Array https://www.vizioninteractive.com Thu, 13 Jun 2019 18:25:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 How Do I Submit My URL to Google and Bing? https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/how-do-i-submit-my-url-to-google-and-bing/ https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/how-do-i-submit-my-url-to-google-and-bing/#respond Thu, 13 Jun 2019 15:33:17 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17859 As a new business, one of the most important aspects is making sure everyone can find your site. So how do you get the URL for your business to search engines in general? What about top sites like Bing and Google? This can be a tricky process, unless you have the tools needed to move […]

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As a new business, one of the most important aspects is making sure everyone can find your site. So how do you get the URL for your business to search engines in general? What about top sites like Bing and Google? This can be a tricky process, unless you have the tools needed to move forward with the submissions.

Submitting to Search Engines

There are some steps required to submit to any search engine. Most of them require something on your end to prepare the website for accessibility through the search engine. Before you can submit your URL to a search engine, you must first have access to edit your website. Some may say this isn’t necessary and you don’t need this access (also called backend access) to submit your URL.

They aren’t wrong, but how do you know if your website requires it? If you can check off the following features, you’re website is safe. If you have any of these, you must have backend access before submitting a URL:

  • Your website doesn’t have a sitemap
  • Your website doesn’t have a robot.txt file
  • Your website doesn’t have Tag Manager or another way of verifying Google Search Console/Bing Webmaster Tools access.

If you plan on submitting a full website, you will need more than just the previously listed features. By uploading a full website, everything is accessible through that one URL. This can create issues if you don’t have everything you need prior to submitting.

The following is a list of important factors you must have should you wish to submit a full website to a search engine:

  • A sitemap index with categorized sitemaps
  • Optimized robots.txt
  • Submission of the sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools

It’s also possible to submit the URL for an individual page. If you aren’t seeking to get your entire website out there in one shot, try submitting a single page to the search engine. Just be sure you get the page indexed so it will show up properly in search results.

Submitting to Google

Attempting to submit your URL directly to google can be a bit of a challenge. It’s important to do your research and ensure you are following all of the steps and have all of the information Google requires in order to submit a URL.

The first step in registering with Google is to be sure your URL and app (if you have one) are registered with Google Search Console. Once you’ve done this, they ask that you use their Sitemaps report to locate any errors or to submit the new sitemap for your URL.

If you’ve already taken all the previously listed steps to submitting your URL to Google, you’re ahead of the game. Now you need to continue to keep them informed. If you make any changes to your data or you change something about your sitemap, you need to report these changed immediately. It’s much easier for Google to keep your URL in the system and allow it to show on their search results if the information is up to date and the site is running properly.

Submitting to Bing

Bing is a little more complicated than Google when it comes to submitting your URL; however, it’s just as important to follow their required steps as it is for Google.

When submitting to Bing, be sure you are in the Configure My Site section of Bing’s Webmaster Tools or the Submit URL API area. These two sections are the main, and most used, for Bing’s URL submissions. Bing does control how many URLs you submit per day and per month, so be sure to do your research before submitting.

The quota for how many URLs you can submit is based on the site’s verified age, shown in Webmaster Tools. For example, if Webmaster tools shows your verified age to be less than 30 days but more than 7 days, you are able to submit up to 1,000 URLs per day. This number changes as your site age changes and you can eventually submit up to 10,000 URLs per day.

It’s important to follow Bing’s rules for submission and their policies on submitting and maintaining your URLs and sitemaps. By following these rules, you can ensure a higher rating with Bing and be able to advance your account with them further in the future.

Conclusion

All of this information seems like a lot. Perhaps it is, but it’s also very important. You cannot have a URL with a search engine if you don’t follow these steps and the rules of the specific search engine. It can be a lot of work to submit and maintain a URL, but it’s also important if you expect anyone to find your website and know your company exists.

Submitting your URL to search engines is the most important part of creating your business online that you can do. Following the steps to ensure it’s done correctly and that the website is maintained properly can benefit your new company in so many ways.

Be sure you have followed all of the steps listed above, regardless of which search engine you choose. Most of them will require a lot of the backend and sitemap information to be set up that way before considering allowing your URL submission. Some of them might let the other points slide, but most are adamant about sitemaps and having everything finalized with backend access. As long as you continue to follow the tips provided, you could have your URL up and running with the search engine of your choice in no time.

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SEO Marketing: The Best Tools to Market You https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/seo-marketing-the-best-tools-to-market-you/ https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/seo-marketing-the-best-tools-to-market-you/#respond Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:22:02 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17856 Ready to market your business through SEO but not sure how to get started? If you’re new to the SEO world, getting started in marketing your business can be difficult. Knowing what steps you need to take and using the right tools are the key ingredients to moving forward with SEO marketing. Having the Right […]

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Ready to market your business through SEO but not sure how to get started? If you’re new to the SEO world, getting started in marketing your business can be difficult. Knowing what steps you need to take and using the right tools are the key ingredients to moving forward with SEO marketing.

Having the Right Tools

The first step in SEO marketing is finding the right tools. SEO marketing software and applications are important to securing the best places on search engines and allowing your audience to find you. Here are a few tools the experts have been using in 2019:

  • SEMRush
  • Moz
  • Answer The Public
  • SpyFu
  • Woorank
  • Majestic
  • Google Trends
  • SEOQuake
  • Siteliner
  • Fat Rank
  • Screaming Frog
  • CORA
  • Serpstat

These tools, and more, are great starters for SEO marketing. Some of them have more than just marketing available, but the rest are focused on SEO marketing and helping your business. It’s important to familiarize yourself with applications like these to aid in your SEO marketing strategies, as many aspects of SEO marketing can be completely run from within software such as these.

What’s Being Traded for SEO Marketing Tools

SEO marketing tools are growing in popularity with many online companies. The main reason this is happening is because of the changes in rankings for search engines. Many of the search engines have begun to focus more on the user experience with the site, rather than the keywords.

Many experts recommend moving forward with your site in a way that optimizes visits and traffic from your audience because that is what search engines are now looking for when ranking your site. They are able to see how many people viewed your site and how long they stayed. With this information, they rank you on their search results page from top to bottom.

