If any websites organic traffic is down but ranking is up than what can can we do to improve that or what can be the reason?

If your ranks are up but traffic is down – there are 3 possible reasons

1. There is industry wide drop in search volumes ( for e.g. lot of people buy Health Insurance between Jan to March to save taxes in India & if you look at traffic in April-june, there will be a major slump).

What To Do?
Figure out what people look for during slump period. Build a secondary list of keywords & focus on those keywords during the slump.

2. You are probably loosing volumes for Brand Keywords. ( If you have good visitors from Brand Keywords, this will have very high probability.)

What To Do?
Try reaching out to larger audiences with the help of Blogger Outreach, Social Media, Email Marketing ( & if you have budgets – look at offline promotions too)

3. You are loosing visitors because of a CTR issue.

Google tries to answer a lot of questions right in the search results. This has led to a lot of websites loosing their potential traffic.

Another possibility is that the avg CTR for your site/page may have dropped.

What to do?

Check for drop in CTR using Webmaster Tools, compare your website impressions for various keywords. Re-optimize your meta tags & add schema rating to your website.

Before you hire SEO Company in India

How To Hire The Right SEO Company

Are You Looking for an Agency? We can help.

SEO is a complicated process & hiring a company to perform SEO for your brand is even more complicated.

Thanks to the Startup Fad in India – almost every second webmaster who leaves his 9-5 job, wants to start an SEO agency.

What makes it more complicated is the fact that Search Engine Optimization is not a regulated industry. Anyone with a basic understanding of “how to get websites indexed in Google” can claim that he knows SEO & those who don’t know SEO have no option to differentiate Good SEOs from Bad SEO.

Any self certified SEO expert can trick them into buying SEO services.

We aim spread awareness about how to look for a Good SEO company in this overcrowded Indian market?

Things you should ask your prospective SEO partner :

1. Give them an objective – ask them how they can help you meet your business objectives? What role SEO will play in this process?

Every marketing campaign should have an objective. SEO is no different. If you haven’t you haven’t defined your objective yet – you need to do it now. Once you have your objectives in place – you need to brief your prospective partners about your expectations from SEO.

When you do the briefing :

Most SEO companies talk something like this –
We will get you ranks for your targeted keywords, we will target keywords with very high search volumes & also perform website audit, link building, write meta tags etc.

But the mature SEO companies will react like this –

Based on your objectives – you need people with a relevant intent (specs/demographics of the intent) to visit the website. These people might search for keyword themes (a, b, c). Most competitors that rank for these keywords have these things in common. Your website currently lacks the following things to rank on top & our time estimation to fix these issues is 6 months (or any other realistic number). We will track our performance with tools like Google Analytics & our performance can be judged by using these x, y, z parameters

If the prospective SEO company is not able to present a precise plan on how they can help you meet your objectives, if they have a robotic response to most of your questions – you probably should stay away from them.

2. You need to ask them how much content they will require for your website or for off site promotions?

Most companies use this as an upsell tool. They will lock you in the contract & then over a period of 3-6 months they will expect you to write content in huge quantities.

Every-time you raise a concern about results – you will get to hear  the results are not there because you haven’t produced content.

If you want to avoid this, you need to know the requirements well in advance.

There are times when people will also talk about creating thousands of content pieces & publishing it on thousands of places. They are lying. The fact is if you over-do your content/offsite promotions, there is a fair chance for penalty.

You need to ask them to justify their content requirement by comparing with a competitor already doing well in Google.

3. If any-one gurantees you the results or promises certain positions; he or she is lying.

No one can ever guarantee ranking on a specific position in Google. There are many people out there claiming this – DO NOT Believe them.

Of-course with experience they should be able to give you estimated timelines for ranking in top 10 – but ranking guarantees is a big no-no.

4. They should also explain you this! 

You also need to understand which of your keywords will connect to what phase of the consumer lifecycle. For e.g. If a user is looking for “Laptop Reviews” – taking them to a landing page which leads to a sales funnel is not a great idea. He is in a research phase & you should not force him to make a purchase at this stage.

