10 Advanced Google Search Techniques

10 advanced google search techniques

We Are Building Shareneeds – To Bring True Friendships Back

Our team here at Digital Purpose is really excited about an internal project we are working on. We went through our brand naming process and came up with – Shareneeds.

Shareneeds homepage

The homepage encourages visitors to discover the purpose and values behind the brand before signing up.

The purpose of Shareneeds is to connect family and friends so they may help each other with their everday needs and desires. It will be a sharing economy tool fueled by acts of kindness instead of commerce.

It will allow all of us to bring more meaningful friendships back into our lives by creating a sense of awareness of needs within our social networks. Through awareness friends will be naturally encouraged to meet in-person to offer or receive a helping hand.

These days, we rarely know what our friends need help with unless they ask us. However, they often avoid asking simply because they’re not sure whether we have the time and do not want to bother us.

shareneeds values

This page puts the purpose behind Shareneeds into perspective by listing some company values which helped shape it.

Asking all your friends for help with something by phone or email is time consuming and not scalable.

Shareneeds is scalable because the purpose is to list all your needs for everyone in your social network to see. Unlike being directly asked by a friend for help, there is no pressure with this approach.

 

friends needs

 

The friends tab lists your friends’ needs along with options that you may select.

We often rely on one or two of our closest friends to assist us with certain tasks. In many cases we simply pay for a service instead of asking our closest friends to avoid being a burden to them. For the same needs we often shy away from asking other friends who are not as close.

But now with Shareneeds, we’ll have the opportunity to let all our friends know that we need help with something, not just our closest few.

Imagine posting a need on Shareneeds that you need help with painting your house. You will be pleasantly surprised when you realize some of your more distant friends have offered to help.

These interactions around being mutually helpful will lead to strengthened relationships and more meaningful long-term friendships.

 

friends details page

 

This is a sample details page for a specific need.

Let us know what you think? We are super excited with the launch date just around the corner.

 

Launch Date

We are expecting to launch end of May 2016

Examples of Site Search Analytics Requirements

Site search analytics data is often overlooked by marketing and digital channels departments. Hence, the reason very few track site search behavior beyond the default insights generated by out-of-the-box analytics implementations.

I have found that business stakeholders often struggle in coming up with the right site search analytics requirements. They lack a deeper understanding into how their customers interact with their site search interfaces and guided navigations.

A disconnect also exists between why certain behaviors should be tracked and how they translate into business insights.

To ensure this article is useful and to get you started, here are some examples of site search requirements you may want to consider for your next digital campaign or project:

Note:  Two overarching questions should persist for each of the below recommendations:

1) How satisfied are users with results for specific query/refinement requests

2) Degree of satisfaction from overall session (depending on how you define a search session):

 

As-You-Type Suggestions

  • Track the terms and volumes where customers do the following:
  • Type a query in the search box and hit enter
  • Select an ‘autocomplete’ or ‘autosuggest’ result
  • Select an ‘instant result’ result (often referred to as ‘quicklinks’)
  • If a ‘quicklink’ is selected, which landing page does the customer land on? And does the customer perform another search request shortly after? (indicating a poor result)

 

Keyword Redirects

Many site search interfaces allow business users to define keyword redirect rules. A keyword redirect rule may be configured and triggered for any keyword or phrase. It allows business users to redirect users to specific landing pages.

It could be extremely useful during marketing campaigns and when the intent of customers is clear by looking at keyword data. For example, if a customer searches for, ‘contact your brand name’ or ‘support section’, then it is obvious which landing pages these terms should be redirected to.

Just be careful when setting up keyword redirects for more generic terms, where intent is difficult to guess and usually varies among customers. I also recommend limiting the number of keyword redirects to a few dozen, since managing hundreds could become a logistical issue. You wouldn’t want to redirect users to legacy pages that no longer exist.

 

Requirements:

  • What percent of searches activate a keyword redirect
  • Volumes per term and what is the behavior once users arrive at keyword redirected landing pages?
  • Percentage of customers who perform a search immediately after? (If high, this means keyword redirect must be either changed or removed)

 

Results Page

  • Monitor click events for both overall and at keyword level – especially distinguish between:
  1. Navigation refinements
  2. Search requests/refinement combos
  3. Search results CTRs
  4. Pagination
  5. CTRs for type of search results (i.e. product detail, knowledge, support). This data will provide insights into customers intent for specific terms and groups of terms)
  6. CTRs for featured results listings (A/B testing could be performed to determine most contextually relevant featured results)
  7. 0 results (this requirement could be grouped with bounce rates)

 

  • CTRs on the first page, second, etc..
  • % of CTRs for specific search results:
  1. a) Return to results page and click on a different result?
  2. B) Refine their search (and which term(s) do they use)
  3. C) Give up on search and begin browsing

 

I also recommend including analytics for click events for widgets on the search results page, which are meant to enhance the page.