Marketing has also been changing it’s strategies in business. Social media platforms are becoming more clogged and cluttered. This has caused a change in how marketing professionals push their business. They’ve taken to using less channels for their marketing and providing higher quality across the few channels they still have.

By changing their marketing skills, businesses are no longer cross posting and have been able to work harder at having customized content for the few channels they still use. Due to these changes, the age of SEO marketing has slowly changed and is continuing to change, even today.

What This Means

All the changes being made in the marketing world have certainly impacted SEO marketing in a large way. It’s now more important to provide specialized and focused content for a few marketing channels, rather than a mass marketing post to spread across multiple channels (social media included). With this change becoming the norm for most marketing professionals, it changes the content they produce to market their businesses.

The content produced for marketing has now become focused on how to get and keep an audience on your site. This has become the most important aspect of marketing for many businesses, especially now that search engines have begun using this as a ranking tool. Many search engines, such as Google, have begun to look at the traffic to your site. If you have a lot of people clicking on your link and staying on your website, chances are you’re viewed as one of the top answers to their search.

By having that status, you move up the rankings in the search results and become one of the top results versus someone else who may end up on another page of results altogether. The goal for businesses today is having that coveted, first page spot on search engines. If they can search something to do with their business on Google and find their website on the first page, they’ve reached their goal. If the opposite is true, their marketing team has work to do.

This is what’s meant by SEO marketing. It’s important to find a way to get your business to that all-important first page. This is your best chance at beating your competition and allowing your business to shine.

What’s Next

Now that you’ve learned the importance of SEO marketing and what you need to do in order to help your business thrive, you have to start marketing. Your first point of action is to do some research and find out what drives your audience to click on your site first and build on that. Focus on the content they seek and add more of that.

Bring in the specific details that prove why this content is so important and why your site is the best place to find this information. Use one of the SEO marketing tools previously listed. They can also track why the audience might choose your site over another to help you get started. Once you’ve addressed the idea of content, find out where your site is at on search engines and start researching how you can get it higher in the rankings.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve addressed all the concerns, questions, and research needed for SEO marketing, get started. It’s time to move forward and start putting all of these marketing tools to the test. Have you chosen the right tools? Do you know what your audience wants? Did you check your rankings on a top search engine?

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you’re ready to start producing marketing content and boost your business through the top SEO marketing tools and tricks available to businesses today. Remember to continue doing the research, even if you think you know what’s trending right now. You never know when things might change. If you’re not careful, your marketing strategy could become a thing of the past over night.

Keep your skills and knowledge valid for the times and remember to focus on what the audience wants. Without them, you have nothing to work with or work for. They are your driving force and what they think truly does matter.

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Keyword Analysis: How to Better Analyze Your Competitor’s Keywords https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/keyword-analysis-how-to-better-analyze-your-competitors-keywords/ https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/keyword-analysis-how-to-better-analyze-your-competitors-keywords/#respond Thu, 06 Jun 2019 13:12:06 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17853 As a company that relies on SEO, it’s important to know what your competitors are up to. You want to keep track of how often they are found as compared to your company – especially if people are finding them more. One way to aid in this research, and provide yourself with a small leg […]

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As a company that relies on SEO, it’s important to know what your competitors are up to. You want to keep track of how often they are found as compared to your company – especially if people are finding them more. One way to aid in this research, and provide yourself with a small leg up, is to keep track of their keywords. Analyze the keywords they use and why they might be working better than yours.

Finding Competitor Keywords

The first thing you have to do is find the competitor’s keywords. There are many tools that can be used to find the competitor’s keywords easier. These tools and tactics can help you easily sift through the competitor’s website to locate their most precious keywords:

  • BuzzSumo
  • SEM Rush
  • SpyFu
  • AdWords’ Auction Insights
  • Crowdsourcing Keyword Research
  • Tag Clouds

These tools and tactics are useful to quickly search through any competitor’s pages and find the important keywords they use to help people find them. By using any of these, or others out there, you can easily find out what your competitors are up to and quickly beat them at their own game.

Importance of Keywords

Having access to the competitor’s keywords is very powerful. This means you have done the research and you now know what they know. The best part is, they don’t know you have this information so you now have a leg up.

Having your competitor’s keywords is important for your business for a few reasons:

  • It helps you understand how they are performing in search engines and where you might surpass them.
  • You can steal their keywords in an attempt to beat them in search results.
  • You may discover new keywords you might have overlooked or not thought of previously.

With these top tricks up your sleeve, you can easily beat your competition at their own game. If you question any of the options above for searching through your competitor’s keywords, keep in mind that Google has a Keyword Planner Tool that allows you to do the same thing as those previously mentioned.

Performing Keyword Searches

Now that you’ve decided to proceed with a keyword search and you’ve chosen the perfect search engine for help, how do you move forward?

Your first step is to analyze your own keywords. Find a keyword difficulty tool to get all the details about your own site. This tool will provide you with information about ranking in search results and how easy finding your keywords can be. Most of these programs run on a 1-100 scale, and the higher you land on the scale, the easier it is to find your keywords. This tool can also help you with competitor’s scores. If your score is higher on the scale, there’s a good chance you’re already ahead of them in search results.

Your next step is to find the competitors. Use your own list, or have a program help you find a list of competitors to look into. Most of the programs available provide traffic level to the site, audience overlap between your site and theirs, and a ranking based on popularity (usually determined by visits and how long someone stays on the page). Once you’ve gathered your competitor list, it’s time for the next step: identifying keywords.

The first thing you want to search for are the organic site keywords. These are the keywords that show up the most on searches. They are natural rankings for search engines to move one site or another higher on the results list. It’s important to note which words drive more traffic to the site. These are going to be the main keywords you’ll want to pay attention to. Other important factors include the popularity of the keyword (how often do people search that word) and the advertising (how much ad space that word has on search engines).

Another important thing to look for are the paid keywords. These are terms that are included in the advertising on a search engine. When you search these keywords, they show ads for that word as well as the competitor’s pages. It’s possible that competitors are using their own resources to advertise with these keywords because of their popularity. In this situation, it would be more reasonable for you to focus on other keywords.