5. There is more to search –

Search is not limited to Web Search. Ask your agency to explain you how they will leverage – Video, Image, Product, Map, App, news& other different types of searches? 

6. Integration with other marketing platforms

Most SEO companies work in Silos. They only want to focus on Google Organic.

Your users on the other hand will make use of multiple channels to reach your website. e.g. Direct, Paid Search, Organic & Social. In this multi-channel & multi screen world – integration is the only solution.

Integration with other promotional channels such as – PPC, Social, Display Campaigns will help get closer with your targets.

What Clients Should Also Keep in Mind? 

  1. Be reasonable. Don’t expect the SEO Company to deliver drastic results after every small implementation you make.
  2. Content is crucial – be prepared to produce text content. Other formats such as Videos, Infographics, Whitepapers, Images, podcast will definitely help.
  3. Different business objctives require different types of Marketing. SEO can only help you to cater to an existing demand – if there is no demand, you won’t probably need SEO.
  4. When it comes to SEO – patience is a virtue.

Are You Looking for an SEO Agency? We can help.

What’s Your Social Strategy for 2016?

In last one month I have reviewed multiple brands on Facebook with a total reach of 1%.

social-media-419944_640

My first question is how can any brand survive on a total reach of 1%?  & on top of that most brands have an engagement rate of 1%.  At this rate the net effective engagement is about 0.01%.

If you spend anything more than Rs. 10, 000 as a total resource cost on Social media with an objective to raise awareness for your product/services & if your engagement rates look anything close to this then you are already making massive losses.

Can we blame Facebook for this? 

While some people like to blame Facebook for this – I fail to understand why in the world Facebook or any other company will offer an engagement rate better than this? It is absolutely practical on Facebook’s part to adopt such practices. They are a giant corporate & are answerable to Investors.

Think of this, Social platforms are nothing more than a communication channels – the only difference between Social Vs other platforms is YOU DON’T HAVE THE DIRECT ACCESS TO YOUR CONSUMERS  CONTACT INFORMATION. Now even if you had their contact details, you would still need to pay approx 10 paisa (5 cents)  per email or SMS message. Facebook wants the same money to make people read your messages. (irrespective whether people respond or not). In short there is no point blaming Facebook. They are here to stay & they will do whatever it takes to survive in the market.

So What Now? 

We have to look at alternate solutions – some of the solutions that I could think of are –

1. Pay Facebook/Twitter on a regular basis to get your word out. – There is nothing wrong with it, you are only paying a nominal price to get your word out. &  Ofcourse since you are paying for the messages – you will refrain from posting unnecessary random stuff.

2. There is still hope for organic visibility –

 if you are active on Social media then you should’ve seen content from sites like Scoopwhoop, Buzzfeed, Upworthy, 9gag & so on. If they can make It to your Newsfeed without paying anything to Facebook, Even your brand should be able to make it. What you need is to produce content that Ultra Rich, things that your TG will be concerned about, things that excite them & invoke various emotions.

Facebook & other social platforms depend on user behaviour to deliver right content in the news feed. One parameter to measure behaviour is to see how people react to your content, how much time do they spend on your content in the news feed? How do they interact with your page, how many of them interact, what are the similarities between various user profiles that interact with your brand & so on. If you know how to trigger the right signals for Facebook’s algorithms – the battle is half won.

If you are stuck with a low engagement rate then your best bet is to use paid promotions until your organic signals have improved significantly.

3. Leverage the power of 2 way Communication : Social Media is not all about how well you are able to talk about your self/brand. Its about how well you are able to have meaningful conversations, it’s not about how many posts you make, it’s about how many meaningful discussions you have on your brand pages.

A conversation does not necessarily need an initiation from the brand’s end. Your customers can also initiate the conversation – people at Starbucks & Burger King know this very well. They intentionally do things that trigger people to post something on Social Media.

