag is not actually a Meta tag, however it is listed here because the title tag is most often used in conjunction with the Meta Descriptions. Like the description, the title is important because it will likely be shown as the page title in search results just above the description when searchers are provided their results. Read more about Google recognized meta descriptions and titles.

<meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” />

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />

It is the robots meta tags that directs how the search engine crawling and indexing behaves. Above you see two examples. The “robots” meta tag is for all search engines while the “googlebot” tag is Google specific. By default, the values are “index, follow” which is the same as “all”. They do not need to be specified, however there are other values that must be added to the tag. If you are using multiple tags, they can be separated by a comma as shown in the above example =”…, …”. The following list of values are used to modify search engine behavior.

  • noindex” – The page will not be indexed.
  • nofollow” – The links from this page will not be followed.
  • nosnippet” – A snippet will not be shown in the search results. In other words, the page will be removed from all search results.
  • noodp” – The alternate description from the ODP/DMOZ will not be used.
  • noarchive” – A cached link for the page will not be shown.
  • unavailable_after:[date]” – Allows you to set a date to end crawling and indexing.
  • noimageindex” – An image that appears will not show your page as the referring page.
  • “none” – This is used to apply both “noindex” and “nofollow”.

<meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />

The site links search box is sometimes displayed for specific websites, as well as other site specific links. Using this meta tag will stop Google from showing this box for your site.

<meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />

In some cases, the language your website uses is not likely to be the language the searcher would like it to be. When it is determined that this is likely the case, Google will place a translate link in the search results. While this is a great way to broaden your reach, there are sometimes scenarios when this is not preferred. In those cases, this meta tag will remove the translation link and any translation provided by Google.

<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />

Including this tag on the main or top page of your website allows you to verify ownership of it through Google Webmaster Tools. Google will provide you the input data for “name” and “content”. The site verification tag must match what is provided exactly and is case sensitive. Your site will then be considered “Google Verified”.

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” />

<meta charset=”…” >

A site’s content type and character set are defined using these meta tags. It’s important to note that the content type value should be surrounded by quotes. Failure to do so may cause the character set to be misinterpreted. It’s also recommended by Google to use Unicode/UTF-8 when it’s possible.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

In some cases, you may want a user to be redirected to another page or site after a set amount of time. This meta tag allows simple way to do this. The caution is that not all browser programs support this code and confusion can result. It is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium that this is not the best meta tag to use. Google instead recommends using a server-side 301 redirect in its place.  If your site is built in WordPress we recommend the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

The Importance of A/B Testing Your Tags

Description and Title Meta tags should undergo a/b testing. If you are unfamiliar with the process, a/b testing (also called split testing & multi-variant testing) is a method of comparing two different versions of a web page to see which one performs better. For testing tags, you would simply post two separate versions of the same page, but using a different set of tags. Then, both pages go live and are shown to similar visitors over the same time period. Using your analytics, the two pages are compared to see which version has a better conversion or click-through rate. By testing your tags, it allows you to confirm the success of any new design or change to your webpage. Instead of simply guessing and hoping that your tags will bring success, a/b testing will prove what is performing and allow you to make decisions about any code changes with actual data.

Other Meta Tags

There are many different meta tags that are used and the level of helpfulness they provide is debated. Below is a short list of a few types of meta tags that can be used.

  • Authorship markup meta tags that provide information about the author of your content can also help with your rank. Google is ranking content from authors they decide are reliable sources.
  • Social meta tags including open graph tags can help you gain an edge in the growing world of social media. Using the various tags can help grab attention and gain valuable clicks, and can even optimize how your content will appear in an individual’s social media timeline.

Professional Meta Tags and SEO

With so many changes that occur in SEO, partnering with an experienced and professional digital marketing firm can be a huge help. Many of us are not as in-tune to the trends, nor do we have the experience and knowledge to include meta tags in our web pages effectively. This makes Finding the right SEO company especially important. At Cohlab, we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge of SEO and are dedicated to ensuring our clients experience real success.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.