What Good Is a Keyword Analysis

Now that you’ve done your keyword analysis and have all the information you were seeking, what do you do with it? The answer to this question is simple: you use it. All of the time and effort you put into this analysis is not in vain. Now that you’ve done the research and have the results, it’s time to take action.

A keyword analysis answers a lot of important questions:

  • Can you compete with your competition? If so, how?
  • Which keywords are most used by your competition for the audience to find them?
  • What keywords are they paying for?
  • Are there opportunities available for paid keywords?
  • What sites are best for guest blogging opportunities?
  • Are there any keyword gaps in your competitor’s sites?
  • Are there any organic opportunities?
  • What about long-tail, low-competition keywords? Are there any available for your site?

These are the more important questions you will want to address with your research. Find what works for you and use it to blow the competition out of the water. The important thing to remember is to use this information appropriately to get ahead of the competition.

Conclusion

There are many tools to locate the keywords most important to your competition. You just have to chose the one that works best for you. Once you’ve done this, you can move on to finding keywords that your competition uses frequently or pays to advertise with. Once you’ve done your research, use it to move your own site forward.

Whether you’re using new keywords to keep up, taking something from your competitor’s arsenal, or finding holes in their keywords and filling them yourself; keyword searches can help your business thrive.

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Google Marketing Live 2019: Recap & On Demand Viewing https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/google-marketing-live-2019-recap-on-demand-viewing/ Wed, 15 May 2019 13:05:29 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17645 In case you missed it, Google Marketing Live 2019 took place May 14-15, 2019, and we have the highlights just for you! Plus, in case you want to watch the full Ads Innovation Keynote, we’ve included the recording below. You can also catch up on any of the On Demand sessions, that may be of […]

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In case you missed it, Google Marketing Live 2019 took place May 14-15, 2019, and we have the highlights just for you! Plus, in case you want to watch the full Ads Innovation Keynote, we’ve included the recording below. You can also catch up on any of the On Demand sessions, that may be of interest for you and your business.

Google’s opening message was that today’s advertisers should: Be there. Be useful. Be responsible.

Senior VP of Google Ads Prabhakar Raghavan went on to say how Google provides novel solutions to old problems. Essentially, ads should be able to pass a “toothbrush test” in that they provide everyday helpfulness, just like your toothbrush. 😊

There were several new rollouts announced today including: Discovery ads, Gallery ads, App deep linking, Bumper Machine, and a new and improved Google Shopping experience.

Discovery Ads

Rolling out to all advertisers later this year!

Google says 800 million people now use Discover monthly. With Discovery ads, advertisers will have unmatched reach across the YouTube home feed, Gmail social & promotions tabs, and the Google Discover feed.

Gallery Ads

Rolling out to all advertisers later this year!

These types of ads will appear at the top of mobile search results, as beautiful swipe-able galleries, with four to eight images, up to 70 characters per image, and up to three headlines. Just tap to open an image gallery and view the text and links to the company’s site.

Sissie Hsiao, VP of Product Management, Mobile App Advertising, said that Gallery ads will tell a more holistic brand story. She also said that campaigns with gallery ads can expect performance results of 25% more interactions.

App Deep linking

Now available in search, display, and shopping ads!

Google is implementing App deep linking from Google ads, which means: Users who already have a brand’s app installed, will be taken directly to the app when they click on the brand’s ad. Advanced ad to app conversion reporting will also be available for marketers who take advantage of the Google Analytics for Firebase kit.

Google has already reported that they have seen 2x conversion rates for deep link ads.

Bumper Machine

Launching later this year!

Google is making it a breeze to come up with short 6-second bumper video ads because essentially they’ll create them for you! Just give Google a link to a YouTube video that’s under 90 seconds and Google Ads will give you three to four 6-second ads to choose from. It’s never been easier to create 6-second videos from an existing creative.

New Google Shopping experience

Google has already begun merging Google Express and Shopping in France – Coming to the U.S. in coming months.

The revamped design and new features aim to drive users away from Amazon.

The new Google Shopping experience will have a new home page personalized to the customer based on purchase history, search histories, and lists. Customers will be able to choose whether they purchase from the retailer’s website directly, from the retailer via Google, or physically in-store. Google says there will be simple returns and customer support, all backed by the Google guarantee.

In conclusion Google’s Chetna Bindra, Senior Product Manager, spoke about the need to be responsible as advertisers and “Do more with less data.” How is that even possible? With Google Audiences, machine learning will show appropriate ads based on consumers’ privacy choices. Bindra cited that the search interest for the phrase “My Activity” has increased 1000% since 2016. People care about their privacy, and advertisers should too.

For more information on any of these updates and more from Google, visit these resources:

g.co/AdsAnnouncements

g.co/MarketingPlatformBlog

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How to Measure SEO ROI: What You May Be Missing https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/how-to-measure-seo-roi-what-you-may-be-missing/ Thu, 09 May 2019 13:05:22 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17632 Any business owner or marketing lead worth their salt will direct every action they take at improving the bottom line. Marketing, especially, is a portion of your budget that should spur positive growth and increase revenues. In the digital age, SEO should comprise a large chunk of these efforts. SEO efforts leading to positive cash […]

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Any business owner or marketing lead worth their salt will direct every action they take at improving the bottom line. Marketing, especially, is a portion of your budget that should spur positive growth and increase revenues. In the digital age, SEO should comprise a large chunk of these efforts.

SEO efforts leading to positive cash flow is exactly what business owners want. Unfortunately, SEO ROI, or the return on your SEO investment, isn’t exactly the easiest metric to calculate, especially when you compare it to the ROI for pay-per-click ads. With PPC, it’s simple enough to calculate the cost of the clicks (and any costs associated with managing the effort) and match this up with revenues/sales or value of the leads generated. This guide will discuss ROI, ROI meaning in SEO, and how to calculate SEO ROI for your business.

What Is ROI?

In general terms, ROI is the return on your investment – the amount of financial gain you can attribute to a specific action or set of actions. Typically, analysts reflect ROI as the gains produced by a particular investment as compared to the cost of making the investment in the first place. The profit left over after you remove the initial amount of the investment is your ROI.

