Inside the industry and inside the agency
At the end of August Google announced the introduction of Multi-Channel Funnels, with a promise to uncover “untapped opportunities in your conversion path”. In real terms, what does this update actually mean for online marketers? Quite a lot really.
Digital marketing has always been more measurable than its offline counterparts, though it would be untrue to claim that we could attribute fully the source of a conversion or sale. This is because analytics packages like Google Analytics record a conversion based on the last interaction. However, there is often more than one interaction from more than one source before a sale/conversion is completed.
Multi-Channel Funnels remedy this problem by being able to distinguish between assisted and un-assisted conversions and by demonstrating the paths that users took on their way to converting:
Wickedweb are the lead digital marketing agency for The Lifehouse spa, and we have had an exciting time working on their website launch and full technical systems integration.
The Lifehouse case study focuses on an interesting challenge: the marriage of brand positioning, technical consultancy and creative execution. There were a range of objectives that needed to be considered as part of the brief spanning functional, business and creative requirements. The solution executed by Wickedweb weaves these together. In addition, The Lifehouse spa was not visible online. At the start of our work there were no keyword listings and little brand awareness beyond their name. Therefore, an SEO strategy was implemented to turn this around.
This has been a successful case study and the results showcase the impact of the website and the SEO strategy. Want to find out more? Read on to discover how we did it…
Stacey Hedges, Marketing Manager at Lifehouse comments:
"Wickedweb have provided us with invaluable support, guidance and creatively in launching the website. The team have been a true extension to the marketing department and play an integral role in the development and evolvement of the site. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them and we look forward to continue to drive traffic to the site and future developments"
Schülke are the international specialists in infection control products, hygiene, disinfection and preservation, and are a long standing client of Wickedweb. The UK website was over - hauled by us a year ago and Wickedweb manage ongoing developments to the site and the digital strategy. One of schülke’s key objectives is to maintain their leading position in the market by ensuring the brand engages with its audience in an innovative way.
Following the website re-brand, schülke were keen to enforce this re-positioning, increase traffic to the site and encourage repeat visits. It was also paramount that we worked on raising awareness for the brand. Wickedweb advised creating a members area for the main schülke website as part of the content strategy, in order to bring engagement with the audience to the fore. In addition, a dedicated microsite for the dental portfolio was created to support a key campaign.
Our recommendation also included launching social media activity for the first time, which underpinned their data acquisition objectives. Furthermore, Wickedweb rolled out an SEO strategy.
Find out more about the overall strategy Wickedweb implemented for schülke and how this met the client’s objectives.
Nicola Furniss, Senior Product Manager for schülke comments:
“Wickedweb were integral to the launch of our re designed site which was intended to make us and our products and services more accessible to our customers. Wickedweb continue to support us both creatively and technically in our online activity as pioneers of infection prevention.”
Wickedweb are excited to share the details of a website we have recently launched for Cosmetics à la Carte, a complex eCommerce solution delivered on the award-winning WickedwebCMS.
Cosmetics à la Carte are a premium, multinational brand and have enjoyed customers such as the late Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana to Blondie, Kylie, Kate Moss and Lady Gaga. Conceived in 1973, Cosmetics à la Carte pioneered the concept of 'made to measure' make up, and have been pushing the boundaries ever since for innovation. With the desire to overhaul their image and launch the brand online, Cosmetics à la Carte approached Wickedweb for an exceptionally stylised e-commerce solution.
Our brief was quite simple - to create the most interactive and personalised experience possible for a cosmetic brand online, and to replicate the 'human' element usually experienced in the stores. Wickedweb were tasked with elevating the existing Cosmetics à la Carte brand, and rolling this out across the website.
In terms of reporting, it is early days. However, Google Analytics already shows conversion to be anything between 2.9% and 5.9% which is well above average.
Goal conversions are strong at 6%, indicating that key junctures of the user journey are robust and intuitive.
The email campaign that followed the launch of the site is extremely encouraging, with click through rates at 30%. We look forward to building on this as we work further with Cosmetics à la Carte’s e-marketing strategy going forward.
Google have recently rolled out a new update which they are calling Panda. The update aims to tackle, in Google’s own words, “sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful”. So what constitutes a low-value site? Well here are some examples:
• Sites that mass produce content, sometimes even copying text from external sites or using computers to auto generate it (know as content farming – hence the ‘farmer’ update). These sites offer little in the way of value or authority on a subject and make a profit from small amounts of revenue from a vast array of pages and subjects. Examples include about.com or mahalo.com.
• Sites that have lots of ads. Adverts are a natural part of the web but Google is trying to de-value those sites that just bombard you with ads rather than providing a useful and informative browsing experience.
• Sites that users don’t like to visit. This is a hard one to track but Google doesn’t want to show sites that users just don’t want to spend time on, which points to the fact that the site is low-quality.
So what happens if a site is deemed low-value by Google? Well any sites ‘caught’ will simply drop down in the search results for the queries it ranked for. Below is a chart created by Sistrix based on mahalo.com’s rankings before and after the update.
There is a clear shift in rankings from a fairly even spread of rankings across pages 1 – 10 pre Panda, to post Panda where the majority of rankings are on page 7 – 10.
Naturally the next questions you will have are will I be affected and what can I do to avoid being de-valued? Even though this is a relatively large update, unless you are copying content, spamming users with ads or have thousands of pages with no one visiting them, then you probably won’t be affected. That said there are stories of legitimate sites loosing rankings as a result of the update so it’s a good idea to take precautions.
Content is King – This one may be slightly obvious, but if Google is de-valuing sites that copy or auto generates content then write unique, useful and valuable content. Be a source of information about the subject you want to rank for, this has always been a primary SEO tactic and one that Google’s Matt Cutts has always recommended. Not only will it avoid your site falling in the low-value category but it will help your rankings and attract visits.
Ads Come Second – In line with content is king, make your adverts secondary to the content of the page whether it be the amount of ads, positioning or size. It is easy to improve ad revenue by making ads bigger, more central or simply by increasing the number of ads on a page but users come to the site for the content not to browse the ads. Make your content the primary feature of each page, whether is text content, a video or images.
Interaction – Get your visitors interacting with the site; make it easy to use and nice to look at. Allow for user generated content such as comments on blog posts. Link up with Facebook and Twitter and interact via social media to get a community feel to your site. Let Google see that users like to spend time on the site and are willing to interact via comments or Facebook. Below is a screenshot from an SEOMoz blog post, SEOMoz are excellent at user interaction and building community.
The recurring theme is to simply make your site better. Give it more value, make it easier to use, be a source of information, a community and an authority within your industry. These are the qualities Google are looking to reward with premium positions.
Personally I think the update is a step in the right direction for Google, it was becoming too easy for websites that had no real user value to rank competitively. Sites that where genuinely useful and informative were being out ranked and this update has addressed that issue. I have no doubt that there will be a new and inventive way to pollute search results but Google will of course complete the cycle by bringing out another update to tackle whatever that might be.
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