Starbucks employees intentionally mispell your name on the coffee cup so that people laugh at it & post it on Social Media. Where as at each Burger king outlet – you will props such as Burger king crown on each table. They want people to take pictures with those props while munching on their favorite burgers & post it on Social Media.

4. Motivate people to enable to enable notifications for your page : Facebook also allows people to enable notifications for its fan pages. If you have something really exciting to offer to your social media subscribers – (i.e. An exclusive discount coupon, a dramatic reduction in price, A contest with some good incentive.) you can ask people to enable notifications & keep in touch.

5. Spread Your Eggs : If you keep all your Eggs in the same basket, you may loose them all when the basket breaks.  In the initial days of Social Media Fad – some brands relied heavily on Facebook & Twitter (for online visibility).

After that Facebook kept  on upgrading its algorithms to reduce it traffic acquisition costs & to improve its revenue for each 1000 impressions ( RPM for the geeks)  on their platforms.  Today these brands are in a fix & they have to spend money to keep the traction ON.

They are constantly at the mercy of Facebook/Twitter  & have to follow what these platforms dictate. Instead if brands decide to diversify the communication channels & connect with consumers on more than one channel. e.g Newsletters, Blogs, Emails,Phone calls & SMS messages. They will automatically be in a better position & will not have to rely on one channel to get the word out.

Sure we live in a digital world but conversions can happen anywhere. In the age of digital integration – it will be foolish to restrict conversations to a single platform.

I have seen brands with millions of fans in their FB account & less than 500 people on their subscribers list. If something has to go wrong & they endup loosing their Facebook account or say if Facebook wants to increase its costs by 1000% – There is nothing that they can do about it. if they had invested equal time in building their own subscribers list – it would go a long way.

What’s your story? What’s your opinion on the state of Social Media?

 

War of Webmasters – Creative Genius V/S Rational Analyst

There are two types of webmasters – those who breathe creativity & those who are strong at rational analysis.

 Who is a webmaster here?

Anyone who is a stake holder in the process of development or marketing of a web property (i.e. a Website, a Social Media Profile, a Mobile App or a newsletter).

Webmasters

 

 The Challenge:

People with a creative mindset – want things to look beautiful & thoughtful. They want things to be driven by art. Since they are artistic in nature, they want things to be fancy e.g. Text Content, Images, Design, Layout & so on. They love offering an out of the box experience for their users.

What they don’t realize is that in the quest of delivering something beautiful & out-of-the-box – they end-up compromising with real-world user experience.

They forget that their users may not be comfortable with the out-of-the-box functionality. There is a possibility that they are un-intentionally moving their visitors away from a desired call-to-action.

Yahoo once decided to act cool & change the position of their sign-in button from top right corner to left right corner. It was a horrific blunder – most people could not figure out how to login that day. Since Yahoo runs on Advertisements; they saw a huge dip in revenues that day because people could not even log-in. (From a story that I have read, don’t remember the source & I am unable to verify the accuracy of this story)

People with a rational mindset – on the other hand prefer tested & proven strategies for user experience; this approach often leads to a design that is called Cliché (to be modest). Since a lot of people have seen fantastic results with this approach – rational analysts are usually not open to fresh ideas.

 Here the problem is that stereotyped ideas may also have a negative impact on the results one is trying to achieve.

Yahoo Mail! has changed their interface & it now looks more like the Gmail interface. Gmail is fantastic in terms of usability – but for yahoo copying Gmail is simply not enough. Nobody would want change their preferred email service as yahoo for their design & functionality – end result: No real impact on the market share!

Google has done the same thing with Google+, they have virtually copied everything that Facebook has to offer – end result: Facebook is still no 1.

 Microsoft on the other hand, understood that no-body would want to move to Hotmail just because they have a pretty interface that offers the same experience as Gmail or Yahoo mail. They revamped everything & made a fresh start with Outlook.com; an online email service that comes with the Goodness of Microsoft Outlook Desktop Software & they integrated all possible chat options within one window. They also let people manage their Gmail.com, Yahoo.com & other email addresses from the same inbox & Voila! Today, 50% of internet users in my family are on Outlook.com.