For example, let’s say your company decides to invest in an ad campaign that costs $1,000 to produce and get off the ground. Since you’re looking for the gains inspired by the campaign, you must find the average monthly profits and isolate any excess gains you could attribute to the campaign. Over three months, you see increases of $400, $500, and $450 over the average profits of your company. Calculating ROI in this case results in:

(Change in profits – Cost of campaign) / Cost of investment

Or

($400 + $500 + $450 – $1000 / $1000 = .35, or a 35% ROI

ROI is an important concept to understand because it goes beyond even sales numbers and revenue to compare the costs of increasing your revenue. Even if your campaigns and other investments are bringing in business and money, if they’re costing you too much in the process, you likely need to reevaluate, so you can produce revenue more efficiently. Calculating ROI using a marketing ROI calculator is one of the most important moves you can make so that you have all possible information available to you when it comes to making an investment decision.

ROI Meaning in SEO

When it comes to SEO, however, ROI is much more difficult to quantify for the average business owner. SEO takes time. Unlike PPC, where the clicks will come right away (because you’re specifically paying “per click”), SEO work is not measured in immediate results. If you’re  to invest in SEO, you must have a long-term view. You need to understand “what is possible” with the efforts and what the return “might be” before you make the investment, to begin with.

What measures should you be looking at to determine your SEO ROI?

First, it is important to understand the key goals of an SEO effort. Ranking #1 for “your most important keyword” is not a goal. Nor is “growing links by 100”. Your SEO goal should align with other goals from other marketing efforts, but you should have “mini-goals” to track, along the way.

Since keyword ranking is often what folks will gravitate to, allow me to share this example of why this can be “off”…If the keywords you rank first for are too vague or broad, you may not be increasing your click through rate at all. For example, if you sell syrup for shaved ice and rank high for the keyword “ice,” you won’t meet the needs of many or most of the users searching for ice. And, honestly, if Google’s doing its job, you will NEVER rank for “ice’ to begin with because that’s not a good result for the searcher.

Your SEO provider will help you to determine which keywords are important / help you to identify those which are relevant and would meet with searcher intent. Remember, “quantity” of traffic isn’t the end game. Quality of traffic is where it’s at. These are the folks who will ultimately convert into a sale or a lead.

So, what are your conversion goals with your SEO efforts? These could depend on the type of business you operate. Are you a service provider intent on building a customer base that subscribes to your newsletter? Are you an ecommerce retailer focused primarily on increasing sales? Are you a B2B entity that thrives on white paper downloads, demo requests, or registrations? Measures of your SEO ROI must determine your efficacy in achieving SEO conversions. You must understand – at least – the “average value” of such conversions.

Calculating SEO ROI

To meet your SEO goals, you must of drive quality traffic to your site. After all, you can’t expect to increase sales, referrals, or subscriptions if you can’t get new users to view what you have to offer. While site traffic isn’t the only measure of ROI for SEO, it’s likely the first you’ll need to calculate to determine whether your SEO efforts are (or ever will be) effective.

The most basic goal of any SEO campaign is to make your web page appear higher on the search engine results page, or SERP. According to a compilation of studies outlined by Forbes, nearly 85% of Google search users click on an organic result versus an ad. Nearly 68% of those choose one of the first five links. Clearly, ranking high puts you on the right track.

However, you must rank high for the right keywords; as mentioned before, ranking high for a keyword that is too general doesn’t lead to many click throughs. So, although ranking high is certainly part of SEO, getting the right folks to click to your site is the most basic component of calculating SEO ROI.

Next, you’ll need to determine how many of those specific click throughs or referral links led to achieving your SEO goal – conversions. If your ideal conversion is for a user to join your mailing list to stay up to date on your next service offerings, how many of your SEO-produced click throughs led to a sign-up? If ecommerce, are sales tracking with the improvements in traffic?

Once you have a good handle on tracing your conversions to their sources, you can note how many conversions came from your SEO campaign and the change in conversions over time. Since SEO does take time to ramp up, you should track improvements MoM (month over month) and Year over Year (seasonality something to consider?).

There are certainly intangible/immeasureable aspects to SEO, as well. Once you’ve established a broad footprint (rankings) across a multitude of relevant keywords, you’ll find that people will begin to search for your company name. Once folks are aware of your company’s domain, they may simply access the website, directly. For this reason, it’s a good practice to reflect upon multi-channel attribution models to understand the customer journey.

If you think of your own behavior, how often have you found a website via organic search and immediately converted. More often than not, you’re going to conduct other searches and spend time on other websites before – possibly – coming back to the site to convert.

So, the calculations will not be perfect (yet?). But, SEO can be effectively measured to an ROI. The idea is obviously that the investment INTO the effort will be less than the return that you are getting OUT of the effort. For this reason, you’ll want to work with a professional on determining projections/estimates for what the return might be before you start cutting checks. SEO should be measured several months into an effort and not viewed upon myopically. It will take time to realize the gains required for this to result in a positive ROI.

Ultimately, calculating an estimate of the monthly traffic you require for SEO to make a difference in your conversions and using our B2B SEO ROI Calculator or our eCommerce SEO ROI Calculator can help you get a feel for your current and/or possible SEO ROI.

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Google Site Links: Best Practices for Your Business https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/google-site-links-best-practices-for-your-business/ Tue, 07 May 2019 13:05:58 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17629 As a successful business marketer, you know the importance of optimizing your keyword selection within your pay-per-click ad campaigns so that your web page appears within the search engine results page (SERP) for relevant searches. Just as important is maintaining good search engine rankings so that your web page appears prominently on the SERP. A […]

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As a successful business marketer, you know the importance of optimizing your keyword selection within your pay-per-click ad campaigns so that your web page appears within the search engine results page (SERP) for relevant searches. Just as important is maintaining good search engine rankings so that your web page appears prominently on the SERP. A prominent location can help you increase your click through rate, as people who are looking for a business like yours are most likely to select one of the first few results on a SERP.

