Archive for the ‘Search Traffic’ Category

Google Maps Search Results and Local Business Center Analytics

July 25, 2009

Drilling deeper into my Google Local Business Center account analytics has produced some unexpected findings.

Long before there was a Google Local Business Center, I became convinced of the importance of having my website appear consistently atop Google search results for heavily searched keywords.

So much so that I spent several years running my first major website: MarketingPrinciples.com as a test site for what worked and what didn’t within Google.

After testing confirmed a particular strategy or tactic, I would then apply it within the site or a client’s site.

Although MarketingPrinciples.com isn’t the traffic generation machine it once was  – with over 500,000 visitors annually – it still generates some interesting results from my original programming.

Most notably – MarketingPrinciples – according to my Google Local Business Center analytics appears first for “google search” in Google Maps queries  – above Google’s office locations.

Google Maps Google Search

Google Maps Google Search

Granted, the search query isn’t exactly a barn burner for producing clients for my marketing consulting practice.

However as a result of my early research and trials, my site and brand are receiving approximately 50,000 impressions from across the United States annually.

Google Local Business Center Analytics

Google Local Business Center Analytics

I think the results are acceptable for a guy and his laptop.

An aside: I searched for “google search” in Google Maps from several different computers with different IP addresses and got the same results.

What does your Google Maps search for “google search” produce?

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November 2008 WordPress Blog Traffic Stats

November 30, 2008

This blog: Search Marketing Communications generated its third highest month in terms of traffic during November 2008 with 9,179 views.

Previously, this WordPress blog’s highest trafficked month was September 2008 with 22,897 views.

Roughly 40% as many views occurred during November 2008 as compared with September 2008, however combined traffic totals from September, October and November 2008 have generated 43,740 views – or slightly over 45% of all blog traffic received since inception.

By the end of November 2008, cohn.wordpress.com had been viewed 95,839 times since its launch in September 2006.

In its first month of existence this blog had 1,593 total views.

November 2008 traffic was approximately 6 times greater than September 2006 traffic.

Few people subscribe to this blog, thus the vast majority (an estimated 99% or greater) found this blog through some type of search query, which is why this blog is titled:

“Search Marketing Communications”

Search Traffic November 2008

Search Traffic November 2008

Third Largest Month Blog Search Traffic: 9,179 Views

November 2008 Total Blog Traffic

November 2008 Total Blog Traffic

Total Search Traffic November 2008

October 2008 WordPress Blog Traffic Stats

November 1, 2008

This blog: Search Marketing Communications generated its second highest month in terms of traffic during October 2008 with 11,664 views.

Previously, this WordPress blog’s highest trafficked month was September 2008 with 22,897 views.

Roughly half as many views occurred during October 2008 as compared with September 2008, however combined traffic totals from these two months alone have generated 34,561 views – slightly over 1/3 of all blog traffic received since inception.

By the end of October 2008, cohn.wordpress.com had been viewed 86,750 times since its launch in September 2006.

In its first month of existence this blog had 1,593 total views.

October 2008 traffic was 7 times greater than September 2006 traffic.

Few people subscribe to this blog, thus the vast majority (an estimated 99% or greater) found this blog through some type of search query, which is why this blog is titled:

“Search Marketing Communications”

Search Traffic October 2008

Search Traffic October 2008

Second Largest Month Blog Search Traffic: 11,664 Views

October 2008 Total Blog Traffic

October 2008 Total Blog Traffic

Total Search Traffic October 2008

Pay Per Click Friction

October 4, 2008

There are many tactics search engine advertisers can use by design to either induce searchers to click or not click on their ads until after the ad viewer has self qualified their interest in the advertisers’ message.

Placing an offer’s price in the ad is one tactic often discussed.

Placing a lower price than other visible or known offers can reduce pay per click ad friction with its audience and tends to increase an ads click through rate. However, placing low prices in a pay per click ad doesn’t necessarily translate into more qualified searchers or buyers nor will it translate into high transaction volume.