The above site search analytics requirements are sufficient as a starting point. My recommendation is to go through the list with your stakeholders and prioritize which ones are the most important to implement for your campaigns. Future gaps could be addressed iteratively.

Comparing 10 Digital Marketing & Technology Agencies in Toronto

The most innovative and forward thinking digital marketing and technology agencies must excel at providing a number of core services. That’s if they plan to simultaneously lead their industry and help their clients prosper in the digital age.

We decided to look at ten agencies which we feel are doing a phenomenal job in providing digital services to their clients in the Toronto area.

10 Digital marketing and seo companies in toronto

25 Digital Marketing & Technology Capabilities Required for Success

  • Digital Strategy Development
  • Brand Name Development
  • Brand Identity Design/Development
  • Content Marketing
  • Paid Search Marketing
  • Digital Media Buying/Optimization
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Local & Semantic Search Marketing
  • On-Site Search Design & Development
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing & PR
  • Web & mobile design
  • Web Development
  • Mobile App Development
  • Usability Design
  • Analytics & BI
  • Creative Digital Campaigns
  • Video & Audio Production
  • DSLR Photography
  • Website Hosting
  • 3rd Party Agency Partnerships
  • Marketing Automation
  • Training & Education
  • Digital Product Design & Development

 

You’ll quickly notice the agencies from the infographic (above) and list (below) possess most of the digital capabilities mentioned above. To narrow it down to your top three, you should also ask yourself the following questions:

 

  1. Which services will my company need help with from both a strategy and implementation perspective? (caution: many agencies will build your strategy around a specific service but may not actually roll up their sleeves and help you execute).
  1. How transparent is their pricing model? Is it available on their website?
  1. Do they offer a performance-based pricing option? (many agencies still use the blended rate (time/materials) system, where unfortunately you don’t pay for actual deliverables but rather hours worked – we briefly talk about why we disagree with this model on our pricing page)
  1. Does the agency have a clearly defined purpose? (making money is not a purpose, it’s just one of the results of providing value and living your purpose)
  1. Are they capable of simultaneously thinking on the high and micro levels? A high level mindset will ensure the ship is being steered in the right direction, while countless micro-requirements must be flawlessly executed to ensure the ship arrives at its destinations.

 

The following brief overviews are meant to quickly help you gauge which digital agencies in the Toronto area your company should consider engaging:

 

  1. Digital Purpose (digitalpurpose.ca)

This team is truly passionate about digital marketing, technology, and helping meaningful brands succeed. They understand how to combine data and technology with the human element through creative digital campaigns. 100% owned. Enterprise experience – diverse team has experience working with, small, medium and large organizations. Craft experiences

Their holistic strategic approach differentiates them by ensuring they always focus on the needs of the people who use their clients’ products and services. They believe in the value of embracing your vision as a company.

All their digital services translate to helping build brands that people learn to trust and find useful in their everyday lives.

 

  1. 88 Creative (88creative.ca)

A communications agency that specializes in digital marketing, design and public relations. They work with clients in real estate and lifestyle categories and are passionate about technology, design and pop culture.

Providing digital services to hip brands is their forte. Now combine that with their impeccable design capabilities and you get something very cool and engaging. They also do design for print for your offline design needs.

 

  1. 6S Marketing (6smarketing.com)

This full service digital agency began as an SEO shop back in 2000. They know how to move from strategy to execution and reporting. They pride themselves in being passionate about their work while being personable when dealing with clients.

They focus on building results-oriented strategies while continuously optimizing each campaign. They’re definitely a data-driven shop that team up with top creative minds to make it happen.

Like in every great agency, it’s their people that set them apart. These digitally passionate individuals are creative, knowledgeable and possess the drive necessary to deliver each project.

 

  1. Ignite Digital (ignitedigital.ca)

This tech proficient digital agency focuses on delivering digital solutions for medium to big brands. They have plenty of experience providing web development and SEO solutions at the enterprise level.

Since they are among the most technically savvy agencies on this list, they do provide dependable hosting services.  They also use a feedback loop for analyzing the effectiveness of content marketing efforts.

Ignite is located in the heart of Mississauga and provide a free website assessment.

 

  1. 2 Social (2social.ca)

A social savy digital team that loves working on social media campaigns for local and national brands in Canada. They focus on helping you develop connections with your customers while meeting your online objectives.

They work with lifestyle brands in the food, beauty, fashion and real estate industries. Their social media strategy is more thorough than most, while maintaining a balance between manual and automated solutions.

Their main source of differentiation is their ability to help brands develop strong relationships with their target audience.

 

  1. Surround Integrated (www.surrounded.ca)

As a fully integrated digital marketing company with proficiencies in both the creative and digital marketing realms.  They focus on creating effective owned properties, promoting using the most targeted paid media channels with the intent of earning media via both offline and online engagement.