However, there is another key feature of the first result on a Google SERP that makes users more likely to click on it – the inclusion of site links. Optimizing your website to increase the likelihood Google will show site links is a great strategy to increase your click through rate. What are site links? Why are they so important? What are some best practices? Read on for a brief guide to site links.

What Are Site Links?

Site links appear as smaller sub-listings underneath the page title, URL, and page description on the SERP, usually when the user has searched for a brand. Considered a type of ad extension, site links provide a set of clickable links so your users can choose a specific area of your site to navigate to. This is especially useful when the user enters a brand or site name, but may not want the homepage.

For example, a user searching for the Widgets-R-Us brand may want to view widgets provided by the company, view shipping policies, or learn about the company’s history instead of viewing the homepage. Accordingly, site links show the user a few options for direct navigation other than the homepage itself. In this way, site links benefit both user and site owner.

Why Are Site Links Important?

The user benefits from site links because of the increased ability to navigate directly to the chosen site area directly from the SERP instead of needing to first navigate to the homepage, locate the correct page area, and then navigate to it. The user reaches the best landing page possible in a shorter amount of time. Thus, site links take the extra clicks and wait out of the navigation process, bringing the user to your page much more quickly.

You benefit for many of the same reasons – because the uncertainty of whether your site will meet the user’s needs, the user can quickly determine which of the featured landing pages may hold the content they seek, making it much more likely he or she will click in the first place. The user is more satisfied by the content after the click through, as well, since he or she navigated to the ideal landing page right off the bat. Quickly satisfied users are more likely to convert into consumers as well.

However, the primary SEO effect is even more simple. SERP results with site links are not only first on the list, but also more than twice the size of a regular result block. In addition, the user is aware on some level that Google trusts your site enough to provide extra links to it. Trust and prominence, then, are the names of the game; in fact, some experts credit site links with nearly a 65% increase in click throughs.

Site links also provide you with the opportunity to feature what you think is the most important information users should know about your product, service, or brand. For instance, your about page can provide crucial information about your brand that could lead to an eventual sale. Or, your site links could drive traffic to deeper pages on your site that provide the vital information critical to closing a sale or producing a lead, such as a toolkit, product guide, or other information the user cannot glean from skimming your homepage.

What Are Some Google Site Links Best Practices?

Unfortunately, getting Google to show site links is not as simple as simply requesting them, or choosing to pay a CPC for them. Google only shows site links for sites when they could prove useful to the user. However, if Google feels that your page may not provide relevant content for the user’s query, or if your site has a poor structure not conducive to site links, Google may not provide site links. It is important, then, to address your site to optimize for site links.

Some best practices include:

  • Make sure your site is well-structured. In order for Google to produce site links from your page’s content, it must be able to understand all the sections of your pages and how each relates to the others. Your homepage is the most important page, and the basis for all the others. The others should then proceed in a logical order from the homepage.
  • Add a sitemap. Adding a sitemap.xml file to your search console helps the Googlebot grow a better understanding of your site, including the structure of your site as mentioned above. The pages you mark as important in the sitemap may become the subject of site links.
  • Make sure your site has crucial components. Ensuring your page has the most logical page components for Google to include as additional site links increase your chances of having site links added to your SERP result. These include About, Contact Us, Products pages, and Search, among others. In addition, make sure all these pages have the classic, proper names for easy identification by the automated process.
  • Include internal links. If other pages on your site link consistently to the pages you deem the most important, such as product pages or About pages, Google may recognize their importance as well. This has a double benefit, since it may increase the likelihood of site links as well as helping ensure your most important pages are those featured on your site links.
  • Rank first. Overall, the most important factor in getting site links is ranking first for your brand. If you have an easily recognizable brand, engage in good site practices, and provide useful content for your users, who continue to click through, ranking first for your brand may not be difficult. However, if you have a more common brand name, or one easily misconstrued for a common product name or common noun, you may have more trouble.

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Google’s URL Inspection Tool: Replacement for Fetch and Render (How to Guide) https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/googles-url-inspection-tool-replacement-for-fetch-and-render-how-to-guide/ Thu, 02 May 2019 13:05:39 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17625 If you are serious about your business’s marketing efforts, you are consistently posting new, high-quality content. You should also optimize such content to help your users solve a problem in their lives, provide more information about one of your products or services, or otherwise serve some purpose that furthers your business. Similarly, you should be […]

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If you are serious about your business’s marketing efforts, you are consistently posting new, high-quality content. You should also optimize such content to help your users solve a problem in their lives, provide more information about one of your products or services, or otherwise serve some purpose that furthers your business. Similarly, you should be consistently monitoring your web page and its existing content, ensuring all of its components run as smoothly as possible and updating those that do not.

However, what happens if your changes contain code or other elements that negatively alter the way Google reads your page? After all, things look fine on the surface and your web page appears better than ever. Could the changes you can’t see with the naked eye be affecting your SEO? As it turns out, the answer is yes.

Googlebot Indexing

In order for potential customers to find your web page via a Google search, it must be visible in the Google index. All this means is that Google knows your page is out there, functional, and ready for return as a potential web search result block on a search engine results page. However, to make this determination, your page must be 100% visible and accessible to Google.

To determine this, Google sends Googlebot – a web crawler, also known as a bot or spider – to scan the contents of your page. Googlebot and other web crawlers exist to constantly gather information about web pages and relay the information they find back to an entity; Googlebot, of course, relays the information it finds back to Google, which either indexes a page or not based on Googlebot’s findings.

Googlebot receives the URL for your page from a list, then scans and retrieves its contents, including all text, code, plug-ins, and other elements that make up your page. Googlebot also analyzes any links your page makes to other pages. Once it finishes the analysis, the bot sends all the information back to Google, which indexes all pages Googlebot can “see.”

After indexing, Google proceeds to rank your page based on the more familiar aspects of speed, quality, and relevance. However, if Googlebot cannot see your page, it does not index it properly and Google may not rank your page. If Google does not index and rank your page, your potential customers will not receive your page as a suggestion in a Google search, thereby damaging your traffic and eventual conversions.

Why Can’t Googlebot Access Your Page?