Another tactic not mentioned as often is placing high price points in the pay per click ad which increases click friction. High price points within pay per click ads purportedly dissuades dis-interested and the budget conscious from clicking through to view the advertiser’s offer.

Today, I came across the most extraordinary example of an advertiser’s use of premium pricing to qualify search traffic I ever recall ever seeing.

Pay Per Click Friction

Pay Per Click Friction

Theoretically, in this example placing their minimum annual fee requirements of $150,000 in the ad would create click friction and cause searchers unwilling to spend $150,000 a year to pass the ad over – thus sparing the advertiser unwanted clicks and costs from disinterested searchers.

However, by placing such a high barrier into their ad this particular advertiser will more than likely experience extremely low click through rates which in turn will create the ultimate form of pay per click advertising friction for instead – the advertiser… lower click through rates, lower ad quality score and ultimately an ad that requires higher bids just to be shown at all.

Will the above example prove to be a successful marketing strategy for the advertiser or will their ad’s premium pricing cause fewer clicks and lower click through rates – ultimately bringing their pay per click advertising campaign to a screeching halt?

Top Search and Web Properties Query Share

September 20, 2008

comScore has released its August 2008 qSearch analysis of the the U.S. search marketplace.

According to comScore, Google core search sites continued to lead the U.S. core search market in August with 63% of the searches conducted, up from 61.9% in July.

Yahoo core search sites had the second largest amount of search traffic with 19.6%, followed by Microsoft with 8.3%, the Ask Network with 4.8% and AOL LLC with 4.3% of searches conducted.

At the top web properties where search is observed, Google web properties led with 10.2 billion searches followed by Yahoo web properties with 2.4 billion searches, Microsoft web properties with 1 billion searches and AOL LLC and it search sites with 839 million search queries.

What I found most interesting in the comScore top web properties search data was Fox Interactive’s web sites – including MySpace.com – conducted 593 millions searches compared to Ask Network’s properties 572 million searches.

July August 2008 comScore Site Search Share

July August 2008 comScore Site Search Shar

Also, according to comScore data and to my surprise, MySpace.com has even surpassed AOL’s Search Network – not including MapQuest – fielding 117 million more search queries per month than AOL search.

Even with MySpace network’s growth slowing, at some point won’t its user base and growth cause it to generate an equal and then ever increasing number of search queries per month?

At its present size and barring any significant search market disruptions, will MySpace.com eventually generate more searches per month than AOL?

Ultimately, will MySpace.com generate more search queries per month than even Microsoft’s web properties?

Share of Searches by Search Engine

August 11, 2008

Via Hitwise: Google’s share of US searches exceeeds 70% for the first time.

“Google’s share of searches increased 10% over the same month last year and 2% over the previous month. Yahoo! Search, MSN Search (including Live.com), and Ask followed with 18.65%, 5.36%, and 3.53% share of searches, respectively.”

Combined with last month’s milestone which saw Google field 7 billion searches within a single month according to ComScore and in the absence of any new disruptive and innovative search appliance, Google looks to continue its arithmetic assault on Yahoo, MSN / Live and Ask’s share of US search traffic.

Search Engine Market Share

Search Engine Market Share

Before and After Picture: Local Search Engine Optimization in Oklahoma City

February 8, 2008

The following email came from a client who received a “targeted” search engine optimization services pitch from a search engine optimization salesman who was prospecting for clients.

I changed the search engine optimization company and client names.

This is after my optimization of their old website started “miraculously” producing over 4,000 web visitors per month and new business – telephone calls, online and in store sales – where none had came from before.

Clients amaze me!

Hi Tim-

What do you think about this e-mail? I thought this was what your website optimization was supposed to accomplish. Help?

[Preferred Client]

—–Original Message—–
From: [ABC SEO Company]

Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 3:14 PM
To: Website owner
Subject: Attn: [Jane Doe] Regarding [preferredclient.com]

Hello [Jane],

I was recently looking through [ABC Consumer] magazine and saw your advertisement. I took a look at your website and found it very appealing. I decided to do a little research on Google to see if your website was on the first page.