Their branding expertise will ensure your brand identity and messaging remains consistent no matter who engages with it. Developing long –term relationships with clients by delivering amazing digital results is one of their core values.

They follow and engage with some of the top thought leaders in the digital space including Seth Godin and Danny Brown.

 

  1. Hooplah (www.hooplah.com/)

This agency has been around for quite awhile and has worked with some big brands including, Rexall, Sobeys, Activision and Roots. They’ll focus their service offerings on what works best for your brand. This often includes channels such as video and display.

Their commitment to efficiency is evident in their one-page agency website.

 

  1. Noise (www.noisedigital.com)

As a full service advertising agency Noise offers strategy, creative, technology and media services. They focus on delivering results by bringing brands to people. They’re not a comprehensive inbound content marketing shop, but they do excel in the digital advertising and media space.

If your company already has a content marketing solution, Noise could help take your brand to the next level through media and advertising.

 

  1. Playground (playgroundinc.com)

A digital creative agency that believes strongly about creating lasting value instead of disposable digital media. They help brands create experiences on the web which truly make an impact. Their commitment to delivering quality solutions is one of their main sources of differentiation.

This team understands that projects succeed when experts collaborate and are enabled to craft elegant solutions that simply work. Keeping it real and an unwavering drive to continuous innovation is the reason this agency and its partners succeed.

Playground is among one of the few from this list who are able to design and develop your next digital product. Their team consists of some of the most innovative technical minds in the country.

 

  1. Jar Creative (jarcreative.com)

Opened up as a User Experience shop founded back in 2001. Now offers ecommerce and inbound marketing services as well. They focus on engagement over promotion and strongly believe in the content first approach.

As a Hubspot certified agency partner, they understand how to leverage marketing automation tools to assist with scaling your inbound marketing capabilities.

They believe in using data science to help their clients transform digital experiences for their customers. Their collaborative work culture encourages sharing and learning as catalysts for both company and personal success.

 

Common Thread

They all love what they do and they’ve all embraced a culture of thought-leadership.

 

So Which Agency Should You Work With?

All ten are more than capable of delivering within their capabilities. But first you need to identify which digital services you actually need. Some may have a higher priority over others.

In order to figure out which services your company needs you’ll need to:

  • determine your goals as a company and digital brand (since every company that is online is a digital brand)
  • seek alignment on these goals between all your departments and leadership team (marketing, PR, product, support, etc.)
  • perform an internal digital strategy audit or request one by a third-party

Feel free to contact us, if you would like us to provide your company with an in-depth digital strategy audit. The audit will extract insights and gaps from your overall digital operations and align them with your short and long-term goals.

 

How to Choose The Right SEO Agency?

Don’t choose an SEO agency that still thinks search engine optimization lives in a vacuum. If you want your brand to prosper in search, only select agencies who understand the deep integration of SEO with multiple marketing and branding channels.

It’s 2015 and modern SEO has transitioned from ‘over optimization’ of a decade ago to building online and offline relationships around your brand.

 

Some Agencies Remain Stuck in the Past

Agencies unwilling to discard many outdated SEO habits will not be able to help their clients succeed. These slow moving dinosaurs still believe in ancient ineffective techniques such as:

  • Stuffing content and meta code with keywords
  • Exchanging links with strangers or business partners to improve rankings
  • Over optimizing on-page elements of their pages
  • Ignoring their customers mobile user experience expectations

 

Smart Agencies Will Help You Build an Engaged Community Around Your Brand (and SEO will naturally follow)

If your brand sits on top of great products or services, then you are half-way there. The remaining pieces include:

  • phenomenal content that supports your offerings and helps build domain authority/trust
  • building a loyal community of brand evangelists/followers who find value in your offerings and content and happily share it with others (both digitally + word of mouth)
  • A positive user experience for anyone interacting with your digital properties

Without diving into the details, that’s it. Does that sound simple enough?

 

Unfortunately – Many Agencies and Internal Marketing Departments Do Not Get It

Instead of dedicating a significant amount of their SEO, marketing and overall digital resources on building their digital branded communities, they often waste it on:

  • Constant website redesigns which only confuse their customers with no value add
  • Re-optimizing SEO tags for the same old content
  • Filtering big data the wrong way to make poor business decisions
  • Note: to save the tone of this article, let’s stop this depressing list now

 

They Either Possess the Integrated Mindset or They Don’t

Search engine optimization no longer lives on an island. Frankly, the term ‘SEO’ is outdated, but still represents the desire for brands to rank well in search engines in the hopes of attracting and converting visitors.

Inbound Marketing – is a better term since it represents the integration of SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, PR, email marketing, etc.

By contrast, outbound marketing includes, advertising, buying lists, telemarketing, door-to-door and hoping for leads via all the interruption based marketing methods which we are more than familiar.