Despite the fact that users see your web page as a collection of text, photo, video, and other content they can read and interact with, Googlebot only sees your page as a set of individual components of code. Instead of a photo, Googlebot sees the HTML file for that image. Instead of a flash component, Googlebot sees the coding for the component. If you have components of your page that Googlebot cannot see or access, it reports the information back to Google.

Multiple situations can cause unreadable page components. For example, if you have components of your page that use CSS, JavaScript or Flash, you could be a victim of bad coding. Or, the links could be incorrect or blocked by robots.txt. Alternatively, your site could rely too much on Flash or over complicated dynamic links, preventing Googlebot from viewing the page as it actually is.

URL Inspection Tool (Previously Fetch and Render) Can Help

As a site owner, and a human, you can see the contents of the page as you meant them. However, you cannot see the behind-the-scenes coding or read errors that may prevent Googlebot from seeing your page. In fact, you may not even know there is an issue until you begin experiencing a sharp, unexplained, drop in your clickthroughs.

Fortunately, Google provides a tool to help you determine how Googlebot sees your page so that you can identify and solve any issues that arise and ensure Google indexes your page. You can request what is essentially a practice crawl of your site, and ask Google to render it to view your page as Google views it. Google used to call these tools “fetch as Google” and “fetch and render.” However, Google fetch and render is now the URL Inspection Tool. It provides the same information about Google’s indexed version of a webpage. Here’s how to use the tool:

  1. Verify. First, sign into your Google account and verify that you have website authority. Only then can you access the URL Inspection Tool feature. This step will record your ownership information for the page into Google’s systems. Download an HTML verification file the page provides you, and then confirm its successful upload by clicking on a supplied link and then indicating “verify.” The new HTML file should remain in place even after you verify that you own your site, to ensure that your site remains verified.
  2. Access. Second, you’ll need to access the Google Search Console. Under Domain, the Console will prompt you to enter a URL for analysis into its a search bar. Input your site’s URL and click “Continue.” You can also paste your URL under “URL Prefix” if you only want to inspect URLs under the entered address, rather than your entire domain. Like Google fetch and render, the URL Inspection tool will analyze the URL based on Google’s last bot crawl.
  3. Crawl. Google will crawl the provided URL and either tell you that your URL is on Google and is visible in search results or that your URL is not on Google. If your site is not indexed, you will receive a reason why, along with recommended solutions. Following these tips can help you fix common issues that may be making your web page uncrawlable.
  4. Inspect. When you run Fetch and Render/URL Inspection Tool, you will see an inspection report showing you how it renders to Google. If the Googlebot rendered page appears as blank or erroneous, you likely have issues within your page’s coding that prevent Googlebot from reading it fully. You then have an opportunity to address any crawl errors on the Search Console homescreen.
  5. Repair. Select “Crawl Errors” to see the errors returned from previous crawls of your site. As mentioned, there are multiple types of errors of varying severities that may be affecting how Googlebot views your site. Note that if your page does not conform to Google’s quality and security guidelines, your page might not be visible even if you receive the “URL is on Google” memo. The tool does not see content removals or temporarily blocked URLs.

The URL Inspection Tool has other features as well, such as inspecting an indexed (not live) URL, viewing a rendered version of the page, and accessing loaded resources lists. Once you’ve diagnosed your errors, you can fix them to ensure that Googlebot is able to access your site. If you need assistance with this, your SEO provider can help you continue to optimize and ensure proper interaction between your site and Google. Then, Google will have all the information it needs to index and rank your site so you can get back to business.

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Google’s Responsive Display Ads – If You Aren’t Testing RDA, You Should! https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/googles-responsive-display-ads-if-you-arent-testing-rda-you-should/ Tue, 30 Apr 2019 19:22:56 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17635 As digital marketers we are faced with many new and exciting media optimization opportunities regularly. The landscape of digital marketing changes frequently and there is a good amount of time involved in deciphering what new features and strategies should be tested. Google’s responsive display ads have recently introduced new features and we are very optimistic […]

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As digital marketers we are faced with many new and exciting media optimization opportunities regularly. The landscape of digital marketing changes frequently and there is a good amount of time involved in deciphering what new features and strategies should be tested. Google’s responsive display ads have recently introduced new features and we are very optimistic on the outlook of increasing reach and return.

What are responsive display ads?

Responsive display ads have been around for years. They allow you to upload images, headlines, logos, copy and, newly introduced, video. Google will automatically generate these ads to be shown across their network, Google Display Network. This is ever so important with the increase in mobile and the numerous different sizes of creatives that are popping up across users’ web experience.

Why Use RDAs?

Optimization: As marketers, our number one goal is to increase revenue and return. Without optimization we will not succeed. This is the top benefit in utilizing responsive display ads. If assets were manually created in all ad formats with different CTAs and images for testing, you would certainly be spending too much time. This time and money could be dedicated to performance improvement and optimization. Time is not the only factor when it comes to optimization benefits of RDAs. Google uses machine learning to determine the optimal combination of assets for each ads slot based on predictions from your account history within Google Ads. Thousands of combinations could be served and analyzed to find the ad that drives the highest return.

Reach: Wouldn’t you love to expand your reach online? With traditional static ads you are limited to the number of websites where your ads can show. The competition on the standard web inventory is high and you may be missing the opportunity to reach your target audience. Additionally, Consumer behavior is changing to an “on the go” mentality. This increases the need to show up in more native, non-traditional settings online.  Google automatically resizes and formats your uploaded assets to fit the available inventory in their network. This makes your ads eligible for nearly any ad space, which in turn, increases your ability to reach your audience wherever they are on the network on whichever device they are viewing.

Enhance brand message: Reach customers in the correct stage of the purchase funnel! Google adjusts your assets with their machine learning to determine the top headlines, thus helping the advertiser classify what CTAs and messaging their audience responds to the best at each stage of the sales funnel. This boosts the brand massage across their target markets and stages of the funnel without having to continually create and upload new creative assets. You can use these learnings to refine and optimize your brand message. This sounds like a recipe for success!

New features in responsive display

Google recently made announcements on new features coming to their Responsive Display Ad product.

