After Penguin and Panda, yet another black-and-white furry beast to come out of Google is reportedly on its way. The name of the next search ranking algorithm update is unknown, but Zebra should easily see off competition from skunks and killer whales. So apart from a quirky name, what else can we expect from this upcoming update?
One possible area for Google to act on is social media, with its volume of signals that can improve quality of ranking. Social media is victim of spam just as any other online media and Google may act to discount signals from overly-optimised, unnatural accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.
Another area that may be targeted is online retail, since Matt Cutts recently pointed out that Google “don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results.” How they would judge the quality of a merchant is anybody’s guess, but reviews seem to be the obvious choice. Additionally, Google might also check whether their recently published Search Quality Guidelines are being followed. Section 4.1.2 “Recognizing True Merchants” in particular lists a series of checks, such as availability of a returns policy, working shopping cart, physical address, delivery options, etc.
The update is expected to roll out towards the second half of 2013.
Rarely does a subject line delight as much as this one from payment portal Dwolla. They are right that I do get easily distracted, so I fell straight for this one and opened to have a look. Top marks to them for best practice – not only do they prompt users who abandon the signup process, but they also make it fun; squirrels must rank up there with chimps when it comes to raising a smile.
I feel they’ve missed a little trick here though. They might want to find out why I hadn’t finished singing up and a link to a survey or feedback form might’ve been a handy source of feedback. Yes, they will get a lot of “It was a squirrel!!”, but for me it was that they don’t cater for international customers. Something that they might want to take into account.
The truth is that with so many marketing shows around London, I’ve lost track of which one was when. This is a shame as some events are really worth going to – for the speakers, the networking, or the free stress ball. So for 2013 I’ve made myself a handy list of all the events I visited or considered before and I’m sharing it in case you find it useful too. Feel free to point out in the comments anything I’ve missed. See you around and don’t be shy to say “Hi”!
DCM Europe: Digital Content Monetisation
February, 18 – 21
SES London: Search Marketing
TFM&A: Technology for Marketing & Advertising
Distilled Link Love: Search Marketing
#SMWF Europe: Social Media
International Confex: Events Industry
Brighton SEO: Search Marketing
(not in London! but just down the road)
Digital Retail Masterclass
May, 15 – 16
SMX London: Search Marketing
Marketing Week live
IAB Engage 2013
October, 28 – 29
Distilled Search Love: Search Marketing
Content Marketing Show
For those that work in PPC and have to change ad copy frequently, you know it can be a pain in the bottom. If you have multiple parties involved with the business / brand owner on one side, the agency on the other and you in the middle, it can be hard to create an ad everyone is happy with. The former doesn’t appreciate the copy limitations of PPC, while the latter may not fully grasp the brand’s desired language. The solution? Let everyone share the same screen. I’ve set up a spreadsheet which can be accessed and edited by all parties and it seems to be working like a dream.
You can check out the Ad Template by clicking on this link – feel free to make a copy and use.
T.M.Lewin have refreshed their website this week, updating the colour scheme, navigation, homepage elements, adding new filter options and a host of other little upgrades. Come and have a browse!
And here’s how it used to be. What do you think, have we done a good job updating the design?
Today there’s a new player in the tag management scene alongside Tagman, DC Storm and SiteTagger – it’s Google. The search giant has introduced its latest tool called Tag Manager that ”lets you add and update your website tags without bugging the IT folks.” It is a complete solution that works with Google tags, as well as third-party tags. Tag Manager makes use of asynchronous loading, reusable variables and smart caching to ensure speedy web experience, while it still allows sophisticated rules and custom code to be written. A/B testing and tagging reporting are to be released at a later date though. Still, it sounds like an interesting product that I will try out soon and compare to the high standards that Tagman has set.
Here’s Google’s video about the product:
2012 is a special year for American clothing and outdoor goods retailer L.L.Bean as they are celebrating their 100th birthday. To mark the occasion they’ve taken some of their iconic catalog(ue) covers from the past and have redone them fresh – creating yet another set of iconic covers.
The great story telling of the originals alongside the beautiful photography of today make this set of images a real gem, certainly a fitting celebration of what L.L.Bean has been about for the last 100 years.
There are four shots planned for this year and you can see Spring, Summer and Fall here – I’ll add Winter as it lands.
Setting up a blog – any blog – for the first time and starting to write can be daunting task. What do you write about? A company blog does need a lot of regular fresh content, otherwise you better not start it. Company news, sale announcements and product launches are all good (a must, in fact!) but you can make the blog that much more engaging by adding variety and quirk. Showing your less serious side is a good idea; the blog is really where a company can let its hair down. Though, as you can imagine, I am speaking from fashion retail experience where there is a fair degree of creative freedom.
So here are 10 themes that can be developed into regular features. They require a fair bit of effort – whether to research, photograph or collate things – but good content does take time. Here goes:
- Behind the scenes
- Our Heritage
- Press Mentions
- Look Books & Mood Boards
- Staff Photography
- Guest Bloggers
Discounts can be a double edged sword. On one hand, they can improve your price proposition and increase conversion, but then you lose valuable margin. So how do you know whether a promotion helped or harmed your business overall? Fear not – here is a simple Excel spreadsheet that works it all out, courtesy of a smart chap at work called Charlie. Download it from Google Docs. It calculates the minimum sales uplift required to counter the lower margin and deliver an overall profit increase.
As an example, see on the right how before a discount 10 Units are being sold at an Average Selling Price of £10, creating a total Value of £100. Subtracting the cost of £20 (£2 per unit) gives Margin of £80 or £8 per unit.
Applying 10% off reduces individual ASP to £9 and overall margin to £7 per unit.
The Increase column shows the Unit and percentage increase required to balance the loss of revenue. In this example, 1.4 extra units need to be sold or a 14% increase. In terms of value, it has to go up by £13 or 3%. Anything below that and we’ve lost money on the promotion, but anything above is good news!
Again, download the spreadsheet to see the formulas behind and apply your own percentage discount.