The Sad Part:

 Both the creative genius & rational analysts are right in their own way – design, experience, messaging etc. are subjective. One person would like something about X & the other would want to opt for Y.

These discussions lead to many conflicts & I have witnessed enough project failures because the Creative Genius & Rational Analysts didn’t sync their thoughts.

Conflicts between developers, designers, managers, marketers for website

How to Overcome the Hurdle?

 All stake holders should sit together including designers, business heads, social media strategists, developers, SEO & SEM strategists & content planners.

 Decide & conclude on the usage; audience; intent of the audience & business expectations from the property in question!

    1. If the property is not really expected to have a strong impact on critical business functions i.e. Sales, Lead Generation, Marketing, Talent Acquisition etc. you should follow your creative instincts.

      For some business functions that only serve the purpose of Information Sharing i.e. Internal HR Policies, CSR activities, Corporate Culture etc. Sometimes it’s okay to neglect call-to-action & overused UI experience – So long as the content is accessible.

    2. If the core purpose of your web property is to make a critical impact on the business objectives – then being rational is the safest option of course being rational does not mean things cannot/should not be beautiful or Out-Of-The-Box.

      Do remember, that a boring UI experience will equally hurt your business. Who would want to work with a company that uses an age-old technology & doesn’t upgrade itself to latest standards?

    3. For a lot of brand-conscious people their internet presence is more than just a property that generates business, it holds the power to influence the way people perceive the image of their brand; & there is nothing wrong about it!


      If you fall in this group – you need to change the approach. You have 2 options:
  • Create 2 different properties – one focused on your brand image & the other for delivering critical business goals. E.g. A lot of companies have a separate careers portal, separate micro-site for their different business units! Here, Infosys is the best company to follow.
  • A/B Split Testing – this one is a bit tricky; but a superb option if you want to use the same property for your Branding & Business goals. You keep on testing what works well & keep optimizing on a regular basis. Learning never stops!

In any of the case don’t let the conflicts to rise to a level that individual pride becomes more important than the business objective itself!

If you are in the middle of a project that is not moving in a conclusive direction – You need an independent digital strategist!

How to ensure maximum ROI on Web Property Investments

I see a lot of companies claiming that internet as a platform is not important for their business. The impact of having web properties is negligible on their business & sales targets.

There is also a set of companies that rely heavily on the internet – not only for sales but for other business objectives as well i.e. Talent Acquisition, Customer Support, Reputation Management, Brand Awareness & Thought Leadership.

I have witnessed same industry case studies where one company beats their sales target in every quarter – while the other is struggling with basic goals on their website & has wasted all their investments i.e. Time, Money & Human Resources.

Why is it that some people struggle with most basic business goals on Internet while the others see magnificent results? 

Success on Internet works on the basic principle as given below

  1. Right Information
  2. At the right time
  3. At the right place ( platform )
  4. In a Consumable media
  5. In the correct language
  6. To the right audience.

One simply can not afford if any of these parameters go for a toss.

Let’s start backwards. 

6. Audience
If you want to achieve success with your online efforts – you first need to figure out a way to bring visitors to your properties i.e through sources like Google ( SEO & Advertising ), Social Media ( Facebook & Twitter ), Email Marketing & So on…..

One thing that you will have to ensure is that these users should have an intent of taking your desired action on the website ( Submit the lead form, Show interest in Product or Services etc )  & beware only a tiny fraction of people who visit your website will have an intent to take a desired action.  See the red sweet spot in this image? 

Goals & Conversions Sweetspot

5. Language
When your TG visits your web property – is your language/messaging motivating enough for them to take an action? A great sales copy is worth a thousand salesmen  – how do you pitch your product/service/company?

A lot of people prefer using fancy words  as they want to look classy – without realizing its impact on call to action. I have seen some people using French, Italian, Spanish, German & Greek words on their English website being targeted for India – while you want to look classy! Do you really think people will understand your message? 