Video: Video is continuing to grow in popularity and driving potential customers to brands. According to HubSpot, 90 percent of customers say video helps them make buying decisions and 64 percent that seeing a video makes them more likely to buy. Think about that statistic. This shows the influence video has in a customer purchase journey. It is no surprise that Google zeroed in on this and introduced the addition of YouTube video assets to RDA campaigns. You can add up to five YouTube videos to get served in different combinations along with your headlines, descriptions and brand logos. Now you can expand reach to new inventory and improve performance with sight, sound and motion. Very exciting!

New reporting: You can imagine with all the new ad variations that Google automatically creates there is a need for marketers to analyze what is working. Google introduced new combination reports. This is designed to give advertisers more understandings into which grouping of assets and copy are performing best. This feature encourages testing multiple headlines and images so that you can determine which assets to use moving forward.

Ad Strength Scorecard: How do you know if your ads are good? The big question that is asked by all advertisers. How would you like to know the answer through the eyes of Google? Well…they are giving us a peek into what they see. This straightforward feature will ensure your ads are set up for success before they even start. You can attempt to create “excellent” ads by using this score card and work to improve your ads based on Google’s feedback. Below is an example:

If you aren’t testing RDA, start now!

To sum things up, it’s quite simple. If you aren’t testing RDA, you should be. The setup is easy and can be done without professional banner ad production. You can scan your website or upload creative directly to Google Ads. We encourage you to test multiple versions of all assets – images, headlines, descriptions and videos. RDAs can be a powerful learning tool if you take advantage of everything Google is offering. RDAs also expand your reach, which is extremely important in your strategy to message your audience while they are ready to buy or looking for your service. We would love to hear how you have used RDAs with your brand. If you need help with your marketing strategies, Vizion Interactive is here to help.

*Featured Image from Google Ads community

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How Do I Calculate YTD For My Business? https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/how-do-i-calculate-ytd-for-my-business/ Tue, 30 Apr 2019 13:05:37 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17615 There are multiple ways to go about determining the profitability of your business. The simplest is the overall revenue your company shows; however, that calculation fails to take any negative cash flow into account, such as your payroll, your marketing budget, or your other investments. After all, profit calculations must account for any money you […]

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There are multiple ways to go about determining the profitability of your business. The simplest is the overall revenue your company shows; however, that calculation fails to take any negative cash flow into account, such as your payroll, your marketing budget, or your other investments. After all, profit calculations must account for any money you spent to get your business where it is today. This results in a calculation that looks something like total revenue – total money spent = total profit.

Total profits can be a good indicator of business success, but that’s where the analysis stops. If you want to get a better handle on how what you’ve been doing lately is affecting your profits, you’ll need a time frame to work with. As we advance into the year, you may begin seeing mentions of the term “YTD.” What is YTD? How can you calculate YTD for your business? What are the benefits of using YTD?

What Is YTD?

In simplest terms, YTD stands for year to date, a time period beginning the first day of the year up to and including today. For example, if you are reading this article on July 1st, YTD includes the time period beginning January 1st and ending July 1st. By its nature, YTD changes every day, with a given YTD figure representing the point in time at which you calculated the figure.

Alternatively, YTD in a business or government setting may refer to a fiscal year instead of a calendar year. YTD for a fiscal year refers to a year’s worth of financial records kept beginning on the date chosen as the beginning date for each fiscal year. For example, the federal government’s fiscal year begins every year on October 1st, making a fiscal year last from October 1st of one calendar year to September 30th of the next.

Usually, entities using a fiscal year will state it as such, using language like “the fiscal year ending September 30th, 2019” for the current year. However, keep in mind that entities may set their own fiscal years, so a fiscal year for a business that opened on March 1st of a year may continue to observe the beginning of a new fiscal year every March 1st. Retail businesses often choose to begin a fiscal year on February 1st, to account for the end of the holiday rush period in January.

Still others use the date of a quarterly or yearly tax filing to set their fiscal year beginning date. Regardless of a company’s choice when it comes to fiscal year start and end dates, all businesses must file taxes according to the IRS. Funnily enough, the IRS requires tax filings according to the calendar year, when it is a part of the federal government that recognizes a fiscal year beginning October 1st.

How Can You Calculate YTD for Business?

You may want to calculate YTD figures for multiple aspects of your business. For example, you may want to know the YTD payroll you’ve paid out so far so you know what to expect for the remainder of the year. Or, maybe you’d like to know your YTD marketing ad spend so you can compare it to your revenue increases.

In general, the purpose of calculating YTD figures is to establish a time period for comparison to other figures within that same time period. YTD ad spend is only useful if you’re comparing it to revenue increases over the same time period. YTD payroll as compared to revenue is only useful if you’ve calculated both over the same time period.

First, determine for which aspect you want to calculate your YTD figures. If it’s payroll, you’ll need to round up your payroll figures beginning the first of the year. If it’s profits or revenue, you’ll need to supply your financial figures. No matter what you’re calculating, however, it is important that you determine which time period your YTD covers.

Does your company use the calendar year to classify YTD? If so, use figures beginning January 1st in your calculations. If you use some other classification of YTD, such as the federal fiscal year or the retail fiscal year, ensure that your figures date back to the proper start date, especially if you mean to compare two figures against each other for the same time period. After you’ve determined the correct beginning date of the year and gathered your figures, it’s time to begin calculations.

YTD calculations are relatively simple – in fact, a good portion of the difficulty lies in gathering accurate figures and ensuring they cover proper time periods. You must only add the figures for each month of the year, plus the amount for the current month so far since YTD covers the time up to the present time. If you choose to calculate YTD ending on a certain date other than today, you must notate it as such.