We’ve all learned on demand inbound marketing works better because it aligns your customer’s needs with the helpful content you publish. You don’t have to buy ads or pitch like a stereotypical car salesman. Instead, they find your brand and engage with it on their own terms and on their own time.

Just remember, if an agency promises #1 rankings; don’t waste your time and money, and walk away. Search has evolved significantly and the #1 spot should not be your ultimate goal. There’s a good chance your customers are finding your content by using thousands of different terms. It’s just not practical to expect #1 rankings for all of them.

Brands should focus on the overall customer experience instead. One of your product or service pages may be ranking in the fourth position. With a properly configured semantic tagging solution this page may convert even higher than the #1 result, due to ratings and images visible directly in search results.

SEO is a component of the overall integrated digital marketing matrix. It relies on multiple marketing and digital channels with a high dependency on technology and analytics.

 

Bonus Section

Questions to ask SEO Agencies before signing on the dotted line:

  1. How does SEO fit into Modern Marketing Departments & Strategies?

Answer:  SEO consists of a long list of tactics which include best practices and technical requirements. These tactics must be integrated with content marketing and social media marketing strategies (among others) in order to be effective in the long-term.

Implementation of SEO tactics requires varying degrees of technical capabilities. This is why business units responsible for SEO often work closely with their IT departments. Smaller businesses often depend on marketing professionals with technical skills to help implement SEO solutions on their web properties.

 

  1. Which search engine ranking factor has Google focused on in its April 2015 algorithm update?

Answer:  Google has tweaked its algorithm to boost mobile-friendly websites above those which are not. The goal is to improve the overall user experience for people visiting websites via their mobile devices.

 

  1. Do your services include implementation of your recommendations?

Answer:  Make sure you understand how a ‘no’ or ‘some’ response to this question will affect your digital objectives, timelines and budget. If the agency does not have the resources to assist with implementing their recommendations, then you would need to find internally or with another 3rd party.

Ask yourself whether bringing in another 3rd party is a degree of complexity your company or department is willing to accept. It’s more efficient, when the agency that provides SEO and inbound marketing recommendations also helps with implementation.

The digital agencies that are accustomed to rolling up their sleeves and actually doing the work are often more knowledgeable and offer better solutions because of their practical experience.

 

  1. What’s your view on semantic search?

Answer:  The purpose of semantic search is to understand searchers ‘intent’ and offer more accurate search results. Ideally, the answer should consist of examples of how semantic markup could be used for your brands web properties.

For example markup could be added to the code where your product reviews live. This would lead to the visibility of number of reviews and ratings in search results.

 

  1. Trick Question: On average, how many keywords should we place inside our Meta keywords tag?

Answer:  None. The Meta keywords tag was a widely used (and abused) SEO element in the past. It has zero influence on search rankings and could easily be used by your competitors for competitive analysis purposes.

 

  1. Trick Question: How much will it cost to buy links and twitter followers?

Answer:  If they even consider these tactics, kick them out of your office immediately. And while they’re running out of your office, throw tomatoes at them (just not organic).

 

Final Note:  You Don’t Need a Dedicated SEO Strategy to Succeed in SEO

Yes, you heard that right. SEO strategies tactics coupled with SEO campaigns are effective if implemented and tracked properly. But Google will not kick your brand out of their index just because you don’t have dedicated campaigns around SEO tactics.

 

Advice for Companies with Limited Digital Marketing Budgets

Forget about SEO strategies….

Forget about SEO tactics…..

Forget about SEO campaigns….

 

Just continue to ask a fundamental question:  How could we help our customers, prospects and industry?    

  • Publish engaging and helpful content which they are actively seeking (and offer it for free)
  • Ensure your content may be easily shared on social media, blogs, websites, forums, etc..
  • Build a happy community around your brand and allow everyone the freedom to express themselves and share their individual humanity
  • Offer exceptional customer service (and they’ll reward you online)
  • Make sure your content is easily accessible and usable by both humans and search engine robots
  • Embrace a culture of innovation in everything you do
  • Embrace an open-source/transparent mentality (and your brand will reap both online and offline rewards)
  • Be real – as a company/brand and individuals representing the brand

 

We hope this article will help you choose an SEO and digital services agency that will help meet your marketing and branding objectives.

If you have any questions or feedback, please share in the comments below so that others may benefit as well. If you would like to chat about your company’s specific needs, then feel free to contact us.

Canada’s Big 5 Banks – Google Traffic Comparison

The big 5 banks rule the banking industry in Canada with assets ranging between $350-850+ billion each. But how do these giants compare on Google?

The following infographic reveals the vast majority of web traffic via Google is branded for all 5 banks. The most significant content marketing opportunities are around non-branded terms with RBC and TD leading the way.

Compares google traffic among Canada's big 5 banks

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