4 . Consumable Media
When your TG  goes through your content – are they able to read it?

While most content on Internet is textual in nature – it’s the presentation technology that also matters. If you have a flash based website then it’s not mobile friendly, if you have mobile friendly website but the content is all about heavy images then mobile devices on slower networks will not even be able to load your website. Touch screen devices are another challenge in terms of technology . If you adapt to a mobile first design – chances are high that you would end up compromising usability for desktop users

What’s more important to understand is how people use the Internet – it certainly differs from Industry to Industry. Most IT based companies only have a desktop audience while on the other hand some industries see a greater number of mobile devices on their platforms. I was working on some research for a Nigerian hospital a few weeks back & to my surprise 90% of all queries in Nigeria in medical segment were from mobile devices.

This blog it self has 90% mobile audience.

You will have to think rationally about how the content is consumed & in what format? & if the format & devices are compatible with each other?

3. At the Right Place
The platform where content is posted is equally important. Do you really need a website to get started with your business promotions?

Idon’t think so. A close relative of mine is into manufacturing & selling of  handicrafts – a large number of her orders are from Facebook.

A very close uncle of mine, is in to a B2B business & most of the new business opportunities he gets – is from Indiamart.com

2 things you need to consider when deciding on a platform are :

  1. Is my audience comfortable using this platform / present on this platform?
  2. Will this platform provide me an option to setup call to actions?

A lot of companies are now addicted with the word “Mobile First” – Myntra is a popular example for this. Whatever logic they may have used for a mobile only store front – it is widely criticised; I simply don’t understand why should I download a mobile app to make a purchase? I am happy with Jabong & Amazon for all my needs. Most friends I know; have already stopped buying from Myntra for the same reason.

2. At the right time 
Every customer on internet goes through certain phases of a life cycle.

Research, Consideration, Purchase Decision, Feedback, Repeat Business & Brand Advocacy.

In each phase of your ideal customer- their communication with your brand will have a different purpose.

Suppose if a person is willing to buy a new car on a very tight budget -if he is still in his research phase; as in he still needs to understand what are the options he can look at with a tight budget? All of sudden a Mercedes Benz dealer assuming that this person wants to buy a car – starts pushing him for a closure. Will it work? No.

Even those who can afford a car like Mercedes would want to analyze the options first in their research phase. ( say a comparison between BMW, Ferrari, Aston Martin & others)

If you forcefully push your products for a sale – your customers will run away!

1. Right Information

One of the common problem in the industry is people try and say anything to make a sale. Its that same thing a lot of DSAs do to sell their billing sim cards or Credit-cards.

For God’s sake, if a person  says he wants a tax saving fixed deposit – don’t push them for a tax saving insurance plan.

I see a lot of companies doing the same mistake – they bring the visitors to their website through a promotion on Google for one thing & try to sell them the other thing.

When I was planning my Thailand trip, a leading travel aggregator caught my attention & when I opened their website – they were pushing me for  Singapore, Malaysia package. I know they all look asian but please respect my interests – I want to visit Thailand.  Period!

Offering the right Information is really important – if you play with information, you will endup wasting your money & your prospects’ time.

There are too many technologies available on internet & you clearly don’t need all of them.

If your TG is not on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter you don’t need to have a presence there. If social media offers you the potential to meet your business objectives then it’s okay – you don’t really need to invest in a website, because even if you make one – you still need people to come to this website.

Mobile Apps is the latest fad. So many people out there are obsessed with the word Mobile First. They all have jumped in a race against time to get their mobile apps developed. Those who have already made it are worried about downloads & those who Have the  downloads already know that unless the app offers some real value to the users on a regular basis – no body is going to open it. Its a risky investment to make for Sales unless you are an ecommerce company.

If you are ROI conscious then always consult a digital strategist to ensure you don’t endup blowing money when you don’t need to.

We are launching our article series : “Content Driven Digital Marketing” on first of July. You can subscribe for email notifications with the form given below.