YTD calculations for the current calendar year begins in January. For example, YTD profits calculated as of March 15th for a company earning $2000 in January, $3000 in February, $400 the first week in March and $500 the second week in March, plus $75 on March 15th itself look like this:

January profits + February profits + (March week 1 + March week 2 + remaining March profits) = YTD profits

Or –

$2000 + $3000 + $400 + $500 + $75 = YTD profits of $5975

Alternatively, you may want to perform calculations for YTD beginning the start of your company’s fiscal year. For example, if your fiscal year begins October 1st, YTD profit calculations as of March 15th, 2019 for a company earning $2000 in October 2018, $3000 in November 2018, $5000 in December 2018, $2000 in January 2019, $3000 in February 2019 and $975 so far in March 2019 look like this:

October 2018 profits + November 2018 profits + December 2018 profits + January 2019 profits + February 2019 profits + partial March 2019 profits = Fiscal YTD profits

Or –

$2000 + $3000 + $5000 + $2000 + $3000 + $975 = Fiscal YTD profits of $15,975

You can see how determining whether you will use the calendar year or the fiscal year can make a large difference when it comes to your company’s YTD figures. In this case, the inclusion of the extra three 2018 months of the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2018 adds an additional $10,000 to YTD profits. If you are providing financial information about your company for a small business loan or similar, the addition of a few months can make all the difference and it is important not to make a mistake.

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The Importance of a Marketing ROI Calculator https://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/the-importance-of-a-marketing-roi-calculator/ Thu, 25 Apr 2019 13:05:10 +0000 https://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=17607 For business owners, marketing is one of the most important investments you can make. Your marketing efforts determine the degree of exposure your business receives, the channels through which your business advertises, the audience that sees your product, and much more. Your investment in marketing ultimately determines the profits your business generates from every customer […]

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For business owners, marketing is one of the most important investments you can make. Your marketing efforts determine the degree of exposure your business receives, the channels through which your business advertises, the audience that sees your product, and much more. Your investment in marketing ultimately determines the profits your business generates from every customer that doesn’t organically find his or her way to your business.

For most businesses, marketing uses a fair chunk of the budget – as it should, since marketing has the potential to make your business more profitable. However, when was the last time you calculated the return on your marketing investment? More importantly, are you aware of how your marketing ROI stacks up?

What Is ROI?

Although marketing ROI calculators are a great resource to help you dive right in and determine profitability, let’s begin with the basics. ROI, or return on investment, is a basic calculation made to determine whether an action you took was profitable for your business. Analysis of how any profit received from an action – also referred to as a gain or return – compares to the money you spent to receive the profit can be useful to determine how effective the action was. ROI in its most basic form is nothing but a ratio of the money gained from the investment relative to the cost of the investment.

When applied to marketing, ROI takes on a bit of a new meaning compared to ROI for standard financial investments. A marketing investment can be anything from the purchase of a new video ad on social media, to a print direct mail campaign, to a pay-per-click Google ad spurred via a consumer search for a keyword. The return is simply any customer purchases that resulted directly from the given investment campaign.

For example, if you purchased a 30-second spot on local TV for $1000 instructing customers to mention the ad for an additional percentage off, you can assume all customer sales that mention the ad resulted directly from the campaign. If your resulting sales total more than your $1000 ad spend, you’ve achieved a positive ROI. If your resulting sales fall short of the $1000 line, your ad cost more to purchase than it returned in profit, leaving you with a negative ROI.

Why Should You Calculate Your Marketing ROI?

Although marketing in its traditional sense can result in many outcomes for your business – views of your business page, for example, or leads generated by online efforts that aren’t exactly quantifiable – the goal of any marketing campaign is ultimately to produce revenue. The only way to determine if your efforts are producing revenue is to analyze the actual cash flow your marketing actions bring in, making those gray areas like views and leads irrelevant (for now). Sticking to cold, hard, cash facts is the only way to determine if a marketing campaign brought profits to your business.

Once you know if an action was profitable, you can begin to make decisions regarding whether it is an action you should continue. Certainly, there is some nuance in this decision-making process, but generally speaking, you’ll be able to compare the financial risk posed by the initial cost with the level of profit generated. Then, you can determine whether you should continue on as-is, increase your efforts in the area, decrease your efforts in the area, or abandon the tactic altogether.

How Do You Calculate Marketing ROI?

Calculating a simple ROI – even simpler than in the TV ad case specified above – is a fairly straightforward calculation. You must first find your company’s sales growth from the time the new marketing campaign took place, subtract the cost of the campaign, and divide by the cost of the campaign. You must multiply the resulting number by 100 to reflect a percentage that is your ROI. For example:

(Sales growth – campaign cost) / campaign cost = ROI (reflected as a percentage)

For the TV campaign above, let’s say your company’s profits grew by $10,000 after the campaign began. With a campaign cost of $1000, the calculation is:

($10,000 – $1,000) / $1,000 = 9

When you multiply by 100 to reach a percent, the return on your investment is 900%.

However, you have no way of knowing how much of that 900% return is directly due to your new TV campaign (unless you can assume, as we did, that most of the TV campaign-related customers mentioned the ad as requested). In this case, it is helpful to calculate the average monthly growth and include only above-average revenue as campaign-generated profits. For this calculation, you’ll need to subtract the average growth first.

(Sales growth – average sales growth – campaign cost) / campaign cost = ROI

Let’s assume an average sales growth of about $4000 spread over the three months of the campaign based on your company’s historical figures.

($10,000 – $4,000 – $1,000) / $1,000 = 500% ROI

As you can see, the ending ROI figure is much more reasonable when you account for the fact that your company is likely already producing growth from sources other than the campaign under study. Even companies experiencing a monthly decline in sales can identify a new campaign as the source of a stoppage or slowing of negative sales growth.

Why Are Marketing ROI Calculators So Valuable?

Simple ROI calculations are just that – simple. They’re simple to calculate, and provide a relatively simple view of the financial health of your marketing strategies. However, more complicated campaigns such as pay-per-click campaigns or B2C SEO efforts that may have a few cost structures or benefit from performing cost analysis per conversion rather than on a monthly basis can result in calculations that are much more complicated.

SEO experts, as well as other marketing gurus, often provide marketing ROI calculators in an effort to help you determine the ins and outs of a specific marketing investment. Such calculators can provide more intensive calculations such as your cost per sale or the sales from leads versus traffic. You simply input your numbers and the calculators do the work for you – you have a valuable breakdown of your figures as well as the ability to tweak your input to determine how slight changes in your budget could impact your ROI.

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