I searched for “[general product term] Oklahoma City” and your site did not come up in the natural search results on Google. I then tried “[another general product term] Oklahoma City” and even “[and even another general product term] Oklahoma City” again with no results. Potential customers are currently using keyword phrases similar to these to search for a company like yours. [PreferredClient.com] could and should be on the first page of major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

I work for ABC SEO Company, a search engine marketing firm. We help position websites on multiple search engines so you will come up for targeted keywords. It is surprising how many more customers you can attract with online marketing. If you have a couple minutes I would be happy to give you some information on how our services could benefit your business.

Please let me know if you have a few minutes to talk.

Best Regards,

ABC SEO Salesman

Research and Development
ABC SEO Salesman

PH: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Fax: xxx-xxx-xxxx

My response:

Hi [Preferred Client],

Well, my work sent 4,127 visitors from 11 different search engines between January 6, 2008 and February 5, 2008 via 1,528 keywords whereas prior to my work your site received 0 visitors monthly via 0 search engines.

During the same time period the visitors who came to your site via the 11 search engines on average viewed 13.46 pages each and spent 3:48 of their time on your site.

84.01% of the 4,127 visitors who arrived at your site via search engines had never been to the [PreferredClient.com] website before.

Search Engine Optimization

I don’t know whether the progression from 0 searches to 1, 2, 3 searches etc. is considered arithmetic, geometric or quadratic but I think the difference is quantifiable.

I also don’t know how many searches he thinks his recommendations would yield daily, weekly, monthly or yearly but I would definitely ask him for his estimate.

I think all you can do when you receive these type of emails is ask the sender what kind of search traffic they estimate their recommendations will deliver and then weigh their response with what your before and after search experience has been and is now.

I think only then would you have the necessary information needed for deciding whether pursuing their recommendations or not would be in the best interest of your business.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Thanks and all the best,

Tim Cohn

Google Local Business Results and the Last Mile: Search Takes Two Steps Closer to Bridging the Gap Between Web and Foot Traffic

January 28, 2008

Google’s First Step…

As reported and since confirmed by Greg Sterling, Google is now showing up to 10 local business results for geographic specific queries.

Google told Greg the reason it’s showing more links is because usability testing revealed that many people didn’t realize there was additional local content available beyond the three listings, despite the “more results . . .” prompt. Accordingly, Google said that with the 10 links it is hoping to signal people that there is much more local content a click away.

Google also said that it wouldn’t always show 10 results; it might still show three sometimes or one if the query is very specific.

As Mike Blumenthal has noted, it has been nearly a year since Google last upgraded their Local OneBox. At the time it led to a significant increase in Google Maps usage.

It will be interesting to see if and how Google’s worldwide roll out of their new Local OneBox increases Google Maps usage like it did after implementing their last Local Business OneBox changes.

In my previous post about Google’s local business results being expanded, I wrote about how the listings appeared locally and some of the factors I thought contributed to the listings.

Sterling reported the ten results are based on a range of factors, including the “query, proximity, availability of ratings/reviews and their quality and several other variables.”

Since Google doesn’t publish exactly what factors influence their list, all we can do is study what they publish and draw our own conclusions as to which variables may matter the most.

The following are examples of searches I have ran, Google’s Local OneBox business results and my analysis of what variables I think generated the list.

Google Local Business Results: Internet Marketing Oklahoma City –

Google Local Internet Marketing Oklahoma City

This query for a service (internet marketing) followed by the location (Oklahoma City) produced a “top of page” 10 listings OneBox result. I also found some Google Adwords ads displaying the recently discovered business address on the fourth line of the Adwords ad.