Why You Should Re-Consider Your Digital Strategy?

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is far more complex than one can imagine.  Being  a part of this industry for more than 8 years – I have witnessed some of the Mega Marketing Failures.

A lot of brands with unlimited cash flow & top-notch agencies working besides them have failed to maintain a positive ROI from their online marketing efforts. Here are a few examples –

1. A billion dollar fashion & lifestyle brand ventured in to E-Commerce 3 years ago & is still struggling for success.

2. 2 renowned business groups in India have launched Social Networks only to realize – it is not their cup of tea

3. One of the largest travel brands invested in a Mobile App that proved to be a total disaster

4. A large number of Finance brands struggle with Lead Quality & to add to their woes avg. cost per lead is at all time high!

There is a common pattern I have observed in their failures – Most companies have failed at marketing because they relied on a set of pre-conceived notions about digital marketing.

Success, for most people, requires unlearning as much as learning!

– Orrin WoodWard
NYTimes best selling author

If you believe any of the following statement is true then you seriously need to re-consider your digital strategy! You will have to un-learn everything you know & RE-LEARN everything you should know! Let’s Start :

1. SEO is Free Traffic ( Hint – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, everything comes at a cost including content & agencies )

2. Better Rankings in Google = More Traffic = More Sales ( Hint – Do people really search for your keywords ? & when they do it – do they really have an intent to make a purchase? )

3. Paid SEM is equal to instant traffic & will bring in instant results ( Hint – Go & Ask any E-commerce Company )

4. It does not make sense to run Brand Campaigns in Paid Search ( Hint – what about the conversion funnel from your home page?  What if you have 5 different products to be sold in 5 different regions & you also have to complement various offline campaigns for each city ?)

5. Banner Ads/Display Ads are extremely useful for Brand Reach & have a strong impact on Top of Mind Awareness! ( Hint – 8% of internet users are responsible for approx. 85% clicks on the banner ads! 50% of internet users never really click on any kind of banners at all – BannerBlindness.org)

6. CPA in Adwords Console is the ultimate parameter to measure PPC performance ( What is your own visit to purchase ratio on Amazon? A lot of products need something more than a website visit to convert visitors into buyers)

7. Social Media is a platform for communication & people should not expect sales from this platform ( Did you know Dell sold products worth 6.5$ million on Social Media about  six years back & they are still good at it? )

8. With new email filters in Gmail – it simply does not make any sense to invest in Email Marketing ( Truth : Email open rates have dipped by 10% – that’s not too much if you ask me – Mailchimp )

9. SEO, Paid SEM etc. can get you 100X growth in sales every year! ( The search volumes are finite, no matter how hard you try – you can not make people search for your keywords & improve on that number by 100X every year)

10. SEO & SEM are the ultimate marketing solutions – anything and everything promoted through these channels will see an amazing improvement in sales ( Hint. New products with unique offerings face this a lot . SEO/SEM help you cater to the existing demand – It can not generate demand for your product or service)

Today, a lot of Marketing is based on Pre-Conceived Notions, these sort of notions are usually set by Bloggers, Books & Digital Gurus & I am not against them – in fact I am very fond of reading blogs,books etc.

My point is these Gurus, Bloggers & Authors have shared their thoughts based on their unique experiences with their own products/services & their experiences may not resemble with your unique product/service offerings. One size can not fit all!

If you are struggling with ROI on e-marketing investments; its the best time for you to un-learn everything you know & make a fresh start.

Marketing can fail mainly for 2 reasons –

  1. Quality of Product/Service
  2. Marketing Strategy itself

Assuming that the product or service is up to the mark – there is still a huge gap between the solutions people can relate to & what is marketed to them; at Digital Upshot our aim is to help bridge this gap.

We are releasing our first article series “Content Lead Digital Marketing Strategies” on July 1st 2015, with this; we aim to introduce innovative online marketing strategies for growth hackers.

To make sure, you don’t miss any of our future updates – please do subscribe to our email list.

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