Google Local Business Results: Oklahoma City Internet Marketing –

Google Local Oklahoma City Internet Marketing

Searching for the same terms in a different order; placing the location first (Oklahoma City) and the service (internet marketing) last, produced a OneBox result with only three business listings. Some local Adwords advertisements still appeared with their specific address on the fourth line, which as mentioned previously only displayed a city or state.

Google Local Business Results: Business Marketing Oklahoma City –

Google Local Business Marketing Oklahoma City

A slightly different search for a similar business category yields a new clue to at least one of the factors Google uses to generate its OneBox 10 local business listings.

A search for the service (business marketing) and the location (Oklahoma City) produces a different yet seemingly innocuous list of businesses. However, in this particular query and in addition to the expected listing for my business “Advanced Marketing Consultants” appearing, “Cohn, Tim” also appears as one of the results.

Cohn, Tim is one of my business phone listings in my local Bell telephone directory. The phone company apparently can’t sort and digitally publish business listings with an individual’s name like they can an individual’s residential phone data.

A search in YellowPages.com produces “Cohn, Tim” for my business phone number –

YellowPages.com

Yet, a search in Google for “Tim Cohn Oklahoma” produces both of my residential phone numbers and listings in correct order: Tim (first name) and then Cohn (last name) –

Tim Cohn Oklahoma

I haven’t investigated whether the phone company automatically reverses residential phone records before they are published to the web or whether Google reverses the data before they publish it.

Regardless, it looks like the business listing for “Tim Cohn” will remain forever memorialized in the vast telephone company data and its Internet counterpart as the business listing: “Cohn, Tim”.

Having accepted the fact that the telephone company seemed incapable of changing their listing results years ago, I decided to turn this particular piece of flawed data into my “control”.

When Cohn, Tim appears in print – whether online or off – its source is always local phone company data.

Thus at least a portion of this particular Google local OneBox list origins lies in business telephone directory data.

To its credit, Google has become proactive in allowing users to modify incorrect Google data as Barry Schwartz recently reported.

And unlike my attempts to get the phone company to correct how my business phone listing appears both in print and online, I am sure Google will let me append my business listing in their Google Local Business Center, but that will have to be the subject of another post.

Google Local Business Results: Chevy Oklahoma City –

Google Local Chevy Oklahoma City

Unlike with an old fashioned yellow pages search for listings with “Chevy Oklahoma City” keywords whether in the yellow pages or through directory assistance, Google can return results most likely relevant and matched to the searchers or callers intent.

Whereas, a yellow pages search or directory assistance call would take a couple of “passes” to yield the similarly accurate and desired result – businesses listings most likely to be known as “Chevy Oklahoma City”.

Brilliant!

If the telephone company can’t arrange and organize my single business listing correctly in their digital directories, how will they ever be able to compete with Google’s ability to anticipate and even provide multiple possible answers to each searchers question?

Google Local Business Results: Double Glazers Chelsea London (England) –

Google Local London

Google’s local business results aren’t just appearing in the US. A search for “double glazers” in the Chelsea section of London produces a list of double glazers midway down the search engine results page. I am not sure why some OneBox results appear at the top of the page and why others appear in the middle of the page but I believe it too must be based on Google’s understanding of the searchers intent.

Google Local Business Results: Travel Agents Sydney (Australia) –

Google Local Sydney

This search in Sydney, Australia for travel agents also produces a OneBox result. Here the OneBox appears again at the top of the page above the organic results.

In my next post, I will show how Google’s local business results have taken a second step closer to bridging the gap between paid web search traffic and foot traffic…


Direct Marketing Google Map Mashups

September 13, 2006

Google global search traffic patterns over a twenty four hour period.

Here are three of my favorite resources for making your own Google maps.

Google Maps Mania

Map Builder – build your own maps.

Huge Maps Mapping Programs – great for marketers – types of maps include:

Zip Code Boundaries Maps
Town and City Boundaries Maps
County Boundaries Maps
Core Based Statistical Area Maps
Reverse Geocoding – converts a latitude and longitude coordinate into an address

Geocoding – address conversion into lat and long coordinates